We made it to our apartment! The location is ideal — it’s in a very safe neighborhood, incredibly close to the kid’s school, just down the road from a nice supermarket (just about as close as the Carnival was when we lived in Fort Worth — a block and a half maybe?), and very near a taxi stand with servees (shared taxis) running to the city center for 3 shekels a ride (about 75 cents).
What wasn’t so ideal was the state of the apartment when we moved in. Everything looked fine when we had our walkthrough, but once we began to settle in, we found that it had just the most superficial of cleanings. Piecing together the story from our new friends across the hall, the American family that used to live here was a crazy bunch with 8 family members always yelling at each other. Apparently they didn’t clean at all while they were here. As near as we can figure, the landlord paid a cleaner to work on the apartment the day before we moved in, and the guy did the best he could in the time he had. A big chunk of his time was spent dealing with the entire front room piled up with all the junk that the former occupants left behind. Who does that? Lynn picked up a bunch of cleaning supplies at the market and we spent the day in deep cleaning mode, washing all the sheets, cleaning out the sink traps, scrubbing the dresser drawers, working on the bathrooms, degreasing the kitchen cabinets…it was a mess! But tonight we’re pretty proud of ourselves…the place is beginning to shine. It really is a beautiful apartment. Hopefully we can finish everything up tomorrow and then we’ll be able to unpack into nice, clean wardrobes & dressers!
I ran into a neat piece of technology in both our hotel in Jerusalem and the apartment here that I think my dad would appreciate. I grew up in New Mexico and, as you may know, the whole southwest has recently emerged from a very long, severe drought. Dad and I have had many chats about water politics and policy in the West.
However, our drought pales in comparison to what’s going on in the Levant, which is experiencing the worst drought in 900 years (check out this fascinating NASA article for details on the study).
Living in a desert, folks here have developed some pretty nifty solutions to water conservation. My favorite so far is the water reclaiming dryer…probably better known as the condenser dryer. I’ve never seen one of these before, but apparently they’re pretty popular in Europe, primarily because you don’t have to run a long external vent. The moisture in the air from the dryer exhaust is extracted and collected in a reservoir, which you have to empty. The neat thing about these dryers is that this collected water can be used for plants, in an iron, to top off a car battery (at least according to the little pictures on our dryer’s tank!). Googling around, I see that folks are also using this water to mop their floors, clean windows, and wash their cars. I’m definitely going to put this water to use — we also have some clothes lines out on our balcony that I’ll use just as soon as we find fabric softener!