February 17, 2019

Countdown To Irishness

I originally started the Irish citizenship quest in 2017. Because my grandfather was born in Ireland, it is possible for me to apply for citizenship. I first gathered a lot of documents. I had a lot of success on this, but then I stalled. My grandfather died at home. His house stood at the crossroads of three different municipalities. It took a lot of research to find the right one. And when I found it, the state of New York said that they would not give it without a court order.

That really knocked the wind out of my sails, so I stopped trying. Can't recall what finally got me off my keister again, but I decided to hire a fixer. She helped me navigate the problems, and there were many:
  1. My grandparents never married, which was pretty unusual. Ireland assumes that parents will be married. So we had to write an affidavit about them not being married. And gather extra documents about my non-Irish grandmother
  2. My grandfather's birthdate on his death certificate doesn't match the birthdate on his birth record in Ireland. I knew this was the case, but because of the combination of names of his parents, which are unusual, and the fact that those great grandparents are the parents of children whose names match many of my grandfather's siblings, he has to be that child, no matter his "wrong" birthdate
  3. I had to call someone in a records office in Ireland and help him find the birth record while we were on the phone. I knew which page it was on in the registry book and where on that page. When he found it, he said he wouldn't have known that this was the one I was looking for. Sigh.
  4. We had to write separate affidavits for the date discrepancy, as well
  5. We had to hire a translator for the Norwegian documentation, and none of this was cheap
So many items had to be notarized, as well. Luckily the factory has several notaries, and their services are free. This was a huge relief. Having to go to a notary would have made me nuts.
At the end of all of this, there was the application fee. The application was received in the beginning of August and I have no notice as to where I am in the queue or whether this amount of time elapsing is normal or not.

Maybe before St. Patrick's Day? Not that I like that holiday, but it would be kinda fun to show up at my old Irish pub with my Irish birth registration to show it off to the owners.

February 16, 2019


Last Monday I drove through some rain towards home. I hit the hill and gave my weenie car some gas, as I do to get up that last bit before our street and traffic started to back up. And then I noticed it was white all around me. Nobody could get up that hill because it had been snowing. Everybody had their blinkers on and a guy coming *down* the hill told me that the hill was "impassible" and that I should turn around, which I did. I found a parking space in front of the iceplant house and had the chance to strike up a conversation with the lady whose mom owns the house and told her how much I look forward to her iceplant display every year.

After a few minutes of deliberation, I drove back up the hill a little bit and found a parking spot. Then I got out of the car and trudged up the hill a quarter mile to our house, in the slippery snow, stopping to catch my breath and to laugh and post to FB.

Someone must have just left their parking spot in this photo.

Oh and I was making this trek with my mom's life savings in my purse, because she and my sister had inexplicably shown up at work earlier in the day and handed me a bunch of cashiers' checks to convert into CDs. Thanks for the head's up!

The next morning there were little snowdrifts on the deck and snow in my flax, even. Not something you see every day.

February Birthdays

Our nephew and his eldest daughter share a birthday in early February. This one was a biggie -- her eighteenth. I wanted to do something fun. But finding the intersection of fun for me and fun for other people is always a bit of a challenge. For her fifth birthday I gave her an ocelot muff that my grandmother had had made. This was one of my most prized items as a child. The muff occupied a position of honor in my bedroom, bunking up with the stuffed animals that lived on the chaise longue I wasn't allowed to sit on. When the little one opened that year's gift, her great uncle from the other side of the family declared it the pimpiest thing he had ever seen given to a child at a birthday. Said with a straight face while carrying a miniature doberman pinscher wearing a spiked collar. Really.

Anyhoo, it's kinda become a hallmark of my gifts to her. I love to give this child and her sister stuff that they find puzzling, like my grandmother's opera-length kid gloves, or jewelry that's too adult for them. They just laugh.

This year, however, I thought it would be fun for us to actually *gasp* spend time together. So I've invited her to a mani pedi and lunch. As luck would have it, on the free table that week I found a ziploc bag with 45 fake diamond brooches in it. Score! So we combined heartfelt and pimpy all in one.

Similarly, I am gifting her father with a foot reflexology massage at the spa that used to be a discount party supplies store. Perhaps followed by a beer and some laughs.

This is what 40+ brooches looks like. She texted me that they were "hilarious and beautiful". Mission completed! Now I just have to let my cuticles grow in and find a good date for a mani pedi.

The Weekend

[Note: written earlier this week but posted this weekend]
I was so excited about this weekend. Sure, I spent Thursday night sleeping at my mom's and getting up no fewer than 4 times in the middle of the night. Sure, as she was winding down for the evening she was watching Fox News full blast in the other room and I had to listen to MTV's only Republican VJ ever, Kennedy, who is now a Fox News talking head, and her this shy of Coulterian dramatic retelling of how crazy the Democratic party is. Oy. But I was looking forward to a weekend that had a blank calendar. Butno. No. No. No. Fate had other ideas.

I got the call that our beloved caregiver had to go to the ER on Friday so I closed the old laptop and hurried over to take care of the mama. I am happy to report that our caregiver "only" has pneumonia. And because I wasn't out of town or something I could fill in her shifts Saturday day, Sunday night and I'm already on the schedule for tonight so she can rest. We were so worried about her.


January 2019 was the four year mark of us kids all recognizing at the same time that Mom had a real problem and we needed to address it.

And then about a billion other things happened that led to here.

Bigsis and I wonder how much longer we'll be doing this. We've had a blessedly steady six months, and the mama's health has held steady. Her mental health is pretty steady, also, but a little more unfiltered. But I love her, and I cherish the time we have, even if sometimes it's totally weird and if navigating her through her world and protecting her from it and it from her is awkward as hell. Pictured: mom starting to agitate about how she doesn't like the bread in the dining room in the community where she lives.

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