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lesson one

Back in Texas I swept the floors with a broom. Yes, that sounds banal. Everyone knows what a kitchen broom is. Long stick with twigs attached in a fan shape. I have even owned a push broom a few times in my life, usually when I had a garage or other large concrete area. Here, in Ireland, one always uses a push broom. Take this one, for example. You sort of sweep / push the dirt around into piles. Then you pull out, what I would have thought of as, a crumb sweeper or whisk. You bend over with this little sweeper and tidy up the piles of dirt. It’s a tedious process; pushing all the dirt around, finding a place for the pusher thing while bending over to whisk up the dirt, and carrying all three items around the house with you. No doubt you are meant to push all the dirt into one massive pile, then whisk it up at once into the little tray. I feel like I’m learning to eat with chopsticks. (which I still can’t do, by the way) Like I said, banal. End of lesson.



I realize I was spoiled, probably still am. You see, back in Texas there was a space the size of our current kitchen and dining room attached to my bedroom. It had windows, electrical outlets, and a door (or in my decorating case; billowy curtains) separating it from my room. It’s sole purpose was to house my clothes…and shoes, and handbags, and scarves, and winter doona, and sheets, and towels. Yes, I had a walk-in closet the size of a room.

I was fully aware of the wardrobe space in my “new” house. I culled, and stored, and gave away, and thought I packed smartly, but oh, how I struggle to find space! I got some great tiered skirt hangers from Howard’s in south Dublin. I can hang 4 skirts on each hanger. They are great space savers. I also ordered some hanging shoe racks, jewelry bag and trouser hanger from the same store. (they delivered to us here for only €4) The hanging jewelry bag was great for my earrings, but I have no idea how to sort my necklaces, bracelets and rings. We are on the look out for a nice dressing table, which will give me space for make-up, lotions, creams and hair accessories. I found a lovely antique one on gumtree for €60, which I didn’t think was bad. I do cringe at the consumption. I own most of the storage essentials I need now. They are just thousands of miles away and across an ocean. It seems such a waste to purchase more.

We went for a Sunday walk on Tara. I collected oak bark, horse chestnut, ash “keys”, blackberries, and whitethorn berries. I’m coaxing essence from the oak bark, chestunt and ash. Both berries are being decoctated. I just discovered that the Ash keys can be pickled! I can’t wait to collect more and try it!

I stumbled upon some delicious lectures being offered this autumn. Several at UCD on mythology and folklore, and some by the Arts Club on Yeats and Sheela-na-Gigs! This Samhain season is shaping up to be wicked good.

…or in my case, a giant shamrock. My Aer Lingus flight arrived into Dublin just after sunrise. The flight was uneventful, at least for me. I slept the entire 6 hours 45 minutes. I heard we had turbulence and I missed both meals, but sleep and I had a date that would not be disturbed! You see, my final night in Texas was sleepless…hmmm, Sleepless in Austin.

I had to repack my bags at 2am after realizing all three were over the maximum weight limit. Thank goodness for Little bigs who are up late at night and willing to run to Walgreens for scales! High heeled, teary eyed night owl saves the day! Coma like, the bedroom floor was again an explosion of STUFF!! Shove, toss, whatever. Just before 7am my little Big drug herself out of bed and drove me down to the airport (what an angel) where I secured a trolly and lugged the bags in, hoping the airline would take them. Anyone? Take my bags?? As it was I paid overage fee, but after being up all night wrestling with them I didn’t care. At least they loaded them. The security lines at ABA snaked back into the ticketing area. Step, step, scoot, scoot. The world looks strange through sleep deprived eyes. Delirium, it turns out, is helpful when one has a 6 hour layover in Chicago.

The international terminal was a bumpy train ride away. I dreamt of stretching out at my gate and napping. Not to be. There is no food behind the security check point at terminal 5. They steered me away from screening and toward an uncomfortable food court, without electrical outlets or padded seats. I chatted via skype with Himself, watched other international passengers, and browsed the Duty Free where I made my first such purchase; cologne for Himself and YSL Touche Éclat for me. I experienced another first while at O’Hare; my first body scan. Blue screen x-ray of death. Once aboard the big green shamrock there was sleep, beautiful sleep!

….though not enough to clear my head for immigration. I was terrified thinking of what to say. I’m not sure why, other than the old fear of driving in front of a police officer. What if I’m doing something wrong? What if my tail light is out? What if I accidentally swerve? Silent, I handed over my passport. She asked how long I was staying. Out blurted, “I”m not sure. Maybe forever.” She looked up for that one. I explained that my partner and I had applied for permission for me to remain. I told her I had a pic of the letter we were sent on my iTouch. She looked it over, entered my name into the computer, snapped my pic, and approved 30 days. I was instructed to present myself, along with original documents (the pic not being good enough), to immigration within that time frame. I was tremendously relieved to have navigated this by myself after a delirious plane ride. I will have partner support next time.

Site for sore eyes. There he was. Can hugs last for an eternity? We came home…… holy cow! Home!! Nap, tea, toast and then a drive to Ikea for household shopping (wooden hangers and blankie for the couch) and then a skip over to Malahide to touch the water. It started pissing rain sometime around then. The water decided to touch me! Into a pub for pints.
We ended the night with Chinese take-away, a dvd and hanging up my clothes.

…in love! Pardon me while I melt into a little puddle of mushiness,
while dreaming of morning snuggles, my tea and toast in bed while
he gets ready for work, cooking together, long walks, laughing,
and knowing that no matter how bad the day was, he will be there.

The man himself is away at the Matchmaker Festival in Lisdoonvarna for a friend’s Stag Weekend. What could they possibly be hunting? Are there guns? Dogs? Slices of lime? I suppose they could be hunting females, but certainly not Stag, and most likely strong beverage like these lads. The concept of a stag or hen WEEKEND baffles me. I understand the ancient implications of a night of debauchery before the serious business of marriage, at least when marriage meant having children every year, finally moving out of your parents house and struggling to make your own way in the world. Everyone needs one last hurrah before that! But in the modern world, where relationship structures are vastly different, do we still need furry Irishmen roaming the streets in green body thongs? For an entire weekend???

I fear for the older people who will be, in fact already have been, subjected to these lads marauding in quiet West Clare. My only hope Obi-Wan Kenobi is geography. For Lisdoonvarna is in the Burren of County Clare, and as such is home to hobbits and elves. Least wise according to the Burren Tolkien Society! Perhaps the boys, and hopefully the poor folk of Lisdoonvarna, will awaken to find it was all a strange dream. With not a body thong in sight!

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