Friday, October 20, 2006

Little House of Love

There are weekends when what I feel like doing is not malling or watching a movie or braving Greenhills or 168 or any of my usual activities. Sometimes I get the inclination to just stay at home and try to make it a better place (at least physically).

I love going thru my and Yoshi’s closet (Chester’s is off-limits) and weeding out clothes and toys and trinkets we no longer need or want and would be better appreciated by other people to whom we can give them. I also find great joy in fixing the house by putting up yet more pictures in yet more frames (I maybe could’ve traveled to the States already with the money I spend on pix. Groan.) or bringing out wooden or ceramic decors from my faves Regalong Pambahay and Papemelroti (I love stuff that evoke a kind of English country house feel). Sometimes I’m content with just shaking the dust off my precious plates and bed sheets and towels with all their dainty floral prints and plush loveliness. (My Mom is one of those little old ladies who reserve their best china and silver for only the most special of occasions. I’m the exact opposite coz I like to use my finest things all the time. It’s the only way I can glamorize my otherwise impoverished existence.)

Our house is not exactly our dream house. Ches and I just felt that it was time to be on our own, and this house had a nice location (near UP and Claret where we hope/plan for Yosh to study, near churches and malls and markets and stuff) and was within our budget (well, barely. We’re still paying off – or more precisely, not paying off – our loan from our parents). It was an old house that we had renovated , and it was during this time that we had what’s probably (hopefully) the closest we’ll ever have of a Sharon and Gabby phase (you know their movies where they’re young and poor and they fight all the time but they’re just so in love with each other and their love conquers all). We were buying everything from the toilet bowl to the kitchen sink down to dustpans and dippers, and ordering the couch and dinner table and all those stuff that required a lot of money, and we wiped out our bank accounts and had to wait for the next payday to buy another can of paint for the garage or something. It was also around this time that I got sooo delayed and Yosh wasn’t even one year old and I had to borrow money from Jon so I could buy a preggy kit. Looking back, it sounds fun being so tragic like that, but I’m sure I wasn’t all too happy while I was at it.

Lately I’ve been bugging Ches that I need a bigger house bcoz my and Yoshi’s closets are spilling over with all our clothes and shoes and bags and trinkets and toys. I know it’s not going to happen till the next two years or so, but I’m already happy fantasizing over it. We’ll definitely add a second floor (Yoshi will so love going up and down the stairs) or maybe even an attic. I want a room of my own where I can put all my Hello Kitty and ballerina and sunflower stuff and they’d get the space they deserve to grace with their enduring beauty. I’d also need shelves upon shelves where I can put my 60 million books and CDs and DVDs (mostly pirated but I love them, anyway). It’d be nice to landscape our poor excuse for a garden too but since I’m hardly a domestic goddess and in all likelihood not have a green thumb, I’m happy with flower pots. I remember how Francesca in The Bridges of Madison County insisted on having her own bathroom in the house so it could be her place of solace and refuge from family and motherhood. I’m sure Ches will give that to me too if I ask him sweetly enough.

Now if only I could stop wasting my entire salary away on all these mall sales and start saving up. Or maybe my richest aunt could die and make me sole heiress by virtue of a random act of kindness or stroke of brilliance I’ve had as a kid. Or maybe Ches could win a game show again like his brand-new millionaire cousin Peachy just did.

Great. Something to look forward to.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Three Minute Trip to Oblivion

It happened on a Tuesday afternoon. Thom dropped me off at the UP shopping center so I could have my KL pix printed. I did that and was buying some junk food and stuff in the grocery when I got this sudden and searing pain in my tummy and I felt giddy. I heard the cashier saying I looked really pale and I saw a chair being pushed to me. I also managed to say I needed to go to the CR so I could throw up. And that was the last thing I remembered. When I came to I was in the CR and I vomited.

The staff were really nice and got me new clothes to replace my wet and soiled uniform and helped me call Ches. It was good too that he’d just spent the morning doing research in UP Educ and was just on his way to work. (Isn’t it amazing how even in the dreariest of days you see God’s hand at work in all these little things that you badly need to work out for you so that at the end of the day you still manage to be alright and in one piece.)

We rush to St. Luke’s where I am given a preggy test (false alarm), ECG even, and they examine me for possible appendicitis and vertigo and everything. They wanted to have me confined for observation, their concern being that 3 minutes is a long time to black out, which could signal a serious neurological problem. I chose to go home bcoz we’ve been out of there barely a week ago following Yoshi’s second bout with gastroenteritis, and I just couldn’t stand being in the hospital anymore.

They called it vasovagal syncope. (At least it had a name. It’s not some rare, unheard of illness that has afflicted only like 1% of the global population or something. Altho that would’ve been cool, too, come to think of it.) It’s this thing where you suffer tremendous pain and you unconsciously hold your breath in response to the pain so oxygen doesn’t get to your brain, which in turn reacts by shutting down, hence the black out. Rommel laughs it off when I explain this to him, saying that this is probably true when you’re in a battle or something and your legs get blown off and you pass out from the pain. (This guy watches too many war movies.) Paula promptly broadcasts to the entire second floor that I’ve fainted and am pregnant. Beavis blames it all on my eating way too much lanzones. (Beavis is my newest friend, who’s a batch mate of Thom and is a lot like him in terms of being young and crazy tho sweet and funny too.)

This is what you need good and true friends for – so that when you find yourself in an entirely new and scary episode with a possibly terminal disease they can belittle your pain and humiliate you in your time of distress and even manage to blame you for your misery. Oh but I do know they love me too. They all bug me to see a neurologist like the doctors advised. Regie even gave me a list of names courtesy of Dindin. But I don’t know. What if the neuro finds out I’m a mental case and orders me locked up? How will I ever get back at my good and true friends then?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Elegy to a Tree

Milenyo was supposed to be one of the strongest typhoons to hit Metro Manila in years. It was a major hassle having no power and no signal and at times no phone lines even. But at least we could move to the more fortunate areas that got back to normal ahead of the rest, such as my Mom’s where we stayed for the aircon and to catch Philippine Idol over the weekend.

Not to diminish the lives lost and properties destroyed by the storm, but for me the sorriest sight in the aftermath of all that rain and wind are the fallen trees around UP campus. When Ches picked me up from work that Thursday afternoon, driving thru the campus was like going thru a maze the way we had to go around and around in search for a street that wasn’t blocked by huge trunks and branches and mounds of leaves and twigs. There was this tree in front of Molave Hall with a trunk that looked like it split right down the middle, as tho hit by lightning. There was also a big and grand tree along University Ave which seemed to have tumbled upside down so that all you can see from the street are its fat and winding roots.

One particularly strong storm while I was in college brought down this imposing acacia tree in front of the Main Libe. That was really sad. But it doesn’t compare to the scene in campus now. All these trees, trees that have seen us thru all our years in college, trees that are maybe older than our grandparents – they’re gone now. Looking at the fallen branches and split trunks and upturned roots is like witnessing a carnage. It’s nothing less than a devastation. It’s heartbreaking.

In one Succession class, Professor Balane (one of my favorite teachers in Law) went on and on about this truly old and majestic narra tree that grew in front of the parish church back in his hometown. It was going to be brought down to make way for some structure or the other. People went up in arms but to no avail. I still remember how he was near tears when he said, “My heart bleeds for that narra tree”.

I feel exactly the same about the fallen trees in UP.