I Have New Wheels. Sort of.

Karma must’ve caught on me. Our newly painted Honda City ’08 was a wreck after last week’s rear-ender. It happened fast, I didn’t see it coming. It was all routine drive until boom, everything inside the car got messed up. Coffee mug was thrown out of the cup holder, my shoulder bag went from front to the backseat, pairs of shoes mixed up, and the dashcam dangled like a pendulum after it got dislodged from its windshield mount. Saw all this after I found my phone somewhere on the floor. I wasn’t meant to be in the office that night.

Cars involved in the collision minus the truck that caused it all.

Good news is I’m still alive and writing and won’t be taking jeepney rides under this cruel tropical summer sun (heat index registering at 40 degrees Celsius lately) as the trucking company owner shouldered everything plus the loaner car. It was a bad experience but this guy lessened the stress of going through the police report and the repair process. God is good. As of this moment, my car’s damage is being taken care of at a Kia dealership that caters all-brand services.

Didn’t expect that a loaner car was an option in cases like this.

What I find funny is that this year we’ve been thinking of either getting a van or a smaller car–wherever that budget will come from is another story–that fits our garage and that could carry a wheelchair. Now it happened, I’m back to driving a Kia. This must be why they say be careful what you wish for.

So far I’m loving the automatic Picanto. It’s fun to drive, it’s easier to park and it can carry all three of us plus the wheelchair. Just this Monday the red compact car got the three of us to watch Avengers: Endgame. I just wonder though if 15 km./li @ 80 kph average speed is the best it can do. The old Honda City have done better. Think think.

(Draft first posted on my Facebook account.)

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (It rained and looking forward to see how the small tires would handle wet road.)

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Carless and Enjoying It

It’s almost a month since I sent our car to a shop for its much needed paint job. Surprisingly, I seem to have adapted to this new lifestyle. I’m carless and I’m enjoying it.

The first couple of weeks I carpooled to and from work. It changed my routine, it challenged my patience. Most days I’d play the waiting game and there was a day when I stood like a lifeless statue for an hour before my friend arrived but I didn’t (show) complain one bit.

Then the dreaded need to report on a different time and extend after shift happened. I had to take public transportation which I soon discovered is actually easy and convenient in some aspect even if the jeepney rides exposed me in the open, more so the tricycle trips that were like extreme games played in the middle of a busy road. My fate was on the hands of possibly crazy drivers and their equally unstable vehicles. But so far I survived.

Car’s all wrapped up in the paint shop.

One of the good things without a car is that I get to places I normally would avoid because of lack of parking space. Like yesterday morning right out of work, I went to a newly opened Domino’s Pizza parlor to get something for lunch. In the afternoon, coming from the paint shop and doing errands to the laundry shop I stopped by at a small eatery and indulged myself with their special lomi. It was something I haven’t done for years. I got so excited at the sight of a nicely served hot meal that I started mixing it before deciding it would make a good social media post for a change. It was likely 600 plus calories so I stopped halfway after finishing the meat and the rest of the toppings. 😂

Raffy’s lomi tastes good though it was better years ago.

I checked the car and it is on its buffing stage before the top coat will be applied. Construction of our covered garage at home was just completed as well after a week of noisy activity and it should be ready to accommodate the car when the concrete is fully cured. I can’t wait to drive the car again but now that I’ve learned of another option to commute to work I might drive less and take the public transportation more if weather permits.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Longer weekend ahead. Hit 30:52 minutes at 5K mark which breaks last year’s PT.)

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.

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

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.

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

My Talkative YI Dashboard Camera

“Keep a safe distance, please. Keep a safe distance, please.” “Caution, car drifting. Caution, vehicle drifting.” That’s neither my wife nor Marcus interfering with my driving, they’re used to it. The demanding voice that repeated itself over and over again at quite close interval emits from my new YI dashboard camera with its ADAS or driving assistance feature.

It was a hassle-free Lazada transaction. I ordered the item Tuesday and it was delivered morning of Thursday, paid COD. The box came with a Chinese manual but I was able to set it up in less than 15 minutes. Not that I understand Chinese but because camera’s menu is in English and control buttons made it so easy to navigate. Only time I needed from the YI Dash cam English manual that wifey found online is its wifi’s default password. It’s 1234567890. You can thank me later.

YI dash cam app.

Stock parts work. Suction mount holds and the camera fits nicely behind my rear view mirror. That’s right, I set it that way just to be compliant with our country’s anti-distracted driving law and besides I could access all of YI dash cam’s settings as well as extract video clips using its wireless connection. A YI dash cam app needs to be downloaded from Google Play or App store to connect to the cam’s wifi. Both our Android and Apple phones connect to the camera in a breeze. The USB-micro USB power cable that came with the package works fine but I find it thin and too long so I replaced it with something better which I already have at home.

Video quality is fair even at night except I noticed that lights appear dispersed and this could be an issue if there’s a need to capture an oncoming vehicles plate number so I hope I won’t have to.

For the price of Php2600 YI dashboard camera is worth it. It’s obviously a whole lot better than what I had since 2015 except for its talkative driving assistance. I have already turned it off the day after.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Back to healthy food.)

My First Lazada Order

Dashboard camera.

I have joined the bandwagon. Years of holding back, leaving all the online buying to wifey, ends today. Out of necessity brought about by the anxiety over my current dashboard camera hanging up on me yesterday, I’m left with no other choice but to take a deep breath and try out Lazada for the very first time.

Wifey never had any major setback with this online store. She has purchased several items that I once joked if she holds a share in Lazada. Of of these items I can count at least one or two that didn’t meet expectations but worked just fine nevertheless. So I’m crossing my fingers that I’d have the same experience in doing my first transaction. Site says my item would be received in 2-5 days. Let’s see.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Created my first Epic account. I can now play Fortnite with Marcus.)

Test Post

Ten years. It doesn’t drive like so but mileage and bodywork confirm it has seen better days. Yup, the car I never thought would be with us past five years is now ten years old and counting.

So today it deserves some sort of pampering. I’ve learned to DIY it in the last two years but today it goes to the nearest car dealership for maintenance. Honda Cars Calamba was surprisingly comfy than the last time I was here. Besides free coffee and free test drive, the place has free Wi-Fi. No big deal but this is when I confirmed what WordPress replied on my desperate tweet–our ISP could indeed be blocking WordPress.com.

I can see the technician is almost done with my car so I’ll have this test post count as this year’s first. Let’s see if my car’s pic would appear.

Just kidding. That’s one of the displays. I got tired after two episodes of Stranger Things and checked out some of the brand new cars. That one is a Civic Type R.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Found a new route with the test drive.)