What One American City Girl Did for Love

Posts Tagged ‘baby’

Teddy McBeddy

In Life on November 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm

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I was reminded of a funny story when we were out with D & R for dinner here on Saturday night. We started chatting about our beloved dogs–for which there are many round here (We have 2 Great Pyrenees and 1 Airedale; D & R have 2 Harlequin Great Danes; and the farm has 2 Norwegian Elkhounds, 1 Samoyed and 1 lovely old Bernese Mountain Dog) perhaps too many, but the McDonnell’s are huge dog lovers and we have plenty of space so they are very happy pups. Our conversation immediately began to focus on the weekly antics of Ted, our quirky Airedale. There just always seems to be a Ted story. He’s such a comical creature with remarkably strong scavenging instincts and a heart of gold.

You see, Ted is “my dog”. When I first moved over I was completely overwhelmed by loneliness and boredom…having previously been so busy and social virtually every moment of every day, my life suddenly felt like it was at a standstill. I needed some company because Richard left before I woke up in the morning and didn’t arrive home until nearly 8pm each evening. I had always longed for an Airedale Terrier (to name Teddy) and on one teary-eyed Saturday, Richard said he’d found a breeder in Cork and that we would arrange to go pick out a puppy. I was delighted beyond belief.

When we were introduced to the busy litter of pups, Ted stood out to us—sure, he was smaller than the rest, his tail was nearly nonexistent and demeanor a bit timid, but he had the sweetest twinkle in his eye and he just seemed so special. We worried that he wouldn’t be anyone’s first choice and decided immediately that he would be ours. Over the next few months, I played with him, housetrained him, groomed him, cuddled with him, napped with him, danced with him, cried with him (ok, so only I was crying but still). We became the very best of friends. At one point during my pregnancy he became obsessed with resting his scruffy chin on my belly all the time. It was part of his nature, he knew something special was inside. He was completely adorable.

When it came time for me to go the the maternity hospital to have our real baby, I was simply not prepared to leave Ted. I was positively gutted over having to leave him behind while I went to the hospital. He was my buddy, confident and protector. I needed him! I felt so strongly about this that I insisted on having Richard bring Teddy to the hospital every day. Since I was pre-term they basically had me in the hospital (a place out of the 50’s..whole other story..but the staff were lovely) on pseudo bedrest for 6 days before I was induced. Richard would bring Ted and I would sneak out to the jeep (our Freelander. All SUV’s or pick-up trucks are called “jeeps” here) and I would cuddle with him for 10 minutes each day. The nurses/doctor hadn’t a clue. They would have not allowed it whatsoever!

I had totally forgotten that experience until Saturday night and I was so happy when Richard began talking about it. I love it when you are reminded of things that you forgot to remember. ..especially when they are wonderful loving moments frozen in time.

 

Slainte,

Imen

I.S.T. (Irish Standard Time)

In Life, Uncategorized on October 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm

irishtimeOne thing that I was pleasantly surprised about after being here for awhile is the fact that the Irish are notoriously behind schedule.  This is a fact that nobody will deny–even folks who are always on time, will attest to this. Call it laid back..call it relaxed, but don’t call it irresponsible because no one here will be on your side.  In many ways, I covertly love this and empathize with it because I am someone whom has always been accused, and rightly so, of being tardy. Tardy is actually the term that my American school system used…and used against you with harsh consequences, T-A-R-D-Y. If you were late to class, you were marked down as tardy and would receive a detention unless you had a damned good excuse. Which, of course, nobody ever did. TARDY…just sounds so bloody tasteless.

The first time I was formally introduced to Irish timekeeping was when I was going into Limerick one evening to meet girlfriends for cocktails. I was to be there at 9PM and had arrived at 9:30 armed with a smattering of excuses (baby wouldn’t go down, baby wouldn’t eat, baby wouldn’t stop crying, hubby home late, etc etc). I was met with two of the five friends (3 others were later than I!) cajoling and laughing and taking absolutely no notice that I was late. Thirty whole minutes late! Not one text or phone call to see if I was okay either. When I apologized they would hear nothing of it…and when I started to spat my plethora of excuses I was enlightened with the philosophy of what I now deem “Irish Standard Time” whereby everyone is always at least a little late and nobody, NOBODY cares.  Whew, what a relief! I instantly felt so much more welcomed here than I ever had before. Finally, a place that accepted constant lateness and didn’t bat one pretty eyelash about it. Glee!!!

But then I started to notice this in other situations. I’d go to a shop, bank or restaurant at the posted opening time and would be kept waiting for 15 minutes for the doors to open. When I finally did get into a shop I could be kept waiting for another 15 minutes while a clerk is on a personal phone call before even being greeted. When you go to the cinema the trailers always start about 10-15 minutes later that the listed film showtime. All of this is unheard of in the States, where customer service is king. At one point, I considered starting a time management/customer service orientation business, but then I was reminded by my loving husband that A. I wasn’t qualified and B. I would be late for my own funeral if that was possible and certainly wouldn’t be able to turn up on time to give the orientations which would in turn make things even worse. He was right, but I might add that, ironically, he is the most punctually retentive person I have ever met. We always manage to get to the airport 3 hours before our flight..he arranges for us to leave extremely early just in case we get a tire puncture or get into an accident or lord knows what else….

When I worked on television production here in 06, were worked on a variation of I.S.T.  I had been used to shooting from very early in the morning to late, late nights. And weekends were certainly not out of the question in LA or NY. Here, with the Killinaskully series, we worked 9-5 Monday-Friday and not a minute later unless it was planned well, well in advance. People take their time off very seriously in Ireland.

Nonetheless, the pièce de résistance was when we started building our house. It is just status quo that builders and carpenters are flaky no matter where you live in the world, but in this case the behaviour was literally astonishing. Our “reputable” kitchen/bathroom fitting company blew us off for nearly 2 months past our scheduled start date. They wouldn’t even answer phone calls or return messages. Working together became like a game of cat and mouse with all the suppliers. The only person that delivered on time and on budget was the German window guy, Bruno. At least when it came time to pay everyone we were even put off there. It seemed as though we were forcing them to be paid. Buying a car. We had to ring dealerships several times to buy a car that we wanted and we were even offering the asking price. Carpet. Furniture. Same story. Indeed, these are not contemptuous, reckless people; it is just them simply being laid back and losing track of time. It’s just Irish Standard Time.

I must run now or I’ll be late for my hair appointment.

But sure, that’s okay.

Slainte,

Imen