The Day Ophelia Came To Visit

Ireland was hit by a natural emergency today. This is something that I have never experienced. The weather people were almost jittery with the adrenalin reporting on the first ever severe weather warning for the whole country. Schools and crèches closed and the majority of retails outlets sent their staff home early.

Pictures surfaced of many of the country’s main thoroughfares looking like ghost towns.

I’m not the type of person to worry about events like this. I did throw my bins in the shed. Purely because I didn’t want to have to send the children out to chase down our recycling. I most certainly wouldn’t have picked it up. My Dad tied down the trampoline and I got the shopping in. Other than that I was looking forward to the day at home with the children and it didn’t hold much space in my mind.

We have two port holes, one in the hall and one in the bathroom to let light in these windowless rooms. When the wind blows hard they crack like my knees in the mornings. It’s a loud noise. It wouldn’t go unnoticed.

Once this began, my eldest was visibly shaken.

He proceeded to go to every window and draw all the curtains. He barricaded the front door with his bike and the hoover. That was the first time the hoover was touched in weeks. He went upstairs and he hid in my room. My initial reaction was amusement. Thinking this was a bit of an excitement on a Monday until I walked into my room and he was trembling.

door barricade

I pulled him over onto my bed and I asked him what was worrying him. I have to admit my knee jerk response is to just bark at him not to be silly and to just get on with things.  Then I saw the fear in his eyes. I would have given anything to take it away. He said he was afraid that something bad would happen. He looked out at our little Willow tree and was devastated to see it leaning over almost to the ground.

I reassured him we were safe. We were indoors and nothing would happen to us. As for our tree or our trampoline or our shed that is all only stuff.

As long as the people you love are safe, stuff doesn’t matter.

Listening to his fears and acknowledging how he felt worked so much better than being dismissive.

The storm came and went. There was about four minutes where we had no internet and that was harrowing but we got through it together. Seriously though, people bitch and moan daily about one thing or another.  At least three people lost their lives today. Business, education and services should never take priority over life.

All that matters at the end of the day is that your loved ones are safe. Thanks to the powers that be everyone I care about is safe tonight. All I have left to do is binge on my hurricane supplies. Surely calories don’t count in a national emergency!!!

How the Social Welfare System has Treated Me

When I was 13 or 14 everyone I knew had a little part time job. It was either after school or at the weekends but everyone worked. Well back then, it was also a big part of your social life and you’d look forward to going to work everyday. Thankfully that continued well into adulthood. When college didn’t work out for me (that’s a nice way of saying I dropped out) I secured a job with the H.S.E. and worked there for over ten years.

Then life threw me a curve ball as life tends to do.

My relationship broke down and I had to move to Kilkenny with two boys in tow and a baby in my belly. I had no way of commuting to my job in North County Dublin. I had to resign. This was uncharted territory for me. I had never been unemployed before and it all happened so quick. I had no savings. No reserves. No way of providing for my growing family.

I had massive support; my mother took us in and provided for us as best she could. Then the realisation came that I was going to have to apply for social welfare of some sort or another. I had no clue but I wasn’t long about finding out. The forms were so long that they practically asked what underwear I had on when I lost my virginity, but I persevered and filled them in to the best of my ability.  It would take up to 6 weeks to hear if I qualified for my One Parent Family Payment.

In the mean time, my Mam and I were finding it tough to manage trying to plan for a new baby. We found out about the Community Welfare Officer – someone who can award interim payments in special circumstances. I had to go down and ask for help. Now I can’t say this aspect was pleasant.

Well none of it is pleasant, but I found this humiliating. I told the guy who didn’t know me from Adam that I was in trouble and needed help. Overcome by the situation I burst into tears. Not gentle ones. The big ugly face ones that could drown a small child.

He listened, took the evidence that I had brought with me and presented me with a cheque. He would continue to issue me with the cheques weekly until my case was decided. If I was denied I would have to pay the money back.

I left that office relieved. I didn’t want to be a burden on my mother. I couldn’t work for now and I genuinely needed help. I know that there are many complaints about how the systems work in this country. I can only speak from my own experience. The forms are a nightmare. The staff can be hard to approach. It feels like an invasion of your privacy. They look for the same documentation year after year.

However without it, I don’t know where I’d be.

I think the general feeling is that when people are on Social Welfare they get a bit cosy and don’t want to work, and to be honest I can totally see how that would be the case. I could have happily stayed at home for another few years and lived a pleasant life on what the government provides for me. But I am not that type of person. I want more in life. I am currently in full-time education in order to help me get back into the workforce. My course in Beauty Therapy is fully funded by a government scheme, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to get away from the kids  up skill.

It hasn’t been easy and it’s not the way I saw my life going. I never thought I would need Social Welfare. It may not be a popular opinion, but the Social Welfare system worked for me.

 

Clothes are so Uncomfortable

I’m sitting watching tv. The heroine is after being kidnapped. A bag shoved over her head and stuffed into the boot of a car by two large men. She struggles of course with little effect. What I want to know is with all that fuss how the hell do your trousers stay on!!!

I can’t walk from the car to the school without hitching up my pants at least once. I’m pretty sure if I was bucking like a bold child not wanting to get into the bath I would expose myself to all who cared to watch.

What’s more I wouldn’t have some fancy knickers on underneath. No no. If I were to be kidnapped I’d be wearing my oldest, grottiest thinnest pair of period stained excuse for a knickers. My arse would be a welcome distraction from the embarrassment of them.

Then they tied her to the chair and her hair was in her face naturally enough. They proceeded to torture her by showing someone beat up her sister. Well they wouldn’t even need to go that far with me. At this point those vile briefs are under my butt cheeks and I’m about to gnaw through the ropes with my bare teeth for that reason alone. My bra is driving me insane. I want to pull it down at the back and stuff my triple diddies back in at the front. Paired with the hair in my face I’m ready to tell them everything they want to know.

Then as if I thought the threat of them hurting my sister wouldn’t be bad enough (I mean who the hell would mind the kids while I line danced on a Monday. Went to see friends on a Wednesday. Got my hair done on a Friday…… I could go on.) I realise my runner sock had slipped under the heel of my foot. Heaven above is there no mercy!?

I imagine at this stage Beast Mam takes hold. This level of discomfort is more than I can take. I muster up strength reserved for mothers whose children are in grave danger. I break from the ropes. Fix the knickers, remove the hair from my face put my boobs back in my bra take off the socks and burn the bastards kill the bad guy and save the day!

Clothes grate on me. Nothing is comfortable. I could obviously lose some weight that might help me but problem solving is not my strong point. I often contemplate nudism if that’s a word but i don’t like to make other people feel inferior and let’s face it if this goddess was walking around nudey rudey that would be inevitable.

So I’ve slipped off the bra and I’m going to see if my heroine will save the world with or without exposing her arse in the process.

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Line lover

It took me almost 35 years to find a hobby I enjoy. I’ve started many things and promptly lost interest. That’s my usual progression but The Line Dancing has stuck. Yes you heard me right Line Dancing and before you break into the chorus of Achy Breaky Heart and ask me if I have cow boy boots ( I don’t YET) it’s not what you think it is.

There is of course a massive country influence because that’s where it started but it has progressed to include modern routines to chart songs as well. It’s really good fun and great exercise too. So the club were heading off to England to a social weekend of dancing and I decided to join them. I haven’t left the country in 8 years and that fact alone shocked me. What shocked me even more is the amount of preparation I had to do to get away for two nights.

It started months in advance with the weekly saving for my fare and spending money. Gone are the days of where I’d book it all on the credit card and worry about it when I came home. When you have little ones depending on you for like food and stuff you have to be a bit more responsible.

The beauty regime pre travel was nuts. I got the hair done, I got fake lashes, shellac and a spray tan… perks of my course. I exfoliated and moisturised I buffed and polished and it took a couple of weeks for me to head off looking pretty much the same as I always do.

me and dee

Then because the children were being minded by family on the Friday and going to their Dads on the Saturday I wanted to have the house nice ( passable ) for my sister to sleep and I needed to think ahead to the Saturday morning and have everything ready for her to send them off. I was a bit stressed that I’d forget something because well I tend to forget things.

Then the packing for the airport. Trying to compress my make up was a week long job in itself. We were only bringing carry on and then all your liquids had to fit into this one little tiny bag. I mourned for the eye cream that I couldn’t squeeze in. I apologised to the toner that had to be left behind and vowed to bring it on the next trip. I was distressed.

I managed to pack for me and for them and to leave the house organised by my standards ( low low standards ) I left instructions and directions and before I even stood foot on a plane I was exhausted.

group

This is where the divide between men and women becomes apparent to me. Take away the fact that I’m on my own. Let’s just imagine as I often do that I have a loving, extremely attractive,well built, tattooed husband who likes to bring me out dancing and who plays guitar and…… Hang on I got a bit distracted there….. What was I saying? Oh yeah… Let’s cut it right down. When men go away they only have to worry about themselves. When women go they have to think of EVERYTHING.

Exhausted as I sat on the plane I got a little anxious. It was bizarre it’s not like I’ve never been away from the children but it was almost as if leaving the country was a bit more serious. I actually cried after take off and was mortified. My emotions were haywire. I felt such guilt because I was going away and not bringing them. Then I made the huge mistake of telling The Sun that I was going on a plane. They’ve never been on a plane. Silly silly silly Mammy.

Once I had let my extremely practical and honest friends talk sense into me I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed my weekend away. I learned a few things. I learned that I’m shit at line dancing but am going to try harder because I really do love it. I learned that a tan makes everything better… fake tan of course. I learned that it’s ok to have a life apart from your children. In fact it’s essential. I came back in fantastic form and grateful for my children and grateful for the support I had  that allowed be to go.

The next trip is to Latvia in August…… I started prepping yesterday. Honest!!!!

 

from behind

Deep Thoughts

Some blog posts come naturally, they flow and I could write them in twenty minutes at the most. For some reason this one is tough, I just don’t know where to begin. My natural tendency is to write about topics from a light hearted stance. However there is little humour to be found in the subject of mental health.

Even to say the words. I have mental health issues. They get a little stuck in my throat somehow.

I am not ashamed.

I’m an open person I wear my heart on my sleeve but somehow that sentence doesn’t fit me? There are a number of reasons for that.

I don’t really fit the stereotype. The perception is that I’m outgoing, confident and full of the joys of life. Well there was a period in my life that none of those words could have been used to describe me. I can’t remember the first time I felt depressed. It started with bouts of crying. I’m a girl sure  that’s just hormones. I was either pre menstrual, menstrual or post menstrual. But that was the point. There was no end to it. I felt sad all the time. Continue reading “Deep Thoughts”

The Raging Roads

I love to go for an aul drive. Hit the minty highway as my Da used to say I have happy memories of my Dad letting down the back seat for us to sleep after a day trip to Dublin. In those days Dublin seemed a lot further away. It wasn’t something you’d do on a whim. It took planning and time and you’d make sure the neighbours knew you were going because who knew if you’d come back. I remember my father triple checking, the oil, and the wheels to set about on our adventure to the big smoke. We knew we had hit Dublin when you’d see the big ball and then the McDonalds sign on the long mile road. Kilkenny didn’t have a McDonalds at the time so it was as good as being in a foreign country.

My grandfather used to bring us on a drive out the Kells to buy batch bread and as we picked the middle out of the loaf there was this bridge he’d drive over at speed and his head would hit off the roof and our arses lifted off the seats and we just thought he was the coolest most daring Grandad anyone had ever! So in essence all my childhood associations with driving were fantastic. None of us had car seats it was squeeze in as many children as you can. My Uncle even had a hole in the floor of his car that we’d all fight to sit over so that we could watch the road fly by. We knew no danger.

We are not the worst in the world for deaths on our road and we have greatly improved. In the year I was born there were over 500 deaths down to 165 the year before last but the reason I thought to talk about driving and roads has got to do with the way the deaths are reported. It’s only recently that I heard a news report mention the actual road itself. I drive the road from Kilkenny to Abbeyleix a lot and there are large sections of road without so much as a cat’s eye to guide the way. It’s so dark that drivers who don’t know the road really well crawl at a snail’s pace which can be equally as dangerous as driving too fast.

We are a wet country… it rains a lot!!!! But it seems to come as a shock to our roads when a drop of water hits them and instead of letting it slide off and soak in somewhere. the roads like to gather the fallen rain in large amounts. Are they worried that driving windy roads in the dark with no illumination wasn’t enough of a challenge… they thought let’s throw in a few water hazards while we are at it.

They say that driving while tired is nearly as bad as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But once you get on a motorway in Ireland you could hit France before you could find somewhere safe to pull in and get a rest. There are various junctions in Kilkenny where the road markings are wrong or contradict what I learned in my rules of the road book all those many years ago. It really frustrates me.

The placements of pedestrian crossings are just laughable. At one junction you have to turn right from being perched on a hill only to turn to be hit bang in the face with the possibility of a mother her six kids and two dogs trying to cross the road.

I get that we are all human. Most of us have made what could be classed as a silly mistake, taken our eyes of the road or pulled out when we shouldn’t have but the state of our roads are a disgrace. Road markings are missing unfinished or simply worn away. I sometime wonder if the people who plan and construct the roads have ever been in a car in their lives. To prevent accidents you have to put the best of precautions in place. Sometimes it just feels to me like the roads are being designed to be against us.

Not a whorehouse

As most of you know I am single. This paired with motherhood has numerous challenges. How do I date while protecting my children? Where do I find someone to date? Where do I find the time to date? Now let’s park those issues to one side and deal with the real problem. The men!

This post is not going to be complimentary to the opposite sex. So I apologise to my three male readers but I am sick to death of men. I am going to illustrate my point with a scenario that occurred over the weekend.

I get a random message request. A guy who saw me recently from afar thought to text and ask me out. Now credit where credit is due. Not only was that brave but it was romantic and exciting. Of course I was flattered and proceeded to chat to see if a drink was something I’d be interested in pursuing.

Turns out he was a normal attractive funny guy with a cheeky sense of humour. We had great textual chemistry…. See what I did there. We text on Sunday and the initial scenario was that he would like to cook for me. I thought wow a real man willing to put in a bit of effort. I declined because I wouldn’t have a date in the house with the kids. So then it went to a meal and drinks. That was just as good. The flirting was peak and I giggled the weekend away.

Then there was a switch. I’m not sure what happened and I refuse to blame myself but the meal got dropped and it was just drinks. Then a text came to say he was going casual so to give me the heads up not to go full hog. Then it was sure will I just call over when the kids are settled.

Well that was it my back was up. I had indicated to the boy (demoted due to immature behaviour) that I had a fiery temperament but I had not expected to display it so quickly. I told him I couldn’t keep up that he kept changing his mind. Then the usual sermon came….I’m not looking for romance or anything serious I’m just looking for fun. Well hose me down lather rinse and repeat because I’m a woman of course my immediate thought was marriage. The first thing I thought when you text me was how will I pin this guy down?

So the following correspondence pretty much put the nail in the coffin of our relationship. I text. ‘I think what you are looking for is a whorehouse.’ It wasn’t taken too kindly to. I relented and said sure call up and we will chat and I was…. I think you call it ghosted…. That’s where you get ignored completely.

Now I wish that I could tell you that this incident was unique or isolated. Sadly it’s not. In the interests of fairness I have no idea what that guy is going through in his life and he’s probably lovely but this one was the straw that broke the camels back.

I’m sick of organising a baby sitter to have to suffer the humiliation of telling her that my date has let me down that she is no longer required. I’m sick of blokes thinking that they have to put in no effort and still expect sex. Just because you don’t want a relationship doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least still have respect.

I remember getting the shift when I was a teen. After you’d wonder were you gonna meet again. It was exciting and nerve wrecking and sometimes crushing. But if before that guy kissed me he had said …… Just to let you know I only want this kiss and that’s it ….. Well sure I wouldn’t have kissed him at all.

Not all women want a serious relationship but what we do want is respect. It wouldn’t hurt to put in a bit of effort. Being taken out, getting to dressed up and making an effort adds to the build up of eventually getting what we both want. Make no mistake I love sex. What I don’t enjoy is it being made clear that that’s all is required of me. Then my dear what you are looking for is a prostitute. If I were one sweet cheeks …. You couldn’t afford me!

I am slowly resigning myself to the fact that I am going to spend a long time alone maybe it will always be the way. I just don’t understand the modern way. Sometimes I think if you can’t beat them join them but I feel deep down its not for me. I’m a traditional girl. I like to have a relationship. I enjoy being a part of a couple and the last time I checked it was fun!! That being said I’m not opposed to short flings. That’s fun too.

So to wrap up the incident. I was fuming at being ignored. There is nothing worse to me. So I was trying not to turn 100% psycho. For my own closure I needed to say something. So I returned the pic of his dick he sent me. Said… Here you can have this back and a bit of manners wouldn’t go astray.

Case closed.

Next.

Teenage Delusions

So motherhood happened. Not once but three times. Yet despite my experience I really don’t feel like a mother nor do I feel like a grown up. It’s like a poster I saw on Facebook. I think they call them memes or something even though I have no idea what that means or how to pronounce it. When a crisis occurs and you look for someone more adulty than you. Woah there Nelly. I’m the adult. Well I must have missed that memo.

adult.

My son told me I was just a kid cause I still had a Mammy and Daddy.  And yes he used the word kid. Because, yes he watches too much American television. He even asked me for candy one day. I was like I’ll candy stripe your arse for you and attempted to get him to watch Fraggle Rock on tg4. That’ll snap any Yankee notions out of ya boyo.  By his estimation I’m not an adult and I’m beginning to think he’s wise beyond his years. Continue reading “Teenage Delusions”

And they call it Puppy….. insanity!

 

 

 

cara rescue dogs logo

You have your hands full

These words are directed to me at least once a day. I get it. Three children is a lot. The fact that I’m no longer with their Dad probably makes it seem like more. I don’t do as much as I should from a motherly perspective but between the jigs and the reels life is fairly busy. When they go to their father’s I really do enjoy the peace. The doing nothing way of life suits me down to a tee ( or is it tea ??). In the midst of one of these marathon nothing sessions in which I relish  a post that often pops up in my newsfeed reared it’s head again.

The post was a heart felt plea from Cara Rescue Dogs for foster homes for puppies in their care. Now I’m not overly mad about animals and I’m not overly mad about the number 1 and number 2 that comes from said animals. I’m not overly mad on the smell of dog hair, dog breathe or dog farts. That being said my fingers started moving and I was texting and I was having some sort of a turn because the next thing I knew I was going to be considered as a foster parent for two very small puppies.

How the hell did that happen!!!

Sunday afternoon at 5pm after a home check was completed I became the rather petrified carer of two teeny balls of fluff. One brown and white the other black and white. Cara provides everything you need to take care of the pups for how ever long they are with you. All you have to do is love them. Well feeding and watering them wouldn’t go a miss either but you know what I mean.

The best part is the children had no clue and when they arrived home at 6pm tired and hungry after a busy weekend I was gonna reveal two puppies. Sure what could go wrong?

Two minutes after my grand reveal all hell broke loose someon wet themselves there was whimpering and begging  and that was just the children ( that joke never gets old). The two boys didn’t end up in bed until ten. Yes, Monday morning was torture.

Once everyone calmed and settled in the lovely part of the experience began. I have never heard the children laugh so much. The TV has hardly been on in days and the house has never been as clean. I’m really enjoying having the dogs as my guests.

Our little  fur babies are called Flake and Krispy kindly named by Karla at Cara. My children keep calling her Caramel so Aunty Caramel gave us our dogs to mind. I have explained to them that the dogs won’t be staying and I am fully aware that they will be upset but I’m hoping they will see the good that we are doing. Let’s face it they get upset when I give them the wrong the wrong coloured bowl for breakfast so I’m prepared for the hysteria.

I suppose the purpose of fostering for me is to see if I’m willing to put the work in that is needed to care for a dog. I don’t want to be the type that takes on an animal and realise that it doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle or my children especially. That’s one of the reasons why Cara are kept so busy. People think it’s all cuddles and sleeping. It’s far from it. I can tell you one thing though it’s very rewarding. I’m teaching my children about giving back in this world. Doing what you can when you can. How to care for something other than yourself. Also how important it is to respect other living things. I’m hoping this will be something that I can do regularly.

Cara Rescue Dogs Facebook page is <<<<< there if you click on the link. You’ll find everything you need to know all the contact details. If you feel like taking on a dog is not for you there are loads of ways to donate. You’ll feel great and you’ll make some dog’s day. I would like to just say that it’s a completely vouluntary orgainsation run by people with full time jobs and familys and lives of their own so if you have more than you need build a bigger table… not a higher fence.

Be well

Ellen