Tag Archives: Cossacks

Everything Must Go (Or, why it pays to have a pogrom in your DNA.)

After months of waiting, crying in the building department, and all but offering myself up to the gods of Yonkers (because, surely there is more than one), we finally got our construction permit. Still, we weren’t starting anytime soon. Our contractor told us we’d have to wait a few weeks while he finished up the job he took when we got delayed.

And then, in a text, he told us he could start in 48 hours. (I’m trying to ignore the nagging feeling that this guy may not have been the best choice, but I’m keeping that to myself for now.)

Here’s what I learned:

1. It helps to have a pogrom (or three) in your DNA. Polish ancestry means one thing if you’re Jewish: You can pack in a flash, even when there aren’t Cossacks at the door. As I used my great-grandmother’s linen tablecloths to wrap my dishes (once the newspaper ran out), I had enough time to hum the entire score of Fiddler. Good times.

2. Jet lag is AWESOME when you have stuff to do! Turns out, keeping my watch on NY time during our trip may have kept me awake the entire time, but it didn’t ensure that I’d come home on local time. (Who knew?) So, I hopped out of bed at 3.45 AM and got cracking on packing the kitchen and tossing anything that does not bring me pleasure. (This was a good thing. Because M is no fan of throwing out anything and believes this whole de-cluttering movement is nothing more than an excuse to buy more shit, I usually have to toss things under cover of darkness.)

3. I was put on this earth to answer the question: How many glass jars can one person own?

4. I apparently also have a thing for egg cups.

5. M has a thing for free water bottles. The shittier the bottle, the more we have. If you happen to need one, there will be a box of them in front of our house as of 4AM. (shhh.)

I’ve been awake for over a week and I have miles to go.

If Marie Kondo calls, I’ll be throwing out egg cups.

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Filed under home improvement, Uncategorized

Do Cossacks Eat Cranberry Sauce?

When we moved from Venice, California to Seattle seven and a half years ago, I went into a panic about all the things I was certain I wouldn’t be able to buy up here in the wilds of Washington State.

By “all the things” I am referring to the two-gallon sized ziploc bags that I used to store the bread that M bakes. Ever diligent in my move preparations, I trekked over to Smart and Final (which up here we call Cash and Carry. Different name, same dodgy store) and bought 40 boxes of two-gallon sized ziploc bags. I am ashamed to say that we only used the last of the bags about six months ago. I am even more ashamed to say that when we did run out, I had no trouble finding more.

When it looked like we might be moving to London, and not New York (close! so close!) I made a list on my phone of all the things I was sure I wasn’t going to able to live without. First on the list? Pam cooking spray.

I know how interesting this makes me sound, really I do. I also had interesting things on there… I’m sure I did. But I deleted the list last month, and now I can’t remember any of them.

This time, I don’t think I’ll be doing the same. Mostly because even if I could ship three hundred pounds of wild salmon, I’m not sure where I would store it, and partly because there’s nothing else I can think of that I can’t get my hands on in the wilds of the Bronx.

Fear of running out is what led me to discover fifteen bags on frozen cranberries at the back of my freezer when I was cleaning out the kitchen this week. You see, even though one may WANT to make cranberry sauce year round, one can only FIND cranberries in the store around Thanksgiving (I am therefore certain they were on my London list; no Thanksgiving = no cranberries), at which point I go berserk and buy out the store.


The funny thing is that on the basis of all these items — plastic bags, Pam and cranberries — you’d think I was a prolific, possibly even accomplished cook. Nay. I am nothing more than an average cook who cooks out of complete and utter necessity. What I am is a disorganized, panicky shtetl dweller. I know the Cossacks are coming, and I know what I will want to take with me when I have to leave Anatevka in a hurry, but at any given moment I never know what’s in my pantry, not to mention my freezer, so I keep buying more of what I already have.

Hence the 600 plastics bags and 235 frozen cranberries.

Somewhere in my storage room are 60 cans of Pam. I’ll let you know when I find them.


Filed under moving, New York City, parenting, Seattle, Summer, Uncategorized