A Broken Car, A Happy Kid, and A Patient Wife

Behind every absent employee is a happy kid and a worried spouse. – Me.

 

As our young boy puts it, ”Daddy, you have an extra  Saturday!” This he said  after  learning  that  I won’t be  able to  report to work because my car’s  air conditioner conked out on a high noon yesterday. This is why children,  no  matter how  annoying  they could  get, are  little  angels—or  clowns—who possess the ability  to make  us  smile  whenever  we  need to  have some. It wasn’t the extra Saturday I wished I had but there was no choice.

The car’s Pandora’s box. (Image from Honda.)

After having  nightmares  about car  repairs  and empty  wallets,  start  of the  day  today I faced my  fear head on. I went back to the aircon repair shop anticipating a long day ahead, another day of waiting for a Pandora’s box from the car’s hood to be spread its ugly surprise. But God must have heard our bedtime prayers and must have checked my bank account balance. The mechanic made a quick bypass of the compressor’s wiring and voila, cold air from the vents.

Returning home  a  lot earlier than expected,  I  found myself seated  across  wifey who was then  busy  with  her  regular  task of  cleaning Marcus’ Legos and other building  blocks. Besides being impressed  by her patience to  place everything back  in  order  despite  knowing that  it  would  be  a  matter of time when our young boy disassembles everything according to his own liking—which did happen—I noticed something that captured my attention. A nice Lego hack. There’s no need to wait for the next Mothers’ Day or Valentines’ Day to give compliment for this one little trick…plus the fact she paid most of the car’s repair.

Lego Hack, Lego Sword Rack
A sword rack using an 8 X 2 Lego piece.

***

This is the first time the car’s air-conditioning got busted. It was due to a loose compressor bearing that eventually resulted to the wheel grinding on the magnetic coil set. Repair costs us Php 6,000 plus. I might need more carpool passengers or those who could pay more.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (I was expecting to take public transpo for a week but I’m not.)

Advertisements

Got Coins?

(Image from the web.)

So you got your piggy bank filled and you begin to think it’s about time you break it. The pictures on TV commercials now play in your mind where a pink ceramic piggy is carried to the bank and pleasant-looking tellers welcoming their excited client. But snap out of it, it is fallacy because the sad truth is, they hate counting coins. Yes, most bank tellers—who appear so kind, so accommodating—do not like to spend time counting what we have been saving in our coin banks for months. I know this first hand based on experiences (yup, plural).

One of my encounters happened a few months back.  I went to a BDO branch where a big image on their wall had my hopes high—it has a picture of a kid with her tower of coins. She seems happy, so proud of her savings. Soon I learned, however, that the teller in front of me thinks otherwise. Her happy disposition changed in a heartbeat when I told her I will deposit Marcus’ coins to his account. It was worth more than three thousand pesos.

While she counts, after a stern comment that I should have grouped it by hundreds, I looked at the huge wall again and had to suppress a smirk and the urge to let out some sarcasm. That day reminds me to avoid depositing coins again—that is, if I can help it.

Not wanting to be in the same uneasy spot again, this week I have found another way to dispense Marcus’ coins. It doesn’t involve any bank tellers but new unsuspecting employees. The first recipient was the water district’s cashier. Surprisingly, he didn’t complain and was able to count the 80 pieces of 5-peso coins fast. Kiddo and I were out of the office in less than ten minutes.

Our next stop was the gas station. I handed the attendant six ice candy packs with 1-peso coins in each. I packed it last weekend—while watching a Transformers movie at home—and was thinking all the while that I got 600 all in all. How he verified that I counted it wrong surprised me. The gas attendant told me that each pack only has 50 pesos just by placing it on his palm. Wow, this guy should be working at a bank and replace those smug bank tellers so I can go back to depositing the coins directly to Marcus’ savings account.

I still have few more hundred pesos worth of coins to expend and by the time every coin is gone I already owe our kid at least two thousand pesos (Lucky kid). How I now wish that the coin hoarding bill will soon become a law so that I can march back to the bank proudly and tell the bank tellers, “You know ma’am, I am just abiding by the law, so please spare me the lecture and start counting the 25 centavos first.”

***

Mood: 4/10 Honks! (Those coins are lifesavers for now.)

“…and those who own BMWs.” (I was telling wifey about the three people in this world: the poor, the rich, and the contented when a shiny brand new bimmer passed by. Talk about distraction during a financial discussion.)

***

This is my first post in Status format.

Hear Me Talk About Money

Since people started using barter or money, spending for things both needed and wanted have continued like clockwork: day in, day out, goods are exchanged for a cost. Of course, with the infamous wealth distribution pyramid, the outflow differs from one social class order to another. Fairly, everyone has their own sets of financial worries—The Ayalas may worry what Cadillac color to get, the average Juan Dela Cruzes worry which one is a good bang for the buck—Vios or City, while the less privilege ones worry when the next jeepney fair price hike will happen. All are financial worries nevertheless.

I’m not transforming my blog into something like Francis Kong’s business article but I’d like to share some of my tips–or more like my note to self–with regards to spending wisely.

Obsolete items have to go. The unstoppable electricity bill made me decide to sell (another of my online selling adventure) our old air conditioner and replace it with a new one that has a timer so it can switch the electric fan at a specified time without me having to perform a half-sleepwalk just to reach and turn the air con off.

Be on the lookout for best 2nd hand (used) deals. My wife showed her haggling talent and got a 5-month old Canon IXUS 70 at 25 percent less than the original price. Not bad.

Drive as if you’re participating in Petron’s Extra Mile challenge. Been doing it lately and I’m seeing an improvement both to my sanity and fuel economy. It’s also one way to discourage your friends from riding with you – who wants to be in a new car without an air conditioning on? Hahaha. Just kidding.

Pay only for good movies, catch the bad ones on HBO. Last week we watched “What Happens in Vegas” and we quite had a good laugh at it. Cinema: P240, watching Aston Kutcher and Cameron Diaz: Priceless.

Read restaurant reviews before dining in. This is what we learned with Fish & Co. where I read in some forums that even those known rich people find it overpriced. Too bad I read about it late enough. Last week was a different story; we had our sweet revenge in Bollywood. I enjoyed our dinner—wifey didn’t—in this Indian cuisine restaurant and that made me dream of going to India to savor more of their foods. I’m wondering if there’s any other way we can commute there other than their trains – I have some “issues” with it. If there is, Bombay, count me in.

Pay and download only the music you like. When I heard about it from my wife, I immediately agree with the idea; rather than buying a full CD (single artist) and feeling shortchanged later on after learning that your favorite artist himself has actually only one favorite song in his own album. Ti abi. But then again, I’d like to emphasize that this is not a reason to patronize pirated music. Buying pirated materials is not spending wisely. It is stealing. Period.

Grab every chance to join a raffle or contest. My wife got her pair of limited edition Havaianas 7 Waves for free after being included in the first 70 entries for their contest. That will keep her from buying another Spartan enemy for now. I’m thinking if I can sell this pair in ebay. Shhh.

There’s a rule to having a successful diet: do not deny yourself of your cravings as doing so will just make you binge in the end. Instead, eat everything (edible) in moderation. Spending is no different. Cutting every expense out at once will have its repercussions. It is better to moderate it at first and depending on the availability of resources–in this case, money–try eliminating the unnecessary ones one at a time. Good luck.