Archive for August, 2011

Almost a year ago I went through some difficult car issues. Car INSURANCE issues, to be more specific.

I initially mentioned the incident here, and although I was planning to write more about what came after, life went on and it was relegated to the sidelines.

First off, our car collided with the spanking new Audi A6, on its rear right door. The door was pretty smashed up, as was our bumper, headlight and hood.

Second, our car was liable for the accident, since technically it was on the yield lane when the collision happened. So even though the view was blocked by illegally parked cars and the car in question was over speeding, like responsible adults we accepted the responsibility and filed the necessary papers for the insurance claim against us.

Then lo and behold, two months later, we received a notice for the claim, and aside from the banged up rear car door which was replaced, we were also being billed for a front bumper broken on the far LEFT side. The entire bumper, unsurprisingly, was also replaced. Have I mentioned it was an Audi A6?

The car owner claimed that when the cars collided (at his rear right), his car was pushed on the left in front and hit the curb. WTF, ano daw????

Any decent human being with a vague idea of physics would know that when force is applied to an object on its rear right, pushing it to the left, the result would be the movement of the front in the opposite direction, i.e. the right.

Apparently, someone saw an opportunity to mooch off some unsuspecting foreigners. At the scene of the accident I had thought about taking pictures, but the car owner seemed like a decent person (he was a doctor!) and it seemed like everything had been sorted out. BIG MISTAKE. It was was big mistake that charged us something in the vicinity of US$5,000.

Fortunately for me, he did not know that I did not fit into the submissive Asian stereotype. I fired off a looooong letter to the insurance company pointing out the fallacies in his claims, with diagrams and pictures of the site of the accident (two months too late, but still useful).

All those hours spent watching CSI and Bones finally paid off, as I included pictures of the curb with rulers showing the height of the curb compared to the height of an Audi A6 front bumper (we had to hunt down an Audi A6 for this one), and the surrounding area with arrows and hypothetical scenarios (I used Scribus).

Operation Insurance Forensics 1

R modeled for me during our Mission Impossible

Operation Insurance Forensics 2

The conclusion: only a bulldozer could have pushed that car to the left, and even if it had, there would have been nothing to bang into from that side.

Thankfully the insurance company listened to us, and I am forever grateful for our hard working insurance agent who listened to all my rants and ran my paperwork.

Lessons I learned:

1. ALWAYS take pictures of the accident. You never know when you’ll need it.

2. Get a good insurance agent.

3. Some basic computer graphics skills that you think are useless can come in handy.

4. DRIVE SAFELY. Some people are assholes on the road, but it doesn’t have to be you.


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Lazy breakfast

Cucumber Breakfast

This is lazy breakfast food, something along the lines of, “I’m hungry and lazy to cook. What’s in the fridge?” And we go on “assemble your own sandwich” mode (assuming we have bread).

This is the Babii’s plate. Obviously, she has certain obsessive-compulsive tendencies which she inherited from, ermm, a certain someone.

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Anyone for a Greek salad?

We are huge Addams Family fans (the Raoul Julia versions), and I always remember that conversation between Wednesday Addams and the girl scout.

Girl Scout: “Is your lemonade made from real lemons? Because I only drink all natural juice. Tell you what, I’ll trade you some of my girl scout cookies for some of your lemonade.”

Wednesday Addams: “Are they made from real girl scouts?

. . . . . .

. . . . Wala lang.

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Car Repairs

It’s that time of the year again when our car is due for registration and inspection. It’s a lot of hassle going to the various offices to get papers and signatures, all for that highly esteemed sticker, but it does make us aware of things that need to be fixed and in the end it keeps us all safe.

This year we had to change the front plate, which was banged up during an accident (another story for the books), the brake hose, and align a misaligned headlight (also from the same accident).

Cars are R’s turf, so I just tagged along to give him credit card moral support.

At our last stop for the headlight, I was my usual nosy self and started dissecting the tangled plants outside the garage:

Is this balatong?

Wait…. is that what I think it is?

It is! It is balatong!

It is! It is what I think it is!

I was so excited I found a real live balatong (string bean) plant, I started taking pictures.

Okay, okay, I was also thinking of how I could manage to bring home some seeds for the garden. (I’m a seed bandit, so sue me.)

Perhaps reading my less-than-noble thoughts, the owner of the garage came out, plucked two dried pods and gave them to me.

This is one of those moments where common interests transcend language, because I actually understood from him that one seed alone bore that entire tangle of vines climbing up the electric wires. (Okay, safety hazard alert.)

While I was still feeling pretty pleased with myself, R came out and said that the owner’s son actually told his father that there was a weird lady taking pictures of the beans.

So much for my charms.

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Hungry and traumatized after that incident, I badly needed some comfort food.

R and I went to one of our favorite restaurants,  and I consoled myself with this:

 Croque Madame: Ang sosyal na ham and cheese with egg. Bow.A croque madame, otherwise known as sosyal na ham and cheese with egg

I’ve always loved Dunkin’ Donuts’ Ham and Cheese Bunwich (with egg), steaming hot with some cold orange juice early in the morning. This was as close as I could get.

R had the shakshuka:



It’s tomato sauce with egg, sausages, and a LOT of spices.

R always complains that restaurant shakshuka is not as good as Dr. Shakshuka. If we do manage to go back there I will post pictures, but right now another trip to Dr. Shakshuka looks vague, as the spices always send me to the bathroom (Sorry, Honey).

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Hospitals and blood. Again!

I normally don’t mind being poked by needles and having my blood drawn, because at my age I’ve been through a gazillion tests and some major illnesses and I’ve always been handled professionally by the kind and brilliant doctors and nurses of the Philippines. I should have known this day was off to a bad start, however, when in the process of drawing my blood the lady technician suddenly starts a long conversation with a passing technician. It was a looooong conversation which took place while she fiddled with my arm and ended with a low “Shit.”

“It hurts,” I said. Three times. In all my life I have never felt pain when my blood was drawn. Unfortunately for me, she did not speak English (except for “shit”). That attempt did not end well, and she started telling me things which, from my limited language skills, I figured was “Where on earth are your veins????”

In summary, she managed to get someone to tell me that I was “dry” and I needed more water because she couldn’t find my veins.

Thirty minutes and four attempts later, she did manage to get my blood. And for two weeks after that, I walked around with bruised arms which looked, from a distance, like I rolled around in the mud and forgot to scrub my arms in the shower.

For the record, I have fasted and had my blood drawn countless times, all with no incident. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I would also just like to say that I have been to a few countries, in a few cases I have used their medical facilities, and until now I have yet to see the same care and professionalism provided by Filipino health care providers.

And I would still prefer to go home to the Philippines for major medical procedures. Yun lang pow.

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purple flowers

Even though we don’t know what they’re called. (As long as it’s not carnivorous and not poison ivy, that is.)

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