Monday, March 17, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chronicles of a Folk Family--Ireland: Drogheda March 12

March 12, 2014

The bus driver gave us a ride to Drogheda.


We didn’t have tickets because the vending machine would not take our stupid, old-fashioned, magnetic strip cards, and we had not stopped at an ATM for cash yet. The bus driver let us get on anyway, saying we could get cash at the arrival station. We probably looked rather pathetic, at least I did, even with my airport bathroom refresh, and Finn was concerned about missing the bus, so he must have taken pity on us.

Drogheda is about 30 kilometers north of Dublin, and we had chosen it partly because of a BBC series we watched on Ireland and partly because of its proximity and accessibility from the Dublin airport. I wanted a place to chill out and adjust before the tour starts on Sunday.

Customs in Dublin was a breeze, and we met up with Pete's mom for breakfast and chit chat in the airport, which was relaxing as no one was in a hurry. It was this bus hiccup that threatened to put my tired ass over the edge. Being on the bus was good, but now I was concerned about the part where we got cash and paid the nice man.

Then he let us off the bus, no charge. Cheers!

But we still needed to pay a cab driver to get us to the hotel, and we still had no cash. The driver stopped at a convenience store where they also could not take our primitive card, so finally we hit a bank ATM, where we were successful in procuring sweet, sweet Euros.

Finn fell asleep on the bus. I managed to keep him awake in the taxi.

At the hotel, before my first pint, I was upsold into a bigger, more expensive room. We arrived on the early side, and the woman at the desk looked at us like we were nuts because we were booked into a double room, and she knew there was no way that was going to work. Initially, I thought it would be fine, but then I checked my exhaustion levels and realized that I needed to be sure I could sleep.

This is how we found ourselves in the Presidential Suite, bitches!

Now, granted, that is more glamorous and important than it sounds, but we do have a king bed and two twins in separate rooms, plus two televisions. It works out well for a bed-hopping trio like us (be nice, this is a family blog. Bitches), and I have wound up in one of the twins (ah ah ah, again… family blog) at some point both nights so far.

The rest of the day was innocent enough: resting/napping/checking out a defensive hill tower/groceries at Tesco/graveyard.

Back at the hotel for dinner time, we sat down and ordered our pints. Finn asked for sausage then fell asleep and stayed asleep. We shifted him back and forth and ate in little shifts, just like when he was an infant, until I finally brought him upstairs, made him pee, and got him into bed. He was rather upset about it, but eventually settled down. All was well.

Little did I know.

Chronicles of a Folk Family, Ireland: Traveling

March 11, 2014

“O airport snow, you are many-layered, sad, and dirty like a hate cake.” -kittywhumpus

Finn was zonked out, and it was before 6:00. Granted, we had just been traveling for 36 hours, but it was still remarkable. He fell asleep on my lap before we even ordered dinner. He said he wanted sausage, we said OK, aaand Scene.

Considering that the cab picked us up at home in Minnesota at 9:15 a.m. on March 11, we didn’t arrive in Dublin until 8:00 a.m. local time on March 12, and he slept for all of two hours on the plane across the ocean, it’s not surprising. Still, Finn volunteering sleep is always somewhat of a shocker. The fact that he stayed asleep for the next 13 hours was nothing short of astounding.

Thinking back, with hindsight which is, duh, how you think back, there are things I would do differently and NO, this time I am not talking rethinking the whole brilliant “having kids” notion.

Finn's behavior at the Minneapolis airport was not awesome, and I was thinking we were in for a long, long trip, but there’s nothing I can really change about the logistics. Airports and their lines are boring for kids. Then we had a long, long layover in Chicago, but it didn’t cause any problems.

What I would do is cram every ounce of liquid I could into my child during the entire trip. At least when he was awake. As annoying as it is to try to get your kid to pee when evacuating fluids is anathema to him, what happened later was much worse.

Another thing I would somehow change is this: When we got off the plane in Dublin, Pete looked exactly as he had when he boarded the previous morning in Minnesota. I looked like I had melted. Now, I am not saying that I would go back and make Pete look terrible, because that’s stupid. I have to look at him more than he does, but I would like to find a way to not have looked like his dowager older sister when we arrived in Ireland. I dipped into the Ladies' for a full refresh, and then it was fine, but please, what is up with that?

“Hide away, Folk Family…” -They Might Be Giants

This is our first international tip with a kid. When we were in Ireland in 2007, we were a carefree somewhat younger, child-free couple who could get wasted at the pub at 3:00 in the afternoon or stumble back to the hotel at 2:00 in the morning. The celtic folk rock band was a blastocyst. We had conversations and laughter, like, every day.

Frankly, I’ve been dreading much of this trip, for a number of reasons. I already chafe at the yoke of motherhood on a normal day, and returning me to Ireland, where I had so much fun and so much to see and learn, but without the freedom I enjoyed didn’t sound like fun. And yeah, that’s whining about a ridiculous problem, but there you have it.

Considering that this trip is a tour for the band Pete plays in, Hounds of Finn, and he will be musically and socially busy and in demand, it adds to the Yoke. I don’t like being Folk Nanny, which is what I generally feel like when we drag Finn along on Hounds business. Don't get me wrong: the band is quite talented, and I enjoy their music, but being Folk Nanny is not fun. I'm relatively used to the changes and deprivations that accompany motherhood, but I don’t cuddle up to them for reassurance and identity.

All in all, Finn was pretty good, even considering the insufferability in the Twin Cities airport. For one thing, he has new luggage, over which he is very protective and excited. It’s like a Marvel Superhero Discotheque with lights and everything. It’s brand new, and it’s something we never would have bought without our tax refund. I’d be excited, too. I kind of am.

Because Chicago-O'Hare has distractions specifically for children, our 7-hour layover was absolutely tolerable, and he had plenty to do. Then he fell asleep at the airport bistro where we had dinner, and I didn't even give him any of my Proseco. He watched a movie on the plane (Happy Feet 2, which is, I am sure, just as implausible as the original), ate a little bit of his dinner, and then napped for a couple of hours, which is more than I can say for his parents.

We didn't think about whether or not he was drinking enough water or milk; it's never been an issue for him. I had my fluids in the form of liquid courage. I am a nervous flier, and I like to choose from the white wine family to chill my ass out. It helps but does not cure.

Maybe Finn would like a nice Riesling, but I hear that’s frowned upon.

Bonus P.S. We had a lady pilot to Chicago, which was awesome, but I long for the day when this is not remarkable.

Chronicles of a Folk Family--Ireland Tour: Traveling

Handsome BoysNew LuggageMinneapolis airportwaiting to boardChicagoLunch
Brachio PooPlay SetChildren's Area, O'HareTrainMr. BonesDinner
CourageSleepReady for take offGramma Sue!PintPub time
LovelyDrawingSuite!StepsScholars TownhousePub Sleeper
Ireland Tour: Traveling, a set on Flickr.
Photo album on flickr of our travel time, en route to Ireland for a tour with Hounds of Finn, the band Pete plays in.

(Please comment if the album is not public. Flickr permissions can be wonky sometimes.)