HP Bulletin # 346

The past few weeks have been eventful. Rather, they have been uneventful, save for one eventful event, which rendered the rest of the time unable to support any other events of significance. Did that befuddle you? No worries, I’m as fuddled as can be too.

The Amazing Aling Lourdes, or AL for short, our mistress of the household, default babysitter and cat-sitter and plant-sitter, who has learned to cook all our favorite food, and who has kept our household clean and running for the past 12 years, who has seen the kids grow, and has seen us through all our ups and downs, who knows where almost everything is kept—AL has officially retired.

The Amazing AL, photographed by Raine

At first, she was just feeling unwell and wanted to rest for a couple of days. Then it extended to a week, and then two. Before we knew it, a month had passed, and she finally came by to tell us that her children and husband have suggested that she fully retire. With both her kids graduated and working, I think that they earn enough for AL to stop. And it’s a well-deserved rest. No one works as hard or as efficiently—and with as much common sense and consideration—as AL.

As for us HPs, we are moving from survival mode to actual house-chores-as-part-of-daily-life mode. That sounds so entitled, I know. But AL has spoiled us all. She came in only four days a week, but what she could do in those days can rival an army of cleaners. She had her own schedule for everything: laundry and ironing, changing the linen, deep cleaning, and her constant rearranging of our clutter—moving them from plastic bag to plastic bag.

But what AL has over anyone else, I think, is her genuine care for us HPs. The kids have grown up with her, and you could say that The Hubby and I have too. During our times of financial struggles, she never said a word of complaint when we couldn’t pay her on time. She would even refuse to accept payment at times. She would bring us fruits or veggies, and bring treats for the girls. On their birthdays, she would also give the girls gifts.

So the first week that she was gone, survival tactics involved getting food on the table (and keeping the dirty dishes from taking over the house) and doing the laundry. The Hubby would take care of dinner cooking and dishes, and I’d do the daytime meals.

Simon: Wait. If I'm in the laundry basket, does that mean I need to be washed?


I taught the girls to do the laundry. We started with sorting. “Mooooooom!” they would shout from the back, “Is this light colored or dark colored?” Or, “Mooooooooom! Should we put the panties by color?” And then they would giggle uncontrollably every time they said the word ‘panty.’ Eventually, the kids learned how to do the entire laundry cycle by themselves, all the way up to folding and putting clothes away in respective cabinets. It’s great that The Hubby and I work from home and the kids are homeschooled—we can make do with clean, if slightly wrinkled (or plenty wrinkled, given the girls’ current level of folding skills) clothes.

Sorting the laundry (and yes, that's my punching bag)

Then we did superficial cleaning—wiping the table and stove, sweeping, and…well that’s about it. I also got rid of maybe six bags of clutter. And moved two bags of clothes out of my closet, and into the back. And Raine did sweep out the garage and front yard. So now we have to step up and do more. Seriously. That bathroom needs a decent scrubbing, and we need to mop the floor, among other things. And It’s time that I go declutter. Ruthlessly.

But—this is crunch time for me. It’s closing time for my magazine. I foresee all-nighters and stressful—I mean intense days. This will be my first closing without AL as backup. The Hubby’s work projects are also coming in, so it will be a busy time for both of us. Also upcoming are the girls’ OLSAT and final portfolio presentation and assessment.

I am thankful to see everyone rise up to the challenge of this new phase in our lives. The girls are more proactive, volunteering to do the laundry every other day (I think it has something to do with their new pajama sets that they wear straight off the sampayan—they’d wash those every day if they could). There’s less whining all around, and the girls are more willing to pick up after themselves and generally help around the house.

I also have been meaning to teach the girls the basic life skills like cooking, cleaning, laundry and all that, but with AL around, we never got ‘round to it. Since AL has been gone, Raine learned to cook rice and sinigang, Breeze cooked nilaga and the latest, French beans with balsamic glaze. They wash the dishes after meals (sometimes), and they’re getting better at sweeping. Sure, they solve the problem of fixing their bed daily by sleeping over the bed cover and never turning down the bed, but I can live with that.

Raine practicing knife skills: cooking radish for sinigang


I only wish that I didn’t have to keep reminding them—especially Raine and her cat feeding and litter box duties. But I figure that they’ve been pampered their entire lives, so it will take some time for them to get used to doing things on their own, and because they are a member of this family.

It’s going to be a balancing act, getting in work, school and chores while making sure that there’s time for fun and rest. I can foresee we’re going to need a lot of adjustment (me in particular), and a whole lot of grace. The Hubby and I feel that God is preparing us slowly for something new (so glad that God doesn’t toss us kicking and screaming into new circumstances. Not all the time, at least).

Breeze cooking French beans with garlic and balsamic glaze

This is one new adventure for the HPs.

Simon watching Raine sweep the garage and front yard from the comfort of his indoor perch






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