(Diak maawatan is Ilokano for I don’t understand you)
Randy and I are happy with our current set of helpers/staff. Since Alona and Peter left more than 2 years ago, we’ve had our share of helper horror stories. The one I shared last year was just the tip of the iceberg. Prior to that, we’ve had someone who can’t control her anger and would scream at will. We also had someone whose “boyfriend na patay na patay sa kanya” allgedly was her former boss who’s very rich and very handsome and has been sending her money so she couldn’t possibly have been stealing (kaso ni isang picture o text o message sa Facebook walang maipakita). But if you ask me, all I can say is that I can leave Randy drunk in a deserted island with her for a month and I’m sure walang mangyayari. If I attempt to tell you all of her kalokohan, I need to dedicate a different post pa. If I tell all our helper horror stories, I need a new blog domain.
Anyway, back to the present. Alona and Peter are back, and those we like have remained. Almost everyone in our employ is great!
But there’s weak link. Let’s call her Manang, because she’s the most senior among all of them. When she first applied (through the recommendation of my mother-in-law), I was impressed. She is an Ilocano. She’s neat, happy, and strong despite her age. She worked abroad for more than a decade, and she has no children (no responsibilities!) She is also diligent. You’ll never see her in petiks mode—she’s always moving around.
Randy and I thought she was perfect. So I was surprised when I noticed that Alona didn’t like her. Not long after, gets ko na kung bakit.
My awakening: the grocery list
We made Manang in charge of the kitchen. One time, she gave me a grocery list. It was very specific. As in, “one dozen eggs, medium in size”. Then “one medium can mushrooms, Jolly brand”. ‘Di ba?!? With matching drawing pa! But my being impressed was cut short when I saw this: “2 large onions, medium in size”.
Manang, ano ba talaga?!?
Medium o large? Hahaha! When I asked her to clarify, ipinaglaban niya talaga: “Ma’am ang ibig kong sabihin large, pero medium! Ganun ‘yun. ‘Yun bang malaki pero hindi naman sobrang malaki.” Uhm, ano raw? Hahahaha!
Walang ganyan sa States!
After that grocery list episode, marami pang naganap. Like when Manang cooked sinigang for 20 people, but she only used less than 1/4 of the medium sized sinigang mix. Result? Her “sinigang” tasted like a bad nilaga.
But what made us decide to assign her out of the kitchen was the champorado. One morning, Raviv had nothing to eat for breakfast, because what’s served was too spicy for him.
Manang: Ma’am anong breakfast ni Raviv?
I: Ay ipagluto n’yo na lang po ng champorado. Ito po ang malagkit tapos pakihanap na lang ng tablea.
Then I went into our bedroom to fix the beddings and take a bath. Not long after, Manang knocked on our door.
Manang: Ma’am, ano po bang ilalagay sa champorado?
I: Tsokolate po, di ba?
Manang: Bale ‘yung chocolate po ninyo (pointing to our stock of Snickers, Mars, etc.)?
I: Hala! Hindi ka pala marunong magullo ng champorado Manang?!? Puntahan mo na lang si Alona, dun ka magpatulong kasi maliligo na ako.
After I took a bath, I saw Alona outside. Mukhang bad trip.
I: O ba’t ganyan mukha mo?
Alona: Pa’ano ba naman kasi Ma’am, champorado lang hindi pa marunong magluto! Champorado lang!!! Tapos nung sinabi ko na nakakagulat na hindi siya marunong magchamporado, sinagot ba naman ako ng, “Eh wala kasing ganyan sa States.” Ni hindi pa nga s’ya nakaapak sa States eh!
HAHAHAHA! I feel you, Alona.
Let’s take it slow, so slow….
Not long after that, it was my turn to be annoyed. Perhaps because of her age or perhaps because she doesn’t know how to manage her time, Manang is super slow even if she’s energetic.
Like, it takes her the whole morning cleaning our toilet and bath that’s only about 10 square meters.
Another time when I realized it’s the 3rd straight day she’s washing our clothes, I went to the laundry area to help her. I couldn’t believe it would take her 3 days…she’s only washing the clothes of 3 people: mine, Randy’s and Raviv’s, plus the occasional linen. Yan lang talaga!
Yun pala, ganun katagal kasi pinapanood n’ya ang washing machine. Instead of hanging the clothes that she removed from the dryer, she would watch and wait for the next batch with hands on her hips.
Akala mo Egyptian soldier s’ya at Israelite slave n’ya yung washing machine at lalatiguhin n’ya ‘pag babagal-bagal.
Then there was also a time that it took her 3 hours to iron 15 pieces of our clothes. I repeat: 15 pieces of our t-shirts, blouses and pants. Promise! These clothes were easy to iron because they were not maselan and were just made of cotton. But it still took her 3 hours. Gravity!
So because her theme song is Freestyle’s “Let’s Take It Slow”, I took over. We bought a fully automated washing machine so I could do the laundry, and I’ll also be the one who will iron our clothes. Mahal ng kuryente eh!
Hindi nya lang feel
One time that it was Alona’s day off, I took over the kitchen. I cooked dinner, and Manang was helping me. When I finished cooking, I left to bathe Raviv. I returned to the kitchen/dining room at quarter to 7 p.m. To my dismay, the table still hadn’t been set–Manang was washing the dishes!
I: Manang, bakit ho naghuhugas kayo ng mga plato? Hindi pa nga tayo kumakain. Bakit hindi ka na lang nag-set ng table? Halos 7 p.m. na, gutom na ang mga tao.
Manang: Wala lang Ma’am. Gusto ko lang maghugas ng plato, ayoko pang mag-set ng table.
One of our birthday gifts to Raviv was bringing Ate Vi (his cousin Yoona—paandar ko lang ‘yung Ate Vi na tawag) here during Christmas break. I think it was the best gift for him!
Before Yoona/Ate Vi arrived, Randy overheard Manang talking to someone.
Manang: Buti naman darating ‘yung pinsan ni Raviv ‘no? At least magkakaroon na ng kalaro si Trisha (2-year-old daughter of Alona and Peter who also lives with us).
OhEmGee!!! Si Trisha pa talaga!!! Manang knew the following things:
- Yoona is Raviv’s cousin.
- Yoona and Raviv practically grew up together.
- Yoona is almost the same age as Raviv.
- We paid for Yoona’s airfare and will take care of all her needs while she’s with us.
…and yet Manang sincerely thought we were flying in Ate Vi for Trisha. Mwahahahaha!
With all her bloopers, you would think Manang isn’t sharp. Pero kumapit kayo!!!
One time, Raviv’s classmate Martin went to our home. While Martin was washing his hands beside Manang…
Manang: “Martin, are you circumcised?”
Na-stress ‘yung ibang kasamabahay namin. 6 years old pa lang, babanatan na ni Manang ng “circumcise”!!! Hahaha!
And then recently, Alona and I were talking about vegetables. I said I eat almost every vegetable except for alugbati.
Manang: Pati saluyot Ma’am, kumakain pala kayo?
I: Opo. Ilocano tatay ko eh. Kaya trained ako kumain ng gulay. Ang hindi ko lang kayang kanin talaga ay yung alugbati. May kakaibang lasa kasi na hindi ko kaya.
Manang: Ay ganun Ma’am? Sayang naman. Nagpo-propagate pa naman ako ng alugbati sa labas.
Alona and I looked at each other and said, “PRO-PA-GAAAATE?!?” Yes, propagate talaga! Not, “Nagtanim ako” o “May inaalagaan ako.” PROPAGATE!!!
Diak maawatan, Manang!
And just when we were all flummoxed (hahaha!) by her vocabulary, she says something that make us scratch our heads again. The latest was last night when I brought home watermelon.
Manang: Ma’am, i-slice na po ba ang watermelon?
I: Opo, kasi gusto kainin ni Randy mamaya. Pakilagay na lang sa ref pagka-slice.
Then I went into the bedroom to change clothes. After less than 5 minutes, I was out again, and Manang accosted (hahaha! Lume-level lang ako kay Manang) me.
Manang: So Ma’am, ika-cut po ang watermelon?
Alona: Syempre Manang! O gusto mo i-try mong i-slice na hindi hinihiwa!
Yes, mapapakamot ka talaga ng ulo! But Manang is diligent, honest, and annoyingly cheerful. We’ll have Manang and her humorous antics any time over our past helpers who were horror story characters.