I’m in a quandary. My life will irrevocably change in a few days and I’m not sure how to manage everything without giving up anything. I love writing. I love web publishing. But, in two days, I’m going to be Teacher Connie too. It sounds so weird. I’m not even sure it has all sunk in. There are still moments when I pause and ask, “What have I gotten myself into?” But I know that I would never be able to forgive myself if I had balked at the challenge.
In practical terms, what all this means is that I will have to give up some of my blogging time in favor of the teaching stint. Get rid of non-performing blogs and integrate their content in the high-traffic ones. That is the dilemma. Which domains do I give up? I love them all. They are all part of me. But that’s just me being sentimental. Some will really have to go.
One thing I am very certain of is that Pinoy Moms Network will push through as planned. Once I finish integrating the rest of my blogs, I’ll have more time to attend to PMN. The crappy part about all the extra work (which I hope will be over within the week) is that I hardly have time to read blogs. Between COOKING and attending to my family, COOKING and writing here and in the food blog, COOKING and beating my twice-weekly newspaper deadlines, COOKING and posting in my other blogs, COOKING and running errands, COOKING and fantasizing about beating the shit out of PLDT’s top honchos every time my DSL connection conks out, COOKING and debating whether to step out of the gate to scream at the Manila Water crew who ALWAYS does the jackhammer thing every time I have a deadline… Whoever thinks that being a stay-at-home mom means lolling in bed or munching potato chips in front of the TV at any time of the day deserves a good whipping. A few nights ago, Speedy and I watched two DVDs in a row while drinking a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and I was tipsy and happy but couldn’t remember when was the last time we had a chance to do that.
Where was I…?? Oh, yeah, I was saying I haven’t had time to read too many blogs during the past week or so. BUT I did manage to sneak in an hour or so of bloghopping today. Not much but enough to read a friend discussing my PR policy in his blog. Enough too to read parts of a long comment thread on car thievery. After reading the latter, I thought, oh, people you’ve never had it as bad as we have because you did not have your cars broken into right inside your own garage.
We were still living in the city at the time, in my family’s house. My brother had just gotten married, had moved out but the garage in their new place was not ready. So, our garage housed his car and Speedy’s. That was before the kids started school and we hadn’t bought my car yet. Lucky me.
Late one night, when Speedy and I were the only ones awake still watching TV, he heard strange noises downstairs in the garage. He went down, opened the dining room windows a crack and saw someone in the garage. He went back upstairs, told me to phone the police and went down again. Somewhere between picking up the phone and punching the numbers, I heard loud noises downstairs — the kitchen screen door banging, the gate clanging and Speedy cursing. Both cars had broken windows.
Apparently, the thief got wind of the fact that people were awake inside the house. Before Speedy could surprise him, he escaped by jumping over the five-foot high fence. In his haste, a towel got caught on one of the spikes of the steel gate. Yeah. Spikes and all, he jumped over the fence. The towel, sporting the “Good morning sunshine” print that is popular among jeepney and tricycle drivers was the only evidence we had. And fingerprints, of course. But there was no CSI back in the 1990s, not even on TV. Even today, lifting fingerprints from a crime scene is not exactly SOP in this country.
After calling the police, I called up my brother to tell him the bad news. He must have run the hundred or so meter distance between our house and his because he arrived a few minutes later. Speedy had inspected his car by that time. The stereo was stolen, a heavy-duty rubber-coated Coleman flashlight (a birthday gift from my brother) and I can’t remember now what else. The entire window on the driver’s side was smashed.
My brother’s car, a beat-up box-type black Lancer, had one small triangular window smashed. His iPAQ (I think it was called an organizer back then) was missing. Being the slob that he was, he had a bunch of used Barong Tagalog and suits in the backseat and they were stolen too. What was most intriguing was what came out of his mouth after conducting his inspection. He said, “Sana ‘yung kotse na lang yung ninakaw at hindi ‘yung gamit ko. Eh, di sana, makakabili na ‘ko ng bagong kotse pag nagbayad ‘yung insurance (I wish they had just taken the car and not my stuff. I could have bought a new car with the insurance money).” Still very much the pragmatic lawyer even in times of distress.
A few weeks later, work started on the construction of a higher front gate and perimeter fences. Fourteen feet high. What can I say? If you can’t feel secure in your own garage with a five-foot fence, you do something about it, right?
Sometime during the three-week construction, on a night when the old gates had been torn down but the new ones had not yet been put up, someone broke in again. I don’t think there were smashed car windows during that break-in and I forget what was taken. I was up to my ears with fury and tension. We got a 24-hour security service. The guards went on 8-hour shifts until construction was finished.
Did things get better? A bit. Except for the parakeets.
My daughters had pet parakeets which we kept in a beautiful cage in front of the house under two palm trees. Someone scaled the 14-foot fence, climbed down via one of the palm trees, took the birds — cage and all — climbed up the palm tree again, on to the fence and down the street. There was no other way it could have been done. So, down went the palm trees. We had no more break-ins until we moved to the suburb. But that’s another story.