Monthly Archives

September 2015

Family, Motherhood


September 29, 2015

As a mother I deal with a lot of guilt, small things like:

Are the kid’s lunches too bland?

Is it right that 95% of Rian’s clothes are hand me downs?

I really should bake with the kids and nurture a love of cooking fresh and wholesome food.

Then there are the big guilts;

Do I let them have too much junk food, specifically happy meals… a euphemism if ever there was one; should be called mammy is just not feeling it meals ?

Am I cruel and restrictive to veto my son’s desire for a pink mid-sleeper? I’m reading so much about gender fluidity and I certainly don’t want to inhibit my boys, whatever their preferences but a pink bed? That’s a lot of husband-persuading and I don’t think I have the energy for the gymnastics that may be involved. 

martha-stewart-kitchen-wisdom-9780307396440_sqThe issue that I spend most time obsessing over and trying to justify to the little Martha Stewart who lives in my brain, judging me mercilessly, is the amount of screen time allowed to the boys.

The era I grew up in the term screen-time did not even exist. The only media available were TV, radio or the giant stereo system in the good room. My Mam was really strict about the TV and it was not allowed on till late afternoon. When I lived back with my parents for a year after we moved home from Turkey I’d often turn on This Morning and my Mam would arrive downstairs and I’d feel as if I’d been caught watching porn. She’d say “it’s a bit early for putting the TV on” and head into the kitchen and drown out Philip Schofield with Joe Duffy.

Sony_watchman_fd210As a kid, I had seen handheld TVs in movies, big clunky things with a black and white picture and a large aerial. I marvelled at the technology and wondered would I ever possess something as cutting edge and conducive to my slacker life plan. In my teens I got a gameboy and would spend hours in bed playing Tetris, not much has changed as I now spend hours playing Suduko (I need an intervention or a hobby).

tumblr_nkeymjQtON1tdo3rqo1_1280I discovered the baby-sitting abilities of a screen late with Conall. He was 3 and I put him into my bed while I cleaned the floors and put the Bee Movie on. He had spent the previous 3 years attached to my leg or being needy close by and shouting MAM repeatedly. After 15 minutes of silence I peeped into the room and he was enthralled, I wanted to sing and dance with my new found freedom but instead cleaned the house from top to bottom. He watched that movie till it wore out and I had to replace it and then came Monsters Inc, followed by Toy Story. Koray was born and Conall now had a little portable DVD player and it allowed me to feed the baby and change those never ending messy yellow baby poos in peace. As Koray grew, he wanted to watch movies but that ended badly with him throwing the DVD player down the stairs once because the screen froze (we’ve all had one of those moments). I could do an entire post on cracked screens but if I was to total everything paid out it would upset me greatly. I am currently TV-less as Rian frisbeed a wooden jigsaw at Koray last week who ducked impressively and the screen took the brunt, I suppose a smashed TV was preferable than a trip to Temple Street.

maxresdefault (1)Koray started to take my phone when he was 2 and figured out how to go on youtube and use voice recognition to watch his strange little videos. He began the kinder egg opening obsession that was passed on to his younger brother. He also loved to watch people making cakes. I put the settings to kid friendly and hoped for the best as I now had another demanding little boy needing exclusive mammy time.

In the meantime Conall had discovered Minecraft and he got an Xbox for Christmas and loved to play. This led him to youtube where he watched guys like Stampy Longhead (nose) and Dan TDM narrate the games they were playing. These guys have 6 and a half and 8 million subscribers respectively. Who knew this could be a career choice? You sit on your ass at home and video yourself playing games and post it online… this certainly wasn’t discussed by my guidance counselor. (Possibly something similar but that required nudity and intimate bleach)

2015-09-29 13.49.03Rian copied Koray and began to watch the insufferable Kinder Egg opening. For the uninitiated there are hundreds/ possibly thousands of youtube videos of adults (and kids) opening kinder after kinder and expressing surprise at the contents. There isn’t much talk of eating the chocolate which concerns me. I couldn’t narrate those videos due to a loathing of thumb rings and a full gob of delicious chocolate. (A little way into that particular career and I wouldn’t find a thumb ring in the land to fit my sausage fingers)

  20150728_205947vjfkgfi_7261Conall is the trailblazer as the oldest and he is not interested in Pixar movies or the squeaky clean Dan TDM anymore… he wants controversy. He wants JackSepticeye… I love and loathe this guy… his language is fucking shocking and he seems to have bypassed the child settings on youtube by wearing a flat cap and looking 12 years of age. He’s Irish and has 6 and a half million subscribers! He is John Lennon to my son and the reason he wears a flatcap everywhere and says “top o the mornin to you” to everyone (even his headmaster). He is also the reason my 4 year old likes to shout nipple-twisty-fresh at inappropriate times. I berate myself for letting Conall watch him but he will do his homework on the promise of some Jack-time and go to bed early! He works better than Santy-threats.

My children’s bedtime routine now consists of bath, then bed with a fully-charged (they’d better be or the consequences will be Game of Thrones-esque) device. Koray in my bed playing Plants Vs Zombies, Conall in his own watching something highly unsuitable on youtube and Rian in his bed watching netflix. It buys me time to tidy up and I do go take their technology one by one and spend time reading them a story and having snuggles. I seriously don’t know what I would do without my digital babysitters.

20150917_171739I spend most nights in bed obsessing over everything I’ve done wrong that day and promise myself that the next day I will be the best parent I can be, What I don’t take into account are my kids and how their asshole behaviour will diminish me to a gibbering wreck. I sit on the floor to play puzzles with them or take them for a walk and it all degenerates into chaos so for now I’ll take the help in whatever form it comes in…After all, Conall says he wants to be a youtuber when he grows up and while this doesn’t match my plans of him becoming a neurosurgeon, the pay would be better and in the meantime he is building an invaluable vocabulary.Mummascribbles

Family, Mental Health, Motherhood

Baby-proofing your marriage; my experience

September 22, 2015

I had forgotten about the curveball/ grenade a baby throws into your relationship until I read an article on it recently. It completely changes how you both feel about each other and the manner in which you deal with these feelings will ensure your survival or destruction as a couple. I was completely unprepared for how much I would dislike my husband after baby number 1 as he would me but let me back the story up a bit..

223537_6142043137_8921_nMy pregnancy on Conall was as lovely as expecting your first baby can be; I would stroke my belly while smiling up at Ossie as he caressed my hair and kissed my head lovingly. We walked everywhere (no car at the time) holding hands and imagining what our little man would be like. “I’ll be happy if he has your nose” I’d say and he’d reply “I’ll be happy if he has your lips”… We’d then laugh at the possibility of him having my teeth and his ears.

At night we’d look in the empty moses basket longingly, willing the weeks to pass.

It didn’t happen like in the movies; For a few nights in a row, I’d get up to pee and as I’d make my way back to bed I’d feel a trickle down my leg and think ffs and go get a pad and do a baby wipe job on the undercarriage. I began googling and thought it could be my waters so I went to my GP who gave me a little pee container and said if I could catch some that that would be my ticket to the labour ward. That night I managed to catch some and I did the smell test… it smelt sweet, bingo! I was starting to get some light contractions so off we went.

I was in very early labour but the magic vial of amniotic fluid ensured my stay and Ossie was fantastic walking me the length and breadth of Holles Street to make things move faster and he let me gouge his arms with my fingers when a bad contraction took hold. His face was pressed to mine in the final stages as he told me to push push… “I can’t I answered, I’m going into the light.” (It was BAD)

37180_436518501866_8271316_nWhen Conall was put into my arms, I smiled at Ossie and I had never loved him more… “he has your nose” “and your lips” he answered with tears pouring down his face. We noticed his ears then and laughed.

2015-09-22 11.55.42We were living with my parents and the segway into parenting was not so smooth. I had adopted a uniform of giant nursing bra, disposable pants and an oversized nightdress. I had gone from glowing and “all bump” to a saggy, leaking mess. Conall would not latch and my nipples were cracked and scabbing and I was getting little or no sleep. The moses basket was still pristine as our angry man had made his way between us. Then I contracted a kidney infection that spiked my temperature and had me shivering and in pain for a week. There was an ugly moment where Ossie tried to strip me of my fleece dressing gown and blanket and threatened a cold shower to bring my temperature down; I turned my pleading eyes to my parents who were putty in my hands and a row broke out with Ossie storming off and me agreeing to remove the dressing gown. I started to resent his light snoring at night and prodded him to wake when Conall cried even though he couldn’t feed the baby and had work the next day. I was insanely jealous that his life continued more or less the same while I had this screaming dependant that wouldn’t let me shower and I felt broken inside and out. I found myself narrowing my eyes and searching for “mistakes” Ossie had made so I could point them out and say “see, see you’re useless” (implied and not said). They were tough times and I began to plan my life as a single parent and I’m sure he did too although he would never dare admit it.

4113C06438L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_It was only when a couple of months later I was on the phone to a friend, Michelle who asked “well have you noticed how useless men are yet?” and I almost fainted… yes, yes! I’m not proud it was a phonecall full of misandry (it’s a word) and husband-bashing at it’s worst but it was cathartic and she recommended a book on how to babyproof your marriage. I bought it the following day and read it cover to cover. It’s hilarious and includes real stories and I came to the realisation that this is a thing. I’m sure some of you didn’t experience it and were blissfully happy but many women I talk to agree. Having a baby is HUGE… it changes your perception of the world and those around you. You realise quickly which friends will offer practical support and advice and which ones are pissed off that you’re not their drinking buddy anymore.

MkII_07The romantic world that you built the foundation of your relationship is stripped away and he has seen you at your worst/best with your vag in tatters and your boobs leaking. You now pee in front of each other as opportunities to use the bathroom are not as easy (I draw the line at pooing, never, ever do I want to see his poo-face). Sex is off the cards for a minimum of 6 weeks and new ways of intimacy have to be initiated. I remember telling my mother that Ossie was in a bad mood and she asked “have you had the other yet?” (her euphemism has always been the other) and I said “no”. She told me that it would be a good idea to keep him sweet and that there was “more than one way to skin a cat”. I will never forget those words…. they haunt my nightmares but she had a point.

Communication is the key… he kept asking me what I wanted and I would answer “nothing” and cry… (I still do this) but I should have told him I wanted him to tell me I was doing a good job, I wanted him to hold me and tell me he loved me and that I was still the same sex bomb I had always been to him. In hindsight he probably wanted these things too but we sat side by side and watched TV in bloody-minded silence while Conall fed oblivious to the chaos he had caused.

I baby-proofed our marriage when the next two came along simply because we talked about it and knew what to expect. It isn’t a fairy-tale, it is bloody hard but if you survive it together you have a strong foundation to lead you through the minefield of raising children.
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Joe Duffy is the bane of a rep’s life; summer nights part 5

September 21, 2015

I began my job with Sunworld as a transfer rep in the Summer of 2004. I worked Saturdays and Sundays doing many, many coach pick ups and drops offs to the airport. I was terrified about the little bus spiel but realised I could do it sitting down with my back to the crowd so it wasn’t too difficult. The hard part was rounding up the people on your list for the night time collections. I had to prise microphones out of drunken guests’ hands mid I did it my way and shove them physically onto the bus. I witnessed girls in signed Jimmy’s vest tops clinging onto their holiday romance, mascara running down their faces as the guy tried to prise her off him and give her a little push on to the bus so he could go home and shower in time to meet the next bus of “fresh chickens”. I’d see many the Turkish guy in the rearview mirror frantically texting his next hook-up.

GucciLuggagePossibly a trained sheepdog could have done the same job herding the masses into the airport and getting them to form an orderly queue. Then the drama of excess luggage charges would arise; a couple of sun wizened oul wans would start shouting in raspy emphysema-riddled voices (chain smoking L&Ms for the week) “where’s the rep?” and when you got to the check in counter they’d throw you the filthies and point at the pretty Turkish check in assistant…”she’s bleedin tryna charge us €200 for our bags”.. I’d look at the frazzled girl and we’d both be thinking the same thing in different languages (here we fucking go again).

I’d eye up the women’s bulging genuine-fake Gucci suitcases and then the scales which read 40 kilos per bag. I’d start off patiently.. “you’re only allowed 20 kilos”. “Wha? No one told us tha, I’m ringin Joe Duffy”. Deep breath; “I said it on the bus on the way to and from the resort and at your welcome meeting, it was also printed on your tickets.” “We got a taxi with Mustafa and we’ve our own house here so we didn’t hear ya say any of tha” “Right, so you’re not even Sunworld customers? (smug smile)…good luck to yiz!”

image_update_e57736c065f034c6_1374322610_9j-4aaqskThere was no better feeling than getting the sheep on the plane and having a smoke as we watched them take off and prayed for a nicer shower of people the following day.

The money was shite by Irish standards so when I was offered a job repping the Thursday and Friday Sunworld boat trips, I was thrilled. The hardest part of that job was waking the guests at 8am and getting them on the coach. Nothing spells trouble more than a small boat of violently hungover people in 40 degree heat and choppy waters. The Thursday boat trip was particularly problematic as it was called a booze cruise and all alcoholic drinks were included in the ticket. I began to hate this job and battled my own seasickness on each trip but hey I was getting €16 for the full day so it was SO worth it.

Around this time I met Orlagh for the first time at a restaurant having dinner with all the reps. She was working for a rival travel company and we bonded over our love of food and compared similar stories of how we met our then boyfriends/ now husbands.

12019121_10153636679691411_1578151398_o12029061_10206740479925994_1554012941_nI had to take a holiday in July for my sister’s wedding so I flew home for two weeks of fun and I am at my absolute best in all the photos from a Summer of tanning; the over indulgence on bar street and in restaurants hadn’t yet caught up on me. Anyone who has family overseas will know that airports and goodbyes are horrible and you are in a state of perpetual unhappiness and wish to bring everyone and everything you love to some middle ground and live in unified happiness… I had my fantasy middle ground as possibly Prague… is this geographically sound? I didn’t do geography for my leaving cert and my sense of direction must have been accidentally removed (perhaps with my excess teeth that time?).

I can’t remember which trip home it was… probably at the end of the season of 2004 and I was on my way to baggage reclaim with tears still streaming unchecked down my face when I bumped into Orlagh who was on her way back to Kusadasi and she saw a kindred spirit in my angst. She promised that if ever there was a full time repping job going that she’d pass on my name.

That Winter I was desperate for Ossie to visit and I completed all the million visa forms required in Turkey. I must have spent a month on hold with the visa office and scrolled their website constantly. Eventually I got through to a girl called Regina and she told me his visa was good to go and I promised to name our first child after her, thankfully we had 3 boys, sorry Regina.

20090918SAWG_fg11aI rang Ossie and he said he’d be over for Christmas and he’d go book a ticket… little was I to know that he had a vague idea that Xmas was a time period and not a specific day and so he booked the 26th of December to come over. I had an altercation with my Mam as she was expecting us to sleep in separate rooms as we weren’t married; I went nuclear and my Dad surprisingly backed me up so she stropped off in a sulk and said a few decades of the rosary. I was so excited on Christmas day and told my nanny all about him and she said she was delighted that he was a muslim and not a protestant.

There was some awkwardness as I couldn’t drive in those days (a wasted youth) and my Dad had to bring me to the airport and we sat in the back of the car on the way home to Artane sneaking kisses and giggling while my Dad listened to RTE’s Coastal Reports And Sea Crossings very loudly in the front.

i73762I brought Ossie on the hop on hop off tour around Dublin and learnt loads myself… we visited the Guinness brewery, did the Jameson tour and had a drink in the smallest pub in Ireland…. bit of a theme. I got an email from Orlagh and I was offered a full time job for that Summer.

Ossie went home and I worked a few more months in Boots before packing for the Summer of 2005 in Kusadasi, one where I would go to Ossie’s village to meet his family and learn the dark repping arts…..
Happy Diaries


working days; summer nights part 4

September 15, 2015

I had left my man in Istanbul at the end of November 2003 and initiated operation get back to Turkey as soon as possible. I was working full time in Boots and had made loads of new friends that would often regret asking me if I had a boyfriend (cue long story and possible tears). Everyone knew of my Turkish love and I can only imagine what was said behind my back.. probably poor, innocent bitch. It was around this time that I began to learn of the reputation of Turkish men, I had been unaware till then but Take a Break magazine filled me in on the heartbreak of a holiday romance stealing all your money or becoming insanely religious and violent. I wasn’t bothered as I hadn’t a pot to piss in; the bank wouldn’t even loan me €1000 (I asked) and I still lived at home. Religion was not an issue as we were both atheists and would spend our (hugely expensive) phone time touting it as the root of all evil. As for violent… my husband will carry a spider outdoors to safety and can’t watch the news without tearing up. TAKE-A-BREAK-SPECIAL_SPRING3-15

I had a ticket booked for early April but as Christmas approached I decided I couldn’t wait that long and cashed in all presents for a 2 week sabbatical in February which would include Valentines and my birthday. Ossie is quite a shy person and would hate the thought of a big reunion in the middle of the street with an audience so he asked me to ring him from the taxi and he would meet me somewhere close and carry my case to his flat. However, when I tried to call him my battery died and so I had to get out of the taxi and drag my suitcase up one of the main shopping streets to where he worked. I could see how painful it was for him to deal with my brazen scattiness… an ongoing issue. He ushered me into the privacy of his flat and then gasped at my size 8 frame; I had been a 14 the last time I saw him. I was delighted with myself, flexing my muscles while he lamented my no boobs/bum situation. During my stay I was approached by an Irish girl living in Kusadasi who had a restaurant with her Turkish husband. She asked if I would like a job that Summer running a creche on the beach…there were other details but my mind was racing forward… a job, money, the beach, Ossie…. YES!!!!!

I had another 3 flight journey home but my spirits were good, I would be back in 2 months and I had secured a dream job.

I went back to Boots for the couple of months and pissed everyone off with my fabulous plans and one-foot-out-the-door-ness. Strangely enough I got staff member of the month for March (my customer service was amazing as I was beaming constantly and even customers who poked me in the back, saying ‘scuse me got a pleasant smile). They gave me a bunch of flowers, jewellery and the bikini I’d been raving about for weeks. I was so sad to leave but they said I could have my job back in the Winter if I wanted it so all was good.

d4b519ee-587f-11e4-_789334cOssie had found it difficult to secure somewhere to rent but had come through in the end. It was a cute little apartment that had great views of Kusadasi. The only problem was that it was on a giant hill. I turned up to the restaurant to report for duty and there was a slight change in my job description. The creche thing didn’t pan out so would it be ok for me to go on the back of a moped with one of the waiters and hop off if I saw any tourists, giving them a card for the restaurant and no harm in having a chat with them and a little bit of hassle never hurt anyone…. Arggghh what????

graduate1This was a nightmare for me on so many levels but I was too polite to decline. I asked about payment and I was pooh-pooed… in a let’s not embarrass each other kind of way. I did this for a few days and I was really bad at it and told them I really couldn’t continue and so I was told to go to the beach every day and chat to people there. This sounds good in theory but it was so hard to make conversation with strangers and then expose an ulterior motive. I got disheartened and just sunbathed (poor me). I once got talking to an Irish woman in her 60s that was really upset because her 20 year old Turkish boyfriend wanted a new phone for him and his brother and she was trying to get a loan to pay for them and didn’t know what to do. I was like “are you for real?” I told her that she was being used and needed to go home to her family and sort out her life. She was really grateful and took my number. I began to see a strange guy watching me from then on and got loads of horrible calls so I told Ossie and he went mad, I was still so new to a different culture and had much to learn. Ossie brought my phone to the police and they warned the guy off and that was the end of that but I learned never to mess in anyone’s relationship again, no matter how fucked up it was and believe me, I’ve seen couples that would curl your toes. giphy (13)

At night I would go to the restaurant and they would lament at the lack of customers and ask how many people I had spoken to. I was at breaking point and 2 things happened that forced my hand. They asked me to do a pub quiz… but I had to write the questions and be quiz master. I went to an internet cafe and compiled the questions but I was terrified as I had never done any public speaking before and it was an outdoor place right opposite where Ossie worked so he would have prime view of the carnage. I got so nervous that night that I did multiple shots and ended up slurring my way through the entire thing.

alcoholAt this point my Mam decided enough was enough and she needed to visit to see what the hell her daughter was involved in and she arrived out with my sister and my niece who was only 3 at the time. When the restaurant got wind of my Mam coming out they put in a huge duty free order that came to over  €100… my Mam wasn’t impressed and kept saying, I’d better get paid for this. She delivered the booze and when I asked for the money they looked surprised and said “she can eat here free until the debt is cancelled“. She pursed her lips and told me she didn’t like the food.  I was a complete pussy because I didn’t speak up. After 3 days they arrived with a bill for her breakfast saying the debt was clear and now she owed them money! I began to be proactive and contacted Tracy a Sunworld rep and asked for a job. I was invited to the Sunworld office where I met the fabulous Dee from Cork who sympathised like she had seen this situation many times and offered me airport transfer work..I almost bit her hand off. I was thrilled to hand in my notice and I have yet to receive any payment for the 3-4 weeks of “work” I did in that place. I was facing an illustrious 4 seasons of rep work.. some stories to tell…

To be continueduntitled

Been working out? summer nights part 3

September 11, 2015

Monday morning and I was back to work; well when I say back to work, I had a formal meeting with 2 of the bosses to investigate the legitimacy of the lost passport saga. I sat opposite them brazen as hell and put my game face on. I needed to keep the job for at least 3 months to facilitate me going back to Turkey. I desperately wanted to tell them to stick their makey-up job but I bit my cheek and looked contrite. I surprised myself with the web of lies that I so easily spun about red-tape and rampant crime on the streets of Kusadasi. A number of times I pulled at my sleeves to conceal my golden tan and pushed my new leather jacket deeper into my fake fendi handbag. Tears came easy as I missed my gorgeous new fella and I channeled them and my male bosses were uncomfortable and sent me back to work (I may have mentioned periods to bring the meeting to a swift close). It was not my finest hour but I had a plan and nobody was going to stop me.

giphy (10)Yvonne however didn’t fare as well, she had too much pride to throw raw emotion around willy nilly and she got demoted. I can’t explain the ins and outs of the business in a few sentences, another post for the blog at another time.

mobile_phone-w350-h500We cheered ourselves up by booking flights for the end of August and began the difficult task of making money while clearing all the credit card debt our 3 month sabbatical had inflicted. I got an evening job waitressing in a hotel at the airport and would take a bus straight from my office in town to the hotel. This was 2003 and there was no skype or viber and I made ALOT of long distance phone calls to Turkey. I would open wine and talk to him, hanging up only to pee and then ring again and we would do the “no you hang up” thing for ages… somebody should’ve bloody hung up because my phone bill for that month was €600! All that hard work, for nothing so I called him a few times to cry over the bill and incurred a second €600 phonebill.

My job in the office had become unbearable and I would take out a little Hello Kitty diary I had and count how many days till I could hand in my notice.. the day came and it was a relief for all of us and I skipped down the quays giddy with happiness.

918XmB54VEL._SY355_My family thought I’d lost the plot but could see by the Turkish flag on my bed and my shrine of photos on the wall that I had this as bad as the great Take That obsession of 1994 or the Corey Haim one of 1987. They know me well enough to stand back when I am in the grip of maniacal love. I‘m beginning to sound like a stalker/ serial killer so I probably shouldn’t tell you about the portrait I painted of Ossie and posted to him with some cadbury’s creme eggs that had an enroute melting disaster and made the painting appear as if I’d smeared shit on it…like a Tracey Emin installation.

The flight to Turkey was a blur of excitement and preparation. Ossie had to work and couldn’t meet me till that evening. We had a house rented along with another girl and I was planning to shower, put on some makeup and get out of my sweaty plane clothes but as the taxi pulled up there he was holding a huge bunch of roses (my least favourite flower but I had all the time in the world to mould him into perfection…note to self..I may in fact be a sociopath). I squealed and ran into his arms and we did the spin around thing again while Yvonne turned her back and had a fag. I’m still not sure how but I managed to stay 3 months on a shoestring and a maxed out credit card. The others left early and I got to keep house for a few weeks. I had to book the cheapest route home which involved a 10 hour bus journey to Istanbul followed by a flight to Prague and then a connecting one to Dublin. There had been a bomb recently in Istanbul so Ossie came on the bus with me. I slept most of the way on his shoulder, saturating him with my sobbing; but I was home in Dublin hours before he got back to Kusadasi. He said he kept waking on the journey home and reaching to check on me but I was gone… this still gets me right in the feels. I took to my bed/ shrine for a few days and had a regroup…  I was going to go live in Turkey but I needed a job, international phone cards and a gym membership. I was going to arrive there next time like an absolute babe.

giphy (11)Ossie didn’t give a shit, in fact he likes me curvy but I needed a goal and possibly somewhere to direct a bit of pent-up physicality. I got a temporary job in Boots (I’m still there ha) and joined a gym on O’Connell St. I finished work everyday at 4 and would spend and hour at the gym with my headphones on, repeating turkish phrases. I tried a few classes but I have no sense of rhythm or direction and when an aerobics instructor showed concern at the end of a class and implied that I had special needs, I thought it best to stick to my own workout, in a dim corner, far from other humans.I have never before or since had such willpower and it paid off, by new year I was completely toned and could say hello, goodbye and thanks (bit slow on languages). 

To be continued
Happy Diaries


the work situation; summer nights part 2

September 7, 2015

While sitting in our apartment reception in Kusadasi regaling our Sunworld rep with stories of our recent romantic trysts, Yvonne casually enquired how much it would be to stay an extra week. Cath made a phone call and returned with the price of €100 each and we both had credit cards in our hands within seconds.

0007a725-642We then tried to figure out what to do with the work situation. We both worked in a pyramid scheme style charity mugging office; you know the guys who attack you on the street to sign you up for monthly payments to different charities? Well I was admin and Yvonne was one of the bosses but there were bosses above her and owners etc, all very tenuous. Cath was still sitting there doing her paperwork (little did I know that I would be doing the exact same job in just a few years) and half listening to our ramblings when I asked her the following loaded question “what would happen if a person’s passport got stolen over here”. She put her work to one side and leaned forward conspiratorially and said “it’d take at least a week to replace”. We whooped and cheered and Yvonne was nominated to make the call (because I’m a complete chicken-shit and as a culchie she is obviously a born mammy who says greashhh (great) a lot and puts ketchup on stew).

The bosses were dubious at first but Yvonne created a great back-story involving the crowded markets and Oliver Twist style pick-pocketing children . I think she may have even squeezed out a few tears and said “do you think we want to be stuck in this bloody country for another week?”. That done, we ordered drinks and high-fived. We headed to bar street that night excited to tell our holiday romances the news that they were to be graced with our increasingly freckled company for another week.

b9e27b8646862c36518442e80d8602bfYvonne’s guy didn’t look so happy and confided in me when she went to the toilet that girls are supposed to come here for a good time and not a long time. I was shocked and fearful for my man’s reaction but he was thrilled and picked me up and spun me, like a movie… a bit cheesy but I was delighted with myself and tried to contain it for Yvonne who was seriously pissed off and angrily milling the rosé into her.

gtj54zwsx3ccbutkc3znWe had a few trips booked that week and one of them was a boat trip. I really didn’t want to go as i’d had only had an hours sleep but we had paid for it so Yvonne dragged my ass onto the bus. We picked the top deck of the boat and lay down thinking to get some sleep. I was just dozing when Yvonne seized my arm in a vice grip and started stage whispering something; I sat up and she mouthed what looked like shit shit shit frantically…I looked behind her and saw our boss’s husband and son. What the fuck! Were they there on a recon mission or was it simply a freaky coincidence? Possibly if we weren’t crippled with hangover fear we may have gone over to them to enquire but we spent the next 7 hours wearing sunglasses and swathed in sarongs and towels. Eventually the rep working the boat (Maggie) came over to see if were we ok (little did I know that I’d be doing her job by the following year) and possibly to check if it was a Weekend at Bernies situation. We explained our predicament and she sympathetically laughed her pants off. We escaped the boat but they had more then likely seen us and then we got a bit indignant… I mean even if our passports had actually been stolen we were still entitled to enjoy ourselves, right?

Our stolen week passed blissfully, I won’t bore you with details of sunsets, hand-holding and balmy summer nights. Yvonne meanwhile had shook off her romantic disappointment and was enjoying the balmy nights herself, but that’s her story to tell.

9e8eee1548487f037d2d955337328534As the week was drawing to a close, I spotted Cath in reception and asked how much for another week. She said it was still €100 each and raised her eyebrows in disbelief that we were asking. Myself and Yvonne had a conference in our apartment and it took longer to agree this time, maybe a full 15 seconds but we needed to establish a watertight plan. We ran down and quizzed Cath on passport replacement protocol… “well it would have to be done through Ankara…” “but the paperwork could take more than a week, right??? ““Ye-ah it could definitely and our flights are only at weekends”. Brilliant, high 5s all around and this time it was only fair that I make the work call as Yvonne stood by chain-smoking and biting her nails. I won’t lie, it was a difficult call but oscar worthy…. I channelled Sally Field in Not Without My Daughter. I also had to call my Mam who at this stage thought I was living in a harem smoking opium, she was on the verge of sending my Dad after me in the style of Liam Neeson but there was a Dublin game on that weekend and he couldn’t miss it. The most difficult call I made however was to my cousin Jen to tell her I wouldn’t be making the Justin Timberlake concert, she still holds a grudge but in the pursuit of true love there will always be casualties. 

Eurovision_2003_Sertab_Erener_Everyway_that_I_canOur last week was even better culminating in Turkey winning the eurovision and  leaving was the hardest thing I ever had to do (I cried all the way home, a scene to be repeated many times in the future). Promises were exchanged and I resolved to be back in a few months; there was just the small matter of holding on to my job and rebuilding bridges with family and a cousin to attend to.

To be continued

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Bu-ut oh, those summer nights!

September 4, 2015

I often get asked how I met my husband and instead of turning it into a successful, drawn out TV show, I will tell you here as briefly as I can.

The year was 2003 and I was 27 and dramatically pessimistic about my love life. I had been single for years and long enough on the dating scene to realise that all the decent men were in a relationship or gay or pretending to be neither. I could write quite a bit about my wilderness years but I am aware that my kids could read this one day and I would like them to hold on to the beatific image they have of me. I would lament in the early hours of the morning in the pub (the goblet) about my single status and cry into my insurance (last) order of two double vodkas that I’d never meet anyone. I would then go home and watch re-runs of Sex and the City and think I was SO Carrie even though I was watching it from the box room of my Mam and Dad’s house in my late 20s and I owned 5 pairs of shoes with a combined worth of €50. Sometimes I’d force my cousin Jen to come into Leeson Street for insanely priced wine and my needy company. say-anything-boomboxEveryone would say “it’ll happen when you least expect it!” But for fuck sake I was always expecting it. I grew up watching John Hughes movies and the toothy redhead (Molly Ringwald) would always live happily ever after with the man of her dreams at the end; why wasn’t he standing outside my window holding a ghettoblaster aloft in a trenchcoat? (technically not Molly but would handing me his diamond earring work as well image-wise?)

I decided a holiday was needed and my friend and work-colleague Yvonne wanted to come so I rang a travel agent and asked about Tunisia or somewhere cheap and exotic and she asked had I ever been to Turkey? I said no because I was afraid they might chop my hand off for stealing bread (a strange scenario, I know… I think we smoked a lot at the time; not entirely sure as my memory has a lot of holes from this time; can’t think why). She assured me it was safe and more importantly cheap so I booked 2 tickets for early May for a week.

Ginger-Spice-spice-girls-50165_340_425We arrived late in the evening and decided we’d have dinner in the hotel and an early night but drink was ordered and we both have a bit of madness in us so we got a taxi and I asked could he drop us in the middle of everything (I’d just read the Madonna biography) and he dropped us at Jimmy’s bar. We took a walk down one of the streets and were accosted to buy everything, shopkeepers were shouting spice girls at us and I smiled smugly knowing I was Geri. I was wearing a Counting Crows baseball type top and a flowy skirt and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was not at my optimum weight due to an extravagant and lazy lifestyle (a bit ashamed).

We somehow ended up in a leather shop and were escorted to Jimmys Irish Bar like the naive fresh chickens we were. Shots were ordered and I was afraid to divulge that I have a bad gag reflex. I tried to do the shot, I kept swallowing and grimacing and made my excuses to go to the loo where I seeped some vom through my fingers and on to Adam Duritz’s face enroute. I removed the top and put it in my gypsy bag.. I had a vest top underneath… this story is making me dislike myself.

2015-09-04 20.08.16Anyway I got back to the bar and saw a guy standing there that literally took my breath away. He was so tall and gorgeous and was wearing a long, grey cardigan with pockets (my badly dressed soul-mate). I turned to Yvonne that was now stuck into the barman (in all connotations) and said “I’m going to marry that guy” She glanced at him and said in her thick Galway accent “well send him a beer then”. I was shitting, I had never bought someone a beer… well maybe not while that sober (the puke had cancelled out the last 5 drinks). I sent a beer over and he tipped it at me in the international gesture of “thanks and I am so fucking chilled and hot that this is a normal occurrence”. Yvonne then gave me a shove in his direction and I can’t remember much of our conversation bar I had to write my name down phonetically and say it possibly 75 times before he could pronounce it… I’ve had worse with telesales guys from Northern Ireland to be honest.

20150904_195141 (1)We got a booth and discussed important issues such as our favourite colours and star signs. I talked and talked and thought “this guy is a seriously good listener”. He later told me that he hadn’t a breeze what I was shite-ing on about so he just nodded and went along with me. We had a little kiss and I was completely in love. Every night when he finished work in a DVD shop around the corner at about 1am he’d meet me in Jimmy’s and my heart would be on the point of explosion when I saw him. Liberty Xs version of -Aint nobody and Eminem’s Lose Yourself mixed with Punjabi MC were the songs I remember from this time (not ideal first dance material). Me and Yvonne would swim in the pool during the day and say that if Carlsberg made holidays this would be it! The week was coming to an end and we were not ready to leave (Yvonne had met someone also). What were we to do?

To be continued…


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