“Sweetie, do you wanna go to Ireland with me”?
“Yea, sure” she replied and looked at me as if to say “in which century”?
Okay how about next week!
The guys working on the project asked me (at a very late stage) if I wanted to work on this particular design, and, oh yea go to Ireland a week from the day to present and do some planning and miscellaneous site work.
Never let them see you smile or sweat at work: I said “okay” but was already doing the end-zone dance of all end-zone dances in my head. I haven’t been back to Ireland for 30 years, and I was going next week! Now all I gotta do is convince Lisa to go with me (He – no plans, no reservations She – very cautious and planned) but it was easier than I thought.
So I give Lisa my business class ticket (that THEY bought) and take her econo-class ticket (that I bought) and we go get on the plane. I had to laugh as I was peeling the plastic lid off my dinner (I had a choice of “meat” or “chicken”) as the steam wafted up from the microwaved styrofoam bowl I burst out laughing. The nice lady sitting next to me asked what was so funny (she probably selected “chicken”) and I told her the story about my wife sitting up front where they were serving shrimp appetizer and warm nuts after the Champaign post takeoff toast (business class tickets RULE) and she looked down at her dinner too and also laughed. Good thing I got loaded in the president’s club before the flight or I may have cried.
We flew into Shannon airport and rented a *very* small 5-speed from Avis. I asked the counter person if there was a "better" map of Ireland than the one she gave me (she laughed) and then I realized that ALL or at least mostly all of the roads in Ireland were already on this one! After a brief struggle with driving (dude, steering wheel on the right and gear shift on the left is no way to have to drive a vehicle – every other time I entered one of those %$@$#@ roundabouts I inadvertently grabbed the door handle and opened my door) We then headed to Galway. It was about this time I cautiously reset the time on my pump. For whatever reason, my dawn phenomenon goes away when I travel out of my local time zone and I run the risk of a severe overnight low if I leave it as-is. We stopped at a pub for lunch
and just as I was feeling a little sorry for myself for having so much crap to worry about with diabetes and travel and foreign lunches I see a One-touch test strip on the floor. No it wasn't mine. I was sure because I tested in the car a minute ago. It was like finding a little reminder that I AM NOT ALONE, in fact I’m not all that different. =) Also on the way we saw the Cliffs of Mohr
– beautiful. We reached Galway and stayed in a B&B that happened to be closed but the owner was having her floors done and opened up for the night. The coolest was being able to get our breakfast any time we wanted! We woke up and headed to Dublin, let me say that the entire cross country trip was filled with tangents and side trips to see the little towns along the way and eat at various little places.
I was making Lisa laugh by repeating my mantra "No plans - no map - no directions - drive on the left" We found Dublin after a brief search. What a nostalgic and lovely town. HAD to go see the Guinness factory, and then drove around the city and over the Keys a zillion times. We ate a little late that night (the pubs were down to pints only) but with a little investigation we eventually found a nice restaurant. Eating in Ireland was easy, I kept my carbs to potato and long grain breads. We were doing a lot of walking too and that was helping a lot.
Next morning drove to Ballina (Co. Mayo - which is the town my mom grew up in) to see my Aunts, Uncles and cousins.
I haven't been there for 30 years and one of the coolest thing was seeing how large the trees got. It was like looking at one of those time lapse movies!
We drank a whisky with my Uncle John, who still works the family farm, which was exactly the same as I remembered. We had a really nice dinner at the local pub and spent the next day with the family. The following day we drove to Ennis, a town near Shannon airport, and stayed in a nice hotel. It was a little touristy but turned out to be fun anyway.
There were lots and lots of revelers singing beer songs (rugby reunion maybe?) and roaming the streets until 2 or 3 AM. Who woulda thunk that Ennis was the Mardi Gras of Ireland?
The next morning we drove back to Shannon International. I saw my lovely wife back to the states and picked up my work partners.
I turned in my little 5-speed in for a luxury model (see now I am on the company's expense) and drove South East through Limerick to Clonmel, where our factory is located. Alas, the fun was over for the time being I had to work the next four days and labor over plans and designs and my fellow partners arguments. Good thing we went out to dinner every night.
On the ride back we went to Bunratty for an overnight stay at the Bunratty Castle before our flight home. I almost convinced my partners to don metal pails and garbage can lids as helmets and shield and storm the castle, but they were not of heart to do so. Good thing as it may have been hard to explain why I got arrested in Ireland.
And that's the semi abridged version of my stay. I love it there, as does my Lisa, and we will be back.