Thursday, July 27, 2006

a trip to the front lines

I had planned on blogging on scene, but I was put under a lot of pressure to leave as quickly as I could by a woman suffering from panic.

I had a very nice trip up, my camera was on with the telephoto lens at maximum so that I could get a good picture of a missile streaking through the sky. I was actually hoping that they wouldn't shoot anymore missiles, but if they did, I wanted to get a picture of it. I was well prepared after a day at the office with 4 air raid sirens. It was a quiet trip up, I didn't see a missile or hear anything until I got home. I drove around the city a little bit first, it looked like a ghost town. The supermarket parking lot that was hit has already been patched. The flower shop that was destroyed is still destroyed. There was a metal fence with a hole in it, though that looks like it was from shrapnel, not an actual missile.
I went home and everything was normal. I took pictures of the kids rooms, so that they could see that they were still there.
The entire time I was there, there were constant booms. From what I understand most of them were our booms hitting them, but there were a number of louder booms which was them hitting us. From what I understand we got hit with another 30 yesterday. Compare this with the 66 missiles that hit Israel during the Gulf War. We have already absorbed over 1000 in this war.
I went for dinner with doc, his wife, and their son in law, the nurse's husband (Excellent lasagna with chocalte pudding cake for dessert, worth coming up just for that).

The welfare office asked me to take a single guy with me to Jerusalem and then they called and asked if I could bring a woman who was suffering from panic attacks and her two sons. They told me that her situation was serious, so I said I would make room. Then my cell phone stopped working and I lost everyone's phone number. It would still ring and show me who was calling, just none of the buttons were working.
The paniccy lady kept calling to ask when I was leaving already. I told her I had a number of things to do, and we would leave as soon as we could. But she kept calling and was completely paniced so I felt under pressure. I forgot a bunch of stuff, including bringing the chocolate to the docs wife :-(. I'll buy or borrow a pump for the air mattresses that we need in the next apartment we're moving to. Someone already said they would give us pillows.

I also didn't feel I had time to walk around handing out money to people in bomb shelters, so I called the local chesed organization and gave them a wad of cash and told them that it was donations from people in America that was supposed to go help people with extra expenses during this situation. He said he would make sure that it all got given out. (The chesed organization is 100% volunteer, so all the donations do go to the people who need it, without administrative commissions taken out).

I couldn't get in touch with the guy I had promised to take out because I couldn't get his phone number, so then I spoke with the welfare agency a couple more times while they tried to find him until I finally said "Die" ("Die" in Hebrew means Enough, so if you hear Israeli children yelling "Die" at you, they don't mean it in a death way.)

The trip home was unenventful. The paniced woman calmed down when we were out of firing range, or at least we were out of range of the farthest missile they've shot at us so far. I arrived at the apartment here around midnight and collapsed in bed.

After an afternoon back home, I've decided the booms don't really bother me at all, I iognored them, but it is impossible to have children living in that situation.
I also didn't find any good shrapnel or exploded missiles to bring home. Maybe next time.

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