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Jan 28

Getting the hands dirty

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 in Jobs, Philosophy

So I got called out to my first Cardiac Chest Pain a few nights back.

It was a friend of a friend of a friend, someone I’d facepainted for a few months back. I got a tip from a concerned relative, someone who knew what I was studying, knew that I might be of some help.

I drove to their house in a relaxed state of mind, found their house within a few minutes, knocked on the door and smiled and introduced myself as a student, a friend.

As it turned out, the Cardiac patient showed me the ‘real’ patient on the couch. His lover, the one he could not do without, was suffering from an acute throat infection and it was that which gave him stress, his concern, his pain.

I checked both their vitals, told them that there was nothing to worry about, they were both within normal vital ranges. I fetched water and offered to fetch coal, I sat on their rug and chatted with them and understood and listened and then I left.

It was in the leaving that the real pressure took place. Was I abandoning them? They had a doctor due to visit, but it was late, was I expected to hang around until the doctor arrived? I stressed that I was only ten minutes away, that I had an AED and equipment in the car, ready at a whim. They thanked me and asked what they owed me.

I laughed! ‘Nope! It’s what I do!’ I said. I think this confused them.

Then I left.

Did they think I was a doctor? Did I just lure them into a false sense of security? I called concerned relative afterwards and expressed my discomfort. They assured me that even the little that I did, did a lot to settle them. They have since been seen by a proper practitioner, they’re both a lot better now.

I like this role, the intermediate practitioner, the pre-hospital advisor albeit somewhat un-educated, sometimes it’s enough to calm and reassure. Maybe that’s what is all that’s needed, someone to listen.

I like this job already.

Oct 27

The post in which K8 becomes a martyr

Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Philosophy, Rantings

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this EMT course so far, it’s to keep information short and sweet.

This in itself is difficult, because every situation is different and holds its own compromises.

So, my situation is thus: I have my eldest who has global development delay. My next is nine years old and is getting a good grasp on life, fair play to her, she’s goth and I take that as a compliment (now is the good time to get it out of her system?). My youngest has playschool sussed and is ready for life to come. My husband has his own special needs, his spine is compromised so he can’t work, he suffers pain and all of those emotional difficulties that go with that. I have my own ways of dealing with this, alcohol as funny as it is in this society, being one.


We cannot work, he or me.

We sap from the community and take our fair share of Irish taxes because we live in social housing and cannot get out of the rut. We have no money yet we are to raise a respectable family right? Poor us, right? We have an excuse to raise hopeless anti-social luddites, don’t we?


We are not poor.

We have a roof, and a car (even if we can’t afford car tax… shhhhh don’t tell anyone!), and vegetables and meat and cereal.

We are LUCKY.

I’ve been unsure of the right path to take thus far. Yes, it’s very easy to slump into the regime of daytime TV. I’ve been there, I know every episode of ‘Friends’ by heart. It killed me. That was when I was too sober.

Then I decided to take life by the horns and to defy anything that kept me under the blankets.

I joined a First Aid organisation. I’m now its chief fundraiser and am employed to raise at least €30,000 within the next two years to sort a new ambulance. I worked at kiddo’s local school and helped them raise €22,000 over the last two years. I’ve just become secretary for an organisation that will care for cardiac compromise in my neighbourhood and I’m in the middle of a really intensive course that might even get me a job if I’m optimistic enough.

I’m working damn hard with this state, the same state that cut all my earnings, FOR FREE. I just want you to know that. Yes I get free money, but I work hard to pay it off voluntarily. I fail left, right and centre with the people I love. I forget things. I leave things behind and hope to eventually catch up to them but in the meantime I feel guilty and sad. Very very sad.

Why, when other people are so financially stable, won’t people help out with organisations that are struggling? Why are people so eager to slag off the government and yet give nothing by return just because they feel secure by the fact that they’re paying their taxes? Why don’t they feel very very sad like me?

Who are the people that are holding this state together? What are the Irish people doing to uphold their part? Are they just a bitchy alcoholic entity with a random funny opinion with the urge to do nothing but rant via bullshit internet, or have they the balls to take part in the real course of events that will make this country somewhere worthwhile to live in?

I am a random person who loves everyone.  But it feels like too much to handle because one person alone cannot do this all alone or they will be overcome and die. So, I anaesthetize with alcohol because it is less lonely. But!

I still get this shit done.

Let ye who are without sin cast the first stone. Tell me I’m wrong.

Go on, I dare you.



Sep 15

Child protection policy overkill

Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Philosophy, Rantings

I’ll start by going off on a tangent. They made child-proof caps on medicine bottles so that children can’t open them, right? I was on duty recently where an Emergency Medical Technician who is all of 25 years old couldn’t open a bottle of Calpol. My own kid, who is all of 3.5 years old, has no problem with this whatsoever.

Some rules can be very intelligent but not very bright at all.

When children are involved with an organisation and you are in charge of them (i.e. their parents aren’t around) these days you must be very careful. You must not take photographs of them, even though a rare opportunity my present itself where a butterfly suddenly decides to a-light on their baseball cap and you itch to capture a moment of rarity.

You must make sure that if a child is going somewhere, they must be accompanied by two adults of each sex. You cannot drive anywhere with a kid on your own, even if the parent gives you verbal consent. You must not be on your own with a child at any time under any circumstances which is weird for me because I prefer the company of kids. They have a lovely energy. Does that sound creepy or is this over-sensitisation?

This rule presents problems on First Aid duties.

“OMG look! It’s a candy floss stand! I’m there! Can I go?” and.. then… she’s gone.

Is a child on its own in a wilderness of people worse than a child with a responsible adult in a wilderness of people? No, apparently not…but I broke the rules when I ran after her anyway for I had no time to find a random man. I accompanied her to the floss stand, and chastised her for running away, and told her she couldn’t buy floss even if it was with her own money.

How much of a bitch am I?

It’s the skill of putting yourself in their parent’s shoes I guess. Maybe she had a dinner to go home to… either way she was here to work and not enjoy herself, and act responsibly for the sake of the uniform. I wish times were different. I would have acted differently if that were the case, but that’s probably my inner child speaking.

Like, for instance; last month I went on an Emergency First Responder course. Another member from my division went with me, but his eighteenth birthday isn’t until November so he is still very much a minor. I gave him a lift to and from the course which is miles away and definitely not accessible by public transport so his parents were very glad to have me take the ache from their back of having to separately transport him, and gave me a lovely ‘thank-you!’ card to express this.

However, what I did was to break the law entirely according to my company’s policies.


So now, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a grey-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses. He was a quiet man, who loved hard work especially if it was to be carried-on outside. He disliked working with others, those lazy people who loved more than anything to lean on their shovels and speak nasty of others while dragging out days and wasting time. So, he requested every job to be his own, and this was granted to him because he always performed dutifully and put love into every job he did.

One day, this man was pulling weeds from a wilderness beside a playground. He had been working for five hours but he wasn’t tired, he was only just beginning.

The playground in question was a playground frequented by special needs children, from a special needs school just up the road. I know it well, for I bring Laughingboy there sometimes.

A child had wandered.

It had found itself in the adjacent carpark and when its teachers cottoned on to this and raised a fuss, the child locked down. It floored, and would not budge from said floor for love nor money. It lay, and it screamed if anyone should come close.

The gray-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses approached said kid with his wheelbarrow.

“Are yeh hopping in, or what?”

The child obliged. It climbed in, and allowed our gardener friend to transport him effortlessly back to the bus. The teachers were thankful. The kid’s friends were thankful. I’m pretty sure that the kid’s parents would have been thankful too, knowing that they couldn’t be there to help and that thankfully there was someone with a bit of brightness to him that helped out on their behalf.

However, what he did broke the law entirely because it wasn’t policy. He could get sacked for it.


There are too many loopholes and scenarios to comprehend. I know that there are monsters out there, and so does ‘the man’… but how far does child protection have to go? Will future babysitters need to babysit in pairs? Will teachers need to teach in pairs even though the school budget doesn’t allow?? I know there’s a happy medium, I fear that we hit that happy medium about ten years ago, but now it’s just gotten silly and I’ve a feeling it’s about to become a whole lot sillier yet.

Please help me to understand?

Apr 21

The Wild West – the endurance test.

Posted on Sunday, April 21, 2013 in Jobs, Philosophy, Strange and Unusual, Taboo, The Asylum Experience

I didn’t know a whole lot when I entered into this. I knew that a documentary was being filmed about eight transition-year kids (all aged 16/17); four of whom were disabled, the other four able-bodied. One needed regular medication doses, and one needed a wheelchair.

None of the children knew where they were going, but they knew they were going somewhere.

I was employed as a chaperone, along with another lady, let’s call her Curly.

As an introduction weekend, we all were to spend a day or two in Connemara, Co Galway. Curly phoned me the night before, nervous as I was… when I met her on the platform I knew everything would be okay. She has a way about her that I probably don’t need to describe, I don’t think I could anyway, she fell into that category of people that you seem to have known for years.

We yakked together on the train all the way in, and met everybody else at a hotel in Dublin. Worried mothers grasping arms and whispering secrets into out ears. I felt so overwhelmed all of a sudden, at the vastness of my responsibilities.

I went from having three children, to eight. Thank God for Curly.

We rode into the West and had the craic and some sangwiches and a bit of an auld sing-song, as you do. I couldn’t believe how quickly the kids bonded together. They were a well chosen bunch.

At a pit-stop, the kid in the wheelchair, let’s call him Joel… he hinted that he needed to pee. I brought him to the jacks and we did our best with the narrow walls of the petrol-station bog. I hadn’t realised that he needed help with everything, so when he asked for my help I was honoured that he could be so comfortable with me so quickly. There’s something about exposing yourself to others, trust is a huge thing, and to be trusted so quickly is a wonderful compliment. We made distracting conversation and I found out that he was an avid reader with a love of Xbox.

The other kids were quiet with us at the start, but we made ourselves as accessible as possible with smiles and funny faces like eejits on crack. They hadn’t realised that we’d be there for the whole adventure, I realise in hind-sight. When they figured this out, they accepted us wholeheartedly as mammies. They even named us ‘Charlie’s Angels’.

Connemara was HARSH.

There was a storm, shortly after we arrived. Our comfortable hotel was completely isolated from phone or wifi for our entire trip. Joel commented that a re-make of ‘The Shining’ could be filmed here and I agreed. It was a sort of side-ways rain that pelts your skin like pins and needles. Bleak slamming and howling noises were to be heard at night, early starts for water activities came all too soon.


I was impressed by the participant kids and their commitment to effort, I mean really impressed.

There were two ‘mentors’ employed on the trip… one I’ll name Fawn, because her eyes reminded me of one. When she was sixteen, she got meningitis and had to be put in to a coma. While she was under, she contracted the MRSA bug and was given her last rites. She now survives as an amazing woman, presenting and researching for TV. She wears prosthetics, but you can’t really tell. The other mentor was Mr Out of This World (so dubbed by the teenagers). A handsome chappie, I couldn’t get a grasp on him at the start (that’s what she said).

I got to have a drink with the crew at the end of the day, I’m glad they accepted me so quickly… their histories and biographies extremely impressive. They were lovely people with dry wit and funny stories and I couldn’t wait for the next chapter.

The kids found out about our destination at the end of the Galway trip, on camera. They were going to Costa Rica… their woops and screams tingled the hairs on my arms. Of course we had to try to re-shoot that moment several times which you’d think might dilute their enthusiasm, but it didn’t.

I couldn’t believe it either.

I went home, helped to host an Easter Bonanza, and then moved house two days before the air-plane for Costa Rica took off.


Feb 1

The Loser

Posted on Friday, February 1, 2013 in Arty Farty, Philosophy, Rantings, Something to think about

Well sure, now and isn’t it a while since we played a game?

– I don’t like your games, I always end up being laughed at.

Well isn’t that the point, to have a laugh?

– Not if I feel bad about it, no.

But if there isn’t a loser, there can’t be a winner, can there?

– I agree, but what does losing mean if it’s all the time?

It means you haven’t found the game you’re good at yet.

– Find me a game that I’m good at and I’ll play with you so.

Sure I don’t know what you’re good at, will we just play cards?

– I don’t know how.

I’ll teach you! You’ve a face like a tomato, you need something fun.

– I don’t want to be taught, I just want an easy life.

Sure if you can’t be taught then how will you learn?

– Eventually.

How’s about we get a grip?

– That’s easy for you to say. You’re not me!

Yes I am.

– Fair point.

So what will we play?

– I don’t want to play anything, I just want to watch TV.

Let’s play ‘what happens if you only have a week left to live!’ What would you do?

– Sleep.

That isn’t true. I bet you’d get a degree in Metaphysics or something.

– You have a lot of faith in me!

That’s because I am you.

– Is that what you’d like to do?

Not really. I’d go out and go crazy.

– That’s kind of pointless though.

So is sleeping.


So what will we do?

– Write a blog post?

What about?

– nothing.

What’s the point in that?

– I dunno.

So let’s play a game!

– Let’s play ‘leave me alone’? I have things to tidy.

You’ll go crazy if you don’t play.

– I think it’s too late for that.

So you think you’re already crazy?

– Maybe.

But if you were crazy then you wouldn’t realise it so therefore you’re not crazy.

– Shut up and leave me alone.


– I hate you.

I’m your inner child, you have to listen to me or I’ll broken your face.

– Fair point. What are we playing?

Let’s play ‘Hide and Seek’. I’ll go hide and you have to find me.

– That might take a while.

I have all the time in the world. You love me though, I know you’ll find me.

– Eventually.

I hope so.

– Me too.

Jul 23

Grabbing life by the balls

Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 in Family, Philosophy, Strange and Unusual

It was at 9 bells last Saturday night… I had homemade pizza cooked and served. The toddler was in bed, the Laughingboy settled and Puppychild was ready for her bedtime film. I paced in the kitchen. Nervous energy. Wanting. Needing.

The source of my anxiety was the fact that there was a group of people meeting far away, the fact that nestled in the Southwestern part of Ireland there was about to be a kick-ass bonfire of peers that shaped me in my teenage years, people that I hadn’t seen in about twenty years. I needed to be there.

I put this to the husband man who thankfully relieved my anxiety and told me to fuck off.

So off I fucked.

It took three hours to drive there… that’s pretty much the longest time it takes for somebody anywhere in Ireland to drive from one point to another, not counting the Northern Territories. Unless you’re driving from Wexford to Donegal… which is in fairness a very worthwhile waste of four hours. Pittance to Americans and Africans and Europeans, but your diesel is cheaper so shurrup.

I got there at midnight. I wandered along a blackened beach with my torch and found nobody. Just a pile of wood.

I wandered back to the pub, the hub of a very tiny community and found twenty people there. Twenty people who were very surprised to see me. I met a girl with whom I’d shared various schools (far far away from there) for the best part of twelve years. We noted that it was indeed, a very small world. It seemed somehow, meant to be.

The group made its way to the beach, and lit the bonfire with the firelighters I’d brought. We sat around the blaze and re-counted old stories and laughed, and slagged, and when the conversation waned the guitar was brought out.

Problem was, nobody played guitar really, so it was handed to me.

I played them my best Rocky Raccoon, and my Rhiannon, and threw in a Redemption Song for good measure. Come running home again Katie was in the repartoire somewhere, as was Black is the Colour as it usually is in Ireland… Street Spirit made an appearance at some stage, as did Black Boys on Mopeds.

I kept playing, and strumming random things.

They said the sweetest thing.

“K8” they said… “You’ve travelled a long way for no reason, you’ve helped with the fire, and you’re making our music. Already you’ve made this party ten times better.”

I tell you what. That compliment alone made the diesel money and the unreasonable compulsion and the risk seem so much more worth it.

The party went on…

and on…

until 6am.

I pointed out that there was a lot of crap to be cleaned up so we did that. We gathered cans and bottles and bits of plastic and binned them and threw burnable crap on the fire.

That was when I sort of fell in to said fire.

Bonfire casualty, There's always one feckin eejit that falls into the bonfire.


It doesn’t hurt that much now, it’s wrapped, and seen to. The doctor gave me a lollipop for knowing how to treat second degree burns and sent me home to think about what I’d done.

What with a broken wrist, and now minor burnage… I haven’t been able to shake anybody by the hand for over two months.

Is there a psychological reason behind that?

I don’t know.

I don’t care.

It was fun, and it made me feel better about myself and I’m happier having taken that risk. That’s all that matters in life, I think.

Jun 7

How to not lie awake at night

Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 in Philosophy, Something to think about

I lie awake sometimes at night and think of all the things I should have done or said. Thoughts of embarrassing moments cross my memory and I shudder and cringe and re-live horrible moments in intimate detail. Torture. I take things too seriously sometimes, maybe. It’s good to force those feelings out they say, focus on the positive. Guilt is a useless emotion.

Easier said than done though is that lark, focusing on the positive I mean… it seems easier to beat oneself up.

But then adults are always hard on themselves, it’s in our programming. We’ve been told to be responsible and to support ourselves or the book will be thrown at us and it’s that, probably, that forces us to rebel on some level. I’m thinking to myself though that that’s where we’ve been going wrong.

I’m an adult, yes, but I shouldn’t have thrown away childish thoughts. I shouldn’t have assumed that every birthday should be the funeral of the years that have gone before, they’re still there, still within me, looking for approval and acceptance. We’re like trees, you and I, with rings inside counting our age… but trees don’t let their inner rings die, they keep them inside and it’s those rings that strengthen and support the adult tree as it grows, and we should be the same.

We should be allowing that inner two-year-old or thirteen-year-old to take part in everyday life, and we should embrace our five-year-old selves and love it and educate it and let it take over now and then. It’s natural. Feeling guilty is pointless. Blame the kid inside and be done with it.

When you walk into a room and you’re on your own and you spot a tea-cosy, put it on your head. When you see an errant traffic cone, rob it. If you see a patch of grass with daisies on it, plonk that arse down and start making chains. Sleep with a teddy-bear. Make mistakes.

Try it, if you feel like you know what I might be phaffing on about… feel your past ages and remember them, and remember how you felt at each stage. Let that kid judge you for a change, let it ask questions and answer them as honestly as you can because nobody else is listening. Listen to it cry and hug it, and let it giggle and make rainbows with garden hoses. It’s not lost, you just can’t see it anymore but it’s still there.

I sleep better sometimes, spooning with my inner seven-year-old me. She’s a messed-up kid and she has no idea what she’s talking about but then again, neither do I.

May 17

My sweetest downfall

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in Family, Music, Philosophy, Rantings, Strange and Unusual

So there you have it! Gots me an x-ray today that says I don’t need no nasty support pins inserted into my buggered wrist. Turns out wrist is not so buggered! I started popping some homeopathic Symphytum 6c a few days ago and the weirdest thing happened… it worked. The cracks on my distal radiator have faded to thin wee lines within a week. But of course that could be a coincidence. Whatever. Four weeks left of no driving.

This wrecks my head.

No driving.

Or does it?

I’ve been pardoned from all sorts of things. Previous stresses have just… melted away. The flu that’s been farting around my chestal area has disappeared. Stressed-out-woman-flu. Gone! Baths are a pain in the ass with a fibreglass arm, but I can’t bite the nails on my right hand so they’re kind’a pretty now. Ying and yang.

I can’t look after the Accidental Terrorist in his post-operative state, though, that’s a bummer. He has to spend his birthday this weekend in an old folk’s home. I haven’t found the silver lining in that one yet, besides an opportunity for bets on aul’ones in wheelchair-races down hill-slopes.

A spare xbox would definitely cheer him up though, and I’m sure as hell not giving up mine!

Not looking at anybody.


But the worst thing of all is that I have to give up Laughingboy. He’s booked away for ten days, umpteen bags are packed in the hallway. Nebuliser meds, feeds, kangaroo bags, tubes, syringes, baby wipes, funky rocket pyjamas… he’s been there for most of the week already, he came home yesterday temporarily and I missed him.

I put Florence and the Machine on for him and spun him ’round on his roof hoist sling even though I’m not supposed to and gave him a head-scratch with my new nails. He’s a sucker for a head-scratch.

As I tucked him in, I did the usual under-cover sweep of arms and tubes to make sure one would not reef the other causing eruptions of stomach gunge (as you do), and as I did my hand was grabbed. Laughingboy has never really done that deliberately before. He squazzed my hand tightly and gazed into nowhere and purred quietly, his gaze fixed on something out the window. Or the window itself, or a far away galaxy maybe. I stayed until he loosened his grip. The chicken nuggets got slightly burned, but it was worth it. He’s going away tomorrow, I’m going to miss him so much, the sort of hurt I wish they could put pins in.

Jun 24

Buried Treasure

I was clearing out my bookmarks this evening and looked what spilled out!!

The Labyrinth of Genre

Floaty-mouse images of Dublin City in June 1961 and June 2011, a then-and-now sort of collection. Look at all the dinky cars! (Stolen from Jo :)

This is what real love looks like.

-US Actress Tina Fey’s ‘A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child’; it’s as though she’s inside my head.

10 Words You Need To Stop Misspelling Read these, and write them out twenty times, you naughty children!

How to make a gift box out of a bank note. For when you couldn’t be arsed buying that voucher.

Arty Bollocks Generator because everybody needs an artist statement!

Oh, and a creepy picture by Lori Nix. Click the image to magnifify it.


Jun 1

0% of full

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 in Family, Philosophy, Taxi driving

Today is a weird day. It’s not the sort of day I’d normally blog about because its content wouldn’t be the most uplifting, but I’ve entered a pact with another blogger to match him post-for-post, in an effort to motivate each other into prolifickness prolifickity more frequent writing, so here it goes:

My husband of the Accidental Terrorism variety has suffered from a degenerative spine condition for a handful of years now. He’s had surgery before that followed pain of the most extremist type, the type that had him crawling in agony on hands and knees to the bathroom, the type that had him passing out at Christmas dinner tables, a pain that left me wretched with helplessness. Surgery eased the problem, but there came a warning with it; a warning to follow a strict routine of exercise and back care in the years to follow. The warning was forgotten, as were the exercises… and taxi driving took over.

Now, today, The Accidental Terrorist has gone to have operation number two. Laughingboy had been booked into respite. Puppychild and Sir Fartsalot were due to spend a spell in my friend’s house so that I could properly see TAT to his hospital bed and settle him in my wifey ways, but the planets didn’t want it to pass that way for some reason.

Instead Laughingboy suffers a bowel infection, Puppychild a virus and Sir Fartsalot a lung infection. All at the same time do the healthiest children in the world become sick. I find that pretty strange.

And so I waved bye-bye and stifled emotions for the benefit of the children and the heating-engineers and I stuffed it away into a container at the arse end of my soul for later consideration. I hope TAT’s friend is as good a hand-holder as I’d hoped to be, I wonder if TAT feels as lonely as I do despite being surrounded by plenty of people.

Here comes the good part:

I’m a scatty person. As is my mother, and her family… scattiness is most definitely hereditary, I don’t care what anyone says. This means that my mother’s sister’s child is bound to be the same way, doesn’t it?

She stayed with me before, my cousin Diddles. Then she moved far beyond the pale and vowed to visit again but never quite got around to it and time got away from us. It was pointed out to me that it was bad play to keep booking visits and never turn up, but I pointed it out that in the grand scheme of things, scatty people mean well because I know at first hand how it is and I understand and bear no such cancerous Irish grudge on the girl, I’ve got no time for that sorta thing.

We spoke two days ago, she and I. We giggled about willies and spoke of sickness and before I knew it, she had booked herself on the train. She’s trundling her way cross-country to me right now as I write, to come and share the burden and slap the sense of humour back into me, right exactly when I need her, because that’s what matters, right there.

Now all that’s left are the antibiotics, and the waiting…