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.)

Man Vs Business

One of those days when I brought work at home.

Thanks to Thanksgiving Day Time Off

Image from the web.

 

“I’ll give you 5 minutes to yourself, but only 10 seconds at a time.”-kids (via Twitter)

 

Do I have time? Such is the question that would linger every now and then. Among other things, time management is the toughest. Time they say is the great equalizer because everyone, regardless of status, has only 24 hours each day to spend. Yes, rich or poor, black or white, young or old, fat or thin, healthy or not, just 24 hours each—what differs is what is at stake for each minute lost. Extra time in reality does not exist and it won’t be a surprise if someone would wish if only they could buy time that the others won’t use. But then again, we can’t. Even Donald Trump can’t.

Do I have time? Take note of ‘I.’ I for individual, I for me. Sadly, we are not alone and time is not ours all the time.  Our jobs, bosses—bad bosses included, relatives, neighbors, friends, parents, wife, and kids, in no particular order, want either a small piece or a big chunk of our 24 hours. It takes a bit of skill, a bit of negotiation, a bit of luck, and a lot of sacrifice to manage time.

Even the holidays do not present total freedom. Unless you get to escape, if your personality and lifestyle permit you to do so, and isolate yourself to enjoy the whole day on your own—half of it I would spend in bed—you have at least one or two other people whom you need to spend time with.

This week I have that opportunity to enjoy the much-awaited time off. Thanks to the Americans who would ignore repeated and annoying rings and trade all business calls for a time together with their family and friends in front of their favorite roasted turkey and beer. Thanks to Thanksgiving Day, I have time to be just at home. No late night drives for two days. How to spend the next days is another matter but we’ll see. There’s iflix, there’s Minecraft and Call of Duty, there’s errand to the grocery store, there are things to pack, there’s a birthday to celebrate.

 ***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Waiting for Marcus’ plan of the day.)

At The Other End Of The Line

Newbie outbound agent’s life.

 

Who says D) All of the above?

 

 

***

I am among those who like posters and typography. I love looking at menu artworks especially that of Starbucks which is one way of being seen in front of the store without having to spend a cent. I am also interested in corporate photography that are used in slide presentations–usually compensates for boring lectures. All these, however, require tools to accomplish which is the reason my ideas remain inside my head. I can’t buy the software, I can’t buy the camera.

Fortunately, I finally found time to check out Canva.com which offers an online tool for anyone who has a poster idea. The website has a range of layouts and a number of typefaces to go along with each design. The poster above is my first creation using its free service. I need a back office job.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Next stop, find a tarpaulin to place the house on sale.)

I Got Bills…

This blog needs some happy tune so here’s one called Bills by LunchMoney Lewis and I declare this as part of the soundtrack of my life.

Happy weekend!

 

****

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Survived the week, thanks boss for the sore throat relief spray!)

A Coaching Technique That Applies at Home

Just realized that the best wrap up of the day is watching my young child sleep. It makes me ponder what was done right, what was done wrong, and what could have been done better. Come to think of it, it’s like coaching people at work except that this time I talk to myself.

Good night, Marcus. You are loved.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Great day. I was in Nuvali but not to work.)

Slow Down and Stop

Most of us would agree that we hate being stopped. It is the reason we strain our necks to investigate what keeps traffic from moving, often times it is what causes us to blare our horns madly to coax that unsuspecting guy in front of us to step on it.

When sickness strikes, we desperately try to fight it off. We question the heavens why us, when will we recover. And we want that damn recovery fast.

At work, we get impatient when that dream job we have been applying for just doesn’t come so soon.

And in our family, our children or spouses bear the brunt whenever things don’t go our way.

Any sign of stopping we just immediately hate.  When something breaks our momentum and keeps us indefinitely stationary we become impatient, frustrated, and irrational.

But what we must realize is that there are always reasons, important ones, that we are stopped on our tracks. For one, it is the time we are given the opportunity to reflect, to analyze, and to reconsider. Being on the go makes us feel invincible, too proud, too detached from reality, and worse, from the very people who are supposed to be the main recipients of why we want to keep on moving.

On that note, this holy week, whether too pious or not, let us allow ourselves to slow down or come to a full halt and appreciate what we currently have, what we have achieved so far. Let us stop and remember to thank the divine power who in the first place has kept us going throughout the whole year.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (My last work day for this week.)

Bad Grammars

Role models do get tired

The current situation at work as caused by the declining and imminent depletion of products to be delivered is undoubtedly testing each and everyone from the lowest rank and file up to the upper levels of management.

What I find more frustrating than the thought of eventually losing our jobs in a few more months is the fact that no matter how I set my mind to make the most of my time, it’s only father time that is so available. After a couple of hours from the start of the working day, there’s just no more work to be done no matter how I look for it. Or maybe, I haven’t looked enough for it yet. Well, that’s a nice thought.

It doesn’t even take a lot of time to figure out what others might be doing as well after staring at the empty Outlook inbox as if email doesn’t exist anymore. Whether people agree or not, this isn’t the workplace aura that I’ve used to know in my 10 years in this company. I can now really say that gone are the days when the cubes are buzzing with activity: when keyboards are tapped because of white papers to finish and not of multiple internet chat mates; when phone lines are loaded because of virtual meetings and not because someone is selling anything but company products; when people are forgetting to have lunch because of deadlines and not because they have doze off due to inactivity; and when managers are going to the cubes to check if everyone is on track and not because he’s got nothing to do as well.

Years ago, this setting is unimaginable and it may even be impossible. Back then the thought of someone getting idle (unless intentional) is just unthinkable and as taboo as committing a mortal sin. But now, even the best have their own share of work void. It’s unavoidable but fully understandable that on the next days ahead those people I look up to will have lots of slack. I have come to accept it now that role models do get tired.

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Changes: Remembering and Learning from It

Walls taken down. Damaged concrete and dug up dirt piling up. Galvanized iron roofs ripped and tossed aside. Noise from hammers and chisels sounding almost from sun up to sun down. Dust fills the air. Diggings done here and there. Commands given, if not shouted, every now and then. Sounds like total chaos and destruction.

Well, almost. It’s actually some of the activities being done in preparation and during a house renovation.

During a recent improvement we did for our small home, the succession of events above brings me back to my childhood days due to several reasons.

One of it is learning on site.

I could very well remember back in the days when I was yet a grade 1 elementary student. We used to live far from school and our parents decided that we transfer just near where my sister and I went to study.

I can still vividly remember that since my father would supervise and sometimes help out in the construction of our new house, he had to build a temporary hut shelter for him and his stuffs and tools right inside our 200 square meter lot. By our countries standard, I think the average Filipino dwells in this lot size at that time. I love eating in the hut even it would have to be done by hand and had to sit on the floor to do that.

Every now and then after school hours, we’d drop by and play in the construction area. We would climb and roll down on the sand piles; run along the ditches where concrete hollow blocks and posts are yet to be erected; Play hide and seek in the unfinished rooms and do any other things that today I have learned as very unsafe. Just the thought of it now sends chills to my spine. And so they say, kids will be kids. Oblivious to the perils of daily life, or in this case the dangers present in the construction site. Thankfully, I didn’t learn the hard way.

Other things that amazes me back then are how the scaffolds are built, how the concrete blocks are horizontally and vertically leveled and how the hose leveler works. At that time I couldn’t believe and grasp the idea of how the workers would refer to the water level as the correct level for doors, windows, walls and flooring. Likewise, the smell of anti termite solution, paint, saw dusts and wood shavings never fails to fascinate me. Later on, I would learn from training that these are more considered as harmful odor (and particles) rather than sweet smell and one would have to wear masks when near or working with it.

Second thing that made me ponder on how lucky I am today is how young some of the laborers are that works in our recent home project.

The man that I got to do the job this time is Mang Narding. He has two sons whom I know are in their teens and yet are already working with him. I just hope that they’re in their legal age, or I’ll be guilty of violating the child welfare act. Or I can just pretend that this is also their on-site exposure just like I had or they have actually no choice but to work instead of going to school. Sadly, the latter is more likely the situation.

When we were young then, my father works as a “panday”, in our dialect, which means a carpenter just like Mang Narding. I just realized now that his job with its meager pay is just enough to support our family and even if I’d add my mother’s salary (who was at that time works as a clerk or accountant for a private business), we would hardly be able to continue our education. Even then, father didn’t require me to join him in his work even after high school. It has just dawned on me now, how both of my parents strive hard to keep us going from elementary to college.

During our school years, I can still recall that I had to asked for my “balon” or school budget daily because mother doesn’t want (or trust) me to have my allowance given in a weekly basis. Despite all that I was able to finish my schooling and was able to work after 4 years of college education.

My younger sister likewise graduated and we are now both working for one Computer Company but are assigned to different positions and countries. I’m still here in the Philippines, she’s in the US with her husband and a son.

I still hope and pray that later on, that Mang Narding’s sons will sooner realize that it’s not yet too late for them to continue their studies and hopefully, they’ll graduate and be able to help alleviate their parents’ situation and provide a decent life for their own family in the future.

As for me, I’m now even prouder of my parents. It’s a cliché, but without them, I won’t be where I am today. There is no doubt about it.