Build my sukkah!
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Build my sukkah!

Yom Kippur just ended a few minutes ago. For me, I felt that God was looking down and saw me thinking, “Stop crying and just accept people for who they are!! They aren’t going to change!” See, God really gets me, He/She really does. So after a long day of introspection and not being able to talk to your neighbor in synagogue (especially when the person sitting next to you was a chipmunk, and they don’t sit still) how much can possibly go wrong?

And I am not talking about the God forbid really bad stuff. I am talking about the Murphy’s Law of Hotel Ganchrow.

Every year our sukkah is a blue-and-gray, eight-by-twenty bone of contention. Our neighbors make fun of Husband #1 because he is just ill equipped to put the thing together. Neighbors have tried to help, but just end up yelling at him or moving away. Oh wait, our new neighbors just moved in, so here is hoping for some encouragement and not the bitter comments we get from Mr. “My sukkah is better than your sukkah” neighbor…I am kidding, we love that neighbor, sometimes. One year, we hired “sukkah builders,” who really were teen aged boys looking to make money. Needless to say, that didn’t end well either, and their parents stopped speaking to us. (I made that end part up. The parents probably didn’t speak to us before either.)

Last year we were blessed with the chance to spend Sukkot in Israel. It was magical. Really and truly. I had been hoping to go for years and years and there I was. Incredible. And we didn’t have to put a sukkah together, which made Husband #1 and sometimes-grumpy Neighbor #1 so very happy.

But that was not happening this year. For many reasons. So we had a plan. What was the plan? The plan was that Son #2 was going to come home from yeshiva life in Baltimore and put the sukkah together, because that is his thing. What takes Husband #1 several hours and broken fingers, takes Son #2 just an hour or two — and with no yelling or screaming! Or help, from anyone. When I would watch him work his sukkah magic, I often wondered where he came from. But then I remembered that my dad used to put our sukkah together without help from anyone. Which then made me remember that we used to hang up New Year’s cards as decorations. Do people still send New Year’s cards? And if they do, do we just not get any? Oh well…

All of our neighbors have their sukkahs up. I don’t even point that out to Husband #1, because he is so sure that Son #2 is coming home to put up ours. One neighbor has had their sukkah built for almost two weeks, which impresses me every single year. In any event, this brings us back to tonight. (Monday night.)

Husband #1 and I simultaneously receive a text from the Baltimore County Health Department. Yup, you know how this ends. Son #2 has tested positive for corona. For those of you who know Son #2, he is nothing like me. He is upbeat and positive and delightful. He can take having symptoms over Yom Kippur and make them into a comedy routine (hmm, maybe he is a little like me). Apparently, the whole yeshiva has been infiltrated, but they are taking it very seriously, and the letters we have received have been impressively detailed and informative.

You would think that Husband #1 would be worried and upset about his son not feeling well. But the look on his face was, “Oh my God who is going to put up our sukkah!?!?!?!?” Yes, this is what I have to live with.

So by the time you read this, hopefully Son #2 will be feeling better (though he is not coming home, which makes me very sad because now I am stuck with the guy who can’t put a sukkah together) and somehow, some way, someone would have put our eight-by-twenty bone of contention together. Or you might find us in your sukkah…

Wishing you all good health and good things. Wear your masks, wash your hands and pray this stupid thing ends!!!!!!!

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck wishes she could hug Son #2 and hopes he is taking care of himself!!

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