Homecoming Queens

Homecoming Queens

I used to wonder why school reunions made adults so wistful. Why did they keep playing Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko at these things? Why would all the other oldies inevitably scream and enthusiastically make for the dance floor? I couldn’t grasp it. It was incomprehensible to me.

We spend our youth wanting to grow up, and spend our adulthood wanting to be young again. There’s finally enough mileage on the old engine for me to think I get it.  Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko was to them what I Want It That Way is to us. Obviously cornball and ridiculously outdated, it’s the soundtrack to our youth – and sometimes music, like smell, evokes memories and emotions. It’s not so much being young, it’s feeling young, truly young, the way we used to feel when we didn’t have to pay rent and each day was an empty page to be filled with new and exciting stories, not a mindless slog to the office.

While I wish high school was the way it was in Clueless, the reality was a lot more grim. Thankfully, not Columbine grim – we didn’t fear school shooters as much as we feared mosquitoes that carry dengue – but teenagers always feel everything so keenly. High school for me was not always a fun time. High school is good to rich, attractive teenagers with seemingly effortless cool. It is very rarely kind to bepimpled, skeptical bookworms who don’t understand why always having the same things and going to the bathroom in packs are necessary.

I have always found it easier to befriend people with wills of their own, who have their own interests and aren’t afraid to pursue them. I felt fortunate to find people who – although way less awkward and bepimpled – were in their own way, iconoclasts. I like to think the friends I’ve made are all iconoclastic in their own way. We were all united in our shared respect for each other’s different interests. The main thing I have in common with all of them is a deeply twisted sense of humour, which we use as a crutch because life is absurd and laughter is the only way to get through it.

So our friendship, formed in our very early teens (and for two of us, childhood) and forged in the highly pressurized crucible we call high school, had miraculously survived the inevitable forces of growing up that cause us to drift apart. Things like college, career choices and immigration. Through it all we had stayed in touch and hung out with each other, but never as a whole. It had been almost two decades since our foursome had been complete, so like the first Avengers movie, we decided it was time. Boy am I happy we got together again.

What we don’t always realize is that high school forms the bedrock of our most cherished memories. The cruelty of it all is that we will never really get it back. One can only try to recreate it, which is why high school reunions are always a thing. We only decided to join this year because it was the 20th anniversary, and we all felt it was a milestone worth celebrating (i.e. join while your body still holds up to some extent and you still look relatively good in pictures.)

 

You can try to recreate a memory, but it will never truly be the same; the only way to get through it is to make new memories. And that, I think, we accomplished in spades.

How To Stay Alive When You’re Stuck in Economy Class for Fifteen Hours

How To Stay Alive When You’re Stuck in Economy Class for Fifteen Hours

Looking like you just got off the Paris runway is ridiculous if you’re ultimately headed for the cheap seats in the back. Wear a sports bra. All the support, none of the underwire.  You’ll have enough aggravation going on without including uncomfortable underwear into the whole mess. Dress light, dress comfy, use shoes you can ultimately slip in and out of very easily, and for the love of god, wear socks. You don’t want to be traipsing barefoot through security checkpoints when they ask you to remove your shoes. Gross.

My go-to travel outfit is a long-sleeved sweater, lounge pants from Uniqlo and my trusty Adidas Superstars. If it was socially acceptable to travel in a Snuggie, I would consider it. For a few minutes. I’m not that far gone.

Pick an aisle seat. You’ll get a little extra wiggle room and getting out is easy. Watch those elbows when the food cart comes around, though.

Have a travel buddy? Great, you get to keep that armrest lifted for a less confined feel. You can also try to game the system. If the plane’s seating configuration is 3 x 3 x 3, choose seats that leave the middle seat between you empty. If you’re lucky, no one will book it, and you’ll end up with even more extra space, because no one likes the middle seat.

Fair warning, this doesn’t always work out. People flying economy rarely cancel intercontinental long-haul flights if they can help it.

Stand. Stand often. Deep vein thrombosis is not your friend. No need to be a jack-in-the-box, but try to stretch your limbs at least once every couple of hours, and a potty break is a great excuse.

Keep your socks on. Planes get cold. Fun fact: you can get free socks and a sleep mask for free if you ask!

Use shoes when you use the lavatory.

This really shouldn’t be a necessary reminder, but I’ve seen quite a few people traipsing up the aisle in their stockinged feet. Observe hygiene and common sense; an airplane is a giant, bacteria-filled flying bus. God knows what you’re picking up.  (Hepatitis? Swine Flu? Foot and Mouth Disease? Gingivitis?)

Pre-load your phone/tablet/e-Reader with enough material to keep you occupied. In-flight entertainment may not always be ideal (Cathay Pacific – yay! Air Canada – boo!), and you’ll need something to make those interminable hours pass quickly, especially if you find it hard to sleep on planes. Otherwise, there’s always extra-strength Benadryl.

You know what, forget everything you’ve just read, with the exception of the sports bra. When all else fails, always go for extra-strength Benadryl. Sleep your way through a plane flight with no underwire digging into your ample curves, and you’ll be juuuust fine.

Magic Carpet Ride

Magic Carpet Ride

You know how it goes. Street rat in disguise woos princess away from her balcony with an offer to show her the world by magic carpet. She accepts, and it’s glorious. Fantastical. Amazing. Romantic, the kind of adventure a young girl would give her right arm for.

But I’m old and jaded now, and you know what? It’s a carpet. There won’t anything between you and the elements, no stable foundation for your backside, no one serving warm rolls and instant noodles, no inflight entertainment.

Economy class is a bit harder on the body. It’s a cattle car on a flying bus with a caste system. There’s the one percent – first class, with its hot towels and personalized care. Then upper middle class – business class, with its bags of warm nuts. Then there’s lower middle class – premium economy, the place where the more fortunate bob up from under, using their miles or squeezing the last drops of their life savings for slightly larger inflight entertainment screens and a bit more legroom. The rest of us ne’er do wells are in economy, herded together like a bunch of sheep hitching a ride to the slaughterhouse.

I personally enjoy nabbing the cheapest prices I can find, but you really do get what you pay for. It’s fine for short haul flights that take about two or three hours tops, but when you’re winging your way across the Pacific on a flight that lasts for forever in the middle seat and unable to stretch your legs (and really, much of anything) it’s an exquisite sort of torture. Exquisite because I know I’m going to end up somewhere nice, like Silliman University’s Founder’s Day celebration (yay!). Torture, because it’s fifteen interminable hours of being in one position, praying the passenger in front of you isn’t a jerk about reclining, that the people you share seats with won’t come with a squalling little human and that the stranger behind you doesn’t treat the touch screen monitor like a punching bag.

Worst of all, airlines never let you forget how much better you can have it if you just pay more. Why else do we peons get a glimpse of the business class section on our way to the back of the bus plane? With its roomy seats that turn into recliners, ample legroom and enough space to for others to respect your own personal bubble, business class is a glimpse of heaven on your way to hell. Wish you were here! It’s awful.

So to everyone who’s flown in to catch SU’s 117th anniversary and did it on an economy fare, I salute you. Loyal shall we e’er remain, indeed. Happy birthday, Silliman!

 

Image Disney/Aladdin

Means to an Endy: The First Five Nights

Means to an Endy: The First Five Nights

Before anything, apologies for the photos – we unboxed at five in the morning last Saturday so the lighting is crap. Also, our bedroom looks like we just moved in. I really should get a rug and a few more doodads to make it look like a wet dream straight out of Pinterest, but the truth is I can hardly be bothered. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of random house froufrou is always how much cleaning am I going to have to do now? We don’t have a maid and I’m lazy. Still, I really should get a headboard, if only to annoy the elderly neighbours next to us with constant knocking against the wall, hint hint, nudge nudge.

Having watched the instructional video, the first few minutes were spent discussing how they could possibly have fit a king sized mattress into a box the “size of a hockey bag. ” If it didn’t say Endy on it, you’d think it held an extra large Christmas tree. It’s definitely a space saver, helpful for moving around corners. Obviously it only works when you’re buying it, because you can’t compress it again if you do decide to move somewhere else. Still, you couldn’t ask for a more convenient way to get a mattress – buy it online, they ship it to you (gratis!) and you get a hundred nights to see if you want to keep it. There’s a a full refund if you decide it doesn’t work for you, and they’ll send people over to collect the mattress, where it either gets recycled or donated to a local charity.

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Based on box size, he guessed fold + roll and he was right. It’s actually flattened, folded, then rolled and comes out looking like a gigantic Little Debbie Swiss Roll. We had a debate on the merits of compressing a foam bed so aggressively, but what’s life without a little belief thrown in?

The mattress is heavy, so if you’re working with a king sized one, make sure you have help. Or you know, do it yourself, but maybe not at five in the morning, because it’ll involve a lot of grunting and a few thuds here and there, nothing new for the Joneses next door, hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink. Alright, I’ll stop.

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Anyway, once the box is opened, there’s a helpful infographic insert re the steps to take to get your Endy up and running. They also include a plastic cutter, which functions just like a letter opener (it IS a letter opener, and I’m totally reusing mine). Before cutting into it, you’ll have to maneuver the roll into the middle of your bed frame, get the plastic unrolled with the help of the plastic “tab” (a really long piece of extra plastic wrapped around it, think scotch tape when you first use it) then unfold. You’ll need to work fast, because it immediately starts to expand when it’s unrolled, and it’s not shy about it. (Think watching a sped-up video of a souffle rising in an oven. It’s that fast.)

It inflates VERY quickly and is ready for use almost immediately. I was going to give it at least three hours to stabilize a bit, even though their website says you can use it almost immediately, but it looked so enticing, we were lying on it after about half an hour. It feels like being in the arms of Jesus. To be fair, anything would be heavenly compared to our old mattress, but the Endy, which I had been apprehensive would be too soft for me, is actually just right. (So far.) It seems fantastical for a full foam mattress that came out of a box to feel so solid, but it does. The topmost layer is memory foam followed by a transition layer and then the support core. I was iffy about sinking into memory foam and feeling warm and icky, but it isn’t cloying at all, nor is it overly soft and you can almost feel the mattress working to displace your weight evenly. It’s also great at muffling movement; I can barely feel Le Hubs fidgeting around when he gets restless.

There’ve been notes about a chemical smell from the mattress, and we did notice it, but it goes away within a few hours and I’ve no complaints. So far, the first week has been going well, the sleep quality has definitely improved, and I’ll continue to keep tabs on our experience for the first hundred nights, so expect an update every so often!

Once more for the cheap seats in the back: this is not a paid Endy endorsement. I am in no way, shape or form connected to anyone behind Endy sleep.

Means to an Endy, Day 4

Means to an Endy, Day 4

Yep, it’s here.

Actually I’m sort of cheating, it arrived on Thursday but we decided to wait till today to set up the whole thing. We haven’t yet unboxed because there’s a situation with the bed frame that we need to fix and that I threw a shit fit about because sometimes it’s annoying when you live in a place that doesn’t require tools and you’re all of a sudden faced with the need for some hardware and you spend tons of time at a RONA trying to get shit figured out only to find you’ll have to go and do the whole thing again and it’s so damn exhausting I should’ve just done Wayfair in the first place like my instincts told me to do but no I had to listen to the old ball and chain wanting to save  money and the bed frame we have when I was ready to chuck it in the garbage and now not only have we not saved money we’ve wasted time as well and now unboxing will have to wait  and I can’t stand another night of sleeping on the old mattress  that I hate so much and

*takes a breath*

I really need to listen to my instincts a lot more. And eat. Because I get hangry.

I’ll be nicer in the morning.

Means to an Endy, Day 2

Means to an Endy, Day 2

Welp, that was fast. The e-mail said we’d get a confirmation within 1-3 business days once the order’s been processed. It’s been less than 24 hours and we have a tracking number. I wonder if the process’ll be as smooth and as fast if we ever end up returning this thing? Not that I want to. I just want to wake up feeling like I’m seventeen and supple again, with a spine that doesn’t scream when I get up in the morning. Did someone say exercise? I think the hubs is mouthing “treadmill” at me as I look him dead in the eye and wolf down some chips.  You know, just to make a statement. Jesus. Aging is rough.

[UPDATE] Woke up to a notice on the door from UPS, who were sorry to have missed me. All told, that makes delivery within two days of ordering, which is pretty impressive. Not impressed with the hit and miss, but that’s more a courier issue, not an Endy one. I suppose I should just be grateful they didn’t leave it in the lobby. Endy’s website says the courier will make two attempts, so they’ll be trying again tomorrow. Their postman always rings twice! (Sorry. I had to.)

Means to an Endy, Day 1

Means to an Endy, Day 1

My back has had it. His back has had it.

The mattress we’d purchased before moving in, once so brand spanking new, once so perfect, once thought to last for at least ten years, has had it.

We’ve had it.

Sleep has been shitty at times. There is nothing I dislike more than my sleep getting messed with and waking up feeling like someone’s been using my back as a trampoline. It can’t possibly be because I’m on the wrong side of my thirties and my body is ravaged by time and a few extra pounds, my masseuse says it’s my mattress and she’s licensed, so there. It’s the mattress.

I’ve spent the last two months researching mattresses. Trying this, that and the other, feeling like Goldilocks except all the mattresses were in different stores that were far apart. I was looking for a bed without coils, or memory foam or all the little extra doodads that are supposed to help you float into dreamland but are, in actuality, a complete waste of time. The best mattress I ever had was a solid block of foam that was almost as hard as the floor, and I’ve despaired of ever finding one close to it, short of shipping a king-sized mattress from Mandaue Foam all the way across the world.

Finally, after months of subliminal messaging from Casper and Endy, the hubs suggested jumping on the bed-in-a-box bandwagon. I trust his instincts when it comes to buying certain things; he doesn’t hem and haw quite as much as I do. When he knows, he knows. We chose Endy because the price point isn’t too painful and it’s made in Canada (yay, patriotism!). Yes Endy, your ads, which are EVERYWHERE, are working.

And no, Endy isn’t paying me to write about it, or give it any reviews. No one is holding a gun to my head, I just felt like documenting the first hundred nights (not EVERY night, I’m not Scheherazade), because that’s their trial period. Like Casper, Endy gives its customers 100 nights to see if the mattress is worth it, and if it isnt, they’ll take it back and refund in full, no questions asked. That’s what their website says, anyway. So in the grand tradition of throwing money at the problem, here goes nothing!