Upon arrival to my mom-in-laws house I needed to use the CR. For you foreigners not “in-the-know”, that means bathroom. I had previously sent money to have the CR redone, with new septic, etc. but we stopped the construction about 1/3 through as there were some issues with communication about what was to be done, and quite frankly, a remodeling job is a big task. One that requires on-site management from someone that knows about the work to be done, and in my case, I need my wife to ensure that my requests for the job are fully understood by the construction contractor. Since we could not do this in the U.S. it was clear to me now that my first priority was to get the bathroom, or CR finished. Why, you ask?
I know I have not traveled the world much, in fact I have only been to the Philippines and Japan other than the U.S. And the Japan stop was only a layover on the way to the PI. So, when I saw the size of the toilet bowl I was VERY surprised. This thing was small!! There was simply NO WAY I was going to be able to use it. It was a good thing we found a contractor that could start right away. Someone the family knew from other construction jobs for other family members and neighbors. It’s a good thing they did too, because holding my daily necessity trips to the CR for mall trips wasn’t going to work for long. I could imagine me trying to use the toilet in the middle of the night, and falling onto the bowl and hurting myself.
The family and I went out on a shopping excursion for an “American” sized toilet and hand sink and some other safety issues I thought would be nice to remedy, including grab bars for in the shower. We quickly located a “hardware” store and they had a pretty large selection of items to choose from, especially considering the size of the building. We walked inside, were greeted by the all too familiar security guard/doorman, and entered into a nicely laid out show room. Sales clerks were plentiful, and there was no shortage of help, as we ran through the store, picking out items, getting prices, and negotiating for a better deal. Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it. I’m cheap, and I love to haggle. All said and done, we had a negotiation for all items, and I was ready to buy.
Now is the point in the story where I give thanks to Paul Thompson, for what was to come next was something straight out of his stories… “sorry sir, out of stock”. For which item, I asked? Well, let’s just say I could have walked out with a light and two grab bars and the rest would be in the store in a week. Or, so they said. Well, as you can imagine that simply wasn’t going to work for me. I literally needed to use the bathroom, and those displays were starting to look appealing to me. Could you see me dropping my pants and giving the toilet displays a test run?!
So, since reading our friend Paul’s articles, I wasn’t as angry as I might have been, and simply said, “Paalam” and walked towards the door. My brother-in-law walking with me, and he and I having a laugh as the girls tried to figure out what we were doing. Off to another hardware store of course!! We found a place that didn’t have all the fancy showrooms, generously apportioned staffing, and hoorah but do you know what they did have? A toilet and sink!! While they didn’t have the exact model I preferred, they did have one that was just as nice. It was just a little more modern looking than my tastes liked.something that looked more modern. After asking for a price from the salesman, I negotiated him down another 500PHP and we closed the deal. Everything was loaded into the Adventure, for our “adventure” back home to unload the supplies. After all, there’s not much room for construction supplies and the eight people we had with us hunting for the perfect toilet for the crazy kano.
After a quick drop off to the house of our recent purchase it was time for a trip to the mall to get a few more things. After all, what is a new toilet and sink without a mirror, towel holder, and grab bars for me so I don’t break a hip in the shower? We stopped for food at the mall, at a very Filipino restaurant called KFC. I don’t know if it is my imagination but I think I’ve seen them in the U.S. before too. 🙂 Lunch was nice, and refreshing and gave me the much needed energy to finish shopping.
This brings us to the much needed attention of service. At least, staff available to help. I’ve never seen so many people working at a store before. It seemed like there was one staff member for every other aisle. We quickly received help finding our requirements, and with each additional question, another sales clerk was added to our fray in search for the perfect items. I also saw a stand fan and added that to the list. Changing climates from one that is freezing to one that is so nice and warm has left me warmer than able to handle all the time. So, dragging a fan around to each room while I go through luggage, BB boxes, or other things seemed like a waste of time when one more fan would resolve the issue. So, I bought one that looked nice, seemed solid, and had metal blades. I’m not sure if it will be a mistake or not, but these are the more desired models in the U.S., so I bought one here.
The fan was assembled the next morning, and I was able to type in front of the new fan, which turned out to be very large and powerful. I’m already happy with my purchase!!
So, what of the CR? Well, after just two days, the toilet, sink and all other things required were installed and the plumbing got it’s test while the contractor was finishing the concrete around the new door. He left shortly after, but I’m not going to say it was because of my use of the CR. Mabaho? I think not. 🙂
I told Ben, the contractor, that if his work was good I would consider him for additional work around the house. Let’s just say that as soon as he finishes a fence down the road, he’ll be back to remodel my mom-in-laws kitchen for her. He is very skilled, and is self-taught in his craft. Something I like, as I was self-taught as a computer software developer.
So, until next time, Paalam, ingat, and God bless!