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“I’m up to me eyeballs in snow, so I am.” That would be exactly how my husband would describe the weather in Chicago today if he was on the phone with one of his mates back in Ireland. It’s not how he really talks, but a sort of ‘put on Irish’ he falls into when he really wants to describe something or is just joking around a bit. It sounds to me like a sort of combination North Dublin/Cork thing, and that would make sense because, although he spent most of his life in the ‘posh’ South Dublin neighborhood of Clonskeagh, he was born and spent his youngest years in Cabra, a workingclass North Dublin neighborhood, so he knows how to talk like a Dub when the situation calls for it. As for the Cork part, he spent the majority of the summers of his youth in Cork, with his aunt and uncle, both teachers in Mitchelstown, and their four children. But, just for the record, my husband has a South Dublin accent that many Americans hardly recognize as Irish, thanks to Hollywood and Barry Fitzgerald. In fact, one time someone even asked him if he was from Boston!

Anyway, the plan today was to skip the blog and meet my daughter for breakfast at our favorite Andersonville coffee shop/restaurant/boutique, Kopi. Daughters are wonderful by the way. Sons are wonderful too, but in a different way. Mothers and daughters can talk for hours, on subjects son’s would never dream of discussing, while sipping Russian Tea and Chai Tea Lattes in a great little shop and never get bored! And then, that same mother/daughter combination can top it off with yet another browse through the boutique section, ooo-ing and ahh-ing at the same clothing and jewelry they ogled just a week before! But Chicago weather has no regard for the plans of mothers and daughters, so here I am typing away again.

I came to the computer with the intention of writing about Dublin. With all the talk of cottages in bogs and the rugged, haunting West Coast of Ireland, I felt like I was neglecting my home away from home, Dublin, the city I have come to think of as Ireland itself these past several years. But that subject will have to wait for another day because I cannot be in three places at one time and at the moment, I am existing in two.

Here I sit in the midst of a snow storm and all that entails… changes of plans, a grocery stop at Jewel to stock up like a good Midwesterner in a blizzard, and an eye on the driveway with plans of doing a bit of shoveling in an hour or two so my car doesn’t pack it all down when I have to pick up my son from school. But, and this is the mystical part of it, I am also pacing in front of Rose Cottage, worrying still about the condition of the water pipes in this cold spell. I can prove I am there because I can hear my boots crunching on the “stone garden” as I pace! Every once in awhile I walk to the back deck so I can peer through the big windows to see if there is any clue of a mishap or anything that might let me know that the heat is still going on at the specified time and keeping the pipes from freezing.

I’m still worried about the pipes because, not only did I have the audacity to purchase a cottage in a remote area in a country across the ocean, but also because I am relying upon Irishmen to deal with the problem. And if I learned anything in the year I lived there, in this marriage and in the process of selling a house in Dublin and buying one in Kilkee… it is that the Irish are different than Americans, so they are.

Normally, I would consider myself pretty laid back for an American. I keep my schedule flexible, I would never be considered a type-A personality, and I don’t spend my energy trying to keep up with the Jones’s. However, compared to an Irish person, I’m a neurotic New Yorker demanding results yesterday. The Irish way of approaching a problem is to circle it, sniff it, walk away for a respectable period of time…. usually a period of time longer than I thought possible… and then come back to it for another circle, sniff and maybe to poke at it a bit. Then the process is repeated. Eventually the problem either goes away, somehow gets solved, or, and they won’t admit this, grows into a bigger problem that needs to be circled, sniffed and poked from a different angle. I just fear that freezing pipes fall into the third category. In this particular case, the circling, sniffing and poking involves arranging for the alarm man from Galway, who has the keys, to make his way down to the cottage to meet with the local man in Kilkee, who has agreed to keep and eye on the place for us.

So, American that I am, I had to split in two in order to cope. One of ‘me’ is doing just fine dealing with weather I’ve lived with and dealt with my entire life. That’s a piece of cake. While the other ‘me’ paces and peers… and waits for a stranger from Galway to get a call from my husband telling him to meet me in front of Rose Cottage with the key so I can get in and fix the problem!

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