I swear. Jan and I never ever thought that one day we would be called landlords. 

We think it's a title only given to the asset rich, cash rich. Since we are neither, becoming a landlord has never really sunk in even though it has been seven months since we had our first and brand new house rented out.

Don't get it wrong. Unlike true landlords, we do not earn from it. The rent goes straight to the housing loan that we will be paying for at least two decades. But since it is highly unlikely for us to live there for now, the renters will be paying the mortgage for us.

Good move, 'di ba?

May 2021. This was last time we visited this place to check that everything is ready for the new occupant.
I kind of miss this house, honestly.

A few months ago, I joined a private Facebook group made for landlords all over the city who discuss everything rent related. The topics go from tips and guides to rates to management to the legalities to experiences. And it was only yesterday when I found myself browsing through posts and reading the comments about the horrors of having tenants too horrible for words.

There are tenants who demand for more than what they pay for. Tenants who steal. Tenants who trash the place. Tenants who bother neighbors or those who constantly squabble with other tenants. Then there are those who habitually pay late, those who do not pay and refuse to leave, and those who do not pay and leave without notice. And worse, there are those who do illegal activities.

English precis: Tenant rents a house, turns it into a laundry shop,
then leaves the house leaving behind a hefty amount of unpaid bills (probably 4x the rental fee).
WTF, right?

All this time, I thought that becoming a landlord is an easy way to make money where you can just watch the rent checks roll in. Now I understand why most landlords are stricter with their terms. Beyond committing to the upkeep, one must be psychologically, mentally, and emotionally ready to deal with tenants regardless of behavior.

So far, the worst experience we had was when we kept the unit on hold for someone who then changed their minds two weeks later, without even bothering to see the actual unit first. I know it's their right. But they could have at least shown courtesy by informing us that they're backing out. A lot of time was obviously wasted and we have turned down a number of potential, probably better renters then. 

We were told that given the demand, we should have done it on a first-pay, first-served basis or at least limit the reservation to only three days tops. 

We were clueless amateurs, I know.

But we let it pass knowing there are others who were seriously interested. The house was new and desirable (tiled, with grills, with space for a carport, near a mall, located in a flood-free area, and situated in a good community), so it's no surprise that it was immediately occupied. 

Our current tenants are far from a landlord's worst nightmares. Thank goodness we were not wrong about them after evaluating their decency level basing merely on how they chat and their outward charms after meeting them twice. Haha. 

Although I am confident that they will do just fine, I still have the urge to visit the house. Not that we would come unannounced and bother them. Pero yung padaan-daan lang to check if the house is still intact. Haha. 😅 But of course, we're not doing that.

Anyway, after an hour of scrolling through those landlord-tenant stories, I realized how tenant-centric our Rental Agreement is. We are quite lenient and considerate with our terms and conditions. We are also not too strict about due dates—which I hope will not be abused. Thankfully, our tenants have not been late with their payments yet. 

As new "landlords", Jan and I still have a lot to learn. And we'd probably start embracing the fact that we could experience a horrible tenant one day. But I oh-so hope we won't because it will either teach us become better at dealing with such or it could turn us into one of those tough meanie, awful, and inconsiderate landlords the tenants warn you about.




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Women my age don't get knocked up easily. Or so I thought. It takes a lot longer to get pregnant again. Or so I was told. So we made love unprotected. And surprise, surprise! It only took less than two months to miss a period. While the news was one of the best we received, it honestly got us a little bit alarmed than excited.

Oh shit, are we ready for this? 

Obviously, we're not. But anytime from 4 to 7 weeks now, we will have two handful kids with a 19-month age gap, and a twelve-year old who will probably start to disagree with me in everything sooner or later. 

I haven't really been writing regularly on this blog like I used to. But if I turn this into a parenting blog, I'm pretty sure there will be so much to write and share. A lot of things happen every day when you try NOT to get a toddler killed as he expresses his free will and goes all feral; imposes his preference to play electrical plugs and sockets over his actual toys; exhibits his speed faster than lightning to get him to places he shouldn't be like the bathroom, kitchen, or outside; or shows his determination to become the next Spiderman as he climbs on surfaces impossible for our 36-year-old bodies with 63-year-old back pains to reach. 

But then, I'm already far too busy fussing about this pregnancy and the hundreds of unidentified emotions that come with it to write about anything.

Also, Jan and I are exhausted. We barely have time to do all things we used to do pre-parenting days. We do not have a household help or a nanny (because trust issues + pandemic). While we get some help from both our moms (mostly during weekends), we do everything ourselves. 

Picture this:

• Jan works full-time. Since he works remotely with people coming from different time zones, his working hours are flexible and spread out. He can work as early as 6am and end with a 2-hour meeting at midnight. In between, he does ALL the household chores because I am not allowed to lift objects heavier than our fat cat or do anything that is physically draining (even breathing has become a workout for me).

• I do not have a job right now but I accept web development and blogging projects from time to time (because the world can stop, but not our bills). I also help our 7th-grader with his school modules the whole day all the while keeping a toddler fed, bathed, and entertained. 

• Jan and I take turns with the toddler who can turn the house upside down like a tornado in a matter of seconds and just after we tidied up. 

• We both do not get enough rest. Our little boy wakes up in the middle of the night (at least twice) so Jan puts him back to sleep. And our little girl loves throwing a fetal rage at 2 in the morning. Those tiny jabs and squirming limbs coming from all directions do not exactly feel delightful especially when she hits my kidneys, bladder, liver, or ribs. But of course, I am not complaining because I expect to have that every day. 

Before anybody thinks we've been doing a great job for staying sane despite all these, let me tell you that we have also prepared ourselves to embrace judgment from others because we have not subscribed to the super mom/dad ideals. We acknowledge our limits, and so, we gave in to screen time and fast food deliveries (and we've been doing it so often) to lighten our daily load because, well...

Exhaustion is an understatement and burnout is real.

And that's only having two. It gets trickier when there will be three (I wonder how parents with five children with one-year age gap did it). 

Pero ginusto namin 'to eh.

Moments like this though. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
This is going to be my third time as a parent and I'm still trying to figure things out. If only parenting comes with an instruction manual, this would have been a lot easier. But we all know it doesn't. And even if it did, it still wouldn't work that way because every child is different. 

But heck, we're already here. There is no getting out of this and the best we can do is just wing it.





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2021 took so many twists and turns. But despite the grey skies that have been looming since 2020 that honestly seems like a hundred years ago, there have been those little ray of lights that seeped through from time to time. And as this year comes to a close, I would like to express my gratitude to all the people and the small wins that helped me get where I currently am: happy and contented.

I am and will always grateful for having a loving family (including my in-laws), my maka-ugtas but adorable sons (plus our baby girl on the way), supportive friends, and the selfless frontliners among others. But for this post, I am giving the spotlight to the husband, Jan.

I know, I know. If I write about him one more time, makasuka na. But I could not help it. Taking care of a toddler while pregnant, losing my passion, unable to travel and destress, and having no job to keep me preoccupied during this pandemic would make me lose my shit. But I didn't. And that's mostly because of him.

So here are 21 reasons why I am grateful to the husband who makes my life happier, easier, and sweeter:

1. He chose me. He always chooses me first. And I know he would choose me over anything or anyone over and over again.

2. He makes situations a little harder on himself in hopes that it makes them easier for me. Like how he gets up in the middle of the night to put our baby back to sleep and drags himself to work the next day. Or how he does the laundry, washes the dishes, or cleans the house just so I can rest (and without complaints at that).

3. He is so protective of our family. I mean, not just physically. I feel secured and sheltered from verbal attacks, criticisms, and judgment from other people, should there be any. He's the type who would avoid conflicts at any cost but I have seen him bravely speak up when the situation calls for it.

4. He patiently puts up with things that I like that do not interest him. Books I have read, Harry Potter, football, and even Pinoy showbiz. Likewise, I pretend to understand stuff he can't stop yapping about. Boxing/MMA, NBA, DotA2, or Astrophysics. 😁

5. He is a very good provider. He works hard. But even so, he can make time to take me out on a date even if it means just doing errands together or eating takeout at a parking lot.

Nevermind his butas-butas shirt.

6. He makes me the best sunny-side up. He makes me coffee (pre-prego days) and sandwich every morning. He always has something for me every time he comes home. He gives me the last bite, the best part, or sometimes, the whole thing.

7. He is my #1 fan. There have been multiple times when I met his friends for the first time and I get surprised how much they already knew about me, my blog and achievements, my job, my skills and talents, and places we've been to because he had spoken highly of me. I know he is proud that I am his wife as I am proud to be his wife.

8. He is a man of his word. He has always kept his promises. He is true to his vows.

And yes, I have no doubts to hold on to this. 😊

9. He pays attention to all the things I say and do. He can easily figure me out that even without dropping a hint, he knows what I am thinking, what I want, what I need, and what would make me happy.

10. He makes me laugh. I know a lot of people will have reservations about him being hilarious, but I swear, he can pry my mind open and he knows where it tickles.

11. He has never insulted nor raised his voice at me. Whenever I get overly dramatic (which usually escalates into a fight he is unaware of 😅😅😅), he chooses his words carefully and pens heartfelt letters so as not to hurt my feelings brought about by hormonal overdrive.

And I love reading them.

12. He has a ginormous amount of patience. He has never been seriously angry with me. At all. Ever.

13. He doesn't like those cheesy Backstreet Boys, Westlife, and other boyband songs but he plays them while he is working or during long drives, and even sings with me because he knows I love them.

14. He gives me kisses, hugs from behind, and relaxing massages randomly. And I love it!

15. I know EVERYBODY who knew him will agree how selfless and kind-hearted he is (I'm 100% on this). Imagine being close to someone like that, much more being a wife.

16. He supports all my dreams and ambitions no matter how absurd they all seem to be. He believes in me more than I believe in myself. And he pushes me to be better. In fact, I began getting all those recognitions and achievements when we started being together. He is both my critic and inspiration.

17. He is a doting dad.

18. He shows the best example for our children. I can already see the kind of husband our sons will become and I don't have to worry what kind of husband our daughter will marry. He sets the bar high for them.

19. When I am frustrated with my tasks or when motherhood gets the best of me or when shit happens, he comforts me even if all he could do is throw his arms around me and keep me close to his chest. He is my sanctuary.

20. He is never good at fault-finding. He never really did. I know I have a lot of shortcomings, but he has never brought it up during our conflicts and arguments. He corrects but he never counts. He is so forgiving. 

21. He loves me for me! Even if I look like a terrier, a raccoon, a porcupine, or a shriveled grape.


I thought the best moment of my life was when we tied the knot. But now, I realized the best ones are these moments I spend with him every day. There is far more to thank him for. I want him to know that all the small and big things he does do not go unnoticed. But more than that, I thank him for being him. His loyalty and dedication define him and I could not be more grateful to be able to spend the rest of my life with that kind of man.

2022 may not be any different from 2020 or 2021. But with him by my side, I can confidently say... BRING IT ON!

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 If there is one positive influence I have on Jan, it has got to be this.

L-R: Border peak, crater, Kidapawan peak

This is his second time to summit the Philippines' highest mountain. His first climb without me (yep, partially bummed because I couldn't go) and probably his worst hiking experience by far—with plans almost scrapped, major major delays, torrential downpour, and becoming a guide for the first time in an unfamiliar trail real quick because he's the only experienced mountaineer in the group. 
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It was twelve years ago when I pushed a giant papaya out of my lady parts. And fifteen months ago, I did the same thing. I wish I could say that having a baby at 24 isn't all that different from doing it at 35. But nope. I sneezed my first born out. The second one, however, felt like those exaggerated, nowhere near accurate depictions of labor and childbirth in movies. Except, it was real albeit there was no moaning, screaming, or howling on my part. My doctor had to break my water because my labor was not progressing and a few hours later, I was still stuck at 6cm.

It was excruciating. 

And that's coming from someone whose pain tolerance is considered at a dangerous level. You know how many times I brushed off pain only to find out later that it was a more serious injury? Like how a whole durian fell approximately 4ft. from the truck to my arm, ignored it like it was nothing because I was worried about the durian that I already paid for when it rolled from my arm to the canal. I didn't know I was bleeding until a friend pointed it out. Instead of crying "ouch", my initial reaction was, "uy, akong durian!" Yes, I had my priorities sorted out.

This probably stemmed from being born a walking disaster that I got exposed to physical pain at an early age. I have ran full speed into walls, dislocated (probably broken) a few bones here and there, and had deep cuts without flinching or tearing up. If anything, it was the earful, what-have-you-gotten-yourself-into-this-time scolding of my mom that scared me more.

But back to where we were...

I got over that horrifying 17-hour labor without epidural. Of course, it goes without saying that the child is going to hear this story for the rest of his life and I declared I am never having another baby ever again.

But here we are. 24 weeks in and still willing to go through all that labor pain after all. Plus, pregnancy when you are nearing 40 comes with a lot of risks. I do pray that everything will go smoothly and safely though—for I am excited. Really. Because after two boys, we are finally having a girl! Yes, quota na ako.

Anyway.

I am running on autopilot. I refused to believe that mom brain is real until recently when I squeezed lotion on my toothbrush... twice (it was on the second time when I learned what a lotion tastes like). I always find myself pouring water into a glass, leave it on the kitchen table, and never drink it. I oftentimes ask the husband the same question at least three times in less than five minutes. I have an extensive vocabulary but I was reduced to someone who fails to retrieve simple terms on the tip of the tongue. If my recent posts came out incomprehensible, now you know why.

I already gave birth twice. And even though I had few lutang and sabaw episodes, it was only in this pregnancy when I noticed that my brain went AWOL big time. Legend has it that I will have it back one day. Someday. When all three children are old enough to pay their taxes, I guess.

18 weeks (2009, 2020, 2021)


 

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I take pride in my DIY skills

I was born creative. But if we're going to be honest here, I only do it because I am cheap practical. If I can do something with what's available, I will do it if it means saving more money for better things like books I don't get to read.

I don't go great lengths though. I know little of carpentry and nothing of plumbing, robotics, pottery, nor baking—if that's what you're thinking. But I do love crafting. I'm good at repurposing broken and useless household items to even more useless stuff.  

I DIYed almost everything in our wedding—invitation, welcome board, giveaways, cake topper, ring holder, and guest book. All costumes in all the themed parties I have attended, Rhett's school event costumes, and even few of the household items that we still use are DIYed too. I mostly craft things that look pretty and cute.

But I have never created one that's used for the halloween. And I have to make one for Jan's virtual halloween party with workmates. No chance of throwing in one of my totally believable excuses to not do it after deliberately forgetting to checkout the wolf hat that he initially planned to wear because I was reluctant to spend his own money for a single-use item. 

Like, duh? Dude, we do not go half-assed by doing things that are not well thought out here. 

The event is happening in less than 24 hours and all I have are scratch papers, an old cardboard, a pair of scissors, and a bottle of glue that seem to have dried out. 

Since it is a virtual party, a full-body costume, while encouraged, is not necessary. Albeit we could have gone extra and pulled off a Hannibal Lecter. But right now, this is the best I can come up with:

This "mask" and a green screen that is actually orange. 
It's not perfect yet. I still have to poke holes for the eyes on it. And Jan's probably going to wear white or orange to blend with the background. But this is how it's going to look on Zoom.

It is not creative creative and it did not take a lot of effort to make. But obviously, this warrants a blog post because it is brilliant. We'd probably win the scariest costume award, if there will be one.

We have been experiencing internet losses for five days straight. Other than disagreeing with your wife, this is the scariest thing that is happening wherever you are in the world. Our mood, mental health, jobs, relationships, and subpar lives depend heavily on the internet. And I know everyone agrees with me, right? Right.

Yes.



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I remember reading a friend's post on Facebook that said he will never ride the jeepney ever again. Another also shared about his first jeepney ride after so many years like it's a lifetime achievement or something. Knowing that they're not even someone you can consider rich, I was so quick to silently judge them for being maarte and hambog

You see, I grew up riding the public transpo. I have been commuting daily since I started kindergarten and I am well-aware how poor the public transportation system in our country is. DIRTY. CROWDED. HOT. Not to mention, it can also be DANGEROUS knowing how public transpo drivers can be ruthless and aggressive. You have to watch out for perverts and pickpockets, too. 

But as dreadful as it may sound, such things never really bothered me. 

Well, I didn't have a choice.

Until I first started driving our own car more than three years ago. I instantly fell in love with the lifestyle. How some people are nicer to you and sometimes treat you like a VIP despite dressing casually in a posh establishment. How you suddenly exude confidence to carry yourself well every where you go. Or how people become interested and strike up a conversation about your brand new car and you take pride talking about it. 

Or how you can get from point A to point B with any outfit, or lack thereof, and not be judged about it. 

But for the most part, I love how travel time is reduced significantly. For someone who is always running late, this is a life saver. I can reach my destination in 30 minutes that would take me an hour or two on a bus or a jeep (we don't have an MRT here and the poorita in me doesn't include the taxi as an option). I can go home earlier and still have a little energy left to be productive or perhaps craft pretty useless things like a butt cover for my cats. 

Ass-cessory.

The security, comfort, and convenience during rain, heavy traffic, errand runs, and emergencies just shifted my standpoint regarding public transpo, specifically jeepneys. 

I do not want to ride one ever again.

I wondered if Jan feels the same. Between the two of us, he is more experienced to the torments of riding a jeepney. People can easily give up their seats for me or I simply get lucky to fit just one butt when no one else can, while he has to fight his way in, boxing out hundreds of people who were also after that most-coveted, one and only available seat in the jeepney that comes once in a while, then only to be seated next to a stranger that reeks of booze, cigarette, and sweat. 🤮

I asked if he will still ride a jeepney again. His reply was a quick, resounding NOPE. It sounds arrogant and condescending, honestly. Especially if you hear that straight from someone who is coming from the middle class and whose car is not even a luxury. Nagkakotse lang akala mo na kung sino.

This is Bill, our 2018 Suzuki Ertiga GL (MPV).

But I understand him. I understand my friends now. And today, another friend posted about the same sentiment. She got her first car just a few months ago, said she can no longer imagine herself commuting ever again. I do not know what it's like to be riding a public transpo this time during the pandemic. But I do understand where that kaartehan is coming from.

Some time three years ago, I already gave up the idea of riding a jeepney. I mean, I still CAN but I would rather not for the reasons I mentioned above and most especially for this:


Nope. NOT GIVING THIS KIND OF FREEDOM UP.
😂😂😂



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 Okay.

This is not something that a lot of people can relate to. But in case you are wondering, this is how I got by those raging pregnancy hormones during the isolation. I've heard a few kids play this but from what I know, this game kept A LOT OF PEOPLE (mostly adults) from spiraling downward during the pandemic. It is truly a life saver.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the most expensive game I have ever bought ($60 + Nintendo Switch Online membership worth Php350/year). But with the number of hours I have played, you can tell that it is absolutely WORTH IT. If I didn't have children and a business to attend to, I would have probably spent more than 5,000 hours with it.

A few days ago, Animal Crossing just released a major update and I have never been so excited to play a tedious game my entire life.

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I often find myself reminiscing about the old days.

Those days when we get to eat out and go on spontaneous road trips every week. The time when we don't celebrate special occasions over food deliveries. The time when we conveniently fake fever to have an excuse for skipping work. Or those days when I can just hug and kiss my husband every time he comes home. Sigh.

I can't believe the Pre-covid Era was already 400 years ago.

A lot of things evolved since then—including my tolerance for things that make me cringe. Of course, when you are isolated, it's no longer a surprise how one soul can be engulfed into this strangely gratifying dark side of the internet even if it offers a ton of cringefest

Apparently, my time for the internet ballooned and this is how I see social media platforms in 2021:

Facebook: A place for everything. News, memes, marketplace, motivational quotes, horoscope that justify toxic behavior, flexing, and so on. But best of all, it brings out the inner Aling Marites in me. It is a place for parinigs to good-for-nothing spouses, keeping tabs of your friends' love lives (from dating to breakup), and for calling out cheating partners, kabits, and palautangs. Trust me, it has all the drama you will ever need.  

Instagram: For flexing, flexing, and did I say flexing?

Twitter: I don't use this app but I would visit it once in a while when an issue—mostly political—goes trending. If you are easily-offended or like to bath in toxicity, this platform's perfect for you.

YouTube: Our torture chamber. This is where Jan and I listen to songs that get perpetually stuck in our heads such as, "I like to ate ate ate ay-ples and ba-nay-nays." We also binge-watch mouthwatering vlogs of Mark Wiens, Mike Chen, Sonny Side, and anyone who travels for food that leave us hungry afterwards. Other than that, it has a lot of tutorials, parodies, conspiracies, gaming streams, and screaming goats that you would probably enjoy. Or not.

TikTok: I have installed this when it exploded during the height of corona. But I only got to use it a few days ago—only to have it uninstalled a few hours later. I have seen some creative videos that I did enjoy. But I would say it's a platform mostly for people who want a brief shot at fame, doing dumb and stupid challenges for the likes, and letting out the inner slut. It's just sad to see content creators (real talented ones) who don't get the recognition they deserve here.

I do not know how many times I have said this before, but I really wish this pandemic is over. I'd really like to get out and take a breather. It's only a matter of time before you see me upload those heavily-filtered selfie videos just so I can validate my self-worth because I am running out of valuable content to share. 

Hahahahaha. Syet.

Also, those surgical face masks don't really fit me well. (T⌓T)

I might need a kiddie mask.


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