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Adventures in purchasing some plywood Dec 03

So, the other night I went to a friend’s house to help him set up a bed frame.

(He and I had made a trade. I gave him the bed frame for his spare Oppo F7 phone, which I gave to my girlfriend as a birthday present. The phone was practically brand new and barely used.)

We used a tape measure to get some measurements so we could buy a piece of plywood that would lay on top of the slats and under the mattress. The idea is that the plywood would more evenly distribute his weight across the slats and it would also prevent the slats from digging into his back through the mattress.

He wrote the measurements down on a piece of paper.

74 3/4″ x 5 feet.

So, now he has these numbers written on a piece of scrap of paper along with a bunch of other scribbles and notes. As a result, trying to read it was not exactly easy.

A day or two passes and we go to the hardware store across the street from our subdivision.

Well, they have the wood, but they did not have a saw to cut it. A HARDWARE STORE WITH NO SAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Before we learned about the saw, I watched him try to explain the measurements to the girl who works there. Now, I have dealt with this girl before and she is pretty sharp. However, it was still a struggle, because of the way it was written on the paper. One figure in inches and the other in feet. You could imagine the confusion that ensued.

Anyway, since they could not cut the wood for us, we took a walk to another hardware store down the street. They had the wood and they agreed to cut it for us.

So, I watched as he tried to explain these measurements AGAIN. Of course, confusion was the result again. So, I interjected myself and tried to get him to just say to them,

“74 by 60”

In other words, make life easy. seventy-four inches by sixty inches. Then, I changed it to

“Six feet by five feet.”

Seventy-two inches by 60 inches. Who cares if it is a little short. There is not much weight by his feet, so it is not a big deal if there are a couple of missing inches at the foot of the bed. Right?

So, let’s jump ahead a bit. He finally gets the measurement fiasco sorted out and chooses the type of plywood that he wants. We mill around a bit watching Heckle and Jeckle (the two Filipino store workers) try to cut this piece of plywood with a hacksaw. That did not work out too well, so one of them wises up and realizes that was the wrong tool. More accurately he realized that it was not working too well. So, he goes up to the counter and has his boss hand him the “well-used” rip saw from behind the counter.

They finally get it done and he and I set off to carry this large piece of wood back to his house. First of all, this was none too bright of an idea. We should have taken a minibus, instead, but neither of us thought of it. So, here we are trying to cross this busy street with this giant piece of wood that catches the wind like a kite.


We get it across the street without incident (sort of) and continue up the street dodging signs and parked cars and collapsed sidewalks and tires and this and that. I felt like I was navigating a war zone.

We get the wood back to his house, after a few short breaks to rest. It’s not that the wood was heavy. It was just awkward to carry and it put strain on our hands.

Getting back on track here. We get back to his house, get it inside and attempt to maneuver the wood up the stairs. With the first turn made we try to make the second turn. I get it into position and Ron slips himself into the bathroom to get a better angle on wood. This is when I realize and say,

“We should have had them cut it in half, instead.”

He just looks at me. HA HA HA HA HA

After some fancy maneuvering, we finally come to the conclusion that this was not going to happen. There just was not enough space and the wood was just too big. So, we get the wood back down the stairs and back outside.

One of us gets the idea that we can probably push it up to the second floor balcony and then haul it up and in through that door.


Well, success, but not without more fun and games.

I went inside the house and stood on the balcony. Ron lifts the wood and pushes it up to me. I grab it and pull it up. I saw the little ledge (formed by the balcony floor jutting out from under the  balcony wall. I figured I could rest the wood on that ledge while I waited for Ron to come inside and upstairs to help me get the wood over the wall, through the door and into the house. Unfortunately, I kept missing the ledge and my grip on the wood was becoming tenuous. Ron told me to lift it two inches higher and I did and found the ledge.

He heads inside and comes upstairs and helps me lift the wood over the wall, through the door and into the house. We maneuver the wood through the front room, through the hallway and into the bedroom.

Now, you would think we are home free from this point, right? LOL LOL LOL You’re a funny little optimist, aren’t you?

First, I had to wait for him to move some pillows, which was no big deal. However, you’d think that he would have had the area cleared in advance.

So, once he gets that one, we had to maneuver the plywood into position, which was easy enough. We get the mattress in place and he lays down to test it out. He gets comfortable and when he lifts himself to adjust his position we hear a cracking sound. He gets up (quickly) and we had to remove the mattress and the plywood to add a few more slats to strengthen it all up.

We put the plywood back down and the mattress and all was good from that point. Well, sort of. I still have to get the center line support (wood) pieces cut for him.

I guess it is working out fine, so far, without the center support. I am finishing up this article on December 3rd and we did all of that on November 30th. I have not heard any complaints from him since.


The unfixed fixed roof Nov 18
August 22, 2018
Today, the landlady sends her brother-in-law over to fix the leaky roof, finally. In the back of the house, there are these big ole gaps between the top of the wall and the roof.
So, this guy comes over and looks at all the points that I showed him (where the holes and the leaks are). He goes up to the third floor, alone and once I realized it I raced up the stairs. When I got up there I found him staring at the padlock on the window. 
Now, I have been in this house for almost a year, at this point. I have asked the landlady for the key to this lock and was told that nobody has a key for it. So, we go across the street to the hardware store and buy a hacksaw blade and the stuff to fix the leaks. We get back to my house and he removes the screen. He then proceeds to cut the padlock using a hacksaw blade (no hacksaw). 
Anyway, he gets the lock off, opens the windows and climbs out the window. This was after I read him the riot act about being careful of the fiber optic transfer box mounted on the wall right below where he is going out the window.
So, he’s on the roof and I knew he’d be up there a while, so I went downstairs to light the grill. The whole time I am down there I was waiting to hear a scream and a thud behind me. It never came, but i heard him moving across the roof. I look up and see him coming over the ridge line of the roof.
I head back inside and go back upstairs to the third floor. I tried to help him back in, so he doesn’t fuck up my internet box. He tells he is fine and doesn’t need help. DUDE! I was a lot less concerned about you than I was about you taking out my internet with your big clumsy foot or leg.
If I lose internet, I also lose my livelihood. Without it, I can’t pay the rent, feed my family, etc…
Anyway, I broke my cardinal rule and allowed him to work unsupervised. Of course, I wasn’t going up on that damn roof. I’m not suicidal!!!
He gets back inside, puts the screen back up, cleans himself off and heads downstairs and outside. I went back in to find out if we have to pay him. I decide to check the job and when I looked what do you think I discovered? Sure enough. He patched the small holes, but left the giant gaps between the wall and the roof. HOW STUPID!!!
That was the main reason for him to come over. That was where the typhoon rains were coming in from.
So, I had my girlfriend talk to him. He says he will be back (one day), because he has nothing to fix the gaps.
I swear! This place makes me effing nuts!
Update: It is months later and he has never returned. Those giant holes are still there, so I still get critters in my ceiling. Luckily, the rainy season is over, but this is still unacceptable.
I screamed at all my neighbors, last night. Nov 06

At about 8:53, last night, I got a message from a friend / neighbor (Ron), telling me to tell my girlfriend to move her car. I read the message three or four times because we do not a have a car. I know this he knows this, so his message really confused me. He continues, telling me that Abby’s car is blocking his neighbor’s car in.

Literally, a minute later (8.54 PM) my doorbell rings, which caused my dog to go nuts barking. I told Ron that it rang and I complained that it was interrupting my work, because I was finishing up a class, which would end at 8:55 PM. I then went on to complain about his neighbor (American).

I realized that it was probably the same guy who had complained about the drilling noise that PLDT (telephone and ISP company) was making installing his internet connection. It was something about how his girlfriend works nights and she was trying to sleep. Meanwhile, it was the middle of the day. So, what did the guy want him to do about it? In short, the guy was just being a prick acting like Ron was being inconsiderate. It was just ridiculous.

Finally, I got around to asking him how he got involved in this whole thing. He copy and pasted the following image into our chat, to answer my question. Forgive Abby’s English. It is a work in progress.

Abby asking Ron for permission for her friend to park in front of his house

The red text is a “translation” from Abby’s broken English. What is funny is that I just showed this screenshot to Abby and even she could not figure it out. Her excuse is that she was carrying the baby and trying to type.

Anyway, I finished my class and I went downstairs. When I got down there I found myself alone. Abby, her friend and the baby were all gone. The door was open and I could hear a slight commotion outside. I went outside and found a group of neighbors out there along with the security guard. I guess I looked alarmed because the guard came right over to me and tried to reassure me by saying,

“It’s fine. It’s under control.”

For some reason I blew right by him and walked up to Abby, who was holding our child.

“What is going on?”

She filled me in by saying,

“Armain’s car was blocking someone, so she has to move it.”

She pointed down the street and I saw a strange cart parked in front of Ron’s house. I looked around at all the neighbors gathered around watching what amounted to nothing interesting.

black and white angry man jumping up and down

Combine this stupidity with my anger over having my class interrupted by the doorbell ringing and the dog barking (as a result) and I exploded. I started off at a slightly elevated volume level which rapidly increased to an angry yell as I returned to my home.

“Well, if people parked in the fucking driveways, instead of on the street, then this silly bullshit would not fucking happen! You all have driveways, so start fucking using them. Show some respect for your neighbors and use your fucking driveways!”

By the time I had gotten back to my house and went back inside the gate, I was so pissed off that I just kept ranting and raving. I cleaned up the dog poop in the driveway and went back inside, still pissed and still yelling.

By the time Abby and Armain (her friend) got back inside I had calmed down. I asked Abby if anyone (neighbors) had the balls to challenge me or say anything and she said they not only did not, but that they all agreed with me.

An interesting side note is that my neighbor, who had parked in the street blocking Armain from parking in front of my house forcing her to park in front of Ron’s (which caused all this) had parked in their driveway, today. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts. I am betting it doesn’t last long.

Why my neighbors are drilling wells Nov 05

So, the water situation in my subdivision is all messed up. The developer/owner of the subdivision was a cheap @#^$ and the water system here is no different. Several of the homeowners have racked up huge water bills. Part of the reason is that our water bills are double what everyone else in the surrounding area pays. This is due to some arrangement the developer has with someone. There is an utang (debt) or something. I am not sure. I never understood the explanation. Anyway, because of that several of the homeowners stopped paying their water bills. One of my neighbors owes 20,000 pesos.

There have been several attempts to get the actual water company to step in and take over. Unfortunately, they declined. They had sent a crew out to inspect the subdivision water system and apparently it was not up to their standards. Instead of the mains being steel pipe, the developer used PVC. From what I am told it will cost 500,000-750,000 pesos to have it all ripped out and replaced with the proper material. Not to mention that it will take months to do the job, I am sure. The developer refused to pay and the homeowners are not going to pay for it.

So, my neighbor decided to have a well drilled in the front corner of his driveway. He uses that water for the house. Today, my neighbor on the other side has started the same process. They have not had a water meter for several months. They have been getting drinking water deliveries every single day. the absurdity of that is it actually cost A LOT MORE money to do that than to just pay the water bill.

Anyway, I just make sure mine gets paid every month or every other month. They do not even make it easy to pay which is ridiculous, but par for the course, as well.

What makes me nuts is that in my old house, down the street, I was paying 200-300 per month for water. When I moved in here it was about 600-800 pesos per month. Now, it is up to 1,000 pesos per month.

My electric has also been going up. When I moved in here, a year ago, my Meralco (electric company) bill hovered in the 7,000-8,000 peso range. Lately, it hovers in the 9,000 pesos per month neighborhood. Food prices are also sky rocketing. As a result I have been SERIOUSLY considering relocating to another country

A friend of mine has recently moved to Vietnam and he loves it. Actually, two of my friends moved there, now that my senility has receded for a few minutes.

A taste of home: Cooking on a kettle grill, in the Philippines May 19
For many of us, who have been living in the Philippines for a long time, we start to miss the foods from back home. I know this is true for me. Very few homes have an oven, so many of the foods that we take for granted, back home, are hard to make here. A great example of that would be a Thanksgiving turkey or a cake.
A few months ago, my girlfriend (Abby) and I, bought a kettle grill at Ace Hardware. Ever since, we have been grilling meat, chicken and fish, very often.
Yesterday, Abby bought this nice THICK piece of pork loin, which still had the skin and fat layer on it. I trimmed that off and sliced it in half lengthwise to get two thinner (one inch thick) cuts. We barbecued it, in a kettle grill, after marinating the meat in BBQ sauce.
We also baked two really big potatoes, that we foil wrapped, and tossed onto the grill with the meat. I have NO idea where she is getting these potatoes, but they are bigger than what you would get back home.
I wish I could afford the bacon, cheddar and sour cream, because that would have made this perfect. Unfortunately, I am having some cash flow issues, at the moment.
One piece of advice I would offer is to start cooking the potatoes first and directly over the coals. Make sure the coals stay hot, by ensuring good air flow. Also, make sure to flip and turn the potatoes. Don’t let them sit in one position, too long, or they will burn.
As far as how to preparing them, I just rinse them off good. Dry them, but don’t get crazy. We just do not want them dripping.
Wrap them in tin foil / aluminum foil. Then poke holes in them with a fork. Yes, poke the holes through the foil and into the potato.