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Aug 29

First Draft… a letter to be filed under ‘BIN’

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2014 in Family, Jobs, Rantings

There is a worrying situation developing here in Ireland regarding the construction of a new children’s hospital. I say developing, it may already be too late. Millions have been invested into the construction of a fancy new hospital, the skeptic in me prophesies that this new building is less about family and child-welfare and more about lining the pockets of architects and land developers, big brown envelopes, that sort of thing.

This new hospital is to be placed in the worst area of Dublin you could possibly imagine. I have friends from tough inner city ghettos who are dubious about hanging around this area for too long, even to catch a bus. They’d rather skirt around the area even in torrents of rain and hellfire. Cars have no idea how to manoeuvre the spurious crossroads, trams and trains have pre-booked the area making it a hub of transport confusion. It’s a big cramped half-erased yellow-box-junction broken-glass no-signage-whatsoever many-laned mess.

So, to summarize, the powers that be have organized to put a fancy new building in the centre of a very confused city, in a confusing hole of many long roads with traffic lights that are completely out of sync and roundabouts that have no place being roundabouts at all. No parking. No views of green belts. No extra room. Heroin addicts asking you weird questions. No bus lanes for rushing ambulances, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There is, however, a nice area which is free, it’s right beside a flowing motorway. It has building potential. It has lots of accessible space with lots of expansion possibility for education facilities… there’s even room for a maternity hospital that doesn’t sag under the weight of heavy machinery because its floors are too ancient. Developers seem to not want to have anything to do with it, but that’s politics for you. It’s up to public protest now. Jonathan Irwin of the Jack and Jill foundation for very sick children indeed, is tearing his hair out.

I really want to write a letter to help him out because he’s a brilliant advocate for families like mine but he’s just one man, and I’m crap with politics and would be glad of your help, if you have the time.

-o0o-

Dear (insert name of TD or whatever dude has power to do things)

RE: RELOCATION OF PLANNED CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, DUBLIN.

As a citizen of Ireland, and a busy mother, I hope to capture your interest in a subject that concerns a great many like me. I would love to have the time to write passionately about this subject, but I don’t, and I fear that your busy lifestyle and the constant demands for your time are harsh too so in the name of empathy I’m hoping to keep this message relatively short.

Close your outer mind if you can. Lock the doors to external distractions and focus on your imagination, because I’m hoping to tell you a story.

__________

You’re in a car. There’s a baby in the back-seat. It’s a baby that at one time you were very excited about, but now you’re not sure how to feel because some weeks ago you learned that it’s not like other babies, it isn’t developing the way babies should according to the books you’ve read. Doctors have scared you. You’ve scared yourself. Because your baby is broken, you feel as though you are broken too.

There’s something wrong with this child. It gurgles when it breathes. It’s pale and floppy, maybe this child is jerking uncontrollably, or perhaps the weird feeding device that well-meaning surgeons have placed before has come loose and now your baby is starving because you can’t re-insert it.

You live three hours away from the surgeons that can help this baby, according to your Sat-Nav system.

So, you put the pedal to the metal and you drive in panic along relatively vacant country roads for what appears to be an eternity, overtaking trucks, watching mindfully for motorcyclists. You yourself feel in a relative state of control, but you have a loved one – maybe a co-parent, or a sister or a carer in the car with you who is desperate for you to drive FASTER. You’re worried if you’ve brought change for a parking meter… did you switch off the central heating? There may be only a quarter of a tank of fuel in your car but you can’t stop.

Finally, your navigation system tells you you’re 30 minutes away, but you’ve hit heavy traffic on the city-side of a national road. 30 minutes later you feel no closer to your goal because it’s rush-hour, and there are roadworks. You try to de-tour but then you get lost, and can’t return because it’s a one way system which wasn’t signposted. Your Sat-Nav begins to give out to you and you wonder why you didn’t bin it months ago.

Meanwhile your baby is gagging wretchedly but you can’t stop because when you do, irate drivers behind you start to beep incessantly. Everyone is irate now, the whole world is collapsing, and you’re still negotiating cross-roads, you’ve officially lost control and you feel as though it’s a miracle you haven’t crashed by now.

Another 30 minutes later, your blood-pressure is high. There’s a strange smell in the car. Everything seems silent because you’ve blocked it out, good for you. You’re circling around a massive complex, trying to find parking, trying to find an entrance to a beautiful inaccessible building which you are starting to loathe because it’s a monument to your failure. You pass the same beggar many times as you loop around, you try to map his suffering against that of your baby’s, and you are confused. Finally, you find a parking space and discover that it will cost you the price of a three course meal in a fancy restaurant to park there for a day.

You wonder why the powers that be didn’t just build this hospital right beside the motorway you passed two hours ago, maybe your baby would have had a better chance in that case. Should you have called for an ambulance then?

Isn’t it wrong to make phone-calls while you’re driving though? Maybe the penalty points would be worth it, but the overstretched budget on the Irish health system would probably complicate things further seeing as there are very few ambulances out there to spare. You resign to the fact that you live in a country that doesn’t seem to care about people like you. Maybe you should have moved to Canada, after all.

You don’t know what you should have done. Maybe you should have written to your local TD before any of this had a chance to happen, and hope that their hands aren’t tied, that they have some power to invoke a miracle to override corporate inevitability; but maybe you were too busy with a sick child, maybe you were scared that the time spent writing to them would be a waste because brown envelopes are worth more than your monthly Carer’s Allowance so you don’t really matter, and neither does your baby because it’s broken, and doesn’t really have much to offer to its country. You feel guilty about that too, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

__________

That’s the end of my story. Thank you for reading it.

I hope that it’s obvious that the enormous funds already spent on the development of the new Children’s Hospital in a volatile spot could have been better spent on a more appropriate site. I hope that it’s realised that such funds would have helped individual families on a massive scale. Waste is a heartbreaking thing.

Please help, if you can, before it’s too late.

Yours Sincerely,

Me.

banksy-gray-ghost-2Banksy versus the Gray Ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 7

Gotham Unhinged

Posted on Saturday, June 7, 2014 in Arty Farty, Jobs, Rantings, Strange and Unusual, Tattoos

Has it really been three months? I should really explain myself, but the explanation albeit potentially cathartic, would bore you to death which wouldn’t be good so close to the weekend.

So. I’ll launch straight in to a story. Or, maybe a snapshot… ten minutes out of my life which summarizes somehow how things should be, or the way things be since last we spoke. I wrote this in the First Aid post at Dublin Zoo, for I had had far too many coffees.

- – -

Among my various other dubious talents, did you know that I’m a face-painter? I’m not a very good face-painter but then again my services are free; so I suppose you get what you pay for.

The trick to face-painting is not in the art in itself as you might think, instead it’s about placating small children, tactfully stopping them from fidgeting, telling them not to breathe in a nice way, and withholding a gag reflex when you need to wipe sticky matter from around their mouths. It’s also very much about the parents. You need to perform rapidly, smile at all times, and ultimately provide them with a wonderful Kodak moment with their little darlings for their social networking sites.

Hey, I’m a parent, owner of snot-streaked ice-cream-caked nose-minors so I understand.

Last weekend, I was volunteering at a ‘Family Fun Day’ (an oxymoron surely?) in aid of Cancer research. It was a beautiful day and the crowds were out in their masses. The queue for the face-painting stand was a half-hour deep. I had been smearing gunk on kid’s faces for two hours, and my back was beginning to hurt.

Next in line was a four-year-old boy. His mother was pushing him around in a buggy and reasonably (and judgmentally enough on my behalf) was quite chubby as a result. His hair was bright orange, and clashed weirdly with his skin tone which had turned an alarming shade of red upon being told that his hand-held console was to be momentarily pocketed.

“NOOOOO, MAAAAAAAA! NOOOOOOO!” he had the sort of voice that would remind you of a wooden chair being scraped across a carpet of birthing dolphins.

Then he noticed ME.

“He wants Batman” she said.

I regarded the kid dubiously. The kid regarded me with a look of pure horror. The brush I held in my hand might as well have been a large bore hypodermic needle. He screamed with pure unadulterated terror, snot and tears streaming down his face mixing unpleasantly with the undefined food stains on his chin.

“I’m not sure he does?” I offered tentatively.

“He does yeah, he’s been whining for face-painting for the whole day, we haven’t been queuing for this long for nothing! Just do it QUICK. BATMAN he wants.” she was becoming unhinged at this stage.

I smiled at the kid through gritted teeth, and told him what an amazing and brave Batman he would make, too. He continued to roar with a grimace nobody could possibly describe in the written word.

spongebob

Armed with a face-wipe, I began to clear the slimy crud off his face and as I did, a vicious looking rash appeared from behind the mess. Impetigo/Coxsackie/Measles/Thrush… I thanked the patron saint of face-painting for the fact that Batman make-up is mainly north of the noseline and need not go anywhere near this mass of pimpled sores. The kid continued to squirm and scream as I prepared my yellow and black paint.

As the brush neared his forehead, the child’s screams increased with proximity. Time seemed to slow exponentially. A smear of paint finally made it to the spot right between his eyes, Batman’s right ear was an eventual success.

The pain, however, of having a soft-bristled brush applied to that beautiful spot, that point between your eyes, your third-eye if you will… was far too much for him. His eyes widened to the size of teacups and a fresh pint of drool erupted from his mouth as his terror escaped. I loved that kid right there and then, but I don’t know why. He leaped from his chair and tried to run away. His mother caught him firmly by the arm and dealt him two fierce smacks to his shoulder and back.

“SIT DOWN AND SHURRUP!” she yelled.

cat

 

What a nice childhood memory.

“I’m sorry” I said. “I can’t do this, he doesn’t want his face painted by the looks of things.”

“HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? HE JUST NEEDS HIS NAP!” She shouted irately.

Other people in the queue shuffled, and glanced at each other knowingly.

She clamped the screaming head firmly between her hands and shouted: “DO IT!!” as though I was to pull a septic tooth, not decorate her darling’s face for the benefit of her Internet friends.

“no” I said meekly, and smiled. “Come back later maybe, when he’s more settled.”

“Tsk. Fafussakemuvafrkesferkenjustisfuk…” her cursed mumbles disappeared into the kid’s fiery hair as she turfed him back in the buggy and buggered off.

From that moment onwards, all money that went into the donations bucket beside me at the face-painting booth was made out of paper, not coin, so I’m pretty sure that cancer research benefited from at LEAST a hundred Euros as a result of this family’s dysfunction.

It’s funny how some things work out.

Mar 20

Your mother was a hamster

Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2014 in Philosophy, Rantings

I don’t like to start arguments as a rule, not even on my worst days. The ‘live and let love’ concept seems to make the world go around in my opinion. But, sometimes it’s fun.

Rarely, very rarely, I find extremists (nazis perhaps, though I shudder to use the term) who are hellbent on making everyone else bend to their way of thinking and this is where I come in… with a sense of humour of course.

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Albert Einstein

Did Einstein really say this? I’m dubious. It’s very easy to make a statement and accredit it to Einstein, because he’s dead. And infamous. So, I could say ‘The future of mankind’s success is based on masturbation’ and accredit it to Einstein and most suckers would believe me and be fap-happy ’till kingdom come, but it doesn’t make it true.

I had to stick my oar in.

“Agreed, but isn’t it due to the protein from meat that our ape ancestors consumed that led to the evolution of our larger brains?” I ventured. To which was replied: “I suppose our ape ancestors couldn’t comprehend that when they had a BBQ ..a vicious circle I do believe.” Score! A silly answer and sarcastic with it! I would be crazy not to confute.

dogue

My ancestors didn’t fight their way to the top of the food chain so that I could become a vegetarian.

“Would we have industrialised and eventually evolved internetz (for this conversation was on social media as opposed to my normal kitchen fights) if our ancestors hadn’t discovered the tools to hunt and cook animals? This carnivorous nature of ours must have something to do with our being at the top of the food chain. I’m playing devil’s advocate – I don’t eat meat much, when I do i’m aware of where it comes from. Not saying our kind shouldn’t eat vegetarian more often, but isn’t it thanks to meat that we are who we are?”

It was several hours until I got a response.

Are you bored yet?

“If you fed enough meat to a deer would it get smarter too ?” was the eventual answer. It was said in quotes, but I’m not sure who quoted it. This was a red flag for me.

I argued the shit out of it. I mentioned opposable thumbs. I wanted to see a deer use tools. I wanted to know why if this person was raised by vegetarians, her eyes weren’t on the side of her head instead of in front of it. AND, if they are indeed at the side of her head, why isn’t she in the media and does she have trouble finding sunglasses?

The argument continued… I won’t bore you with the details.

“Chimps would have opposable thumbs regardless of eating meat. Do u think they wouldnt be able to use sticks as tools if they didn’t eat meat? Is it because they eat meat that they have opposable thumbs ?? The point of the quote is that humans now would be better being vegetarian. For the envoirnment and for health reasons. I believe we would of still evolved if we didn’t eat meat. But as to what we would of evolved into.. Who knows.”

hip

Some conversation. The ironic thing is, I agree with this quote. I think fast food and processed meat is a disgrace. I think supermarkets should charge extortionate prices for meats that are cut up in abattoirs, and that local farmers should be the main suppliers, local economy should be the main profiter, not the global companies. My favourite foods are avocados, carrots, beetroot and mayonnaise made from free-range eggs. I also have a weakness for prawns, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

Yes. I know I should be arguing more serious things with more serious people but honestly I’m no politician and from an outsider’s point of view, I can see that serious arguing makes no difference because principles are very fickle things. All I want to do, is have some fun.

Please, for the love of Eris, somebody start a fight. All this normality is driving me crazy.

 

Jan 9

Officer Apollo

Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 in Awards!, Jobs, Rantings

Mashing spuds earlier, I got a nice phone call. It was from a dude I work with at a volunteer organisation, he was calling to leak gossip about the boss’ mumblings at a meeting the evening before, and told me that I’d been elected ‘Officer of Morale’, and that they are going to talk to me next week about it officially.

I doubt there are stripes for this, but a tattoo might not be out of the question.

Talk about tachycardia. My heart began to thump at the enormity of the job on top of my already extremely dubious title of ‘Chief Fundraiser’. An imaginary Imp popped out of the toaster and immediately convinced me that I now have the potential to let a lot of people down. But, then again that could be the DTs.

Depression (yawn) and anxiety are a pain in the ass. Why do these people have so much faith in me? it wonders. I am Eleanor Rigby, wearing my face that I keep in a jar by the door. Could be I’m a sucker for offering to do things or not saying no? Doing things is fun! That’s the irony. When a job is well done it’s a great buzz and the weight goes away.

Those potatoes got mashed very well this evening.

How does one raise morale in a volunteer workplace though?

Do we have a Silly Hats Day?

I know bowling should enter into it, a big old barbeque in the Summer maybe, but what else is there? I’ve no imagination with this sort of thing, not really being a people person per se. I like weirdness (see above) so have a large capacity for inappropriateness. Plus! There’s very little you can do around here that doesn’t revolve around booze which is getting boring.

Please let me know if you know anything about this sort of thing, any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

Jan 5

Goddessing in its highest order

So. I believe I was telling you a story before I got distracted.

Once upon a time, not so long ago I was blessed with experience, an entirely different experience which is difficult to write about as most life-changing experiences tend to be. It was an adventure of the Goddessing sort of order.

I’m not a sort of Goddessy sort of person though, let’s just sort that out right now. If I had an altar, it would consist of several old birthday cards, a dead fly, a box of matches and an empty vodka bottle. My chalice would have coffee stains in it and my coven would be ignoring my texts. Nope, I’m not that sort that embraces Wiccan technology. I do love it though, when others bare their souls to me. I call it Goddessing here, because these souls just happened to be female, as a lot of souls tend to be whether they like it or not.

It happened during the Costa Rican adventure, which was an adventure within an adventure which is what happens when one is caught on-the-hop and one hopes that nobody is filming anything for fear that one would be caught in the act of being a gobshite: A fight-or-flight situation, if you will. They were quad-biking, these people. There were Minors. There were Majors there too but these Majors were highly trained in the ability to predict, prevent and warn against accidents so there was that element of false security because accidents always happen.

So, there was an accident.

The road was beyond bumpy, I had known this from my adventures the evening before and in my infinite wisdom I had thought ‘Ah sure they’ll be grand!’ in my Irish way. It was as though somebody had made a perfectly good path, then chewed it up, gotten drunk and spewed it back up and then poured acid all over the remains. Large pointed rocks stuck out at weird angles, scree and sandy pebbles made wheels spin, pot-holes the size of posh televisions threatened to pick up  the bikes and knock them into the ditch along side us. Total concentration was needed which was difficult given the view of the idyllic deserted beach to the left and a steep embankment of spooky wood with enormous Jurassic-leaved plants hiding alien forms with scuttly feet and eerie cries on the right. Distraction was everywhere, as was heat-exhaustion. If that doesn’t teach teenagers what rough is, I don’t know what will. I hadn’t accounted for the bravery of photographers though. Their angles escaped me, and it wasn’t the perilous road that was her peril. It was the slippery leaves, the things that were least likely to cause injury. It’s the innocent things that get you, in the end.

quad

The posse stopped all of a sudden and voices of alarm could be heard above the throbbing engines of the strange unpredictable excitement.  I turned my head as the paramedic ran past, and in slow motion it dawned on me that an accident had occurred, and that I might be needed.

I baulked.

I don’t have much experience with medical emergencies bar those that have happened to my family. I didn’t want to get in the way, didn’t want to be useless, didn’t want to waste my training, didn’t want to make mistakes and have people scorn me. Nothing seemed quantifiable.

The confusion cleared as I saw what had happened.

Arawa was our mother, our earth. I and Curly were employed as mothers to the children on this trip, but Arawa was our guardian to keep us mothers grounded. We went to her if we wanted somebody we could trust, she was our person we could call Home. She is the all-understanding type, a worrier, a warrior, our sense of humour when we were out of our depth, she also had a love of photography so she was always there taking sneaky shots of weakness and heartfelt emotions and we were all secretly thankful for that, she had a way of hiding our flab. She was hurt.

She had slipped from the rising embankment while trying to climb above our sweaty heads for a panoramic view of bike and beach. She lay on her side clawing desperately with one arm at her leg, her face was ghastly as she wore an expression of horror. Our mother was in need of help and I didn’t know how to act.

I ran to the side of the experts and offered my help from a distance.

Paramedics  threw me a Sam-splint.

“Have you worked one of these before?” they asked.

“Sure!” I lied. But. I have the ability to speed-read and thankfully this shit comes with instructions.

A Sam-splint is a pliable structure with a foam exterior and a metal innard, it comes in a 36″ roll which can be formed into a rough support for a damaged limb. I folded it in half, moulded it and loved it to its fullest extent because I loved its recipient. I made a heel, and studied her calf like a sculptor and did the best that I could.

“Good Job!” they said. Afterwards they offered me a Cheers in a verbal sort of way, the sort was like the American High Five and not as cheesy maybe but still feels very, very nice.

We suffered a gruelling ride in a big 4×4, all expenses seemed a piss-take when it came to CostaRican back roads because she felt every miniscule. Rugged maybe could describe it, but to say that it was a hole that had a road in it, would say it best. She screamed with every bump and I held her and asked her to focus, like I had focussed at childbirth. At least childbirth gives you something at the end… this woman had nothing. We both blessed her with all the Goddessing we could manage and she felt our being but she was at a loss. Pain. PAIN. Indescribable. Focus. BREATHE. I was amazed that she didn’t pass out. Bravery in Goddessability.

She was planted in a foreign room. They demanded an extortionate amount of money (tens of thousands!) for her to be treated but of course she had not got that money straight to hand. She was a film executive but even film executives would not ordinarily have that many digits at her disposal. I was fairly disgusted. Helicopters are expensive I suppose. Thank goodness for fortunate friends at the end of embarrassing phone conversations. I say embarrassing, but I have a feeling that the person on the other end of that bank balance would be only to glad to help because Arawa is that sort of person.  If it had been me, I would have probably lost that limb. Such is extortionism.

Broken Tibia and Fibula in a foreign country.  Imagine that you fell in a way that BOTH bones in your lower leg were fractured. How much pain would you feel? Imagine that the muscles in that leg contracted in response to this trauma, pulling the limb into a strange contortion so that every motion brought you into a fucked-upededness pain that you had never thought imaginable before? This is pain at its worst, and you are all alone, no insurance, no help. You pay thousands or you remain alone, you lose a limb. Forseeable thwartapossability and thousands of dollars for release. I didn’t know Costa Rica (America?) was Third World. “Gimme Money or you’re fucked”. I was suddenly glad of Irish Health Insurance and so was Arawa but she had no access to it because it was out of hours. Nobody seemed to care. She was so apologetic, disgustingly apologetic. Such is the irony.

You’d want help in the way of immediate medication, pain relief, if you can’t breathe and your leg was all fucked up?

What if you didn’t have medication? What if you couldn’t afford it? How long could you scream?

What if you only had two women. Me, and a scantily clad yoga instructor to help you?

Breathe” How useless did we feel?

“FUCK OFF AND FIND ME MEDICATION! I love you” That was what she felt. Dichotomy. Can you imagine?

We were all she had. And she is overly thankful to us in hindsight as we are to her but she can’t see this because SHE WAS IN EXTREME PAIN AND MEDICATION IS EXPENSIVE. Birth is nice because you get a baby out of it, but could you deal with PAIN OF AN EXTREME NATURE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY FOR TREATMENT AND YOU GET NOTHING BUT ABNORMALITY AT THE END? She felt embarrassed, but it was the healthcare system that should be embarrassed, not her. America is pretty, but it seems backward to me.

These things happen to teach us. We all learned from this. And we all became better people because of it. And there is no shame in that. Some things are not our fault.

There is no shame in pain. We all feel pain. Every one of us. Nobody needs to feel sorry, apart from the crappy system.

We all learned something, through our nakedness, because we had to beg in out darkest hour such is the nature of life, each and every one of us. Truthfulness speaks: In a strange country it is bad that in strange places you need money to pay for accident. Arawa deserved more than what she got.

When we are naked, may there always be one who will always spread her arms and shield us and make light and tell the world to mind its own fucking business. That will be our friend and wherever we all have friends may we have the strength to find them and not be afraid to ask.

Stick with it.

We’re all broken in some way or another.

Every system will someday be healed.

 

 

 

Dec 16

Useful advice on de-bugging

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Rantings, Taboo

So.

I lay awake, frustrated as I usually do of a night, wondering what should have been said or what could have been done or what needs to be corrected in what way and why not. This night however, there was popping. My ear itched. I rubbed it haphazardly with my thumb and tried to get on with it.

I flipped sides. Rolling the blanket into a cozy position clock ticking and continuing random thoughts from the other side, disturbed worrying trying to ignore the itch. There was a noise though. It was a very nearby noise, as though gremlins were building lego in my pillow. Pop. Scritch. Flullowing.

I flipped to the other side, and suddenly worries of a psychological nature became secondary to the pain in my fucking ear.

Bastard. Bloody hell. Fuck sake Jesus etc… the tiny end of my baby finger rooted and mooched but the pain would not go away, nor would the sound of the gremlins scratchy scritching around in my ear.

I got up, and went to the bathroom and did exactly what one is not supposed to do but I’m entirely glad that I did it… a cotton bud tip found itself rooted into the depths of my ear canal and when I pulled it out, LO! a small creature found itself on the tip. Bleurgh.

I did a dance, a squirmy dance that was very silent lest it waken the rest of the household but by God did I make sure to wake my husband to let him know because it is his job to listen to the pains in my proverbial arse at any given day no matter what the cause because it’s in the vows in the smallprint so shut up.

“Dude wake up I found a bug in my ear!! How disgusting is that? How are you still married to me? I’m the most revolting person ALIVE! It’s laid eggs in there. Jesus. Yeaauch. What if I’m brain injured?! I want to go to hospital!!!”

That was when I fell asleep purely out of lack of attention and tiredness, but only because it was 4am and I’d trapped the suspect in a specimen jar for future inspection. No more itching occurred that night but you can be damned sure there were nightmares.

See, the young wan had had head lice two weeks before. She’d caught them at school and I’d combed and washed the bollix out of her hair on two separate occasions but there still were eggs two weeks later. It didn’t occur to me that the product I was using was inferior. I thought that this was just the hazard of having long hair. So I treated her and left it, and then during a bonding evening when she sat on my lap and snuggled me with her head next to mine I considered contamination but at the time it didn’t matter because love can be careless that way.

They only itched after I asked my husband to examine my scalp. When he jumped back with a yelp and a declaration of ‘JESUS THEY’RE HUGE!!!’… only then did they begin to really irritate. Funny that.

So there I sat with nits. Long hair, and nobody to treat me.

Google was of no help whatsoever. It just showed me disgusting pictures and made it worse and put me off my food. So now I am a stressed out mother, malnourished with a strong desire to shave her head.

yuk

(Go on, scratch your scalp, I know you’re feeling it. It’s psychosomatic, I wouldn’t blame you.)

Here is where I unashamedly advertise a product: Lyclear

In this sceptical age where blogs are all about making money and links are golden and all that, I would love to state here and now that this advertisement is purely borne out of relief. It was on the golden glowing shelf of the pharmacy that normal people don’t need to look at. The pharmacist took pity on me and showed it to me without any requests of passwords or big brown envelopes, I think it was the look of desperation that did it.

It’s an oily sort of crap. But it smells nice. And there was a bitchin’ comb that came in the packaging with long prongs that made the eggs really stand out.

I put the oily goo in my hair and waited for the advised ten minutes. There are a lot of things one can do in ten minutes but I would advise against baking because at this stage there was a lot of squirming. I could feel the nits panicking, they were jumping from a burning building so instead I chose to crouch in the corner of my bedroom and rock silently and cry and wait.

When the ten minutes were up, I rinsed. I piled the top half of my hair into a bun and carefully brushed every inch of the lower quarters with the ‘special’ comb and laughed OUT LOUD at the corpses that presented themselves. The upper quarters of my hair were less troublesome because the bastards seem to like the dorsal side of the scalp and not the upper side.

Two weeks later and they’re gone.

But I’m still itchy.

I ask my husband to examine me every now and then and he tells me I’m clear, and I’ve used the same product on my daughter and she’s still clear.

And yet I still can’t sleep.

I keep dreaming of lice babies infiltrating my brain.

But there are always worse things in life I suppose.

 

Oct 27

The post in which K8 becomes a martyr

Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Philosophy, Rantings

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this EMT course so far, it’s to keep information short and sweet.

This in itself is difficult, because every situation is different and holds its own compromises.

So, my situation is thus: I have my eldest who has global development delay. My next is nine years old and is getting a good grasp on life, fair play to her, she’s goth and I take that as a compliment (now is the good time to get it out of her system?). My youngest has playschool sussed and is ready for life to come. My husband has his own special needs, his spine is compromised so he can’t work, he suffers pain and all of those emotional difficulties that go with that. I have my own ways of dealing with this, alcohol as funny as it is in this society, being one.

So.

We cannot work, he or me.

We sap from the community and take our fair share of Irish taxes because we live in social housing and cannot get out of the rut. We have no money yet we are to raise a respectable family right? Poor us, right? We have an excuse to raise hopeless anti-social luddites, don’t we?

No.

We are not poor.

We have a roof, and a car (even if we can’t afford car tax… shhhhh don’t tell anyone!), and vegetables and meat and cereal.

We are LUCKY.

I’ve been unsure of the right path to take thus far. Yes, it’s very easy to slump into the regime of daytime TV. I’ve been there, I know every episode of ‘Friends’ by heart. It killed me. That was when I was too sober.

Then I decided to take life by the horns and to defy anything that kept me under the blankets.

I joined a First Aid organisation. I’m now its chief fundraiser and am employed to raise at least €30,000 within the next two years to sort a new ambulance. I worked at kiddo’s local school and helped them raise €22,000 over the last two years. I’ve just become secretary for an organisation that will care for cardiac compromise in my neighbourhood and I’m in the middle of a really intensive course that might even get me a job if I’m optimistic enough.

I’m working damn hard with this state, the same state that cut all my earnings, FOR FREE. I just want you to know that. Yes I get free money, but I work hard to pay it off voluntarily. I fail left, right and centre with the people I love. I forget things. I leave things behind and hope to eventually catch up to them but in the meantime I feel guilty and sad. Very very sad.

Why, when other people are so financially stable, won’t people help out with organisations that are struggling? Why are people so eager to slag off the government and yet give nothing by return just because they feel secure by the fact that they’re paying their taxes? Why don’t they feel very very sad like me?

Who are the people that are holding this state together? What are the Irish people doing to uphold their part? Are they just a bitchy alcoholic entity with a random funny opinion with the urge to do nothing but rant via bullshit internet, or have they the balls to take part in the real course of events that will make this country somewhere worthwhile to live in?

I am a random person who loves everyone.  But it feels like too much to handle because one person alone cannot do this all alone or they will be overcome and die. So, I anaesthetize with alcohol because it is less lonely. But!

I still get this shit done.

Let ye who are without sin cast the first stone. Tell me I’m wrong.

Go on, I dare you.

 

 

Sep 15

Child protection policy overkill

Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Philosophy, Rantings

I’ll start by going off on a tangent. They made child-proof caps on medicine bottles so that children can’t open them, right? I was on duty recently where an Emergency Medical Technician who is all of 25 years old couldn’t open a bottle of Calpol. My own kid, who is all of 3.5 years old, has no problem with this whatsoever.

Some rules can be very intelligent but not very bright at all.

When children are involved with an organisation and you are in charge of them (i.e. their parents aren’t around) these days you must be very careful. You must not take photographs of them, even though a rare opportunity my present itself where a butterfly suddenly decides to a-light on their baseball cap and you itch to capture a moment of rarity.

You must make sure that if a child is going somewhere, they must be accompanied by two adults of each sex. You cannot drive anywhere with a kid on your own, even if the parent gives you verbal consent. You must not be on your own with a child at any time under any circumstances which is weird for me because I prefer the company of kids. They have a lovely energy. Does that sound creepy or is this over-sensitisation?

This rule presents problems on First Aid duties.

“OMG look! It’s a candy floss stand! I’m there! Can I go?” and.. then… she’s gone.

Is a child on its own in a wilderness of people worse than a child with a responsible adult in a wilderness of people? No, apparently not…but I broke the rules when I ran after her anyway for I had no time to find a random man. I accompanied her to the floss stand, and chastised her for running away, and told her she couldn’t buy floss even if it was with her own money.

How much of a bitch am I?

It’s the skill of putting yourself in their parent’s shoes I guess. Maybe she had a dinner to go home to… either way she was here to work and not enjoy herself, and act responsibly for the sake of the uniform. I wish times were different. I would have acted differently if that were the case, but that’s probably my inner child speaking.

Like, for instance; last month I went on an Emergency First Responder course. Another member from my division went with me, but his eighteenth birthday isn’t until November so he is still very much a minor. I gave him a lift to and from the course which is miles away and definitely not accessible by public transport so his parents were very glad to have me take the ache from their back of having to separately transport him, and gave me a lovely ‘thank-you!’ card to express this.

However, what I did was to break the law entirely according to my company’s policies.

-o0o-

So now, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a grey-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses. He was a quiet man, who loved hard work especially if it was to be carried-on outside. He disliked working with others, those lazy people who loved more than anything to lean on their shovels and speak nasty of others while dragging out days and wasting time. So, he requested every job to be his own, and this was granted to him because he always performed dutifully and put love into every job he did.

One day, this man was pulling weeds from a wilderness beside a playground. He had been working for five hours but he wasn’t tired, he was only just beginning.

The playground in question was a playground frequented by special needs children, from a special needs school just up the road. I know it well, for I bring Laughingboy there sometimes.

A child had wandered.

It had found itself in the adjacent carpark and when its teachers cottoned on to this and raised a fuss, the child locked down. It floored, and would not budge from said floor for love nor money. It lay, and it screamed if anyone should come close.

The gray-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses approached said kid with his wheelbarrow.

“Are yeh hopping in, or what?”

The child obliged. It climbed in, and allowed our gardener friend to transport him effortlessly back to the bus. The teachers were thankful. The kid’s friends were thankful. I’m pretty sure that the kid’s parents would have been thankful too, knowing that they couldn’t be there to help and that thankfully there was someone with a bit of brightness to him that helped out on their behalf.

However, what he did broke the law entirely because it wasn’t policy. He could get sacked for it.

-o0o-

There are too many loopholes and scenarios to comprehend. I know that there are monsters out there, and so does ‘the man’… but how far does child protection have to go? Will future babysitters need to babysit in pairs? Will teachers need to teach in pairs even though the school budget doesn’t allow?? I know there’s a happy medium, I fear that we hit that happy medium about ten years ago, but now it’s just gotten silly and I’ve a feeling it’s about to become a whole lot sillier yet.

Please help me to understand?

Feb 1

The Loser

Posted on Friday, February 1, 2013 in Arty Farty, Philosophy, Rantings, Something to think about

Well sure, now and isn’t it a while since we played a game?

- I don’t like your games, I always end up being laughed at.

Well isn’t that the point, to have a laugh?

- Not if I feel bad about it, no.

But if there isn’t a loser, there can’t be a winner, can there?

- I agree, but what does losing mean if it’s all the time?

It means you haven’t found the game you’re good at yet.

- Find me a game that I’m good at and I’ll play with you so.

Sure I don’t know what you’re good at, will we just play cards?

- I don’t know how.

I’ll teach you! You’ve a face like a tomato, you need something fun.

- I don’t want to be taught, I just want an easy life.

Sure if you can’t be taught then how will you learn?

- Eventually.

How’s about we get a grip?

- That’s easy for you to say. You’re not me!

Yes I am.

- Fair point.

So what will we play?

- I don’t want to play anything, I just want to watch TV.

Let’s play ‘what happens if you only have a week left to live!’ What would you do?

- Sleep.

That isn’t true. I bet you’d get a degree in Metaphysics or something.

- You have a lot of faith in me!

That’s because I am you.

- Is that what you’d like to do?

Not really. I’d go out and go crazy.

- That’s kind of pointless though.

So is sleeping.

-True.

So what will we do?

- Write a blog post?

What about?

- nothing.

What’s the point in that?

- I dunno.

So let’s play a game!

- Let’s play ‘leave me alone’? I have things to tidy.

You’ll go crazy if you don’t play.

- I think it’s too late for that.

So you think you’re already crazy?

- Maybe.

But if you were crazy then you wouldn’t realise it so therefore you’re not crazy.

- Shut up and leave me alone.

Nope!

- I hate you.

I’m your inner child, you have to listen to me or I’ll broken your face.

- Fair point. What are we playing?

Let’s play ‘Hide and Seek’. I’ll go hide and you have to find me.

- That might take a while.

I have all the time in the world. You love me though, I know you’ll find me.

- Eventually.

I hope so.

- Me too.

Nov 17

Atychiphobia

Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2012 in Arty Farty, Rantings, Strange and Unusual

Not a fear of sneezing, apparently.

Nope, it’s the feeling I get when I sit down at a computer. Whether it’s reading emails or writing on blogs or reading others, or just mucking about on Facebook… it’s the nervous feeling that I’ll say something stupid. It’s best to stay away, maybe.

So I do.

And then a charity thing  or a training day comes along, or yoga practice, or a dentist appointment…

(no, scrap the dentist appointment, there’s not much fear of failing there, just a fear of sharp shiny things)

…and I find that as nervous as I am about confronting these appointments, the positive benefits afterwards always outweigh the nerves. It’s a proportional thing, I’m almost sure there’s a scientific equation out there somewhere to describe it.

Sarolta Bán

(image by Sarolta Bán)

Except that that doesn’t really apply to this blog. Whenever I write something here I always feel cringy the next day. And yet I can’t let it go.

Which brings me to my new fear of Call of Duty II. It has infected our household and if I don’t gain appreciation for it FAST, there shall be complications. This is my evening of Getting Things Done. So there shall be blood spilled, and several young Americans shall be tea-bagged by this solemn Irish Housewife, it won’t be pretty but it has to be done.

Cheers to facing fears!

(if anyone even THINKS about robbing that for a cheesy car-bumper sticker I’ll be on you like an RCXD for royalties, ok?)