Thursday, August 21, 2008

It is painful...but it's OK to feel

To be honest, I wasn't 100% sure about whether to post this or not but it's good to talk. I feel that sometimes its easier to put things down on paper/pc rather than talk as you can express yourself a bit more with blubbering away.

Last year was shit. It really was. Shit. Yes, some good things happened and some great things happened, but personally it was shit.

To start with my job was made, how shall I say while trying to be PC and avoid the lawyers, 'redundant'. The company decided that the role I occupied was no longer required. The decision, I found out later, was made in January but instead of letting me know they took away, bit by bit, by job - handing it out to others. Then in early July I had a call, after sending another email asking for an explanation, stating my job was gone and they made me an offer I couldn't accept. How can you trust a company that does that? I had to move on.

One settlement later and I was a hobo. Being a hobo is cool but I'll talk about that another time. However being a hobo turned out to be a godsend for what happened then.

For the August bank holiday weekend in '07, my wife, two friends and myself went on the Shannon for the weekend. It was great. What made it even better was the fact the before we went we done the necessary tests and confirmed that we were gonna be parents. As excited as we were, we couldn't tell anyone and had a ball of a weekend.

Arriving back in Cork, my wife went to the docs on the Wednesday and confirmed that all was OK and we were indeed going to have an ickle one. That week, we had a call from my little bro to advise that he and his good lady were also pregnant. When we worked out dates, they would be having the baby a week before us in March. Over the next week or so family and friends were told to share in our joy.

Two weeks later things went pear shaped.

On a lovely Monday night, we sat in bed looking at a baby-names book my brother had bought as a joke the previous Christmas. Some names in it I wondered about as in how someone could call their child that. But each to their own. The next day my wife said something wasn't right and she went to the docs. I had an appointment and she wasn't worried enough to require me to go with her. Then I got a call and I rushed to collect her and bring her to Cork University Hospital for further tests. At 4pm our worst fears were realised and it was confirmed we had lost the baby. The scan showed nothing.

And I don't think anything can prepare you for that. Our families and friends knew we were expecting and so calls had to be made. That was tough.

We had to go back in on the Wednesday for the necessary tests and my wife was in until Saturday morning. It was a long few days. I cant praise highly enough the staff in the hospital who were brilliant to us and looked after us well. Although they see this type of thing every day the compassion and help they showed was like your the only one going through it. Also sitting in the hospital each day, sometimes not with my wife as she was resting, and seeing others who had just given birth, or were about to was tough. It was tougher for the fact that we met a couple we know and they had just had a lovely baby boy - and you cant dampen their spirits as you have no right to. Its still hard to smile though.

The next week was no easier. Luckily being a hobo meant I could spend time with my wife making sure she was OK. You lie there thinking about it. Thinking about what might have been. A boy? A girl? Do you care - no! How many other couples go through this? We know a few and they had children afterwards no worries. Statistics say that nearly half of all first pregnancies end in miscarriages but statistics have no feelings and are only bare figures - and it doesn't make it easier. Slowly the realisation comes in that in 8 or 7 months you wont be a parent. You realise that your sister is due in one month and you have to be happy for her and you are - you truly are but its tough. You realise that you wont have a child a week younger than your brother come next March and that you wont have a child at all come that time.

Nothing can prepare you. In a matter of minutes your decorating their room in your head and then there's no room. Just an empty space.

All you can do is hope that next time its better. Next time all will be OK. A year later and its still sore but this has been a good year so far and only getting better. It's funny how your subconscious acts - you are thinking about it without realising its a year. The year is suddenly upon you.

But its OK to be sore so you can enjoy the good times even more. And there will be good times.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

College Fees

The whole debate on college fees seems to have reared its head again this week with Batman insinuating that he wants them back in. For me, free education is a must but what I dont like are the arguements coming from the knobs that run the Union on Students in Ireland (I always thought they were knobs).

They are saying that its already tight enough for students and adding fees will only mean that less people can afford to go to college.


I left college in June 1996. Only 12 years ago.

We had no mobile phones. Only those working in very well paid jobs or that came from well-enough of families had cars. We only bought clothes when we needed them. We drank cheap shite at home before going out and only went to clubs that had student offers. We could rarely afford to go out on Saturday nights, you had TV via a clothes hanger and usually there were 5 or more to a 2-bed flat. Getting your hair cut once a month was a huge treat (if indeed you done it once a month and even then it was done during cheapo times and in cheapo places). And the inside of a coffee shop was like visiting the Starship Enterprise as you had as much chance of going to both. We ate spuds and bolognese 7 days a week.

Now new clothes are an absolute with image being paramount and therefore new hair when required. Theres not enough room in the carparks for all the cars (and the insurance, tax, petrol, maintenance that goes with them) for the students. They are getting so leathered out drinking that we have new closing and serving times (apparently its the young's fault). And they all have mobile phones and therefore probably a new one each year and around €20 per week on credit?

Dont tell me they have no money. Dont tell me that adding some fees will stop people going to college. If they give up their cars - get up earlier and walk or use public transport - then we solve some traffic issues in cities and it also saves them some money. Give up their mobiles or use less frequently then there would be more money. But dont tell me they have no money.

In 1996, the grant was about £160 per month. My rent was £25 per week to share a bedroom with one other, in a 5 bed house (8 of us all in). I had £60 per month for food, travel (college in Carlow, from Donegal) once a month and going out. My parents gave me about £40 per month once the summer money I had earned had run out and so all in all, I had about £100 to live on.

I wonder how students would get buy on this and to give an idea I decided to see how much that is worth nowadays and took the price of Guinness as the basis for inflation.

According to this site, the average price of Guinness in 1996 was €2.50 and in 2007 it was €4.03. That means an adjustment of 62%.

Covert £100 to Euros using 1.23 as the exchange rate (what it was when we changed from punts to euros) and that gives us €123. Multiply by inflation gives €199 or about €50 per week.

Is that do-able with a once a month bus ticket worth €40 removed from the funds?? It cost around €25 per week for food to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner. That leaves about €50 per month for recreational items...its tough - right?

Anyone up to the challenge???

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Appreciate "That Look"

I cant admit to being a daily reader or, as you have noticed, a daily blog poster but every so often blog posts arrive that hit you like a ton of bricks. They truly take your breath away. For me, its not the posts on how to blog, or the posts on how people should live their lives, or the ones that give a great insight into court cases or current affairs, but rather the ones that let you see a little into the soul's of other bloggers - the ones that for a short period of time connect you to them.

These posts when you read them also resonate with you. Somethings switches on inside of you that says, "hey, I can identify with this". They sort of wake something inside of you that maybe you were not even aware was dormant. Maybe they help you remember a part of your life that you not necessarily had forgotten, but rather pushed to your subconscious.

I'm always amazed that some of these people will be so open with their feelings and emotions and also not be anonymous. It's fantastic that they will let complete strangers know what their feeling and thinking and yet be totally at peace in themselves in doing so.

Some others, while not using real names, are not necessarily anonymous either as you kinda feel you know them, or at least you think you do, but still you admire them for taking the time to write it down.

A few days ago a lovely, lovely post was written by K8 the GR8 about going to a musical recital with her son. I think everyone that read it shed a tear in happiness - well I know I did. I think we can all identify with a time in our lives when someone so close and so special to us gave us that look. I'm not sure the person giving the look can totally understand what happens inside you when that happens unless of course they too have experienced it. And everyone should. It's one of those times when you can truly say "I'm alive and I love it". These situations are what makes life so great and so worth living. I know that I've felt it at times with my lovely wife (the patient woman she is). Your heart really goes racing 100 miles an hour, you know there's only one place to look and your almost paralysed, unable to move as you don't want to break that moment. You want it to go on and on.

It's also like the time when my godson was at that age when babies start to recognise faces and voices other than Mum and Dad. He looked up and smiled with his mouth, his eyes and his demeanour to say he recognised me. It's a fantastic feeling and you want to have that each time you meet but the you think will it be as special? It doesn't matter, you had it at least once.

Then you have the posts like Grannymar's from April regarding the passing of her husband some 10 years ago. This also strikes a cord as everyone has experienced someone really close to them pass away and it brings back the hurt from that sad occasion. You remember where you were when you heard, what you done to help with the arrangements, but what I always remember at funerals are the laughs and fun I had with the person. I know they would prefer to be remembered that way rather than the last few days you saw them.

But posts like Grannymar's are important. Not everyone can open up and write these feelings down. Not everyone can express how they felt in those hard times and so these posts help - maybe someone reading can identfy with the sentiments and use it to get over their grief. It may act as a form of counselling as they have someone that they can identify with who, know, has gone through the same as them. They are not alone.

These posts when your reading them also help to make you cast a thought to a loved one that's passed away and give them a thought, a smile, or a laugh at how you remember them - how often do we think of deceased friends in our busy lives? But more to the point, these posts might help you to appreciate right now, and forever, the looks that you get that K8 is talking about. I know I will.

Ladies, I salute you and thank you.

Friday, August 08, 2008


The last few weeks have been a bit slow at work. Lots of the people working on the contract with us are on holliers and things natually slow down during the summer.

Today is a particularly slow day. It started well and I worked away from the first few hours but now the day is dragging. It could be safe to saw that I'll work for a total of around 3 hours today and that's all.

Now I know what it feels like to work in the Civil Service on a permanent basis.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

When lawsuits go bad

Just saw this story on Soccernet regarding a recent lawsuit in Italy.

Italian football giants Inter Milan had to pay damages to a rival fan for "existential harm".

Can open....worms everywhere.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Food, God and the devil‏

Got this from a friend and probably so did everyone elser but it's worth the read..

And God created......
In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Then using God's bountiful gifts, Satan created Dairy Ice Cream and Magnums. And Satan said, 'You want hot fudge with that? And Man said, 'Yes!' And Woman said, 'I'll have one too with chocolate chips'. And so they gained 10 pounds.

And God created the healthy yogurt that woman might keep the figure that man found so fair.
And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 12 to size 14.

So God said, 'Try my fresh green salad'.
And Satan presented Blue Cheese dressing and garlic croutons on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said 'I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them'.
And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter, and Man's cholesterol went through the roof.

Then God brought forth the potato; naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.
Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep-fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt. And Man put on more pounds.

God then brought forth running shoes so that his Children might lose those extra pounds.
And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels.

And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.

Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.
And Satan created McDonalds and the 99p double cheeseburger.

Then Satan said 'You want fries with that?' and Man replied, 'Yes, and super size 'em'. And Satan said, 'It is good.'

And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.God sighed ......... and created quadruple by-pass surgery.
And then ............ Satan chuckled and created the National Health Service.

Monday, August 04, 2008


My liver and kidneys hurt.

Polish weddings, while being great, are tough on the oul internal organs. Some amount of vodka can be drunk at these things..and was.