Short Solo Trip

We had an unusual vacation set up last December. For the first time we didn’t stay at home and we’d just drop by our parents’ home coming from our Airbnb. Every now and then I’d also pass by during my morning runs but I find it wasn’t enough to spend time to chitchat especially with my father who now has difficulty hearing.

Since then I planned to be back before another December and this just happened, thanks to my ever supportive wifey who took time to look for a cheaper Philippine Airlines flight for me. Relatively cheaper than the normal fare or P4,499 to be exact. All of a sudden I miss Cebu Pacific’s piso fare deal.

It was my first solo trip after a long while. It had been either me and Marcus or wifey with us. I never flew alone until now. It felt like freedom but on the other hand it felt selfish.

Just the three of us.

But I accomplished my mission. I went to Bacolod with only a few people knowing it. My parents were not made aware. I didn’t want my mother to get busy preparing the house. None of my Bacolod friends knew about it either. I just want to be home and spend time with my father. To talk to him over loud television and of course with his favorite cheap rhum–Tanduay 5 Years.

Now I’m back at the airport waiting for my flight to Manila. In a few hours I’ll see Marcus and likely start shooting enemies in Call of Duty as if this short solo trip was just a dream.

I manage to shake off some calories next day of my arrival.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks (Lazy day at the departure area.)

Xbox for a Cause

Marcus still surprises us every now and then. Wifey and I were talking about how my work was while on our way to the mall last weekend when Marcus heard the part that I ended the workweek creating a Christmas box with my direct reports.

Curious what the box is for, Marcus asked, “What’s going inside the box?” I told him that my manager plans to sponsor a foundation for kids with cancer this coming December. Then he probed once more, “What’s cancer? Is it infectious?” I struggled to find a simple definition but I got past it. Marcus seems to have digested my explanation. “Daddy, you can donate the Xbox,” he soon replied.

I wasn’t expecting such response. He was referring to the Xbox 360 that we just pulled out and put up for sale online days ago. He was planning to save funds for something–I know he is aiming for a Nintendo Switch console so I was taken aback by what he just said.

The Xbox 360 meant a lot to us. We spent countless hours playing games together. We’ve built Minecraft worlds, we’ve slain aliens in Halo, we’ve teamed up as soldiers in Call of Duty, we’ve rocked the house with Guitar Hero and so many more. For Marcus to just let go of it after hearing about kids with cancer struck me and wifey big time.

We tagged the basic Xbox kit at Php6000 ($120) on Carousell or formerly known as OLX. At this price we’d just be saving Php15K more to get the Nintendo gaming console. So I made a compromise with Marcus. When the Xbox gets sold, half goes to him and the other goes to the foundation. He accepted the deal. It’d be win-win.

Facebook post.

On Wednesday I realized I could also sell the item on Facebook. I was right as the result was overwhelming. The post which I made public was shared by a couple of my friends and the comments were encouraging. I felt it became viral even if my past sarcastic posts got more reactions.

Buyer will be busy in the next few days.

The Xbox 360 was sold barely 24 hours after the Facebook posts. The lucky buyer who is an acquaintance at work got our entire 360 stuff–at least most of it as I kept some games as keepsakes. Marcus is now 3,000 pesos richer and I hope the other 3K goes a long way for the kids with cancer. Next on queue, Marcus’ red wheelchair.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Back on minimalism track. Somehow.)

Weight a minute

Day 30. Or 35. Whatever. Anyhow, it’s been a long while since I ran past the 10K mark not until yesterday. Thanks but no thanks to our screaming bathroom scale. What I find funny is I bought my AfterShokz for the very reason I wanted something to pump me up in my attempt to do another 21K and farther. It hasn’t happened since then until plus seven pounds later. Procrastination sucks, right?

I still do regular 5Ks, however, and I think I’m improving the form and pace is getting steady and at times a bit better. Like last weekend I did another at my favorite uphill route which was when I achieved another fastest mile. It was going downhill when I hit the new record but a win is a win.

Marcus having his first sushi.

Then there’s also Marcus being a factor. He’s just getting heavier. Still relatively slim but trust me he’s got mass–his skinny body is deceiving. Thus my plan to shift from endurance training to more on strength is becoming more compelling. I need more muscles to help Marcus’ lack of muscles.

This is why I’m getting anxious whenever I step on the bathroom scale. Half of me wants to maintain a leaner form while another half wants to bulk up and be more muscular. Like today I checked and I’m 141 lbs yet thankfully my shirts and pants still fit. Must be growing muscles then, not fats. I’d like to believe so.

***

So how does it feel to gain seven pounds? To remind myself that I shouldn’t go any heavier I’m looking at weight gains in different perspective.

Gaining about three pounds is like buying frozen whole chicken and carrying it the whole day. Not much though an extra weight nevertheless.

Ten pounds on the other hand would feel like a having a grocery bag filled with five kilos of brown rice bag. This will slow one down significantly. I’d start to get worried here.

Then twenty pounds would be tougher. This is equivalent of going daily to the airport with a hand carry bag stuffed to its limit. This is the number to be avoided really.

***

Months overdue, we finally returned to the doctor to have Marcus checked with only his 2D echo test results available after giving up on him being able to successfully do the spirometry test back in January. The findings were relatively better. Marcus still has good grip, which I did not doubt as he can still hold the Xbox controllers the whole day. While he can’t stand, same amount of leg control is still present although leg extension have lessened from 60 degrees to 70. The doctor said Marcus’ arms strength is what weakened but said exercise, no weights and no resistance, may still benefit.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Having foot spa while waiting for Marcus to finish his therapy.)

Talking to People is Still Better, Yes?

Fomo. Funny word but it’s one of the few things I learned last year talking with other people. Face to face, not on social media or the weird wide web. It was sometime in October and over expensive venti coffee when we talked about more expensive stuff, Bitcoin. But more than just running my computer 24/7 to mine cryptocurrency, the acronym FOMO or fear of missing opportunity stuck the most. Whether this a jargon, I didn’t even check. I just like the word.

My aversion to spending on something I’m uncertain of had me eventually ditch the idea of getting into Bitcoin but the funny ‘F’ word lingered. Fomo became my personal mantra, it made me more eager to execute plans I’ve already archived.

In this first month of the new year, I found the opportunity I couldn’t pass up. For days it kept appearing on my inbox while I prepare to go about my daily routine. So after sleeping on it over the weekend, I bit the bullet and applied for the internal position with the downside in mind that it would get me out of my comfort zone. It was time to test fomo.

To be honest, while I wanted the job so much, I didn’t prepare like I would in the past. I decided not to dress up on interview day and just showed up come-as-you-are, partly cocky that I can do it and because fomo. Half of me was holding on to the routine I’ve loved for so long–mainly because I’ve control over my schedule and I talk to people less–but another half of me wants no more of it.

Then on a Monday I heard the good news. Seldom that Monday does that. My boss called to inform me that I got the post and she sounded happier than I was. Whether she was happy for me or she’s happy I’m out of her way, I’ll take it. Thanks to fomo, I’ll be talking to a new boss and will interact with more people soon.

Earlier on that same Monday was a different surprise. Our neighbor started renovation and I got caught unguarded. My already tight parking spot became tighter as they started deploying construction materials into the space we share. So as the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Days later I accepted the idea that now is the best time to have our car get its much needed paint job. I had it scheduled this year though not this soon but since parking would be a challenge in the weeks to come I welcomed the thought of me carpooling or taking public transpo until our neighbor’s done with their project and our Honda City’s repainting is completed.

At the paint shop, besides separation anxiety, a scary thought hits me. The shop, I discovered, also does engine repairs and their mechanic explained that the stuck spark plug I’ve been ignoring for a year could soon spell trouble. Our car has eight spark plugs but it’s been running with one of it unreplaced after Honda Calamba’s–the irony–technician rounded the plug’s hex nut and still have the gall to inform me that it was rounded before he touched it. None of my web search results warned me about the possibility of the spark plug’s tip disintegrating and messing up the cylinder or piston area. Interesting, fate timed it right once more for me and it had me talking to a random person who made me realize I could’ve been into worse predicament.

All these recent interactions tell me that it does pay to talk to people. This is a fact we need to remind ourselves especially when we’ve started to justify being introvert is better (note to self). Exchanging ideas in person seems to still beat online interaction. Forget Black Mirror or Anon, we’re just not there yet.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Netflix’s Mindhunter on queue.)

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.)

Sleep, Where Art Thou

Toy ear muffs for a good sleep.

One obvious downside of working night shifts is that the body eventually adopts to the weird sleeping pattern. Often times my body no longer recognizes my timezone. Physically I’m in Asia but my system believes it’s somewhere in California. I would love to see the day that both are in sync again.

For several weekends already I find it hard to get a normal night sleep which sucks because I would be on and off in the morning instead of being awake to spend time with Marcus. I know he looks forward to weekends so we can play his games together longer. We could have explored Terraria more, and finished a hardened Wet Work mode in Call of Duty yesterday had I stopped snoozing off.

The irregular sleeping pattern has also become a challenge in my runs. I pick up slow and I struggle to maintain a good pace. My return to 10K on Sunday after a couple of months hiatus, no thanks to tropical weather, was a drag. I can’t be like this with running activities coming soon. I think it’s about time I get back to Sleepasil.

Frankly, though, I don’t like the effect of Sleepasil. This sleeping pill works quickly after intake but it also wears off fast, at least in my case. For a couple of weeks I took Sleepasil on Saturdays expecting uninterrupted sleep but I would always be up in the wee hours of Sunday morning craving for something to eat. My body’s priority exposed?

By nature, my wife knows that I can’t resist the call of the couch. I would easily fall asleep as soon as my body senses the soft cushioning of a sofa. Wait, I even would even fall for hard wood benches. No distinction. But still I long for days when normal night sleep isn’t hard to come by. The last time I slept through the night was in F1 Hotel back in June. I would appreciate it if same sound sleep happens soon, preferably just at home but no complaints if in a hotel once more.

***

Another fast MV registration renewal at San Pablo office but it could have been better if emission test and insurance application are done within the compound like in Dasma, Cavite.

**”

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Blame the Starbucks music for the sleepy post.)

Fight For PWD Access

It’s another payday weekend, malls would be packed once more, and when this happens parking becomes more challenging than usual. No big deal if you think about it as sooner or later, a slot frees up and it could be yours. Its proximity to the mall doesn’t matter. We could just walk.

Sadly, not everyone has this luxury to just walk. Not everyone could just park their car somewhere, take a hike to the mall, and on rainy days like today, make a dash to the nearest covered area. Not everyone.

Image by Robert Mark Santos as posted on Facebook.

If you still don’t know it yet guys, people with disabilities (PWDs), specifically those in wheelchairs exist. Young and old alike, whether they can wheel themselves on their own or not, they exist. And if you still aren’t aware of it–by ignorance, poor upbringing, or plain insensitivity–PWD parking slots exist and should be respected.

PWD parking spaces are supposed to be reserved for folks who lack mobility. These slots are specially marked, wider than the regular ones, and are normally located close to PWD access ramps. While not all PWD parking spaces are “intelligently” designed, being aware that these are made to serve a specific purpose–and therefore must be used only by its intended patrons–is already a good start in showing that we are sensitive to others who need the PWD parking spots the most.

Not all PWD access look like easy access but don’t block it anyway. (Credit to owner.)

So if today you plan to enjoy your weekend, be sensitive and kind. At least before you enter the crowded mall. Don’t be that guy who parks in PWD slots just because you find it available when you arrived at the parking area or just because you figured your compact car or motorcycle fits the spot. People in wheelchairs will appreciate it a lot if you make their life less stressful by giving them the access that they deserve.

***

The struggle to get a PWD parking slot is real and to understand why people who seem fit and abled continue to use it.

Whenever I see a party of abled individuals getting out of a car parked in a PWD slot I couldn’t help but wonder if either one of them qualifies as PWD. Someone once disputed that definition of disability is broad which makes it hard to judge if a person who appears fit should be allowed to use the PWD spot.

Pregnant women, elderly, and those who lack mobility are apparently the ones who need to be prioritized in using the PWD slots. But what about those with other conditions that aren’t obvious physical disability?

Then there’s also inconsistency in implementing Republic Act 10070 which protects the welfare of PWDs. There are still establishments that lack PWD access and there are places wherein nobody regularly checks if a person using the PWD parking space is indeed a PWD or with one who needs assistance.

There’s still so much room for improvement in dealing with PWDs. We just can hope and pray the day would come when more, if not all, people recognize and respect the needs of people with disabilities.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Internet drags.)