Monday, February 28, 2005

She's gone

At around 12:45 pm, Connie called sis. Connie was sobbing. Ate Alice was gone. Connie and Kuya Nestor were by her side when she took her last breath. But before she did, she opened her eyes, waved her hand, took a deep breath and then she passed on. Connie felt that Ate Alice wanted to say something. Although, a friend thought that the wave meant her last goodbye.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The case of the broken washer

I have been doing laundry all day. RC and RK have been jumping and playing ball in their bedroom. After lunch, R got mad and made them stop. Later in the afternoon when I checked my last load in the washer, it wasn’t finished. The water didn’t drain. I thought the washer was broken. I tried to push the knob in and then out but it wouldn’t work. I checked the plug and it was in the socket. I told R that I would have to call a serviceman the next day.

Wondering what went wrong, R noticed that the green light on our carbon monoxide detector, which was plugged on the same outlet, wasn’t on. He found out that the main switch, where we plug the washer and carbon monoxide detector, was turned off. I suspected that it must have slipped down because of the shaking caused by the kids’ jumping up and down.

Sometimes, when I’m in the basement, the light bulb turns on and off when the kids are running in the kitchen, which is above our laundry room. I reprimanded RC and RK for jumping and playing ball in the house. When the weather is nice, I encourage them to play outside when they get that restless. But can I really blame them if they want to stay indoors during winter?

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Hoping for a miracle

Ate Alice is a very dear family friend. I met her the first time I arrived in Canada. She was Mama’s kumare first. I easily made a strong connection with Ate Alice during my first few days here in this foreign land. We were both pregnant then with our first babies and we were both far apart from our beloved partners, who were still in the Philippines.

I was 7 ½ months pregnant when I came to Canada. It was the first time that I have been apart from R and I was just overwhelmed with mixed emotions. I knew that I made the right decision to come here because life was just so hard back home. Yet I doubted if my relationship with R would stay strong with us being apart from each other. Besides, we wouldn’t be able to raise our baby together for a while. I was able to confide these feelings to Ate Alice.

When RG was born, I asked Ate Alice to be his ninang. Her family and mine have maintained a strong friendship and we kept close contact. We celebrated birthdays, christenings, weddings and anniversaries together. Our children are also friends with each other.

Late last year, Ate Alice discovered that she had a brain tumor. It was very scary but she kept strong.

On Tuesday, she was scheduled to have surgery to remove her brain tumor. The procedure that was supposed to last for 6 hours was extended to 10 hours. She had an internal bleeding. She remained unconscious that first night.

The following night, sis called and told me that Ate Alice’s condition has worsened. She was now brain-dead. She was breathing only with the help of a respirator. The doctor was talking about pulling out the plug and donating organs. My tears fell when I hung up the phone. That night I told my kids to pray for her.

On Thursday, R, RG (he didn’t have school) and I went with sis to the hospital to see Ate Alice. I was teary-eyed when we got on the 7th floor. I saw her sister Connie, puffy-eyed, in the “quiet room.” Ate’s husband, Nestor, and their two sons were also there. These boys could lose their mother and it just broke my heart. My children are just of the same ages and I couldn’t imagine leaving them. Later, the priest came by and we all prayed. I heard Connie crying while we were praying. Tears also ran down my cheeks.

I asked Kuya Nestor how Ate Alice was before the surgery. He said that she was happy. They were making jokes. She was even laughing, covering her mouth because the doctor made her take her dentures off. Hindi man lang siya nagbilin. With a cracking voice, Kuya Nestor said that he doesn’t even know the passwords to their bank accounts. She wasn’t expecting that anything bad would happen. But I guess that she must be worried, too. The couple talked about not crying but Kuya Nestor learned that Ate Alice had always been crying at work.

We went to the ICU to see her. She lay there on the bed, hooked up on the respirator. I saw where they cut her on the head, just behind the left ear. The attendant, who was looking after her, said that we could talk to her and hold her. I held her hand and touched her leg. She felt quite cold to the touch. The attendant said that there were only signs of lower brain activity. All signs of higher brain activity were no longer there. I couldn’t help crying.

Today, sis had some good news. Ate Alice was out of the ICU. She was transferred to a ward and breathing on her own. Mama also said that Ate Alice was perspiring and color has returned to her skin. It must be a good sign. Kuya Nestor wanted somebody to be there by her side all the time. Just in case she opens her eyes, he didn’t want her to be alone. But he has a store to attend to, and the kids had to go to school, too. They already missed a week of school.

Friends have volunteered to take turns in staying at the hospital. And though it would take a miracle to keep Ate Alice alive, that’s what we’re hoping for.

Monday, February 21, 2005

On losing my concentration

According to an article in a magazine: When you start having children, your level of concentration goes down.

I can attest to that.

I used to switch our bagged lunches (my kids’ and mine) and sometimes I would wake up in the morning and wonder if it was a school day or not. These things rarely happen now since I am more relaxed now that I am working at home.

Two more experiences come to mind.

When RG was still a baby, I once got up in the middle of the night to make him a bottle of milk. Instead of pouring the hot water in the bottle, I poured it in the can of Enfalac. Luckily, I have poured only a little bit of water on the powdered milk when I came back to my senses. Only the top was touched with water. I was able to save the rest of the can.

When RK was about 2, the kids and I went to Cartown, which was at that time just a few blocks away from our place. Before we left, I made sure that my camera was in my purse. When we got to Cartown, I searched for my camera but I couldn’t find it. So I hurriedly went back home, pushing RK in the stroller. I left RG, then 10 and RC, then 6, with the other kids. When I got home, I frantically looked for the camera. When I couldn’t find it, I checked my purse. Lo and behold, it was right there at the bottom all this time. RK and I went back flying to Cartown just in time. The activities just started. I took lots of pictures.

Friday, February 18, 2005

My guilt trip

I always take precautions when I am sick to cover my mouth when I cough and wash my hands especially before I handle our food. I used a different cup for brushing my teeth and even separated my toothbrush from the rest. But no matter how careful I was, RK still caught a cold. He probably didn’t catch it from me. He probably got it from the kids at school. Or I could blame the weather. I know that these swinging temperatures couldn’t be any good.

RK has been coughing these past few days. I made him take cough syrup and also Children’s Motrin on Wednesday when he had a slight fever. It helped that he saw me last week taking Robitussin because he didn’t like taking medicines either. I bragged to him that I took the medicine and it made me feel better.

Yesterday, he climbed up on my lap while I was still working.

RK: Mommy, can you play YuGiOh with me?
Mom: Oh no, not today. I’m working. But you know what? Tomorrow, I’m working only up to 5:00. We can play tomorrow.
RK: But what happens if I forget?
Mom: I will remind you.

He went back to his bedroom. The doors upstairs were all closed because R was cooking squid. We always close all the doors when we are cooking so the bedrooms won’t smell. RK must be running when he went to his bedroom. BANG. It was quiet for a few seconds. Then I heard a loud cry. I went to his bedroom. RK was on the bed crying. He bumped his head on the door. It must have swung open and hit his head. I felt his head. There was a small bump. I asked RG to get some ice downstairs. I wrapped it in a face towel and put it over his bump. RK didn’t like it. “No, Mommy! Stop, Mommy!” He kept begging me in between his coughs. I was hugging him and although it broke my heart to have him beg like that, I knew that I have to put ice on that bump. His begging went on for about 20 minutes. Then he fell asleep and I just left the ice on his head until he woke up after an hour. The bump has become smaller.

Today, I finished work early and I kept my promise.

RK and I played the board game YuGiOh DungeonDice Monsters. He showed me how to play the game. He loved teaching me. I didn’t really understand the object of the game but I just played along. What really matters is that I made my child happy. If he’s happy, I am, too.

Monday, February 14, 2005

i heart u

RK and RC had Valentine’s Day parties in their respective classes. They also exchanged Valentine cards with their classmates.

I got a heart-shaped Cadbury milk chocolate from work. I didn’t get any flowers or Valentine’s card from my husband. I didn’t give him any either. We’re just not into it. And I don’t really care.

R and I are witnessing first-hand the break up of the marriage of our kumpare and kumare. He is R’s best friend. And it is really disheartening because they have two small kids.

The whole situation with our kumpare and kumare has been an eye-opener for me. It must have been for R as well. We fight less now and are getting along better than ever. Or it could probably be because he’s not working and just at home relaxing. He’s less tired. Or it could probably be that I am also less stressed because he’s helping more around the house. Or it could be that we both have matured and tolerate each other more. Well, whatever it is, I like this. We’re learning to appreciate each other more. I hope that we maintain this blissful serenity.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

He's 7

We celebrated RK’s seventh birthday. Pictures are posted in My Photosite.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Cold, anyone?

Feb. 5, Sat – I woke up with a sore throat. I have been very phlegmy since yesterday.

Feb. 6, Sun – I had a bad cold, very scratchy throat, almost lost my voice.

Feb. 8, Tue – I am very phlegmy. I coughed up and spit them out as often as needed. I had a slight fever. I still worked. I took a 15-minute nap after lunch.

Feb. 9, Wed – My stomach muscles are sore from coughing yesterday. After school at snack time…

Mom: RK, what do you want for snacks?
RK: You know, the same. Cheerios.
Mom: Ok, can you get a bowl and help yourself. Mommy is sick.
RK: Then why do you work?

I was taken aback. My first reaction was …

Mom: Because we need money. That’s why I work even though I’m sick. And you don’t talk to me like that.

Later, I asked myself… Why do I work when I’m sick? Is it because I want to achieve a perfect attendance again this year? I have been receiving this award for three years in a row now, ever since I started working at home. How can I find the energy to work and not find it to help my child with his snack?

Feb. 10, Thur

I am still coughing and I wanted to get better by Saturday, RK’s 7th birthday party. So I decided to take Robitussin cough syrup. I don’t usually take medicines for cough and cold. I hate taking them. Although, if I hear the kids sniffling, I make them take medicines right away. I used to get bad cold at least once a year and that would make me miss a couple of days at work. Ever since I started working at home, I’ve had a bad cold only once, and then again only this time. I seldom get sick now because I am not around people, only my husband and kids, who sometimes bring viruses from the outside world. But this is still a far cry from being around several people who cough in the confines of their cubicles in the office but still manage to spread the virus around.

This is probably the reason I’ve had perfect attendance for the last three years. Two years ago, I had a fever for two days when I had that bad cold. Covered in blanket and loaded with Extra-strength Tylenol, I still managed to work. When the perfect attendance rewards were handed out last year, I was surprised that only half of the Work-At-Home staff received them. During one of my conversations with my supervisor, I couldn’t help voicing it out. I realized that it’s probably because I’m a mother of young children and I have to be “up and running” even though I’m not feeling well because I have to look after my children. If you have no kids to attend to and you’re not feeling well, your tendency is to stay in bed and call in sick.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


It has warmed up this past week. The snow has started to melt and it is slushy outside. The snow is now mixed with sand and dirt. It looks and feels like spring. And we’re just in the middle of winter!

I went to my dreaded appointment with the endodontist to continue the root canal that Dr J wasn't able to finish. Dr. R was a very nice fellow. He made me feel comfortable as I sat and then lay down on the dentist chair. He froze the left side of my mouth. Then he placed the rubber dam and made me open my mouth as wide as I could.

Dr. R: Are you okay?
Me: Ah ah (yes)
Dr. R: This will make a vibration.

I heard a whirring sound. I closed my eyes.

Dr. R: Are you okay?
Me: Ah ah (yes)

He probed and poked my tooth. He didn’t squish my lips like Dr. J did. I lay there half awake wondering what he was doing. It took me to those times I delivered each of my three babies, lying on the operating table, all frozen in the tummy area, but conscious of all the poking and pushing that the doctor was doing.

After he filled my root canals, he used a glue gun to seal them. The smoke made me want to sneeze. I was glad that I didn’t. I That would have been embarrassing. I could just imagine myself sneezing with my mouth open.

When the hour-and-a-half procedure was done, I suddenly got the sniffles. I went to the ladies room and blew my nose. It has not been easy to do that since the left side of my nose was also frozen. I felt kind of groggy as I headed home.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

New music

Today is Concert 4 of the 2005 International New Music Festival of our city’s Symphony Orchestra. RG was one of ten volunteers from his school to perform in tonight’s concert. We all went to see him perform. And yes, that included R. Iian’s dad has been very generous in giving RG a ride to the rehearsals with Iian.

The concert, which was titled “Why Did I Go To That Concert?,” started at 7:00 p.m. The kids brought some candies and gummies with them. We couldn’t really bring any food and drinks inside the concert hall. There were bleachers on the stage. Before the concert started, the emcee invited anyone who wanted to sit on the bleachers. There were quite a few takers. The emcee interviewed the composers before each performance. There were also poem readings. I enjoyed one, which was actually a letter written to a brother in British Columbia. It was about the weather here in Manitoba and mosquitoes wearing toques and long scarves. I found it really funny. The old folks behind us also laughed. RC later remarked, "Why were they laughing? The jokes were not funny." Well, you see, RC did not get the jokes. There was a poem about love, since we're now in the "love" month. The jokes were of adult theme.

After about the third performance, I found out why it was titled the way it was. I asked myself the same question. I didn’t get the music – it was just noise to me. For instance, the first performance was titled “Roosters in Love.” The piece was, you must have guessed, the sound roosters make. Some of the pieces used the instruments for purposes other than playing notes, i.e. blowing through the tubes or tapping the saxophone. It’s probably what “New Music” is all about. A new or innovative way of producing music. I almost fell asleep during the performances. Thank goodness for the intermission. We were able to get up from our seats, stretch and walk a little, and feel refreshed.

RG performed on the last piece, “Sound Off,” which was originally written to be performed on two sides of a Montreal Street. To imitate this, the groups were separated between the stage and the second balcony. RG’s group was on the stage. The groups were composed of bands from a few high schools, universities and colleges. RG played his saxophone. This is the reason we went to this concert – to see RG perform.

RK slept through RG’s performance. We woke him up when the concert was done at around 9:30 p.m. He cried and was cranky. He complained that his leg hurt while we waited for the bus. We got home just before 11 p.m.