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.)

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First Fun Run

We’ve had morning runs in the past and we’re even in attendance in a fun run event which I recall was during the adoption awareness week about nine years ago. But wifey and I were never together as registered participants. Last week we had the chance to see ourselves run side by side.

Eager 3K runners.

The Sto. Tomas Color Fun Run, an organized though small running event, got all three of us in our running sneakers. On Friday morning we gathered with other excited runners at the starting line just few meters away from home, our aspin dog tagging along.

Dog panting but enjoying.

It was wifey’s first time to run again after several months, stuck normally at home doing her freelance jobs, so I paced with her. Basically, it was skip, hop, and jog for me, just to keep Marcus entertained, until the second kilometer. I started picking up the pace and left wifey behind on the last 1K stretch. Less than 10 minutes later, Marcus and I saw her cross the inflatable finish line arc. Not bad.

Post-run recovery was free Jollibee Yumburgers but three of us shared just one of it. I haven’t event burned the carbs I took prior to this. So barely exhausted and not wanting our dog to get lost on its way home, I decided that Marcus and I can still run with the dog. My Garmin registered about 6K total that morning.

This shouldn’t be our last. I want the three of us to join another event soon. Practice runs won’t be bad as well.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Hot chocolate at the car wash.)

Marcus Can Fly

An ultralight adventure got us back to Pampamga. After more than 10 years I drove the car up the north route again, its seven of eight good spark plugs doing their job. Our unplanned stopover at the Total NLEX gas station where wifey and I got locked out before made the trip even more nostalgic.

Last year I read about ultralights flight being safe and affordable and since then I wished we’d someday do it. A month ago a friend’s video on an ultralight became the final reminder so we booked our son for his first ever ultralight flight.

The drive to Angles City Flying Club took about four hours in a surprisingly moderate traffic on a Saturday morning. One hundred and sixty kilometers later we arrived at our destination although we later learned Waze could have done better had it directed us to Mabalacat exit instead of Mexico, Pampanga.

Incidentally, World Ultralight Fly-In (WUFI) 2018 was also happening that same day so Marcus had to stay and wait in the queue with other eager flyers. There were five ultralights per batch. Our son was number 29.

Marcus soon took off and didn’t back out of it but the other kid in his batch did bail out so a second take off was made. Flight time above the scenic Woodland Airpark in Sitio Talimundok, Pampanga was about 15 minutes with his pilot giving him a taste of how to control the nimble ultralight sometime during flight.

Me and the crew assisting Marcus after landing.

A copy of the video we received a week later would confirm what Marcus said he experienced. Strapped and having poor control of his muscles, he wasn’t able to look around while up in the air. He said he was limited to what he could see up front and within his peripheral vision. Nevertheless, another achievement unlocked. Marcus was able to fly.

***

Luck was on my side that day. Vince from Travellog.Ph who assisted booking Marcus for this event offered me a free ulttalight ride. I’ve done static skydive and tandem skydive in the past so I thought nothing could be more exciting. The ultralight flight proved me wrong.

***

Here are tips for a better ACFC ultralight flight experience.

1. Bring a GoPro. ACFC’s 15-minute flight is only Php2,888 but availing the package that includes shirt and photo-video costs an additional Php1,700. Shirt was cool but the photo and video aren’t worth it. So bring a GoPro if you have one as the plane has a GoPro mount.

2. Memory, memory, memory. I didn’t avail the photo-video package (firstly, got my ride for free) so I used a traditional Canon point-and-shoot attached to a selfie stick to record my flight. I was enjoying every bit of the experience when in the middle of the flight the dreaded “insufficient memory” error started showing up. Sucks that the thrilling turns and stalls weren’t captured.

3. Pick your pilot. Ask around, look for dizzy yet happy passengers when the planes land. I flew with a crazy local pilot and it made the free flight double the fun. Check my video above. Find that guy.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Sunny Sunday and I wish we could fly again.)

Red Wheelchair’s Farthest Run Ever

Stopping for his chocolate chip frap at Starbucks Sto. Tomas.

I ran with Marcus. Yup, not just for Marcus. A dream coming true for me even if he’s on a wheelchair. For two days in a row we covered the most distance and we achieved more running this time. In his gaming parlance it was “achievement unlocked.”

Saturday’s run on a route we once took with wifey earlier this year was short and quick. Seeing two clowns on a motorcycle was the one of the highlights of this run and although Marcus neither saw goats nor cows, he found a compound with Ostrich. An animal sighting made the 3K session worth it for him.

The next day Marcus wants more of it. I thought he won’t ever ask to do it in succession as he’d have to deal with smoke-belching vehicles, dusty road, and was exposed to the sun for a longer period. But I was wrong. Marcus didn’t mind staying out in the open on his red wheelchair. Our second run is proof that he loves to do more.

Sunday afternoon we started earlier. At about 4:30 PM we met the blinding sun head on. He refused to wear the visor cap which he calls a stupid hat because he finds it weird that the top portion is open. So I gave him the option to wear his Batman baseball cap and told him to just look down and avoid staring at the sun rays. We reached shade more than a kilometer later. Running was easier at this point.

Marcus was chatty almost the entire time and it was a good thing. Having a conversation with him diverted my thoughts away from the effort I was exerting to keep running. I would only check my Garmin whenever he’d ask how much distance we’ve covered so far and that’s only when I’d also see my heart rate and pace info. Every now and then he’d look back to check if I was sweating or not. I’d respond back that I’m fine.

We hit the 7K mark at exactly an hour later just in time before dark. His Starbucks chocolate chip frappuccino we got halfway of our run is already consumed except for its whip cream when we stepped back inside our house. I’m not sure when the next time is but I would love him to join me again while I try to rack up more miles this October.

7K with Marcus.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Air time for Marcus in few more days.)

I Survived Buy-One-Take-One Day

Remember that lemon fan? Our weeks of being under the mercy of rechargeable handheld Iwata fans have ended. Yesterday, we went to our first ever S&R buy-one-take-one sale day with the main purpose of getting a replacement for our now useless electric stand fan. Well, one of the main purposes, at least that’s how wifey justified it.

The experience was crazy. I’ve heard of long queues during sale events but I never realized how long is long until I saw the queue of restless shoppers twisting back and forth outside S&R’s Nuvali store like an oversized hungry Slither.io snake. To be honest, I always appreciate Marcus’ wheelchair on days like this. We soon bypassed the regular line and was ushered to the priority lane where there are few patrons waiting to be accommodated, though including some grumpy senior citizens. A compromise I was glad to take.

Me trying to summon inner peace on our way to the cashier.

Entering the store wasn’t the end, however. This time we had to weave in and out and dodge over eager shoppers as they push their trolleys around like zombies out for blood. The line outside the store seemed more civil and subtle. To discover that not every item is buy one take one made me feel more impatient and secretly regret driving despite lack of sleep just to be there.

But wifey was a fighter. All women are, I guess. To them the word sale is caffeine. She was like on zen despite minimal lunch. What was once an empty large pushcart was soon filled. To her wallet’s credit, I noticed that the pack of toilet paper that Marcus and I were kidding her as the second on her list wasn’t the reason her cart was overflowing. Two boxes of stand fans shared space with other stuffs. Minimalism died that day.

Four hours later, we exited the store triumphant. Or more aptly, relieved. The buy-one-take-one smoothies capped our sale day. So are we going to do it again next time? Our answers are opposing. Mine and Marcus obviously on the negative side. But barely 24 hours after, I heard wifey saying she wants a second shot. Fingers crossed, I hope S&R drops prices by half in the hardware and car isles. I’ll be ready by then, hope my wallet is.

A giant Starbucks coffee pack made my day.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Can’t wait for this sleepy week at work to end.)

Chubby White Guy

I met a chubby guy.

One after the other. One day I was in a paint shop, next day in a car registration office, and then couple of days later I see myself at a tire shop. The pattern of where I’ve been at in the past few days shows that this month is definitely car month. More expenses in short. The price I have to pay in maintaining a 10-year old car.

Yesterday I finally replaced my car’s Goodyear Duraplus tires that already breached three years since February this year. I’ve been using the same brand after letting go of the noisy stock Bridgestones as I’ve proven that Goodyear tires are better and tough. In fact, this last set held on until the last thread pattern are almost gone which why it was hard for me to easily trust any other brand.

But here comes the chubby white guy. Up to the last minute I tried to fit another set of Goodyear tires specified for my car. The bad news is that even Goodyear dealers I’ve checked out don’t have the 175/70R13 tire readily available anymore. Fortunately someone recommended a tire shop that gave me an offer that’s hard to dismiss–a discounted Michelin.

Michelin has very good reputation despite the tire brand’s poor performance against the Pirellis at the F1 races years ago. Ask random car guys and most would likely say that Michelin tires are better but pricey. I had the same impression until I contacted someone at Minerva Yokohama tires in Calamba. A Michelin tire at Php 3000 a piece was a steal.

Two weeks ago I discovered my front tires have deteriorated badly, both would fail the coin test, and since then wet roads got me more worried than before. So imagine my relief when my schedule and wallet–wifey’s support included–aligned at last to get all four tires replaced before heavy monsoon rains strike again.

Needless to say, I’m back on safer grounds. The Michelin tires made me feel confident driving once more as the car has the grip it needs to stay in control. It’s also noticeable that there’s lesser road noise which means I can focus better behind the wheel. Only distraction now is the glowing blue seven segment LED display on my USB charger. Dear heavens, I need that voltage stuck at 12.5 volts please. Next stop soon, car battery shop. I need an online job.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Introvert mode off later.)

Not a Fan of this Fan

Not cool

Right out of work, enduring a shift dragged further by a very slow MS Excel, I tried fixing our fan that stopped working all of a sudden on this warm Thursday morning. The Handy Manny in me, however, failed to get it back running but to be honest I seem more than happy that it no longer works, finally.

You see this isn’t the first time it happened. Just more than two years since we bought it brand new, this Panasonic electric fan that features inverter technology, as its manufacturer claims it to be, has been nothing but a headache. I have lost track of the number of times I’ve lubricated it, took it apart, the entire time it’s been with us. We’ve bought other fan brands but these cheaper ones outlast the Panasonic big time. We’ve even had a stand fan that despite broken into half, its motor keeps running on demand. I heard its recipient continues to enjoy cool air.

I promised to avoid negative vibes in this blog site but I’ll break it for once. I think a little bit of service to other unsuspecting consumers would justify this hate post. So let it be known that my days dealing with this Panasonic inverter technology fan is over. I’m really not a fan of this fan. As the civilians in the Lego Marvel Xbox game would say, “Not cool.”

***

I told Marcus that I would run over the Panasonic fan to spread it into pieces. Yes, that much hate. But I change my mind, as I realize my car tires are almost slick. Another sad story.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Getting sleepy by watching Marcus’ character bouncing back and forth on the purple Fortnite Loot Lake.)