As I’m about to embark on my first trip ever out of the country (!!), I’ve been advised to brush up on the customs of where I’m going. We’re traveling to Ireland, so I don’t imagine it’ll be that big a deal. Growing up in a large Catholic family in America usually means that you will come in contact with many families where the parents are from Ireland or at least their parents were.  Culturally, maybe this won’t be much different from my days of hanging out with the Flannerys or Sheehans at Christmastime. Pretty much everyone there speaks English, they dress the same (and they drink!)

One thing did throw me off in my research, though. “The Irish appreciate modesty and can be suspicious of people who are loud and tend to brag. They dislike a superiority complex of any sort.”

Whoah. This is much different from some of the Americans with Irish heritage that I used to know. And as I encounter many self-centered braggards on my daily downtown commute to the nation’s capital of egos, (Washington, DC) I think I’ll enjoy some modesty!


Wishing Well

Chores! Even the very wealthy have to do them. Granted, their chores are probably more a delegation of chores to others, however to many of them it’s still a chore. (It’s just so hard to do when they make eye contact!)

Recently, we’ve been trying to instill more responsibility for the kids to help out. Set the table, dry dishes, make martinis, and other little items. Okay, I made up the part about making martinis. I wouldn’t trust them with my stemware. These are kids who make Barbie repel off the staircase and then trampoline over hot lava (the floor) onto safety (the couch.) Clearing unbreakable tableware and plastic character cups are a good enough start. We’ll move onto the Corningware next. It shouldn’t surprise me, though. I was the creative daredevil in my youth, too. G.I. Joe did many airborne reconnaissances from the top of our maple. And who knew that a Nerf pickle flying disk from Burger King could take down fine china?

So it also doesn’t surprise me that with our increased attempt at child labor, there’s been an increase in the amount of whining. As annoying as it is, it does bring me back. As a young punk, I was the king of whining! I’ve been trying to teach the kids my secret whining techniques, but for some reason they don’t wish to know.

It has provided motivation for their individual successes, though. Recently the kids have been watching shows where the blue collar, middle-class characters somehow are able to live in a New York City apartment that would rival in cost to a McMansion in many areas of our fine nation. While watching one show, my older one kicked into a  little Dateline reporter and surprised me by acknowledging that the characters must not be that poor if they can afford a maid. I was bursting with pride! My little one figured it out! Not totally, though. It dawned on me that the day before I think she overheard discussion about housekeeping services in the area and how that though it’d be nice, we can’t afford them. Either way, it brought us on a closer level as we stopped to do what any whining person doing chores would do – dreamed of having our own personal servant!