All posts by Dan Higgins

Irish Water

Ya know what? Screw it, I’m gonna say it…we need to pay for our water and that’s a fact. Unfortunately we can’t continue to “piss it away”!

However, that doesn’t mean I agree with the way Irish Water, the Government or the protesters are handling the current situation. Irish water are being ridiculous in their handling of the situation,  the government should probably reconsider their “just do it” stance and the protesters really need to look into who they’re following. Also, look up the legality of this “No contract no consent” bull. No, really, do! It’s bull!

Our population is growing by the day (I’m adding to that at the end of November) and we need to ensure there is a water supply for our children and that the infrastructure to support it is put in place. That’s a good idea.

Unfortunately up to this point the whole thing has been handled terribly by everyone.

Irish water should really reconsider their communication strategy and get the hell off social media! Also, not going on €6,000 yoga retreats would really help people to not hate them.

The government should put their hands up, admit it’s a mess, and try and take control instead of shirking their responsibility. Should they decide not to then they are delivering the future of this country into the hands of Sinn Fein (and their crazy inept policies).

The protesters. Unfortunately I would be of the opinion that the protests at the moment are the result of misdirected anger. All too often the protests feature signs, placards, rants and songs about bankers, property tax and the celtic tiger! Having to pay for water just seems to be the straw that broke the camels back. Also, take a look at the personal agendas of the people starting this. The people running the whole abolish the charge thing as an election promise will jump on any bandwagon they believe will get them a handy number on Kildare Street. Be wary!

Having to pay for our water and for upgrades to the system it is carried in is unfortunately one of the more sensible things the austerity masters have brought in. It’s just been handled about as well as a 2 year old with a can of petrol and some matches, somewhere along the line it was always going to be a disaster!

My Ultimate Film

Basically it would be a combination of “Taken”, “The Guard” and “Intermission”. And it would be called “Hard as nails C***s” (the name can be negotiated.

So what do these films have in common? Liam Neeson, Colm Meaney and Brendan Gleeson all play rogues. Liam Neeson is the lethal weapon, Brendan Gleeson is the happy go lucky craic having cop and Colm Meaney is the dedicated agent of the law.

How hard could it be to get these 3 into a film together? Gleeson and Meaney already played Guards (we all know Gleeson survived at the end of The Guard). All we need is for Neeson to have a stopover at Shannon that goes on a bit too long and then BOOM…something happens. Anything happens. It doesn’t really matter what happens. All that matters is that these 3 are combined in hitting back.

OK, now I’ve put that idea out there, could someone please do that? PLEASE?!

Top 5 most annoying Facebook Characters

We can all think of someone when it comes down to annoying Facebook Characters. Hell, I can hardly say I’m innocent of not being annoying on social media every now and then! #Obvious

What I’m gonna do here is have a look at the Top 5 most annoying Facebook Characters. Starting with Number 5:

Number 5: The Health Status Updater. Yep, got it, you’ve got diarrhea and a runny nose. Don’t care. Get some 7UP, stick it in the microwave and away ya go. If you’re that sick then surely you don’t have time to be updating Facebook? Oh wait, you even have time to upload a picture. Best to stay off the internet. Forever. Please.

Number 4: The Character Assassin. Ya know this one. The one who complains about that certain someone who they thought they could trust but really couldn’t so now they must tell the world, but not reveal that certain someone. But don’t worry, apparently karma is a bitch. This is normally followed by a stream of comments consisting of; “You ok hun? Xoxo”, “Who is it hun? X”, “Pm sent x”. This is passive aggression in it’s silliest form. The really funny thing is that the person about whom you are talking knows you probably mean them and will comment on or like your status. It’s a vicious circle really.

Number 3: The couple. OK, so this one is one of the most annoying. Ya get a couple and they live on Facebook. They tell the world everything about their relationship and how fantastic it is. You just know that this couple are probably too busy showing the world how much they love each other and not enough time actually showing it to each other. After all, if they were that enamored with each other would they have enough time to spread the word about it? Besides, half the time these couples end up going from; “In a relationship” –> “It’s complicated” –> “Single” followed by “You ok hun? Xoxo”, “Who is it hun? X”, “Pm sent x”.

Number 2: The armchair revolutionary. Overthrow the government you say? Start a revolution? Change the norm? Take back the power? Off ya go so, lead the way. Oh, after the next cup of tea? Back into your chair you go. I know we Irish know how to complain and do we ever complain, and then not do anything. Here’s a hint, if you see a foolproof way to fight the power by updating a very long status update, look up the legality of it. Chances are if you’ve seen it on Facebook it’s probably a lie.

Number 1: The Game Invite Person. Nope, I don’t want to play your Facebook game with you. Please stop inviting me. Oh look, another game. Nope, don’t wanna play that one either. I think we can all agree that this is one of the most annoying trends on Facebook. Ya wait all day for a notification and then BOOM, ya get one, it’s an invite. Nope, block. I’m only on Facebook to stalk people, complain and put up pictures of my cat, like normal people, jeez.

Now, there’s my top 5 most annoying characters on Facebook. What are yours?

 

Wouldn’t care if he was selling nuclear weapons to children

It’s the problem with modern big corporations, they aren’t chasing dreams anymore, just figures and money. It made me think; some businesses wouldn’t care if they were selling nuclear weapons to children as long as:

  1. The children had the money to pay and;
  2. They could get away with it!

Working for a big company is fine, as long as you know they won’t care about you or anyone else that works there. It’s all well and good taking in your wage but when it comes to working for a place where their dreams revolve around figures and dollars then you become expendable.

Yes, I know, you need money to survive, but if you have a dream and if you haven’t the balls to follow it and you settle for a faceless job, then they’ll eventually quash that spark inside of you. If that’s ok with you, then ok, that’s your choice, let your idea and spark die. Your choice, just don’t complain about it!

The real crime is not in failing, but in not trying.

 

More than just lifting

So it looks like I’ll be doing more than just lifting now. Well, obviously, I’ll still carry the bags. Thankfully I’ll be getting some professional guidance from Michelle’s physio/pilates/former midwife instructor extraordinaire lady in Celbridge Pilates.

Yesterday I attended a relaxation class which Adeline puts on for her pregnant clients. If you’re wondering, yes, I fell asleep and yes I snored a little (much to Michelle’s chagrin). It was nice to properly relax.

So I eventually woke up and Adeline switched off the recording. Michelle had floated the idea that I would be interested in attending her class to see how I could help and try and further understand the upcoming task. Adeline has decided to bring the Dad’s into the loop, starting in October, for Q&A and probably hints and tips. Apparently other Dad’s are interested too!

I think this will make the whole thing less scary and more manageable. I get the idea that sometimes things are out of my control. It will be good to know the difference between helping and hindering.

The Parents

I recently imparted the smallest bit of wisdom on a friend of mine, something I shouldn’t have really known, but something I learned from someone else. It felt good and got me thinking, again, because I think a lot. That’s what I’ll be (hopefully) doing for my child, giving them little bits and pieces along the way.

Then I started thinking again. I just presumed that both of my parents just knew things. They were patents after all, they should know everything! What I’m starting to understand is that they were telling me the little bits and pieces they had learned along the way. I never really gave them credit for just being people.

So now I really feel for my Mam for the pressure she must have been under and I really miss my Auld lad for not being able to share this moment of clarity with him. I’m sure he would have just laughed and patted me on the back.

So hopefully I can let my child know that I am just a person and that I do make mistakes. They’ll understand right? Nah, not at all!

You carry the Baby and I’ll carry the bags

Myself and herself went to the Pregnancy and Baby Fair in the RDS recently to see if we could scope out some good deals for our upcoming Sir/Madam. I found myself looking around and I uttered to the ever patient lady at my side “You carry the Baby and I’ll carry the bags”! Yes, it’s fine in the grand context of the whole thing, after-all pregnant ladies shouldn’t really be engaging in manual labour.

However, it made me stop and think about things. OK, so the Mammy will be carrying the Baby, feeding the baby and overall (on average) spending more time with the baby, so everything around us at the moment is geared towards the welfare and education of the mother. But I started to think that I wanted to be more involved in the whole thing so I could get a handle on what my wife-to-be is going through and what she is likely to go through, ya know, try and put myself in her shoes a little bit. That may help me to lower the amount of times I ask; “Are you OK?”, “What can I do to help?”, “How do I fix this?” and that old panicky one “Should we go to the hospital? I think so, I’ll get the car ready”. By the way, the answer to these questions has started to become “Shut-up, I’m fine!”. So, I’m thinking that my knowing more will help lower both of our stress levels.

In the old days it was apparently fine to just stay in the background, do the heavy lifting, build stuff and change nappies when the Mammy took a nap for a little while. I’m very conscious of the fact that the task of being a Mother is not an easy one and how it may weigh heavily on both the physical and mental well being of a person (I now appreciate my Mother even more for raising 3 boys, each bigger and bolder than the last). Honestly, everything is aimed towards the Mother. When we go Baby shopping all the questions are directed to the fairer sex. I often get the feeling that I’m only along for the ride, so I have to be quiet and sit back. Of course my partner knows my thoughts on this so won’t place me on the back burner like so many sales assistants and reps have. We make decisions, not me, not her, we.

I intend on being very active in my child’s life and on sharing the weight of parenthood. However, I feel that we Irish men are very Ill equipped to do the task and to a certain degree we have been fine with our secondary care giving role. It’s not easy to try and get more involved sometimes though. It would appear that there is a lot of support available for the Mammies, all sorts of classes and groups. But for the Daddies, we’re kind of in the dark on the whole affair. Yes, I know, I can read the books, and I have. But not every pregnancy is the same and not every Mammy to be is the same, so basically there is no universally correct method to follow. What I want to know is how do I help? What can I do to help with the back pain, the cramps, the tiredness, the funny little muscle pains. A q&a session for the Daddies which runs alongside the Mammies classes would be greatly appreciated.

What would I like to see? More Father friendly support groups, more interaction and more inclusion. Lady M attends a Pilates class in Celbridge which helps with preparing her for the physical side of childbirth, but also has a section supporting the mental toll it will take. She has nothing but high praise for the Physio led classes. In addition to that she likes the comfort of being around other pregnant women, all heading towards the same goal.

I’m also very aware of the fact that I’m not the one who’ll have to give birth. So yeah, a lot of the support is designed around getting the upcoming Mother through that stage. OK, fair enough, but afterwards we’re both going to have to raise a real life human being and that will dramatically change our lives. When that day comes I want to be able to hit the ground running, not like I’m fumbling through a thick forest of gorse. Do I feel ready? Hell no! A new Mother should not have to be teaching both a child and father how to act, jaysus, they have enough to do.

That got me thinking. If I were to be bluntly honest I have a range of emotions going through my head. I’m nervous, anxious, worried, scared, excited, panicky (see above), scared some more and happy. Most importantly, above all else, I am happy and that at least gets me off in the right direction. What’s the issue then? The issue is that I have not talked to any other soon to be fathers about what they’re going through. It’s nerve-racking. It’s lonely. It’s frightening.

So what would help? Talking.

We still don’t like to do that here, we still see it as a sign of weakness. It’s not. It takes strength to talk. Talking can be very exhausting, relieving and difficult. I recall once running a 10km and going for a pint. Apart from a sore ankle I was mostly fine. I recall once talking, then crying and then feeling like I had just fought ten rounds, it was utterly exhausting. So that’s the issue, we don’t talk, we’re strong and silent, and that’s that. We also have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Strong and silent; that’s not a trait I want my child to copy from me.

So what do I really want? I want to know I’m not alone, I want to know that other first time fathers are feeling the same way, I want to know that I can contribute equally and that I am a part of the whole thing. Above all I want my child to know I wasn’t afraid to look for help and advice. I want to be more than just the carrier of the heavy things, the builder of the impossible Ikea wardrobe and the slayer of all things creepy and crawly. I want to know how to actually help, what to (sorta) expect and I want my child to take that on board.

Why I’ll Never put a picture of my kid on Social Media

So I’m going to be a new father, and yes, that’s very exciting. This is news which has made me excited, nervous, happy and afraid. A whole mix of emotions and sometimes all at once. I’m very much into taking photos and I believe my child will be one of the most photographed children ever and that I will take photos of all their little and big moments. He/she nearly rolls over? Yep, gonna be all over that! He/she does their first wheelie on a bike? Yeah, I’ll be there! I’ll pretend to be somewhat annoyed, but I know I’ll be proud of them! However, I will not be sharing any of my photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine or any other social network you may think of or that crops up in the mean time. I know, seems a bit paranoid. Have a look at these for a moment:

Yeah, they’re funny. But think about the fact that most of those photos probably had their origin in their parents just taking a cute, innocent and perfectly timed photo of their beloved bundle of joy. The resulting photo was probably shared online and was then copied by someone who decided to add a humorous twist to it. It’s not so funny when it becomes a little more real. None of the kids in the photos decided to become a symbol for a cheap and lazy joke, but there they are, up there for all the world to laugh at.

The internet is a funny auld thing. It’s a great place to learn, grow your horizons and connect with people. It’s also pretty scary. Once you put something up there, it’s never coming down. That’s a fact! Yeah, you can delete it from your own account, but the image you uploaded stays uploaded and that’s that. So, you’re in effect releasing your child’s image for all to see. No matter how safe you think your account may be, it’s not. It never will be. You’re also forfeiting the ownership around your photo. I upload a lot of photos, but that’s OK, I’m not making money from them at the moment. But do you honestly think that any of the parents of the kids in the photos above chose for their child to become the poster kid for a crappy joke? No, probably not. Do you think that child will appreciate the photo in years to come? No, I would imagine not. Do you think it will be easy to have it deleted from the internet? No, it doesn’t really work that way.

When my kid grows up and becomes an adult they can do what they like, whether I like it or not, but I will not be ruining their image before they’ve had a chance to do it themselves! They make a mistake and someone snaps a photo of it? Yeah, it happens, and they’ll learn from it. They could definitely do without me exposing them to that world before they have a chance to defend themselves!

There’s another far scarier reason I won’t be putting pictures of my kid online. If you were in a playground with your child and a dubious character comes up to you and asks if they can use your child to help trick a group into thinking they have kids so they’ll trust them and let them in, would you? No, not a bloody chance! When something goes online it’s there for everyone who can access the internet to see and keep. Trust me, your privacy settings on anything are not as secure as you think. You put it online, you’re giving it to the world and there are a lot of sick people in the world. It’s creepy, yes that’s a given, but you will never know when your child’s image is being used without your knowledge and you will never know for what purpose.

Yes, I may be being too paranoid, but there are a lot of freaks online and offline. I will do my best to protect my child in the real world, but you are very limited in protecting anything online.

So yeah, I’ll be paranoid, I’ll be weird, I’ll be obsessive about it, but I’ll protect my child.

Get the DL on the AKA’s in Insurance

Don’t let a 3 letter word throw you for a loop

So you’ve read the blog on how to cut down the costs of your premium, now how about getting to grips with some of the aka’s in the insurance industry?

You’re confident enough now to ring the insurance company yourself; completely sure in the fact that you will get the best deal available, but hang on, what was the last thing they said? In the Insurance Industry there’s a sea of abbreviations and acronyms out there. Enough to make your head spin. We know that insurance can be difficult to grasp sometimes, and that’s why I want to make the whole thing easier for you, the client.

The Most Commonly Used Abbreviations

Your Insurance shouldn’t make life more difficult for you by throwing abbreviations at you, but from time to time you may hear, or see, the following abbreviations in your search for the best quote. Don’t lose faith if an insurer is trying to confuse you with lots of letters, just take a minute and check it out before you either commit or walk away.

  • BA – Breakdown Assist. Often an additional extra. Usually this is included with fully comprehensive polices, but if not you can get it specifically with most insurance policies.
  • CCE – Company Car Experience. If you have been driving nothing but the company car for the last few years then you may have built up some valid ODE (Other Driving Experience) with your company car. This is most useful for those drivers who are now getting their own car and their own policy for the first time. This may afford you a discount with some insurance companies, but not all. Proof of CCE must be provided by your company.
  • CPF – Closed Premium Finance. Some companies won’t issue a policy through Direct Debit Payments, but don’t worry, because Chill Insurance have that sorted for you. CPF will allow you to pay your premium through direct debits, even if the insurance company doesn’t, Chill can organize that for you.
  • DDM – Direct Debit Mandate. This is the form you get which will allow your Direct Debit payments to commence.
  • DMD – Distance Marketing Directive. Before payment is taken for any product you buy the agent on the phone will read the DMD. The DMD outlines your position regarding refunds and the cooling off period. Basically you are entitled to a refund within 14 days if you change your mind about a product or service you have just purchased online.
  • DOC – Drive Other Cars. Commonly referred to as DOC around the office this allows a driver, who meets the specific requirements set in the specific policy, to drive other cars (as long as s/he has the permission of the owner so don’t go taking any old car).
  • DP – Data Protection. This refers to the storage and use of your personal data.
  • Fully Comprehensive. This is the highest level of cover a person can obtain on a private motor insurance policy. If you have a car worth a few quid then get fully comp. It will cost extra, but it’s worth, and you get more items as standard.
  • MTC – Mid Term Cancellation. If you decide to cancel your policy, for whatever reason, during the lifetime of the policy, this is referred to as Mid-term Cancellation. This usually incurs administration and cancellation fees.
  • NCB – No Claims Bonus. This refers to the number of years you have been driving without having to make a claim. You will most often see this in correspondence with an insurance company or broker. Please note that some companies have different definitions of a full NCB. What companies in Ireland need to hear is how many years NCB you have, not points on scale, but years. If you have 4 years, say 4 years etcetera.
  • NCD – No Claims Discount. This is roughly the same as the NCB. Some companies will use the term No Claims Discount and some will use NCB.
  • RTA – Road Traffic Act. The Road Traffic Act (1961) is the act which made Motor Insurance compulsory in the Republic of Ireland. The minimum insurance a person who intends to operate a motor vehicle on public roads needs is Third Party Cover.
  • SOF – Site of License. A copy of your (and any named drivers) licence, simple as.
  • SOF – Statement of Fact. Who you are, where you live, what you drive, any modifications to the car? These are some of things which may be considered statements of fact.
  • TP – Third Party. This is the minimum cover which must be obtained by a qualified person wishing to drive on public roads. It is there to cover any damage which a driver may cause to others through their own fault. Often this is used by first time drivers, however, this will not cover any damage which a driver may accidentally inflict upon their own vehicle.
  • TPFT – Third Party Fire and Theft. This covers third party’s involved in any Road Traffic Incidents (RTI’s) which you may cause. This also covers the theft of your vehicle or damage caused by malicious fires. This policy suits drivers who are gaining experience on their own policy and is often the step up from TP and just before the person is able to get Fully Comprehensive insurance.

Unfortunately this isn’t the full list used in the Insurance Industry, but this is the list that will matter to you, the person looking to get the best deal and the best saving. Remember, when getting your insurance, don’t be afraid to ask questions on anything you don’t understand. The last thing you should have to do is to start your search all over again. Get the best deal and get it the first time.

The Schools are Back!!!

So, the schools are back! That’s a phrase that will just make your very core shiver. Everything mad happens once the schools are back. Traffic balloons, sales rocket and it’s almost impossible to get a hot chicken roll during lunch time.

Where is this influx of traffic coming from? I just don’t get that. Where were those people hiding for the last 2 months, or is everyone just in sync now. It’s almost as if everyone now leaves at the same time because, well, you know, the schools are back and sure the traffic will be mad. The “Schools are Back” syndrome also motivates parents to drive like racing drivers with a car full of kids.

Come to think of it, where were these people getting their food? Were they just not feeding their kids or something? Sales of Brennan’s Bread and Milk have gone through the ceiling and the butter mountain is quickly becoming a hill. Were the children living feral and therefore didn’t need food, or were the parents just not feeding them. Sure they’re not learning, why would they need food!

It’s madness I tells ya! It’s as if the whole of Ireland went to the beach for the summer and now have decided to all converge on the same areas at the same time in the morning. Perhaps they’re working on the symphony that is rush hour traffic. I dunno, I prefer Rock n’ Roll myself.