Where I Was, Where I Am, and Where I Hope to Be

07Oct12

Okay, I am back, or at least I am trying to be back.  We returned from our trip to Dublin about 10 days ago and I have taken a bit to try to get things back together. I have a little break in my workload and everyone here at home is trying to back into a routine and rhythm, and that includes me. Before I get back to what I want this blog to be, I want to take a few days at write about our experiences in Dublin. Not just our experiences as tourists, which was great and I have some fun things to tell, but also about how I think it has helped to change me and my approach and outlook on things.

I think I had hit a funk before we left. I was doing a lot of work, Sean had started up with school and had more responsibilities to take care of, and it just seemed like there was a lot going on in our lives before we left. For some reason, I think I had lost some interest in writing for fun, which happens everyone once in a while. It’s hard to think of myself as a professional writer, but in reality it is what I get paid for even if it is not the great American novel or writing for a newspaper. I still get to write every day and I write about a pretty wide variety of topics, so I have had the chance to learn about things I knew nothing about before ( I am a blast at parties now, since I can talk about just about anything now. I know just enough about a bunch of things to make it seem like I know a lot :)). Anyway, I think that has had some effect on my desire to blog. I spend all day writing, and the motivation to do it, even for something I enjoy, just wasn’t there. This trips seemed to come along at the most opportune time. We needed to get away and I needed to get away from writing and come out of my shell a little bit.

It’s a hard thing for me. I don’t really think of myself as handicapped, but there are times when I realize that I am, whether I like it or not. I can get around, but not always easily. I still have unresolved issues with my legs and feet, but I have learned to accept that that is what it is. I have the same issues with breathing, though that is not often an issue either. Either way, some of the physical limitations I have seem to have had made me into something of a hermit at times. I work from home and do a lot from home and don’t often leave home on my own. I need to try to get over that, and I think this trip helped me see that I can get around better than I thought.

So let’s start with the trip and see what happened. Michelle and I were both concerned about how my legs would be on a nearly 7 hour flight to Dublin. We were concerned enough to contact the airline and arrange for wheelchair service to help me get around the airports and make things easier. It was a big help since we were able to get through security at JFK easier to get to the gates. Once we got to the gates, we did have a slight delay waiting for the plane to leave, but other than that, we boarded and took our seats and waited. It’s the first plane I had been on since 2008, a year before I got sick. Aer Lingus was great. They were very helpful in having the wheelchair for us and I think it was a pretty good flight to Dublin. We left JFK at around 10 PM New York Time so we would arrive in Dublin so we would arrive there at around 10:30 AM with the time difference.

It was a good flight. I watched “Cabin in the Woods,” which is quite a strange movie if you have never seen it. Give it a watch if you get the chance. We also seemed to get a lot of food on this flight. They gave us dinner, a snack and breakfast on the way there. The food wasn’t too bad. The problem would be by the time we landed in Dublin, I had had my braces on my legs for about 20 straight hours at this point and they were starting to hurt. The braces provide my lower legs with some extra support and strength for my feet. They can get quite uncomfortable after a long stretch of time and they were by this point. I was looking forward to getting them off.

We found our driver and he took us to our hotel. It was raining quite heavily in Dublin and, according to the driver, had been for a few days now. We got to the hotel, the Brooks Hotel, which was very nice and elegant. Unfortunately, we were early . They do not have check-in until 2 PM and we got there at 11 AM. They graciously took our luggage and asked if we could come back at about 1:30 or so and a room would be ready. We didn’t really have much of a choice and agreed to do it. That left us walking around the city of Dublin for a couple of hours without really knowing where we were going. We did have a map and tried to scope a few places out. We stopped at a coffee shop for an espresso and a hot chocolate for Michelle, which she said was among the best she had ever had:

We looked around a little bit more after our beverages, but the rain was so heavy, we really just needed a place to duck into. We finally decided on the Dublin Wax Museum. It sounded interesting and we figured this would give us an hour or so to walk around and see what was there. It wasn’t too far from the hotel either.

The Wax Museum is situated behind the Bank of Dublin and is housed in an old bank itself. This gives it a dim, creepy feel to it. One of the cool aspects is that the exhibits are all housed in old bank vaults that still have the vault doors on them. I though this was a great feature. many of figures are of people from Irish history. There are sections covering different eras in Irish history, a room about Irish writers, and then there are some horror aspects, an entertainer’s area and a kid’s area. There are a lot of fun and interesting figures there. not all of them seem particular lifelike, but this one of Queen Victoria seemed kind of creepy and lifelike when you got close to it:

We had a nice time in the museum, and there are other pictures you can check out on my Facebook if you want to see them. We then stopped for a nice, quiet lunch at Peter’s Pub. I just wrote about it on my cooking blog if you want to see what it was like and what we had, but it was very enjoyable. We then finally got back to the hotel and were able to get a room.

We got upstairs to our room, and it was quite comfortable. One thing we found out right away was that just inside the door to our room was a slot for your room key. The key also activated the electricity in the room, which I think is a great idea. This way you can never forget to turn the lights off when you leave and save some energy. We unpacked and flopped on the bed. By this time we had been both awake for about 26 hours straight other than a brief nap on the plane, so we were exhausted and soaked from the rain. Michelle’s sneakers were ruined (we ended up leaving them in Dublin) and I needed to get my braces off. I knew there was a problem. I removed the braces and saw that water had gotten between the braces and the skin on my legs, chafing my legs pretty badly all afternoon long. When I took my braces off, I had pretty severe cuts on both my legs in front and back and it hurt a lot. It felt a lot like a bad sunburn but they were cut up pretty good.

We both slept for hours. Not just an hour or two, but several hours, right through dinner. We woke up about 8 PM and decided we should just go downstairs to the bar downstairs, grab a snack and relax since it was still raining and my legs didn’t look so hot. I didn’t put the braces back on since it hurt too much. I can get around without them ( never wore them when i was just in the house all day anyway), but it would be a challenge. Thankfully we weren’t going very far, just downstairs. I moved slowly with my cane and away we went.

We went downstairs to the Jasmine Bar and each had a drink. It was my first Guinness of the trip. I had expected a taste difference in the Guinness, as everyone always talked about, but I didn’t taste one (there will be more on this in a later post). Michelle and I then decided that we were hungry but not very hungry (lunch was quite large and filling) so we just ordered some dessert and Irish coffee. We opted for the homemade lemon tart with homemade raspberry sorbet. It was wonderful!:

The real treat was the Irish coffee. I love it and make it often myself and was curious as to how it would be made here. I would later find that different bartenders make it slightly differently. I’ll have more about it on my cooking blog tomorrow, but here is what it looked like on that first night:

It was great to just sit and relax and enjoy each other’s company. It’s not something we do enough of, as I am sure many other couples experience when you have kids, work and other responsibilities that keep you from spending time with each other. That was another reason this trip came at a good time for us. By 11:00 PM, we were ready for bed and went back upstairs to gear up for the next day, where we had a lot of plans.

I’ll write more about our trip over the next few days to cover the whole trip, the experiences we had, our take on the Irish culture and how the trip as a whole has effected me. For this blog for the next week that is how things will be. After that, I plan to have a little different take on the blog itself. I want to write more about things that I like, such as movies and baseball, but I will also take on some other interesting topics and ideas that I may see or come across in the news or other media. I also want to just use ideas that I may have or you may have to write about different topics. I am still going to have times where I ask a question of the day, but it won’t be every day. I also will still interact with some celebrities on Twitter and see if I can get their take on different topics. And I am also going to write on here, and that is both writing like this and fiction writing, hopefully more than I have done in the past. Time never seems to stretch far enough to do all that we want, but I am going to try to make time to do it, one way or another.

Things are changing, and I think it is all going to be for the good. Check back tomorrow for more on our trip and see what’s changed. Until then, don’t forget to do something creative today!

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