Moving On

What seems like in a snap of a finger, we find ourselves staring at 2017.  Now we once again wonder what this new year has in store for us with all hopes up that it would be better than its preceding year. In our books, 2016 is hard to beat especially that its last days ended with a bang. But after three weeks of living the life in the land of milk and honey, our life goes back to normal.  We have returned home, we move on.

Meeting 2017 at Old Sacramento.

Yes, we move on. One tall order after one unique travel experience. In the next days we merge back to the rat race–like it or not. In Marcus’ case, however, moving on is a pun and at the same time a big dream. And time is of the essence. This year we need to execute what we have regularly discussed between pauses during our American adventure. Our good hosts, my sister and her hubby, want to see Marcus undergo the next phase of DMD testing. They pledged to support it.

Kid in America.

To say we were happy at their commitment would be an understatement. DMD is one of those medical conditions that is expensive to deal with despite the uncertainty of success.  With the much needed support we can now proceed and see if the available DMD drug in the market would be of benefit to Marcus. So as early as this January we’ll be busy. It’s time we see the doctor again. Fingers crossed.

***

Marcus is among those in wheelchairs waiting to board the plane from Manila. He was the only child.

We continue to realize the challenge of travelling with someone in a wheelchair. Not that we are complaining but its a struggle we have to face. This is why I didn’t have any issues staying at my sister’s home and just enjoy time with everyone. I just know that Marcus preferred it that way too.

Even within the confines of the house there’s always something to keep us occupied anyway: gym, pets, TV, toys, food. They are also fond of non-smartphones games like Uno and Jenga. And it was where I learned my second card game (Trump cards is first) while Marcus proved he can play the latter.

He’s got steady hands.

Marcus once mentioned that he has seen how Jenga is played but we never saw him play the actual game not until this trip. To the surprise of everyone, he was a natural. He picked Jenga blocks on his own although I carried and assisted him to be able to place the blocks when the stack got higher. His dexterity to handle the blocks gave me some sort of hope. It proves that after all his remaining muscle functions may be preserved somehow.  Let’s see.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Now using Marcus’ HP PC which we fixed ourselves. Thanks to the male Santa.)

 

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Christmas S_cks

Second to the last for this sock.

Depends on who you ask, the idea of Christmas could differ. For most kids, it’s all about Christmas socks. For most adults, it’s Christmas sucks and that is just sad. It is why it pays to be a kid or a kid at heart this holiday season. It’s about setting aside all that pride and prejudice that hinder the true spirit of Christmas. It’s about having that innocence, at least for the time being.

Christmas is the perfect time to once again believe in Santa because Santa does exist. Baloney? Grinch, eh? Hear this. You see kids do not have a strong grasp of the origin of Christmas yet and so it takes some creativity to enforce to them the reward system–what one gets when he’s naughty or nice. And this is when Santa Claus comes to the rescue. With his sleigh and reindeer. With Rudolph the red-nosed leader. Remember that even Jesus made use of parables to get his message across. To use therefore a fat bearded man in a red suit who tirelessly shouts ho, ho, ho isn’t really a bad thing. Given the right parenting and faith, kids will soon understand the real reason behind this season. For now let’s allow Santa Claus to fill those Christmas socks.

***

I have to stressed most kids in the statement. There are others out there with an empty Christmas socks as the least of their worries. Let’s spare a thought and a prayer for them.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (One more day and Marcus’ dream will come true.)

 

A Bit Scary Bits

Don’t let your fear paralyze you. The scariest paths often lead you to the most exciting places. – Lori Deschene

Hello 2016, you’re almost over. As we flip our calendars to November we also celebrate wifey’s birthday. This year though is a lot more special for today she reaches that phase when life they say begins–she’s now 40! We find it always funny that it happens at the very same time when everyone flocks to the cemeteries to pay respect to their dear departed. Anyway, happy birthday to you milove and may God bless you with better health and longer life ahead. For one, Marcus and I need someone to cook for us.

***

This is usually the week when scary stories and TV shows come around. I recall those years when we would get glued in front of Magandang Gabi Bayan’s Halloween episode but the fact that we now know videos can get manipulated has made me a lesser fan of any similar shows. Some current events news are much scarier lately–EJK, anyone?

***

Our compound was empty as everyone paid a visit to my sister-in-law’s grave so it’s just Marcus and I for several hours. After dropping off wifey at the cemetery, I briefly left Marcus in the tub and suddenly a shriek echoed. I rushed back to see Marcus staring not at a zombie but at a harmless spider on the wall. It made me recall wifey’s story about the other DMD mom’s observation that their sons too freak out at the sight of insects and spiders. Maybe it’s that feeling of not being able to run or at least walk away that makes them feel scared of those crawly creepers. Makes sense to me now.

***

Wifey has this weird habit of staying until the midnight to welcome her birthday but last night she fell asleep early–didn’t text her as I was on training. Hehe. Soon she felt someone shaking her. It was from someone with a pair of tiny cold hands. It was Marcus. Being a late sleeper, he waited for the clock’s two fingers to strike 12 so that he can greet her happy birthday. See it’s not all about scary stuff for today’s blog post. Sweet.

***

That quote on top by the way is from Twitter. Yup, about a year or so of hiatus I’m starting to check it out again. I feel I’m being called to report for keyboard warrior duty. Be scared.

I’m scary even without a mask. (Taken in Bacolod two years ago.)

***
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Two days off.)

There is a Turtle in Us

 

There is a turtle in all of us. Well, at least that’s how it now appears to be in our case.  More than a week ago my wife and I watched on Umagang Kay Ganda a segment wherein they featured turtles for pets and when we told Marcus about it, the next days that followed was filled with questions “Where do I get a turtle?”, “When can I have a turtle?”, and similar other questions with the word turtle in it.  So yesterday was the day we found and bought one and achieved peace. How happy was Marcus? We got a couple of goodnight hugs from him which rarely happens.

Rafael meets Raphael.

Somewhere in Bacolod, however, one was obviously not a big fan of turtles. Over the phone this morning, I told my mother the good news that we finally got a pet for Marcus. A pet that doesn’t have a fur that could trigger allergic reactions. But to confirm the suspicion I had since I was in high school, she immediately advised that the turtle shouldn’t be kept inside the house as people say it makes the life of anyone who has it slow. That flashed me back in time when I found one crawling in our backyard that I kept in our toilet while I try to find the right box for it. That turtle which was about the size of a saucer disappeared without a trace when I returned to check it. My mother said it must have escaped but our toilet had walls of slippery white tiles and a small window above five feet plus I knew I closed the door just before I left. I wasn’t given the chance to name the turtle Houdini.

To entertain my mother’s opinion on this innocent reptile and just to make that mother-knows-best notion true, my career path has been indeed a drag. Could be the effect of keeping, while briefly, a turtle or could be due to me being contented of what I have or could be due to the workplace environment where I am currently at. The safest to blame would be the turtle. Anyway, after years of trying to move on and positioning myself on the next step of the career ladder, I landed the job I least expected to get. It was turtle-pace movement but I’d take it. I learned about the good news just a day before our account celebrated its fifth year this weekend.

Oh, yes, Marcus named the turtle of course. It’s now called Raphael. It costs us 450 pesos to get it so we need to save before we get another of his cowabunga friends.

***

Among yesterday’s mall itinerary was to watch a movie and the perfect film on the day we get a new pet is no other than Secret Life of Pets.  It is about the story of what pets do the moment their busy owners step out of the door to resume their busy life in New York. As an adult I would say that this is among those many films with its trailer far more entertaining that the full movie itself but looking at how Marcus decided to stay put in his wheelchair—he gets an unimpeded view of the screen from the isle—instead of on my lap during the entirety of the movie tells me that he enjoyed it. And as usually the case, an animated film for kids is meant to be just that. For kids.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Expecting a long day with the turtle.)

Not All Light Bulb Moments Come Out As Bright Ideas

Ever had one of those days when that bulb inside your head lights up and you believe that you just struck the best idea? Then you smile and feel good about yourself, you feel smarter than the rest. But sometimes, things do not come out as planned. It is not because you happen to be one of the regular joes who lack the resources to get your light bulb idea materialize. Even corporations who probably have the right research and development budget are not spared from such failures. Countless of seemingly promising products have flopped just because it missed to deliver its intended purpose.

A smiling plunger, anyone? (Image from Mentalfloss.com)

In July, besides Pokemon Go, another company revealed to the world their design of a toilet plunger that they think would be effective and at the same time make the task fun than it is supposed to be. I was already skeptic at the latter despite the product’s integrated poop shape and emoji-inspired design but I smirked more about it being effective. Called the Poo-Plunger, it promises to solve the crappy job of sending that thing down the drain in no time. The article says that the product’s designer are into crowdfunding to support the project. I salute their effort to donate some of the proceeds to charity but my fascination of their idea stops there.

Why such hatred? Well, we had a similar product at home. One of the links I marked as favorite was an article 18 Everyday Products You’ve Been Using Wrong which I read three years ago and when we finally transferred house I made sure that I buy the right toilet plunger. Marcus wasn’t a fan of drinking water so every now and then we would encounter that problem in the toilet. We’ve tried fibrous diet but we keep on being face to face with that thing. So I thought that maybe there’s a solution and I seem to finally have found the right tool. I was wrong.

The design is deceiving.

Theoretically the plunger should work.  Create a good seal, pump the plunger and let the air in its bellow send the hideous stuff down the drain. Simple, right? Yes, if and only if you get the thing pushed down in the first try. Miss it and you will soon realize that when you retract the plunger, everything that’s left is sucked back in the empty space of the plunger—think of an empty medicine dropper that you dip in a bottle. The gurgling sound it makes is nightmare material. The description ‘as scary as  shit’ would be technical.  We’re now back to encouraging Marcus to eat oatmeal and vegetables.

So do not feel bad if ever you failed to make your bright ideas come to life. Do not rush. Be happy to push it back and go back once again to the drawing board unless you secretly plan to make someone other people’s lives more crappy as a result of your half-baked light bulb moment. Now I wonder if the makers of the Poo-Plunger have their own nine-digit number. I might check later.

***

Mood: 4/10 Honks! (Blame the article on the weather.)

 

 

Goodbye Vader

It just sucks when something you cherish goes away too soon. Like when everything seems to be fine and then boom, the unexpected happens. It’s gone, never to return again. It’s when you wish it’s just a bad dream.

Reality is just that.  In real life, there is disease. In real life, there is loss, irreversible loss. Real life isn’t real if there is no death.

Wherever you are Vader, if that dog heaven does exist or not, or if you can see the gap you left in our hearts or not, and whether you can even read this blog for you or not, you will be remembered.  I will miss our trip to the pan de sal store.

Happy dog day.

 

***

Mood: 8/10 Honks! (Let sleeping dogs lie.)

Trash, Trash, Trash

It’s not every time that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Sometimes trash is just trash that needs to be disposed, ideally, properly but this will only happen if and when the right options are there. At the very least, there should be regular garbage collection or a nearby recycling facility. So what if none of these are present. How does one dispose trash?

Proper trash disposal continues to be one of the main concerns where we are at right now. We are close to our second month in our new address but so far we only had a visit from the local government’s garbage collector and that was only after we agreed to pay them. The last time we saw the little garbage truck was more than a month ago.  We live in a compound with my in-laws and I learned from them that the garbage truck only picks up the trash of gated subdivisions located nearby while residences situated along the way are left on their own. The good news is that I haven’t seen any trash bag on the road sides but I haven’t checked the nearby creek just because I don’t want to. I just know what to expect.

So there was no big surprise when I saw this video on Facebook of a man carelessly throwing garbage bags from a bridge—on broad daylight. It was the sight I hate to see but it was a reaffirmation of what could be happening in most places where people are deprived of proper and regular garbage collection. From what I have heard some families do pay a mangangalakal (individuals who collect recyclable materials) to dispose their trash which usually ends up somewhere but the garbage landfill.

Image from Facebook.

I am very particular about how I dispose trash. I make it a habit to sort recyclables and non-recyclables. Back in our old residence, our garbage footprint had been the lowest relative to our neighbors of the same family size. In fact, there would be  times when the garbage truck would miss to pick up ours and they would return the next week with the trash bin still not overflowing. Sadly, we cannot and do not have the same control anymore.

As much as I hate to I have resorted to another approach. It’s the lesser evil than throwing garbage into the creek but an evil nevertheless. Our son Marcus has asthma condition and very prone to getting sick once exposed to smoke and other airborne irritants so burning trash was never an option but we really have no choice. I already fabricated an incinerator barrel and we have been using it for weeks already. It was effective though I know that this isn’t right and shouldn’t stay long term. I am planning to talk to an officer of the local government to help us but I have been indirectly advised that for now this could be a futile attempt. Politics, I get it but there is hope. I heard that the incoming administration has solid waste management as one of its top priorities. I am crossing my fingers that this will materialize but until then our garbage dilemma remains.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Marcus is still sleeping. He’s getting better after one week.)