Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One Strike and I'm Out

Today I am frustrated. Don't worry, I still have my shiny, happy Aliyah glasses on, but VERY frustrated today.

Strikes in Israel are common. Teacher strikes often get the kids an unexpected few days of school off. Government office strikes can stop all business in those areas for days. The big one that's affecting us now is a bank strike. I guess it's one of the downsides of a socialized government. I really don't know. And I really, really don't care. 

What I do care about is how it is affecting us. Before we moved we transfered most of our remaining cash into our account here at Bank Pagi in the Ramat Beit Shemesh branch. The plan was to get here, show our faces, get our bankcards and checkbooks reissued, and start buying necessities like washer/dryer, oven, etc. 

The first day we got here, TPH walked up to the Merkaz and came back with bad news; the bank workers were on strike, the bank is closed. Now if you have an ATM card or checkbook, you are ok. Unless of course you have to make a deposit. I was talking to someone who has a paycheck in hand, but can't deposit it, so their balance goes farther and farther into "minus" as they call it here. It's ridiculous.

For us it means a total and complete standstill. We have pretty much taken out everything that we can from our US account, and everything else remains locked until someone gives on one side or the other. In the meantime, we haven't been able to rent a car, go on trips or do anything more significant than go to the grocery store and Kotel. 

To do a load of laundry (don't worry, kids' only during the 9 days!) I have to walk 20 min. uphill to my in-laws in 95 degrees lugging a bag of dirty laundry. Oh, and the European machines take half the amount of what we are used to and each load takes 1 1/2 hours to WASH only. It is not pretty. 

I once took a taxi there because I could not do the walk once more in the heat and you know what the driver told me? "You should be walking there! Too close to take a taxi." Trust me, you don't want to mess with a grumpy, hot, American mother in this situation. The only response I could muster was, "Ok, let's go to your house! Thanks for offering!" He grumbled something or other, but then took me to my in-laws without any more free advice. 

Hey, at least it was free, cuz' I definitely couldn't have paid for it.


Abby said...

hahahaha!! You are so clever Kara! I love it! Not the strike, but your quick and witty style of writing :)

Rebecca said...

Cash G'mach?