Just the Two of Us

hubby and meI just realized that it’s the first time Butch and I are travelling without the kids. The last time we were by ourselves was our honeymoon twenty-two years ago. Since then, our children have always been the number 1 priority in our lives next to us. We have been planning for a family vacation for some time now but our schedules never match. Either one kid is busy with school activities or the other has work obligations. Butch and I just decided to travel on our own without them. He didn’t want the kids to be home alone even when I assure him that my aunt is just a block away for emergency. After all security precautions, we took the weekend off to burn our devalued dollars for Christmas shopping in Singapore. The plane fare alone will be paid from the savings of the gadgets we intend to buy for the two girls. Of course, the most important thing of all is Butch and I will have a lot of romantic moments together getting lost in Singapore.

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Future Happy Broadband User

Stay-at-home-moms (SAHM) are so lucky these days. Online job and income opportunities such as a virtual assistant, researcher , problogger or web content writer now transforms them to work-at-home moms (WAHM). Moms get to balance family time, work and personal satisfaction. Now what is the main resource that online users need? A reliable, fast broadband connection, right? Slow connection means low productivity. High productivity means one is able to balance work load and mommy work. Mom’s work gets done fast. No connection at all might even cost loss of opportunities or risk getting replaced. I know of a web content writer working on rush job but missed a deadline because the internet connection died on her. That cost her to lose an income opportunity and reliability as a web content writer. That’s how bad our internet connection is in the Philippines.

Over six months ago, I wrote about my three new Broadband internet providers (Globelines Broadband, Smart Bro and PLDT Mydsl) for which I pay around 4,000 pesos (or $95.00) a month. Am I happy with my three internet providers? I wrote a brief review about these providers a month ago. The ratings I gave those three providers are as follows:

1. Globe Broadband (best)
2. Smart Bro
3. PLDT MyDSL (Worst)

I’m about to file a complaint at the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for PLDT’s mydsl intermittent connection every 10 minutes or so. Come on, can you do better than that? I pay 1,520 pesos a month and I deserve a seamless connection at least 99% of the time. But what do they give me? Dropped connections every 10 minutes?

Smart Bro has really been so good to me ever since I threatened to report them to NTC for non-existent connection for 2 months. Since then, connection has been excellent for over two months now. (knock on wood)

Even if I rated Globelines Broadband as the best among the three, I am not quite happy with their up to 1 mbps connection speed since half the time, it’s 60% of 1mbps. I feel cheated that these three providers con us into :

1. believing that “up to” is substantial. “Up to” is the maximum possible bandwidth promised.
Why can’t you just say that your connection is 600kbps? You want us to believe that we can attain 1Mbps most of the time when in fact, it’s 20% of the time.

2. Their connection is faster than dial up.
Really now? Are we supposed to believe that we should continue to live in the dark ages of dial up? Stop using the byline line faster than dial-up when you promote your broadband ads . You can’t fool someone like me who has been using cable internet for 8 years now. Yes, you can fool the dialup users but how long can you fool them?

So let’s see, when a new internet provider will dispel all the above marketing gimmicks of our current internet service providers, what will happen now? These unhappy internet users will definitely move to the new reliable internet provider who will make them happy broadband users.

Who is this possible internet provider?

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Harry Potter Book 7 Release Day

harry potter
I promised M that I would get her the [tag]Harry Potter Book 7[/tag] ( [tag]Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows[/tag] ) at 7:00 AM on July 21, 2007 which is the same opening time as UK’s midnight release. The problem was I didn’t reserve the book. See, I never reserved Book 5 and Book 6 and still managed to get a copy on Opening day at the National Bookstore Katipunan Branch. I never believed in getting a reservation because I will get a copy of the book anyway. The thing is M wanted to get a copy by 7:00 AM even if I have to summon my “bitch” (assertive) powers. I never use my “bitch powers” if there are rules in place. I don’t think I can get a copy at that time without any reservation.

Dine comes to the rescue. While I was at the mediation yesterday afternoon, she offered to reserve a copy for me. Isn’t she sweet?

What a teamwork Dine and I are! And what moms do for the love of their daughters? Even if it means waking up at 6:00 A.M.

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My husband and Grocery Shopping

husbandI think I have mentioned before that my husband is my co-homemaker . For the past two years, he took over my role in grocery shopping. It’s really sweet of him to shop for me. I don’t mind it one bit because I don’t enjoy grocery shopping. Prices of the goods are quite depressing. I just buy whatever is on the list then leave the supermaket in 45 minutes. One thing has been bugging me the past months. I’ve never understood why it takes my husband more than two hours to shop.

Last sunday, I tagged along with him just to observe his system of shopping. Ah now I understand. If I had studied Butch under my time and motion study, he’d definitely fail .
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Kids’ Special Geek Squad Agent

When there was only one computer in the house , shared by all of the family members, the computer virus eluded us. That’s because I am such an obsessive compulsive over any files invading my computer. The last time I encountered a computer virus was in 1993 (1994) due to my husband’s files from the law office. The kids know that a virus can crash the PC so at an early age, they learned to be careful. A crashed computer means no computer.

Now I don’t know why M of all people brought in a virus from the UP Psych lab. She’s quite fastidious when it comes to her computer. At first, she complained that the wifi in her dad’s laptop kept shutting down. Then when she brought her PC from the dorm , the black box exhibited the same symptons as the IBM thinkpad,

*ding ding* my mind raced. “It’s a virus”

“Mom can you fix it?”

Downloading the latest AVG proved futile. The explorer crashes as you click it. Even using online virus check crashes the browser. Any word with AVG or virus causes the computer to crash. Strange virus indeed. She can’t even view her blog entry on that weird virus.

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Vampires live in my Home

vampireI am not talking of the blood-sucking monstrous vampires or human living vampires that exhibit vampiric characteristics or the need, compulsion, or involuntary tendency to “feed” upon some substance or some kind of energy produced by other living things, primarily other people. I’m talking about one facet of vampires which is the repulsion to strong light. On the first morning in our new home, L came running to my room complaining that her room was too bright. I went to her room and noted a stream of sunlight on her writing table. What a bright and sunny day, just perfect mood to start the day.

But noo…L wanted to sleep in.

“Vampire?” (knowing L’s fascination for vampires during her teen years)

“No, I just hate the light. I want to sleep in.” L groaned.

“That’s not too bad. The sunlight is not hitting your bed” I teased. On the floor , our two cats squirmed for a spot under the dark corners of L’s bed. For about a week, I heard the same complaint all day long. M could not stand the afternoon sun hitting on her bedroom. She had massive migraines during the first week.

It got me thinking that so our old home seemed encased in a tomb. . The design of our old home is narrow where certain parts of the rooms barely received the sunlight. The walls that partitioned sections of the home prevented the flow of sunlight. I noticed I always turned on the fluorescent lights in the family den and the dining room. The only room that received sunlight was the living room during the mornings and the kitchen in the late afternoons. The rest of the rooms screamed of darkness and gloom. Is it one reason I felt so despondent in that house? With blinds to shield any meager source of sunlight, their rooms were a virtual nightscape. It’s no wonder that L oversleeps and wakes up at 1:00 PM when she has no school. One time, I even slept in L’s room and woke up at 10:00 AM to my utter disbelief.

I love the light. Maybe my vision is a bit impaired which makes me yearn for better lighting system. Our new home is situated in a corner lot with ample and huge windows which means more sunlight streaming in all directions.

I love it.

The chorus of the family members “WE NEED CURTAINS NOW”

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Globelines Broadband Budget Bundles, Smart Bro and PLDT DSL

(Read my Review of Globe Broadband, PLDT Mydsl, Smart Bro and Smart 3g)

writing deskThe house is clean and sanitized, the air smells of paint, the pocket garden looks refreshing as I am sitting here beside my antique writing table, trying to catch up with my backlog in work . Thanks to the [tag]Philippines Cable Internet Providers[/tag], installation was fast . I always imagined that installation would take months. I remember moving in to Pasig in 1980 and I got my landline in 1984. But take a look at this. If you move to a new home (well at least in Pasig City where I am moving), you can have an internet connection the following day after payment. This is my experience.

1. Smart Bro– I paid 999 pesos for a 384 kpbs connection on March 2. An hour later, they called me to schedule the installation the following day. That’s pretty quick, huh? Smart Bro has this ongoing promotion where you get free installation for new applications if you apply within the month of March. It didn’t make sense to continue with my existing contract because I would have to pay 1600 pesos for the transfer. Might as well get locked in for a one year period. Besides, my cousins in my new neighborhood swear that Smart Bro connection is pretty reliable.

2. Globelines Broadband Budget Bundles – I called Globelines to send me an application form to my house. Since I wasn’t there yet, she dropped it with the caretaker. After I signed the form , the agent came back and processed my application form. A week later, I got my phone line and my 1 MBPS internet connection which came with a prolink modem and wi-fi bundle. So here I am enjoying a 1 MBPS wifi connection goodness. This budget bundle costs only 1450 pesos a month. I don’t know how long the free landline use lasts.

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Garage Sale

Garage Sale
It was only 7:00 AM as I groped for the time in my cellphone. The maids woke me up from my dreaming mode. A “crowd” was milling by the front gate. Wow that early. This meant that I had to back out my car. A few days ago I plastered “Moving out -[tag]Garage Sale[/tag]” at the bulletin boards outside the 3 gates of the village. I look over at my junk that piled up at the garage. How horrible! Did all that exist in this house? Good riddance. Excited shoppers soon ran inside.

Much as I don’t like this neighborhood, garage sale finds are often interesting especially from “Expats leaving” . There are avid garage sale shoppers over here. It’s probably one reason my own household accumulated so much junk in nine years. Not that I am saying my garbage are of great value.

It’s comforting to know that everyone is still asleep as the neighborhood invades my garage. Family members won’t balk at their precious junk being disposed. Butch still refused to clean up his closet. I will soon invade it , promise. By the end of February, I will have another garage sale for the bigger items. I will be disposing my furniture, refrigerator, dining table and who knows. The cloud walker has to go.

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Christmas Shopping at 168 Shopping Mall , Divisoria

168 mallShopping with my daughters is always an opportunity to bond with them. Stress and worry from schoolwork sometimes makes it difficult for them to really talk to us. When I ask how they are , a usual reply is “okay lang”. I sometimes wonder if that means they are ok or they don’t feel like talking about it yet. When I notice a little downtime, I treat them to shopping or a rejuvenating spa. I suggest “Do you want to go shopping or need a massage?” More often than not, the sparkle in their eyes show that they appreciate this gesture. So this is what I told L . “Since you have no classes on Thursdays, maybe we can shop in Divisoria” .

shoppingOne unusual trait with L is her frugal nature. As a daughter, she is very generous giving everything she earns to us. But with! She refuses to buy “branded” clothes. Her favorite shopping places are Divisoria or the “ukay-ukay” (thrift stores). I even gave her money to buy Levi’s jeans but she won’t hear of it. I often tell her that she should own at least a pair of Levi’s jeans or splurge once a year on a branded dress. One day, she finally got a Levi’s jeans only because she got it at a discounted price from a fund raising project of their Katipunan Magazine. L only buys if it is a bargain. Haayy. Her logic is clothes are so trendy that the next month, they just go out of fashion. She doesn’t want to spend unecessarily on clothes, shoes or bags. Maybe she will change when she is working.

168 mallIsn’t it silly that a mother is practically telling her daughter to splurge a little more on clothes?

Today, we went to Divisoria to buy materials for her crotchet gift project she planned to give her friends. We dropped by 168 Shopping Mall to see if there was anything new with this mall. Right now, 168 mall has more stalls and more interesting shopping finds compared to our June shopping adventure. The problem was the deluge of christmas shoppers.

168 mallThe crowd at 9:00 AM was hampering our movements especially in the first floor. I bought two handbags and I could barely walk down the crowded aisles. Moving around was difficult. L bought a dress worth 250 pesos , a pair of shoes worth 200 pesos and a few belts and accessories. After buying my gym outfits, I discovered I could not continue shopping . (TIP: bring an assistant to help you carry the load) . We carried shopping bags that we could barely hold on to.

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