Sunday, December 8, 2013

LED Lighting

If I haven't mentioned it before, the Breezy house is full of recessed lighting. We counted 27 BR-40 bulbs and some 10+ smaller bulbs. These 27 lights are loaded with an assortment of 65 and 100 watt flood lights so you can imagine my heart racing whenever someone turns lights on and leaves them on.

This afternoon, we went to the supply store and got dimmable LED lights and new switches to replace the ones in our house. Now, we've replaced 11 out of 27 and I'm feeling good. We have all the lights on in the kitchen / dining area and we barely use the power of one of the previous floodlights.

Some things I learned
- dimmer switches for incandescent bulbs will NOT work for dimmable CFL or LED lights
- some switches need some tweaking to make them gang-able. In our case, we got Lutron maestro switches so we have to remove the heat fins, depending on where it will be placed. Have to remember that removal of the heat fins will affect the rating of the switches, the more fins you remove, the less wattage the switch can handle. Documentation in
- If you want a light to be controlled from multiple locations, you need a master switch and companion switches.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2 days to go

It's Wednesday night and I'm starting to feel the crunch, there's only 2 days left before moving day and since neither one of us is taking a day off from work, we don't have much time left. I've been thinking about asking for a day off on Friday but I have such a huge backlog at work that I just couldn't push  myself to ask.... maybe when I get desperate enough.

Freecycle has been my best friend these past few weeks, taking stuff - which we loathed to throw away because it was such a waste - off our hands quickly. So far, we've given out a tv, a microwave, two CPUs, a microwave sterilizer, baby bottle warmer and a bunch of baby feeding bottles. Next on the list would be a set of car wheels, if we don't get any takers on Craigslist. Yes, we held on to these things because... well... we had the storage space and we could. It's also fortuitous that a group in my company held a collection for a homeless shelter and they specifically asked for toiletries, I checked with the organizers if they would take hotel shampoo/conditioner/soaps and they said YES so there went the little bars and bottles I've collected over the years.

We were unable to get rid of our old toys, we tried to drop them off at the nearby Salvation Army but they only accept unopened (brand-new) ones and used toys have to be brought over to the next city, if they accept it. It seemed a waste to throw them out because, after all, someone paid good money for these so we're holding on to them. Maybe we'd get more use out of them if we're blessed with another baby.

I've packed up most of my and Swe-cha's clothes - work clothes already hanging in the new house since last weekend and I took care of my house clothes today, leaving just enough to wear for 3 more days. I did pack up our towels and sheets as well.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I just realized that the best way to get someone to confess is to be as vague as possible :)

Last week, hubby bought an ice cream cake for my birthday, we cut it up into serving sizes before freezing it so it would be easier to to eat. Swe-cha loved it so much that he would look for ice-cream-cake every single day. He ate the last piece last night.

Tonight, he kept looking for more ice cream and would make me help him rummage through our freezers (we have two). I kept pointing out that there were none left, he'd be okay but 10 minutes later, he'd pull me to the freezers to help him look again.

So I decided to call hubby.

Me: May malaking kasalanan ka sa akin.

There was a pause and he started asking... confessing, even. Is it the bathroom ? Did I leave it open ?

Me: No, isip ka pa. Malaking kasalanan! Malaking-malaki!

and he confessed to a few more things.

I did let him in on the joke... eventually :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Paint job

While we were house-hunting, we had always talked about getting whatever house it was that we eventually got a nice coat of paint before we moved in. We weren't buying a brand-new house so we felt that a nice coat of paint would help make things feel fresh and new.

It wasn't until we started getting work estimates when we realized how expensive labor was and so it was that we hemmed and hawed about getting the paintwork done. Eventually, we decided to spend the money to get the living areas done for the following reasons:
- it's a huge area, definitely not something we could finish in a few days
- we can't close off any of these areas because of the house's open layout

We contracted our fave guy, Jeff, to do the paint job for us. As we are repeat customers, he gave us a good deal. We gave him a deposit and lent him a set of keys to the house (we will have everything rekeyed after 

While waiting for the space-suit guys to finish the cleanup last Sunday, we decided to give Jeff a head start and started taking out the electrical switch faceplates. This picture does not give what we did justice. In hindsight, I should've taken a picture of the long wall in the living room because it must have at least 5 outlets. Admittedly, we did this because despite his promises that he would take them off one by one, we were still skeptical. 

Jeff and son started prepping the house up for painting today. They would've done more if I hadn't asked them to sneak in another job (will do a separate post on that). 

Yes, they did come through on their promise and taped up all the edges and pulled out all the receptacles on the recessed lighting. I don't have an exact count of how many recessed lights there are in the foyer and the kitchen-dining-living area but I wouldn't be surprised if the count reaches 20. Yes, there are a lot.

They said that tomorrow, they will start painting the ceilings and the wall. They have to come back on Saturday to clean up and put up all the fixtures again.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Boxes and boxes

So what's going on over here in the condo ?

We've boxed up a lot of stuff - most are in our basement - but the ones we've boxed since October are just scattered around the house. Most are left in the general area of where it was sealed. We didn't mind at first since there was really nowhere to put them but we were fast running out of floor space so today, hubby cleared one corner of the house and we started stacking the boxes in that area.

The picture friend A posted of her Home Depot moving boxes comes to mind as I stare at ours. Apparently, she already has 2 people lined up for her boxes (to inherit them after she's done with her move). I wondered then why nobody was asking for my boxes after I'm done with them and this picture kinda answers why - who would want this bastardized collection of moving boxes saved up from online / webstore orders and diaper boxes ? They're not exactly photogenic... but hey, who cares ? Whatever saves me money :)

I also thought of printing out labels to clearly define where each box is supposed to go in the new house. So far, we have Basement, Kitchen, 4th bedroom and Garage.

Not really sure if we'll have time to label the ones in the basement but it shouldn't be difficult to say that all boxes that were previously stored in the condo's basement storage space automatically goes the new basement in the new house.

And to organize my labels, I improvised a clipboard out of a piece of cardboard and rubber bands. I numbered the labels so we can have a final box count of how many are supposed to go in each room. As you can see, we've designated 6 boxes for the basement, 4 for the kitchen and 2 for the 4th bedroom as of the time I snapped this picture.


Final box count for the day:

Basement - 10, these are boxes for long-term storage

Kitchen - 5, food and small kitchen appliances used often

4th Bedroom - 5, boxes with personal stuff currently in use such as clothes, shoes, books, toys

Garage - 0, boxes with stuff that will be used soon so these we have to unpack right away.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The basement - day 3

The guys in the spacesuits work fast.

We were told that they'd take 3-4 days but by the evening of day 2, the basement already looked like this.

That machine covered with plastic tarp with the tube running to the window is an air scrubber and was left running for 3 entire days, it's cleaning out the air inside the basement.

All the wood paneling are out. Thankfully, the mold situation wasn't bad and the framing on the walls (studs) were clean - in fact, they looked like new! No stains at all. Everything was treated with Microban and was sealed with mold-resistant paint that contains a mildewcide (Zinsser).

All the ceiling panels and kitchen cabinetry (top & bottom), including the kitchen sink were all torn out and disposed of. That plastic-tarp covered stove is all that remains of the summer kitchen.

The guys will come back again tomorrow to remove all the plastic sheets and refuse. 

We now have a mold-free basement that is unfinished - it does have all the framing intact so it won't cost as much to finish the walls. Methinks we might give a stab at putting up drywall ourselves (and by this, I really mean I would supervise while hubby supplies the muscles).

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The New Abode - day 2

So yesterday, I shared pictures of the nicest parts of the house - the kitchen, dining and living rooms - and in the interest of fairness, let's go down and check out the not-so-nice area, the basement.

This house was built in the 1960s. While the living areas have since been updated, the basement is original, so you'll be able to peek at how a typical 1960s basement looked like - design flaws and all.

When you go down the stairs, you will be greeted by this corridor if you turn left. This view was taken from the doorway of the room in the basement ( a room was carved out for use as an office ) and if you look at the bottom left corner of the picture, you should see the bottom step of the stairs.

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a kitchen or specifically, a summer kitchen. The concept is similar to the Pinoy's concept of a having a nice kitchen (for show) and a dirty kitchen where the real cooking is being done.

In the case of typical 1960s households, a summer kitchen would usually be used during the summer when the weather tends to get hot. Basements are typically cooler than the living areas during the hot summer months so the idea was to cook here when it's hot so you don't introduce more heat into your living areas.

I've read that in some instances, summer kitchens also come in handy when you can/bake/cook and need lots of space to spread out your tools & containers.

This part of the basement isn't so bad, really. It's dated but functional. There's a working stove, a range hood to vent out smoke and a working sink. There are also plenty of cabinets for storage and it has a laminate countertop.

The right side provides an area for a refrigerator.

There is a sump pump in the corner (for getting rid of water) and we do have french drains installed.

The sellers also left their full-sized washer and dryer - they're not the pretty, high-tech ones that we dream about but these should do for the meantime.

And now on to the ugly part... see all that lovely (I'm being super sarcastic here) wood paneling all over the place ? Now, wood paneling and basements do not mix. Wood panels are porous, thirsty things that suck up all moisture in the air and basements, those that do not have dehumidifiers, tend to get very humid. They become perfect breeding places for mold.

To address this, we're having this torn down. All the paneling has to go, including the kitchen cabinetry (yay!) - admittedly, we are quite happy with the excuse to get rid of this now.  We got in touch with a Mold Remediation company and got a contract for all these to be taken out, the insides treated and then sealed. We won't have a 'finished' basement after this but it shouldn't be too difficult to put up drywall again once we have the funds.

The ceiling panels will also be torn out - you'll see that they've already been torn out in some places whenever the previous owners needed to access the ceiling for repairs (usually, electrical or plumbing work for the house). In the future, we'll replace this with a drop ceiling to the wires and pipes running through the ceiling can be accessed without damage to the basement ceiling.

We met up with the guys in space suits this morning and they started working with the house. If all goes well, they should finish by Saturday afternoon and at worst, they might have to work into Monday.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

the new abode

The family is moving! Yay!

This has been a long process but we knew this house was going to be our home the first time we saw it in February (2013) - or at least, I did, and that's what I told my husband, "This is going to be our house, I just know it" as we were walking away from that open house. The list price was beyond our budget at the time.

I was so disappointed when it went off the market soon after the open house and was happy when the sale didn't push through and it was again put on the market. We eventually offered for it and went into contract in July. The next 6 weeks was spent in painful negotiations as we went back and forth with the sellers regarding different things that came up during the inspection. We eventually closed the sale early October (i.e. this is when we signed the rest of our lives away with the mortgage company)....

... but didn't receive the house keys until today (the sellers asked to rent the place from us while they sorted out arrangements for their next home). So today is really the first day that we can truly call this ours (and the bank's).

We took some photos to memorialize this milestone and so we remember how nice and clean this house was before we moved in.

The rest of the house is pretty much empty yet so we'll take pictures and share a section at a time. Here's a peak at the kitchen... (obviously my favorite place in the house).

This is the view from the living room, looking towards the kitchen and the dining areas.

This is a closer view of the left side of the kitchen. There are granite countertops, built-in double ovens, a built-in microwave oven, a gas-cooktop with a pop-up vent (the type that comes up at the touch of a button and can remain hidden from view when not in use), a pasta arm (a faucet thingie on top of the stove so you can fill big pots with water and not have to carry all that water from the sink to the stove). The cabinets and drawers all have soft-close mechanisms and there is an appliance garage at each corner of the kitchen. 

Here is a closer look at the cooktop with the pasta arm, we didn't think of raising the vent before we took this picture so it's hidden from view.

And over to the right side of the kitchen is a built-in steamer (goodness knows what I'm going to cook there - pressure, pressure!). The refrigerator and dishwasher are "hidden" behind wooden panels that match the cabinetry - a nice touch, no ? The refrigerator has a bottom freezer drawer which Swe-cha will surely love as he can easily get his ice cream now.

And the peninsula (?) houses two additional refrigerator drawers (not really sure what they're called, wala sa bundok namin nyan eh). Swe-ca is going to love these and I can see how he'd get his juice and snacks from these locations - they're the perfect height.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mommy nga!

Today, I didn't realize that I went to a lot of places - an Asian market, a Vietnamese restaurant, a gas station, a health store, 3 pharmacies, dunkin donuts (twice!), a frozen yogurt place, and the hospital (to visit R) - only to find out when I got home by the end of the day that I had a Cookie Monster sticker stuck to my chest all that time.

We had gone to the pedia dentist for Swe-cha's regular checkup and we had played with stickers. I'm not sure when Swe-cha (or hubby) put it on me or if it was a transfer from Swe-cha's shirt but I was sporting it all day since the dentist was our first stop.

I never noticed it until hubby pointed it out to me when I got home, not really sure if others noticed but were just too polite to ask or it might've been lost in the bright floral pattern of my blouse so nobody really noticed.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Costume - check!

Got Swe-cha his Halloween costume already and I'm so excited for him. I showed it to him, he identified it and then hugged it. Hope he enjoys wearing it and becoming the character :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Project Lutong Bahay

I've been making a more conscious effort to prepare home-cooked meals, we've been spending so much money on takeout / restaurants - it just is crazy, not to mention unhealthy. So let's see how long we can keep this tipid project up:

Monday night dinner + Tuesday lunch baon was penne pasta with tomato sauce.

Tuesday night dinner + Wednesday lunch baon was Stir Fried Chicken.

Wednesday night dinner + Thursday lunch baon was Stir fried beef, just because we still had leftover veggies from the night before.

Thursday night dinner + Friday lunch baon, is braised pork belly w/ adobo eggs. I've been braising this sweet-style adobo for close to 3 hours now and the meat is so tender that you can cut it with a spoon.

Monday, September 9, 2013

AC Good News

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned having trouble with our car's AC before... it started summer of 2012 and the issue was literally on and off. The AC would run fine one day and then suddenly stop working and it would eventually start blasting out HOT air - it got so hot at one point that I even had to stop on the roadside because I was getting dizzy enough to worry about passing out. It didn't help that the outside temps were at 102 degrees F.

We keep bringing it back to the dealership and to our local repair shop and they couldn't find it. The only suggestion we got from both was to load up the AC with freon mixed with a special dye. When it stops working again, we can bring the car in and they can look for traces of the dye and hopefully, find out where the leak is occurring.

By this time, it was already fall and we weren't dependent on the AC anymore so I asked hubby to push this off until next spring.

By Spring 2013, we brought the car back to the shop and had it loaded with freon and the special dye. While it was being tested, the technician happened to hit a wire and the AC stopped working again - that was the culprit! They tried wiggling the wires and found one that was loose and corroded, this was replaced and the AC worked fine after that.

Some months later, the AC started wigging out again. *sigh* Hubby decided to play with the relays one time and found that if he wiggled or pulled out and reinstalled the AC relay, it would jumpstart the AC and get it working. Last week, he dropped by the dealer to buy a replacement relay, it cost us $7.35.

It's been several days and the AC still works. Hubby's theory is that the loose / corroded wiring affected and damaged this relay. I hope this is the end of our AC woes (well, it should be... at least for 2013 as outside temps are currently in the high 60s so we really don't need AC anymore). It is not a good time to be spending more money.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Master Bath Sink

It's been a while since our last DIY post.

This weekend, we tackled the sink in the master bath. We replaced the leaky faucet and the sink drain, it had been missing the drain plug for the longest time and we've had to cover the open drain with a mesh strainer that we buy at the dollar store. The strainer gets pretty yucky so I'll spare my readers and not post pictures of that anymore.

This was a pretty straightforward job. I gathered all the tools and materials we needed days before:

- supply hoses $11/pair - I bought 2 different sizes in 2 different lengths, total of 4 pairs, to make sure that we have what we need on the day itself. I plan to return the unused ones.

- new faucet $26 - it was 2nd to the cheapest bathroom sink faucet I could find in our local Home Depot. We're moving out soon and don't need anything fancy.

- teflon tape $1 & plumbers putty $1

We had a rough start when we realized that everything was stuck - the water shutoff valves beneath the sink, and the locknuts holding the faucet to the sink.

The groovelock pliers (vise grip) and adjustable wrench which were adequate during our last sink faucet replacement just doesn't cut it here.

Furthermore, since we had to replace the sink drain as well, we needed a bigger wrench - a real pipe wrench.

We started the work yesterday (Sunday) and hoped to finish in an hour or two. We knew what we were supposed to do - my confidence level was really high - but if the locknuts and valves were stuck, what could we do ? I did some research and others suggested cutting down the locknuts if you don't plan on reusing the hardware anymore and as for the valves, the best suggestion was to shut off the main valves into the home but as we live in a condo, I have no idea where that is.

Sometime on Sunday night, hubby was able to turn the shutoff valves successfully. With that victory in hand, we decided to put the rest of the project off till tomorrow when we could drive down to Home Depot and pick up a few tools.



Our trip to Home Depot earlier today yielded some good results. We got ourselves a quick-release vise grip (or locking pliers) for $14 and a 10 inch Pipe Wrench for $11

The locking pliers turned out to be the best solution for turning the lock nuts because the locking mechanism makes it easier to use and maneuver in tight spaces.

The pipe wrench just fit the sink drain lock nut *whew*, we thought about getting the 14 inch one as it was only $1 more and would have more use because of its larger range but as it was so much heavier and we thought it would be more difficult to use.

Now, the sink is done, I'm so proud of hubby (and our teamwork)! I had expected him to give up anytime and I wouldn't blame him but hey, now that he's completed this, I wouldn't let him off easy next time since he proved that he can tackle these types of jobs. Total estimated cost was $64, including the new tools.

Next up, painting the bathroom.
I asked hubby to rate the difficulty of this project and he says it was fairly easy once we had the right tools =) I can't imagine why we we chose to live with a leaky faucet and a missing sink drain plug for a long time.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

House hunting

If you haven't heard already, we've been house-hunting for a while.

It hasn't been easy because we were working with very strict parameters:
- location - we didn't want to leave our current city
- at last X bedrooms
- at least 2.5 bathrooms - a half bathroom is a powder room, it has a toilet and a sink but no tub or shower.
- attached garage for at least 1 car - detached garages are common in older houses in our area
- open layout for the living areas
- good-sized kitchen with plenty of cabinets - we count 23 full sized cabinet doors in our kitchen plus a couple more small ones and 4 drawers. We figured that we needed something that comes close else we'd have a hard time finding storage for our kitchen stuff.
- cooking range has to be gas and not electric - this is hubby's requirement
- bedroom locations - at least 3 should be on the same level
- a good-sized backyard - big enough for Swe-cha to play in but small enough so hubby doesn't have a hard time mowing the grass.
- direction the house faces in - We're not supposed to get a north-facing house according to my mom
- enough closets

And these were the nice to haves:
- built ins (who doesn't like built-in shelves ?)
- covered patio or covered bbq area in the yard
- backyard that has a shady spot in the afternoon

To top it all off, we were also working within a limited budget.

And so, several months after I first made a call to the realtor, we are under contract*.

There are still a few items that we need to work out with the sellers and in fact, the entire process has made us feel like we're on a roller coaster. We would be on cloud nine one day and be planning our move and then the next day, we'd find ourselves consoling each other that it's okay if we lose this house, we don't need it anyway. I've been wanting to pack since our offer got accepted in July but I haven't started yet because it's been a month since that day and we're still going back and forth with additional stipulations.

I've been writing draft after draft about our house-hunting activities and chronicled most of the houses that we've seen. Obviously, they never made it to the final stages and never got published because, until now, there wasn't really anything to tell.

And *that*, my readers, is what's been keeping us extremely busy these days. While we're waiting to find out how this house purchase is going to pan out (will the sellers agree to our stipulations ?)... we've started getting the condo ready for sale. We won't put it up on the market until after we move but now is a good time to start getting the little things done - fix dripping faucets, window screens, fresh coat of paint, update the few remaining light switches and wall plugs that I didn't get to during the great DIY streak in April 2009 when we updated our powder room, painted the living room, fixed the wall behind our stove and updated electrical switches and plugs. We stopped when we found out we were expecting because elders told us that we weren't supposed to touch the house while we were pregnant and afterwards, taking care of a child doesn't really leave one much time to DIY stuff around the house. We still look back on that month of completed projects with fondness, I tell ya.

It would be good if we enjoyed our handywork before we leave.


* The different stages of buying a house are:
- making an offer - this is when you find a property that you like and make an offer
- attorney review - this is when the sellers accept your offer and attorneys from both sides (if you are working with one) sort out the sales contract
- under contract - this is when a final contract is signed and several things happen (see below). The contract can then be re-negotiated based on the results of these activities.
--- inspections and tests
--- appraisals
- closing day - this is when both parties complete the sale, the sellers get paid and the buyer becomes cash-strapped again. =)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Desperate Measures

I've been wanting to have my hair cut for the longest time but I just couldn't find the time.

Between us making an extra effort to bring Swe-cha out during the weekends and our house-hunting activities, plus the fact the my neighborhood suking salon closes by 6p on Saturdays and isn't open on Sundays - I could never find the time to go! As for weekdays, forget it as I'm always in a hurry to get from work to pick up Swe-cha from daycare.

Today, we kept Swe-cha home as he was having a very bad cough and didn't sleep well last night. Hubby stayed home with him so I didn't have to hurry home for daycare pickup. I dropped by a local restaurant to pick up dinner (takeout) and while it was being prepped, it dawned on me that Swe-cha's salon was just across the street! Desperate times call for desperate measures, I thought, so I went and took a peek, pointed to myself and asked, "do you do haircuts on adults ?" The girl nodded and I got my haircut.

There were 3 toddlers and 2 grade-schoolers having their hair cut around me and I didn't really care. All I felt was relief as the lady snipped off layer after layer of hair from my head. I felt very light and happy that I don't have to have my hair in a ponytail anymore - it was giving me a headache (the ponytail), I swear.

Yes, I sat on a regular salon chair as the airplane and the train seats were already occupied ;-)

I was well-behaved and did not cry - one toddler was bawling.

And, yes, they offered me a lollipop (after the lady saw me staring at the candy jar while paying my bill), I declined. They didn't have any stickers (I would have taken a sticker home with me if they had it).

Lastly, I watched cartoon channel while having my hair cut. It was fun.

The trim cost me $25 + tip which is much lower than the $50+tip I usually spend on my usual salon. Not bad at all.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

When all roads lead to this

No, this isn't a mushy post.

It's just that once again, my life is our lives are a testament that when you pray for something, you must be willing to wait before getting God's answer and when the time comes that you finally get the answer, you'll realize that everything - all the delays, rejections, and disappointments - all lead to the perfect ending.

I guess this post is sorta cryptic but things will be clear when you see what I'm talking about. I have this intense need to write/post something to record this moment as I will surely want to go back to this moment in the future to savor the feelings. Unfortunately, I do not feel that we're in a position to make an official announcement as we still have a long way to go before we get to the final stages.

But that (make the announcement) is something we'll definitely do... in time :)

Monday, July 15, 2013


If the old wives tale that having ants in your house = prosperity,... We ought to go shopping!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bissell Spot Cleaner

So for the longest time, about 6 months probably, we hogged A's deep cleaner. It tooks us a couple of weeks to deep clean the master bedroom, doing it sections at a time during the weekend, and a few more weeks deep cleaning the carpets in the 2nd bedroom. We spent more time cleaning the stairs.

Okay, here's where I get honest and fess up that when I say "we cleaned", it really means "hubby cleaned" around 98% of the time - he did the actual cleaning while I entertained Swe-cha elsewhere.

Unfortunately, we've been using the deep cleaner to suck up excess water that spills out of the washing machine - ugh! It's been a constant strain on us whenever we wash - are we going to get water or not ? By the time that we gave the deep cleaner back (thank you so much, A!), we had already purchased a shop vacuum. It was one of those small 2.5hp wet/dry vacuums that you keep in the garage. It stayed in our living room, still boxed, for weeks and it gave us the confidence to wash at home and that was good. The not-so-good part was that when we eventually opened it to try it out, it didn't work! It wouldn't turn on so we brought it back to the store.

A few days ago, Swe-cha soiled the carpet on a couple of steps again and that prompted us to get ourselves our own carpet cleaner. I had thought that we could hold out and not get one as we're planning to move houses anyway and we didn't want carpets in the new place. As it has been 6 months since we've started looking at houses and we're still here, it looks like we are here to stay... for a few more months, at least.


I finally gave in to hubby's prodding and ordered ourselves a Bissell Spot Cleaner - I was looking for the Little Green Cleaning Machine but looks like it is being phased out for this newer model.

I was able to get it at a good price so it wasn't all bad. SRP was 119.99, it was discounted at 99.99 and I had a 30% coupon on top of that - this is around double what we paid for the shop vac but since the latter didn't work, I don't feel bad about paying extra for a machine that's really more suited to what we need it for which is to clean up soiled carpeting and occasionally act as a wet vacuum to suck up spills.

Can't wait till it arrives.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Apt 9 Extra Low Cut Liners

For the longest time, I've been frustrated by the "no show liners/socks" that I have been. I've tried different brands, bought at different shops and nothing seemed to do what it was supposed to do - NOT SHOW.

See how the liners are peeking out in the front part of my shoe ? and check out the heel part. And these are suppoesd to be low-cut and extra-low-cut liners.

This afternoon, I had some extra time and decided to surf the net for recommendations. I was about to give in and shell out $33 for 4 pairs of Sheec Solehugger Secrets as they seemed to have the best reviews... but I couldn't find it in my heart to click "check out" because $33 was too expensive for 4 pairs of socks - and since I couldn't see / try them, I didn't even know if they were going to work!

And then... *drum roll please* while checking out Sheec reviews, I came across a thread where people were talking about liners that they wear with their ballet flats and someone recommended Kohl's Apt 9 brand.

I dropped by Kohl's after work and browsed through their selection. They have several variants - no show, low cut, extra low cut - and they have different sizes - size 4-8, size 9-12, one size fits all. I rummaged around and found 2 packs (3 pairs each) of the size 4-8 extra low cut liner socks in cotton. They were the last 2 packs in the store and the packaging was torn, I bought them anyway despite them being white - I wanted cream and/or black - but hey, if they don't show anyway, why should the color matter ?

I tried them as soon as I got home and voila! No show! They really were low cut and didn't show. I tried them with the pumps that I usually wear on "business casual attire" days and they didn't show up either.

These socks/liners retail for $12.50 for 3 pairs.

I got them for Buy 1 get 1 50% off. As I didn't have any coupons, I showed the cashier my MVC (Most Valuable Customer) credit card and she took another 15% off.

I paid around $15.xx for 6 pairs. This is way better than the $33 I was about to pay for 4 pairs earlier today.

I'm a happy camper :-)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

More cleaning

We threw away sacks of trash this weekend.

Hubby sorted out the boxes that started accumulating in the 2nd bedroom since we had the great flood and I sifted through folders and folders of documents that have accumulated since.. well.. since I gave birth to Swe-cha.

I finally got our docs organized into binders - health records, certificates, tax returns, coins (we collect coins), stamps (yes, we collect them too!) and Swe-cha's school records - and filed neatly in the filing cabinet.

We're both aching, sore and tired. I have long scratches across one arm (got them from the plastic folders).

Ang saya.

We're doing this not just because my family is coming for a visit... but we're also doing this as part of the cleanup effort for when we move (hep hep... no getting excited yet, we don't have a house yet... this is just to get things ready "just in case"). As friend E says, "wag na ilipat ang basura, pampabigat lang yan."

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today ended on a high note, we are finally *drumroll please* citizens of this wonderful country.

Not that we didn't have it good back in the motherland but we can't deny that this country has been very good to our family and have provided us with countless opportunities.

On an even higher note, remember all my angst about our immigration journey where it seemed like we were getting the worst schedules all the time ? Here's my post about our biometrics appointment and here's the one about our interview appointment.

The Saturday interview was a breeze. There were hardly any lines. The federal building seemed like a ghost town when we got there and there was only one other person on her way in with us. When we got upstairs to the waiting area, it was less than 1/3 filled. We got there at 11a for our 11:30a interviews. Hubby got interviewed at exactly 11:30, I didn't get called in until 12:45p. The last oath-taking ceremony for the day was at 1p and it got pushed back to 1:30p because they had to wait for us stragglers.

I had learned and practiced the national anthem the week before so I could *ehem* belt it out at the ceremony but I realized how off-key my singing was so I respectfully kept my voice low. ;) That morning, I teased hubby about crying when he finally takes the oath, he didn't (his immigration journey is actually the easiest!). Despite thinking that those who shed tears during the ceremony are overacting, I did find myself teary-eyed while watching the "Proud to be an American" video.

Okay...  I looked up "Proud to be an American" on Youtube just now and found myself teary-eyed again.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nutrisystem - Day 17

It's been 17 days, a little less than 3 weeks and the weight loss is at 6 lbs.

Yesterday, I fit into last year's jeans. Yay!

I'm keeping my goal simple - eat right and lose whatever weight I can. I'm not pushing for any big numbers. What pushed me to do this was the fact that my A1C showed that my blood sugar was at pre-diabetec levels.

When I started this program, I remember complaining about being hungry all the time. I still am, though probably not at those levels anymore. The best part is that I haven't been strictly adhering to Nutrisystem food so I never felt deprived. I bring my food to the office but if I see something good in the cafeteria, I buy lunch instead. The caveat is that my criteria for "good food" these days is fish and veggies and if the serving is big, I bring half home in a doggie bag.

Last night, I made pork chops. E I love these.... so I skipped the Nutrisystem meal and didn't have any rice. I just munched on the pork chops. Okay na rin.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Nutrisystem - day 6

My plan didn't include Nutrisystem meals during the weekends - that was how I wanted it and as we do eat out a lot, I didn't want to feel deprived. I also figured that it would be great if I could figure out how to eat on my own early on so I won't have any weight-gain issues (or have less of them) when I eventually leave the program.

As it turns out, my first "weekend on my own" was a bit rough but it went fairly well. I feel less hungry compared to when I'm in the office. I'm not really sure if it was because I was more relaxed and wasn't as stressed  - work always made me hungry!

We had our usual Vietnamese fare on Saturday lunch and instead of my usual 3pcs of summer rolls plus some rice and salmon casserole. I stopped at 2 pcs of summer rolls and didn't have rice w/ my salmon. Swe-cha, happily, had some salmon too! He loved it.

By dinner, I had the grilled Vietnamese porkchops with a bit of rice.

Sunday lunch was dimsum, my blood sugar went a bit high after this meal but I kinda knew it was going to happen as I still ate even after I wasn't hungry anymore. At least, this gives me an idea of when I should stop eating.

Sunday dinner was home-cooked beef salpicao with a small portion of brown rice.

The good news is that the weighing scale this morning tells me that I did not just maintain the few pounds that I lost in the earlier days but I lost another half pound !

I have never been obsessed with the weighing scale and couldn't understand why my Mom would keep weighing herself all the time. Ganito pala, it's fun to see your weight it the number is going down.

Total count: -3

Friday, May 24, 2013

Nutrisystem - day 2

Okaaay, it's day 2 and I have cheated on lunch 2 days in a row now. I hope this isn't an indication of how the rest of the program is going to be like for me. The good news is that even though I skipped my Nutrisystem lunch today, I was able to control my portions at lunch time again so it's not really so bad.

All this time, I was under the impression that I take a lot of liquids but it wasn't until I started counting my intake by the glass that I realize how much effort it is to remember to drink. I find myself having to make a conscious effort to drink water or tea all day long.

Let's not forget that a side effect of drinking a lot of water is the constant need to pee. I guess I can think of all the walking to/fro the bathroom I have to do as "exercise". This just isn't good timing these days as we're nearing the end of a project and "swamped" is an understatement.

hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nutrisystem - day 1

I officially started on Nutrisystem today and while it is only the afternoon and there's still several hours before my "today" officially ends, I think it went pretty well.

I had the Cinnamon Streusel Muffin and a chocolate shake around 8a. The muffin was just the right size and after downing the shake, I thought I was set till lunch. As it turns out, I was hungry by 10a. Thankfully, this program does have a mid-morning snack allocation anyway so I ate a service of yogurt and that lasted me till lunch.

At lunch time, officemates E and E wanted to eat out. I didn't want to disappoint them by depriving them of my company [ what an excuse for wanting to skip a packaged meal, no ? ] so I ditched my Nutrisystem chicken noodle soup and ate out with them. I figured, the key was not really to avoid eating out but rather to make sure that I controlled my portions. So instead of the usual 2-viand combo that comes with the 2 scoops of white rice that I usually order at our fave Pinoy place, I got 1 bowl of beef nilaga and had it with half a scoop of rice.  I was so proud of myself for sticking to the plan and leaving half of my rice untouched - I tried to tell the server to just give me half a scoop but she gave me a whole scoop... probably thought I was asking for half an order as their usual rice serving is 2 scoops.

By 4, I was hungry again and I forced myself to munch on an apple instead of the Cheetos that I really wanted. At this point, E passed by my cubby, pointed to my apple and asked, "kasama ba yan ?" Na-impress yata as he's probably never seen me eat fruit as a snack before.

The best part about today was that my postprandial blood sugar levels were at goal after both meals. Achievable pala, so long as I don't gorge myself on food all the time.

One thing that I still have to get used to is feeling hungry all the time. My tummy starts growling 2-3 hrs after a meal but as I said, the program does call for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. It also has a dessert allowance after dinner - I'll have mine halfway between dinner & bedtime tonight as I always have a problem falling asleep while hungry.

I dropped by the grocery today and came home with snack alternatives. I have apples, grapes, and also bought nuts - unsalted ones too!

Dinner was flame-broiled beef patty. It seemed dodgy at first because it was very light and the preparation called for pouring boiling water over it till you fill the tray and then leaving it in the water for 2 minutes. It turned out okay, not as good as fresh burgers but it was far from being cardboard (which was what I expected it to be). It was tasty, possibly has too much salt but I don't really care.

As I was prepping hubby's dinner of grilled short ribs, I decided to cook a bit more for my baon tomorrow since lunch calls for a serving of Power Fuel anyway. I sort of cheated a little and nibbled on the bones - I say "sort of" because did give hubby a taste of my beef patty so I'd consider it "even".  And yet again, postprandial blood sugar levels were at goal. Yay!


For those who are wondering, my top goal is to get control of my body and start living well. I do not want to be a diabetic if I can help it.

Wellness is my goal and weight loss is just a very welcome side effect.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


The good news is that we finally received our interview notices for our US citizenship application.

The bad news is that we're both scheduled for the same day AND our interview is on a SATURDAY.

Uh... where do we get childcare ?

The good news is that I emailed Swe-cha's daycare and was told that they can open on Saturday. I was asked what hours I need, I told them and haven't received a response yet.

I'm still waiting to hear back if they can accommodate us on that date. I'm hoping that the answer is a yes and that hopefully, the cost - which, understandably, will surely be higher than usual - will not be prohibitive.

I did some digging and seems like rescheduling your citizenship interview is very risky. Any rescheduling requests go into a manual drawer and they dedicate 2 days every month for that pile. I've read stories where people are able to reschedule their interviews w/no issues, I've heard stories of people who are still waiting for their new interview schedules 6 months later and there are some who get notified that they failed to appear for the interview so no more steps will be taken on their application (this means that the reschedule request was never received/processed by USCIS).

I'm still undecided on what to do. Hubby is still snoozing, catching up on sleep, so I haven't discussed it w/ him. Worst case scenario is that one of us will have to reschedule. I'm thinking it should be me because he has plans to file petitions for his family when he gets his citizenship so it's better if he gets his asap.

So while that's still under debate, I finally broke open the plastic wrap on my copy of the Naturalization Test reviewer. I didn't think I was going to start on this until after July because our application seems to be going on a really slow pace  when compared to our friend E's who only submitted his 2 weeks prior to us.

N-400 timeline
Mailed via USPS Expressmail - 3/12/2013
Priority Date - 3/15/2013
NOA received - 3/19/2013
Biometrics notice received - 4/1/2013
Biometrics scheduled for 4/16/2013
Interview notice received - 5/17/2013
Interview scheduled for - 6/15/2013

Friday, May 17, 2013


So my husband received a hand-addressed envelope in the mail and inside was a newspaper clipping with a post-it stuck to it.

The message on the post-it was addressed to my husband and it said "Thought you'd be interested!" and was signed Jay.

We kept thinking and came up with 2 people we know who were named Jay. But then, these people always called my husband by his nickname and not his first name so that was a giveaway.

The envelope had no return address in the front but had a printed address at the back flap and upon googling that address, hubby found out that it was actually a professional car marketing firm.


It almost worked. ;)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Green Home Cleaners

I spent 2+ hours last night on my hands and knees, feeling like Cinderella.

You see, we have Italian tiles covering our entire 1st floor and they used to look really nice and inviting. Of course, over the years, dirt tended to accumulate in between the tiles and resulted in icky, black grout.

Kitchen cleaners do not really work. I wanted to try bleach but we have colored grout that match the tiles so bleach might ruin the color. I didn't really know what to do until someone shared a DIY grout cleaner recipe on Facebook - oo! may silbi pala ang pag share sa FB!

You make a mixture of 50% hot water, 50% vinegar and mix in enough baking soda to make a paste - careful with the baking soda, it will react and bubble when you first put it in the mixture so make sure you're doing this near a sink or in a large container. You slather the paste over the dirty grout, let it stay for 5 minutes or so and then you scrub scrub scrub with a brush that has stiff bristles. I made the mistake of using an old toothbrush and the toothbrush was too soft for the tough job that I was asking it to do.

Without much ado, here's the before and after (see image below), can you distinguish between the area that I've already cleaned and the area I haven't touched ?

and if you're still not convinced, check out these before and after shots:

I've only done half of the kitchen. Nakaka-depress when I think that our 1st floor 3x more the size of the kitchen and I have to do it again ? fortunately, I examined the other areas and found most to be okay. High-traffic lang kasi sa kitchen and tends to have more spills / dirt than other areas of the house.

I got inspired by this and when Swe-cha woke up crying in the middle of the night (not sure if he had a nightmare or if he had gas) and wanted to go down, I decided to clean some more after he calmed down.

This time, I tackled the tile surfaces in the hallway & dining area - they were so dirty, mostly food stains from spills that couldn't be cleaned up by water and some were just dirt tracked in from the recent rain. from all the food spills I mixed up a batch of home-made cleaner ( 50% hot water + 50% vinegar ) and put it in a spray bottle. I sprayed the mixture on the floor and wiped it dry with a paper towel - ang linis! And the best part ? No strong smells nor any sticky residue afterwards. We normally use all purpose cleaners to wipe down the floors but they always had a strong lysol-y or bleach-y smell so we didn't want to do it while swe-cha was awake. This DIY-green-home cleaner just leaves a faint vinegar smell when you spray it but that fades away soon after.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Self Control

... or my lack thereof.

For close to 3 weeks now, I've been sneaking over to McDonald's on my way to pick up Swe-cha from the daycare and indulging on their Oreo McFlurry.

I don't always weigh myself but since I've been doing that, I've purposely avoided the scale. But extra pounds do have a way of making themselves known and in my case, I've been feeling my clothes getting tighter.

Come Monday, I'm starting on a diet regimen. Will start watching my food intake - not really lessen as I've lessened the food that I eat since last year - but I vow to make smarter food choices. Those afternoon McFlurries are really to address the fact that I'm hungry. Yes, I could've munched on crackers but I obviously have the self-control of a flea (no insults intended for fleas).

Let's see how this goes.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Absentee Voting

Well, look whose ballot came in the mail ?

Looks like we're going to get to perform our civic duty this year :)


A friend's infant daughter passed away last Friday. We had just heard about the baby being hospitalized one day and then she was gone within 2 days. The entire thing seems to have gone by in a flash but I'm sure it must have seemed excruciatingly long for the parents.

The whole thing is just tragic.

I want to say that I'm feeling sad about the whole thing but, really, 'sad' is such an underestimation of how I feel. I am depressed.

This also made me feel so paranoid about my own child. Yesterday morning, Swe-cha spiked a fever and I immediately brought him to the pediatrician to be checked out despite their SOP being to observe for 24 hours first. As it turns out, there wasn't anything to see yet - no other symptoms other than the fever - so we were sent home with instructions to observe him and bring him back if he gets worse or gets other symptoms. I normally would've felt a little bad about the wasted co-pay, but hey, I'm not complaining anymore. It was worth our peace-of-mind since Swe-cha's fever spiked up even more in the afternoon.

Anyway, am just praying for the the baby's spirit and for the comfort and well-being of my friend's family. If you happen to read this, please send a little prayer their way too. Thanks!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rinse Cup Method

Our building's hot water heater broke down this evening.

Unfortunately, even though it is already spring, our days are still cold and chilly. The water that comes out of the faucet is ice-cold. We decided to take baths the old-fashioned way.

We partially filled some pails with water and started boiling water in the kettle. When the water was boiling, we poured it into one pail and that was when we realized that the faucet-water was so cold that we needed more hot water to get it warm enough to take a bath. The ratio we needed was around 60-50, 60 being the boiling water.

We brought out the big pots and started heating water... by 10p, we were able to give Swe-cha a bath. He was tired by then and fell asleep almost immediately after he got out of the bath. We took turns taking a bath, tabo-style or rather,  rinse-cup style, since we're in the US ;)

The bldg superintendent assured me that he'd get this up and running by 8 tomorrow morning. I sorta doubt that but I just hope that we have hot water when we get home in the evening.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The best laid plans...

... of mice and men
often go awry.

So after hemming and hawing for weeks, we decided to send our N-400s last March 13 in a single mail envelope (we placed each application in a separate manila folder inside the USPS Express Mail envelope). Our goal was to try and get biometrics & interview schedules for the same day.

Finally received our fingerprint notices today and we did get our wish. Hubby and I are scheduled to go on the same day.

Unfortunately, our schedule is set for 8am. Now, THAT, I did not plan for. I never read this (and by this, I mean childcare) in any of the forums I read before deciding to try for identical schedules.

The good news is that Swe-cha's school is on Spring Recess that week so he'll be attending daycare and daycare opens 7am. He need not be absent from school that day. The not-so-good-news is that in order to make it to the biometrics center by 8a, we'd have to drop Swe-cha off at daycare by 7a - we'd have to be up & prepping him up by 6a.

Poor baby.

So there you go. For those of you thinking that it's such a great idea to have the same interview & fingerprinting schedule ? It only is if you don't have to worry about school or child care.

N-400 timeline
Mailed via USPS Expressmail - 3/12/2013
Priority Date - 3/15/2013
NOA received - 3/19/2013
Biometrics notice received - 4/1/2013
Biometrics scheduled for 4/16/2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


After a month-long process of filling up the official forms, followed by an endless cycle of editing & printing out final drafts, we decided that we've done all that we can and finally mailed in our N-400 forms. There was really no sense in putting it off any longer.

This post is to remember filing dates / timeline for future reference:
Mailed via ExpressMail - 3/12/2013


Aside from wanting to make sure that we get the forms right, one of the factors that made me feel better about holding off on mailing the forms in was the hefty fee. I wasn't really sure if we have the 2 x $680 to spare this month as I am expecting a bigger-than-usual credit card bill this month. Last night, we were able to find the funds when I realized that we have not submitted our dependent care FSA reimbursement this year yet - I quickly did that last night.

I should also take the time to finalize and file our taxes for 2012, the refund will surely give us some breathing room.


and for my gratitude post of the day, I'm thankful:

- that we were able to complete our N-400 requirements & send them in

- that we were able to come up w/ the fees

- that we finally have nice weather, no rain & temperatures in the high 40s-50s (oo, nice yan).

- that when I dropped by our fave Japanese restaurant for our regular rice soup supply (lugaw) for Swe-cha, they told me that they are almost out and don't have enough for our usual order... so they just gave me everything they had for free and it came to around 3/4 of a large container.

- that I was able to get a FREE Starbucks fix today using a free Tall Macchiatto coupon

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Gratitude Journal

I've been wanting to start a gratitude journal for a long time but never really got around to starting one.

Tonight, I found some time for myself and decided that I can spend a few minutes writing down things I'm thankful for...

- That we're in a good place in our lives now - we're both employed and Swe-cha goes to a good school

- That Achi is safe despite having an accident with a truck yesterday morning.

- That Swe-cha is responding to us when we talk to him now so I'm able to teach him stuff.

- That Swe-cha is starting to eat rice (slathered in sauce) now.

- That I was able to do my errands this morning - dropped off some gifts at a friend's house, mailed a gift for my inaanak, pickup a package from the post office, get groceries from 2 different stores - all because my appointment at the dentist was unexpectedly quick and even though I got there late for my 10a appointment, I got there and signed in half-a-minute ahead of a big group of patients.

- That this same time last year, I cannot imagine myself having the time to watch tv. Now, I'm listening to TV while I'm blogging.

Jologs mode - Amaya

Accidentally found a site that streams Pinoy tv and I've been enjoying myself watching Amaya.

I found the delivery of some of the actors/actresses very stiff at times. I'm not a great Filipino speaker but their delivery would sometimes sound very forced and I noticed them pausing at weird spots in a sentence such as, "nagpakita siya ng gilas na nagpapakitang karapat dapat siya maging kasali.... [3 seconds] ... sa ating kasamahan." As if the last few words were forgotten and then suddenly remembered... Heehee.

Nitpicking aside, enjoy ako. I'm so jologs.

Avocado Shake

Saw some avocados in our local market and had a craving. I only wanted to eat 1 ( I like to eat fresh, ripe avocados as-is ) but decided to buy a few more to make avocado shake for hubby.

While choosing, I discovered that avocados are kinda expensive, $0.99 for 1 small piece! Not knowing how much is needed to make a glass of avocado shake and thinking that this is expensive, I only bought 3 pcs and a small can of evaporated milk (probably around 4 oz).

Tonight, I ate half an avocado and used 1.5 for make a shake. Had to add more water than usual but I've kinda gotten the hang of it. Masarap. Hubby liked it and Swe-cha seemed to like it too. I think I might buy some vanilla ice cream tomorrow and use it with the milk. This way, the shake will be cold. Swe-cha might drink more too if I make it less thick than tonight's.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kong Hei Fat Choi 2013

Happy (Lunar/Chinese) New Year!

As keeping with tradition, preparations are last-minute in our household again (what else is new ?). Snowstorm Nemo threw a wrench in our plans when we found out that our usual kiddie-salon was closed for the day and we decided to just bring Swe-cha to my salon. It turned out 50/50. The back part of his hair turned out nicer than usual while his bangs were cut straight in a  Lego/Moe (three stooges) style.

We brought Swe-cha home immediately after his haircut and gave him a bath and while he was having lunch, I snuck out and got a haircut for myself. Hubby, unfortunately, was not able to get a haircut because he napped instead. Worried, we decided to check why we're not supposed to get haircuts after the new year and when we can, it turns out that by tradition (superstition), you can get haircuts on the 2nd day of the 2nd lunar month.

Hubby says that he can make it another month w/o a haircut while I, on the other hand, was skeptical. So I asked what the consequence was and according to that article that we read, if you have a haircut during the 1st lunar month, a maternal uncle will die. AY SOS! Yun lang naman pala. Lusot na lusot because MIL is an only child kaya walang maternal uncle si hubby. So ayan, no pressure na.

I dropped by the neighborhood Chinese takeout place for some lunch and got into a nice conversation w/ the owner. Now, we don't usually buy from them but we got to know them because my parents order from them a lot whenever they're around. We also used to see them every day whenever I pick Swe-cha back when he was still attending the school beside the take-out place.

Anyway, the owner was prepping some nian-gao [translation: tikoy] (Chinese New year cake made from sticky rice) and gave me some to taste. I told her that I have not eaten it in a long long time and when I explained how it's called Tikoy in the Philippines and how everybody would eat Tikoy, even Filipinos, during the new year season... she gave me the entire batch that she cooked and also gave me a small block of uncooked tikoy to bring home. Free. Ambait, no ? It's also good marketing because now, I feel the need to go back and order from them the next time we want takeout food.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dear God

"Dear God, Please make my Ah-I's worries go away" - overheard from my 8 year old nephew's prayers.


From Swe-cha's classmate in daycare:

"S talks in daycare now, he says "uh oh" to himself. But he doesn't talk to me!"

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Flooding Aftermath 2 - Repairs

We booked our favorite handyman, Jeff (Nice Guy Handyman), for the repair job this weekend.

He started with the ceiling and cut off the parts that were damaged, repaired it & spackled. I'm sure I took pictures of the damages in the ceiling but I cannot find them now, will update this blog if I do come across them later.

While he was here to repair our entire 1st floor ceiling, we decided to also ask him to just fix the following in addition:

- hole in the wall under our window, this wall has been open since 2010. We were supposed to fix it ourselves but I figured that since it's been 2 years and we haven't gotten around to it yet, it was better to just pay to have it fixed.

- In 2009, I started replacing our old-style switches with decora style switches. Unfortunately, I also discovered that one of the 3-switches on one wall wasn't really done correctly. Instead of installing a 3-switch box in the wall, they installed a 2-switch box side by side with a single switch box. The result was that the spacing of the switches never fit quite right, their "fix" was not to screw in  the last switch to the wall, it was just left floating and was supported by the first two switches. Jeff dug up the old switch boxes and replaced it with a correct one (3-switch box). Among the repairs that was done this weekend, hubby thinks this is the most sulit because it was hard to do & he feels that we wouldn't even be able to do it ourselves.

- If you've been following my blog for a while, you would've seen references to my red wall a few times. In Jan 2012, a pipe burst and the superintendent had to cut a hole in the wall and ceiling to fix it. He later patched this up and spackled it, the actual fix was covered by the association but they refused to repaint the wall / ceiling. Super says that per our condo's rules, they will only cover the repainting if it was painted recently and since this was done over 5 years ago, it wasn't covered anymore (unfair, right ?).

So for the longest time, we had this huge patch of white on our red wall & ceiling. We still had leftover paint from when I first painted the red wall but since it was a dark colored, the white patch had to be primed first before we can paint. Needless to say, we never got around to it and it was an eyesore.

Today, we decided (at the last minute) to just have the entire wall painted to match the rest of the room (color: Gobi desert) since we had enough leftover paint anyway. Sulit rin.

By the end of the day, I felt so bad for Jeff. He was supposed to do this job in 3 installments with the following time estimates:
day 1: 2 hrs
day 2: 2 hrs
day 3: 4 hrs

But he decided to combine days 2 and 3 together - not sure if this was suggested by him or hubby when they talked about schedules last night. It works out well for us that he completed the job today because we only have to clean up - the house is so dusty from all the sanding - and only have to endure the paint fumes once (it's not so bad, really). On his end, he did say something about next week being Superbowl Sunday so I'm pretty sure he would not want to work that weekend either.

By the time he was replacing the wonky mechanism that controls the tub drain in our 2nd bathroom, I asked him if he was still okay. "I want to take a bath right here, right now... but if I do that, I'll fall asleep and won't be able to get up anymore," he said.

Poor guy... and then I remembered how much we were paying him for this job and I didn't feel so bad for him anymore.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Flooding Aftermath 1

We don't really have any pictures of the actual flooding while it was happening - we were too busy doing damage control and by the time we were done, taking pictures was the last thing on our minds.... It was bad though, pics or no pics, trust me.

After the water was sucked out by the big-a$$ wet vacuum machines (hubby spent a few hours using the one we borrowed from the B family and later, the restoration company came over with their own and sucked out more water. Our home insurance sent the restoration company, Paul Davis Restoration Company of North & Passaic Counties.

These were left running at home for 3 days (24hrs x 3 days) to dry out our house. These ones were downstairs - a 200 HT dehunmidifer, and 4 centrifugal fans (only 3 were in the picture). The fans were pointed towards the ceiling. Paul Davis staff would come over every day to inspect the drywall & check for moisture & they would reposition the machines as needed.

Meanwhile, the following were left to dry our master bedroom: another dehumidifier and 3 more fans (only 2 in the pic).


When these babies are all running, we can barely hear each other talk. Also, we had our central heating turned off and while temperatures were in the arctic zones outside (10-20 degrees Celsius), we were 80+ degrees inside the house - we were sweating and had to crank open a window or two for short periods of time!

These ran from Monday 1/21 and were finally taken out on Thursday 1/24 when the Paul Davis team declared our home dry.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Flood Update

I called up Mom, Dad & Big Sis to tell them what happened and the first thing they say is "insurance ?"

*knocks head on wall* It did not even enter my mind.

I called up our home insurance company and they quickly processed my claim & sent our info over to a restoration company. Said company got in touch w/ me today but said they need permission from the management company of our bldg before they can come due to possible noise. When asked what they're going to be doing, I'm told that they're going to have huge vacuums to suck water out, fans to dry stuff and possibly demolition work to check the ceilings.


They're coming tomorrow at 9a. I don't have work (fortunately) and hubby is staying home from work.

Would like to thank the P family for the suggestions and the B family for lending us their industrial wet-dry vacuum.

Would also like to thank swe-cha for being cooperative and behaving well while Mommy and Daddy are frantically running around doing damage control. Would also like to commend him for not touching the buckets we placed in his play area to catch the water dripping down through the air vents.

Paminsan-minsan lang mag cooperate itong batang ito, buti good timing at di siya nakisabay sa baha.


We've replaced almost all of our major appliances in the last 2 years.

- windows in 2010
- central AC in 2011
- washing machine in 2012
- dishwasher in 2012

Our refrigerator is fairly new since I bought it new when I moved in to this place.

When we replaced the dishwasher, hubby commented, "o, ayan, ano na ang next na masisira ?" I shushed him and asked him not to jinx us.

As it turns out, we were sitting down for dinner this evening when hubby heard what sounded like the pitter patter of rain. Now our dining room is located in the 2nd floor and our bedrooms are upstairs so we shouldn't be hearing rain this close. He rushed upstairs and found our washer running water continuously.

[curse words]

Our wall to wall carpeting upstairs is soaking wet and will have to be replaced, I'm sure. And while we're soaking up the excess water, hubby is wondering aloud about our ceiling downstairs - do we have to replace it ?

"Pwede ba ? Let's deal with this one at a time."

We started searching (frantically) for a place to rent a wet/dry vacuum. Maski purchase sige na.  Unfortunately, this happened at 8:15p, stores closed at 8p.

[more curse words]

The good thing that I see here is that I suddenly lost my appetite. Okay pala to sa nag di diet.

Oh, and we did find a friend who has a wet/dry vacuum and hopefully, it's an industrial one. Hubby's on his way there to borrow.

It just hit me that we happily escaped Hurricane Sandy's reach, only to succumb to a washing machine.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Working Mom

Today has got to be one of the most hectic days of my life.

Swe-cha started school this year and his bus service has not been set up yet, we are still waiting for the school district to enter his information into their computer system before the transportation department can go ahead and process his service request.

Work-wise, my Thursdays are usually full because I have to attend two team meetings wherein everybody reports their current "hot" activities so the meetings tend to drag on. Worse, both meetings coincided with Swe-cha's school drop off and pick up times. And worst, I had another meeting to attend in the afternoon. So what was a mom to do ? I attended conference calls in the car, while picking up, driving and dropping my son off to & from school and daycare. *whew*

Feel na feel ko ang pagiging working mom.  I am so exhausted.

On a happy note, hubby just walked in the door with my favorite Pork Carnita Quesadillas from Baja Fresh, I have not had these in years.