Those picture-perfect smiles!

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Growing up, it was a struggle to get all of us medical and dental treatments. Six kids, my Dad the only one working while my Mom stayed at home to take care of us all. It was always a tight budget, making ends meet, always prioritizing basic needs like food, clothing, education, shelter more than others. We made do with what we had, all of us kids. We did not complain, we were always grateful for whatever our parents could provide for us coming from their meager income.

We were happy. Dad, Mom, us kids. We grew up smiling a lot despite the hardships. We learned to smile amidst the difficulties. Our parents loved us the best way they knew how and it was more than enough for us.

One of the things that we took care of right away when life became a bit easy for the family was our dental health. It was taken for granted over more important needs like food and education so dental health took a back seat for the whole family. Yes, we went to the dentist when needed like for tooth extraction and cleaning but regular check-ups were close to none. When we started working, my siblings and I made sure that regular dental check-ups became a thing for our family. We all want those picture-perfect smiles, of course!

My siblings wore braces even when they were older. And it’s okay, I believe. As long as the dentist said that it was still applicable for them, I told them to go ahead and get it done. As for me, I want one of those secret smile aligners! I did not get braces because I felt it was too much of a hassle but these secret smile aligners are something that I consider getting as it is invisible and less of a hassle for people like me who loves to talk all the time. It is virtually invisible! It can even be worn while working and sleeping. Again, something very much to my liking.

Nowadays, we make sure that our two little ones at home, my nephews, know how important oral health is. I am regularly reminding my brother and my sister-in-law to keep a fund for braces and regular dental visits. Oral health is a priority for all of us especially now that we can afford it.

I have earmarked an amount from my savings for a project at home. We have a big wall on our second floor that is bare and in need of some hangings. I decided to get some of our photos framed and I will use that wall to showcase our family’s picture-perfect silly smiles. Oh, memories!

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Settled before thirty.

He was raised by a single mom who had to juggle two to three jobs in order to make ends meet. He has a younger sister. It was, and still is, just the three of them in life. It was probably seeing the sacrifices that his mom made that drove him to really study hard in order to get a scholarship in college. He chose to become a teacher.

accomplishedHe graduated a year early. He took the board exams and passed it. He then began teaching in his alma mater while getting his masters. Then, his doctorate degree. He passed each one with flying colors. While getting all those degrees, teaching, and even writing school textbooks, he also worked on getting a house of his own. And he did, you know. He did plus he got a car which he used for Uber, part-time.

He did all that before he turned thirty years old. Wow. To say that I am envious and extremely proud of my cousin is an understatement!

When I was in my twenties, I was struggling to make ends meet. I was sending my siblings to school while trying to work my butt off paying off bills. My mom was sick that time and my dad was focused on her hospital bills and medication. I was minding my siblings, food on the table, household bills, and even the washer repair. My mind was close to exploding during that decade of my life. I am just so glad that I was able to make it. Looking back, I knew that I became stronger because of that decade. When I am being asked about dishwasher repair, I now answer with a smile and would even help finding one online. Whereas in my twenties, if you asked me about anything related to household stuff, I would give an earful. That’s for sure. I was that stressed out and I didn’t want to hear any problems or issues or worries related to home.

When I look at my cousin, my heart swells with pride. It was also my plan to become settled early on in life. I had grand plans for when I turned thirty. Financially stable, with a good job, but also with a back-up business for a side hustle. But all that went down the drain when, first, my brother got sick with leukemia, and then, my mom got sick with a rare kidney disease. I couldn’t turn my back on my siblings. I wanted them all with a bachelor’s degree to their name. I am proud to say that even though settling is still far from sight, I was able to send my siblings to college. And, yes, they all got their bachelor’s degree, and license as well!

Soon, I will be able to settle in my own home. With enough money in the bank to support my travel plans and a good side hustle, too. I can’t wait for that day to happen. I hope, soon!

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Is this cabin fever?

What is cabin fever? I Googled it and this came back:

cab·in fe·ver
/ˈkabən ˈfēvər/

noun INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICAN

irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter

Truth is, I’ve been feeling all of those things and more. And it is not winter in this part of the world where I am in. In fact, the weather is hot and humid. But this part of the world is still very much being attacked by the virus that is making every person in the world worried and angry. Our lives are dependent on a bi-weekly announcement from the president.

Is this cabin fever?

cabin-feverI should get it out there that I am one of the lucky few who get to work from home and be with my family almost daily. I go to the office once or twice a week, only when there are absolutely necessary tasks to be done. Most days, I work from home and my schedule depends on what I need to do. Yes, I am lucky that I am earning while being able to stay indoors.

But being cooped up inside the house is getting to me. I admit it now. I feel restless, worried, anxious, and angry. I cannot stay put in one place nowadays. And the weather is aggravating my emotions. You can find me sitting on the epoxy flooring, on the stairs, on my stomach on the sofa. I cannot work as peacefully as I used to.

When the pandemic was in its first few weeks, my sister and I would go to the market every Sunday morning. It became a routine until a few sellers got infected with the virus so the market was shut down. Now, every few days I go to the grocery store to buy essentials. The number of cases are still rising so there is more anxiety in going elsewhere. I don’t. I stay put indoors unless I totally need to go somewhere. It is my way of contributing to the welfare of frontliners who are exhausted and about to give up since last year.

Maybe, I will go out very early to walk around the block. Maybe. We live near a hospital so I am not sure about the situation. I will ask around first. But I will do something about this ‘cabin fever’ because it is getting to my head. And I don’t want to start feeling sad about the situation. I can overcome this. I can find a way. We all can. We just need to find alternatives to what used to be our daily routines so we can stop feeling anxious and listless.

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Slowly easing into the new normal.

Life is slowly going back to normal now that vaccines are being administered to almost every person around the world. The “new normal”, as most call it. We go about our daily routine but with face masks on and doubly cautious of every step we take. We can still get infected with the virus, yes, but with proper care and caution, we can go out of the house like we used to. No, we can’t go to salons and spas yet. Those places are just too risky to go to right now. But we can get the services of a professional for auto body repair Woodbridge so our vehicles are in tip-top shape. We can also go to places of worship, malls, and other places we used to avoid during lockdown, but still with extra caution.

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When the pandemic broke out, we were not prepared. We were jolted out of our existence into a period of our lives we only read about in school textbooks. All of a sudden, we were told to stay inside our homes and to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. We were told to wear facemasks which we only see being worn by medical personnel. We were told to disinfect, use alcohols or any sanitizer effective on viruses. Tissues, paper towels, and wipes were flying out the shelves because people were anxious to stock up on anything that could fight off the virus. It was a period of chaos and we were afraid.

It is a good thing that humans are made with a built-in resiliency. Majority of us can easily bounce back from any setback. We fall down but get back up to dust our selves off. We are born to withstand whatever life throws our way. Of course, not everyone can bounce back no matter how much they want to. But we give it our best shot, fight until we can.

A woman’s parents tested positive with the virus. The Dad turned out okay but the Mom was hospitalized. She is still in the intensive care unit, fighting for her life. The virus turned out not only to be life-threatening but also a huge money pit. The medical bill is piling up, every person in the family has been contributing hugely just to cope up with all the payables. They are also now raising fund, asking friends and relatives for any amount. It is heartbreaking to see them struggling. I am sure majority of those infected by the virus and hospitalized are experiencing the same scenarios right now.

As we slowly ease into the “new normal” let us remember the lessons this pandemic has taught/still teaching us. Value the people who love you, especially your immediate family. Spend time with those who truly matter. Save! It is always best to have a fund for periods such as these.

We really don’t know what life will bring so we better be prepared, even 75% prepared, to battle it out with whatever comes along.

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Restrictions on traveling.

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Along with other industries, the airline industry took a nosedive during the pandemic lockdown. Until now, traveling has been strictly for essentials only. There are health protocols that need to be followed, travel restrictions that need to be implemented, and quarantine rules and regulations that need to be observed. It has become one of the biggest source of disappointments for a majority of individuals. Can you imagine a number of travel bookings already arranged and ready to be used, then, all of a sudden, no traveling allowed. All the ones that could be rebooked would have to be rebooked, rescheduled, or refunded. It is a lot of hassle, to say the least.

Here are three things you can do to distract yourself while waiting for the travel restrictions to be lifted.

Get those repairs at home done. Instead of wasting away your time checking and re-checking your airline schedule, why not line up all those repairs that need to be attended to in your home. Line up all the parts of the house that needs maintenance. Get a professional to check what needs to be done. That door lock replacement you have been putting off? Now, is the time to do it. Yes, there is an emergency locksmith Toronto professional that you can call anytime but it is still best to get the lock replaced as soon as you find it faulty. The same goes for all the other necessary repairs at home.

Start that activity you have always wanted to get on. Gardening, crocheting, yoga. We all have that one activity we have always wanted to get on board but do not really have the time to really do. This is the right time to get on board that activity you have always had in mind. Check online if there is an organization offering free lessons, or if it is not free, check those that you can afford. You can also do some DIY lessons through instructional videos. There are many ways for you to get on that much needed activity to get your mind off this pandemic.

Spend quality time with your love ones. Notice how we always say that we want to spend more time with our love ones but we always use work and other things as an excuse not to? Now that majority are stuck at home, there are no excuses anymore not to say hello to family members we have not been seeing in a while. We can do so via video calls, or even a traditional phone call will do. Say hi, ask how everyone is doing, take time to really listen to how your parents are faring in this pandemic. Bond with your own family. Put down the phone, turn off all gadgets, and spend hours just talking and listening to one another.

This pandemic has not given us only bad things but there are also some good thrown our way. We just need to sort through it to see. The biggest positive this pandemic has brought to us… time.

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Budgeting as a side effect of lockdown.

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When the year 2020 came in, a lot of positive stuff came with it. Everyone was hopeful. People have kept their faith that everything would fall into place that year, with luck being on our side. January 2020 was good, February even better. Then, came March…

A super typhoon wreaked havoc in several parts of the country through flooding. A volcano erupted after it. The eruption left so many families without their livelihoods, destroying crops, tourism, and so much more. Then, this corona virus claiming so many lives and causing massive lockdowns around the world!

One side effect of the lockdown due to the virus is retrenchment. A number of people lost their jobs because companies had to let go of some of their employees in order to stay afloat. Can you imagine losing your steady source of income? It is scary. But I’d like to think that this virus also brought about some positive changes in our lives. One such positive outcome is budgeting. Majority of individuals, especially parents, learned how to budget properly.

money-organizer These days, instead of immediately buying a brand new appliance when the one at home gets broken, an appliance repair brampton specialist gets called instead. Practical, cheaper. Economical.

When a double-income household becomes a single-income household, you learn to tighten the belt, fix this and that, to make ends meet. You learn to budget properly. You learn how to keep track of your family cash flow in order to make sure all the needs are met and some spare can be saved.

If you are having a hard time budgeting, here is a suggestion, an easy way to budget your income. Get a money organizer, label it with the expenses you need to pay off and spend on for the next fifteen days (this is particularly for salaried income earners), and start putting cash in every pocket until you have enough for every item of expense you have there. Mommies have been swearing on the effectiveness of this method of budgeting. One way of being able to properly budget through the money organizer is by sticking to the plan. Writing down what is truly needed for the next fifteen days, sticking to the list, doing meal planning… it is a big part of a successful budget.

Not everything brought on by this virus lockdown had negative effect on our lives. The lockdown taught us hard lessons. Save up for emergencies. Create and stick to a budget. Learn to tighten the belt when the household income drops. Get to know the needs of every member of the family living under one roof in order to avoid clashes. Be sensitive to the needs and quirks of everyone around you. The lockdown is probably a way of the world to teach us to look beyond what is in front of us, to improvise again like we used to, to become better versions of ourselves.

I would like to believe that we will come out of this virus period stronger and better.

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The importance of spare keys.

Home rentals can be tricky at times. After getting the master keys from the owner, what should be the first thing you must do? Call an emergency locksmith and change all the locks! Or at the very least, the lock of the gate and the front door.

front-door You are not sure if the keys you hold are the only keys leading into your home. The owner could be an unscrupulous fellow who can get in and out of your home when you are not around. You do not want that to happen.

There was a news in the past about a landlord who went inside his rentals, went through his renters’ things, then pretended that he didn’t know what happened. Good thing there was a CCTV in one of the rentals so he was caught in the act. From then on, changing locks became a habit.

But here’s one of the tricky parts of changing locks: you need to make sure that you have spare keys for emergencies. Yes, you can call a locksmith when you need one but what if it’s in the middle of the night and you accidentally lock yourself out of your house or room? Here is a suggestion: find a good hiding place. Not under the welcome mat at the front door or even under the plant pot near the stairs. Too obvious! Find somewhere you can hide it properly. It can be an alcove, a dent on the fence, a figurine with a hole in it. Hide your spare key there. You need to have a master key and a set of spare keys inside your house, of course. The spare key hidden outside is for emergencies only.

The same goes for your car. A set of spare keys in a secure place is also very much necessary. It is a must! A co-worker has a spare key for her car in the office. She once lost her car keys somewhere and when it was time for her to go home, she was panicking because she could not find her keys. Good thing someone remembered her emergency spare key inside the office so she went back to get it. To this day, she was not able to find her lost car keys. She promptly brought her car to an automotive locksmith to get her locks changed.

Spare keys are very important to have. Hide it somewhere secure. Lock it inside a cabinet you have access to anytime. Do not make the mistake of locking the keys inside a room which when locked, you would need the keys to get it unlocked. Someone made that mistake in the past and it cost her a pricey doorknob and a chunk of the wood surrounding the knob.

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