Release the floodgates

It’s now the sixth month but it feels like the New Year just started. For months everything seems frozen and in our lifetime this is the first time life came to a standstill–no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone stayed indoors since March. Jobs for the majority stopped against their will. It was a tough choice against getting paid or getting infected by the Wuhan virus as others call it. Lucky for some, working from home became a viable option.

Today the government set to jumpstart the economy back to life. This despite many Filipinos saying the move is premature especially that we really haven’t flattened the curve like other countries. In fact, the numbers of those tested positive for COVID-19 continue to rise based on latest news.

But it looks like we just need to bite the bullet. We need to trust the authorities, however hard that is. Life has to go on even if it won’t be the same norms as we used to know it. Release the floodgates and we’ll see what happens next.

***

Usually Sando.

Most times we did stay at home but we didn’t really sulk. I still work weekdays sans the driving to and from the office. Thanks to our company that allowed us to bring our desktops at home and continue earning from there.

I realized soon though that it wasn’t easy as most of us ever imagined. Working from home has its own set of challenges. Distractions, for one, are all over. Roosters crowing at the exact time when there is a meeting. Dogs running around like the Tasmanian Devil. And most times they’d block the ergo chair as they’d settle right below it when their energy ran out.

To be honest, I looked forward to the weekend more than when I was reporting to the office. Home office set up is draining. The first weeks, even until now, I felt like I need to work early just because the desktop is just right there. It was always tempting to take a peek of what’s happening at work–if someone replied to my email or if the bosses had asked something from me.

Slowly, thankfully, I have started to control and manage my time. I just want to spend it more with wifey more so with Marcus because he hasn’t stepped out of house since the enhanced community quarantine started. I’m sure he misses the mall although he’s denying it. Good thing he discovered singing.

Must be the Bacardi.

For several weekends already we all clustered every night inside Marcus’ room to listen to him sing, mostly Taylor Swift songs and anything pop. Not to be left sitting and listening, I also found that I can dance along the songs. So weekends have been fun despite off key singing and awkward dancing.

***

Mood: 5/10 Honks! (GCQ starts now.)

Internet Challenges: Keeping Our Sanity

The COVID-19 enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or something that feels like a lockdown or house arrest has so far exposed talents that most of us never knew we have . Some friends have given in to TikTok even without the influence of alcohol, just driven by pure boredom. Thankfully I haven’t had any video using this app although I now have the TikTok on my phone ready when better judgment fails me. Or when the spirit of alcohol kicks in.

But there are things that piqued our curiosity more than TikTok dances and with nothing but extra time on our side, we tried a couple already.

Dalgona coffee challenge. First seen trending on Let’s Eat Pare Facebook page, this foamy coffee refreshment immediately captured my attention but comments about having to whisk like an hour waned my interest in it. Then wifey, as usual, took on the challenge armed with a manual egg beater.

It didn’t take long for her to churn out a Dalgona foam–long whisking myth busted. She was able make one serving in just about 10 minutes which we both shared, unequally, me getting the most of it. I don’t have a benchmark on how it should taste but ours ended up literally bittersweet which I like. Not bad for our first Dalgona coffee.

MyFitnessPal shows 300 ml is about 250 plus calories.

Handstand t-shirt challenge. My sister tagged me on Facebook on a post showing a video of the Spider-man star,  Tom Holland,  putting on a t-shirt while upside down. I got more excited when I realized it wasn’t really a strict handstand so in a couple of hours after finding a gap in my work at home I tried it.

First try was just to check how my video would look like. It was my first attempt to lift one hand while on face-to-wall handstand position so there’s some hesitation when I tested if I can wear the shirt. I gathered enough courage and balance on the second video recording and was able to complete the challenge in less than a minute. See video below.

The ECQ has been extended until April 30 so I now wonder what internet challenges I’d do next.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Getting used to working from home.)

My 47th Christmas

Is there a way to push Christmas back? This has been a question most, if not all, wish would have an affirmative reply. It’s a repetitive thought that even the modern day science still doesn’t have any answer until now. Boo Back To The Future fantasies.

Is it Christmas already?

Eleven months ago we all wished it would be December again but here we are all of a sudden almost caught off guard. It the midst of our hectic schedules Christmas was creeping in. Kids like it, we adults not so much.

Personally, this year was busiest I’ve ever had. It was as if everything was overwhelming. This year was the complete opposite of last year. For several months of the first half of the year I stayed longer hours at work. I was in and out of the house like a sleepy cuckoo clock. Thankfully, this last quarters I somehow picked up the rhythm. Then the unexpected changes our client made at work plus the new schedule were blessings in disguise. My team and I are no longer night owls.

In perspective, this is my 47th Christmas and it seems I still don’t know how to handle it as an adult, as a parent. I wish I’m back to being a young kid clueless who really Santa is. Well who doesn’t? I don’t know if I’m doing Christmas right, if I’m playing Santa well. My wife has her answer to that I’m sure.

I don’t want to sound cliche but I just wish that this Christmas will be more meaningful. That behind all the Lazada and balikbayan boxes would be the real spirit of giving and sharing. I still have several days to discover if I’m capable of pure yuletide spirit.

Merry Christmas everyone. Just me stopping by to catch up on my blogging duty.

***

Grinch grins. I got a Dremel from wifey and Marcus.

The Lazada delivery has been more frequent lately and I feel like our house is now its warehouse.

In an effort to save on Christmas packaging, wifey asked me to keep the Lazada boxes so she can use it to repack her gifts.

“If I don’t get any hint that none of those boxes are for me then these empty boxes go to the trash tomorrow,” I said in a jest. She took it seriously though and true enough, few minutes later I received a gift wrapped hurriedly in plain white paper. Thus the Dremel. Thank you female Santa.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Hard to be minimalist this Christmas.)

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.)

Inhale, Excel

Any day out of the ordinary is always welcome. Yesterday was one of those that break routine and I would say it was about breathing fresh air…or hoping to get one.

All schedules aligned, Marcus finally had his chance to undergo the tests that’s been suggested by his doctors years ago. The first one was easy peasy although relatively expensive. The 2D Echo test at the heart station of St. Frances Cabrini Hospital was a breeze. As expected, Marcus finds the procedure ticklish and at the same time interesting. He smiled when the doctor made him listen to his own heartbeat. I smiled when she said Marcus’ heart is normal for now.

Happy heart.

However, it was a different story at the pulmonary function test. Marcus had difficulty sustaining at least three seconds of the required prolonged breathing. Perhaps it was stressful for him to have his nose clipped and be asked to breathe normally, then suck air on cue, and then exhale continuously until the technician says stop which by the way is just half of the process. It took almost an hour to prep Marcus and I was eventually advised that we could come another day when he is ready for the test.

Then there’s me at work. Incidentally, I went to the office wearing a shirt with a print that says “Inhale…Excel.” It was a gift from my current boss that I like–vague subject-verb arrangement intended. But the interesting part doesn’t end there. It was also on this same day I went for an interview for another job position. My first this year. Sigh, inhale, exhale.

***

While Marcus no longer walks and haven’t engaged in something athletic ever since, it doesn’t stop him from understanding sports. For one, I find it amusing that he knows skateboard moves despite lack of experience or even exposure to extreme sports shows on TV. And recently he discovered more on game pass. This past days we’ve been on fairways and football fields. We can now score some pars and have had our winning moments with the Chelsea team. Thanks to Xbox, Marcus can run around sans the need of real life stamina.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Fingers and toes and heart crossed.)

I Love Mondays?

I love Mondays. I also try to be honest. Kidding aside, other than the fact that Monday is the very day that spoils the weekend, my sentiment about this most hated day is just influenced mostly by the fact that everyone, if not all, feels the same thing. The hatred is that contagious. Even a cat shares the same disgust. Ask Garfield. But frankly I never had my own Monday that I truly despise forever.

Last Monday, however, seems to have made its stamp. It was like all Mondays ganged up on me so much so that the experience would like stay imprinted for a while in my brain. And in my nose. That day I summoned every positivity I had but that Monday almost overpowered all of it. Yet all is not lost. At least I realized that when push comes to shove and when hell breaks loose I could after all arise and face the challenge. However stinky I might be. (Take the hints.)

Seven days later, the cycle starts again. I still have few hours left at home before I could say that everything is all clear. That I won’t get stuck in one place face to face with the unknown and the unseen but one that can be definitely smelled. Well, I guess it won’t happen. I pray it won’t happen. Marcus has been eating enough fruits this week so it is highly unlikely that  that sh*t would happen again. But then there’s work and that is another Monday story. Well, hopefully  something that could make me say I love Mondays.

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By now you would have some clue what happened.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (This flavored lambanog tastes sweet.)

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.)