Tag Archive: my family


The Thursday a week before last, a good friend asked me if I still wanted a reservation at Fontana Leisure Park. I said yes, but due to budget constraints, we plan to go there August or September. She surprisingly said the Villa is free and that I would only have to pay for a meager sum as maintenance fee. So with just short notice, the whole family except for my eldest brother stayed at Fontana last weekend. Even if hubby and Ira just had fever that week, we simply could not resist the offer. But that’s not what my entry is all about. So fast forward to my real topic.

After a fun weekend, we arrived home Monday afternoon, just a little past 5PM. Before we left, we had to close the water meter because hubby involuntarily messed with the shower handle, thus the leak. Our doggie Buster was reeking with his pee and poo combined (ulk!) so we had to wash him instantly. I asked (our newest) Ate to open the water meter. She came back and simply said “nakapadlock po”. I thought she was referring to the railings around the water meter, so hubby said he will be the one to do the honors.

So there came hubby to open, and voila! The water meter was indeed padlocked! By whom? Our good ole’ service provider, Manila Water. I have always taken pride with the fact that our area has good water service.  Even in the latest issue of water shortage in the metropolis, we were not a bit affected. But on that particular afternoon, I wanted to strangle to death whoever caused the padlocking of our water meter.

I immediately went to check our bill and we all realized that we missed the due date of our bill. This month’s water bill was a disaster because we had a flush leak, so there was somewhat a thousand percent increase in our regular bill. Yes, almost a thousand percent! But that’s another story, of course.

I called up 1627, the customer service of Manila Water. A friendly Abigail answered the line. After some verification questions, I went ahead with my complaint. I lamented that they (whoever did it!) shouldn’t have padlocked our meter considering there was no one to give consent because not a single soul was home. Much to my dismay, she retorted that it was SOP that when there is a disconnection notice for a certain customer and their people go to check if it has been paid, and there was no one at home, they will disconnect it. That answer fueled my fire inasmuch as I said they are public utility service, with full emphasis on the last word. So I said, where is the service? For all you know, the customer died. Or someone from his family died. Or he had an accident. Or whatever. It would have been more prudent for them to come back the next day to check if that customer still hasn’t paid.

I told her I have a one-year-old baby and a sick father who cannot stand, even just for a night, without water. I told her further that we have work the next day, and how do they suppose we go to work? Without a bath?

She kindly suggested that I can pay through any 7-11 branch and call them again to request for the reconnection of our service. Dear Abigail assured that it can be reconnected even at night. Okay, I thought.

I asked hubby and my brother to rush to the nearest 7-11 and pay our bill plus the reconnection fee. I told Abigail that I am paying that stupid reconnection fee under protest, just so I can have my service back.

After 10 minutes or so, our bill was settled. So there I was dialing the same number with a different agent answering my call, this time it was Catherine. When I gave her the details of my receipt, she went on to say that it is “possible” that our service can be reconnected that day, with a maximum of five days. Its like the devil got into me after hearing the words “possible” and “five days” that I shouted, “Five days! Do you know what you are talking about!” She went on to show empathy on the line by apologizing for the inconvenience. I said no. Do not give me the empathy spiel coz you do not have an idea as to how I feel. I said I used to work in a call center, I don’t need the damn spiel.

I asked Catherine if she has a baby. She said no. So I said, then you don’t know how I feel. We do not have a single drop of water. I need my service back. I told her that Abigail assured me that it can be done so I wouldn’t have it any other way. I further told her that if they do not remove the padlock in an hour, I will have to remove it myself. She said I shouldn’t do that lest I pay a penalty for doing such. I laughed at the idea of the penalty and told her that when they disconnected my service, it was because I reneged on my obligation to pay on time. But now that my obligation has been fulfilled, I have every right to access to my water service, so in an hour, whether they are there or not, I will have my service back, and I then I hang up.

After about thirty minutes, we heard the faucet in the bathroom running. They didn’t bother to buzz and tell us that they are reconnecting the service. Anyways, I didn’t care anymore just as long as my service is back.

I have usual bouts with these customer service people. This usually happens with my phone service, especially when DSL connection is a problem.

I commiserate with them because I, too, have been a call center agent once. I know how it feels to deal with an irate caller. And yes, I try to talk to the agents as pacified as possible. I just hate it when they tend to give me BS and spiels, which I know they have memorized over time. I especially hate it when one agent promises you one thing and another agent says its not possible. I have had these a hundred of times already and I am sick of it.

Nevertheless, we had a happy ending. We got our service back and we were all happy. I plan to write our provider about this nonchalant treatment of their customers.  My neighbor told me that they saw these people who padlocked the meter and she informed them to come back the next day as no one was home. I understand these people are merely sub-contractors, being measly paid for every water meter disconnected. I perfectly understand too that as customers, it is our own lookout to pay on time. But when no one is home, shouldn’t you think again and come back the next day? Who knows what happened to these people. Even MERALCO doesn’t cut services that way.

I don’t know. Sometimes the word “service” has no meaning anymore. Sometimes business is more important than true service and these utility service providers tend to forget why they exist in the first place.

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Successive Deaths

I always dread about death in the family. There have been several loved ones who passed away when I was young but I could not have grasped the idea then just as much as I do now.

The first one which I was fully aware of came in 2007. It was the death of my cousin Rainier. He was just 21 years old and he died in a tragic car accident in New Jersey. He had a 2-month old baby when he left. It was a sudden, tragic and traumatizing death which left us all battered and distressed. I was crying on most days and my heart refused to accept what happened. I blogged about it in my Friendster account and my feelings then were just insurmountable. There’s still a silent tug in my heart up to now when I remember Rainier and the way he left us. His death never seemed to be an easy thing for any of us.

The second one happened barely a month before I got married. My maternal grandma (my dear Inang) died. We all sort of knew it was coming. She was eating less and less and she was complaining of pains here and there. She was a very good Inang to all of us. She was the pillar of the family. I felt that when she died, the mold that keeps the clan together died along with her. Although we sorta knew it was just a matter of years, it was still very painful for us, beyond words.

This is why when I hear someone I know died, my heart commiserates with the family. I learned that we can never feel their pain, the way they exactly do. We can just pray for them that acceptance may be more bearable for them.

Just last Saturday (January 16), the mother of my SIL died. Ate Debbie is the wife of my eldest brother. She has been in Australia for less than a year. Like me, she is the only daughter of her parents. I could not imagine the pain she feels now. She was scheduled to arrive in Manila Tuesday (January 19) but as they talked over Skype last Saturday, she told her mom it was okay to go and that there was no need to wait for her arrival. And as most drama movies go, her mom gave her last breath minutes after they talked. *Sigh.

Then, the other day (Tuesday), my hubby’s Lola also died of a heart attack. It was more sudden and unexpected than Ate Deb’s mom. Hubby’s family was also caught by surprise and though I don’t really know his Lola, I still feel for them.

On the same day, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde also died of cardiac arrest. I kinda hate it when they pick on his death as some sort of a joke. He may have had misgivings when he was alive but come on, the guy is dead. Lets give him and ourselves a break.

Whew. Death, huh? It strikes anytime and anywhere. It happens to people you happen to know and to some you just see on TV. Nevertheless, it is still harrowing.

But what can we do? Death is a natural occurrence. Its unavoidable. What with the hundreds of sickness that have been added to the medical books, it is not a surprise to hear deaths on a regular basis. But no matter how ordinary and inevitable as death may be, it is never an easy thing to accept. No matter how worse the illness one has, or how fast an accident can take one’s life, death is something anyone can hardly prepare for.

So, am I afraid of death? Nope. Its the fact that I have loved ones to leave that frightens me. I am sure that’s what everybody thinks. Even Rainier as he left. I am sure he was thinking of his li’l kid. Even Inang as she died. I am sure she was thinking of each and everyone of her children and grandkids. That is what’s actually dreadful. Not death itself.

In my previous post, I have mentioned about what keeps me (and my mind!) busy right now. Ira will be turning one year old in 4 months and we are thinking of the party we can possibly have for her.

So far, I already received around 12 proposals from different restaurants. I have underscored one or two that stands out but nothing final as of yet. I am looking for some more, I want something that offers more food, and which is more lenient with the decorations and doesn’t charge corkage for the extra food that we may bring in.

Today though, we are celebrating her 8th month birthday. As a monthly tradition, we have dinner at home every 15th of the month with family and a few friends (if some luckily passes by). Nothing fancy. Just pansit and a few viands and cake and/or ice cream. If it falls on a weekend, I make a dessert or a salad (which is often a try-out for me).

But since I have work today (whew!), I will just cook when I get home. But I already instructed Ate Kriselle to prepare everything so that I will just focus on the cooking part later. Tonight, we will be having the undying pansit bihon, stuffed bangus, bulalo, and lechon kawali. Mama Tess (MIL) will bring Ira’s cake and we will buy Ice Cream later. Oh, and I will be making cheese sticks too. We have to make use of all that cheese after Christmas. So pardon the menu, but they will be quite an unhealthy pack. I am still at the point of giving guilty food to the family.

Before I started with my post, I called up Ira and asked how she is doing. Ate said she was just munching on the phone’s cord. Haha. I talked to her and greeted her. Ate said she was just smiling. My baby is just completely adorable.

Yesterday, when her daddy was about to kiss her goodbye before we left for work, she held on to daddy’s clothes and stood up. She clung on to him that hubby was left with no choice but to carry her. We took her outside the gate until we left, and as we bade goodbye, she was just intently looking at us. Our hearts broke into tiny crumbs.

My dear Ira, continue to be the good girl that you are. Mommy and Daddy are doing everything for you. My heart is promising you that this will just be a temporary set-up. Someday, Mom and Dad can stay with you longer and we’ll have lots of time to giggle and roll on the floor. I miss you for every minute that I am not with you. I never knew happiness could be this real, until I had you. I always thought motherhood was overrated. But now I know that no words can express how special mothers and children are to each other. You made me realize that. You make me a better person everyday with my little blunders and with each lesson I learn from taking care of you. I know you will learn more, and I know you will be better than I ever was. And you will make Mommy proud, just by being who you are.

Thank you for making my each and everyday a lot happier, just by being my baby.

I love you so much Ira. Happy 8th months! Please don’t grow up so fast though, I am trying to savor each month. 🙂

my little one

7 months old ira with mommy, december 13, 2009

Party Planning

Ira will turn 8-months old on Friday, January 15. Few months away she will be one year old already. I feel like I was just in the delivery room last month, now she is pulling things her hands can get a grip on and just endlessly blabbering.

Since Monday, I have been trying to search party planners, magicians, venues and what have you. I only tried to call today and believe it or not, even though Ira’s birthday is still four months away, most venues are already booked. I have checked forums and blogs on ideas on the venue but I did not realize that I would already be having a hard time.

Hubby and I were thinking that since Ira’s birthday falls on summer, maybe it will be good to have a pool party or something in an open place like a clubhouse. To my surprise, not only are the prices quite steep (considering you’d have to pay for a caterer and party decorator separately), most of them are booked.

I called up first Palladium in Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong. It is near our place and it would be very easy for guests to locate it since it lies along Shaw Blvd. But whad’ya know?! “Sorry Ma’am, we’re already booked on that date” was the answer of the woman on the other line. Pfft. Whatever. This made my venue-hunting frustrating. First option is already out.

And all other clubhouses I called are also booked on Ira’s day. Talk about dilemma, huh?

I am currently exchanging emails with Active Fun and with Kiko’s Balloons and Events Services (the latter claims to work under the budget you give them). I want to see their rates and I am hoping I can work out a deal with any of these suppliers soon.

I want to start with the planning while I still have more time. I don’t want to procrastinate (just like in my wedding and Ira’s baptism). I want to make Ira’s 1st birthday extra special. I don’t intend to be so ostentatious with the party. I just want to make it something people will remember Ira by and something that my baby will be proud of when she grows up.

I have to start working now. Gotta go. I will update you once I have concrete details already. 🙂

I am currently in a limbo. My dear Ira has no Yaya and we have to go to work. After New Year, her Ate Kriselle has been AWOL and has been giving me headaches. Let me spare you the story as to how she did it for it will take a long one.

Kriselle’s mother worked for my Ima in Pampanga until my berserked Ima fired her. Now she doesn’t want me to take back crazy Kriselle. I understand Ima’s point. After nearly 29 years, I have come to understand my mom’s idiosyncrasies. We are both each other’s best and worst friend. She has been the one who hired all my housemaids before, and some unfortunately left citing her as the reason :(. She has exerted too many efforts into finding me the best maid there is, to no avail. When I was still single, she found me a girl named Car-car, who worked for me more than 2 years. Car-car is the best that I’ve had so far. Ima is my agent when it comes to nannies. But when she doesn’t like the nanny anymore, even though I still like to keep her, she gets annoyingly mad and in the end, she gets her way.

But right now, I have very limited choices. My hubby and I did not come from an affluent family. We did not inherit a house to live in, a business to manage and monies to spend. As we are just starting new, we are at the point of acquiring things and paying for them. We are both lucky to have jobs that pay fine. Combined together, our income is just enough for our daily expenses and some luxuries. That being said, I cannot  afford at the moment to be a stay-at-home-mom. Oh how I wish I could!

Even when I was single, I used to hire a house helper. It was more of convenience for me. I needed someone who will look after the house everyday. I needed someone who will wash and iron my clothes. Don’t get me wrong. I know how to do ALL household chores. Its just a perk I have gotten used to. After all, I felt I was entitled to lay around the house whenever I wanted to. It was some sort of reward for working all day long.

I have lost count of how many housemaids I have had in the past. As to Ira’s nanny, I think she has had five already in just 7months of her life. Count out the two months that I did not hire one after giving birth. So on the average, its like one nanny every month. Neighbors think we are some mean people who would boss around the house that’s why these maids leave as soon as they receive their first paycheck. Oh, come on now, they oughta know better than that!

Even if there is a maid in the house, in the past and even now, its either my brother Jme or I who works in the kitchen. I clean Ira’s feeding bottles as soon as I get home. Hubby prepares her milk and clothes and other things every morning while I take a bath. I personally wash Ira’s little clothes. For me, nothing beats the feeling of personally taking care of my family’s needs. Even the maids notice that I work around the house more than other wives, considering that I have a full time work.

As I called up home just now, Ate Kriselle is already there. Hubby and I intend to talk to her seriously. As in, serious adult talk. She said she is willing to go down her knees just for us to take her back. She assured me that she’s willing to be jailed if she leaves again (as if!). I am keeping my fingers crossed that I made the right decision. As I’m typing down my blog, my heart is fervently praying to God that things be better this time. Ira needs someone with her and Kriselle has proven to be good for her. Had it not been for Ira, I wouldn’t need a maid. It would mean less expenses for us.

This is what I told Ima in our last text exchange when she said that she was talking to a new replacement but I opted to take back Kriselle and that I was taking Kriselle’s side:

“Ur reason is jst the same as ate nida’s. Pareho nyo lang gs2 protektahan mga anak nyo. U know dat I understand u and I appreciate all ur efforts in finding us a gud maid. Pero kung may mhanap ka ngyn, jst like crisel and other maids b4, wlang kasiguruhan na tatagalan kami. C crisel ngyn alam ko na ang topak, easier to cure. Kung magkaron ng bago, tuturuan ko na nman tpos di ko alam likaw ng bituka, mangangapa na nman ako. Hndi ko cla dinadamayan, anak ko lang ang iniisip ko. I am putting aside all my emotions and anger and giving Ira wat I can.” (pardon the text spelling, quoted verbatim here.)

Right now, most of my decisions are not about me anymore. It is either about Ira or the family as a whole. I am sure in time Ima will understand.

UPDATE: Ate Kriselle seems okay after a week. But my Ima is still annoyingly angry at me.

barely a month ago, my ima (as the whole family and lots of friends call her) or my mother, chided me with a simple request of having her 61st birthday celebrated somewhere other than our place in pampanga. she suggested a weekend getaway somewhere since her birthday will fall on a long weekend. i gave in instantly since she didnt get to celebrate her 60th bday last year due to her mother’s demise. our initial choice was somewhere in laguna, but it was pricey and far from pampanga. then came canyon cove, still pricey and far. we needed a house, not just a room like in canyon cove.

the living room and a view of the kitchen/dining area of the villa we stayed in. you can also see the veranda where we grilled bbq and where our dog stayed. the space was enough for the whole family!

so came the fontana idea. the villa will be perfect for the size of our family. we just needed someone who can get the cheaper rates. atty. vic gladly helped me out to get the reservations and her sister obligingly helped me through the checking-in process. (lots of thanks!)

early this year, PGMA announced that november 27-28 are special non-working holidays for the muslim festival. without much surprise though, she changed her mind and recalled her earlier proclamation. so as not to ruin our plans, ryan and i just filed for leave from work.

sadly, my kuya jme couldn’t join us coz of work and coz of a long overdue issue of bringing her girl along.

days before the 27th, which is my ima’s actual birthday, i had series of hearings out-of-town. unfortunately, this prevented me from suitably preparing for our weekend getaway. as a ratpack, i hated this so much! argh!

so on the 26th, i packed and packed as much as i could, in ways that will not show that we are off for a month’s vacation. is it my fault then that i have a 6-month old baby who needed sterilizer? who needed feeding  bottles and all the stuff that comes with it? hah!

we left home at about 10:30 AM, with me cussing under my breath, coz ate freli is not home to help me with the chores and all the preparations.

we arrived in lubao, pampanga (technically, my hometown) at around 12PM just in time for lunch. we immediately greeted the birthday girl and kissed her. i knew instantly that by mere presence, we made her happy. she then started babbling with eat this, eat that. shouted at everyone in the household for rice, for water, for viands, etc. she was always like that. she has a spunk that everyone would love –and/or hate at the same time.

after eating, and after my brothers and ryan decided to play counter-strike at the family-owned computer shop, we left for fontana. we arrived there around 3pm and after settling our things in the villa, we immediately ate pansit canton and empanada for snacks. when ira felt sleepy, ima thought she can lull her to sleep by doing her old trick of putting the baby on top of a pillow and racking her feet. no-oh! not with ira. when i tried it on her, she just laughed and laughed. that’s what she did with ima too.

it was a fun-filled weekend for the entire family. the kids immensely enjoyed swimming and running in and outside the villa. ira, for one, cried at the wave pool and slept through her bathing suit. ima had almost everything prepared, from siling labuyo to marinated pork belly. she played with my little ira, with my baby immediately learning the 1-2-3 solid trick her lola ima taught her. we enjoyed eating ima’s good ole’ cooking. we all loved, oh except for ate freli and ate sarah, the free centralized aircon we had for three days. i sulked in the warm bath day in and day out.


ira's first plunge into the water...she doesnt quite like it though. 🙂

there was no regret that we went ahead with the plan, despite budget constraints. i know that ima felt, and still feels happy with her birthday celebration. i can imagine her talking to friends, bragging that her kids planned this for her birthday.

the whole family except for ima...ira is busy with something else

i stayed in the jacuzzi for hours, just letting the pressure of the water massage my over-fatigued human body. i closed my eyes and froze the moment in my mind…i prayed to God that good things like those will keep coming to my family. i thanked and praised Him for every bit of blessings i have, and thanked Him more for those to come.

kuya kenji was splashing some water on ira's face. she seemed to be okay with it as long as i was holdng her..:)

that weekend may have meant a lot to my ima, but it meant more to me, as it not only rested my tired body, it fed my famished soul.