Murphy, Give me a break

“When it rains your poor” a friend once jokingly said about his equivalent of the more popular “when it rains, it pours.” But while that’s funny, come to think of it, his version actually makes sense. Case in point, this month—of all months.

I don’t consider myself careless nor clumsy so breaking things aren’t normal for me especially if in succession. However, it looks like sh*t does happen because it’s just past half of the month and I start to feel I have reverse Midas touch.

First to go was my 8-year old Starbucks steel spill-proof coffee tumbler. It was a gift from my wife which was my companion during countless sleepy drives. It was even with me on my trip to cold Kansas. All that considered I’m keeping it, sealing the flip top for good and using the tumbler to keep my drinks warm and crossing my fingers I don’t spill coffee on my desktop while using it. (I’m not clumsy, I’m not clumsy, I’m not clumsy…)

Then there’s my treadmill’s cup holder. I’ve had so much trust about the Nordictrack S20’s durability that I have been slamming my drinking bottles and aerosol cleanser until I noticed recently the cup holder’s screw mount broke off behind the control panel. Like my Starbucks tumbler Mighty bond also did the trick but I’m more gentle this time and paying attention how I place my running bottles while at the same time checking my cadence, my pulse, and if I’m about to pass out or not.

My progressive glasses was next victim. Didn’t sit on it but I did something foolish. I’m still able to use it at work, thanks to work at home, but I’d look stupid if I wear it in the office with half of its temple broken. I now feel like I’m wearing a monocle. By the way, Hitler wore a monocle, FYI.

Promoting a new fashion trend.

But Murphy’s law isn’t done yet and this time it targeted our car’s battery. Discovered it fully drained just this past weekend when I was about to go out for a drive to pick up the Conti’s choco overload cake Marcus requested to celebrate his 13th year. It pays to have an in-law with a spare car.

Then there would be another. Last but not the least because obviously this one is the most expensive. How about breaking an Apple Watch? This one really sucks because I just had it this year as a gift. What makes it worse seeing it drop and break is that it occurred just when I’m starting to enjoy the convenience of wearing it while running as it streams music directly from Spotify. I think I can still use it but the crack on the screen will likely take in water so I have to be extra careful I don’t drop sweat on it. (May be too late but I found out that there’s a bezel being sold online that I could attach to protect the screen. Bought one anyhow in an attempt to save this watch.)

Chipped!

Quite a list already on my birth month, right? I’m never superstitious but I can’t help thinking a knock on wood wouldn’t hurt. Or maybe staying indoors until end of the month a better option? Common Murphy, give me a break. No pun intended.

***

Mood: 5/10 honks! (Fingers crossed not to break more things)

Cut Down

The bathroom weighing scale finally shows the magic numbers: one, three, zero. Months after I started counting calories seriously I have reached my ultimate goal. It was a test of will, patience, and discipline and I did it breaking stereotypes about genes, age, and being endomorph. I have never been this light and fit. Take note: Never been in my entire life.

Measure and control play a big part in all this. Again, “whatever is measurable is controllable” proves itself true. A concept that I first read in school textbook, often heard at work, and now put to good use in achieving weight loss. It started with just wanting to shed off Christmas weight. Then getting out of the dreaded weight loss plateau. Then entertaining the thought of hitting the ideal BMI. Before I know it I was staring down at a scale that says I am already 30 lbs lighter seven months later.

The MyFitnessPal app made it happen.

It’s not really a big number but I am now following a new lifestyle–not cliche New Year’s resolution–which I would continue to embrace. Achieving a 130-lb weight is just the start. My current regimen could result to increased muscle mass so whether I maintain my new weight or not is no longer important. For now, I see lighter runs ahead and probably new PRs.

***

There is so much discussion about coffee. Some days a villain, some days a hero. Whatever, it’s fuel for me. But it’s expensive regardless if it’s Starbucks or home-brewed which is why I will start using a coffee press instead of a drip coffee machine that runs on electricity. I had my first brew last Friday and I like it.

Got this for 795 pesos from Starbucks.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Ah, yes coffee is diuretic. Reason I’m up for a very early morning snack and a Ghost Wars episode.)

The Starbucks Planner Dilemma

Some people by now have already started coming in and out of Starbucks stores. Some in a rush to complete their sticker booklets while some to redeem their own Starbucks planner. Well, not me but however late it may be, this time I seem to reconsider the idea. The dilemma ‘to planner or not to planner’ strikes once more.

That’s because I just realized that after a long time, this year appears to be the year when I should’ve had a planner of some sort.  Stuck in my car last Friday and having finished a heavy rice meal right after I parked at work three hours earlier than usual, I found myself pondering on things that have happened this year. Everything was overwhelming since 2016 started.

Events came in faster than I would have imagined. Marcus got his US visa against all odds; we transferred house on a tight budget and in a short timeframe; I unexpectedly got a new role at work; and everything else—good or bad—in between. It was like a smorgasbord served in front of me all at the same time and the no leftover rule applies. (Ah yes, not close to any Japanese buffet but it’s like the pack of lauriat I found in the backseat that my sister was supposed to take with her when I dropped her back in Alabang. Everything in the paper bag was cold by then but good enough.)

That Chowking meal made me last until the end of the day’s training. A training that had me cancel a vacation I planned long before I got myself in this new account, in this new culture. Oh, and a plane ticket to be rebooked in the process. I now owe wifey Php 6000 more.

So maybe yes I need a planner this time. Maybe I should start using one again to take note of schedules, list of people I need to meet (and avoid), and maybe to doodle while stressed in the parking lot. Assuming I spend a venti everyday until the 30th I think could still get it. But then again that’s almost 2000 pesos for a planner so maybe not—not until I start to realize that I actually need to plan an itinerary in the weeks to come. A cheap notebook seems more appealing for now.

From the PAL office to Acacia. We dropped by to say hi and take a dip in hotel’s pool.

***

Mood: 6/10 Honks! (Rebooking sucks.)

Glad to Wake Up Still At Home

It’s one of those days when I prayed like never before and this morning was proof somehow that God still answers fervent prayers. I woke up still on the same bed with my wifey and kid beside me and not somewhere else. Last night, I slept with an uneasy feeling thinking that a typhoon with a strength that was never heard of before in the Philippines will be passing by or worse, make landfall. Again thank God, he listened to us Filipinos who for sure don’t want a repeat typhoon Ondoy did and to think that another typhoon will happen just within the same week.

***

Another good thing this morning is the arrival of another set of bags of Tully’s and Peets coffee beans coming from a relative in the US via her friend in Bacolod. That domestic stopover added something more to the package which is a perfect match for a brewed coffee, piaya.

Thanks again Keren and Gary for filling my cravings for caffeine. I’m quite sure that I’d be Starbucks-free at least for a month or two.

***

Just a thought: Aren’t typhoon Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng God’s own warning shot for us to stop and think what we’ve been doing to our environment? Weren’t we taught that cleanliness is next to godliness?

Think about it my friends. Let’s make a lot more effort to take good care of the environment. It’s never too late.

***

It’s about time I promote another blog I maintain just to catch and record litterbugs and smoke belchers. This is my own way to help drive environmental consciousness. Please check and contribute to Planet Trash Can.

***

Mood: 4/5 Honks! (Sleepy and tired…and anxious.)

1000 Kilometers, 1 B-Movie, 3 Coffees

Yesterday, I had to bring the car back to Honda for its first 1000 km check-up even if it meant having only three hours of sleep and waking up by mid-day after a stressful 12-hour graveyard shift. I was at Honda Alabang at exactly 1 PM as scheduled.

Expecting the check-up to last only for about two hours, I spent some time eating in their homely cafeteria and appreciating the customer lounge’s comfy couch and widescreen TV which was showing an HBO thriller. I likewise tried some cat naps to fill my lack of sleep.

Two hours later I was called by the service agent but to my dismay it was just to fill in the service form and the actual check-up would commence right after I completed the needed details. I learned that the check-up itself would be after another two hours more. Damn. Two more hours of reruns. I was craving for strong caffeine already.

An idea then came up. ATC here I go again. I was thinking I could get doze off inside the cinema. Ironically, as I was preparing myself for a 115-peso sleep, my body, as if under hypnotism led me to The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. My brain was trying to sleep but my body craved for caffeine. Just great. Inside me was an ongoing battle if who the really boss is.

So my body got its coffee, my brain came next and it was selecting between four movies. Well a sleep is what I need so the sleepy brain picked what seems to be a B-movie. Dreamland in the next few minutes.

Right after I grabbed my ticket for the movie Cloverfield, I excitedly entered the cool and almost vacant cinema, and then picked my spot away from the scattered moviegoers. I don’t normally enter in the middle of a film, but sleep was the main purpose.

I was 30 minutes late from the start of the movie and my brain was already trying to prep itself into snoozefest. I don’t know if I’m that dazed as I find the scenes quite dizzying but I realized sooner that it’s part of the movie’s effect. The Blair Witch Project came into my mind–Cloverfield is set to first person perspective thus creating an amateur effect. Perfect. A copycat is what I need to fall asleep.

I don’t know if my brain succeeded into getting its much needed sleep even after my body got its dose of the strong and large Americano. I never knew who won the who-is-the-boss struggle but I woke up watching movie trailers. So I looked at my watch and it was just an hour and a half. The movie finished earlier than I expected. It was a short film.

Upon checking my cellphone I found out that Honda still has not sent me an SMS to claim Mary. That gave me another hour to kill. So the curiosity to confirm if I was having nightmares while inside the cinema or had actually witnessed a weird ending of the movie made me decide to watch the film from the very beginning.

The trailers ended. The cinema lights once again dimmed and the featured movie starts once again. And just as I find the ending weird enough, the start itself is just as unpredictable. A couple of people actually booed after seeing the chroma bars and as some weird text negatives uncontrollably started appearing and rolling. Unknown to most of us, the film has started.

Cloverfield’s plot I soon found out is about a couple of young New Yorkers having a farewell party for a friend.One of them is taking a documentary of everything in the apartment. Some are recording their wishes and goodbyes in the video.

The twist of the story came. While at the peak of the merry-making a loud noise is heard and the place shakes with all the lights in every building outside going out momentarily. What happens next is reminiscent of the 911 attack. There is panic. Buildings crumble. People running around the ravaged and dusty streets. Everything looks surreal.

Chaos and confusion ensue and the video shakes further and everything blurs. Then the amateur cam captures a monstrous creature that would put Godzilla to shame.  It delivers a damaging blow to the Brooklyn Bridge and it decapitates the historic Statue of Liberty sending the head crashing on the parked cars miles away. Suddenly, I feel like I was among those running for their lives. Surprisingly, I was beginning to enjoy the movie. I was immersed.

As the plot thickens, and as emotions and mayhem intensify, I felt something in my thigh beginning to vibrate and buzz. I was wondering if I was experiencing a 4D sensation but damn, it was my cellphone alarm going off. It was time for me to leave. Never before have I hated leaving a B-movie. I went out  feeling bad not having finished the show. I walked out as if with the dilemma if I’ll stay and finish all of it or getting Mary out before Honda closes at 6 PM.

My mind’s made up. Ten minutes before closing time I was back in Honda’s service area. It’s getting dark outside when I drove away, and I was still thinking of what I’ve just watched. I was hoping that I’ll be transported back to Cloverfield and would have cared less if Mary and I gets entangled in the devastation. I really got hooked.

***

There were a couple more coffee shops Mary brought us within its 1000 km break-in period. She brought us to Bag of Beans in Tagaytay after a cold night dinner at Leslie’s with my wife’s brother and sister-in-law.

A week after that, we took the Talisay road going to Sto. Tomas Batangas. Mary endured the steep, tight and blind turns with me having her just at second gear for almost 15 kilometers to avoid careening off the road. Eventually, that trip took us to a cozy and warm coffee shop in Tanauan, Dairymoor.

And the verdict? All three coffees taste the same. I just can’t remember which shop costs the least. Definitely not The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

***

Wrote this blog’s draft while at our company’s parking lot, waiting for my wife.