An Airbnb and a Van

Last December was a vacation with a different setup. No thanks to the near miss that almost ruined our Christmas and left us with only one parent. The good news she’s a fighter and is recovering fast but to lessen her stress of managing demanding guests, therapist, and helpers in one house, not to mention the growing pets, we all decided to use Airbnb. For the very first time, all of us visiting Bacolod lived in a house that wasn’t ours.

A breakfast at MyPlace.

It was a good thing that we found MyPlace on Airbnb. It appeared among the first set of search results given the number of guests. MyPlace can accommodate 13 with its four bedrooms but since there were only six of us checking in, the first issue we had was picking which room and which bed. Others were very minor and we learned to deal with it. Props to the host, Judith, and her staff who are very professional, organized, and friendly. They made sure we have what we need and familiar with everything, including the wi-fi password, before leaving the whole house to us. MyPlace in Bacolod City is an ancestral house that became our home for seven days.

Tempting to have a party with such space but house rules don’t allow rowdy ones.

On top of a house that’s fully furnished, MyPlace has a two-car garage. This encouraged wifey more to pursue renting a van instead of us flagging a taxi every time we need to go somewhere. In a busy December, it was a sound idea. Her spec includes that the vehicle could take two wheelchairs–one for my mother and one for Marcus–and luckily we found one that my high school friend owns. Vehicle was a white Nissan NV350 with only a few mileage on it.

Shot of the garage from my dash cam that I attached to the van during the entire trip.

I’ve driven several vehicles in the past but never a full size van so I had some anxiety about doing it since the thought of getting a rental started. But no guts, no glory as we used to say in my younger years, so we did and there was no regrets.

The van was surprisingly easy to drive. A few adjustments on day one and minor hiccups like driving with the emergency brake engaged, I picked up faster than expected. NV350 van is diesel and it’s a bit torquey on the first gear but I got used to it soon. Its wide mirrors made it easier to park and maneuver in tight December traffic so I never had any problem driving it. The white van made our trips to the malls, fast food breakfast runs, and every other trips needed a more convenient one. P2000 per day seems worth it.

It was raining on and off so I had to get the van washed at least once.

One week has past since we left Bacolod and join the rat race once more. I miss everyone back there, including our first Airbnb home. Of course I also miss the white Nissan van which has become my new dream car even if it will be hard to fit it in our space. Maybe I’ll stick to the Honda Jazz or maybe I’ll stick to our current City. Perhaps a new paint job to the 11-year old car will do the trick of shaking off that thought of mortgaging a new car.

***

While waiting to pick up sis and family at the Silay airport.

I wasn’t totally honest. There’s actually one thing that annoyed us. Nissans are known for their good air conditioning so I was surprised when the front blowers died while we were on our way to have lunch at Vikings SM Bacolod. My backseat drivers said the rear fans were working fine so we proceeded anyhow. On that same afternoon I dropped by my friend’s house to have it checked and we later confirmed that my hunch about a busted fuse was right. It was late in the afternoon when a technician found the blown fuse so he replaced it with the only spare available but one that’s underrated. As expected, it blew up two days later after I absentmindedly turned the blower to full setting. Good thing the fuse box is easy to access so I was able to replace it myself and even bought extra 15 amps spare flat trumpet angle fuses for my friend’s future use. This fact however does not change my newfound love for vans. Marcus loved it too and it fits his wheelchair upright. I must win the lotto soon.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Each small bit of chocolates seem to stuff me up.)

Advertisements

20K With Nike Free RN 2018

I already ran a total of 20K using a pair of Nike Free RN 2018. That’s an average of 5K per run and the good news is that I still don’t feel any discomfort despite using this shoe designed for neutral arc. This is definitely a plus.

Back to the highway.

This Nike doesn’t only feel good but is likewise aesthetically appealing for those into minimalist design. It can even be paired with casual clothing and is comfortable for walking inside malls or parks because it has good traction. I discovered the Free RN 2018 grips wet smooth pavement (e.g., tiles) better than my Nike Zoom Vomero 10.

There’s a downside to this shoe’s sole though. What provides traction is also the same thing that I’m having issues with. Like other Free RN series, its sole’s slits and gaps pick up and trap pebbles and other stuffs like mud and broken glasses which are very common where I run. Either I find a new route or just have to pay more attention where I land if I want to preserve this shoes.

The debris trap.

Another thing I recently learned is that there are insole replacements available in our country. I once thought it only exists in annoying pop-up ads. The Athlete’s Foot store we went to in Robinson’s Mall Bacolod sells several insoles that support flat-foot arc like what I have. My in-law paid for one but didn’t fit well in the Free RN as I was not wearing it that day so I used it for my casual shoes and it felt like a charm. Next time I’ll research if there are people who use them in running shoes.

I plan to run straight 10K wearing the Free RN in the next days so I can check how it would be like. I actually did two sets of 5K on our last day in Bacolod as I stopped by my parents’ house to chitchat and take my dose of protein shake. That was a good run.

I used to be a stickler for shoes that fit my arc type but this experience with the Nike Free RN 2018 make me start to believe I can use other designs. If the shoe fits, wear it must be true after all. If I can afford is another story.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Back to work. Hope I can type.)

Brand New 365 Days

Just like that here comes another fresh set of twelve months. The past year was interesting and fast wherein lots of things happened that I could only recall all with the help of Facebook’s a-year-ago-today feature or Timehop app. That year is over in what feels like a blink of an eye with its ups and downs making me believe that 2018 was a rollercoaster ride we all enjoyed and survived.

Now it’s day 1 of 2019 and hopes are all up. I have no written resolutions, a good thing and a bad thing at the same time, but I look forward to a better year ahead. By God’s grace I wish our whole family good health and harmony. Improved finances is of course welcome.

The second year we’ve been breaking and changing this Lego calendar.

Our routine resets this week. No more Christmas songs–though it’s tempting to still play them on Spotify. Everything goes back to normal whether we like it or not. Work resumes and the rat race begins once more. Although I’m one of those who take one day at a time, I want my days busy. The busier the faster the week ends. Repeat 52 times.

So for the nth time, I say happy new year. I will keep my fingers crossed and see what the next 365 days have to offer.

***

Some images from last night’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Food at home was minimalist just how I liked it to be. Arriving from Bacolod with barely a day to prepare also helped.
Ground was muddy from days of rain and it was not wheelchair-friendly so some relatives dropped by to pose with Marcus.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (All’s well that ends well.)

Fat Or Thin: GOrun or Free RN

Christmas vacation and the tug of war between staying in bed and running is ongoing. The good thing about anticipating the dilemma is that I have made sure that I’ll have a reason to get up early and burn whatever I had the other day.

We are on our day 3 back where I grew up, Bacolod, wherein I’ve already eaten more than I would or should’ve have weeks prior to this trip. But God is good, I quickly recovered from cold and survived a cat bite and so I’m back to my running form.

The next day after we landed I tested for the first time my first ever Skechers GOrun shoes. I decided to get it after several failed attempts to find a pair for my flat feet at the Nike factory depot in Paseo, Sta. Rosa.

Typical Skechers thickness.
The sole reminds me of Hoka.

Surprisingly I liked GOrun. Firstly, it is cheaper than any Nike pair I was looking at. Secondly, this Skechers cushions like a pillow. Two days running with it, 15K total distance, and my feet aren’t hurting. P3,700 (discounted) seems worth it.

Then there’s Santa who gives to both naughty and nice. Yesterday I got a nice pair of Nike running shoes. It was a Free RN 2018 which I have been wanting because of its weight but reviews say it’s not for flat-footed runners like me so I avoided it. And now that I have it, I’m not complaining. Few minutes after this dark chocolate Swiss Miss and puto for breakfast settle I’ll go out run using it. Plan is to go slow and see how it feels. Wish me luck.

Santa knows my size.
The second shoes I’m keeping the original lacing out of the box. I’m becoming lazy.

***

Mood: 1/10 (Christmas so far has been fun.)

Evia has Evolved

We broke routine this weekend. Christmas is getting closer and yesterday’s advisory on SLEX’s LED monitors showed hint that grinches, I mean shoppers, are flocking to Alabang onwards. But luck was on our side this time.

Our recent plan to check out Evia Lifestyle Center once more was timed right. For the first time I drove coming from Calamba to Daang Hari via MCX and parted ways from motorists on SLEX who were then pacing slowly like reindeer-less Santa sleighs. Traffic to this mall in the middle of the Villar-owned properties was light with only a slight hitch at the toll gate. Thanks to RFID we got through faster than those queuing at the cash lanes.

Evia has evolved and improved a whole lot since we first set foot two years ago. It now has more stores and more parking spaces. Basement parking is also now open and there’s an extended parking area across the mall close to Petron gas station where free shuttle service to and from the mall is available from 10 AM until 10 PM.

Evia Lifestyle Center is part of the growing Vista Mall chain and construction is ongoing. I realized this must be the reason some of the guards are as confused as us. We asked a couple of them for directions to the cinemas and we were advised we can take the escalators with Marcus in his wheelchair. We obliged despite protest but soon figured there are two elevators we should’ve used. First is the one that’s only until the 2nd floor and another that reaches the cinema level.

Evia’s 3rd level offers more than just movies. We discovered after spending a thousand for two persons for dinner that there are cheaper alternatives like pizza, pasta, burgers, churros, and even street food snacks. No regrets though as Bulgogi Brothers served us a nice hotpot plus the staff were very accommodating.

Evia has a newly-opened iMax cinema but Marcus has his mind set to the new Fortnite season and was also anxious to get back home to see our dog which is why we skipped the movies this time. Anyway I’m sure we’ll be back some other time soon.

Evia’s Christmas decor beats the Ayala malls’ we’ve visited.
The tight elevator makes good effect.
At Bulgogi Brothers. Away from fatty pizza and burgers.
Cinema area looks nice.

***

Big question: what’s with malls that they would rather use a PWD elevator than build a ramp?

Evia’s wheelchair/stroller elevator.

Ayala Town Center has this similar elevator which remained broken until our last visit and it was the reason I didn’t like going there anymore. Hopefully they already fixed it is our access to the cinemas, North Park, and the sports store that sells nice shoes. Wink, wink.

***

Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Weather’s nice but I got cold to deal with.)

Live The Beat

Marcus collected our Fitbars and finisher medal.

Run with music? It took me only a couple of days to decide that this is the second official running event I’d do this year the first time The Music Run PH appeared on my Facebook timeline. The words discounted registration rate for early birds was also a come-on. It was only July then but I could already smell November immediately after I filled in my personal details and clicked submit.

The next runs were soon more purposeful. My plan was to beat the 10K PR I did in February when I joined 7-11’s running event. I finished it after an hour and 6 minutes but I knew I can do better.

The twist came though when Marcus got the hang of running with me few months later. He must have loved the feel of his wheelchair moving faster that it would at home or in the malls and so he’d say yes whenever I ask if he’d like to go out and run with me. He got hooked so the training strategy changed.

I got this.

I wasn’t really sure then if organizers of The Music Run PH would grant my request but I sent a message anyway. Their response was quick, they said yes I could bring Marcus with one simple rule–stay on the left lane. The update got me very excited. The weekends that followed we logged runs farther than 5K, progressing each time.

This Saturday the months of anticipation and training was tested. Wifey supported our adventure so we all checked in at one of Marcus’ favorite place–the Acacia Hotel in Alabang–which was perfect due to its proximity to The Music Run PH’s venue.

Loading up on McDonald’s carbs.

Powered by McDonald’s spaghetti happy meal for lunch, I finished all the French fries even, we set off. The venue was five minutes away from the hotel and the quick trip on foot also served as my warm up run. There was no gun start so we joined the other runners as soon as we reached the start gate at about 4:30 PM. Weather was nice and warm.

Several people, participants and marshals included, cheered for Marcus. The energy was contagious and it motivated me more. The road was almost packed so I tried to steer clear of other runners and stuck to the left lane as agreed but every now and then I’d overtake those who paused and walked. Loudspeakers playing upbeat music were set up along the route so I was tempted to do the floss at some point but decency kept me from doing it–old guy doing a Fortnite emote doesn’t look good around sweaty millennials. So I pushed forward instead. Marcus shared his Skittles whenever I stop for my Gatorade.

Two loops later, we reached the finish line. It was already dark, though night was young. We clocked 10 minutes more of PR but that’s good enough considering the wheelchair. A quick random interview and we’re soon out of the event’s ground, happily on our way back to the hotel with our first ever 10K finisher medal. The race was tough as I have imagined but I think we’ll do this again.

Two loops of this. We were hamsters in a music trail.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Early morning bit looking forward to buffet lunch.)

In Sickness And In Health

When we walked the aisle on that very day we professed the ultimate commitment of our love for one another we made a promise. It was the sweetest, it was binding, it was the bravest vow any couple would ever make. Until death do us part, right?

Then life goes go one after the fanfare. Life as a couple, ideal it seems at that time, moves forward. We’re now husband and wife, ready to face the world. Then we’d have kids, the family grows from just two to more. Married life is bliss. Our love holds for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse…

But sometimes life would test further. Life would soon remind us the boldest commitment we’ve ever made, those romantic promise, likely in our then absent-minded state. In sickness and in health we’d later realize would be our mantra as we face head on the toughest of the toughest trials that would come our way.

Fact is, true love is easier said than done. It is skin-deep if it exists just for fun and in good times. For all we know, true love isn’t a party for it goes beyond looks and sex and marriage vows. It is anything but true love if it doesn’t survive ‘in sickness and in health.’ True love is an adventure, it’s a journey. Hair-raising but rewarding journey. Again, that is if we survive it, if we don’t give up midway.

This is why I admire married couples, more so the elderlies, I see in hospitals. These guys beat lovers in the malls anytime. I envy those who persevere, who try their best to make their balding cancer-stricken spouse smile; those who wheel in day after day their immobile husband to complete another challenging physical therapy; those who hold hands until their partner’s last breath. That, to me, is true love.

If I have my way, however, I do not wish to see the day I’d have to prove myself, to walk the talk, to prove true and deeper love. But when that day comes I wish and pray I’d be the strong person than I am today. “In sickness and in health…’til death do us part.”

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Words inspired by this recent week’s event.)