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When Life Gets Sweeter

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The last time we talked, I believe I was lamenting some potential (and some probable) problems that were appearing on our home front’s horizon.  The katulong’s behavior was sending some signals that were familiar – signals that were identical to those that had been sent by other katulongs just prior to the end of their employment.  I pondered whether our katulong was “going sour.”

Things have changed, somewhat, since I penned that article.   Business is “up” during a time frame of normally low productivity.  Travel opportunities and actual trips taken are “up.”  Ambition and desire to accomplish and do more things are “up,” as well (while taking on any new challenges remains at a steady “when I get around to it”).  Potential and probable problem signals from the katulong are “down.”   Life is getting sweeter.

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THE BUSINESS SCENE

As many of you, dear readers, know, I am a Certified Public Accountant.  My focus is primarily on individual and business income taxes, however I don’t limit myself to providing services in just that one niche.  Some of you also may remember that I serve as the managing member of the firm, Keating & Chillingsworth, Ltd., and through the firm, I ply my trade.

CPA Work-Life Balance Jan 1 – Oct 15

This time of year – the period following the “official” close of “Tax Season” on October 15th (the filing deadline for taxpayers who received an extension of time to prepare and file their tax returns) until the end of the year – is usually a very slow time of year for business.  Tax return filings have been made.  Estimated tax liabilities for the current year can’t be accurately calculated and projected until information about year-end operations is available in early January.  The same goes for compiling annual financial statements – still need information for the last quarter of the year. Even year-end inventory counts have to wait for the year’s end.

You get the picture.  From mid-October to the end of December, a CPA’s usually hectic business life is becalmed.  One of the nice things about being a CPA, though, is that this lull in the business cycle provides social cycle opportunities to enjoy the festive holiday season at this time of year.  It also provides time to catch up on required Continuing Professional Education (CPE) training.  I have to get my 40 hours of CPE per year into the schedule sometime – now’s a good time to do so.

Holiday Time

Holiday Time

So, having given up celebrating Presidents’ Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day (not to mention all of the additional holidays celebrated here in the Philippines), I look forward to this time of year so that I can readjust my “work-life balance.”

This year, things are different.  Seems like I’ve picked up a bit of research and consulting work within the past few weeks, and it’s filling up the otherwise empty work calendar quite well.  We “workaholics” never refuse opportunities to indulge ourselves in additional labor, especially if it’s “labors of love.”  Too, a little extra revenue at this time of year certainly helps pay Santa’s invoices.

THE FAMILY SCENE 

Things among the immediate and extended family members can’t be better.  Our return to the Philippines was a little sad, as we had to say our “See you later!” to too many people in such a short period of time.  But sadness was turned to joy, as we greeted even more people with our “So glad to see you again!”  I cannot tell if these transitions are getting any harder or easier, but I’m sure it’s one or the other.  Jet lag does have its benefits, in this regard.

"Chunky Monkey" ready for Halloween

Our “Chunky Monkey” ready for Halloween

Baket ko (Asawa ko) [My Wife] and fellow grandparent, “Lola” Emy, and I are extremely excited whenever we open up our Android tablets and zero in on the latest Facebook postings involving our young Grandson, Henry.  It’s really a kick to see his latest pictures and learn of his latest adventures. Like other five-month-olds before him, he is discovering this thing called life and making great strides to adapt to what he finds.  All we need to do now, is to see if Henry’s Mom and Dad would let him give us a Skype call every now and then.   (Are you reading this, Michelle and Charles?)

IMG_0294

“Momma Manning”

Here in the Philippines, this time of year brings around memories of dearly departed family, especially our Mother, Romana (“Manning”) Velasco Dancel, who passed away last year on November 20.  Our family will get together a few days before the “Death Anniversary” to pray and celebrate her life.  (The actual date of her death is not looked upon as a favorable date to have such a remembrance gathering.)  Similarly, family members is California will hold a gathering on the same date as ours.  Most of Emy’s siblings live in Southern California, as did our late Mother and Father (Pedro) prior to their deaths, and coordination of our mutual events takes up a bit of telephone time.  Thank goodness for Vonage.

THE HOUSEHOLD SCENE

Of course, I couldn’t end this article and leave you hanging, dear readers, wondering what new developments have occurred in the “Saga of the Katulong Going Sour.”  As I mentioned a little earlier, those “ending our business relationship” signals are “down.”  As a matter of fact, the saga has had a dramatic shift in its script and it now reflects this article’s title.  Things are getting sweeter, and the “signs of souring” have disappeared.  Perhaps the extra work involving our return and the slightly hectic period between that date and her first day(s) off contributed to the theme.

"Not our real Katulong"

“Not our real Katulong”

It’s funny sometimes, how life here in the province mirrors the telenovelas that are broadcast by the television networks and intensely watched by viewers, such as those in this household.  I prefer not to watch, but the more that I think about it, the more I ponder whether I might better understand how “my world” is unfolding here in the province.  Maybe I should try to scan the channels one afternoon to discover whether any of those “stories” has a sub-plot that deals with katulong fickleness.

Our katulong will still be leaving us early next year, maybe in February, but our working relationship has been cemented solid until her final day.  She realizes, and remembers, that there are certain social events that occur at our house toward the end of the year, and agreed to put in whatever extra effort is needed to make sure all goes well.  We agreed that, in return, we’d make helping us during that time a little easier, and that we’d make sure she has adequate time off to enjoy some of the holiday season with her family, and some of our town fiesta that’s held between Christmas and New Years.

Sweetness – we’re good to go!

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PaulK

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 40+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

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Heinz Schirmaier
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Heinz Schirmaier

Well Paul, looks like you’re ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas! Have a great Holiday Season!

Paul
Guest

Hi Heinz – I believe that I’m always ready for enjoying a good time, regardless of the whos, whats, wheres, whys, and hows! 😆

My problem, however, is getting the connection between the good time and me solidly connected. 😆

Cate
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Cate

Your grandson is the cutest little guy

Paul
Guest

Thank you, Cate – he is growing as fast as a weed, too. We saw some new pictures of him the other day that turned the day into “Sunshine and Lollipops”! Young Henry was sitting up on his own, playing with a new educational toy, and smiling for the camera. He proudly displayed his brand new two teeth – bottom front – that came in at the same time. 😀 Hope we get to see a little of his growing up when we return to Ohio next year. Don’t want him to grow up so fast that he’d be carrying… Read more »

Jay
Guest
Jay

Hi Paul,

I enjoyed reading your article and looking at the pictures! I like the way you refered to your wife’s mother as our mother. That is how I feel about my wife’s mom. Sounds like she was a real special person and I feel it is good that your family is remembering and honoring her!

Take care and don’t work too hard!

Jay

Paul
Guest

Hi Jay – Yes, “our” Mother was quite special to the entire family. She and I had a special bonding, too; more so than just the obvious Mother-in-law : Son-in-law relationship. We smoked cigars! Many a warm evening would find the two of us, sitting in a cooler location, puffing on our cigars, and passing time by discussing whatever topic would pop up. We’d manage to converse using a strange combination of languages, hand signs, and (of course) pointing with our lips and wiggling our eyebrows. I don’t think that anyone kibbutzing our talk and smoke sessions would have understood… Read more »

John Reyes
Guest

Paul –

When you and your mother-in-law puffed your respective cigars while passing the time in a cooler location (I would guess in the bahay kubo located in your backyard), dId you also put the lighted end of your “tabako” inside your mouth the way your mother-in-law did?

Paul
Guest

Hi John –

When she was here in the Philippines, yes, we’d have productive bahay kubo time together. 😀

In the States, when we’d visit her, it would be in whatever shaded area that had a slight breeze. She lived in Cathedral City, next to Palm Springs, and finding that shade and breeze was essential. 😆

John Reyes
Guest

Sorry for the duplicate posts. The first comment automatically went in moderation because I had mis-typed my email address and the site did not recognize it. The corrected post appeared later at 7:14AM.

John Reyes
Guest

Hi Paul –

When you and your mother-in-law puffed your respective cigars while passing the time in a cooler location – I would guess in the bahay kubo located in your backyard – dId you also put the lighted end of your “tabako” inside your mouth the way your mother-in-law did? 🙂

Victor Emanuel Nobrega
Guest

Australian prime minister Paul Keating? ☺

Paul
Guest

Hi Victor – I’m afraid not. While we share the same first and last name, there are no other similarities. Both our citizenship and our political leanings are a world apart! 😆

Bob Martin
Guest

Ha Ha, different Paul Keating.

Peter Fitzgerald
Guest

Bob –

I’ve been trying to contact you about contributing some articles to this site. (Paul – sorry to interrupt your thread).

Bob, if you’re interested, can you drop me a note at myphilippinechronicles@gmail.com ? Thanks.
Now back to regular programming.

Peter Fitzgerald
http://www.myphilippinechronicles.com

Paul
Guest

No problemo, pare! 😉

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Peter – I have received two such e-mails from you, and have replied each time, but have heard nothing back from you. Perhaps my emails are ending up in your Spam folder? Have you taken a look there? I will re-send this morning, and hopefully you will get it.

Paul
Guest

You are correct, Bob –

The former Australian Prime Minister, and leader of Australia’s Labour Party, is Paul John Keating.

Your scribe here in print is Paul Allan Keating.

As I told Victor, the only similarities reside in our first and last names (Christian name and Surname). Everything else is pretty much a night and day difference. 😉

Paul
Guest

P.S., I’m the better looking, more intelligent Paul Keating! 😆

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