By Phyllis J. Lubin
Today is our Hebrew anniversary! Twenty-six years ago Lenny and I were wedded. Time surely passes quickly. We were married in Adar, a festive time of the year, and I fondly remember celebrating our sheva brachot on Purim!
This has been a busy week for celebrations. Somehow, whenever we get invited somewhere after a period of going nowhere, we get invited everywhere: two weddings in one night, three bar mitzvahs and a sheva brachot in one day, and of course all of these events in the span of four days. When it rains it certainly pours!
Between our various social activities, we had to fit in our Purim preparations. Themes are always a difficult decision. Varying opinions had been circulating throughout the house, and we finally came to an agreement. We might have our theme, but now I need to decide on a creative greeting to include as well, and of course, besides the usual food needed for our mishloach manot, we need some food for our Purim seudah as well.
Yesterday was Monday. I know most people have their own opinions of Mondays, but to me it means 15% off non-sale items at Seasons. How often do I remember on Wednesday that I need some items for Shabbos, only to realize that I could have gotten a 15% discount had I only purchased it on Monday? Yesterday I actually remembered the significance of Monday and found myself at Seasons with my eldest daughter. As I purchased our usual dinner items and picked up a few important daily food items, I remembered to purchase the gefilte fish for our seudah next week.
“Why are you buying gefilte fish now?” my eldest daughter inquired.
“Because it’s Monday!” The answer seemed so obvious.
“Do you realize that we have no room in the freezer?”
“I’m sure there is room. I just have to reorganize a little,”—famous last words.
Of course not only did I decide to get the discounted fish, I added a number of other frozen items, because they were on sale. I can almost never turn down a good sale!
Arriving at home, and plopping all our bags down on the kitchen floor, I opened the freezer. Somehow I had amnesia, but it all came back to me when I surveyed the scene. Not only did I have no extra room for my new purchases, but what was in that freezer did not actually fit inside it!
Well, if Purim is upon us, Pesach is not far behind, so what better time to begin pre-cleaning for the cleanest holiday of the year! No sooner did I think of the idea, Rochel and I were hard at work taking everything out of the freezer while my eldest daughter sat at the kitchen table with a smile on her face.
“Taking everything out isn’t going to solve your space problem,” she advised.
She of little faith! Of course this was going to work. There is something very special about purging our houses of un-needed items prior to Pesach. I don’t mean getting rid of necessities, but rather getting rid of the things that shouldn’t be there in the first place: freezer-burnt challah rolls, left over Shabbos food that we never planned on actually eating, bits and pieces of frozen waffles, bags of ends of rye breads no longer edible, and of course miscellaneous items that are totally unrecognizable!
This was not just an exercise in reorganization. We were also required, as part of this pre-Pesach cleaning, to actually clean out the freezer from all the crumbs, spills, and otherwise yucky stuff found below the freezer shelves. The more difficult, strategic endeavor is figuring out how to replace our now clean bins and shelves back into the freezer after cleaning out the inside of the freezer. Somehow this process never goes as smoothly as I envision, because somehow we always forget how to put the big bin correctly back into the freezer drawer!
As I stood on one of the only remaining spots available on the kitchen floor, with all the frozen items (both old and new) staring at me slowly defrosting, I spotted a recent “diet” ice cream sandwich. The ice cream was calling my name, and at that moment I decided to take a brief break from my job and began to eat the refreshing treat.
“Mom, I really need your help here!” Rochel exclaimed as she was trying to get the bin back out of the freezer that was, sadly, put in backwards (by me).
“One minute. I need this to give me energy,” I said with a smile on my face.
Sometimes you know you just need a quick pick-me-up. Somehow that refreshing treat was just what I needed, and along with the physical strength of my eldest daughter (who had now joined the freezer project instead of sitting on the sidelines), we got the bin out of the freezer! Rochel strategically put it back into the correct position, and I was ready to put the foods back into the freezer in a much better order than they were before.
Finally my gefilte fish for Purim found its temporary home in the freezer!
Mazel tov to all our past week’s celebrants, with a special “shout out” to my nephew Yaakov Lubin on becoming a bar mitzvah. We are all so proud of you! And of course a most important mazel tov to my husband on 26 years of wedded bliss! May we all celebrate many happy occasions in the future! v
Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children: Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea and a new daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at MothersMusings@gmail.com.