Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pray for Me and My Laundry

I’m not a fan of doing laundry... this is no secret, but here in the Philippines laundry has taken on a completely different form. And it’s ugly. Did anyone know that there are washing machines that aren’t automatic? As in, a manual washing machine? Meaning you have to stand there a switch the machine from cycle to cycle by hand. In an evolutionary sense, this is one step above a bucket and a washboard.

Let me give you a little lesson, we’ll call it... Manual Washing Machine 101: This is going to get old really fast.

Step 1- Plug in the washing machine.

In the Philippines they unplug everything, partly to do with saving energy because electricity is so expensive, and partly because the system is faulty and it’s possible to burn your house down.

Step 2- Make sure the water is on.

My oh, so wonderful laundry room is located outside. Well...there are walls, but I’m pretty sure I could stick my hand through them if I wanted, and there is a ceiling... but it reminds me of a ceiling you would see in a green house, and it leaks... so no laundry while its raining....and since it rains sometime during the day everyday, you have to time it just right. So to turn the water on, you have to go outside and turn the knob to let the water flow through the pipe to the washer.

Step 3- Turn the water faucet on located on top of washer, and let fill to desired level.

This is where that whole automatic thing comes into play. In most houses, this water knob is located at the back of the washer and you never see it. Your wondrous water is always on, and when you press a button it comes out and then stops a certain level.... here is the Philippines I am not so lucky. I have to stand there and watch the washer fill with water. Now, this might not be so horrible if the water didn’t come out as a slow trickle.

Step 4- Add Soap.

This may sound simple enough... but no. I went to the store, I found Tide! I get really excited to find anything American. So, Tide... sweet victory right? No. The Tide here is the super hero version of the one in the States. The first load of laundry I did resulted in an overflow of bubbles... it took me half an hour just to rinse all the bubbles out of the dang washing machine.

Step 5- Turn knob to the “Wash Cycle” setting.

This is the only thing automatic about this machine, it swirls the water around... WhooHoo!

Step 6- Make sure washer is connected to drainage pipe, then drain water.

The first part of this is really important. I know from experience...imagine that. The tube from the washer, that is supposed to lead to the pipe, to drain the water, had been disconnected. So on try number one.... the whole laundry room flooded. My day just kept getting better and better as you can see. But, not a big deal really, it seeped under my make shift walls and out the driveway, so it could have been worse.

Step 7- Remove clothes from washer and place in the “Spinner.”

The spinner can fit about 4 of Lee’s shirts.... 5 if I really shove them in there. But I had no idea what it was, I thought it was a dryer.... I was mistaken. It was at this point where I went inside to get Chat to help me. Chat is is a glorious angel, a gift from God... also known as the housekeeper. Twice a week when she walks through the

door, the clouds part, the sun shines and all it right with the world. I love her.

Anyway, she came outside, mainly to laugh at me. She showed me how it worked, and then asked, “How old

are you?” Which I found to be offensive.... its not that I don’t know how to wash clothes, I have done plenty of

laundry... I am just not used to washing my clothes in a machine that just stepped out of 1902. And who ever heard of a spinner anyway. (I said the same thing to Lee when he got home from work. He said they have spinners at the gym. But how the heck should know about that, it’s not like I ever go there either.)

Step 8- While clothes are “spinning,” re-fill machine with water. Turn water off at desired level.

So, I know that one of these days I’m going to forget, and leave the water on too long and it will run over and flood the laundry room. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Step 9 - Put clothes in water to rinse

Step 10 - Drain...again.

Step 11 - Put clothes back in spinner...again.

Step 12 - Hang on the line to dry

Ha... its a 12 step program.

In case I didn’t mention it before... there is no dryer. That’s right... In fact when I first looked at the house there were two machines side by side... so naturally I assumed, a washer and a dryer. This is not the case. I have my 1902 washer/spinner... and a slightly newer, automatic washer... that doesn’t drain. I found this out the hard way. I opened it up.... shoved my brand new towels in, and then realized I couldn’t get it to work. So I pulled the towels out to find they had turned a nice shade of brown, and smelled of mildew. Since the washer doesn’t drain, whoever did laundry in there last... and who knows how long ago that was, left a nice puddle of nasty water. Lovely.

As far as the line drying goes... its not that bad. Well, depending on which way the wind is blowing. I took all my clothes out and hung them to dry... just as a huge black cloud rolled over my house and started to pour. I’ve never seen rain like this. There are no signs at all, the sky just opens up and spits at you. And it hurts! Luckily, it wasn’t windy... so my clothes stayed semi dry in the car port.

I bet you we are the only house in the neighborhood with Polo shirts and True Religions hanging

on the line. :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mabuhay "Welcome" Home

We have a house! Lee and I have not lived in a house since we’ve been married, just hotel after hotel, so we are thrilled to finally have a house! I went looking for houses in our neighborhood, Nueva Villa, with the realtor Lina. Lina is a little, tiny and quite sassy filipino woman; she pretty much runs the neighborhood. All questions and problems are handled by Lina, all 105 pounds of her.

So Lina took me to look at houses... most of them were awful... Exhibit A... or B... or C...

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Yes, sadly there are such things as multi-color mini-blinds.

Everyone from Lee’s company lives in the same neighborhood and they had been telling me about the “Zen House.” They call it the Zen house because of all the water falls and rock gardens, it’s very Japanese... very Zen :) Finally, she took me to see it and it was a million times better than anything else I had seen that day. So later, Lina and I took Lee by a few of the houses... just so he could see how great the Zen house is by comparison, and we decided to get the house. So here are a few pics... Lee and I will do another video walk through once everything gets put away.

Click here to see photos of our new home!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Sorry We are All Booked

We arrived at the Shangri-la, Makati around midnight. Lee and I started to check in, and the lady behind the counter was taking forever. She excused herself and was gone for more than ten minutes. When she came back she told us they were all booked, but not to worry because they have reserved the Presidential Suite for us. Since I had been doing extensive research about everything Filipino I knew exactly what she talking about and how amazing the Presidential Suite is, but Lee had no idea. So completely oblivious to the fact that we are about to stay in the nicest suite, in one of the nicest 5 star hotels in the world, he shrugs and says, “I guess that will work.”

I looked at him shocked, but thought ok... I see how were going to play it. It’s no big deal, we stay in $3000.00 a night hotel rooms all the time. Yeah right.

We got in the elevator to go up to the 28th floor, the top floor, and then it started to make a little more sense to Lee. Especially, when the bell boys started getting really excited. They told us that our room is the same room the Prime Minister of Australia stays in when he comes to Manila, as well as Mariah Carey. They gave us the grand tour, and then offered to take several pictures of us throughout the suite.

The suite was amazing. They combined seven different hotel rooms on the top floor to make up the Presidential Suite. There was a dining room, kitchen, office, bath rooms, formal sitting areas and secret doors in the walls that led to other rooms. We hardly slept all night because we were up exploring the room.

Click here to watch our Presidential Suite Tour!

(Lee in the Presidential Office)

(Living Area)


(Dining Room)

(Bath Room)

(Bed Room)

(Downtown Manila)

(View from the 28th Floor)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Our Way to "The Future"

The best thing about business class is that they feed you every two hours! Every time I turned around there was a new menu, and since I don’t turn down food, I ate a lot!! I lost track of how many different meals were served some where between the candied walnut and mixed green salad with peppercorn dressing and the fresh fruit and cheese plate. It’s making me sick just thinking about it.

We had an uneventful 2 hour lay over in Minnesota, and then we flew 12.5 hours to Japan. Landing in Japan was awesome. From the plane we could see golf course after golf course, so now we have decided Tokyo will be one of our golfing trips. We hung out in the lounge at Narita Airport, where we ate authentic Japanese sushi... (yep...still eating.) Lee was impressed by the automatic beer pouring machine. It is a machine that pours your beer for you, and tilts the glass so there is no foam... I didn’t see it. I was too busy trying to get Mr. Bigg to pee on the bath room floor.

(Mr. Bigg tagging along as my carry on)

Mr. Bigg went a successful 28 hours without going to the restroom. I took him in to the bathroom stall at each airport, laid paper towels all over the floor, and for 15 minutes said, “Go potty Mr. Bigg” while he looked at me like I was insane. God only knows what the people in the stalls next to me were thinking...

After a 2 hour layover in Japan we flew to Manila. This time we got to sit upstairs on the plane, which was pretty cool! We landed in Manila 4.5 hours later, relieved to finally be here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tell Me About the Philippines...

Lee and I have been planning to move to the Philippines for quite some time now, and our latest departure date is April 20th. The company that Lee works for has a project in the Philippines which will require us to be there for 1-2 years. We are really excited about the move, and we hope to keep everyone up to date on our adventure.

For those of us that need a geography lesson The Philippines is located in Southeast Asia, bordered by the Philippine Sea on the east, the South China Sea on the west, and the Celebes Sea to the South. The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands, which span an area of 116,000 square miles. Below are a few facts about the Philippines, which answer a few of the questions that everyone has been asking over the past few months.

The Philippines....

- is the 12th most populated country with a population over 90 million people.

- is a former colony of both Spain & the United States.

- is one of the only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia.

- has a presidential, unitary form of government. Presidents are elected to a six year term. The current president - is a woman, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

- contain mountainous, volcanic and rain forest regions.

- is located within the Typhoon Belt, and is struck by approximately 19 typhoons per year.

- has 2 seasons, dry & rainy. The temperature ranges from 79-99 degrees F. year round.

- has 2 official languages, Filipino or Tagalog and English.

- is currently 13 hours ahead of the Central Time Zone.