Thursday, May 28, 2009

I live with LeBron

Basketball is definitely the most popular sport in the Philippines. There are basketball courts everywhere, which surprised me and lee because we figured this was more of a soccer kind of place, especially since height really isn't one of their strengths. We have a basketball court in our neighborhood, and Lee has been dying to go over there and shoot around. We bought a basketball when we went to Alabang last weekend, so last night we decided to go over there and check it out.

There was a group of boys playing on one end of the court, so we started shooting around on the other end. This drew quite a bit of attention probably for a number of reasons...

1. We are most likely the fairest skinned people to ever walk on to that basketball court.
2. Lee is a head and shoulders taller than anyone else that has probably ever walked on to that basketball court.
3. And from the way they all stopped and stared, I was probably the only girl to ever walk on that basketball court. (Or they were totally impressed with my sweet shooting skills... one of the two)

We played on our end for a while until one of the kids from the other side had to go home. Which left them with an uneven number.

Kids: You play?
Lee: Me?
Kids: Yes, you play?
Lee: Um, sure. Do you want to play?
Me: Ha! No.. you go ahead.
Lee: Ok, yeah I'll play.

He walked over to their side of the court trying to figure out who is supposed to be on his team. One little kid, about 8 years old, ran over to Lee and stood next to him. He measured himself up against Lee's arm and begin laughing. Then he pointed to all his friends who had to play against him, and laughed at them. I played on the other end of the court with the little kid, while lee played with the other guys. It was so funny to watch, and we all had a lot of fun.

As soon as it got to dark to see they called the game, and we all started to walk home.

Kids: Tomorrow. Tomorrow.
Lee: Do you play here everyday?
Kids: Yes. Tomorrow
Lee: We'll see. Tomorrow's Friday, I drink beer on Fridays. (Great Lee, way to tell these kids that Fridays are for beer... not basketball, that's a real great example. :P )

Kid: Lee, how old you are?
Lee: 23
Kid: You, keely... how old?
Me: 24. How old are you?
Kid: 18. (Then smiles really big)
Me: Oh really... (There was no way. This guy might have been 15 0r 16, but I didn't want to call him a liar, maybe he was just short or looked like a little kid, I don't know. But he was lying.)
Lee: You're not 18. (Apparently Lee didn't care)
Kid: Yes, 18 (He laughs, and all his friends do too...)

About this time we started to turn down our street.

Another kid: You live where?
Me: Right here.
Other kid: Oh nice.

So now that they know where we live this probably means they will be coming by everyday to see if Lee can play. I guess I could just tell them he's grounded...

They were all really nice kids. Next time I'm bringing my camera so I can video... the one time I don't bring it with me and we miss Lee looking like he just stepped out of the NBA.

Lee: I felt bad I was wearing shoes. (We were the only ones wearing tennis shoes, everyone else was wearing flip flops.)
Me: Yeah. Me too.
Lee: And I need to buy them a ball, that one sucked.
Me: Yeah. You were so much taller than all of them.
Lee: I know. I could just stand there with the ball over my head and they couldn't do anything. And when I drove to the basket they all got out of my way like they were scared to guard me. Now I know what LeBron feels like!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Mini America

Last weekend we went to Alabang. It is a part of Metro-Manila about an hour and half from here. It is a popular town for ex-pats so many of the stores and restaurants cater to Americans, Brits and Aussies. It is one of my new favorite places. There are actual buildings there, not tiny tin huts stapled together and the buildings have doors! I decided that I need to make a trip up there once a month in order to stay sane.

There is a place there called S&R. It is exactly like Sam's Club, and we think Sam's might even be part owner of it. (Maybe what the "S" stands for...) They had everything I haven't been able to find here...

Chocolate Chips
Granola Bars
Cool Whip
Barqs Rootbeer
Jello Instant Pudding

Basically... all the fat American things I have been looking for. It was amazing!

The best part about Alabang? Outback! We stopped there for dinner on our way back and pretty much ordered one of everything on the menu. We practically rolled ourselves out of there when we were finished. It was awesome!

Chocolate Thunder From Down Under!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Hands Smell Like Fish...

It's gross. I can't get this fish smell off of me, I even washed my hands in bleach... but the smell is still here. Barf.

Yesterday morning I got up at 5 to go to the fish market with Janice. The fish market was awesome. There was row after row of different kinds of seafood. Everything from yellow fin tuna and red snapper to mussels and snails. Each person had a booth and as you walked through the aisles they would try to coax you in to buying whatever they were selling.

The first thing I bought was a red snapper. I think it was just because the color caught my eye, because I don't even know how to cook a red snapper, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. The woman with the snapper picked up a big piece of rock with a sharp edge and began to peel the scales off of one side. Then, with a huge knife she cut it up in to steak size pieces. She handed it to me in a bag... head, tail guts and all.

We bought squid, crab, prawns, mussels and shrimp. We bought the shrimp for my "cooking school" on Wednesday. Janice and I have a deal, cooking lessons for golf lessons. Janice is a "coon ass," as she likes to put it, from Louisiana and can make just about any southern dish you can think of. This Wednesday she is teaching me how to make shrimp etouffee. Janice told me the best way to keep the shrimp fresh is to go home and take off all their heads, put them in a plastic bag, fill it with water, and then put them in the freezer.

Did you know shrimp have heads? Up until yesterday the only shrimp I had ever seen only had tails. Unfortunately, to my surprise shrimp do not come out of the ocean perfectly pink and covered in cocktail sauce. And did you know they have whiskers? And googley eyeballs that stare at you while you rip their little heads off?! Barf. I would have taken pictures of the fish market and my little head ripping experience for you but Lee had my camera... he was golfing.

So Sunday night we made a seafood feast of prawns, mussels and crab. Janice gave me all the leftovers... so then I had to figure out what to do with four crabs and a bowl full of mussels. After a lot of internet recipe research...(I can't be the only person in the world that cooks with the lap top in the kitchen...right?) ... I decided to make a pasta with the left overs. But that meant I had to de-shell the mussels and try and get the crab meat out of those little stinkers. Crab is way more work than I'm willing to do for my food. Trying to break into that crab shell is impossible, and they have horns too! And it didn't help that I didn't have any crab crackers.

And yes... that is a garlic press. It was the closest thing to crab crackers I had. I thought I was an ingenuitive genius until I cracked a crab open so hard it blew up in my face spraying me with a fishy smelling funk. That nasty crab juice even got in my mouth. Barf! (That has now become my new word, mostly because everything smells funky here and it makes me want to hurl. You should smell the meat section of the grocery store... meat sitting all day not refrigerated nor on ice.... its barf-a-licious.) I cracked open four of those foul smelling suckers and look at how much meat I got....

Totally not worth it!

Then I got started on the mussels. I had to dig the insides out of a whole bowl of those things. All I could do was think about what body part they look like while I put them in the bowl... and thinking about how I was going to eat that for dinner later. (I'm too lady-like to go into the details about which body part that is, so if you don't know, you'll have to go pick one out and see for yourself.)

So after crab crushing and mussel mutilation I can't get this odor off my hands. I feel like it gets on everything I touch... I bet my camera even smells now because I took those crab pictures. And now that I'm thinking about it... I bet my keyboard smells too. I just smelled it... I can't tell if it's the keyboard or my funky fishy fingers.

Moral of the story... Seafood is a lot of work... and cooking your own crustaceans is a pain in the ass. Plus nobody wants to sit next to you at dinner afterwards because they smelled you from across the room. Not to mention the fact that having your food looking back at you is pretty creepy. Seafood restaurants really aren't that overpriced. Pappadeaux... totally worth it :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Bottle Boy

This morning I was putting out the trash, because today is Friday and I actually remembered it was trash day. I put out the trash and I was taking clothes off the line when a little boy started walking over with his puppy. The little boy wore no shoes, but carried a potato sack above his head as his little dog pranced around him at his feet. The sack was bigger than he was, of course, he couldn't have been older than six or seven. He came right up to the fence where I had tied the trash bags and started feeling around the bags. When he found something he thought he wanted he opened the bag and began to dig through them. He pulled out the empty fabric softener bottle, old broken plastic flower pots and water bottles. Anything edible he pulled out and handed to his dog. At first I stood there trying to pretend I was doing something else, so he wouldn't think I was watching him, but after a while I just stood there. I stood there silently staring at him for about five minutes. He never once acknowledged I was there, he didn't once pretend he wasn't digging through the trash. He didn't act ashamed of it at all. This was his job and he saw nothing wrong with it. Watching this poor boy dig through the trash was the saddest thing I have ever seen. This young boy wasn't even old enough to read and he was walking through the neighborhood barefoot digging through the trash looking for plastic to recycle so he could help feed his family. I went back inside to see if I had something to give him. I found 3 water bottles on the counter. I walked back outside with the bottles, "Do you want these?" He looked at me funny, not understanding a word I said. I showed him the bottles, and he got a huge grin on his face, he said, "Salamat!" (Thank you)

I decided I'm going to start a recycling bag. I will keep all the plastic and aluminum cans in a separate bag on the fence so he doesn't have to look through the trash, and maybe a bag of Pedigree for the puppy too. It's things like that, that really put things in to perspective for you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


About 15 minutes ago Lina walked through the front door. What does she have in her hand? A fan blade. Not a new fan, but a fan blade. The fan self destructed... I don't think the blade was the reason it tried to kill itself. These people are too cheap to buy a new $15 fan, so they went out and got a new fan blade. I was in shock when she walked in carrying that crappy piece of plastic. She went upstairs to put it together, I followed her of course; I couldn't wait to see the look on her face when she realized she was an idiot. She tried for 10 minutes to put that fan blade in the fan. She pushed on it, she hit it, she pull it, she blew in to it. I stood there smirking the entire time. I couldn't offer her any help because the whole time I wanted to scream at her, "IT DOESN'T FIT!!!! Why? Because its not the right blade for the fan! Not to mention the fact that the fan's cage is all bent up from free falling off the table. Are you serious?!? Just buy me a new fan, Damnit!" Finally, she gave up and said she knew someone who could fix it.... Yeah... I would love to see what Mr. Fix It can do about it.

Then we head downstairs to my mess of a shower. Franco, or Electrical Ace as I like to call him was here on Tuesday to put hot water in my shower. Since he was here already it only made sense for him to put hot water in my bath tub too. And since I have an innate ability of getting what I want, he did. Whoo-hoo! So now I have hot water in my bath tub, and in my bathroom sink! Hallelujah! But not in my shower, where it was supposed to be in the first place.

So Lina followed me in the bathroom and she stood there with her hand under the water for 10 minutes before she believed that there was not going to be any hot water coming out. She walked over and turned off the lights, then the water became hot.

Lina: "Oh you see.. you just have to flip this switch and the water becomes hot."
Me: "The light switch? The light switch makes the water hot?"
Lina: "Yes"
Me: "But you turned the switch off...." (I'm not enthused...)
Lina: "Yes, must be off."
Me: "So... you're telling me that the lights have to be off in the bathroom in order to take a shower."
Lina: "No there are lights."
Me: "Really? Where?"
Lina: "Oh...yes. No lights."
Me: "Lee gets up before 5, it's still dark then.. you expect him to take a shower in the dark so he can have hot water? Really...?"

She turns back on the lights, and goes over to the hot water box... it is still working... Even with the lights on, imagine that.

Lina: "Oh!! It works now!! No problem. Lights on!"
Me: "Great...."

So who knows if it will come on next time when we need to take a shower. Maybe I'll just go flicker the lights and hope it miraculously comes on. It will just be our daily surprise.... hot or cold... I don't know we will find out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Modern Stone Age Family

Janice's house has a pool which totally rocks since it is a million degrees here everyday. But the best part about Janice's pool is the Fred Flintstone slide.

There is only one rule when it comes to the Fred Flintstone slide - on your way down you have to yell, "Yabba dabba doo!!!!" Lee and I had a great time with this one day. Check out our awesome pics :p

Mr. Bigg followed Lee up the slide twice, so Lee thought he wanted to go down. He was wrong. Lee took Mr. Bigg down the slide, and Mr. Bigg was pissed. He wouldn't come near Lee for the rest of the night. He was all wet and traumatized in the picture.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Corrections... Courtesy of Lee

After raving about how totally awesome my blog is.... (which he knew he better do before he started criticizing it...) Lee offered these corrections:

1. The censored box which covers his ass in the entry, "Burn your Buns" was in his opinion, entirely too small. So I made it bigger. I really wanted to delete it all together and see how long it took for him to notice... but being the delightful wife I am, I refrained. The box is now bigger :)

2. I said in, "Staying at the top," that a jeepney is like a taxi. But I was wrong. A jeepney is not like a taxi, a jeepney is more like a bus because it makes several stops and carries lots of people. A tricycle is more like a taxi, because it costs more and it is private transportation. I agreed. The correction was warranted.

3. An adaptor is different than a converter. In the entry, "RIP 360" I wrote about the bad adaptor, I should have said converter.

Lee: "Just think of it as... an adaptor, adapts." (Followed by an entirely too feminine hand motion)

Oh I see... that makes perfect sense. pff.

Corrections finished. Sorry for the mistakes.

And he wonders why I call him a dork :)

Holy Crap!

I thought I had just been shot. I just finished the last blog entry when this booming noise came through the kitchen. After I realized I wasn't dead, I figured it was a car backfiring, until it happened 10 more times. It's fireworks. The only thing Filipinos love as much as karaoke is fireworks. They shoot them off all the time all over the neighborhood. And since every other day they have a fiesta, they always have something to celebrate. But it definitely scared me to death. You would think I would be use to it by now, but no. I'm sure one of these days I'm going to pee myself.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My List for Lina

Things that are broken...

1. Waterfall #1- The hose won't stay in the pump without being held by electrical tape. But could be worse... could be like Waterfall # 2.

2. Waterfall #2- Hole in the tank. Leads to wet living room floors and a mini melt down.

3. Toilet - Temperamental. Only flushes when it feels like it.

4. Bathtub - No hot water. Leads to a very grouchy Keely.

Things they tried to fix but are still broken...

1. Shower in Master Bathroom - So... do you remember how my shower has no hot water? Well, last week I still hadn't convinced Lina that the shower was not on a delay so you don't scald yourself with hot water, because if it was, it was an indefinite delay, because the DAMN THING NEVER COMES ON! It even started leaking one day. So she said she would send someone over. When he gets to the house, I realize he is the same man that fixed my leaking sink, fixed the leak in the ceiling, cuts the grass and cleans the pool. Apparently he is also a shower specialist. I show him where it is leaking, and since he doesn't speak a lick of english, he nods, smiles and begins to caulk the entire shower. When I show him again, that it is coming from the hot water box and not the floor, he nods, smiles, and continues to caulk. Oh whatever!

After Mr. Fix it leaves, Lina comes back over. I show her that the reason the shower box isn't working might have something to do with the fact that the electrical wires are tapes together. Maybe there's a short or something. But of course not, it's supposed to be like that... right....

So, a couple days later... when our shower started gushing water at 4 in the morning I had no problem giving her a call.

Lee wakes up around 4 to start his work out. He flushed the toilet in the bathroom, and the shower immediately starting pouring water from the hot water box. Half a sleep I could hear the shower running in the bathroom, I looked at the clock... it was 4 in the morning. Doesn't he know it's only 4? He got up to work out... he doesn't have to get ready for work yet....

Lee busts out of the bathroom and flicks on the bedroom light.

Me: "Heeeyyyy.... rude...."
Lee: "Call Lina! There is water gushing out of the shower!"

Lee runs out of the bedroom, and out the front door in nothing but his panties. The whole time thinking, what if I can't turn off the water? What if it's not like the states, with the knob out by the street? It is probably some ass backwards way....

Luckily, it is the only thing similar to back home. He found the knob and was able to turn off the water.

This time Lina listened. She said she would send over a plumber immediately. Immediately ended up being 3 hours later... but who's counting. (The water was still off... and I only had to pee for the past 3 hours, so I was counting.)

Lina and the "plumbers" (They were definitely not plumbers...) showed up around 7. Turns out it wasn't the plumbers problem. Because it was the hot water box.... like I said from the beginning... they needed an electrician to come out to fix the problem.

The "electricians" (And by electricians I mean... 2 young kids that work at the mall. But hey they work at Ace Hardware... ) told Lina we needed a whole new box because it had overheated which caused the short in the system. Which is ironically what we had told her before. But hey, we don't work at Ace... we don't have those kinds of credentials... what do we know? They told her the current box was very dangerous, it could have caused a fire or electrocuted us. Fantastic.

So we are getting a new box. It was supposed to be here last Tuesday... Lee sent her a "where the hell is our heater" text on Friday, she said it would be installed today, Monday. I got this text this morning.

"Gud am keely im so sori 4 nw they man jst called nd said that he cnt fxd it now 4 a very important thng to do nw 2moro is hs day off at d mall. so he had enaf tym to do it. sori agn nd hope u wl 4gv us."

Keep in mind that this is the clearest text message I have ever received from her. Most of them we pass around and see who can understand what she is saying. After one crazy message we got, Lee said, "Gah. I can't understand anything this woman says. You would think they charged by the letter."

So hopefully tomorrow I'll have hot water.

Things we asked the landlord to provide for us.

1. 2 Fans - We needed 2 fans for the house because 2 of the rooms didn't have them. The TV room and kitchen, both rooms we use quite a bit.

2. A TV for the bar - There was a big whole there with a TV stand attached to the wall. We wanted a small TV about 20" to go in that space.

3. An oven - When we were looking at the house I asked if there was an oven. They pointed to a small toaster oven, which was large enough to fit one piece of bread. When I said that wasn't going to work, they told me they would bring me a full size stove/oven. Awesome.

4. Towels - A set for each bathroom preferably. And hand towels for the kitchen.

5. Twin Sheets - A flat sheet and 2 pillow cases does not make a complete set of sheets. It is not complete until you have a flat sheet. The beds upstairs didn't have flat sheets. Our bed didn't either, but I brought my own from home.

6. Butter knives - I was tired of buttering my toast with a steak knife.

We asked for 6 Things... The houses are supposed to come completely furnished. You come with your clothes, and that's all you should need...

We didn't ask for the pots or pans they were supposed to supply for us. (Luckily we packed our own.) We didn't mention that there were no cleaning supplies, or a number of other things we were missing. We didn't bring up the fact that the microwave is impossible to operate and that the lowest amount of time you can set it for is 2 minutes. We didn't make them remove anything hideous from the house, I just took the things I couldn't stand looking at and moved them to an upstairs closet. I didn't even protest when I asked about the safe, that was supposed to come standard in every house, and the landlord said, "Oh well you could lock it in this drawer." Yes. A drawer because they couldn't just bash that in, or pick up the dresser and take the whole damn thing. Stupid woman.

Out of those 6 things... this is what we received -

1. One Fan- Not 2 fans, but 1 fan. And not a normal fan that stands upright and operates at a useful level. But a table fan. The same table fan that had an epileptic seizure, tried to kill me, and then committed suicide by jumping off the table. That fan.

2. The TV for the Bar - They brought us a TV. Amazing. But the TV is in japanese. The shows are in english, but you can't change back and forth from DVD/TV/Cable/Any other box we would want to hook up to the TV because we can't read or understand anything on the screen.

3. The oven - They brought the oven. They even set it up for me and hooked up the gas. Delightful. The next day, I went out to bake some banana bread... but there were no racks. No racks in the oven. You can't bake bread without a rack. I told Lina. She told me that they lost the rack, but that they would have a rack made for me. They made me a rack. Fantastic. I went to put the rack in the oven, and it is about half an inch too big. It doesn't fit. The smart thing would be to measure the oven you were making a rack for, before you make the rack... but that would just be too logical. Still no oven rack.

4. Towels - They brought be 2 full size towels. One blue, and one pink. Gross. So I went out and bought some extra towels. I'm not sure yet, but I think Lee refuses to use the pink towel. Any time it's on top, he grabs one of the towels below it. Hmmm. They did bring me a few kitchen towels. I guess I can consider that a victory.

5. Twin Sheets - Nope. But I did get a package of exceptionally hideous Queen Sheets. They are still in the package.

6. Butter Knives - She didn't even bother. But by this point I didn't care, she would have probably brought me spoons anyway.

So as you can see Lina has quite a lot on her plate. At this point I don't care about the things we don't have, I just want the things that we do have fixed. If they would just do things right the first time instead of trying to cut corners and get by without having to spend a dime then they wouldn't be in this situation. I'll let you know if I have to resuscitate her when she gets my laundry list of things to do. :)

Meltdown #1

So, I had my first mini-meltdown....
I'll start from the beginning....
Well, it was day 13 of P90X... and I haven't missed a day yet, (a record for me for sure) so I went upstairs to get started. I was about half way through Kenpo when the fan in the room started to make a funny noise. It is a desk fan, but still a pretty good size. It made a little clicking noise, but it looked perfectly fine so I kept going, Jab. Cross. Hook. Uppercut. Jab. Cross Hook. Uppercut. BAM!!! I had to duck because the face of the fan came flying at my head. Then I had to duck again because shards of plastic started flying around the room as the blades begin to shatter. I felt like George Bush in Iraq with the shoes! The fan bounced up and down a few times before it bounced off the desk, knocking the DVD rack over and going in to a seizure on the floor. I thought for sure it was possessed... I had to run over and unplug it to keep it from going crazy. I could have been killed! It's a good thing I was doing Kenpo and totally on my toes for unsuspecting predators.

After my near death experience, I went back downstairs. It was so hot, Saturday was one of the hottest days we've had since we've been here. The only way I could get cool is if I went in the bed room, turned on the air and shut the door. Which, I didn't mind so much since I felt nauseous. I think it was the pork I ate the night before, so I wanted to be in bed most of the morning anyway.
Lee only works a half day on Saturdays so he got home around noon. I was washing dishes... the dishes from breakfast. I was too sick to do them earlier... or too lazy whatever.

(Well, this is a problem because we have ants. EVERYWHERE. And here in the Philippines this does not seem like a problem to anyone else. I have told Lina about it and she just shrugs and says, "Yes. They are ants." Well, no sh*t sherlock, I know they are ants. I don't need you to confirm they are ants, I know what an ant looks like. What I don't know how to do is get rid of the ants. The only ant killer here is Raid, and I'm not going to go around spraying every little ant I see, that would be a full time job. I need an ant trap, or something they can take back to their nest and kill the queen... like in the commercials.)

If I don't do the dishes immediately they are covered with ant within five minutes. So I was doing ant covered dishes. I moved one of the plates, and a little head popped out from under the dishes. I screamed a few four letters words as I jumped to the opposite side of the kitchen. As I carefully crept back to the sink I saw a gecko laying amongst the dishes. This is the first gecko I have seen in our house. Normally, they are outside in the driveway, but this guy was brave enough to come inside. I really can't blame him. The sink was wet and cold, and it was a very hot day, and it was covered with ants... a delicacy for this little man. It was paradise. The sink is probably where I would be too. But he should have warned me or something, from the neck up he looks like a snake, he is lucky I didn't smash him with the frying pan. So I left him in the sink to finish eating the ants. He ate all the ants and he helped me put off doing the dishes a little longer. What's not to like about the gecko?

So I moved to the living room. I don't know what the ants like in the living room, there is no food in the living room but they insist on being there. And these ants are different. The ones in the kitchen are microscopic sugar ants. The ants in the living room are bigger, and since I walk around with no shoes on all day they crawl up on my feet and bite my ankles. I have about had it with those suckers. Why couldn't the gecko be in the living room? You would think we could work out a deal where if he ate all the ants in the living room, then I would not do the dishes, and then he could eat the sugar ants in the kitchen for dessert? That would solve both our problems. Double the ants for gecko and no ants or dishes for me. Genius.

Later, Lee and I tried using the waterfalls. We haven't started them up yet, so we wanted to see how they worked. We tried the one in the bar first. But the hose kept coming undone and getting everything wet. We solved this problem with electrical tape. Big black ring of tape in the waterfall.... Classy. Waterfall number 2 seemed to be working just fine, except that it sounds like someone is taking a shower in the living room. The water gushes through the pumps. There is nothing relaxing about that waterfall.

We were tired of fixing the house so we went down the street to use the pool. After a few hours we came home to find the living room flooded. Apparently, waterfall #2 has a hole somewhere in the tank, and you can't leave water in there because it will leak out on to the living room floor. In the middle of the floor there was something flopping around.

Me: "KILL IT!!"
Lee: "What?! Kill what?!"
Me: "That thing! It looks like a snake, but I don't think its a snake....." (Keep in mind I am talking about 900 words a second.) "It has legs!... so.. ok not a snake. But kill it!"
Lee: "Where?!"
Me: "There! It's a millipede or centipede or something. It's huge! Kill it!"
Lee: "Huge like what? Like a foot long!? How big is huge!?"
Me: "I don't know!! Four inches... who cares?!! Kill it!"
Splat! (Lee's big shoe to the rescue)

I sat down and looked around the house. I was exhausted... it was hotter than hell. I still felt nauseous. I had barely survived the attack of the fan. There was water everywhere. A dead snake with legs on the floor. Ants crawling around everywhere it wasn't wet and they were still in the kitchen sink. And my ant eating gecko that had scared the crap out of me earlier had disappeared without finishing his meal.

I just walked past all of it, went to the bedroom, changed clothes, got in bed and burst into tears.

Lee: "You're crying? Are you ok?"
Me: "Yes. I'm just frustrated. There are critters everywhere... (sob sob) And ants! I hate ants! (sob sob)...I need an exterminator and not some guy who killed a bug once. I need a professional. But nobody cares, they think ants are normal. And nothing works, our living room is flooded and everyone in this country is too stupid to fix anything."
Lee: "It will be ok. We'll get everything fixed."
Me: "I'm making a list for Lina. She is about to feel the wrath of Keely."
Lee: "Ok. That's fine."
Me: "All I know, is if I wake up in the morning with a huge spider on my face, I'm on the first plane back to the states."

So the next night we are laying in bed watching American Idol. (God Bless American Idol, I have never really even watched that show, but it keeps me sane here in the Philippines.) And I see something crawl across the ceiling.

Me: "KILL IT!!! KILL IT!!!!"
Lee: "Where?!"
Me: "Ceiling?! Spider!! Huge!!!"
Lee: "Get me a shoe!"

Me: "You are so lucky that happened tonight, and not last night."

RIP 360

Lee killed his Xbox. And after he worked so hard to get everything set up. It was just one thing after another. I found him upstairs in the middle of a million different cords. He had the entertainment center pulled away from the wall with electronics scattered all over the floor. He got everything untangled and put away, but then he couldn't find the port for the Xbox cable on the TV. The TV is bolted to the concrete wall, and it doesn't swivel. So how you are supposed to hook things up back there is beyond me... He thought he was going to have to unbolt the TV from the wall.

Finally, I found the port. My little rat hands were the only thing small enough to fit back there, and then I blindly found where the Xbox was supposed to go. We were so excited to finally have everything in place. Lee had been told that his Xbox would run on both 110 and 220 v, but just to be sure he double checked. And luckily, we found out that it is only 110-127 v before we plugged it into the wall. Whew. That was a close one.
So we got an adaptor. We plugged in the adaptor to the wall, and then the Xbox to the adaptor and flipped the switch. All of sudden we heard a big pop. Lee ran over to unplug everything, and check on his precious Xbox. He picked up the adaptor. He read,

"Do you not use for TVs, computers, or other electronics. Use for heating elements only."

Xbox. Definitely not a heating element. Oops. I felt so bad for him, he looked so sad.... but then he said,

"Gah. First I went and got married... and now I can't even play video games!"


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poisoned to Death

I think Chat is trying to kill me. Don't get me wrong, I still love her to death... but I am most certain I was poisoned. When I got home from Manila yesterday, Chat was at the house cleaning. I walked in to the kitchen and there was a plate of food on the table. Sometimes Chat is so busy cleaning that she doesn't stop and eat. So when I saw the plate of food I was shocked... it was four in the afternoon and she still hadn't eaten yet. So I went searching through the house to find her. I found her cleaning the shower...

Me: Chat, there is a plate of food on the table, have you eaten lunch yet?

Chat: "Yes, mam Kelly." (No one here can say my name properly) "That is for you."

Me: "For me...?" (Now, this is a very nice gesture... but most of the Filipino food scares the hell out of me, so to say I was a little apprehensive would be an understatement.)

Chat: "Yes mam. I thought you might like to try."

Me: "Oh, ok. I'll try it, thanks..." (What am I supposed to do? This sweet woman cleans my house, and does my laundry so I have don't always have to use that wretched machine. And a couple weeks ago she brought me a book called, "101 ways to Spoil a Husband." On the inside she wrote, "To a newly marriage couple, Mr. and Mrs. Keely Muse, Wishing you all the best and God unlimited blessing be upon us always. Congratulations! Love and Pray, Chat." Isn't that sweet? She told me she got it for me so I could be successful in my marriage. Of course I asked her for a copy of, "101 ways to Spoil a Wife"... I haven't gotten that yet. Last week she brought me Filipino bananas so I could try them, and they are actually pretty good. And she watched Mr. Bigg when we went to the beach! The least I could do is try the food. Plus, I've heard she is a very good cook... so it probably isn't so bad.)

So I go back to the kitchen to heat is up, and do a thorough inspection before putting any of it in my mouth. It doesn't look so bad actually... there are those little tiny pancit noodles, and vegetables. I mean, it's probably edible. So, I take my first bite.... in the kitchen, and out of Chat's sight of course, just in case I spit it out all over the floor.
Bite. Chew chew chew. And....swallow. It's actually pretty good, huh... amazing. Chat has moved to the living room to clean the window seals, (she's a goddess, I don't think I've ever cleaned a window seal.)

Me: "This is pretty good, Chat"

Chat: "Yes, mam" ( I'm pretty sure she can sense my surprise.)

Me: "Did you make this?" (I'm not sure why I asked, I know she did....)

Chat: "Oh, no mam"

Me: "Huh?"

Chat: "I got it from the shop on the corner, the corner of the neighborhood."

It was at this point where my jaw hit the floor, and I'm not sure but I might have started making small gagging noises. The place I'm sure she is referring too is the place with the huge pots of food, the ones that sit on the counter all day long... and God only knows what's in them. Dog... monkey... take your pick. This little shop is sandwiched in between the lady with the pig legs and the fly swatter and the lady with the laundry line full of chickens hanging by their broken necks.

Chat: "It's ok mam. This place good, very nice... clean... good food." (She can obviously tell I'm about to go wash my mouth out with soap.)

Me: "Hmmm... ok... what's in it?"

Chat: "Um, noodle... vegetable.... pig liver..." (Fantastic.) "... squid balls..." (Oh great, well at least she didn't say labrador retriever, right?)

I looked down, and realized I was almost finished with the whole plate... pig liver and all. So, I tried not to freak out. I mean... it was good... but maybe I would have been better off not knowing what was in it, because now I'm starting to feel nauseous. Later, I realized I was just being dramatic... I can be a real head case. But later that night... It came back.

My stomach hurt so bad... I knew it wasn't in my head this time. Lee rolled his eyes, when I went into the dramatics of how Chat poisoned me with pig liver from the pot lady, and not to be surprised if he found me dead on the bathroom floor in the morning. Eventually the sharp pains in my stomach went away, and I didn't even yak.. so that's always a plus. But I'm staying away from pig liver and squid balls... and anything else that I'm not sure about, and I will always ask before I eat.

(But just in case I'm not being dramatic... and this type of poison does not cause immediate death. Just in case... it takes several days to become fatally effective.... It was Mrs. Chat, in the kitchen, with the pig's liver.)

My New Fabulous Hat

Yesterday, I went to Manila with all the wives for an American Woman's Club of the Philippines event. Each month they have a bazaar in which local merchants come and sell their products. They have the most amazing things there! I did my best to just pick up business cards instead of buying everything in sight. But I couldn't help myself when it came to by new fabulous hat!

Isn't it so Kentucky Derby?

I knew Lee would hate it and he absolutely did.

Me: Hey! You want to see what I bought at the bazaar?! It's absolutely fabulous!!!
Lee: Sure.
Me: (Putting on my hat and strutting around the house)
Lee: You better have gotten that for free....


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coin Kids

When we got back to the port in Batangas we docked on the side of the landing that sits out in the water. The landing was a good 6 feet above the boat, so we weren't real sure how we were going to get off. The guys running the boat hoisted a rickety walk way up to the landing. And scurried up to the top to help us off. Janice said it best when she said, "There ain't no way in hell."
The water was below us, and every time the boat moved the walkway rocked back and forth. It was scary. We all made it across... just barely, but we all agreed there has got to be another way.
When we were safely on land we got bombarded by children. They kept yelling, "Friend, coins, water... friend, coins, coins." They wanted us to throw them coins in to the water, and they would dive in and get them.

You can check out the video here. I keep forgetting that when I turn my camera vertically it doesn't record that way, so you will have to watch it sideways... sorry. :/

Burn Your Buns

After my massage I went out to the beach. Lee was lying out by the water.

Me: What the heck happen to you?
Lee: What do you mean?
Me: You have red marks all over your shoulder?
Lee: Yeah, I think I got stung by a jelly fish...

(You think...)

Apparently he had been out snorkeling, when he felt like his arm was on fire. Then it started to go numb, so he headed back to shore. Ouch.
That didn't stop us from going back though. We went snorkeling again later and saw all kinds of really great stuff. We saw all kinds of fish. We fed them bread so they all came up really close to us. We saw huge blue star fish, sea cucumbers and a barracuda. What we didn't see however was the sun beating down on our backs the entire time. When the day was over and we got back to our hut we were as red as lobsters. See for yourselves....

My Massage

The next morning I got a massage! I figured after a week of P90X I totally deserved it, plus it was only 1000 pisos, which is equivalent to almost $20. The massage was for 1 hour, and I had two massage therapists; one worked on the top half, and the other on the bottom. It was called the "Ultimate" four handed massage. Brilliant.
I like to get massages in different countries because I think it's funny how different they go about doing things. In the U.S. they leave you in a room to strip down, then you tuck yourself in under the sheets. They are so afraid of being unprofessional they ask you if you want your butt massaged. (Um... of course)
In Mexico, they take you to a private room to undress and put on your robe, then you are lead back in to the room where you lie with a towel covering your "parts."
In Italy, they don't mess around. You lie there fully naked, no towel... no sheets... they are Italian... naked means nothing.
So, I was interested to see how things went down in the Philippines. A woman led me back to the massage room. It was a room with only three walls. The fourth wall was open, and you could look out over the pool. There were trees blocking you, so there was a little privacy.

Woman: You can take off dress and top. (I was wearing a swim suit and cover up)
Me: Alright. (Waiting... looking at her... waiting for her to leave.... she is not leaving.)
Me: Oh, right now.
Woman: Yes.

Well that's unexpected. Not that I cared really, but I didn't expect this from a country in which most of the woman swim in the ocean in shorts and a t-shirt. I laid face down on the table, (covered with a towel, in case you were wandering,) and then the man massage therapist came in.

The massage began and I laid there trying to relax, but I could hear screaming kids in the pool below me. Then the therapists starting talking to each other.... You've got to be kidding me. I am supposed to be trying to relax, and they are just going to run their mouths the whole time. Plus, they are talking in Tagalog, so I can't understand a word they are saying. And I'm sure they are talking about me, it was worse than being at a nail salon. They stopped talking after about 10 minutes, but there was no way for me to relax. I just kept doing massage commentary in my head the whole time.

Me: (Ok... what the hell is she doing? Is that her elbow? Ok, what is that? Sir... my legs don't bend that way... and since when has leg bending ever been a part of a massage? He better not touch my toe, it hurts so bad from when I fell on the boat and busted it open. Don't touch my toe, Don't touch my toe.... Hey, Hey woman that hurts. Whatever you are pressing in my shoulder is supposed to be there.... If you don't move your fingers now I'm going to have a permanent impression of your thumb on my shoulder... OWWW! That was the toe. *@#&%*!)
Bee: Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Me: (What the hell is that? Is that a bee? If they let that bee sting me there will be no tip!)
Woman/Man: (Smack Smack Karate Chop... Smack Smack)
Me: (Really? When did smacking someone all over become part of a massage? Do they think that feels good??)

This went on the entire hour. Needless to say I didn't feel entirely relaxed when I left there....

The Singing Filipinos

Filipinos love to sing. They sing all the time, and loud too. You will be in the grocery store, and they are singing as loud as they can, pushing their basket through the aisles, while picking out their vegetables. It's great. I was kind of shocked at first, because I can never imagine randomly singing at the top of my lungs... not in public anyway. But it seems to generally be accepted here.

Filipinos also love their karaoke. Just about every shop sells karaoke equipment, whether they are an electronic store or not. And there are signs everywhere you go, advertising karaoke equipment for sale or rent. I haven't been to a karaoke bar yet, but believe me... you will be the first to know about it!

The Coco Beach had a barbecue dinner and "entertainment" the night we stayed there. The entertainment was students from the near by college. They came around to everyone's table and sang songs. Now, I thought this was hilarious. Some how, "Killing Me Softly" doesn't sound the same in a Filipino accent. They were much better when they were singing in Tagalog, than when they were singing in English. I posted 2 of the videos. You can't really see them, and we are all talking in the background, but you'll get the picture.

We are talking in the background of video 2. But you can still hear her.
In case your interested, I have given you the manuscript version...

Lee: I'll give you a 100 pisos to go sing with them
Me: 100 pisos? You would have to give me a hell of a lot more than that. (I sound so enthused huh?)
Lee: I'll get you that massage you ordered.
Janice: (whining) I just want my dinner
Greg: Are they working on the lobster over there?
Janice: I have no clue, they have been working on it for 5 hours... ew... Lee... gross... that had suction cups on it." ( Lee just ate an octopus.)
Me: hahahahaha (Laughing at how horrible the singing is.)

We are quite a group.

Staying at the Top

Our hut was one of the highest huts on the mountain... which meant in order to get from our hut to the beach and back, we would have to endure 150 steps both ways. This proved to be quite a journey. When we were especially lazy, we found the cable jeepney.

This is pretty hilarious because this is the Filipino's version of a taxi cab. Instead of having a yellow, four door car... they have these.

You can't go 50 feet without seeing one, and you can't miss them because they are so obnoxiously ornate. Everyone of them is different, we even saw one that said "Houston Texas" really big on the back. Very random.
It costs about 8 pisos for a jeepney ride, and I'm not really sure how far that gets you... but it works like a bus. There are different stops, and they pack the people in the jeepney.
Now, lets say I had some goats, and I was going on a trip with my goats... I could bring them on the jeepney. Amazing huh? For 50 pisos I can rent the jeepney to take me and my goats where ever I need to go. But if I have cows, that's a different story. There are no cows aloud on the jeepneys. That sounds like discrimination to me.
I have yet to ride in a jeepney, and the cable jeepney might be the closest I get... so I was pretty excited!

(The cable jeepney. All the jeepney's have their names across the top.
This one's name is "Coco Beach." )

(Our Driver)

(Everyone who went to Coco Beach.
Me, Lee, Janice, Lori & Greg )

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where we're going... We don't need roads.

This past weekend we went to the most amazing island resort...Coco Beach. Coco Beach is about an hours ferry ride from the Port of Batangas.

(The Ferry Ride Over)

(The View From the Ferry)

On the way over to the island it was a bit rainy and foggy, but we were able to see dolphins jumping near the boat. I tried to film it, but I ended up watching the dolphins from above my camera and not catching it through the lens. So the video is 35 seconds of water and the loud boat noise. If you're really paying attention you can see a tiny bit of the dolphins tail.. click here to watch my award winning video.

The resort was incredible. It fulfilled every childhood fantasy I ever had of being a part of the Swiss Family Robinson. Here are a few pics of our Hut...

(A few of the Huts)

(Our Hut)

(The Balcony)

(Our Hammocks)

(The Bed)

I was so thankful for the mosquito netting. I don't think I would have made it without it. I should have walked around with it hanging from my head at all the times, then maybe I wouldn't have come back with 27 mosquito bites.