Gas station blues

I had to stop by the nearest gas station, PTT Clark, to tank up as I headed home from work last night. It was around half past nine. There were two vehicles being serviced so I pulled over to the nearest vacant pump, which was the right in front of one of the cars being serviced, an SUV.

By habit, I usually switch of the engines and pop the tank cover as soon as I reach the pump.

About a few yards in front was a guard and one of the gas attendants having a conversation with a third guy. I was pretty sure they noticed me waiting since they were all looking my way when I pulled over. And I was pretty sure too that the two other gas attendants, who were right beside the cars being serviced, knew that I was waiting too.

A couple of minutes go by, no service. A fourth car pulls over to the empty slot to my left and it too had to wait. Three minutes go by, nothing. Another minute more, still… no… service… Man, I mean, the pumps being used are automatic pumps. You just enter the amount on the console and the pump does the rest. It automatically stops once the pre-set amount is reached. The 2 cars being serviced were obviously being filled to full capacity. I only needed about two hundred pesos worth of gas, but the attendants were just standing ildly while waiting for the tanks to fill up. It’s not as if they were checking the engine oil or water levels. No. They just stared, scratched their heads, waited, and stared. And the other guy in front? He just chatted, and chatted, and chatted with his pals, as if waiting for the other guys to attend to me.

I’ve seen stations where an attendant could attend to several cars without any problems. I guess the PTT guys haven’t heard the concepts of customer service and multi-tasking. If they do have multi-tasking skills then they sure as hell use it for all the wrong reasons! And it goes: stand up, yawn and head-scratch all at the same time!

The only time somebody finally attended to me and the car beside me was when I did my car-honking-like-mad routine. That was when Mr. Chatterbox finally rushed to my side. Sheeeesh!

PJ: “Boss, pwedeng magtanong?”
A: “Ano po iyon sir?”
PJ: “Automatic ba yung mga pump niyo dito?”
A: “Ay opo sir! Automatic mga ‘to!”
PJ: “Eh di pwedeng iwanan yung pump?”
A: “Opo sir!”
PJ: “Ah, ok.”
A: “Full tank sir?”
PJ: “2 hundred lang, Boss. Honga pala, kayo ba gusto niyong pinaghihintay kayo?”
A: (nakahalata) “Pasensya na po sir. Oo nga sir eh, automatic nga po, ewan ko ba sa mga kasama ko!”

— Yicks!!! And he blames the other chaps? Hahaha!

*Sigh* I wish we had those self-service stations like in other countries.

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Related Blog Entry:
Budgeting the Cost of Fuel

30-ish Fish

Man, oh man. I’m 30. Is that old? Most people consider it so. Well, at least most of my peers do.

Have I matured? The kid in me says “Hell no!”, but the father in me says “Yes!”. I’ll leave that for people close to me to decide. But one thing’s for certain, I did get to pick up a lot of experiences in life over the years. I have my share of wounds to lick, victories to savor and roses to smell.

I’ve experienced puppy love, gone from bad relationships to much worse, and now I’m absolutely thankful to have finally been led into a better one. If you’re down and out, there’s no way to go but up.

And guess what my love has brought me? Ha! I finally have myself a new pair of sneakers for my birthday!

Graying hair or not, life just keeps on getting better. 😉

World Cup Watch

The ongoing FIFA 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany has brought back good memories of my childhood.

Football, or soccer, as most people call the game, is one of my favorite sports.

I’ve been hooked on it since I was a kid. When I was in gradeschool, we used to play it during recess and lunch breaks in any one of (then) Don Bosco Pampanga’s three football fields. I was even a member of the school’s varsity team at the time. Although I wasn’t the star player of the team, I could pretty much hold my own.

Before basketball’s popularity took over the sporting scene in the country, there was a popular school saying that went: “Hindi ka Bosconian kapag hindi ka marunong mag football.” — “You’re not a Bosconian if you don’t know how to play football.” — which I took to heart.

And being a Bosconian had an influence in my choice of soccer teams. Since St. John Bosco, and the Salesian order, came from Italy, it was but natural for the Italian Salesian priests, and most Bosconians, to root for Italy, the Azzurri.

And my stint as a player soon allowed me to study and follow the soccer world in detail. Which led me to discover the legend that was, and is, Pele, who became my sporting idol. This again led me to pick up another favorite team, the mighty Seleção, the Brazilians.

I have my list of favorite professional clubs too. On the top of the list is Ajax of Amsterdam. Then there’s Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus.

Going back to the World Cup, now that both Italy and Brazil made it to the next round, I hope that either one of them wins it all. Although it could be a rough road to the finals with the powerful Argentines and the inspired Germans.

Should neither team make it to the finals, which I hope not, then it’s still fine with me, as long as the sport that is so dear to my heart will reach and inspire the world’s people from all walks of life, and most especially the youngsters.

When that happens, then old coconuts, cloth-filled socks, makeshift cardboard shin pads, and empty lots would have served their purpose-filled days showered with children’s laughter, soaking up some rain, or basking in the sun.

CJ’s 7th month

Let’s see….. November 22, 2005, and uhm, June 22, 2006, wow, CJ’s 7 months old today! Yey! He’s growing up real fast. And I could barely keep up with him when he’s walker-sprinting.

And I’m stuck here in Clark while they get to celebrate and have a good time. I sure wish I could be home today to be with them. 🙁

Ei mahal, hug CJ for me, ok? I love you son! Hugz! Hamishu guys………

White hot Heat!

Congratulations to the Miami Heat for winning the 2006 NBA Finals!

Since both teams are my favorites (along with Phoenix), it doesn’t really matter to me whichever team wins. Although my preference shifted a little bit towards Miami’s way since I wanted its veterans, Payton, Mourning, Williams, Walker, Anderson, and the rest, to finally win one. They should have won it last year.

I am a big Shaq and Dwyane Wade fan. D-Wade was totally awesome! He’s a certified superstar, there’s no doubt about that. And he deserves to win the NBA Finals MVP plum. Shaq and Riley have really been great influences. 15 strong does it! Wooooooooooooooooott!!!

To Nowitzki and the rest of the Mavs, you have every reason to hold your heads up high. It was a wonderful series. And besides, there’s always next year! Way to go coach Johnson! And way to go Mark Cuban! 🙂

Father’s day fun

June 18, 2006. I finally got to celebrate my first father’s day event. We hied of into the Calamba, Laguna highlands and spent an entire day swimming, communing with nature and having a picnic.

Our destination? The breathtaking community of the Ayala Greenfield Estates.

Had I known how much beautiful the place was, I wouldn’t have gone through my usual reluctance of leaving the bed and spending the entire day perfecting my couch potato retirement routine.

I was so keenly intent on spending spending the entire day at home that I often found myself grumbling all the way to the venue. — Take a bath.. *grumble grumble*.. Grab breakfast.. *grumble grumble*.. Prepare the car.. *grumble grumble*.. Loading… Loading some more… *grumble grumble* *yawn*.. And off we went…. *What could possibly be better than celebrating Father’s Day sleeping, watching TV and basically just bumming around, right?* Wrong! I was dead wrong.

After tanking up on gas, which I noticed has gone up a few cents, again(!), we headed down south of Manila’s busy urban jungle.

It took us about 20 minutes to reach the site. And I was immediately impressed by how it was developed. The landscaping was great. It clearly wasn’t one of your average, run of the mill, insta-matic residential projects. As soon as we entered, we went straight to the clubhouse, admiring the view along the way of course. It was about a couple of kilometers from the estate entrance gate.

If the scenery from the gate all the way up to the clubhouse was amazing, with its rolling hills and elegantly pristine design, the view from the clubhouse was equally as impressive. From there, you could see Laguna de Bay, the Manila skyline, Mt. Makiling and Tagaytay Ridge.

I had so much fun that day. And also hit me that I have indeed become a dad, pop, papa, father, daddy, tatay, itay, ama, and whatever term you call that man who you looked up to while growing up, who disciplined you when you needed to be disciplined, who secretly stood by you when mom was on a rampage, and who let you have the honor of bearing his last name.

And I realized that I had so much to live for. Being a dad is such a challenge. But being a good dad is an even daunting task. If I’m up to it, I don’t know. But I’m sure as hell going to give it a damn good try.

:: Sharkey’s Top 10 ::

1. I got to celebrate being a first time dad with Conne, CJ and my family.
2. I got to eat a lot!
3. I got to swim.
4. I got to play billiards.
5. I got to play basketball.
6. I got to play badminton.
7. I got to burn off the excess food intake because all of the activities that I did.
8. I got to teach Conne how to drive through uneven, and often steep-angled terrain.
9. I got to go to church and hear mass. I wasn’t able to go to church for a couple of weeks.
10. And finally, the coup de grace, I finally got a new wallet courtesy of Conne! (I jokingly begged her for one, a couple of times in the past, and she remembered!) I don’t know how she does it, but she always manages to surprise me.

To: My Dearest Mahal, 

Happy 1st Father’s Day!
Congrats for a 7 months job well done… and for
more years to come! We love you! Muah!

Love, Conne & CJ

I love you too mahal!

—————————————————-

Whoa! Somebody forgot to chage the camera date settings again! Yaiks! 🙁

Budgeting the Cost of Fuel

I find myself frequently picking up a calculator and crunching numbers figuring out how much it costs me to drive to and from work. I spend my weekends in Manila with my family, and on weekdays, live and work a hundred-plus kilometers up north, in Clark.

Milk Money

I normally spend about two thousand pesos a week on unleaded gas and toll fees. A month ago it was roughly five or six hundred pesos less, equivalent to the price of a big can of my son’s milk. And a month from now? Add another five, six hundred maybe? Talk about spilled milk, it’s another can down the drain. And where do we go a few months hence? I don’t even want to think about it.

This makes me drool over those new hybrid cars in the market right now, that could go for 50 or so kilometers per liter. Mine could go for a little over 11 km per liter, which, compared to other vehicles in its class, boasts of being one of the best in terms of fuel consumption. Go Innova! 🙂

I’m glad that I’ve even learned a couple of driving tricks and techniques to maximize fuel economy and savings (thanks to the internet and driver’s ed sites). And the experience that I gained from crashing 130kph into a racetrack wall did have its benefits after all.

The reality is every price increase in basic goods can be attributed to the increase in fuel price. If only these so-called economic think-tanks could figure out a way to stabilize things, and fast!

Which all leads me to think that I better start saving up for these car hybrids (Prius here I come!), or get a job closer to home, or perhaps re-activate my temporarily offline business. To sum it up, fuel-for-milk isn’t exactly my idea of securing my family’s future.

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Related Blog Entry:
Gas Station Blues

All things CJ

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrated CJ’s 6th month last May 22. Here he is posing with mom.

 

 

 

 

 

CJ’s a toddler on the run. He learned to use the old-fashioned wooden baby walker (no wheels here) when he was just 5 months old – which was quite a feat considering his age. Toddlers normally use walkers, without assistance, from 8 months onwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With mom and dad at Pagudpud. CJ really loves the beach. He really loved the water the last time I took him out for a swim. He kept on splashing sea water and loved it when I partially submerged him. He’s my baby shark alright! 🙂

Bulldog 252

March 16, 1983

I can vividly recall the evening my mom arrived, pedal-to-the-metal, Mustang engines roaring a hundred decibels louder than what we had been accustomed to hear. She was crying real hard while trying to tell us the bad news. My dad, a fighter pilot, was declared missing-in-action. His plane was said to have disappeared over Palawan waters.

I didn’t cry. I was too young to understand it then. All I knew was that, in my eyes, he was my hero, and the greatest fighter pilot to ever defend Philippine skies, and I firmly believed that he would one day come back to us.

23 Years

It’s been 23 years since that fateful day, and a lot has happened since. It’s one of those freak events that drastically changes and molds a person’s life. The sad part is, I used to blame my life’s miseries on this event. What a fool I’ve been, and what a shame.

After 23 years, I can still hear how other people, his family and friends, speak well of him; the praises are endless. I realize that, despite his absence, he was always there to protect me and my family, and teach us life’s ways by showing us how he lived it, thru other people’s tales of him.

I may not have heeded him then, and would have been considered by some as a disgrace.. “Sorry po daddy…”

Now that i have a son of my own, I know that emulating my dad would be the best fatherly gift that I can ever give him, and by following my dad’s footsteps, I can also be the best man for my wife.

Top Management

I had my baptism of fire. Today’s my first day as part of senior management, and it started out with a bang. That being said, the Spidey fan in me affirms my childhood hero’s bitter pill: “With great power comes great responsibility..”