January: The Month from Hell

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Ever have a month like this?

January started with a bang. We discovered on the first of the month that we all had Covid, and then needed to endure a mindless quarantine for ten days, since we got infected before… it was cool… and before they reduced the quarantine requirements.

And you know it’s a rough January when getting Covid is the highlight!

What happened next?

The Army Strikes Again


My son had to travel about an hour away at 6AM for some activities in preparation for the army. We contacted the place the day before to make sure everything was all fine and good. There wouldn’t be any complications at all. Even asked if the recent Covid diagnosis would be a problem and were told it wouldn’t.

My amazingly kind wife brought Shlomo there first thing in the morning. He was there for three hours… before they sent him and another dozen or so boys packing. Why? Because they wouldn’t allow you to participate if you had Covid in the last 30 days.

He then spent the next two hours on three buses and a train, having accomplished absolutely nothing. So not only did he waste a chunk of his life, but this day was essential for him to attain his preferred position in the IDF. But here’s where it gets really bad. He could always go to the next session. Except for the small fact that it’s in October, and he starts his service in August!

Now he’s left with (basically) two cruddy choices: Forfeit the role he has been really hoping to do in the army. Or defer his service until December, which would mean starting his service when he’s already 19.

So, January’s off to a rockin’ start for the Jaffe clan. But wait, there’s more!

Rear-Ended (Again!)


Not long after, my wife was rear-ended. Now, I know this might sound like a familiar tale. Well, when you live in a place in which people drive with one hand holding a Turkish coffee, the other a cigarette and a cellphone, and they’re cursing at everyone on the road, it’s not terribly surprising that some folk inadvertently miss that the car right in front of them is not yet moving.

And yeah, the guy was cordial. Repairs were fairly quick and easy, and the guy didn’t put up much of a fight, but it’s all one giant hassle no one in their right mind would want to deal with.

But cars are like crap magnets. They suck in problems, relentlessly and indiscriminately. So it should be no surprise that right around the same time, some damage the car had gotten years earlier reached a critical moment in which it started allowing lots of water to get into the vehicle. Just in time for Jerusalem to start getting pummeled with rain!

Have you ever contemplated how challenging it might be if your car were soaked through? I don’t suggest thinking about it too much. You’ll get a headache. But put simply, it ain’t easy. And it ain’t cheap. And it’s a gift that never seems to want to stop giving.

But wait. There’s more!

A Cold, Cold January


Jerusalem just got cold. I mean, crazy cold.

And the other morning we woke up to find out no water was coming out of our hot-water faucet. There were messages galore on the local WhatsApp group about hot water heaters all along our roof with caps that burst. We had to shut down the water in our home and wait until the afternoon when someone could come out and fix the problem.

Apparently this was a problem throughout Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. These boilers were not designed to withstand such extreme cold, and caps were bursting and water was spraying all over the place. If it weren’t a tragic waste of time, money, and extremely valuable water, it would actually be comical. But it wasn’t funny at all. And there is nothing at all amusing or pleasant about what needs to happen in a home when the water is off the whole day.

But it ended. We have a great plumber. He came and saved the day… until just a few days later when one of our old pipes burst on the roof the following Shabbat, and it felt like we needed to start all over again. But this time the repairs were much more involved, and it resulted in a very not-welcome dispute with our landlords. We love our plumber, but he’s pricey. However, he’s literally the only person who has ever done repairs of any kind in our home that were comprehensive enough that problems didn’t arise again just a matter of days later.

Isn’t it worth spending the extra money if what’s fixed actually works and stays that way?

In any case, this is how my 2022 started.

What to Learn from my January


January was a month in which I actually said things like, “I have a piece of glass stuck in my foot… and I’m still having the best day of anyone in this house.”

So what happens now?

Well, for one, I always have to remember one of my base philosophies: Tomorrow is another day.

I came to look at January as a cursed month, and a friend teased me, as if there is some magical power to a month. Which is obviously not something I believe at all. But I do believe thinking of aspects of life as units that can come to an end is very important for my own sanity. It means that I can close a door and put the matter behind me. And I can open up a new door and start with a fresh new perspective.

So yes, January was not a great month for me. It was rough and painful. But like all things, it will come to an end. And I get a fresh new start.

Screw You, January


Furthermore, everything is getting worked out. My family and I are safe, healthy, and happy. My son will figure everything out with the army. The car is fixed, dry, and shlepping us around the city once again. We have water, hot showers, and still have a great relationship with our landlords and plumber. And my foot feels fine too!

It’s hard not to be upset when the world seems to be crashing down on your head. But then February pokes its head in and says, “Screw you, January. I’m here to make life amazing once again!”

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