Friday Finds – June Bank Holiday!

Hi Everyone –

I hope every one has had a great few weeks. I had family in town, and then we spent a long weekend in London. I’ll have a post next week about our wild adventures – like seeing this charming sign in Marylebone!  This weekend is a three-day weekend in Ireland because Monday is a bank holiday.  The American in me is hoping for warm days, backyard grilling, and enjoying the summer sun.  But this is Ireland.  And nothing says “summer bank holiday” like cool temperatures and wet and windy conditions.  It should make for fun times all around.

While I spend the weekend cursing the weather, hopefully you will get some enjoyment out of these links!

Love the snark in these new words from Urban Dictionary.  Expand your vocabulary!

I live in a UNESCO City of Literature, and I have yet to visit all of these bookshops.

What Estate Agents Say vs. What they really mean. Ha!  As someone who lives over on this side of the pond, I have heard these more times than I can count.  My personal favorite was a home we looked at that was advertised as “not overlooked to the back” (i.e. no neighbors directly behind the home.)  What they really meant:  “Backs up to a PRISON!”

Since we aren’t going to the US this summer, maybe I should plan this road trip instead.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

x Rheagan

Call the Midwife! The ONE thing I have in common with Kate Middleton

Prince William and Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) welcomed their second child into the world this week.  You may have seen something about it in the press. 😉  Everyone oohed and aahed over their baby girl, talked about how amazing Kate looked, and who made her dress, and even how early she left the hospital.  But one thing that did not get much press is that Kate chose midwife-led maternity care.  Although a team of doctors was at the hospital on-call, two midwives delivered the baby girl just two and a half hours after she arrived at the hospital, and Kate and baby Charlotte departed less than 12 hours later.  It was clear that she had a low-key birth.  From my perspective, it was a great example of the benefits of midwife-led maternity services that are definitely the norm in Europe.

My introduction into the Irish health system was fast and furious.  A week before we departed for Ireland, I found out we were unexpectedly expecting our third child. We were completely surprised. I don’t know anyone who plans to get pregnant in the middle of an international move. We were literally about to board a plane to the other side of the world, and there really wasn’t anything else to do but figure it out once we got here. I had to navigate a completely different maternity and healthcare system in only a matter of weeks.  In Ireland, as in the UK, you have your choice of public, semi-private, and private maternity care.  I won’t go into the differences in this post, but we chose private care simply because it was the plan most similar to the US system, and we had private health insurance through Brad’s employer.  As in the US, I selected an OB, and saw her at every appointment. The difference that I noticed right away was how my general practitioner and my OB treated pregnancy as a natural part of life, not a condition that needed to be ‘treated’.   For the record, I was very happy with my choice of OB for my first two pregnancies in the US.  My doctor was a very low-key, hands off, calm guy.  I say this only to point out that I wasn’t resentful, or looking for differences between the systems to prove a point.  No “ax to grind” here.

The approaches to pregnancy, labor, and delivery are just very different.  There was not a focus on the lists and lists of things pregnant women should avoid.  It was perfectly fine to exercise, eat seafood, even have a glass of wine occasionally. Part of this was that this was my third pregnancy in 4 years.  I knew what to expect, and when to speak up when I had questions. But I really liked the hands-off approach.  I felt less stress about doing all the “right things” vs “wrong things”. I am not a share-all-the-nitty-gritty-details-of-my-labor-on-the-internet kind of gal, but on the night Patrick was born, we checked into National Maternity Hospital around 11:30 pm. I was attended by a midwife the entire time.  Not only did she not intervene, she also relied on my judgement.  It felt like much more of an egalitarian relationship.  When Isaac and Liesl were born, the delivery room was full of people. Probably 8-10.  There were nurses and pediatric nurses, and an assistant or 2.  So many people! Part of it was that the hospital had rounds of medical school students that observed the birth.  (This didn’t bother me particularly.  When I was about to have Isaac, my OB asked if I minded if a few Physician Assistant students observed the birth.  I told him that I didn’t care if he sold tickets and popcorn, but the baby was about to be born RIGHT THEN. )

In contrast, when Patrick was born, it was just myself, Brad, and the midwife in the delivery room.  I was amazed how much calmer the room was, and how it felt much less chaotic.  Although my OB intended to be at the birth, things moved so quickly that she didn’t make it in time.  But even if she has been there, it is unlikely that she would have delivered Patrick, as the midwife was fully capable.  Patrick was born at 3:23 am, and we left the hospital about noon that day.  I wasn’t forced to leave early, and could have stayed at least 2 nights for a regular delivery and 4-5 nights for a cesarean birth.  But I asked to go home that day, as I was feeling fine, and would much MUCH rather sleep in my own bed and rest at home.  Now, I swapped my Jenny Packham dress for yoga pants and a t-shirt, and I’m sure my hair was a wreck and my skin was blotchy, but the health care system was completely supportive of me going home when I wanted.  The very next day, Judith, our local public health nurse, came by to check on Patrick and I.  She’s also a registered midwife.  She brought her own scale to weigh Patrick, and check him over.  She came every day or every other day for the next 2-3 weeks.  Patrick became jaundiced a few days after birth, and it took awhile to clear from his system.  It was so nice not to have to take a newborn into the doctor’s office with all the sick people around.  Judith just came to the house!

I spent a lot of time thinking about this over the past week, which is why I haven’t posted earlier.  I didn’t write this post because I think that midwife-led care is the answer to all pregnancy conditions and situations. I fully understand that pregnancy can be a complicated and volatile situation for some women, and that other women prefer to make other choices.  But I do wonder if there the standard of care was a low-intervention, midwife-led approach, would we have better maternal outcomes? I think there’s value in midwife-led maternity care and this is overlooked right now in the US.  I also loved how in Ireland, you could opt to have a low-intervention birth at a hospital.  I have written before about how the US can become a place of absolutes: hospital vs home birth! doctor vs midwife!  But there doesn’t appear to be a clear middle ground.   Here in Ireland, as in the US, a range of options is available, from midwife-assisted home birth to elective cesarean section, but I loved how midwife-led maternity care is the solid middle ground.

 

Photo credit: NY Daily News

Cloth Diapers

At the risk of compromising my “modern mom” street cred (let’s be honest, most of that is already gone by this point), today I’m writing about a subject I get a fair number of inquiries about:  cloth diapers.

I am a low-effort parent, but I used cloth diapers with all 3 kids and loved them.  They were cheaper, worked well, and saved me from running to the store in the middle of the night for more diapers! The summer Isaac was born, there was a terrible heat wave in Texas.  As a result, he got unbelievably bad diaper rash.  My friend loaned me a few cloth diapers and recommended that I try them.  The diaper rash healed within a few days starting the cloth diapers, but we kept using them because they were cheaper than disposables, and worked just as well.  We used the same ones again with Liesl, and then with Patrick. (Despite the claim that cloth diapered kids potty train earlier, we have found that this is not the case with our kids.  Patrick just turned 3, and we haven’t even started training him yet…)

The internet is full of tons and tons and tons of information about cloth diapers, but it’s really hard to know what works for you until you start.   This is a super long post, but hopefully it will give you enough information to get you started.

Getting Started:

For newborns, my best advice is to wait a few weeks until you have settled into a routine, and all the meconium is out of the baby’s system before starting with cloth diapers.  Usually their umbilical cord has fallen off by then, which is also handy.   It can help to borrow a few diapers from someone else to uses cloth, just to see what might work.  If you don’t know anyone, I would just buy 1 or 2 of a few types, and see what works for you.  You can always buy more later.

I never bought any fancy equipment for my cloth diapers.  I bought two small flip-top trashcans, one for trash and disposable diapers, and one for cloth diapers.  When the trashcan is full, I know it’s time to run a load.  Then, just begin to use cloth diapers instead of disposables.  I really didn’t find them to be too much additional work.

What I use:

I started using cloth diapers with Isaac when he was about 2 months old.  I primarily use FuzziBunz, but I also use BumGenius, and some prefold diapers as well.  The FuzziBunz I use are the ‘perfect size’, NOT the one size.  This means that I have a set of small, medium, and large diapers.  Update: Apparently these are unavailable until June!  In any case, I recommend going with a perfect-size diaper rather than a one-size diaper, especially if you have a small or skinny baby. The “one size” diapers were just too bulky for me when my babies were small.  The FuzziBunz is a pocket diaper, which means it has a cloth insert that you put in the pocket in the diaper.  I really like this diaper, and it was held up very well.  All 3 kids wore the same set of diapers. Patrick is currently using the large set, the mediums and smalls are in storage.

I also have a few BumGenius extra-smalls and smalls and I really like those as well.  The XS fits newborn and small babies really well.   I also used some prefold diapers with covers.  These are the ‘old school’ cloth diapers, but I find that they work very well once you get the hang of it.  With prefolds, you can ‘customize’ the fit, which helps with skinny legs.  The prefolds also come in sizes, and I used Thirsties and Bummis wraps.  Instead of pins, I used a Snappi to keep the prefold diaper on. I wish I had started prefolds earlier.

Washing:

Washing cloth diapers is a bit of a ‘dark art’.  What works for some people doesn’t work for others.  Because cloth diapers are so absorbent, you need to use a low-residue laundry detergent on them.  Otherwise, the residue will buildup in the diapers and they won’t be as absorbent.  I use Ecover.  The diapers should be lined dried, if possible.

When I don’t use cloth diapers:

I am definitely not someone who is 100% in the cloth diaper camp.  I used disposables at night with Patrick and Liesl, but I didn’t when Isaac was a baby.  He wore FuzziBunz at night and was fine.  (We were also very poor graduate students at that point, so I didn’t want to spend the money on disposables!)  Now, I value my sanity/sleep more, so I use disposables at night.  Besides nighttime, I also used disposables when the kids were in daycare or with a babysitter.  We also use disposables when we are going to be away from the house for several hours, or when we are traveling.  I always keep an extra gallon-size ziploc bag in my diaper bag to carry home dirty cloth diapers.  (You can buy really cute waterproof ‘wet bags’, but again – when we started using cloth diapers I was really cheap!)

Here are some websites that are helpful:
The Art of Simple – Cloth Diapering  This is a great resource about different diapers and what works.  .

Diaper Pin – provides reviews about multiple brands

Kelly’s Closet – online retailer

Finally, a disclaimer.  I am a big believer in the ‘whatever works’ philosophy.  If you find something that works for you and you and your family are happy with it, by all means ignore what I have written and stick to what works for you.  There really isn’t any “best” solution out there.

Friday Finds

Hello all!

I met a friend for coffee this morning at this tiny, but amazing, coffee house.  I loved this poster they had tacked to the wall.  Life would probably be more enjoyable for all of us if we had more talking and less wifi.

The weekend is upon us.  Do you have any plans?  After a crazy week, our weekend is almost completely activity-free.  I feel like the weekends are either one extreme or the other – super busy or super quiet.  The weather was beautiful all week long, but the rain has returned just in time for the weekend. Oh happy day.  All that greenery and verdure has to come from somewhere, right?

Kids & Family

Do your kids watch Doc McStuffins?  It’s made right here in Dublin and just won a Peabody award!  Congrats to Brown Bag Films!

My kids love poetry.  Did you know that April is National Poetry Month in the US?  (I didn’t.)  This is a great article about using poetry with kids.   We enjoy reading poems at bedtime.  The ones by Robert Lewis Stevenson are some of our favorites.

Technology

Are you apart of the “Oregon Trail Generation“?

Is Intel just throwing money at the tech industry’s diversity problem, or will it move the needle?  Only time will tell.

Expats & Careers

I feel like I’m in the middle of reinventing my career plans (see this post).  Apparently it’s a theme in expat life.

Is becoming the trailing spouse the graveyard of ambition?  (The title seems negative, but I found the post to be really good.)

I have followed Zoe Rooney for awhile.  I loved her thoughts on soft skills and web development.

 

That’s all from me.  Have a great weekend everyone!

x Rheagan

Technology Tools for Expat Life

Many of the questions that I am often asked about living overseas have to do with technology and connectivity.  How do you stay connected to people in the US?  How do you call home? Move money back and forth? Get your mail?  Technology has DEFINITELY made living overseas easier.  Like everyone in the US, we use Google chat, iMessage, and Viber to text internationally.  I love being able to text my siblings just like I would if I were back in the US.  Once you get past texting, the recommendations are less clear.  We have gone through a fair bit of trial and error before landing on these suggestions. I thought these tools might be helpful for those considering a move overseas or an international assignment.

Mail

Some expats have their mail sent to a relative’s house, or have a relative or friend check their PO box.  If you don’t have a relative to do this for you, (or you would rather not), consider using a mail forwarding service.  I know several people that use US Global Mail, and have been very happy with the service.  They can provide you a US address for shipping, bills, etc.  You get a PDF scan of each piece of mail, and then tell them what pieces to send to you or discard.

International Phone Calls

We primarily use Skype to call/video chat with friends and family in the US.  In addition, we paid for a Skype local (US) phone number, in our parents’ area code in Texas.  You can set it up to forward to your international phone at no charge to the person calling you.   That way, we can always give a US phone number to people who need one.  Our skype number is forwarded to Brad’s Irish cell phone.  We also get email notification when a voicemail has been left on that phone number (which we can access online.) Sometimes the call forwarding doesn’t work perfectly, or we get a notification that we got a voicemail, even though the phone never rang, but it hasn’t ever been a major problem.  It can also be helpful to give to vendors that require a US phone number.

Calling while in the US

Expats tend to take longer trips home than most people.  When we come to the US, we try to stay at least 3 weeks.  If you are taking a long trip back to the US, you don’t want to pay international charges to use your non-US SIM card. Solution: embrace the pre-paid SIM card!  I think that pre-paid cell phone service has an unfair bad rap in the US – as in only teenagers, drug dealers, and those with dodgy credit use pre-paid service.  But it is a great option for expats!  We use a pre-paid T-Mobile plan when we are in the US.  It provides both Brad and I with US cell phone numbers, and  we just switch out the SIM cards, and away we go.  This helps us avoid costly international charges, and our friends and families can reach us via our US numbers whenever we are in the country.  We top up at least every 90 days so that we can maintain our US numbers. (The most difficult issue with this arrangement is keeping up with the *tiny* SIM cards!)

Smartphones:

We use unlocked smartphones so that we can use both US and Ireland SIM cards.  Electronics are generally cheaper in the US (no VAT!), so buy the phone you want before moving overseas. On the other side, phone plans are much cheaper in Europe as compared to the US.  You can easily find a monthly plan or a pay-as-you-go plan.  In fact, Brad and I still use our pay-as-you-go plan, because the company will direct debit the monthly payment, and there are never any surprises about the bill.

Banking:

If you are like us, your US expenses don’t end simply because you are living overseas. Getting paid in another currency adds to the complexity.  You still need to do online banking, pay bills such as credit cards, mortgages, or student loans.  Or perhaps you want to buy something from a US merchant and have it sent to a destination in the US.

VPN – If you haven’t done so already, pay for a virtual private network (VPN). You can set it up to give you an IP address in the United States (or any other country, for that matter).   This will come in handy when you need to access US-specific sites that are not accessible outside the US.   We use WiTopia personalVPN Pro, and have found it to be very reliable.

Currency exchange.   If you are living overseas, at some point, you’ll either need to move dollars to your current country, or vice versa.  For that, you can use a wire transfer through a bank, which can be very expensive, or a currency exchange service.  We use XE Trade to move euros to dollars to pay US expenses that we might have, or to move money into savings accounts in the US.  It isn’t instantaneous, and takes a few weeks to set up the accounts (to prove you aren’t laundering money!), but it is reliable and fairly efficient at moving money between currencies.  There are other foreign exchange services, but we have found XE Trade to work best for us.  Also, it pays to check around for terms and conditions of different currency exchanges.  The best service for your needs may be different, depending on how much money you are looking to move around and into which currencies.

Hopefully these tools will make an overseas move smother, and a bit less frustrating.  Did I miss anything?  What other questions do you have about living overseas?

Friday Finds

Hi everyone!

I missed Friday Finds last week due to traveling from Portugal back to Dublin.  It’s hard to believe that just a week ago, we were in sunny Portugal.  At least it is sunny, if not warm, here!  I had to go into city centre this morning to run a few errands and it was such a lovely morning. I had actually been dreading the trip, just because it killed my work time this morning, but the streets were so fresh and bustling, it was hard to stay grumpy for long!  Above is Drury Street, one of my favorites.  A few weekend links for your reading pleasure.

Ever meet a Roisín, Caoimhe, or Eoghan and subsequently butchered their names? You’ll enjoy this video.

Good news for expats!  Living overseas could make you more creative!

The dollar is strong against the euro.  While this is bad news for me, there’s never been a better time for my US friends to visit Europe.

I loved this article.  Proof that innovation does not equal technology in all cases.  It reminded me of two life-changing literature classes I took in high school, from two excellent teachers (Mr Biggers and Ms McFarland) that espoused many of the points this teacher has raised.

We’re making pizza with purple sprouting broccoli tonight.  Have you ever eaten this vegetable?  It’s a new one to us…

See you back here next week!

x Rheagan

My thoughts on Freelancing

I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. Too risky. Too solitary. Too much work for too little reward.  Moreover,  I was never SO passionate about what I was doing that I wanted to work on it all.the.time. which is how I saw most entrepreneurs I knew.   When I was a senior in college, I took a class on entrepreneurship.  It fulfilled an elective requirement I needed, and met at a convenient time.  It was a masters class, with a fun group of students, a good professor, etc.  Most of the students in that class were there to work on their (already-hatched) business ideas, but the main thing I learned was, “Never in my life do I want to be an entrepreneur.”  I went on to work for a large engineering firm, and then to graduate school – all with the aim of returning to the corporate world.

Did I ever mention that moving abroad takes all those life plans and tosses them out the window? When we decided to take the opportunity in Ireland, our understanding of Brad’s work permit was that it came with permission for me (his spouse) to work as well.  Although that is technically true, I must have a work permit in order to work. To get a work permit, you must first get a job, and the vast majority of employers I spoke with only wanted applicants that had existing work permits, since the process takes about 12 weeks to obtain a new one.  It was a Catch-22. I couldn’t get a job because I didn’t have a work permit, but the only way to get a permit was to get a job. When I finally obtained the all-important work permit, I ran into further problems.  Most employers, when they saw “USA” on my application, assumed that I did not have permission to work, because I am not an EEA (European Economic Area) citizen. Never mind that I had the all-important permit, they couldn’t get past one line on the application! I have continued to apply for jobs with some success, but have not yet found the right opportunity. (As an aside, this experience of trying to get a job overseas has given me a completely new perspective on immigration issues.)

In an effort to not go stir-crazy with 3 kids under foot (hence the picture above, with the dollhouse for added effect), I started teaching myself how to design websites in WordPress. At first, it was just to tweak items on my personal site.  Then I did a project for a local PR firm, and then another friend asked for help on her business’ site, and now I am working on several sites.  Despite the frustration of looking for full time jobs, my freelance web design business has been growing – with very little advertising or effort on my part.  Just word of mouth. As happy as I should be with this development, it makes me uneasy.  Why is that? I guess I feel this way because I never considered going into business for myself at all, and certainly not in web design. I look at friends and former classmates, and I’m wistful for their careers. I see the life that I willingly stepped away from, for the chance to move overseas. Career path! Responsibility! Salary! Entrepreneurship is never where I expected to be, and sometimes feels like a waste of my skills.  I struggle to decide – should I pour my energy into my freelance business, even though there are plenty of competitors out there?  Should I expand my skill set with more coding skills, even though those tasks can easily be outsourced? I worry I don’t have enough passion, or insanity, to make this gig work.  All the entrepreneurs I know are 150% invested in their work.  What if I’m not?  Is enjoying what I am doing, serving my clients well, and being happy with myself, is that enough?  Or do I need to have the desire of world-domination? (Ok, probably not that.)

On the other hand, should I focus solely on my full time job search, and hope that someone will be able to look past my nationality, and see the value I could bring to their organization? If I were to decide to return to the full time workforce after a few years of freelancing, would employers discount my experience? I worry it could be viewed as “well that’s nice, but it’s not a real job”, but maybe I just don’t have enough faith in myself to sell it as a valuable experience – which it is!  All of this leaves me with a conflicted relationship with freelancing. I worry that it is a waste of time because it doesn’t look like the career I always imagined. And yet, I really enjoy it because it challenges me in new and different ways.

For those of you who are entrepreneurs – are you comfortable in your decision? For those of you thinking about freelancing, what has held you back from jumping in?

How Portugal is like Red River (and other tales from my childhood)

Greetings from Portugal!  We are here for a week of fun in the sun (and warmth!)  Well…that was the plan at least.  The resort is beautiful, but we apparently brought the Irish weather with us.  When Brad and I decided earlier this year that we weren’t taking a summer trip to Texas, we knew we would need to “get off the island” for a few days over Easter break.  We chose Portugal because it is reliably warm at this time of year, and we had some friends going as well.  We joke that this is NOT cultural tourism.  It’s all about seeing the sun and avoiding the rain.  Well that worked out swimmingly! Ha!

wpid-wp-1428569939027.jpeg

But is has me thinking… When I was growing up in the Texas Panhandle, it was very common to drive over to the mountains near Red River, or Santa Fe, New Mexico or similar for a long weekend.  In the summer, it was to escape the heat, and in the winter, for a bit of skiing. If it was Christmas break or Spring break, we might go to Colorado, but in general – if we wanted a quick getaway, Red River was just the place.  You would probably run into someone you knew at the local restaurant or grocery store, or even more likely, at the Dairy Queen in Clayton, NM.  It wasn’t fancy or exotic, but it provided a chance to hang out in a different place.  In reality, the Algarve peninsula of Portugal is very similar. It’s about the same amount of travel time from Dublin to Portugal. It’s mostly resorts that serve Irish and UK residents.  We are staying in a self-catering apartment in a resort.  We can walk to the beach, play in the indoor pool, (or the outdoor pool – if the weather was warmer), eat fabulous cheese and drink Portuguese wine on our patio overlooking the ocean. And that’s basically what we have done this week.  It sounds more exotic to say, “We’re going to Portugal for the week!”  But it’s really just a chance to relax as a family, catch up on some reading, and enjoy time with friends.

Watching the rain fall

Regardless of where you live in the world, a chance to get away is always welcome!

Friday Finds – Easter Edition

Hello friends!

Happy Easter or Happy Passover to all who are celebrating this weekend.  Is it “Spring Break” where you live?  Here in Ireland (and in most of Europe), students have a 2 week break over Easter.  So life has slowed down a bit, as people enjoy some time off, or leave for a bit of sun!  Fun fact:  You can only buy brown eggs here.  They don’t sell white chicken eggs, so if you want to dye Easter eggs, you either have to buy duck eggs or dye brown ones.  Once dyed, the brown ones have these beautiful deep colours, like the ones above.  A few links for your weekend.

These jokes made me laugh. Or had me stumped. I’ll leave it to you to decide.

Do you think America is obsessed with STEM Education?  Is this a good or bad thing?

Expat parents will enjoy this one.  I loved the analogy of the three concentric circles.

I thought this was an April Fools Joke, but no!  You can actually rent-a-ruminant (a goat!) to clear your unwanted grasses in shrubbery!

Need to kill some time tomorrow?  Here’s a good list of Easter crafts and other ideas for kids.

We’re off to Portugal on Monday.  In theory, we hope to escape the Irish weather and see a bit of sun.  Of course, the forecast in Portugal is for rain next week! Fun times ahead!

Have a great weekend.

x Rheagan

Photo credit: Deann Barrera via Flickr

Weather In Ireland: Handy Translation Guide

Complaining, or “giving out” about the weather in Ireland is a national pastime.  Ireland seems so idyllic from the pictures: rolling green fields, crisp blue skies, or perhaps, a soft dewy rain falling.  What those pictures fail to capture is the fact that it is bone-chilling cold, the wind driving in off the ocean, or the fact that that “dewy” look was created by the torrential rain that just passed by.

Combine this with the seemingly innocuous weather “forecasts” that we get from Met Éireann, and you could be lulled into thinking that the weather in Ireland is positively lovely!  Wrong. Now, we don’t get some of the truly life-threatening weather conditions that are common in the US.  There are rarely any tornadoes, hurricanes, extreme heat or drought.  It is more that the weather is low-grade bad and annoying for 90% of the time.  People are always shocked at how cold it feels here – even though the temperature may not be all that “cold”. We had a few weeks in the summer of 2013 where the temperatures rose to the mid 80s and it didn’t rain for 2 weeks.  You would have thought we had died and gone to heaven.  People took off of work, spend the day in the park, at the beach, or generally just laying outside.  For the rest of the year, if you want warm weather, better head to Portugal!

Here is the weather forecast for yesterday, copied directly from the Met’s website:

A mix of bright spells and showers today. A few of the showers may be heavy, with a slight risk of hail. Windy again with strong and gusty westerly winds, the winds will moderate in the late evening. Highest temperatures of 8 Celsius.

And my “real-world” assessment:

It lashed rain, and then the blinding sun would peak through between the storms. Most of the showers were heavy, and nearly every shower will be accompanied by hail. We were under a wind-warning. 50-60 kph (30-35mph), with gusts to 100-110 kph (60-65mph).  If it is your trash day, you can find your bin somewhere in the next county.  It was 5C/40F when I drafted this post.

Now, it’s not all Met Éireann’s fault.  The weather here is just…well…variable.  It’s not like the temperature steadily rises and falls, and the rain follows a noticeable pattern. Part of this is just life on an island in the north Atlantic.  But it would help if they offered wind speeds, wind chills, or numerical probability of precipitation, i.e. “There is a 40% chance of rain today.”

Given the discrepancy between Met Éireann’s forecast and reality, below is my handy translation guide to Irish Weather:

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]What Met Éireann says:[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]What will really happen:[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Mostly Sunny[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Mostly cloudy, but you might see the sun once or twice.[/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Close[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Muggy[/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Breezy[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Windy[/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Fresh[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Freeze your a$$ off cold, regardless of season[/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Cool[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Cold[/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Clear or sunny spells[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]You might see the sky[/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Bright[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Cloudy but not raining[/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Warm[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]You will be cold[/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Unseasonably warm[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Don’t put away those winter coats.  It’s still May![/one_half]

[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Scattered Showers[/one_half]
[one_half spacing=”yes” last=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding=”” class=”” id=””]Raining where you are – without fail[/one_half]