The Cleaners

Walking around downtown Summit, the Husband and I stopped by Edible Arrangements to pick up my mother-in-law’s birthday gift.  He saw that it was right next to a dry cleaner and inquired if they can stitch on patches.  The guy said yes.

Me:  *looks at store hours*  You can drop it off before you go to work.
Husband:  Oh yeah.

At home…

Husband:  *lays out gi and patch*  It should go nicely here, right below the stitching at the back.
Me:  I agree.  And they open at 7 too, so you can drop it off in the morning.
Husband:  Yeah, and pick it up on my way home.

This morning…

Me:  *sees gi on couch* Oh you’re attending jiu jitsu tonight?
Husband:  No, I’m having the patch stitched on today.
Me:  Okay.  Drop it off before you go to work, so you can pick it up at lunch or on your way home.
Husband:  Opo (Filipino for yes.)

When I get to the office…

Husband:  Aw man.  The dry cleaner is open at 7!
Me:  I TOLD YOU.
Husband:  I got here early too.  Got breakfast and got to the parking lot 15 minutes early.  I could have dropped it off.
Me:  I KNOW.  I TOLD YOU SO.

Oh my heart.

Face Palm

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TALK TUESDAY: Transitioning

My working days started not so long ago.  In fact, this week, I turn two months old in my company.  I am still trying to find my footing, but I have to say, I have been pretty blessed with a motivating boss and a welcoming team.  This job is a great introduction to the American working class.

I feel pretty blessed at this point.  Right this very moment, I am happy.  I am happy to go to work, and I am happy to come home.  I cannot recall having such a healthy balance in my life before.  Although my commuting pretty much ate up my time for working out in the early evening and my weight gain has become more palpable, I really cannot complain.  A lot of people mistake that disposition as optimism, especially my new work friends, but really it’s not.  I am just all too familiar what a stressful life is.

Here’s the thing though:  I have been missing out on wifely duties.  Maybe not even wifely, but chores to be more exact.  Now, I feel the tiredness of the commute, and have a fixed schedule to follow.  Chores are starting to build up as this new thing in my life occupies 40 hours of my week, plus 20 more to prepare and to commute home.  Seeing three weeks’ worth of laundry building up, I can’t help but feel guilty.

Laundry pile

No shame that all of my undergarments are shown in this photo lolol

I felt even worse over the weekend.  The Husband was taking a nap while I chose to fold laundry.  Ten minutes in, seeing that there was so much to do and pretty much getting overwhelmed, I banged the laundry basket, slammed the door, and pretty much kicked the bed frame to wake him up and say, “I COULD USE SOME HELP HERE, IF IT’S NOT TOO MUCH TROUBLE.”  What a bitch, right?  I bathed in my own bitterness, sulking as if it’s the Husband’s fault that the laundry got this bad.

But it’s not.  Life is just taking over, and as much as I want to be the best wife ever that makes and packs meals, does chores, and still look so f*cking glamorous, I’m not.  One way or another, a ball will drop, and it’s okay.  I should be okay with it because it’s not a ball I can’t just pick up.

After my brief rampage, he just started folding clothes with me.  I was quiet for about 20 minutes before I made my way over to his side of the bed and apologized.  I know I upset him, and I know I was being unfair.  After all, I was the one that insisted that he should nap and get some rest.  But he easily accepted my apologies and bathed me in kisses.  It was at that moment that I realized in order for balls to not keep falling on the floor, I should just be more honest and ask for help.

Wow.  Even when he’s napping, he’s truly proving to be the better half in this partnership.  Hahaha.  Oh well.  I can race him to be the better half tomorrow. <3

TALK TUESDAY: Having an unplugged wedding

Did I mention that we had an unplugged wedding?  At the doors of the church, our coordinators and junior bridesmaids handed out these notice cards to our guests:

When I first pitched the idea to the husband, he was immediately all for it.  My mother, not so much.  She pointed out that it will be inevitable that people will whip out their phones and tablets and cameras and just take a snapshot of everything.  I know what she meant; I myself have a hard time putting my phone down.  But I was adamant.

Of course, our wedding is not my first wedding.  I have seen so many, and in the recent past, two of which were my close friends’.  Both were grand celebrations, and everyone seemed to be present.  They had hashtags and everything, so that anything posted on social media about weddings will be publicly curated.  I did this too, and it really was great seeing everyone else’s perspective of our special day.

Anyway, the guests were taking photos of everything — flowers, each other, selfies — and then the entourage started walking.  It was marvelous.  You know you’re about to see something special when each participant is a build up to something better.  Then the doors opened.  The bride’s silhouette made everyone gasp in awe.  It was just like in the story books.

But it completely SUCKED A** for the photographer and videographer.  Everyone had their own phones, cameras, Go Pros and what not blocking their line of sight.  I swear I even saw a couple of the crew visibly and verbally irritated.  Some of them even asked the guests to move out of the way so they can catch that moment, and the guests had the gall to be annoyed that they’re being asked to move!

At that moment, all I could think of was the money the couple paid for the professionals to take pictures and videos of their special day. True, in the end, they made it work, but honestly, not without extreme effort.  There was even a wedding I attended that there were so many phone up, the videographer couldn’t see the groom’s face when he first saw the bride.  He had to make do by capturing a tablet capturing the groom’s face.

It was such a distraction.  I felt so bad for the photographers and videographers.  It was at that point that I decided that for our wedding, we’ll have everyone turn off their devices, at least during the ceremony.  Right off the bat, our coordinator and my mother immediately said this will be difficult to pull off, especially at this day and age where it is just automatic for people to whip out their phones at any god given time.  But we made it work.  And thanks to completely cooperative guests, everything was pulled off perfectly.

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Not a single phone or tablet in sight. Our families and guests were amazing. They truly made our day special.

It was almost a special gift to our suppliers.  No distractions, no need for body contortions, because the space was open and free for them to take photos and videos of our special day.

I know how important it is to have your own memento of things and events that had happened in your life.  I know because I too am an enthusiast of taking photos.  You can check out my almost 3,000 photos on Instagram, and even on Snapchat.  I take a lot of photos and make sure that they’re properly framed so they’re deserving to be exhibited on my feed.  But us, the to-be-married couple, we’re right in front of you.  You can see us live and alive, exchanging our vows and very much in the moment.  Why would you settle for the small screen?

Our journey as a couple is filled with Facetime, selfies, chats, numerous text messages and email journals even.  For once, it was nice to not have those things in the way and just be present.  Believe us when we say real life is a million times better.

It did result in fewer public posts in our social media feed, but we didn’t care.  I’d like to believe (and as what most of our guests have shared after the festivities) that everyone was moved because everyone paid attention, and listened, and was completely present.  Now, that was truly a moment to remember.

Bitten by the Lovebug

So, MIA again!  Sorry about that.  I caught a good ol’ winter bug a couple of weeks ago, and unfortunately for me, it’s not bad enough to require antibiotics but bad enough to severely inconvenience us for about 12 days.  There were tons of home remedies, and I now have a renewed appreciation for ginger lemon tea and Panera Bread’s broccoli cheddar soup.  Thankfully, I was able to recover in time for Valentine’s day.

This year is our first ever hearts day together.  Really.  Seriously.  I met my husband in May 2004.  I got back together with him in September 2013.  We got married January 2016.  And he was on assignment in Japan that year during Valentine’s Day.  Of course, I wasn’t even discreet with him about this day being our first.  In fact, I compelled him to take me out.

“This is our first ever,” I said.  “You better make up for not being here last year.”

“I will,” he said.

Monday evening, he took me to Roots Steakhouse in Summit.  Quite a fancy place for our general liking, but it did not disappoint.  We got the seared sesame seed tuna and Caesar salad to start.  They had a pretty decent wine selection, so I settled for this Tuscan wine to match my Prime NY Strip Steak, cooked to its medium rare perfection.  Husband was more adventurous, and took the 20 oz. Dry Aged Cowboy Prime Steak.

I was about to whip out my phone to take some photos but Husband stopped me.  “No phones,” he said.  We slipped away into our offline meal.

It was the perfect dinner, truly an explosion of flavors.  Having a taste of the dry aged beef, I see now why people look after the dry ageing.  It really does have a bolder taste to it, but the tenderness is still present.  My strip didn’t disappoint too, as I sunk into it bite after bite.  I matched mine with potato au gratin, while he had his with creamy whipped potatoes.  Sorry.  We can go fancy, but potatoes = life.

We tried to walk around downtown Summit, but it was frigid cold.  Husband excused himself for having V-day dinner a day early; he wasn’t sure how late he’d come home the next day as they’re paying for the snow day last week, courtesy of Storm Niko.  So on the drive home, I told him we’ll just catch dessert and coffee tomorrow, reminding myself to find a dessert cafe nearby.

The next day, the alarm sounds off and I turn to get up and make his breakfast.

“Five more minutes,” he pulls me back to his side.

“It’s already 6:30,” I said.  He leaves for work in an hour.  “I have to cook your lunch too.”

“Fine, fine,” he sighs.  Then, he pulls me closer and said, “Where do you want to catch breakfast?”

“You don’t have work?”

He smiles.

“You don’t have work.”

He giggles.

“You don’t have work!”

And the rest of the day unfolded like a dream.

It really was all the years we missed bundled together in one day.  He made breakfast, as I requested.  Steak and eggs, since we took home the last bit of our steaks.  Around lunch time, flowers, teddy and chocolates came.  Then he took me out for a couples’ massage.  After, we had late lunch at Inspiration Roll.  On our way home, we bought our desserts and coffee, and crawled into bed early.  It was the perfect celebration.

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It was one of those days when it’s just unbelievable how blessed I am in this life.  I look back at all the raucous and vividly disturbing things I’ve done, especially in my youth, and then I look at him sleeping next to me, and I just wonder how in the world did I get so lucky.  He could have chosen to be with someone else, yet he insisted that I’m the one.  It took me a while to come around, but he was persistent.  I can look for all the reasons why I’m this happy, but at this very moment, I can only bend my knees and be thankful that I am.

Maybe this is something I should not get used to, considering of course we can’t always have it this good.  I mean, who does right?  We’re bound to have rough days ahead, really, let’s be honest.  But still, I have a good feeling we’ll both work on having surprise days like these ahead.

Hope your heart is as full as mine.

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<3

The Taste of Home

My first taste of spring was optimistic, to put it lightly.  I was welcomed by Blizzard Jonas, and while my husband was slaving around shovelling snow, I was jumping in them.  Spring, though, looked exactly how I pictured it:  a true rebirth.  Everything that was dull and grey suddenly became bright and green, full of life and bloom.  So that only meant one thing:  it was time to fire up the grill.

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I meant it when I said that I miss my father’s cooking.  A part of me always struggles to bring that to the table, whenever I cook for our family or for a gathering.  In a way, I’m making sure that my father was not forgotten, and he was always known for being a good cook.  He’s a mechanic by the way, like my husband, but when he starts working in the kitchen, he will blow you away.

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My father always loved to grill… and I never liked it.  I found it difficult tempering the fire (especially back in my country where we do it in coals), it was too hot to keep cooking (since our normal day temperature was at least 95ºF), the food either cooked too fast or too slow, and you always ended up smelling like smoke.  But grilling was my father’s forte.

Imagine my joy when I heard from family members that my husband’s grilled pork belly tasted so closely to my father’s.  Since moving here, I requested for that pork belly every other month or so, and he would make it the same way, and it would taste the same way.  And it would always be perfect.

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Each time there’d be a gathering here, I try to volunteer his cooking.  Most of the time though, they’d request for it, just like when people requested my father to grill.  I feel blessed and fortunate to have the past, the present and the future all existing in the person I chose to spend my life with.

I truly am living the dream.