Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Even the Wicked Witch had her broom

We're settling into more of a routine here in Oz.  Scarecrow and I get up around 8am, he has a shower while I make his lunch.  He gives me a kiss as he heads off to work and I head upstairs with every intent of being productive.  Sometimes that lasts into the day and sometimes it doesn't.  Most of the time I close my eyes for another hour or so.  I'm starting to dig more into my thesis now that everything is quieting down and am looking forward to being done with the silly thing and get a real job!  The downside of life (if there is such a thing) is that I don't have anything really pressing to get me out of the house.  Not too much anyway.  I was called as the first counselor in the Young Women's presidency in our branch (I think we max out at around 10 girls) so we have a meeting biweekly that gets me down to the church on a Tuesday morning.  I'm hoping to find some work from home and maybe volunteer somewhere.  Both things to work on.  But how do I get to all of these things?  That's right, I'm learning to drive.

It sounds kind of funny to say "learning to drive".  I did that.  I remember, I was 15 driving our Ford Arrowstar van through Wyandotte Co. Lake.  I like driving big vans and trucks.  I think it's the look on people's faces when they see a petite woman driving a massive vehicle that I like the best.  But here, obviously, it's like going backwards for me.  The rules of the road aren't an issue.  I know how to steer, signal, change lanes, all that good stuff.  Even doing it on the other side of the road doesn't freak me out nearly as much as it used to.  In fact, it doesn't bother me at all.  No, I'm being taken back to school by a manual transmission.  I always wanted to learn to drive stick and had plenty of opportunity to do it.  I had friends in high school who offered loads of times, I just never took them up on it.  And now I'm kicking myself.  To be fair, I've actually been doing pretty well lately.  I've started doing more "solo" trips, mostly to the church or the shopping center.  But it still feels good to know that if I need to go, I can.  I'm only limited now by knowing where I'm going (generally taken care of by my good friend Garmin) and if there's a car available.  Eoin takes our car (2007 VW Jetta, love it) most days.  He's going to start carpooling with a fella from work and they'll switch cars every other week.  That'll be nice to at least have the option of going somewhere.  My In-laws also have an Audi ('97 I think) that has open insurance on it so I can drive that as well if it's available.  The last thing that limits me on occasion...the size of the roads.

This is the road we live on.  On a good day 2 cars can get through, but only if both see each other well in advance and if both drivers are feeling cooperative.  Let me tell you, it's not always that the other driver is cooperative.  In tight situations I tend to just pull over and pray they don't take off my side mirror.  I also tend to avoid small parking lots (like the Centra near our house) and driving in the city centre.  I still stall out relatively frequently so I'll be avoiding the city centre for awhile yet.

Welcome to Oz.  Where the roads are tiny and the sheep in people's front yards are real.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Scarecrow and Mrs. Hogan

Anyone else remember that TV show from the 80's?  With the secret agent and his suburban mom side kick?  I loved it.

Oh man, what a week!  I'm almost grateful for the little bit of downtime.  A little bit, mind you.  Too much makes me batty.  My family trickled out of Oz last week but we had a really great time with them.  Parents and brother left Wednesday morning for the States (poor Mom was sick all through JFK).  Grandparents left for their tour around the Emerald Isle (more on that).  And the rest left Thursday.  My sister and brother-in-law got me hooked on a new fabulous thing, GEOCACHING!  My nephew calls it treasure hunting.  Look it up if you've never heard of it before.  It's like a treasure hunt combined with hide & seek combined with awesome.  It can look something like this.

This is what I did with them the day before they left.  Lots o' fun.

Friday my grandparent's tour brought them back to Limerick.  We went and visited them in their hotel and then joined them at Bunratty Castle for the medieval banquet.  Didn't get to sit with them since they just barely squeezed us in, but did sit next to a lovely family who were scattering their husband/father/grandfather's ashes around the country.  Great food, fun entertainment.  A fun date night given that one of our first dates was a tour of Bunratty Castle.

I don't know if I mentioned, but in the course of all the madness we got a dog.  Or the dog got us.  She must have been abandoned by her owners who were moving (that's really common here).  She's a sweet little yellow lab we call Maybell.  I don't feel the need to give her a pseudonym like some of the people I mention here.  Plus Toto is already my step-daughter, so that wouldn't even work.  I think her identity will still be kept pretty safe.  She's a real doll.

Saturday was relaxing and spent getting a few things to make our space a little more ours and seem a little less like a bachelor pad.  I had a good laugh, the Scarecrow was emptying our purchases out of the car while I put Maybell's new collar on her and gave her a rope toy.  I looked at her and said, "Don't you look so domesticated" to which Scarecrow replied, "Me, or the dog?".  A little bit of both I'd say.  The bathroom upstairs got a nice little makeover along with some new MATCHING lamps for our room.  We also got rid of the plethora of dry cleaner hangers which comprised our closet.  I'm so proud.

 This is our new duvet set we brought over using Target gift cards.  I wish there was a before shot.  It's not that it was unlivable, it's just it was clear a single man lived here.  There was a bare bulb hanging and a black duvet set and one desk lamp.  Best part?  They're touch lamps!  So fun!
Closet before...

 Closet after!  Because the hangers are all the same thickness it looks and feels cleaner.

A mirror has been hung!  Storage has been purchased!  My makeup is no longer strewn all over the top of the dryer!  I'm so happy!

The oddities of Oz will have to wait for another post.  This week was all about making our space our home.

Monday, September 10, 2012

All we need are flying monkeys.

Let me just say that things have been busy.  Really busy.  I went from bored to tears, re-stuffing the pillows of the couch to desperately wanting/needing a nap and a movie.  Scarecrow and I are longingly dreaming of a day where we don't get out of our pjs.  And I don't mean a romantic day in bed either.  I need a yoga pants, over sized sweatshirt and glasses kind of a day.  He has a week off in October so lets just say I won't be taking many calls or answering many emails that week.

The busy came in the form of family and friends.  Lots of them.  We have seen and felt an outpouring of love from all as we celebrated our marriage here in Oz.  A big thanks to all!  We had a big party at the house to celebrate with everyone who couldn't (and some who could) make it to the reception back in KS.  Great food, great people.  We couldn't ask for more.

(Couldn't help ourselves)

I generally like to post something unique about Limerick and/or Ireland.  That's one of the big reasons I started this blog.  So this week, it's about Limerick City's sister city.  Do you know what it is?  Guess.  Go on, I'll give you a minute to think.

Ok, it's Kansas City, KS!  No, I'm not kidding.  I knew this at one point and tucked it deep into the recesses of my knowledge.  It's not something I use on a daily basis so that stuff tends to get shoved to the back.  My sister reminded me recently of this fact.  While walking around the city centre with my sister and brother-in-law they asked why it felt like Turner with a different accent.  I laughed, looked around, and then realized they were right.  I have moved to the Wyandotte Co. of Ireland.  The fact that KCK and Limerick are official sister cities makes it all the better.  We've established the city centre as Turner, Patrickswell as Piper and Dooradoyle as Leawood (OK, not in the Dotte, but still the KC metro area.  Maybe it could be West Wyandotte or something to stick with the theme).   

What does this say about me?  Am I so tied to the Dotte that I can't get away?  I always did think that the Scarecrow could fit into the hacky sack circle of Sumner.  No, what I think it means is that the world is the same...but different.  Does that make sense?  There are neighborhoods with varying affluence, differing architecture and significance everywhere.  I've never thought of it that way in Oz before.  You have the Forest with its diverse population (Lions and tigers and bears anyone?).  There's Munchkinland where I'm sure they turn a good business in pint sized shoes and lollipops.  And then there's the Emerald City with all its glitz and glam.  You find it everywhere and here is no different.  And I think that's actually very comforting.