Sunday, August 08, 2010

Ireland Day 3: Cliffs of Moher

When I was planning our little trip to the Emerald Isle, I read that the Cliffs of Moher were Ireland's most visited tourist attraction. Then I saw that scenes from the Princess Bride & Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were filmed there and that sealed the deal... I decided we had to go! I found a bus tour with the Cliffs as one of the stops and signed us up.

Before the first stop (Limerick), I was feeling really carsick. The trip was a mini bus/large van and I wasn't in the front. I started sweating like crazy and took my coat off...Lisa couldn't believe I was warm. We weren't scheduled to stop for an hour and a half and I didn't know how I was going to make it all the way... it was like my prayers were answered when the bus driver made an unscheduled stop so he could use the bathroom at a gas station! I told Lisa not to let him leave without me and ran in behind him! We went the rest of the way to Limerick and after a quick stop in the bathroom and quick photos of King John's castle, I switched seats with Joe (who was in the front) and we were off to the Cliffs!
I felt much better once I was in the front, but I was still suffering from some residual motion-sickness. When we got to the Cliffs of Moher, though, it was worth the carsickness!
After some time at the Cliffs, we headed to Irleand's "traditional music capital," Doolin. Unfortunately, we didn't hear any music! We just had lunch & then it was about time to head to our next stop.
We spent some time at the Burren, a "lunar landscape" of limestone. David found a great crevice in which to take a picture, but it was too scary for me to watch!  I enjoyed the view of Galway bay from safer ground!
We wish Joe's leg weren't in this picture!!!
After the Burren, we went to see a really old tomb called Poulnabrone. To say it's old is an understatement... evidence shows that at least 33 bodies were moved from a previous burial site to this one in 3000 b.c.
Our last top was Bunratty Castle. We didn't go in... Lisa & Joe did some more shopping and David and I got ice cream cones. Then it was back to the van with our crazy driver to head back to Cork. Most of the time we were moving, I was sleeping... I hated to miss the Irish countryside, but I didn't want to be sick!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Kitchen Table Update!

I have a feeling that this may end up being one of those stories that future generations tire of hearing, gathered around our table for a big family meal... the great kitchen table saga of 2010.

Remember when we built this table?
Well, during the building of the table, our neighbor came over and offered to assist when we needed to get it into the house. I joked (or at least I thought I joked) that we were not taking the table into the house, we'd just be bringing our chairs out to the garage and eating here. Would be easier to bring food out here than take the table to the kitchen!

But really, I wanted my table in the house.

I looked at the table, I looked at the kitchen. I measured the table, I measured the kitchen. I panicked.

I bought a few extra days as we varnished the table.

I bought a few extra minutes while we put my finishing touch on the table.
But, once our names were signed and our work was dated, I had to face the fact that I had nowhere to put our masterpiece.

It would fit in the kitchen, but we'd have to turn sideways, crawl under or climb over to get from the kitchen door (British homes have doors on every room!) to say, the sink, the fridge, the washing machine, etc. And since I like going to the sink & the fridge (I could do without the washing machine), I was not looking forward to the inconvenience. Plus, people tend to gather in the kitchen. My old neighbor had a thing in her kitchen that said, "No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best"... and it seems to hold true in my kitchen. In my tiny Okinawa kitchen, we'd all squeeze in there and chat over appetizers or cookies or whatever. And here, in my nice spacious kitchen, I finally have room to have a conversation with someone AND stir a pot without bumping any elbows. But if that table were in there, there would be no more gathering.

So, I had to think of something else. My friends here asked, "Why not the dining room?" My answer was, "The massage chair is in the dining room!" Our "dining room" had become sort of the "point of no return" room... empty boxes, massage chair, chair that matches our couch & loveseat but that I didn't think would fit in the living room (it does), entertainment center filled with board games, old television that hasn't been plugged in for 5 or 6 years (and yet, we brought it along), and a box of Christmas gifts that I never I'm already all done with this year's Christmas shopping! WoOhOo!

I was at a loss for ideas. I finally allowed David to convince me that we could put the massage chair in the kitchen and put the table in the living room. Friends who were supportive of this idea tried to promote it by saying I'd be able to have a massage in my massage chair while I waited for pasta water to boil. It began to sound like a good idea. One evening, I came home from somewhere (tutoring, maybe? or a volunteer committee meeting? I don't know) and the table was in the dining room. And it looked gorgeous! It looked as if we had actually intended for it to go in there! And the massage chair was in the kitchen. And it looked TERRIBLE! Even though it is black and our floor is black, it didn't "blend in". There was no denying the fact that there was a 500 pound (I'm estimating), 3 foot long piece of furniture that was required to be placed 2 feet from the wall, near an outlet, and looks more suited to a dentist's office than my KITCHEN in my kitchen.
(The empty boxes were trashed, the chair moved to the living room--I made some measurements and drew a diagram, sent David an e-mail with my idea of how it could all fit, and when I came home... it was all in place! Isn't he the best?---the entertainment center hauled to the garage, where it now houses our tool collection, the tv given away or taken to the recycle center, and the board games stacked in a pile on the floor. The Christmas box is still there waiting to be wrapped & addressed for next year.)

David went golfing on Saturday and while he was gone, I set my plan in motion. I had to get that chair out of the kitchen. Well, I had to get David to get that chair out of the kitchen. In order to do that, I had to make a place for it somewhere else. I knew that David would agree to move it IF all he had to do was move it. If he would've had to move any other furniture, wait for me to clear a space, etc. my plan would not work.

I spent hours in the tiniest room in our house. Our former home-office/home-gym/half-laundry room or "multi-purpose room" for short. It's a tiny room, but with a little bit of magic and a LOT of determination to get the massage chair OUT of the kitchen, I made it all work.
I moved the dryer from one side of the room to the other, slid the digi-piano/keyboard down along the wall to the very end, got rid of the end table that once supported the printer & phone and put the printer on a little wire rack on the floor under the piano and the phone on a file cabinet. The weights & yoga mat went under the other side of the piano. And, there was a space just about big enough for the massage chair. It's cramped, but the door still closes, and the only people who will ever need to go in that room would be playing my piano, doing my laundry, talking on my vonage phone, or sitting in my massage chair. And if you're doing one of those things, chances are you know me well enough not to judge me for having a lot of stuff going on in one tiny little room.

David came home and moved the massage chair right away. Sort of. He had to remove the kitchen door in order to get the chair back out of the kitchen, and he had to remove the tiny-room door to get the chair into the tiny room. But some smarty-pants had painted over the hinges on the tiny-room door so instead of just taking the door off the hinges, he had to take the hinges off the doorframe!

But now, all is said and done and the massage chair is in its new home, where it doesn't offend me and where I actually use it.

I've got to do another post about building our benches...but we used the old camera (since David forgot our new camera's battery charger in Ireland) and I don't know where it is right now!
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