Monday, February 13, 2006

The Weekend Ahead...or ranting about wife's family I guess

I'm going to NJ this Thursday. I am not a big fan of going to NJ.

I tried to get out of it. My wife's grandmother is turning 90, and they are having a party for her, thus the trip. I told my mother in law I would be happy to come, so long as she understood that I could take no responsibility if her mother died, as every 90-year-old birthday I have attended has resulted in a death within two years.

My mother in law said she'd take the two years.

So Veev and the kids drove through yesterday's snowstorm to get there a week early, and I will be flying on Thursday night.

Late Thursday night. Probably too late to eat anything good when I get in. And Friday is going to be a wasted day. Probably Pizza. And then Saturday night we have some concert my father in law is playing in. But I don't know any of the details, so don't bother asking. I just hope it isn't the NCSY alumni reunion, because that would just be a kick in the nuts.

Have you ever gone to an NCSY event, when you're not an NCSYer. They sit around on Saturday night, in the glow of the Havdalah candle, talking about how this Shabbos has changed their lives, and they feel so connected to everyone, and isn't this the greatest Shabbaton ever. And then the next kid says the same thing. And on and on. And then before you know it, the kid who just talked about how spiritual his life has become is sneaking out back with some girl for some action. Or some drugs. Or sneaking off. Because while NCSY may do some good things for some people, and I know plenty of people who fit in that category, NJ NCSY is an excuse to meet girls and stay away from home for shabbos. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I just don't like the fake Kiruv pretenses that they use to justify their existence. And so as an outsider, you are just watching and praying that this evening will finally end. And I can just imagine that an alumni NCSY shabbaton will be similar, just with older people. So I hope that it isn't the NCSY thing.

Crap. I just went to their website, and there in the Motzai Shabbos program, is dear old father in law. So if you want to hang out with me on Saturday night, you know where I'll be. Sitting in some corner wishing there was more alcohol in me to make this night tolerable.

In usual circumstances I don't mind visiting my inlaws. My kids like it there, and I get along well with them.

Spencer is coming in from London, which is always a party. Here's the thing. I don't mind visiting my in laws. But Veev is a superior cook to her mother. And so her mother will have her cook, but now I'm getting off topic. Or am I. Is there even a topic to this post at all.

Here's how the weekend is going to go.

The Spencers will not be helpful at all. Veev will be pressed into slave labor from the moment she gets there, which is a good thing because A) The food will be better than it would be if MIL cooked and B) It is always good to get her good and pissed off at other family members who are completely unhelpful when we are there so we have something to talk about on the drive home, and the weeks that follow. But she will not be happy, which means that she will be venting at me. Which is OK at this point. I guess.

And then there is the 90 year old grandmother. Who doesn't speak English very well. And is my inspiration for learning Hebrew after we move. In some language she will make it known that my children do not eat enough food. Which is fine. I don't care what a 90 year old woman thinks about my kids eating habits. But then she will harass my mother in law, which again, is not my problem. But then my mother in law will try to force feed at least one of my kids, or at least have them fake eating in front of her mother so that her mother will leave her alone. When all MIL has to say is Ma, they don't look like they are starving (in Yiddish) but she won't because she would rather complain to Veev (who passes it along to me) that the kids aren't eating, at which point we say So, do they look starving to you, at which point she will try to get them to eat. It this seems rambling its because it is. And will continue on for all meals over Shabbos.

And here is something odd. Why is it that I am the only one who thinks, hey, lets have some liquor at the table. I mean, we're Jewish, there is no kiddush club at Young Israel of Passaic Clifton anymore, and its shabbos, so lets knock down a few l'chayims. Hell, we did it at my shuir last night and that was just a plain old Sunday night.

I haven't really mentioned the shul, other than their lack of a kiddush club (maybe one has sprouted since I have been there last). And I am going to leave the shul alone. Even though it is a dump of a building and looks like an ill-placed blue barn.

One set of old people will not be there this weekend, as they are still in Gods waiting room and won't be back north until spring, which is good. Somehow we always get in trouble when we see them. But since they won't be around, I'll spare you the details of that pair.

I have one good brother in law. Veev tries to keep us apart sometimes. She doesn't think we are good together. And a good sister in law, who could definitely use a good man, or a man, or someone, in her life. So if you want to be a part of this excitement show up at the NCSY weekend event and ask me about my single sister in law. I'll point her out to you.


Blogger orthomom said...

Ooh. This does NOT sound like fun. Allow me to say one thing though:
Thank the Lord that Orthodad doesn't blog. I wouldn't want to see his version of this post.

February 13, 2006 6:07 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

NJ NCSY has apparently cleaned up a LOT over the past year.

February 13, 2006 6:33 PM  
Blogger Ger Tzadik said...

New Jersey is awesome. The people inside New Jersey can be troublesome sometimes. But then, I am biased.

February 13, 2006 6:42 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

M4 - that's not even the half of it, but they do read this blog

Ezzie - I am so glad that NJ NCSY only took fifteen years to stop promoting a sexual predator through its organization and cleaned up its finances. And there is nothing scarier than listening to an NCSYer talk about NCSY and the latest greatest Shabaton they just attended.

GT - I'm not ignoring you. I'm just flabbergasted at what you said.

February 13, 2006 6:53 PM  
Anonymous heidi said...

How old is Veev's sister? She should go out with my brother in law.

February 13, 2006 8:02 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

AT - Granted, I just meant that the NJ NCSY is no longer a bunch of kids who want to hang out - it's a lot more secular public school kids who actually want to *get* something religiously out of the weekend.

I've never done NCSY, so I really couldn't tell you.

February 13, 2006 8:11 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

You read all that and you want to set your brother in law up with my sister in law. Do you like him?

Ez - I've never done the NCSY thing, but I have watched it from a distance.

February 13, 2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger Veev said...

Are you stil coming? And why does this remind me of a Mort Report?

February 13, 2006 10:50 PM  
Blogger Krunk said...

Holy crap,at least you vented this stuff,or I think you would have self destructed.Which,come to think of it,is kinda cool.

February 14, 2006 12:44 AM  
Anonymous Keglavithcher Rav said...

If you are passing through my neck of the woods on the way home come visit. If I can get through the snow we can do a Sunday night Q.

February 14, 2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger swiftthinker said...

Wow! That couldn't be more off. You've got it all wrong. New Jersey couldn't be more spiritual. I mean for pete's sake Lakewood eer hakodesh is there. Additionally NCSY is near and dear to many of us. Some of fondlest memories are from there. You're MIL isn't nearly as bad a cook as you make her out to be. Try some of her fish things. They are served on Tuesdays. You're father in law is the king of music, not to mention stuie b. I should come to show my support for them. And lastly, that shul in passaic rocks. It happens to be where I met the guy who taught me all about... oh forget it, that's for another day.

February 14, 2006 9:30 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"Some of fondlest memories are from there. "

swiftthinker...if this line is intentional, I'm in awe of your powers of subtlety.

...and it sums up my impressions of NCSY, though when I was a lad n camp, the frummest kids were NCSY alums.

February 14, 2006 9:49 AM  
Blogger Lish the Fish said...

Wow - so many comments. Firstly, AT - the rumour I hear is that it's not just your FIL playing saturday night but stuie b. too and your brother-in-law. That means lots of drums and the accordian - have fun.
I wont even touch the NCSY stuff- having formerly been an ncsy-er who "gained a lot" there in NJ - and now wont have anything to do with it at all...
For better food just have Leez bring you all to Teaneck- I know Dougies may not be Ken's but its pretty good and I would to get to see all of you. Besides my husband has heard way too much about all of you and especially this blog - he is highly curious to meet everyone.
p.s - i hear the blue barn isn't blue anymore.

February 14, 2006 10:08 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Lish -

The original Eilat Duo will be performing, as will my superstar brother in law. At least, according to NCSYs website and buzz within the family.

February 14, 2006 10:39 AM  
Anonymous heidi said...

Maybe its my selfish attempt to remain the favorite daughter in law?

j/k- I remember meeting her, she was really nice about 5-6 years ago. I think my bil would appreciate an...(how shall we put this)...eccentric family.

February 14, 2006 11:26 AM  
Blogger Lish the Fish said...

Sounds like loads of fun AT- all in all I think I'll still pass on going and choose to do anything else that night.

February 14, 2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger swiftthinker said...

thanks sw, not a typo.

February 14, 2006 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ncsy hasnt changed.
the same culture is there, even without the fondler.

kiruv in general should be banned. it is a bunch of people with pygmalion complexes and huge egos who are not that frum themselves. let them clean their own house and then corrupt the youth and cause all kinds of family strife.
besides, a bunch of people making a buck off the religion is asking for corruption.
and to an ncsyer, ncsy is the pinnacle of judaism. what crap. forget that you hardly know hebrew, and the whole institution is based on arayos.
i wish it would all just die.

enjoy passaic!

February 15, 2006 2:58 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

anon -

I like that you are so understated

February 15, 2006 8:50 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

AirTime: Thanks -- I thought I had buried those memories far far away, and you had to dredge them up?

If you bring a laptop along, you can blog your way through the Havdala scene.

One question: if its "the same" but only with older NCSY alumni -- aren't many of them married? You would think they would have gotten this out of their system by now...

February 15, 2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

J -

It appears that many of the people spending the weekend are married, and so I guess they have not gotten it out of their system yet.

From what I am told, Saturday night will be some kind of carnival with stuff for the kids to do, like moon bounce and other assorted kids things.

Too bad I don't have a laptop. Edison is pretty far from Passaic, so I hope we are there long after Havdala.

February 15, 2006 10:40 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

AT: Good Luck! Yet one more advantage of aliya ;-)

Distance makes the heart grow fonder...or at least, tolerable...for short durations.

February 15, 2006 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not from NJ, but I once took a Greyhound bus to a Shabbaton with another NCSYer. She spent most of the ride making out with some guy she met on the bus.

We (the rest of NCSY) hated NJ region. I got over it before all the really bad stuff came out.

Still, I am a pround NCSY alumna and Ben Zakkai member. All the alumni will do at the Shabbaton is reminisce; I wouldn't expect any emotional kumsitzes. You'll feel left out but not too embarassed.

Good luck with your aliyah plans!! We survived it.

February 15, 2006 3:06 PM  

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