Conference Thursday…Invitations at the Printer…No Dress…

No time…but I do check in to see if there are comments or whatever and somehow stumbled on this old post – dating back to 2008. It was while Elie was a commander of a checkpoint though now that I know more of what that included, I am so much more grateful to the bullet-proof vest…or what I thought was a bullet-proof vest at the time. Now, Elie will laugh and tell me that it wasn’t really bullet-proof but offered some measure of protection – or maybe it was. I don’t really remember.

I’ve got a national conference that we coordinate every year – the attendance numbers are high – and we’re excited and getting ready. Somehow, long ago, I began the tradition of bringing homemade cookies to the event and so they’ve become expected…800 cookies worth! I have to take care of that, have to finish a few things. We need to pack the beautiful conference bags and more. I’m trying to focus on the conference, knowing that Elie and Lauren’s wedding is coming closer and closer.

They are so mature, so solid. They found themselves an apartment, closed on so many things. Tomorrow they want to go shopping for a bedroom set. I wish I could go with them, but the night before a national conference is impossible for me. I don’t have a dress to wear year…none of us have clothes except for Elie. Shmulik will probably wear the suit he wore to his wedding; Davidi might be able to wear the suit he wore last year, but I think he grew too much – though I won’t complain.

I tried to concentrate on Aliza’s bat mitzvah, then on this conference – next will be full attention on the wedding…though I’m not sure what is left to do other than clothes. The invitation is at the printer. Life is shifting and yet, this is a gentle shift because Lauren has already been part of our family and though Elie will move out, he will thankfully still be close. So – for now, mad preparations – for happy occasions. Here’s that funny post in the meantime –  hope you all smile….

How DO You Wash a Bullet-Proof Vest?

So, Elie was home last week and at some point, he asked me if I could wash his bullet-proof vest which, after months of wearing it, smelled rather bad. Now, after giving birth to five children and dealing with most normal kid-related things (colic and diaper rash and chicken pox, kids sticking their tongues out and calling my kids bad names, late homework and no homework and temper tantrums; sun burns and boredom) and so much more. I have to say I have finally reached the point where almost nothing is surprising and I even handled washing a bullet in my washing machine with humor and relative ease.

But this one got to me. Here’s this smelly thing, sitting in my living room all week reminding me that I had promised to ‘wash it” for Elie. So, I turned to my cyber friends and asked in humor – help! how do you wash a bullet-proof vest? Two pointed out that in the American army, they collect the smelly and issue a new one. Another asked, why not follow the instructions on the label? Nice thought, that. except that Elie had written his name across the label and even if he hadn’t, the label was so faded, I could barely read half the Hebrew words.

They sent me links with all sorts of suggestions and cautions and in the end, I did what one recommended – soapy water and a brush – not soaking it, not submerging it. I towel-dried it – the towel came away black. I washed it again and towel-dried it. This time, the towel came away brown – ah, progress. A third time and the worst of the smell was gone. The green coloring hadn’t improved much, but it did seem to be less dusty looking.

Best I could do and another mountain conquered or at least experienced. So, in case you were wondering how to clean a bullet-proof vest, the answer is: soapy water and a towel, and one more thing – love.

That’s right – love. It’s another small thing I can do for Elie and I do it with such joy. Silly really but these are the only kinds of things that I can do. I don’t know if Elie senses the reasons behind these actions, but I know that he appreciates it. It’s an unspoken thing, as so many things are with young men Elie’s age. But I’m hoping someday he’ll put this all into words for himself, put the pieces together and realize the emotions behind the actions.

For now, I take each job for myself and take simple pleasure in each. This time, while cleaning the bullet-proof vest, the vest and I came to an agreement. I’d clean it; it would protect Elie and watch over him. I definitely got the bargain end of that one!

6 Comments on Conference Thursday…Invitations at the Printer…No Dress…

  1. Why are they wearing suits? It’s an Israeli wedding! Nobody will remember what people were wearing (and worrying about it adds stress). Only important thing is that the chatan and kallah enjoy. Of course if the chatan and kallah want people to wear suits then I guess it will be important…

  2. Hoping you a successful conference and I’m sure you’ll find the perfect dress for the occasion. Now, just don’t twist your ankle at the wedding!


  3. Instead of spending 20 minutes on Google, you asked a bunch of American Jews about care of ballistic vests.

    You got what you deserve: a damaged Kevlar plate. Good luck on his children having their father dance at their weddings.

    He thoughtlessly obliterated the care instructions. Sorry Charlie, we want tunas that taste good, not tunas with good taste. Darwinian selection can be a bitch….

  4. Thanks, Prophet Joe – hope it goes well too. Ah, RivkaYael – yes, Israeli wedding, but many elements of US as well. They’ll wear what they wear – but most important, they’re so happy!

    Alan – I have no idea what you are talking about…or who. The vest was lightly washed; nothing was damaged. I searched the Internet and didn’t find anything so asked some friends in the US army…they gave me one answer. I thought it was so funny to be asking the question, I posted about it. In any case, the vest was quite old and the care instructions long gone…

  5. Alan, are you even remotely familiar with ballistic vests?? Kevlar plates? I’m familiar with Kevlar plating in aircraft, but in vests??

    Kevlar is a textile — a cloth. It’s density absorbs the energy of a projectile and prevents penetration. Close quarter combat vests often include plates for added protection, but those plates are normally made of steel, titanium, ceramics or polyethylene. None of which would be harmed be a “sponge bath”.

    Quit commenting on subjects beyond your scope of experience…

  6. Dearest Soldier’s Mother. First I found you through google, for I, like you, am a soldier’s mother. And your son is so beautiful… oh, he is just a beautiful man. My son is beautiful too. He is Canadian.
    For these few moments, our hearts have met in a mother’s place and I am weeping yet having read your post several times. I did not know we could be so brave, sister. I did not know I could be so weak. Please know, another soldier’s mother wishes to wrap a shawl of sister-love around your son and you. I have been so deeply deeply touched. May our Creator have pity on us mothers who fight another kind of good fight – the fighting off of fear..a mother’s dearest deepest fear.
    In great admiration, dear one.

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