Our New House
Here is another update from my journal - written on December 23, 2009
We are in our house! Monday morning we left the guest house about 10 to go to the house. We couldn't go earlier because Monday is our restricted driving day. We picked up Katie Baatenburg on the way, since she had offered to help clean. We got all the walls washed (as far up as we could reach), the cupboards cleaned, mopped the floors, and I cleaned the sink and toilet in our bathroom. So that leaves the other two bathrooms, the tops of the walls, etc. We had pandesal for lunch and then went shopping for some household stuff.
When we got back it was time for supper so I called and ordered a pizza. Yay! What an accomplishment! First of all I struggled to understand them on the phone, and they me. And as part of that, I was trying to supply all kinds of information - how many people will be eating, name, address, landmarks by our house, color of our gate, if we will need change, etc, etc. Then I had to try to answer questions about whether we wanted any of all the other items on the menu. Well, I managed all that. But then, soon after I got off the phone, we realized it wouldn’t come in time for us to leave to meet the mover (we had to go to move the used furniture we had purchased). So call Pizza Hut back to cancel. But I couldn’t understand the lady this time and my phone kept cutting out. Let's just say I got rather frustrated and Daniel ended up doing it. So much for my accomplishment. :-)
We got to the house where our stuff was and loaded the small stuff into our car. The mover (Henry CO - we never did figure out if Co was his last name or if it stood for "company") was about 40 minutes late, but found it eventually. An interesting note about that. Daniel texted the mover while we were waiting for him asking if he could find it. He texted back, "Almost there. Just have to ask a few more people."
They came with a small truck and I had my doubts they would fit it all in but they did. I was sitting in the car behind the truck and turning the headlights on and off to help them see what they were doing, so I had a front row view. Henry (the boss) later said that he wasn't able to get his normal helpers, so the two helpers he had hadn't done it before. Thus Henry had to give rather specific directions - such as the fact that the fans couldn't ride standing on top of the table. They used cardboard as padding. Henry sure knew how to pack the truck, though, so that it all fit. They got it all in and the two guys rode in the back with the stuff to keep it in place.
We figured it out that they came all the way from downtown Manila (an hour drive or more). They loaded up the stuff, drove another 15 minutes, unloaded it all and drove all the way home. Then they have to pay three guys. And the cost for us? The equivalent of $42. Wow! How can they even do it for that? Daniel gave them a little extra.
Our boxes from Manila forwarders came earlier in the day and we also collected our stuff that we had stored at the Smits. So we have all of our stuff now and it’s pretty much all in place. The only things not unpacked and sorted are Daniel’s books and office stuff. Next week maybe.
What else have we accomplished this week? We bought a washing machine and got that hooked up, bought an lp gas tank for the stove, purchased lots of little household stuff that you always need, and some groceries. We bought a printer, voltage regulators for the appliances, got the car pass for the subdivision, filled the waterbed (more about that later), sorted out all the keys for the gates and doors of the house, and did more shopping. I think we were in the mall every day this week. And it was busy (last minute Christmas shoppers)!!! By the time this is done, we will have had enough shopping to last us a while.
I should write about purchasing our washing machine. In the whole process of buying one we probably had a dozen different people involved. By the time you count the two or three people giving the sales spiel, the 2 or 3 guys to box it up, the guy proving it worked by plugging it in and running the spin cycle, the cashier, the guys to wheel it to the car, and the security guard in the store to sign the receipt, well you’re probably past a dozen. Interesting. Things here are very customer service intensive.
At one point in the selling process, I asked the sales girl a question and she very carefully explained the whole thing to me... in Tagalog. :-) I didn't understand a word, but just nodded and smiled. I don’t know if it even occurred to her at that point that I didn’t understand. Then there was a little discussion between her and the other sales clerk, about who should explain things. Maybe they are a little intimidated with using their English, but they do a good job. Better than I would do in Tagalog, for sure. Oh, and here's an interesting thought. Our washing machine has an anti-rat tray underneath to keep the rats out. :-)
The waterbed is going to be a no go it seems. We thought it was baffled, but it's not. Every time one of us moves the other one goes sailing on the high seas. So we went today to Uratex to look at foam mattresses. We told them the size we wanted and they are going to get back to us with the price. So it could be a couple weeks or more before we get our bed, I think.
We have kids singing outside our gate right now. They beat sticks on tin cans or containers and sing some sort of Christmas song. The only words we can understand are "merry christmas." They want us to come and give them some money or candy (kind of like Halloween in the States, I guess). We haven’t done it, because that encourages them to come back. I think Henry (the mover) gave them some on Monday though. They’ve come maybe10 times tonight, and every time the neighbor's dog joins in the chorus.
Now a concert is starting with someone announcing on the loudspeaker (Monday night they were going till 4AM). And there have been fireworks off and on. Tis the season! Most of these things are holiday things. Filipinos don't mind noise and enjoy celebrating.