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.

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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.

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

Hello Halo

Two years ago a friend of wifey gave Marcus toys he brought from Canada. One of those is a box of buildings blocks which would have been perfect for him since he’s already into Lego–he got his first Duplo from my sis–but the age label on the box says 8+ so we decided to keep it.

Halo toys. Sometime around midnight, 8/16/14.

Yesterday, dropping by SM with the main intent to get a replacement for wifey’s laptop charger that our cat chewed, Marcus kept on asking me to buy him a toy. I gave a condition–as long as it is cheap but as expected, the ones he wants aren’t. He pointed at an Iron Man action figure, a battery-operated gun, and like a good hound dog, ended at the spots where there is a Halo 4 XBox game and other Halo merchandises. “Marcus, all those have four numbers after the P sign on the price tag. We can’t buy them now,” I tried my best to stress on ‘now.’ He surrendered and obediently followed back to the parking lot after I told him that I have something in store at home.

All the while since I wrapped the building blocks box in black plastic bag I was thinking that it’s a Transformers robot. When I opened the traveling bag where it was hidden it was then that I realized it’s a Mega Bloks Halo 96869 Covenant Brute Prowler set. You can just imagine his surprise–it was the perfect toy for his favorite game. Thanks to it, we killed more Covenant that night.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (It will take some convincing to get him to review for exam tomorrow.)

Marcus Returns

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Wifey’s laptop conked out last week and she needs to have it fixed ASAP so that she can continue working online–and be able to provide Marcus his Lego imitations. Tomorrow I will pick them up from Batangas.

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Excited to see them both back home.)

Ice Cream Raid

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I have a confession to make–it wasn’t Flash, it was me.

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Got Marcus’ class card. All up in the 4th quarter.)

Food Strips

Wifey and Marcus are away for a vacation which left me no choice but to liver or rather survive on my own. Without wifey, there’s no one to cook food. Without Marcus, there’s no one around hauling Lego figures on the table during meal times.

So to fill that void I feel inside our house, I have come up with what I will start to call Food Strips where I integrate the Lego characters with my cooking skills–or the lack of it. Kudos to the trial version of Comic Life from Softonics and if I am satisfied using it I might pay for its full version after 30 days if the two still decide to stay put in Batangas.

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“Sometimes quiet is violent.” — Car Radio, Twenty One Pilots

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Weekend is near.)

No More Kragling

Here comes our master builder.

Robocop, Lego, Robocop, Lego, Robocop, Lego. And the winner of Marcus’ moody decision-making process…Lego The Movie! As much as I would like to also see the new Robocop movie our little boy made up his mind before I reached SM cinema’s ticket counter and I agree 100% with his choice.

Our son belongs to the huge fan base of the famous building blocks brand that started way before his generation began to connect their first pieces together.  Someone whom we observed to be a natural in assembling cardboard puzzles, it did not surprise us when at barely age of three, Marcus showed interest and knack in creating shapes out of his first Duplo set. It was also when he began to be aware that each set has its own instruction manual—one that has to be followed by the number.

Thanks to having someone (yes, you Santas in California) who can support him in acquiring the pricey original kits, and as supplemented by the rip-offs and Shell Lego promo items that wifey and I can afford, our son always gets excited whenever he sees the individual blocks form into distinct shapes as shown on each of the boxes—usually followed by the questions why the lighting streaks, the whirlwinds, and other graphics meant for illustrations purposes only always remain missing at each end of the assembly.

As a father who knows that these building blocks aide in the learning phase of children, I am among those who strongly enforce that the instruction manuals are followed. And Lego The Movie made me realize that I am President Business as well as I am part of the legions of Micromanagers and even the Good Cop/Bad Cop. Unconsciously, I have become someone who holds the Kragle ever willing to freeze anyone who deviates from the instructions.

By being obsessed in keeping the toy appear as it is supposed to be based on its instructions manual, the toy that is designed to foster learning also became the toy that suppresses creativity. Thankfully, someone came up with Lego The Movie to show parents who the real owners of these toys are. In the movie, the Lego figures did not just move to entertain the kids, it also delivered a very strong message to the adults. Recalling the duration Marcus has kept his 3D glasses on, I would say that this beats other 3D he has watched so far. It was two ‘buttered-popcorn’ thumbs up.

I admit, however, that while I will likely continue to keep an eye on how he takes care of his Lego sets, I will now give him more freedom this time. No more Kragling. I will now let him fly and slam his Jay’s Storm Fighter plane into his Kai’s Blade motorbike as its masked rider stalks in front of the brown snake temple that is built under the shadow of the Duplo mega carwash-mall-fire department building wherein a smiling dog stands beside a giant fireman who seems to be talking to a bearded bad guy who just got away with a huge bullion but with nearby Lego City cop figure in pursuit followed by an army of fake Star Wars characters flanked by genuine Ninjagos and as viewed by the shocked fresh out-of-the-box Chimas. Whew, such chaos. I now wonder if somewhere someone will indeed sing “everything is awesome!” I will let you know.

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Happy 11th birthday to one of the young Santas :)

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Drafted this while at a radioactive environment.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Everyone’s under one roof again. Master builder is now sleeping.)

Lotus’ Victory and Lego F1

The recently concluded F1 race in Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi was one for the books. Supposedly the third man on the grid after qualifying session, the young German driver, Sebastian Vettel, got disqualified and relegated to starting the race from the pits after allegedly failing to finish his run without the required amount of fuel for post-qualifying sample test. Despite this embarrassing snafu, whether by him or his team’s judgment, he charged his way from the back of the pack to reclaiming the 3rd spot in the podium. Just ahead by one spot, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was able to stay consistent as before by driving strategically with the goal of closing the points gap with the German who is also the top contender for the driver’s championship.

Meanwhile, the winner of the race goes to the man who talks slow but drives fast – Kimi Raikkonen. The Finnish who drives for Lotus made history by bringing back pride to the team that has last seen first place victory way back in the late ‘80s. And not surprisingly, the sight of this heartthrob, who by the way returned to F1 just this year after a stint in the world of Rally racing, on topmost spot of the podium has made women screaming his name, and one of which I heard just a sofa apart from where I was seated. Yes, wifey was among his happy fans.

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Another fan who in spite of his young age and probably shallow understanding of what this F1 sport is all about also had a blast last Sunday. Our 4-year old son finally had the chance to get his hands busy in assembling his first F1 Ferrari Lego that we got from Shell.  Marcus who has been engrossed since a couple of years ago to building blocks (especially Lego) has been kept occupied by his Duplo set but lately keeps on asking for the much smaller Lego bricks. And so thanks to the timely Shell promo (that will end on my birthday), at least he gets to have his starter kits.

His first F1 Ferrari Lego. Still complete. Sticker intact. For now.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Back to school for Marcus after a 5-day off. Just back to reality for me and wifey.)