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.

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

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Feel the Drift

So we discovered this one place in Nuvali where we experience drifting a car outside of the virtual world. Marcus loved it so much that we have to do it again on our second visit. Thanks to wifey who this time tagged along with us to capture this video.

By the way, thanks to the crew of Skidkart Circuit who made a kid in a wheelchair (and his dad) experience what he only sees on his Need For Speed Most Wanted game. We will try to find you in Tagaytay if we happen to be there.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (This Ayala Mall Solenad already feels like home to Marcus.)

We Will Rock London

We are not done talking about dreams yet. There is probably no other place where Marcus would like to be and it’s not where most would go to. At the same age, kids in general would say Disneyland, some Universal Studio, some Legoland. But none of these are Marcus’ choice. Where then? London. Yes, London. If he had a bucket list this would be among his things to do, we bet it could be his topmost even. His obsession with this place amuses us.

Firstly, he wants to meet one of his YouTube idols, DanTDM. Given his own free will, he plans to see him and his pugs. Just like that. For Marcus, things were as simple as just dropping by to say hello, like how he now does with this cousins wherein he visits them almost every day since we transferred. He spends so much time on YouTube channel of DanTDM that he feels his favorite YouTuber is no celebrity but rather someone ordinary who he has access to in short notice. Oh by the way, our son’s such a big fan that he wants to color his hair blue just like Dan did. I told him he can when he turns ten. (Two years to go and I hope he forgets.)

Then what’s a visit to London if you haven’t seen the Queen? So this one too is part of Marcus’ agenda. He once asked  if he would be allowed to enter the palace to see the Queen. We told him it isn’t easy to get past the guards but he was insistent and it seems like he already has a plan. “I will sing We Will Rock You, that’s by the Queen,” he stressed. Well, he’s got a different Queen in mind, Freddy Mercury would be proud.

Besides singing his way in to the palace, he has other tests for the famous Buckingham Palace guards. Having seen it once on Mr. Bean’s cartoon show, he would like to prove if they do stay still while on duty despite being surrounded by annoying tourists. This reminds me of one of his classmates who once said she remembers Marcus whenever she watches Mr. Bean. Yup, he could be as animated and funny at times. When not being stubborn, he’s a natural comedian.

There was also a day when while undergoing his session with a local reflexology therapist or manghihilot, he saw on Pinoy Abroad, a local TV network afternoon series, the familiar London underground sign that he sees a lot in Modern Warfare 3. He said he wants to see the actual place to check if it does look like the one in his Call of Duty game. Yup, I know, the game’s rated M so sue me.

So how do we get him to London? We can’t for now but Marcus is keeping his fingers crossed that I win the lotto. Far-fetched but sounds like the only plan.

For now we are close to visiting that flag in the background. (Taken in MOA by the Bay on the day wifey and I renewed our passports.)

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Our son seems to be bent on getting his travel funds. Last night he asked his mommy if he can help finish her freelance job. Hmm.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Today we are committed to fight the summer heat. Home-made halu-halo coming.)

Marcus Can Dream

We have stopped taking note of Marcus’ milestones. We consider him as any regular kid except that he cannot walk. In the past few months since his last check up,  nothing seems to have happened significantly  which for me and my wife is good enough. Actually, things have been relatively normal for us. There is this one though that we have been wondering if or when it would happen. Now it did.

Marcus has started dreaming, well, at least he already started telling us what they were. Not until this year, he has never told us about his dreams. I find it weird that he doesn’t have any–not even a nightmare. It is just so unbelievable that he won’t have one with all the things going around him like video games, movies, stories, school, toys, flawed parents, and any other factors that would easily form good or bad images or a combo of both while he is on REM. I was thinking then that either he is among those who soon forget their dreams once they open their eyes, or he opts to lie all about it. Whatever that is, I was sort of worried that he does not have a dream to tell.

My wife said that she would sometimes observe Marcus talking in his sleep but he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) recall what he dreamt of when asked about it in the morning. Soon, however, we would hear one from him.

The first instance he disclosed his dream was one that’s outright scary. Obviously a nightmare. He told his mommy about his dream where God is bad so much so that he is now afraid of seeing that ‘God’ again. We have already assured him that it couldn’t be so, that it couldn’t be the God we know. He has not described what he saw and I do not want to ask either (I had nightmares of holy statues and figures in the past and they’re the worse ones).

Captured by wifey just last night, Marcus here is reading his first Holy Bible. Must be double checking if God isn’t supposed to be scary.

But he had happy ones, too.  Whew. He excitedly told us one day that he dreamt of being able to walk and run around and I can very well feel how it must be like for him–it’s like me dreaming of flying freely just to wake up and realize that I can’t. Come to think of it, it was rather a bittersweet dream but it is a dream I am sure he would always like to have.

I wonder if he has dreamt of being here in his Roblox game.

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Some of Marcus’ dreams are actually coming true. While he dreams of being on a plane to London, he will soon be on one but to another destination.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Will catch some sleep. Will dream.)

Zen in Car Wash

There was once a time when finding time to wash the car leisurely was no big deal. I can do it anytime, I can do it even every day. But that was then for this activity has taken a backseat among other priorities. When I do get time to do it though, thoughts about the past with it would seem to come by. It’s like there is Zen in squeezing the sponge and applying bubbly car shampoo solution on the car’s cold silver gray surface.

Our car turned eight this year and everything has remained stock just the way I prefer it to be. Last year I was lucky to receive a dashboard cam which is the only significant change that has happened to our Honda City so far. And this month, exactly on its anniversary, we gave it an RFID toll sticker—one that has already helped us breeze through toll gates during our weekly trips to Batangas. Take note, weekly. We have been that busy.

RFID transaction took less than 15 min.

It will be two months since I have been driving almost daily, weekends included. And there have been lots of instances when driving was stressful and judgment fails despite best effort to stay focused. Like recently, a motorcycle rear-ended our car after I tried to overtake a slow moving jeepney. The car had a very minor scratch, the motorcycle rider had a nervous escape, and I had nothing to blame but my sleepy and reckless self. Sometimes bad karma could happen that fast.

I have been wishing to be on a long road trip to break the boring routine trips to the malls, more so, to and from work. This last weekend, that road trip finally happened. The trip to Kamay ni Hesus was nostalgic, the last time I was behind the wheel to Lucena was more than 10 years ago. Not much has changed though except for some completed road improvement as well as perpetual road repairs which give the hint of an incoming election period not to mention the substandard materials that our dear government officials and their contractors love to use.

It was a road trip around Mount Banahaw.

The drive back home was more interesting as we took a different way plus the fact that it was my first time to pass through what drivers refer to as little Baguio or bituka ng manok route.  Named for its undulating and twisty road that resembles the curves of a chicken’s intestine, the route was challenging as expected and every now and then it was tempting to push my driving skill to the limit. It took us almost an hour of twists and turns before we see straight road again. We got out of it intact, no dizzy wifey, Marcus and his cousins didn’t require barf bags.

The last time I washed the car was before New Year and it was also when I had it polished and waxed. I could be that detailed when time and resource allow it. Yesterday, I had the energy to pick up the sponge and bucket once again, thanks to a graveyard shift cut short by two hours, but just to realize that I have ran out of Turtle Wax car shampoo. So for the very first time in my entire life as a car owner I bit the bullet and used a Dove body wash just so our dusty car could have its much deserved break. The bright side? It was the most fragrant car wash it ever had.

Works for humans and cars.

Come to think of it, a car could remind us of how life is. That life will never be perfect, it is never perfect, and if it seems to appear like so, we must accept that it won’t remain perfect forever. There is no point in fretting over minor dents and scratches. As long as the car’s engine keeps running, then so be it. Same goes with life.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Home earlier than yesterday. If I go offline tonight any longer, I might as well work at LTO.)

Thanksgiving Staycation

The calendar on my phone tells me it is Friday, past 3 a.m. I have just awakened from a cold sleep. I gazed around but no double-deck beds, no La-Z-Boy recliners either. I stepped out and no hallway too. On my left is a living area and on my right, the dining–floor fully carpeted. On the kitchen counter are tea and coffee packs neatly arranged on a white porcelain tray. Obviously I am not at work. Aw snap, I remember, I am in a Bellevue Alabang suite.

Thanksgivings haven’t been like this. It is not so often that I spend my time off with some other people at work and I am not bothered. I am with a party of selected employees and bosses but there is absence of stress. The only pressure was if I can keep up with everyone else during meal.

Brunch was at Shakey’s Paseo Sta. Rosa. Dinner was at Yakimix ATC. Ironically, in between these gut-busting itinerary our group watched a movie: Hunger Games. It was my first time to watch it and despite lack of sleep I was able to finish Mockingjay – Part 1–maybe it was because of Katniss Everdeen, or maybe President Alma Coin, or maybe just because I had one Starbucks venti Americano with an additional shot.

I am now stuffed as a turkey and buffet breakfast is fast approaching. Time to consider the gym.

Bellevue Alabang, What really goes on inside a staycation guest head
Staycation thoughts.

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Tidbits:

I typed staycation and spell check suggests ‘stay caution.’ Well, the bathroom scale agrees.

Hunger Games is like work: there’s Capitol and there are people who want to obliterate it. (Don’t ask me but I’m Katniss’ cat.)

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (I want to do this again.)