6 Frequently Ask Questions on Hiring a Fence Contractor

Thinking about renovating your home on 2017? If one of your projects involve building a fence within your property, below are 6 important questions to ask fence contractors before hiring them to work on your project. Note that every contractor will try and make you think they are best one available for the job, but there are a few you want to avoid.  Try and local local online reviews before making any final decisions. So it’s better to keep these important points in mind. 
1. Are You Licensed and Insured?
A quality contractor will be licensed, insured and carry workman’s compensation in case a worker gets hurt during any stage of the job. You do not want to be held financially responsible by being the landowner if someone gets hurt. Ask that they show you proof so you will have peace of mind.

2. Will You Provide a Written Estimate?

General guesses and rough estimates given verbally are not what you need when it comes to getting a quote for a fence. An experienced fencing contractor will know how much material is needed and how many hours of labor the project will take. They should be able to provide a written estimate that comes close to the final tally. Ask them to get with you before making any changes so you are not caught unaware of a price discrepancy when the job is complete.

3. How Long Will the Project Take?

The length of time for the fence project will depend on the amount needing to be done, available manpower of the contractor, weather and delivery of materials. They should be able to confirm a reasonable time estimate. Have them put it in writing on the contract. When it is included in the contract they will be more likely to finish early and give your job priority time.

4. Is There an Installation or Product Warranty?

Things can go wrong with an installation or materials can be defective and leave you with a fence that serves little purpose. Find out if the contractor is willing to give you a warranty for their installation services. Ask about the customary manufacturers warranty for the fence materials. There is normally a standard set amount of time on the materials and 2 -3 years is desirable for an installation warranty.

5. Will You Provide References?

A good fence contractor will be happy to share the references of other satisfied customers. It is best to keep looking for another contractor if they hesitate or seem to have excuses to not share that type of information. 

6. How Much Maintenance Will the Fence Require?

Wrought iron, chain link and vinyl fencing will be the easiest to maintain. Wood privacy fencing will need to be painted or stained to finish and protect it from weather. Make sure you have the contractor give you the details needed to care for the fence and extend the life of the material.

Contact fencing experts like renovationexperts.com today and start the process of finding the perfect contractor. You will have the fencing you need and desire right away.

On Sewing and DIY Projects

This portable sewing machine I bought online few years ago has been stored in one of our cabinets for quite sometime. I think the last time I used it was 2 years ago when my office mates and I DIY’d our beaver costume for our group presentation. 
Two weeks ago, the Children’s Choir coordinator told Thea that her choir uniform is already too short for her, thus need to be repaired.  Instead of having it repaired by a seamstress, I decided to do it myself. I used my sewing machine in repairing the hemline of Thea’s uniform. 

I am inspired by the success of my mini project that I want to engage in another one this upcoming holidays. I’ve been meaning to change the cushion of our wooden sofa. After few searches, I found this No-Sew Cushion on Pinterest. 
The step-by-step guide will be found in the Old House to New Home blog. I am excited for this project! 

The Practice of “Continual Letting Go”

My past week has been heavy, and today, while browsing my Gmail inbox I came across an unread message from one of the blogs I am subscribed to. The article is about the practice of continual letting go when you are overwhelmed – which is written by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits
In the midst of busyness and overwhelming situation, the author shared that he remembered the practice  of continual letting. How did he do that. As a Zen practice, continual letting need not be stressful. When we realize, don’t know, the author shared that:

  • We don’t have to be mad when someone is acting in a way we don’t like.
  • We don’t have to have anxiety when we don’t know if things will go as planned or hoped. 
  • We don’t have to have all the answers.  We can have questions and curiosity instead. 
  • We don’t have to get into a tense “No I’m right” battle with anyone else. 
  • We don’t judge other people as much, so we can be open to who they are and have a good relationship with them. 
  • We don’t have to control things, but can instead just try to be helpful without controlling the outcome. 
Now, I am asking myself. Should have I read this article way way back and perfected the art of letting go, the problem I am facing now may not happen or could have happened but with lesser impact to me and the other party. I really don’t know…but I will keep these things in mind so that future conflicts will be avoided. 
Here is the link to the original article:  https://zenhabits.net/continual/ 

5 Lessons Learned in my Solo Trip to Bangkok

Travel Diaries 3: PART 2 OF 2

In the first part of this Travel Diaries episode, I talked about the workshop I attended during my first solo trip abroad. This time, please allow me to share my experiences as I toured around the City of Bangkok all by myself. I took the chance to see some of the most-visited attractions in the City during my free time, the day before my flight back home.  It was an amazing experience and I learned so much from this trip.

I stayed at the Nouvo City Hotel for 4 days.  I am so happy about my choice. I am very satisfied with the services and amenities of Nouvo City Hotel PLUS it is located not only near to the conference venue but also to a number of Bangkok City’s attractions. Nouvo City Hotel is a boutique hotel in old City Bangkok (known as Banglamphu) near Khao San Road.

I left Manila (NAIA) last November 29 at 2:50pm and arrived in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand’s main international airport at 5:45pm.  I stayed at the airport for about an hour upon arrival for few reasons – currency exchange, phone charging, and just sat down at the airport lobby getting the hang of the Thailand atmosphere hehe .  I arrived at the hotel past 7 in the evening.

my room…

After a jamp-packed schedule on the first day, I went to Sathorn Road to attend Worship Services at the Iglesia Ni Cristo place of worship.  I walked for a while and grabbed something to eat for dinner in of the street food stalls along the way. I rode a taxi going back to my hotel.

selfie before reviewing introductory notes early in the morning – Day 1 of the workshop

ready, set…

…go! first breakfast at the hotel’s Canal Restaurant – stir-fried noodles, chicken sausages, egg, rice

Day 2 breakfast – cinnamon bread, salad and fruits. I also had tomato soup and buttered toast.


One-Day Bangkok City Tour 

Now, lemme show you some bits and pieces of what happened during my one-day city tour. On December 2, I woke up early, dress up in my most comfortable outfit, and ate breakfast at the hotel. Armed with a small map from the hotel, I went to the first destination – The Grand Palace. Unfortunately. the Palace was closed at that time for mourners and tourists for a merit-making ceremony to mark the 50th day of the passing of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej 

a peak of the Grand Palace

Next in my itinerary was Wat Pho, also known at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is located right behind the Grand Palace.  Entrance fee was 100 THB with free bottle water 🙂

another selfie 😀 on the way to Wat Pho
I bought one of those sweet mangoes for 20 THB for a refreshing snack before entering the temple
the Reclining Buddha
Thai noodles for lunch 
That’s my lunch in a small food stall in front of Wat Pho. While eating, I overheard kababayans talking. So, I approached them and we had a chit-chat for a while. The older woman asked me if I am a teacher in Thailand, too. She said she’s a teacher there and the cute young boy with them is her son, while the younger lady is her niece who is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 
After that, I walked and walked and walked until my legs hurt. 
More photos after the jump! 

Tangtrongchit Commercial Technological College
Pak Khlong Market (Flower Market)
I also dropped by Phahurat Market and bought few more souvenir items. Bangkok City really offers a wide array of street markets and shopping centers. I went to Platinum Fashion Mall, Indra Market, and Pratunam Market after our workshop last December 1. No photos since I was busy haggling shopping hahaha
By the time I no longer tolerate my aching feet and legs, I rode a tuk-tuk going back to my hotel. That was around 2 in the afternoon. Too early to proceed to Khao San Road. So I took a nap, woke up at 5:30 and then head off to Khao San Road where I ate Pad Thai and chicken BBQ.

a generous serving of Pad Thai for dinner , loved it!

in my background – tourists, backpackers

row of street markets at Khao San Road

Day 4: At the Suvarnabhumi Airport

5 lessons learned from this trip:

  1. When travelling for the first time, always research in advance – reviews and tips are all over the Internet in this modern day and age, anyway 
  2. Learn few phrases and greetings in the local language of the place you are visiting. I was not able to do this beforehand. 
  3. Always be careful with your belongings. Be alert! Beware of pickpockets and scams.
  4. Secure a map to help navigate the place easier. I avoided asking questions, I just refer to the map. But I forgot to secure a public transportation map at the airport. I should have saved few bucks I was able to know how to take the train or bus, rather than taking taxis and tuk-tuk.
  5. Try local food, and buy local goods. 
Should I go back to Thailand? Definitely, YES! with my family. 

Travel Diaries 3: Attended a Workshop at the United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, Thailand

PART 1 OF 2 

I went to Bangkok last week to participate in a two-day workshop at the UN Conference Center.  This is one of the greatest opportunities as far as my career in the government is concerned.  The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) sponsored my round-trip airfare, other travel fees, and daily subsistence allowance (DSA).  I was one of the seven (7) representatives from the Philippines.  Other participants came from the cities of Muntinlupa, Sta. Rosa (Laguna), and Naga. 

The Workshop on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asian and Pacific Cities was conducted on November 30 to December 1, 2016.  The workshop which gathered government officials and other representatives from various cities across the region, highlighted dialogues for collaborative action and knowledge sharing towards a localized implementation of the 2030 agenda.
The 2030 Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.  It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom.  We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimension, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda.  They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and complete what the local government did not achieve. Source: http://www.un.org
The Urban SDG Knowledge Platform, a web-based online platform with the aim to promote and support regional knowledge sharing and cooperation for sustainable development, was officially launched during the Workshop. 

Event Photos:

Panelists for the Introductory Session (Session 1 of 7)

“Our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities” – Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

Delegates from the Philippines
Panelists during the Special Lunch Event for Workshop participants – “From Planning to Practice: Urban Nexus as a means of Implementing the 2030 Agenda” 
Thank you, City Government of Makati, and UN ESCAP for this amazing experience.  I found the workshop helpful in carrying out my duties and responsibilities as an employee. By the way, I had the chance to visit some of Bangkok most-visited sites the day before my flight. More of that in a separate blog post. 

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck, a guide from imoney.ph

Achieving financial freedom is everyone’s dream but for some (including yours truly) it entails a long and challenging journey.  I’ve been working full-time for more than 16 years, yet still struggling to build a reliable savings fund. As a government employee, I am entitled social security benefits – insurance, retirement and other work-related benefits, through GSIS or Government Service Insurance System. But that is not enough, right? I am also concerned with my family’s future. We have to save up for the kids’ college education. 
But, here we are, trying to make both ends meet. When the husband and I had a mutual decision to take a pause from being an OFW family, we are prepared to experience slight adjustment in terms of lower combined income in comparison with those times he is working overseas. As we’re leaning towards the end of this year, daily life becomes more and more challenging. Our only consolation is that we don’t have to deal with homesickness anymore. 
A couple of days ago, I came across this article from iMoney.ph which talks about how to stop living paycheck to paycheck. Very timely… It offers a surefire solution to build a so-called “buffer” – to set aside one month’s worth of paycheck. “If you’re one month ahead, you’ll never have to juggle bills or worry about making ends meet”, according to the author. BILLS! That’s one of our major concern, it eats a big chunk in our monthly budget. 
Below is the step-by-step guide to build a buffer:
  1. Track your spending now and see where your money goes. 
  2. Adjust your spending so that you can put some money per month towards your buffer.  This may take some time, so don’t worry if it takes a while. 
  3. Upon saving up the amount close to your 1 month paycheck, create a budget based on how much is in your buffer. Allocate each peso from that amount to a specific item, such as rent, groceries or bills.  You can budget some amount for recreation /leisure as long as the total does not exceed your buffer. 
  4. Pay your present month’s bills and expenses using this buffer fund. 
  5. When your present month’s paychecks come in, don’t touch them – put them in your buffer, and use them to pay off the succeeding month’s bills. 
  6. In that succeeding month, put away your paycheck in the buffer to pay next months bills. Repeat this process, always using the last month’s pay to cover this month’s expenses.
  7. That’s it! From now on, you’ll always be one month ahead. 
What are the advantages of having a buffer fund? Here are my takeaways from the article.

You can budget better.

You won’t have to worry if you’ll be able to pay your bills on time.  Good bye Notice of Disconnection from utility companies.
You’re prepared for the unexpected. Lessen the stress in case paychecks come in late, or emergencies happen. 
I will diligently follow these doable tips in 2017.  Also, I will continuously look for additional source of income to help build a buffer and reliable savings fund as well.
How about you, do you any tips to share?

Domain Renewed

Finally! I already paid my annual fee for renewal of wengzaballa.com domain. Today is the deadline, and I made it. Feeling accomplished, eh! 
Next on my to-do list is to revamp the blog layout. And, I want to learn Photoshop or its open-source counterpart which is GIMP. Good luck to me, hehehe. 
I am happy with what’s happening to my blog now. It has more updated content than before. Hope to maintain consistency in publishing articles. 
Stay happy! 

Yohan 6th Birthday Celebration at Shakey’s Pizza

After a melodramatic post, let’s move forward and create positive vibes. Birthday is one of the most anticipated events in our lives, right?  So, this time let me share what happened during our simple birthday bash for my unico hijo Yohan last November 4.☺

Since, we are loving Shakey’s Pizza, we dined out together with Nanay and Joie at Shakey’s Lourdes, Sta. Mesa branch. We instantly fell in love with the place. Aside from its proximity from our house, the staff are friendly and courteous. They also have a small area wherein kids get to play in arcade games.  Yohan and Thea really enjoyed there.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank my family, relatives, and friends who took extra mile and greeted Yohan on his special day. Here’s some of the photos shared by his aunts, uncles and cousins via Facebook with matching heartwarming messages.

with Ate Celyn

with Ate Yolyn

a photo collage made by Tita Elna

another collage, from Ka Leo

I was the one of shared this throwback photo, day 2 at the hospital, six years ago

Belated Happy Birthday, Yohan! Mama loves you to the moon and back! 

Handling Challenges in Life and Parenting

Inasmuch that I want to keep my blog’s positive tone, please let me pour my heartaches this time. 
Being responsible individuals is one of the things my husband and I would like to instill in our children. However, we are already have a tween.  Our daughter is sometimes tenacious and clumsy.  Lost notebooks and other school things is a frequent issue. She has the tendency to be impatient when watching TV or playing with her younger brother. 
We are strict when it come to following rules and fulfilling their duties as a student. And, Thea, being a member of our Church’s Children’s Choir, should always prioritize choir performances and practices. 
This morning, I lost my temper.  I talked to her about a water bottle she left in their classroom.  Others may think it is only petty. But the important thing her is, she should be responsible with her things.  To cut the long story short, she talked back, and walked out on me (padabog na naglakad palayo sa akin, in Tagalog terms). That’s when I totally lost my temper. She’s grounded. No school for today. I want her to realize that it is right to act that way when we, her parents are reminding her about the proper way to handle things. 
She called me in the office and said sorry. 
I hate it when I get mad with my children, but I am not a perfect mom.  I will not get tired of teaching them life lessons and will try my very best in positive parenting department. 
Do you, guys agree with this quote?