When it comes to the holiday of Sukkot, my wife and I have generally adopted the TRADITION of our forefathers, which is to go to the in-laws. We’ve done this almost every year, even though, as time goes on, we’ve begun to outnumber them. But this year, due to circumstances making travel difficult, we’ve chosen to spend Sukkot at home.
“Do you think they’ll mind?” I asked my wife.
“I don’t know,” she said. “They’re your in-laws.”
Why does a sukkah cost about as much as a second home?
We looked into buying sukkahs, and it turns out that: 1. A sukkah costs about as much as a second home, which is a lot, considering that: 2. You have to put it together yourself. So we started looking at moving sales.
We ended up buying a canvas sukkah from a friend. We haven’t tried to put it up yet, but we gave the guy 25 dollars, and he handed us a bunch of random-looking poles and boards and a box containing a folded sheet of canvas the size of a circus tent. The box also included a shower curtain, which we think is for the doorway; I guess in case it starts raining.
But at least we have a sukkah now, so we’re pretty much taken care of, except for decorations. I’m sure our kids will come home with decorations, but not a whole lot of them, and all the ones they came home with on previous years are still stuck to the walls of my in-laws’ sukkah.
Now I personally don’t care much about decorations, and it’s not very easy to tape them onto a canvas wall anyway, but it’s not like I have better luck with solid walls. Usually, I put little loops of tape on the back of a picture and stick it to the wall, and then I turn around to get more tape, and—WHAP! The picture falls to the floor. So I pick it up and put even more tape on the back AND on the corners, and then it stays up until I go inside to put away the tape. Sometimes it will even stay up until the middle of Kiddush. But by the second day of Sukkot, most of what I hung up is getting kicked around the floor. Sukkah hoppers come in and see if they could tell what was hanging by looking at the backs of the pictures. (Actually, I’ve never been good at figuring out how to get things to stay on the wall. If I put a peephole in my front door, the first time I’d try to see who was knocking, the entire mechanism would slide right through the hole and crash down at the feet of our guest, and he’d be left staring at my eyeball.)
So that’s why I need to at least start with a lot of decorations – to make sure that something is still standing by the end of Yom Tov. I’m thinking of doing what I did with the sukkah itself, and checking classified ads:
FOR SALE: SUKKAH DECORATION – We don’t know what it is; one of our kids made it. It’s like a Styrofoam ball with sequins and a pipe cleaner. Call for pictures.
PAPER CHAIN – This chain was used only once, but when we took it out of the box we found that it had tangled itself up into a huge mess. We’ve spent hours trying to untangle the thing. My wife is now putting together a new chain, because, apparently, that is our custom. If you can untangle the old one, you can have it.
USHPIZIN SIGNS – All the ushpizin in a circle superimposed onto a cutout of an etrog. I have ten kids in the same school, and every single one made this picture in kindergarten.
HUGE BOX OF SUKKAH DECORATIONS – This box has it all: weird foil garland thingies, clove necklaces, Posters of people we don’t know frowning at esrogim, and what appears to be a dead mouse. When we were taking down the decorations last year, we didn’t want to peel the tape off each one, because it was late, and we were cold (it was Chanukah time). So we left the tape on, and then we piled everything up and crammed it into the box and said forget it. And when we took it out this year, we found that everything was stuck to everything else in a huge, dense wad the shape of the box. Makes a lovely conversation piece.
BEE TRAP – We hung this in our sukkah, as per the instructions, and the bees all came in looking for it. My brother-in-law, who is terrified of bees, literally ran right through the wall to get away from them. Where did all these bees come from? Shouldn’t we hang the trap outside the sukkah? If we don’t sell this, I’m going to hang it in our neighbors’ yard. That’ll teach them to dance in their sukkah while I’m trying to nap.
Once I get some decorations, I’m thinking of having the kids put them up. Maybe they’ll do a better job than me, plus it will get them out of the house for a while. Although by the time they’re done, all of the pictures will be two feet off the ground, and my youngest will have taped himself to the wall.
Either way, I should probably put up the sukkah first. No big deal; it should take me about ten minutes. The pieces aren’t even that heavy.
Although I wish they were labeled.