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From Purim to a Painless Pesach

I received notification about a program called Painless Pesach which starts on March 3:

“Take part in an easy, 36 day plan to help YOU get ready for Pesach with joy and ease.  Get to the seder relaxed and calm for less than $1 per day.”

With deference to the entrepreneur and the good intent behind this initiative, we are the season of Adar, which prompted me to offer an alternative to the Jews of Perth.  And instead of costing a dollar a day, my own 36 day plan to prepare for Pesach is gifted to you absolutely free of charge!

Day 36 – Sunday 17 MarchSend a whatsapp to me saying thanks for the reminder that its only 36 bloody days until Pesach.
Day 35 – Monday 18 MarchToday’s task is to set your budget for Pesach.  Allow plenty of time to refinance your mortgage.
Day 34 – Tuesday 19 MarchGo to Coles.  Despair that the shelves are empty.
Day 33– Wednesday 20 MarchWhy not start emptying the pockets of the kids clothes?  Discover a few things that you shouldn’t and add the loose change that you find to your swear jar.  You have purchased the right to utter a profanity or two.
Day 32 – Thursday 21 MarchYou still have relatives in the UK that do not have a computer or phone and they expect a greeting card.  Make sure to write the card, and post it express.  I’m talking about a Rosh Hashana card, you already sent the Pesach one off on second night Chanukah.
Day 31 – Friday 22 MarchGo to your chest freezer in the garage and start emptying out food for Shabbat.  Use at least 4 of the frozen challot.  The round ones from Rosh Hashana should be used first.
Day 30 – Saturday 23 MarchAfter Shabbat we celebrate Purim.  Go to the alcohol cabinet and open all 8 boxed bottles of special reserve Whiskey.  Start drinking.  You now have three weeks to finish the lot.
Day 29 – Sunday 24 MarchPurim sameach!  Expect to receive lots of wonderful mishloach manot which will treble the stocks of chametz you are trying to eat down.  That one friend that makes the extra crumbly hamantaschen will no doubt excel this year.
Day 28 – Monday 25 MarchNBN installers revealed that there was a wall around your house during the days of Yehoshua ben Nun.  You now get an extra day of Purim.  Eat some more hamantaschen (don’t even think about freezing them) and have some more whiskey. 
Day 27 – Tuesday 26 MarchMenu prep day.  Write down the Seder menu and shopping list.  Double the quantities required.  Then double them again. You are still short.  Pesach is late this year which may entail some seasonal adjustments.  Look at your past menus.  Check the special dietary requirements of your guests.  Pull out your bubbe’s recipe book and ask yourself how they managed.
Day 26 – Wednesday 27 MarchStill on the seder menu today, but it’s a day two rewrite.  Take out all the menu items that involve mayonnaise, margarine, and oil.  Don’t plan on being able to get any of those ingredients this year.  
Day 25 – Thursday 28 MarchWas it only a nightmare that you had?  Just as you are driving to attend that medical appointment that has been booked for six months a whatsapp message comes in to say that Coles in Flinders is putting out matza.  You phone the specialist to say you will be 30 minutes late (thankfully the doctor is running an hour behind anyway, so that’s ok).  Your road rage intensifies as you rush to Coles.  Fighting through the crowd after you arrive there are only 10 packets left.  You agree with four other people to take 2 each.  The Coles staff say there is no more at the back and they can’t say when the next delivery will come.  You go back to the specialist and end up waiting an hour and half anyway.
Day 24 – Friday 29 MarchA public holiday, yom shishi hatov.  Use the time to empty out your pantry.  Be amazed by how much food you have stored.  Be even more amazed by how much has past it’s used by date.  Be inspired to make food for shabbat that you hardly ever have.
Day 23 – Saturday 30 MarchToday is shabbat Parah.  A great day to practice table setting themes with plastic animals and bright orange disposables. 
Day 22 – Sunday 31 MarchOK, you were scheduled to start cleaning properly today, but the kids got invited to a birthday party and you got tickets to a show, and there is a friend visiting from Sydney, and the in-laws need help moving a piece of furniture.  Don’t miss the shiur program.  So, no cleaning today, but there is still plenty of time so no need to panic yet.
Day 21 – Monday 1 AprilTell your beloved spouse that the Matzah meal that you mixed into the minced fish that you bought for $200 is not kosher for Pesach.  Then say “happy April Fool’s day.”  Before trying this shtick, double check to make sure your matzah meal is KLP, because I have seriously made this mistake before.  If this shtick doesn’t raise tension levels then feel free to casually mention that it’s only 3 weeks until Seder night.
Day 20 – Tuesday 2 AprilWhen you are half way home from spudshed remember that you need lots of cardboard boxes.  Drive back and fill the car with as many as you can fit.  Tie some banana boxes to the roof of your car and remember to ask your mechanic for a quote on installing a roof rack.
Day 19 – Wednesday 3 AprilIt’s shopping day.  Start with a long mac topped up, and pace yourself.  When you pick up that can of macaroons that costs $24.00 just remember that a goat still only costs two zuzim.  Stand an observe as two non-Jewish people stare in amazement at the Pesach stand and try and work out what is going on.  One lifts up a box of matzah and turns to her friend and says “what is it?”  He reads the box and says “I think that its some type of cracker.”  She responds “To heck with that, I’m not paying $12.00 for a box of crackers.”
Day 18 – Thursday 4 AprilThe courier is supposed to delivery your Pesach Pantry order today.  Put a big note on the mailbox to say that you are home and if they dare try and slip a card instead of ringing the doorbell to save a minute then you will have it recorded on CCTV. 
Day 17 – Friday 5 AprilWhen you have finished getting ready for Shabbat, time to dust off the bookshelf.  Last year your second cousins kid hid an extra afikomen and forgot all about it, so don’t be surprised if you find an extra matzah between the books.
Day 16 – Saturday 6 AprilIt’s Shabbat Hachodesh.  A reminder that now we are slaves, but soon we will be free.  Cherish it!
Day 15 – Sunday 7 AprilTime to get serious with the house cleaning.  Clean just behind me and clean just in front of me, clean just beside me and be my friend.  Listening to previous years Pesach renditions of the Maccabeats, Six13, Yidcore, and Kippalive will help get you through the day. 
Day 14 – Monday 8 AprilGo to Coles – has the stock arrived yet?
Day 13 – Tuesday 9 AprilGo to Coles – has the stock arrived yet?
Day 12 – Wednesday 10 AprilGo to Coles – has the stock arrived yet?
Day 11 – Thursday 11 AprilToday is egg farm day.  Go to the egg farm and buy 10 trays (300 eggs) for yourself.  Before you go send a whatsapp to your friends saying “I’m going to the egg farm this afternoon, who would like me to pick up trays for them”.  Forget to politely ask that they do not forward the email.  Spend the rest of the day tallying the requests and orders, including split dozens, requests for brown eggs only, and the not quite sure but I’ll let you know after school messages.   Then go to the eggfarm which closes at 4.00 PM and spend an hour waiting while they load 44 trays of eggs into your car.  Drive carefully, and remind yourself next year not to offer to deliver.
Day 10 – Friday 12 AprilBuy a lotto ticket for tomorrow night.  Spend the rest of the afternoon surfing the internet for last minute Pesach retreats in expectation.  Don’t stress about Shabbat, it will work itself out somehow.
Day 9 – Saturday 13 AprilAs soon as Havdalah finishes remove every single item from your kitchen.  Set up six trestle tables and admire how many keilim you can fit into your cupboards.  Don’t throw anything out.  Set up your temporary kitchen in the laundry, and then move it out of the way so that you can do your laundry. Remember to check your lotto ticket just in case…..
Day 8 -Sunday 14 AprilTime to kosher your cutlery and silverware with Kawa.  Spend the rest of the day scrubbing, cleaning and cursing that you chose the wrong lotto numbers. 
Day 7 – Monday 15 AprilThe oven.  The worst job of Pesach.  Keep the blowtorch away from the wires.
Day 6 – Tuesday 16 AprilThe kitchen is a chametz free zone.  Time to cook and freeze
Day 5 – Wednesday 17 AprilCook and freeze.
Day 4 – Thursday 18 AprilDo not let the neighbours kids come around to play.  Do not allow them to reverse the vacuum cleaner and blow crumbs around like they did last year.  Obtain a roll of crime scene tape from the police and cordon off all areas of access to your property and house.
Day 3 – Friday 19 AprilJudaism is supposed to be all about balance.  Today’s dilemma is how to balance out Shabbat with chametz while keeping the kitchen that you have diligently koshered for Pesach intact. Make sure to use every room except the kitchen.  Eating is outside alfresco, food is sitting in the extra fridge in the garage, the blech and cholent pot in the spare bedroom, dishes in the laundry and desert is at the grandparents.
Day 2 – Saturday 20 AprilExtra shchluff permitted today. 
Day 1 – Sunday 21 AprilThe 40 hour marathon begins with peeling vegetables that you didn’t know existed.  All hands on deck.  After sunset tie a candle to your robovaccum and let it search for chametz.  Then off to the Bnei Akiva pre-pesach BBQ.
Day 0 – Monday 22 AprilIt’s burn the chametz and set the table time.  Make sure the kids spell the nametags correctly and don’t enter negotiations with them to adjust the seating plan.  When all is set remember that it is a mitzvah d’orita to take a photo of your set table and post it to facebook.    Mazaltov, it is time to light candles for Seder night.  You made it.  You won Jumanji, and now you are entering the Hunger Games.
Leil Seder Sheni – Monday 23 AprilI can’t believe its only 7 weeks until Shavuot!  But who’s counting?

Prior to signing off, here is a short Pesach hack that is actually real and constructive.  Each year our household accrues flybuys and reward points as well as credit card and other loyalty programs.  About 2 weeks before Pesach we cash them all in.  This year we will have about $800 worth of points that have been saved across a number of programs, all turned into Coles vouchers.  Not that it will cover all the costs of Pesach, but at this time of year it really helps and makes a real difference. 

Chodesh Adar b’simcha and into the season ahead.

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