Life in Roxas City

Retired & Raising my son in Roxas City


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What was that? Oh 2016

It’s a plane, a jet, a bolt of lightening, a chicken with his tail feathers on fire, superman….no it was 2016.

What a blurr. A year so much anticipated, so longed and planned for went by like a rocket.

After having my son Reez five years ago this month fours years ago we move to one of the seven thousand one hundred and seven island of the Philippines. Eight thousand miles from my loving family and old stomping grounds. What an experience and adjustments it has been.

As I mentioned at the onset this was to be a year of milestones. As with all milestones they are anticipated, looked forward to and savored. However there is a saying ” time flys when you are having a good time” and this is exactly what happened to 2106.

First on my list of milestones would be mine and Eden’s ten year wedding anniversary celebrated on May 24. First I must regress a few months then jump forward. During the springtime in America and the summertime in the Philippines (same bat time different bat place) plans were conceived to travel home to have a long overdue visit with family. However the Philippines being what it is decided Eden and Reez could not travel outside the country with paying a hefty fine unless they processed a fifty dollar (2500 php) dual citizenship application even though Eden was born here and Reez has a Philippine passport. But that is a story for another day. Therefore our stateside trip would be delayed six weeks and I would miss the cool springtime weather I so craved.

Back tracking to our ten year anniversary. Now the plan was to have Reez stay with his sweet aunts thus giving Eden and I our first nice dinner and movie together since December 16, 2011 Reez’s birthday. Yes you read that correctly not one night out together since his birth. However there is another saying ” the well laid plans of mice and men”. Because of the aformentioned immigration debacle we could not be stateside on our tenth anniversary.

You may be wondering how did the much celebrated and anticipated anniversary get celebrated. And behind door number three…..38000 feet above the pacific ocean eating a wonderful meal provided by Korean Airlines! Yes again you read correctly. Although not gourmet and childless we did enjoy the meal as Korean Airlines food is a standard above most others and there is also a bottomless glass of wine and if I remember correctly Reez slept through the celebration meal. Maybe our twelfth will work out!

I am now assuming that the next great anticipated and planned adventure is obvious. Yes our first trip home since we changed continents three and one half years ago. In reality it was a unexpected trip and given by an angel. You know who you are…THANK YOU.

Reez was looking forward to the trip state side very much wanting to see his sisters, aunts and uncle. We both had the same sentiment and I included many foods that I missed terribly. The lack of steak, cheeseburgers and milkshakes must have stagnated my memory. Upon arriving at our local two flight per day airport down the street from from our house I discovered my incessant checking and planning has failed me. I forgot Eden’s passport. The flight was bordering in fourty-five minutes! However due to home being close, a fast trike driver and extremely slow counter personal all turned out well. The flight to Manila was a quick fourty-five minutes and Reez enjoyed the window seat.

Everything went smoothly in Manila and after a McDonald’s breakfast we were off to Incheon, Korea. Incheon is one of the most fantastic airports in the world. The two hours past quickly and we were on board and off to Seattle. Although our destination  was Florida we opted to fly to Seattle for two reasons. The last leg of our trip was ten days in Seattle with Jamie, Davids and kids. In addition after a ten hour flight across the Pacific a night of sleep before flying across the states really helped with the jet lag. And an added surprise was an Ihop in the parking lot.

Upon arriving back to the room we discovered that our one of a kind, never seen another one suitcase was not ours. Now what are the chances that you own and travel with a suitcase for years, never to lay eyes on its brother and on a flight from Korea to Seattle its duplicate would not only be on your flight but be mistaken by you know who? Needless to say once the discovery was made and the trip back to the airport was accomplished the much needed match containing all my asawa’s wardrobe for the vacation was locked away unattainable until after our departing flight early the next morning. But all ends well as the airline forwarded the closet of much needed clothes within thirty-six hours.

What a wonderful reunion was had at the airport. Hugs, kisses, smiles all around. Even Woody of ” Toy Story ” fame was there much to the delight of a four year old.

Thus started a wonderful whirlwind of reunions, dinners, movies, late night visits and chats. How wonderful to reconnect with loved ones that you truly miss and appreciate. Of course woven between the fun would be much needed maintance on loved ones homes. What a pleasure I receive from  performing these chores.

After many weeks it was time for another side trip to Alabama and Georgia to visit kids, grandkids and my baby brother (well not so baby anymore). How great to see my awesome grandkids. They will certainly be the most missed of all things while I am in the Philippines.  I am so proud of each one of them and was amazed at their growth and maturity level after more than three years. I Love You Savannah, Leah, Tristan, Marley, Kaileb.

What a joy to see my daughters. While the miles and years always separate parents and their children they still each hold a distinct and special place in my heart. They all have their strengths and weaknesses as we all do but I am proud of them and Love them with all my heart.

Wow Savannah. We arrived driving head on into a tropical storm while the city seemed to be fleeing the opposite way. But not a problem for these Southeastern Pacific typhoon inhabitants. Wonderful hospitality was experienced from both Jim and Mari and the city of Savannah. We throughly enjoyed our time spent with family and Jackson. Reez even tackled and conquered his fear of climbing steps next to the Savannah river. Thank you Jim.

We had a great road trip returning to Florida with Reez excited to see Sally. We had turkey, piźza and fish singang. We swam, we had picnics on the lawn, we finger or body painted and visited again and again. Then like an unwanted typhoon it was time to move on. Tears and heavy hearts were had by all. Then another flight.

Our long awaited arrival back in Seattle has come. I was overjoyed to be welcomed by Jamie, David and kids. The many years apart had been hard on me as not only are they family but also Brothers and Sister serving the true God Jehovah.

The years apart had grown to seven as Alaska was along way from Alabama and families are so busy with the chores of life. But alas no more. A great time was had reconnecting and bonding. Especially for me was the pleasure of being a grand dad. Playing basketball, taking walks, cooking and eating with Bailey, Devin and Gavin. My how I love those kids.

The highlight was attending the 2016 Regional Convention with my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids. How wonderful to worship together as God intended. Thank you.

Reez enjoyed Seattle to the point he did not want to leave. He really connected with Devin and Gavin. I did not want to leave either. What a wonderful time. It was obvious I did not want to leave as among the teary goodbyes the passports and ticket were left behind as we made our way to the airport. Thankfully Jamie saw the left behind gold and made a bullet run to the airport.

Alright now if you are counting …forgotten passport, wrong luggage and forgotten travel documents and tickets. Should I travel?

Our flight home was uneventful and a pleasure on Korean Airlines our preferred airline. What a pleasure to come home to a clean home…Salamat Abel and Cynthia. Even my wife’s babies survived.

The next highlight of the year appeared in my life so fast and always was unexpected. My son carrying the family name onward started school. It may only be kindergarten  but this was a big deal. He was so excited and we were so anxious. Having missed the first three weeks of school due to our delayed trip stateside Reez’s teacher took him under her wing and schooled him one on one in the afternoons to catch him up with the class. I am so proud of my smart little boy in eight days he was caught up with the class. He was so excited to join his classmates in the mornings. He has done wonderful. Numerous awards have already been received and the joys of school continue.

So here we are the year has ended and it has been a blurr. The first half packed full of anticipation and successful events and the second half involving school, dodging typhoons and school. However there is one more memorable event. The U.S. government has the pleasure now of repaying the funds I have been loaning them for fourty years. Finally offical retirement!

Reez has turned five and is such a joy. We look forward to a simple year. But look out 2018!


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Thank you Jim

A lifelong friend reminded me just recently of my longtime absence from the blogging world. I have excuses and no reasons. Therefore I will beg forgiveness and attempt to make amends during 2016.

Life moves at light speed (not a reference to Star Wars) when you are having fun. As this year ends I realize the many milestones that have occurred. My marriage to my best friend is fast approaching the 10 year mark. My one and only son just turned 4. My baby girl is now 27 years old. My first granddaughter is about to hit her 20th. Topping off the milestones is the fact this is the year I can finally ask the US government to pay back the money I have loaned them for the majority of my life. Hopefully they will reimburse me before my demise.

I was on a roll with this post mentally speaking anyway and then life happened a.k.a. my four year old. Therefore as I continue with this 10 hours later the mind has slowed down again.

However I will say that today is a happy day. We were invited to a very nice authentic Italian buffet courtesy of our friend and weekly baker. The topping on the cake however has been Alabama’s trouncing of Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. National Championship here we come.

With all of this in mind as the new year starts I will put my mind in gear, become creative once again and write.

 

Thank you Jim.

 

 


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What can I say about my son? (Part Three) Toddlers steal your time! NOT

Reez I will blame it all on you. It is your fault. You are the reason it has been 16 months since my last entry in my series What Can I Say About My Son. Ok not really. So much has happened son since that June 2013 article. But I can rightly blame some of it on you because you are high maintenance as all toddlers are I suppose (to be explained later).

When we left off I had just finished writing about your mom and what a great mommy she was. Well I can declare until this day she is still a great mommy. All is well in that department and I am sure she will be the topic of future updates.

Back to the excuses for my absence in this series. First and foremost the biggest was our home building project here in Roxas City. If my memory serves me correct we were about 60 days into a 169 day project. I am sorry son but being the general contractor, supply cordinator, purchaser and problem solver kept me rather busy and unable to write very much (excpet my chronicles of the building process).  Finally the time came and we were able to move into our new home on 10 Oct 2013. Needless to say there were finishing and furniture issues to resolve. Then we had to just settle in. Learn how to live in our new house and get a good routine down as it was very different from apartment living. That went along just fine. The time arrived for the first entry in this series to be written in our new home.

But…28 days after moving you into your new home the worst Typhoon to make landfall since record keeping began made a direct hit on your new home. What a mess. The list was long but not to dwell on it we had to change our way of living again as we went without power and other utilities for 47 plus days. Then there were the repairs to make. Let’s not forget coming out of shell shock from the storm itself.

Once this was complete I became aware of the large need of our brothers and sisters in faith. The Branch Headquarters set up a relief effort. Here on Panay Island that included financial assistance to approx 1200 families and the rebuilding of 218 homes completely destroyed during the storm. With my RBC and construction backgroud and able and willing spirit I dove into the work. Finally after many months of hot but satisfying work with the help of hundreds of volunteers, many from around the world, we finished the 218 homes the end of June 2014. I was happy but tired.

It was certainly time to rest. Time to spend more time with you. Time for your mom to visit her parents and host them here in our home. Of course as with home ownership a few more time consuming projects popped up and stole more time.

So here we are. One year since we moved into our new home. Eleven months since Typhoon Yolonda. Three months since the rebuilding work finished.

Now it is your time!

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47 Days in the Hole

Humble Pie it ain’t! However I certainly thought of the song many times during our 47 day run without the modern convenience  of electricity. In truth I never expected to wait 47 days for the supply to return as the city of Roxas was lit up within 14 days of bad girl Yolanda visiting. After all we do live in the beach community which is the small tourist attraction for our small city. But this is the Philippines.

Living without the convenience of power with a 2 year old can be a large challenge. Personally I had no problem with it other than the “after the storm heat” could not be lessened with the aid of air conditioning or the cool breeze of a fan. I rather enjoyed the candle lit nights and the quiet days of no television or blaring music from the beach front.

The  quiet of the day other than Reez running the floors and directing our activites (lol) was quickly interupted by the sound of generators powering the tools need for rebuilding and the load roar of chain saws slicing and dicing trees both to clear roads, pathways and to create wood planks for rebuilding homes. Most of the residents of our small community disengaged their generators about 9 pm as the expense of fueling them was quite high. Some however chose to run them all night to power their air conditioners and the distant hum of the generator would be heard until early morning. We only ran ours from 6-9 pm to give us light to conduct our nightly activities and to provide Reez with a fan while he fell asleep.

As time marched on many things became apparant. We were certainly tiring of the lack of convenience that the hum of current can provide. Our new stove that we had the pleasure of cooking on for 28 days is ignited with electricity therefore it was back to the gas burners located on the outside kitchen. Eden missed her washing machine the most aside from the air conditioning which we sleep with at night. I helped as much as possible and I will attest washing, rinsing and drying clothes by hand is not for the weak. My hat goes off to her more than once. Even though during the summer time we enjoyed cool showers sometimes many times a day we had become accustom to a warm/hot shower at night before bed during our brief 28 day experience in our new house before Yolonda visited. Again we had to adjust to cold showers before bed. My ever resourceful wife however solved the problem with a 35 gallon plastic trash bin and hot water boiled on the gas stove. What a pleasure that was at the end of a hot primitive day.

In addition one of the most grueling events we had to endure was hearing that all our friends and nearby neighborhoods being lit up yet we sat dark. Finally after nearly 4 weeks I started to inquire with the electric co-op as to the reason we had been bypassed. I was informed that we are a private entity and that we owned all equipment in the sub division. After checking with the owners and homeowners assoc I found out that we donated all exisiting poles, wiring and transformers to the electric co-op over 4 years ago. In fact they had replaced many poles and wires after Frank 4 years ago. As it turns out the graft and corruption of the Philippines even extends to the electiric co-op. They wanted money under the table to do the work therefore we hired outside men to do the work. Sad to say if the communication between the owners, the homeowners and the electric co-op would have been open we would not have had to wait until the 4th week to start 2 weeks of work. This is a great example of the people’s complacent nature. They are so accustom to being exploited and taken advantage of that the entire population sat in the dark and made no attempts to resolve the situation waiting for it to fix itself.

Thus on December 23 at 9pm in the evening, 47 days after Yolanda visited us and stole our normal way of life we had power. This update has been a long time coming as the work of rebuilding has consumed us since the power returned. So we are pleased to announce that last week, almost 3 months after that windy day we were reconnected to our landline providing hi-speed internet and cable tv. I can say Reez is very happy…lol.

The rebuilding work I mentioned is a volunteer effort to rebuild hundreds of homes and shelter for those who lost everything in the storm. Blog entries and pictures are forth coming.

So is live in Roxas City.


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One Bad Girl!

Where do I start?

Thank you Jehovah for protecting my family from this most wicked tempest. YOU heard our prayers. We are please that we listened to YOU and put our complete trust in YOU.

I never thought I would meet a girl as mean and powerful as Yolonda. I have known a Yolonda for many years and she is nice and sweet. However this bad girl named Yolonda that I met earlier this month was different. She wrecked havoc on anybody and anything in her path. The three little piggies would not have stood a chance against this bad fox. She huffed and puffed until it was all knocked down. When she spat at you there was no avenue of escape.

My encounter with Yolonda was not by surprise. I knew she was coming for about a week. It kinda reminded me of a similar encounter I had with a dude named Ivan many years ago. I was watching her travel schedule but quite often plans change. But I had this feeling long before she visited that she was coming straight to us just as Ivan years ago. It turned out that my gut was correct. She first visited the eastern Visayas and caused complete destruction. She knocked everything down in her path and took over 7500 lives at last count. She took many of our brothers and sisters including a complete Kingdom Hall where many were taking refuge from her fury. So many sad outcomes due to her anger. We will miss those friends and look forward to seeing them in paradise due to the hope of the resurrection.

Our story gets started the night before she visited. We boarded up our sliding glass door on the house we had only lived in for twenty seven days and tied everything else down or moved it inside. We watched the track closely but  I knew in my gut we were going to be on the northeast side when she came a knocking. Not good. We were prepared with a ten day supply of water, food and candles knowing we would loose power for a while. However sleep was not my friend that night as I waited for her to visit. Therefore when day broke I decided to find what material I could and board up the entire house. The winds picked up to around fifty miles per hour with eighty miles per hour gusts about ten a.m. my brother in law and I finished. He headed home after we made the decision to say home rather that go in town to a hotel. We ate a quick light breakfast as the winds started to howl.

About eleven thirty the windows started rattling when the big gusts would come through so we decided it was time to camp out in the comfort room in our bedroom. We took Reez’s milk, snacks, our water, some blankets and pillows, the radio and some candles and matches. Then we shut the door. Reez was a little restless as we hung out in the shower and listened to the winds pick up. We heard on the radio that the worst part of Yolanda’s visit was to be around one thiry p.m. About noon or a little after Reez drank a bottle and fell asleep in his mom’s lap. In hindsight we were very happy with this as he missed her visit.

And then just like clockwork as one oclock approached she started huffing and puffing with a fierce attitude. That is when the prayers started in earnest. Then it happened. At one fourty two p.m. my ear popped just like when I am gaining altitude when flying. Within a split second of my ear drum acknowleding the change in pressure she was here. The sounds of metal ripping and glass shattering filled our senses. This lasted for about twenty minutes or so. We were certain that our windows were destroyed and possibly the roof exploding from the pressure and winds that by now were topping 185 miles per hour. Tears were flowing as our son slept knowing what we had worked for and slaved for was being destroyed by the hands of Yolanda.

She had been forcasted to be a fast moving tempest. She lived up to her reputation as she was here and gone in a matter of hours. By three p.m. the winds were calm enough for me to venture from our sanctuary. As I opened the comfort room door I was not sure what I would see as all during the four hour ordeal we heard the closed bedroom door vibrating. However the bedroom was intact as the door was still sealed. Now it was time for me to open the bedroom door that would reveal the greatroom and the destruction that I fully expected to view.

As I opened the door a rush of wind and cool air hit my face. My eyes were quickly drawn to glass strewn across the tiles floating in a film of water. My first instinct was not good; however after surveying the room I was calmed by the fact the ceiling was intact and undamaged and the ceiling lamps and light fixtures were all in place. A round the room look at the windows revealed that our fear they were being torn from our house was calmed. All windows were in place even though the boards that I had place on them just hours earlier were gone with the expection of our sliding glass door leading to the lanai. It was on the floor in a thousand pieces. We installed a door with tempered glass therefore it broke into small pieces as it is designed to do. However after further review it was apparant that the majority of glass in our house was not from our sliding doors. It was only later that I realized the large pieces of clear shattered glass in our house was from our neighbors house  As it transpired our neighbors house, a two story structure with a complete glass front top and bottom was ripped apart by Yolanda and deposited in our house and yard. I later found a big part of their house in our gutters and on our roof.

After inspecting the damage I realized that our great fears had not been fulfilled and that Jehovah had not only protected our lives but also for all purposes protected our house also. I then returned to the comfort room where Eden and Reez were anxiously awaiting my return and revealed my observations. A great sense of relief and thanksgiving came over us. After thanking our great GOD I let here know that she would need to keep Reez in the bedroom until noon the next day due to safety concerns as I cleaned the interior of our home and secured the big hole in the wall.

The cleanup and security measure were completed as planned by eleven a.m. the next day and Reez was released from confinement. He was happy as we began the new adventure in our life. Life without power, air con, tv, fridge and fans. The daunting task of exterior cleanup also loomed upon us. However we were alive, safe and again so thankful to Jehovah God.

I look forward to updating all on the aftermath of Yolanda’s visit and my observations and experiences soon.

Agape


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Day 169 We are in!!!

ImageYes we are in. October 10, 2013 will forever be known as move in day. We were able to move in two days ahead of schedule while the crew spent three additional days finishing the exterior. We are happy. We are settled (except the one hundred projects that come with a new home). We are very satisfied within reason with our new retirement home. A couple of glitches but nothing that has not already been handled or we cannot solve over the next few days or weeks. Need to get the landscaping started so it can take root before the summer.

All things considered which have all been discussed during the course of this blog the project is a success. Our home is what we envisioned, came in at budget (with the exception of a crooked contractor) and was completed in just under six months. As I  mentioned there are some happy faces around.

With that in mind the time for words has come to an end. Let  pictures do the talking. Thank you for following along with us on our home building journey. I now hope to concentrate on writing about my family, our love of our God and Creator Jehovah and our life in Roxas City.

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Day 164

ImageAnd let the countdown begin as Eden has said. However it is a different type of countdown because we do not know the exact end date but we do know it began today…lol. We have made great strides since day 150 and we estimate that we are 4-6 days from transferring from our ocean side apartment that has been our home for the last nine months to our retirement home. There are just a few touch ups to be made and a few water issues to be resolved and we can call the interior complete.

The interior painting is complete with the exception of a few touch ups as I mentioned. Today the front door was varnished with three coats of mahogany and then top coated. It looks great. The exterior painting is being completed during the intervals finishing the interior. It will be finished after we move.

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The comfort rooms have progressed nicely since our last update. The common cr is complete and i call it the blue room. It is equipped with La Fonza products. Our in suite comfort room is equipped with HCG products from the Philippines. We have also had to custom built shower doors added for obvious reasons. We had a custom built cabinet and makeup storage unit built. The installation of the lavatory and cabinet will be complete in the next two days. Also installed in both are instant water heaters. A real money saver considering we pay some of the highest  powers rates in the world on Panay island. 

ImageThe most time consuming room in the house has been the kitchen. When cabinets are hand built and painted by hand it is a labor of love. Our foreman T-Ting designed and built our kitchen from Eden’s desires. He has done a great job on the granite counters and is in fact today and tomorrow adding the finishing touch with granite back splashes. The paint was finished today leaving the back splash and stove vent installation.

ImageBoth Reez’s and our bedrooms are complete with the exception of door handles being attached to the built in cabinet doors. The bed for Reez’s room was added this week and today we purchased our set to be delivered and set up this afternoon. It is from Malaysia and is beautiful. Of course Reez will continue to sleep in our room until he is older. 

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ImageAs mentioned earlier

the exterior of the home will be completed as we are moving and after we have completed our move. The remaining projects include the metal work on the front fence including the pedestrian gate and car park gates. The solid parts of the fence will be painted terra cotta and the metal with automotive black with gold dust (not real lol). The fire wall is primed but awaits two coats of white latex to ward off the sun’s heat. Yes it has been waterproofed. A small amount of tile work remains in the front of the house but it would not surprise me if it was not completed before the move. The concrete deck over the car park was waterproofed today and will be painted with a couple coats also.

More metal work will be added for decorative effects and strengthening. The front left window will have a decorative effects by using the same metal used for the fence. It also matches the decorative effect used in the car park wall. We will also add two support poles under the concrete car park cover based on our foreman’s advice even thought it was not on the blueprints. Add paint to the front of the house including the car park and some sod around the house and it will be complete. I will take on the job of adding downspouts to the gutter system myself after the crew leaves.

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ImageYes we are excited to be in our new home. Many more details remain such as accent painting, rods and curtains, furniture, plants etc however that will come with time. After all those are some of the delights of owning a home. Add in how to corral a two year old and we will be busy. But we will be happy. Until we move in our home this will be the last update while we continue Life in Roxas City.