Hell-av-a-Monday

I feel stupid, frustrated, disappointed and depressed today. I can hear The Cranberries sing in my head, asking me ‘do you have to let it linger?

I don’t want to, but it just won’t go away either…

First Event

I went back to BIR South to follow up on our Authority to Print, with Form 1906 on my hand. I was more hopeful that everything’s gonna be okay because I was referred to a ‘better’ person (that handles) updates regarding pending ATPs – who is Ms. May. Only to be told that the received stamp was not from their office but from the other district’s branch.

More simply, our printer gave the application form to the wrong branch.

ATP BIR

Biogesic please!

Now angry and frustrated, I went back to Roedils Printing to report to them what I was told. I should’ve known they were disorganized when they had a hard time finding our Form 1909. This time, they said they would prioritize us with their next batch of follow ups with the BIR. I asked them where should I follow up next? Took a while before anyone from the 4 printing press staff could respond that they would update me later around 5:00 pm (which didn’t happen).

Second Event

I was supposed to cross off 3 items on my to-do list: 1) withdraw additional petty cash 2) pay our water bill 3) get a haircut. I was only able to accomplish 1.

Because I felt bad already, I was thinking twice whether I’d give myself a break and go to SM to do everything there. But because I was so fickle-minded, I took a jeep going to the main MCWD branch to pay there. I didn’t even know I lack enough cash, but I retreated upon seeing that it was so crowded inside. I opted to go to E-mall instead.

Cebu Jeepneys

Braving the commute and losing my way…

I hailed a jeep and asked if it would go by E-mall. Speaking in Bisaya, they said no, but would drive by the coliseum. Thinking that they were being sarcastic, I ignored them, but hopped in anyway. I was thinking it would go around anyway and I could just hop off and walk. But it didn’t drop by the Coliseum, and I noticed that we were already on the N. Bacalso highway.

Goodbye haircut.

Third Event

Trying to brush off my stupidity and my misfortune, I was thinking to pay the bill at the nearby bank when I get off on the way to our apartment. I was able to withdraw money from the ATM and was about to enter the bank when I was stopped by the security guard.

Oras

Tumatakbo ang oras naiiwan na ako…

Turns out water bill payments are only until 2:00 pm. I didn’t notice that it was already 3:00 pm. I was still feeling rebellious and I wanted to accomplish more today, so I stood by the roadside, waiting for a jeep to drive by…

I could still pay the bill. I could still get a haircut. I might lift my mood for even a little.

On Second Thought

After I few seconds though… I just walked back home.

Olive is alone with her yaya. I have a deadline to meet tomorrow. I have collections to follow up. I can’t manage to smile or even look at myself in the mirror. I feel dirty from the smoke and dust particles. I feel like an old haggard mom.

And I found myself irrevocably sad.

What Happened?

Why am I sad? Why am I down again? Can’t the happiness factors outnumber the bad things that happened today? Maybe… But my mind is just too clouded to look at the silver linings.

I felt stupid for not being fully literate with this third language. I found my confidence lost because I can’t engage in a full conversation with other people. I lose my way around. I’m like a handicapped person. I wasn’t like this since elementary and high school…

That’s sad, right?

And then I wanted to attend to myself. Because I feel old and unkept. Because I was told that I looked pregnant even if I’m not. Because I didn’t have the freedom and the time I used to have when I was single. Because I can’t go out anytime I want when my husband is working and there’s a baby, a business and a freelance job to look after.

But then, if I want to go out, I’m just by myself – no besties, no friends to talk to – about movies, how our friends are all getting married and having kids, the latest hook-ups in our social circle, where to find a good hairstylist, how was traveling to this country like?

I think I’m going mental…

Even an introvert needs a bit of socializing.

First Aid

So what’s a quick remedy?

I was thinking of Jollibee Flip Float, but its gonna make me more fat. Running? Too early, and it looked like it would rain anytime. I have calls and emails to check. Coffee and chocolate mix – too much caffeine, I might go Parkinsons mode again.

Instead, I rushed to check my Facebook and read the news. Flooding has reached Cavite, and it got me worried some part of our house would break. So I checked on my folks to see if they were alright. My dad called and I learned that the wall at the National Power Grid (which was near our residence) gave in from the the flood and caused damage to the main road and a portion of a huge house nearby. Work was cancelled at the city hall. And the weather was just chilly. Gosh I miss home!

Typhoon Maring + Habagat

Water world ang peg ng Cavite ngayon…

I received mail from a satisfied client. I’m happy that it was worth not sleeping for.

Lastly, I took everything in here. Without this blog, I’d probably be in an asylum now or ran off elsewhere (to mini-vacation on impulse). Its like I’m having a monologue. Unsure if anyone would read, understand or respond. But at least I have a blank page to talk to.

I do not regret living here and having a family, the business and all. Its just that it sucks when you don’t have a social circle and you have a language barrier to break. Maybe its also my fault because I’m not the type to easily make friends with anyone. I often stick to my wolf pack and meet new friends from there. But they’re just beyond my reach right now…

You know that feeling when you miss going out with your bunch – drink, sing at the videoke and talk about stories you’ve talked about infinitely? You wanna catch up with their lives and yours, get advice and share some insight. Girl talk! Bitch out, rant and throw fits for fun or nothing at all. Spend time with people who share the same favorite TV series, books, places, foods… It hasn’t happened for years now. And maybe I’m at my social need limit.

If I was a character in The Sims (yes the game & my favorite one), I’d probably be the depressed one, the one crying helplessly, or the one who fails to wake up and prefer to stay dreaming. (Or later on begin to see aliens and ghosts as well, lolz)

Depressed Sim

Depressed character in The Sims game

And how do you satisfy that virtual need? The character calls up friends to chat, invites them over or they go out.

That’s in virtual reality.

But I think, right now, it essentially holds true in real life.

On the last note, I actually feel better after writing out everything.

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Whoa Saturday!

Can’t believe I was able to doze around 12 midnight and be alive, alert and awake by 7:30 am. Yes that feels good! :3

That’s a consolation from yesterday’s headache which were:

  • Waking up at 11:30 am, because I was still counting sheep around 3:00 am. And even if I can’t sleep, I bothered Mr. H to go down and get me water because I was freaking with thoughts of The Conjuring (even if I didn’t watch the movie).
  • Checking my email which unsurprisingly have pending tasks. Sorry clients! =_=’
  • Fast tracking updates on our business’ vouchers, business expenses, petty cash, account balances, pending cash for deposit.
  • Storming the BIR office to follow up on our ATP (Authority to Print) which has been pending for 2 months. Only to be told that everything’s been released.
  • Which led me to rush to our printer who primarily couldn’t supply the date our requirements were submitted to the BIR. But was able to produce the processing stub after my fit of rage and terrorizing glares.

Yummy mogu-mogu lychee & nata de coco :3

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Comic & cute relief yesterday! Lychee & Nata De Coco Juice I saw at 7-11. :3

  • Went home to our yaya’s report that our LPG tank is empty.
  • Rushing to the grocery, dined out with the entire family and went back home almost 10:00 pm

I was happy to be dead tired because I know I’d be able to sleep early. With just bread for breakfast, I was greeted by intriguing, sad and happy news for the day:

  • 2 ships collided at Mactan Strait last night (while we were at the grocery). We confirmed the news because Aidz, our lodger who’s a nurse at VSMMC (the PGH of Cebu) saw the patients brought in after her shift.
  • SoWhatsNews published this satirical list of properties allegedly found by the NBI which includes a Wagyu Cattle Ranch in Bulacan to name a few. Hilarious must read. But some people just don’t get satire.
  • Michael V, my favorite Filipino comedian, has dengue 😦 and he was getting worse. His blood type is B+. I hope he recovers soon!
  • Apparently, those who have sex at least 4x a week make more money than average people. My disgust when I thought about JLN and our lecherous politicians. Sexy statistics fail!
  • We have a new supply of LPG tank and Mr. H won’t be going for field service today!

That means I have to haul myself to do some house chores, freelance work and some pampering today.

Energy burst mode!!!

Dealing with Cancer: New Motherhood and Survival

Note to Readers:  Last April 10, I received an email from Heather. She’s a survivor from a rare type of cancer called Mesothelioma. She asked if she could in any way spread the word about this disease through my blog. Like you, this is the first time I’ve heard about this disease. And it was scary from her experience to even imagine possibly leaving behind a daughter or a son while they are so young.

Without looking at how many readers I’ve got, she only considered reaching out to fellow mothers. I hope this reaches many women despite my humble blog. I’m encouraging everyone to share/repost.

And to Heather whose courage I admire, it took me a while (my apologies). But as they said, better late than never!

_____________________________________________________________________

About eight years ago, I was faced with something that no one expects in their lifetime. Even worse, it was devastating to the euphoria that I had been blessed with just months before when I gave birth to my first child, Lily. Lily was such a beautiful addition to our lives that I still find myself in disbelief over the next series of events.

Heather and Lily

Mesothelioma Cancer Survivor Heather Von St. James with child Lily. Heather was diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago. She has been an advocate of the disease ever since.

I just wanted to get back into the swing of things after Lily was born. I started working again full-time. My husband also worked full-time. We were going to provide a beautiful life for Lily and we were preparing for her first Christmas just a few months in the future. It turned into such a difficult time. I began feeling exhausted, too tired to move or go to work, and I was losing weight at about five to seven pounds a week. Something was definitely wrong.

My doctor ran tests to figure out what was going on, but in the mean time, I went on being a mother. The results came back, just a few days before Thanksgiving. There I was, ready to hear about a simple deficiency or little problem that had an easy solution, when instead, the doctor told me that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure. I was unknowingly exposed to asbestos as a child. It utterly shocked me to my core, and yet I was left to make a decision. Without treatment, I would only live another 15 months. I had to do something.

We decided that I should see a specialist in Boston. He had helped many patients with mesothelioma already. On February 2, 2006 I had a surgery known as extrapleural pneumonectomy, which removed my left lung, parts of my chest and heart lining along with parts of my diaphragm. I spent 18 days in the hospital and after another 2 months of recovery I began chemotherapy and radiation treatments. All the while, I was still trying to be the best mom and wife I could be considering everything. It was truly one of the most difficult times of my life.

I’ll never forget the way that my family and friends came through to help in this time of need. My parents provided care for Lily at their home in South Dakota while I was in the hospital, as well as a place for me to stay while I was recovering from surgery. I will never forget the way that we were blessed with so much help from our loved ones. I am truly grateful for their support.

Being faced with such a difficult situation, quickly puts things into perspective. Having gone through such a hard time made me truly realize and appreciate what is most important in my life, my family. Being able to use my experience and everything that I’ve overcome in order to help others is very special to me. My battle with cancer shaped who I am today and has allowed me to spreading awareness and keep up hope for this terrible disease.

Heather and Family

Heather and Family

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To learn more about Mesothelioma, visit this link and know more about Heather’s and other cancer patients‘ inspiring experience against this disease.

Mindset Overhaul

Hello blog!

Its been 4 months since my last post and I sincerely missed you! I’m currently on my energy boost mode (that’s between 11:00pm to 2:00am daily recently). And as I found my to-do list brightly highlighted with “DONE”, I figured I now have a guiltless time to revisit my alternate world.

Last time I checked, I mentioned that we had Olive baptized. She was 3 months old then. Fast forward to now. She’s a budding 7-months old baby with advanced locomotor skills which have kept us (me, Mr. H and Yaya) all the more watchful of her. She’s been laughing at funny faces we make, peek-a-boos and quirky sounds. A few weeks ago, she was down with mild fever, cough and flu, but she’s all better now. She’s grown her first teeth and has been fond of biting anything and anyone. She has really become our source of fatigue and joy. And each day, I wanted to spend more time indulging in this phase of her childhood.

7 months old Olive

7 months old Olive

Time is essential for me right now. And time is something I do not want to spend often as a stressed out work-at-home mom who doesn’t have a social life and is unhappy. So I decided to shift back to gear one and take things in stride.

The Happiness Factor

In June, I was able to earn $300 a week from my freelance job. It felt great and I wanted to maintain earning that figure for as long as I could. But that accomplishment came with a price.

I was less attentive in taking care of Olive. I did not gave enough attention to my husband and our business. And despite those, I still found myself constantly stressed and feeling guilty. Stressed because I know, I left a lot of things undone for our business, and guilty because I felt I was irresponsible as a mother and a wife. Think of having a bag full of a month’s laundry which I only washed because we didn’t have anything to wear anymore.

I tried justifying my act. I pushed myself to work hard because I wanted us out of our current apartment. The houses we are looking at cost the same, if not more expensive. But I was looking for a place where we could be more comfortable as a family with a growing kid. I was unhappy with our current environment and the fact that we’re experiencing flooding.

I wanted us to be financially capable of drawing ourselves out of here. But I learned that I can’t change everything in a month’s time, no matter how mad and desperate I am with working.

I was only leaning to become more stressed, more unhappy. I felt like no one was taking me seriously and I was hating by myself, alone.

Pause and Realizations

That’s when I tried to stop for a while.

I felt like I deserved to rest after working so hard. I took time to literally just lie down and do nothing but reflect. Then realization and remorse hit me.

I realized it wasn’t just me who’s having a hard time. Mr. H has also been restless (driving for days, sometimes sleepless working on preventive maintenance schedules and lifting heavy objects). It wasn’t my sole responsibility to earn for us. We’re partners and he’s also burning his ass off earning for our family. I need to stop saying “I”. It should be “us”, “we”.

I shouldn’t work hard. I should be working smart. But right now, the place just doesn’t allow for an engaging workplace to hire an assistant. The first and last one who came for a walk-in interview didn’t came back. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t work smart in the future. Answer: Set up a spare workstation once we’ve transferred office.

I am unhappy and whining all the time. I am too stubborn to accept that some realities that can’t be changed overnight. I read somewhere that 90% of the problems a man has is caused by himself. For instance, I was sleepless for 2 nights in a row because there’s a wild and loud party on a nearby covered court. I can’t do anything about it. And yet I kept myself bothered about it for several days.

I don’t have a social life. But becoming a mother didn’t cause that. I chose to live here, that’s why. And naturally, I wouldn’t have my family and friends here.

I am not the best person to take care of a child. I admit that. That’s why we hired an in-house nanny. But that doesn’t excuse me from bonding with my baby, and for not lending a hand when Yaya needs to do the cooking, dish washing and the laundry.

Finally, I felt like I was too hard on myself for no good reason…

Night owling again…

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Cultivating Good Vibes

The rest period after my workaholic June was an extended one.

WE treated OURSELVES to a full body massage. It wasn’t at the expensive spas we used to frequent when we were still dating (those that offer sauna and 1.5 hour couple massage). But with a baby behind us, Nuat Thai at the nearby Shopwise sufficed. The last time we had a more luxurious one was the day before our wedding in 2011. I know… its 2013 already.

I started declining job invitations I’m unsure if I could accomplish in time. Instead, I focused with my regular clients who send me tasks every now and then. That meant I didn’t have a full load. But I wasn’t really happy with having a full load and restless just the same.

Pending job invitations... >_>

Pending job invitations… >_>

I scoured the newspapers, internet advertisements and braved talking to the Cebuano landlords/ladies of apartments and houses for rent. I wasn’t successful and we were nearly frustrated discussing with prospects only to back out because of practical reasons. Just in time, my father-in-law told us that someone from their hometown is building a house and they’d want to rent it out to someone they know.

We visited the site (it was still under construction) and it turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. A 3 bedroom duplex house with a garage. The owners are kind enough to allow our business. One room was allotted for our office. They had a really nice ventilation (strategically placed windows in almost every room) which were lacking in most of the houses we’ve seen. The bathrooms are new. And Olive can roam around in a walker. It was the answer to our prayers!

There was a kapilya nearby where fiestas and parties are held oftentimes. But instead of whining about it, I just found a valid excuse for us to occasionally sleep in a pension house.

Alba Uno

Alba Uno Pension House. I dream of sleeping here one noisy night.

I volunteered to do collections from business clients and bank deposits from time to time. Going out of the house makes me forget that resentment of not having family and friends close by. Aside from the cardio, I’ve been able to visit the public library and learned that they offer free wifi access. I was able to enroll our accounts for online funds transfer which has been in my to-do list for so long. I also made efforts to meet with fellow freelancers within the city (who also lack the social life that usual employed people enjoy).

Looks familiar? #librarygirl

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More than anything else, I made it a point to express and show my love for Olive and my husband. I let her crawl, sit, roll and stand on our queen size bed, play with stuff toys, sing songs to her, teach her how to high five, clap and close/open her hands. I embraced her, kiss and cuddle as much as I could, because I know tomorrow she’d be bigger. I carefully watch over her milk, vitamin and hygienic supplies so we wouldn’t run out of stock, and personally walk to the drugstore to make the purchase even when her dad isn’t around.

Whenever my husband comes home after a full schedule (of deliveries, checkups and pull outs), I remember to prepare a dry bath with lukewarm water and a soft towel. I kiss him whenever he goes to sleep first, and take the 2-3:00 am shift of feeding Olive. I became more thoughtful of buying material things (while we’re together) that he needs but wouldn’t prioritize because he’s thinking of our expenses, like a new collared shirt or a better brand of hair gel.

Let Go

Within that rest period, I let myself indulge with things unrelated to work and with which I felt gratification afterwards. Things I stopped doing because I thought I didn’t have time or I couldn’t afford them like:

  • Cooking a meal
  • Doing the laundry
  • Reading AND finishing books (I’ve finished 2 books within that rest period, including Steve Jobs)
  • Watching movies and random Youtube videos
  • Having drinks and pastries in a cafe
  • Appreciating new artists and downloading MP3s
  • Running (although I haven’t repeated this after that one time)
  • Sorting things (clothes, files, bags etc.)
  • Making random lists
  • Thinking about the good times and how I could repeat that with my family in tow

Otherworldlyworkplace

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With those, I let go of my workaholic self and saw how different everything could be. The end result wasn’t like an Extreme Makeover Self edition radical kind of change, but I knew I felt better.

I saw that I have a budding family, a promising business and career, a hope for a better household and the resources to enjoy life. Nobody was demanding me to work 40 hours a week while looking after a baby and running another business but MYSELF. I should stop because I wasn’t actually happy.

And when I did, I felt more lighthearted. I was more playful and was easier to get along with. Everything seemed simpler.

I finally came to terms that in order for me to be happy with what I have now, I should not focus on my anger, frustration and sadness. I am licensed to feel angry, frustrated and sad. But I shouldn’t keep myself feeling that way all the time. Looking back, I felt stupid and stubborn acting like a kid.

I couldn’t say that I won’t feel negative again in the future, its part of my personality after all. But I wouldn’t force myself to go robot mode again, and feel sorry about myself afterwards.

To sum it up:

My to-do list is always full. But I’m pleased that everyday, there’s something being crossed off.