Apps That Balance Work with Home Life

Being a working mom can be daunting. I am torn between my desire to stay at home with my kids and that burning desire for career advancement. Is it possible to do both? How can we find the balance?

Finding that healthy divide between family and your job is often easier said than done, but definitely not impossible. There are a host of productivity apps out there on the market, and Sarah Perez of Miami Herald has interviewed a number of working mothers to find out which of them were their favorite.

screen322x572Bill Keeper
Keeping up with office deadlines is a challenge on its own that can cause you to forget important home deadlines such as bills, though with an app like Bill Keeper, Miami trusts and estates attorney and mother of twin teenaged boys Tammie Purow manages finances with ease. To avoid unnecessary stress from piled up bills at the end of the month, she pays for utilities and such as soon as they come through, checking them off as she completes the transaction through the app. In case you can’t pay for the bills right away, the app has several features that will track and remind you of your impending due dates.

screen568x568Waze
For moms that commute, Waze is the app that will help you navigate through rush hour. A lifesaver to many, this is the world’s largest traffic app based on information from fellow Waze users. Mobile internet is a powerful force in the internet landscape, says the managers of the online gaming hub Spin Genie, enabling any smartphone user to share real-time data on accidents and anything traffic related with this online community. This great feature allows commuters to avoid traffic jams between destinations so that they never have to be late for work, appointments or recitals.

screen568x568 (1)Publix Online Ordering
With all those extended meetings, 9-5 office hours and corporate events, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to shop for groceries. Luckily, supermarket chain Publix has created an app that lets you do all your shopping on your phone. Whether you’re looking to get a prescription filled or have several items to pick up at the deli, Publix Online Ordering puts together your order on the app so that all you have to do when you get to the store is pay at checkout.

Three!

Yes, indeed! My baby Jonas is now three months old. I can’t believe it myself but here’s a picture of him taken yesterday.

smiling like there is nothing in my diaperI’m sorry if I could not be there with you as you turn a month older. MamaGirl has to work and finish her obligations first before I’ll come home and be with you soon. However, ara man si Lola Nene and Granda to take my place and provide you the tender, loving care till I come back. Promise me you won’t be pasabad to them and I promise to hurry home. I miss your sweet baby scent, your small face with big eyes staring back at me, and most of all your smiles that melt all my tiredness and homesickness. I miss you, Kuya Joboi, and Papa Jhong. I’ll be home soon, sweethearts.

SOSmio!

funny-pictures-the-blue-screen-of-death-claims-another-victim
via GoogleImage

Last Monday I was chatting with my older sister via Yahoo Messenger when my laptop suddenly turned itself off. When I restarted it, the screen just went blue and re-boots itself. Again and again.

I had it sent to the laptop doctors. And…

Oh noesssss! Big problem. The tech thinks it’s a corrupted OS. So that means they need to re-install it. I panicked… hey computer-doctor, what about my files inside? He just gave me shrug o_O

My sister suggested I use Ubuntu instead of Windows operating system. She boasts that it is free (an open source) and that,  she hasn’t experienced virus attacks and other problems usually encountered with the Windows OS eversince she started using it. Wow, I’m totally convinced, even though it’s the first time I’d heard about Ubuntu. But I don’t think the techs here know about it. Will probably wait for her to install it for me when she comes home for holidays.

Meanwhile, I’m here in an internet shop to do my business while waiting for my laptop to get fixed.

A secret no more

I was rummaging through my old files the other night and found some of my pictures in Kenya that I thought were already deleted!

Specially that of matatus – they are common modes of transpo in Kenya and are actually second-hand (or older) mini-vans and/or mini-buses similar to what we have in the Philippines – and these pictures evoke a particular memory while I was in Kenya.

I regularly take a matatu ride, especially when coming from the town to the jumping point to the village where I work. Because these are already used cars, more often than not, they break down in the middle-of-nowhere. See this photo:

stranded and waiting

If we are lucky to have a driver who knows how to fix car problems, we get stranded only for a short time. Otherwise, we painstakingly wait for hours till someone arrives to take a look at the  vehicle. Times like this we wish there are RepairPal Mobile we can call right away for roadside assistance just like what they have in the US.

The drivers are notorious for driving very fast and there was one time that I had the misfortune of riding in one that had an accident. I think the driver was racing against the other matatu to pick up passengers several hundreds of meters away and could not control the vehicle anymore. Even though he stepped on the brakes, it was already too late; the car swerved to the left and rammed against a tree. The front side of the car was badly wrecked, especially the driver’s side… I was sitting next to the driver and my feet got jammed between the car’s floor and the dashboard. Thank God the injury wasn’t serious. I was probably dazed and in shock and came to my senses only when the driver and other passengers pulled me out… oh the pain on my left foot. Up to now I can still remember every detail — about how everything went into a slow motion up to the impact, to being carried away to the nearest clinic.

Anyhoo, without sounding dramatic but also not downplaying what happened, I was not seriously injured. Nothing broken, just twisted ankle, or so they said, no open wounds (thank God!) just bruises and scratches (I instinctively used my bag to cover my face). So anyway, after receiving treatment at the clinic, I and the other passengers were asked to go to the police station  to report the incident. In my mind I was thinking what to say to the driver. In the end, I told him that he should have his vehicle regularly checked even if it’s just a simple brake pads replacement but very important for safety. After formalities at the police station I went home to Lukore with my new “shoes”.

my new shoes Nobody knew what happened except my older sister Sreisaat. We were exchanging sms for days and I told her to keep mum about it.  It was our secret as I – we- could not bear telling our parents then for they would have been at their wits’ end. Of course, my parents now know.

Am I going crazy?

So here I am, still bumming around while waiting for The Call from the powers that be.

Last week, I was told that I would begin my training for the company that hired on the 19th but was called off only a day before. That sucks. I’ve already begun preparing myself mentally and physically for the anticipated training and was disappointed when told that it was called off because there are not enough trainees.

So what to do now?

I hate lazing around with nothing to do. My younger sis – whom I shall call – Bebeluv – works every day (or shall I say every night) and I’m left at home with no one to talk to (except to myself!). I try to do some chores, but when I’m done with them, I’m back to – well, just being with me and myself only.

are you crazy My son and mom will be here next, so thank God for that. At least, I have company! The neighbors next door will now stop asking who I am talking to especially when they know I’m home alone. They think I’m nuts, but actually, I’m only talking to myself in the mirror, as if delivering a declamation piece. Hehehehe.

I’ll be off now. I just felt the need to chatter for a bit, now I gotta go out take some photos for my photo memes next week.

See yah next time.

Wordless Wednesday 015: Matatu in Kenya

wordless2

Not really wordless today but please indulge me. This is how I go around in Kenya when I was there for a year. Although there are big buses and trains, the matatus, a local taxi, is the most common mode of transportation everywhere in Kenya.

A matatu ride is not for the faint-hearted though. For one, the drivers are madmen! They race against each other, competing for the next passenger they can pick up along the way. Reciting the rosary, I found out, could make one calm, I tell you. If you like to know more of my matatu experience, just click this link and it will take you to my previous post about matatus.

Sari-saring kwento ng buhay

Summer school break is nearly here and my pupil is following a very strict schedule because he is having his final exams. No more late night TV and playing PC games. After school, he eats his merienda first while I prepare our dinner. Then we review his lessons together and by 9pm, he should already be in bed.

My son is in a kindergarten class in a private school affiliate with the Baptist church in Roxas. They have the usual English, Maths, Science and Art stuffs. In addition to that they have Bible classes, too. This Bible class is not to be missed. As part of their final exams, they have Bible verses recitation. My son doesn’t like memorizing that much. He finds it boring and he purposely makes mistakes at times. I feel I need to stretch my patience a bit more as a mother in times like this.

So their graduation rites will be on the 17th of March. If he passes all his subjects, he will be among those who will graduate. His younger cousin, my niece, Bop, is in the nursery class and we were told she’s among the top honors in her class. Congrats, Bop! From nursery, she will graduate to enter Kindergarten in the next school year. I wish my son will be as studious as his cousin Bop in the next school year – he will be in grade one, gasp! I am partly to blame because I was away in Africa when he entered Kindergarten. Although he was left in the capable hands of my mom, I still feel that I should’ve been there personally. I only came back last December, which was incidentally, their Christmas party. That gave me only less than three months to “mother” him before his graduation.

A day after my son’s graduation ceremony, I will be flying back to Manila for the VSO Returned Volunteers Weekend upon the invitation of VSO Bahaginan. It must be fun to meet the other returned volunteers and share stories and experiences of our volunteer works. Although I have to say that it will be a bittersweet gathering because of the sudden passing of my favourite VSO-Hippo  batchmate, Tarcs Taruc. He was the man behind the My So-called Mid-life Angst blog and had a 6month assignment in Zambia. I was looking forward to seeing him again during the RV weekend and cried when I learned that he’s already gone. Such a great person – humble, kind, funny, intelligent, deep-thinker, and a good friend. A huge loss to his family, friends, and colleagues. I will forever cherish the memories I have of him. Tarcs, may you rest in peace. I’m sure the angels up there are laughing with you and at your jokes.

Just checking in

Oh my goodness!
It’s been nearly a month and I’m so behind on my blog. I have a six-year-old going to school in the afternoons only from Monday to Friday, which is very challenging task;  a house to run (I don’t even know where to begin!), a blog to update (so many drafts), pictures to sort out (they’re all over) and a TBE network to visit.

blog_cartoon_mom_dad_kid_dinner_table I feel awful when I couldn’t do everything but I’m nearly drowning in the first two things mentioned and could barely blink my eyes at night when I plan to do the blog stuffs. Besides, my little boy is hogging the computer – but only for an hour after he’s done with homework and dinner. But anyway, at the very least, I am making an effort to creep back into the groove.

Please, a little more patience, to bear with me for a while. Summer’s fast approaching and that means no more school for the little boy for a few months. He can go over to his Grandma’s house to play and I’ll have more time for myself and for my blogging. So be prepared for some serious blogging action in the coming months. I am planning to have a post at least once week and I’m backtracking to my volunteer experience in Kenya.

I hope we all have a great weekend with our families.

Updates, updates

It’s been a while since I posted here. There were so many things happening back at the office, especially now that the end of the year is near. Time for project evaluations and report-writing for our donors. So most of us project officers are in the field, conducting evaluation sessions and interviewing beneficiaries to support the data we gathered during the evaluation.

While most of the working population are looking forward to the end of the year (read: bonuses!), we at the office dread it! Due to funding shortages, there will be downsizing of manpower. Those that will be laid-off will be given separation pay equivalent to the monthly rate multiplied by the number of years of service. This is not much, I tell you, since our salaries are not that high compared to others. For a single person, that amount might be enough to tide him/her over while looking for another job. However, for married people, this is definitely not enough. To those who’ll be lucky enough to be retained, will have to re-apply for the same position but the salary is not yet known if it’s going to be the same level or not.

As of now, the management has not informed us of anything yet as to who will be leaving or staying. Due to this uncertainty, I am starting to look for other options. I would like to work overseas again, preferably to Cambodia where I used to work as volunteer from 1999-2000 and 2002-2003. But my options are open – anywhere will do as long as it is not a war-stricken country. You see, I have a husband and kid and they’ll be a major consideration in the choice of country of assignment. And VSO has a positive reply on my application. We’ll see. Wish me luck.

Bad Credit Card

Everyone I know have credit cards. Who doesn’t, nowadays? A lot of people now prefer transacting with their plastics rather than cash that the number of people who carry cash are getting fewer and fewer as more and more restaurants, groceries, shopping malls, and almost all business establishments – virtually everywhere – accepts credit cards.

However, good things almost always turn to bad — it is when credit card users use their cards irresponsibly, and then fall into a monster debt trap. Most people I know use their credit cards way beyond their limits and end up with a bad credit card history, making it impossible for them to get back on the credit card track.

Fortunately, there are credit card companies who are willing to help you get back on your feet. If you want to know where they are – there is a site solely dedicated for this alone. It is intended for credit card users with poor credit history and/or ratings and looking to rebuild credit history anew. The site has an up-to-date compilation of top credit offers, not only on credit cards, but also home loans, auto loans and personal loans. I think the best feature of all is the list of the top 10 credit cards for the bad credit where you can compare the offers and make an informed decision. Once a customer has chosen the credit card that offers the best features suited for them, they are automatically linked to its respective online applications.

Just a friendly advice: spend on items that are within your purchase capacity. Otherwise, you won’t be able to pay back and get a bad credit history again. Always remember to use your credit card wisely. Don’t let it use you.