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Age 58: House Renovation 101

“If the plan doesn’t work , change the plan but never change the goal”

Yay! October is our lucky month.

Happy birthday to us, my sons and our house 🙂

Yep! Thirty years of working as OFW (overseas Filipino worker), the first thing that comes to mind is to buy a house, and we did! But plan change, the two years contract was extended to thirty years! And the house was rented. Some of the previous tenants were caring, unfortunately, the last one was a tyrant! OMG! , I can’t imagine how they live. We always do repair before a new tenant comes in and we are sure that the last tenant receive the house in good condition. Shocks! The house was not livable when I received it, everything was upside down 😦

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2009 when I became a single parent, a sole provider… it was not planned but reality at times will shocked our nerves and when it hit me, I did not back off, instead I stand firmly , prayed and hope I can passed the difficulties. So many things happened in between, I can tell you it was not easy for all of us but we surpassed the expectation!

I was brave to spent my savings and earning to send my sons to college and they were able to graduate with honors. I was crazy to think I am done after graduation 🙂 Sometimes I would say to myself, It’s ok to be selfish at times, think about when you grow old when you cannot work anymore, no steady income, no pension but I also think what will happen when I go back to Philippines ? No house and no pension, that’s more  scary! Time is ticking …it’s a disguise of invisibility..waiting to expire, but no! I won’t be fool by my advancing age, I like to think what I have been through, are my armor to whatever mishap I may have in the near future.

The tuition fees I paid for my two sons to study abroad, I could have bought a big mansion and a nice car but What shall I do with it? Education came as priority. Travel was second, why? Well, I don’t want to wait till I am old and can’t enjoy the scenery because I don’t remember where I was hehehe… talking about being forgetful 🙂 And renovating the house became the last in the list.

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Once again, My inner me,.. says renovate the house, but I have no savings left, only my service award for five years.Besides , it’s a conjugal property. I like to file for annulment, actually saving for it. You see the irony in Philippines, We are the only country in the world that doesn’t support divorce and we also don’t have any program for single parent. I can’t file for housing loan, I am two years away of my retirement. The government should look into the predicament of single parent, this is not only to free from their spouse but to get support for education and shelter. There are a lot of separated/divorced couple that supports each other. Why can’t we be broad-minded on this subject for the sake of harmony and stability? Instead of paying a big amount of money to lawyers, spend it to other more important things like sharing for the education of children. However, out of no where, I received a quit claim and  the whisper is becoming louder and louder…renovate the house…renovate the house…

Drum roll… here are some photos of before and after renovation!

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the only post in the middle was turned into decorative cabinet

Renovation 101 🙂

I calculated my service award and I said to myself, just do what is necessary and you will be fine financially.I went home, got my architect/contractor – Arch. Rosario Valeza and discussed what I want for my house.The budget of 1.8 increased to 2.5 M, oh la la la.

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Shall I go for it? The inner me… Go!

Alright brave lady, Let’s do it! I talked to my boss to lend me an advanced money but with the economy going down, he cannot promise anything. Luckily, my contractor agreed that I can pay on installment basis. Wow! I am so lucky 🙂 Indeed! She also did a lot of extra work for me without even asking for extra money. Like I sent her to get me the appliances I need from Elba . I am too far away to come every time so she was so kind to extend her helping hand.Hmmm do I really think there’s no extra? Well, of course there will be but she is just so kind to ask and I am taking advantage of it :-)… joke!

Did it went well?

Well, I would say the finished renovation was beautiful compared to the old one but honestly , being far away from home while the house is being renovated is a big stress! Especially when the communication is kind of strange, timing is important, at times, she is free and at times I am not. Having internet is a plus but it is still different when you are there, in the actual site. I’m lucky also that I have my brother Eng. Kelly, who helped me visualized the outcome. Although at times, there was some disagreement between the Engineer and the architect but at the end professionalism works.

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Sketch done by my bro Engr Kelly Mariano to help me visualize how it will look

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the actual renovated view done by Architect Rosario Valeza

Some TIPS on renovating house when your far away from home and with a stretched budget on hand:-)

1. hired a trusted architect/contractor – this will lessen your stress but of course, it should be mutual. She/He should trust you too (financial wise) double wink ** I had some problem in sending remittances, two of the big remittance center in Jeddah was suspended and there’s also limit how much money I can send which shouldn’t exceed my monthly salary. I really appreciate the patience of my contractor.

2. have a concrete plan of what you want to change from the beginning. Think what is your priority. A bigger bathroom?  A bigger living room? Pushed everyone to be a part of the plan, even when they say, “Whatever you like mom” still insist on getting what’s in their mind. Don’t start until you get the plan, finalize and start.

3. Get a support from trusted Engineer, friends and family who has experience in building a house. You can get some tips but stick to your liking ,listen and make your own decision.

4. Think what appliances / gadget in the kitchen. This is very important so the cabinets can be adjusted accordingly. I ask a lot of questions from my chef’s son of course 🙂 I rather have a small but equipped kitchen than a big one with too many appliances in disarray.

5. Have an ample allowance to estimate the finishing date, so you don’t end up having double expenses of renting a temporary condo. Plus your excitement will not be overshadowed by frustration because of extra expenses. Remember you still have to furnish the house 🙂

5. Save money from the start even though you’re not thinking of renovating because it comes handy later on. I think it is better to just demolished the old house and start from the scratch.I didn’t dream of a big house, I always like a single detached bungalow.

Cute ..Simple.. and cozy.

6. Have faith, no one can defined one’s vulnerability and difficulties. I believed my courage comes in faith. I am always thankful of any blessings no matter how small it is.

Ladies, I am so proud to say at age 58, I feel fulfilled ,having done my obligation with so much love and passion…oh don’t give me that look!…yeah don’t say I failed in one aspect “marriage” (Please bring down your eyebrow) well, I survived 25 years isn’t it? Besides, It’s a mutual decision, sometimes you just have to let go in order to process the pain and be healed in time.

” Sometimes, falling is not hard if you know how to get up with grace..What is important..stand firmed and hit your goal”

Drum roll again! Life is beautiful 🙂

Oh, I forgot to mention ,say hello to our new fam member “Arya” the puppy 🙂

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Cheers,

jamilamimi @beautybeyondfity

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Mountain Bikers of Jeddah

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Friday Sept 22, 2017 – Jeddah KSA

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I woke up at 5 in the morning to watch the race of mountain bikers in Jeddah. This is my first time to be in this place. I was determined to take photos of bikers, I thought for a while it is all Filipino cyclist but there are also different nationalities who gather around cheering their compatriot. Indeed! It was cheerful morning, all the photos of bikers I took were mostly smiling 🙂

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see how cheerful they are!

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I took random photos of the riders, spectators and I think the satisfactions are all written in their faces! It’s amazing to note that even though they were so exhausted they still managed to smile.

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and of course! my friend would also like to try cycling with her ever supportive hubby 🙂

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Cheers!

 Jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

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Four days Road Trip – in search of Mt. Sinai – the finale- Maqna (Well of Moses)

Day 4 -Monday Sept. 4,2017

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From Jeddah to AL Ula (Madain Saleh) to Tabuk, a long four days road trip, 3 hotels, adobo, al baik, lamb mandi to pizza and ice cream, that was awesome!

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Maqna or Magna is located in Tabuk province. It was known that “Bir Al Saidni” is the well from which Moses rolled away the stone to draw water for the flocks of Jewish settlers.

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Fast forward, before we reached the area, we passed a small area of water along the way.And I was thinking how difficult it was for Moses and the Israelites coming from Egypt, passing through the Gulf of Aqaba to Mt. Sinai, a vast desert, hills of rocks and suddenly the rock was split open to provide water. Wow! I am fascinated by the history of the place.

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The sight to the coastal area was like a “gasp on the air”.

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an almost half circle, a place to pray?

Imagine you are lost in a desert and found this well, I think you will be shouting and jumping of joy!

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Thank you to Gabriel Fam, Alji fam and Pino fam for this trip. I had a wonderful Eid holiday 🙂

and to the boys who drove us for four days just to see those wonderful places.

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Thank you !

Cheers,

Jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

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Four days road trip – in search of Mt. Sinai ( Part 3) Jabal Al Lawz and Gulf of Aqaba

DAY 3 Sunday Sept. 3, 2017

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I guess the photo says it all 🙂  are we going ahead with this trip? hahahaha Who can say no to madame Rhea! clap your hand and raise your feet 🙂 o la la …

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Along the way, we have seen a lot of beautiful sceneries that no photos can justify our feelings at that moment. Ladies, you should do wonders to drag your husband to this trip, it is worth  a try, trust me!

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After a long travel to reach Mt Sinai, the road has ended with a barricade. Oh yeah, there was no sign what so ever that we can get through. So, we just took in the scenery with a sigh and relief that at last we have seen how difficult  the survival was.

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For a little trivia, Mt Sinai is the mountain at which the Ten commandments were given to Moses by God. It was found in Egypt but contested later on by historian that the actual location is in Saudi Arabia. Whichever is right, this road trip is worth a try, having seen the red sand dunes, the archaeological arts of rocks, oasis,gulf of aqaba and the tip of Mt. Sinai, indeed, this is the most memorable road trip ever.

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Another contested trivia is the Red sea crossing of Israelites at the gulf of Aqaba. We headed to see the coastal view of  Gulf of Aqaba, which could be seen or divided between four countries namely:Saudi Arabia,Jordan,Israel and Egypt.

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A half sunken ship can be seen 55 km south from Haql city in Tabuk province. The water is crystal clear, which is good for swimming, unfortunately we were not ready for this 😦  The place is known as “Al mashee well”, I would call it as Haql Shipwreck beach 🙂 because literally the half sunken vessel is just along the shore and  with the mountain backdrop and the crystal blue water, one can imagine that you’re in a movie set.

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would you imagine these are your crews?

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Would you be jumping with joy?

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Or would you just walk away?

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Whatever your answer is… keep it to yourself 🙂

to be continued…

Cheers,

Jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

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Four days road trip – in search of Mt. Sinai – Part 2 The Elephant Rock

DAY 2 Saturday Sept. 2, 2017

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I can’t say it was a good night sleep but we woke up early to have a sunrise view at the elephant rock.

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This photo was taken after a car driven by crazy “young adult” circled around , I guess they were showing off and created a big sand dust around us. However, it didn’t get into our nerves, we still went on 🙂 the mandatory jump shot!

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Back to road and we just found out there is a better accommodation than the furnished apartment we have rented. The place is “Shaden Resort” hmmm we will come back for sure.

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to be continued…

Cheers,

Jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

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Four Days Road Trip – in search of Mt. Sinai – Part 1

Seriously? Yep Four days!

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I don’t know how we were able to… but here we are alive and kicking 🙂  My friend Rhea came from a two months holiday and a day after they arrived, we joined another groups of family to a road trip which we thought will just be an overnight thing, like two days and one night OMG!

DAY 1 Friday Sept. 1,2017

IMG_1691We left Jeddah at 4:30 am. not wasting time huh 🙂  considering I worked a day before, rhea just arrived and here we are, traveling early in the morning. Yep! you got it right..we are the “lakwatsera” wanderlust of Jeddah. Beautybeyondfifty is all smile 🙂

Anyhow, we stopped in Yanbu and had our breakfast .Yep! your guess is right again 🙂 we had “adobo and rice”.

Arrived in Al Ula around 12:30 noon, unfortunately, Arac Hotel was closed and we headed to find a furnished apartment. We had ” adobo and rice” again for lunch :-). At 3:30 pm we moved to see Madain Saleh. We’ve been here before but we were still excited to see the ancient Nabatean caravan city which is filled with desert tombs.

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interesting to note, the plants are green

Oh by the way, You only need Iqama to get in, there’s no permit anymore and it is open until 6pm.

At the entrance is a replica of the old train and Al Hijaz railway station.

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if you like to see more click Slow down Camel crossing…Road trip to Madaín Saleh

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Hence, we’ve been here year 2012, we didn’t stay long. We went to Al Ula to enjoyed the sunset view at the peak of its plateau.

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At last the wonderous group went hungry and nope no “adobo and rice” this time 🙂

We had lamb mandi for dinner! hurrah!

Z z z z z  z z z z z z z  what a day to remember!

to be continued…

Cheers,

Jamilamimi @beautybeyondfifty

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Red Sand Dunes – an NaFud Al KaBir Tabuk region

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I came home from a four days road trip ,exhausted but happy and can’t stop looking at the photos I took. Hmmm can’t really decide upfront which one to upload first. I am fascinated by the red color of the sand dunes in Tabuk region. It’s a small area of the vast desert where you can see a red sand dunes.This place in An Nafud al kabir is a sight to behold and no photos can literally translate my feelings to see this beautiful nature. We didn’t mind the hot weather, I can feel the hotness, redness of my face but I didn’t back off taking photos.

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What is more fascinating, the green grass has two shades of green!

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I am giggling inside seeing this awesome scenery, I thank God for the creation.

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Ladies, have time to enjoy the nature, look at beyond the beauty of nature.

It’s a wonderful feeling!

Cheers,

Jamilamimi @beautybeyondfifty

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Burnt or black pizza?

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Have you tried black pizza? We did tried the brown bread but black pizza?

Well, last night I had the chance to tried it and I love it! My friend is moving back to Philippines for good, so for the last time we had an early dinner and we went to seventy seven burger and pizza restaurant at Al Rhawda dist.

At 77 SR we got to choose 2 appetizer, 1 pizza,1 dessert and 1 drink, not a bad idea, one order we can share it for two persons.

While waiting, we did some puzzles and wondered why black pizza? Hmmm this might be the latest craze, so I asked? Whats the ingredients? Why it is black?

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Activated charcoal!

hahaha ok lets ask google and see whats the benefits of charcoal?

It aids in digestion, reduced bloating and absorbs toxins in the body!

Ladies, oh la la we have excuse to eat pizza! 🙂

Honestly, it’s delicious and because my mind is convinced this is healthy, I ate two slices 🙂

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To satisfy my sweet tooth, we got this delicious dessert. yummy!

bye tita lala! See you wherever and whenever 🙂

Cheers,

jamilamimi

 

Wordless Wednesday

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almikwa ,al bahah, saudi arabia

 

Uber versus Careem: a review

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photo grabs at careem website

It’s been quiet long time I wanted to write a review but I was caught up with a busy schedule  (rolling my eyes…anything new? )

If you missed my blog about uber and easy taxi please click Uber or Easy taxi in Jeddah, my choice?

Did you hear about the fiasco in Philippines about Uber and taxi?  in which Uber was suspended for a month for a violation done while there was investigation going on. What? What about those taxis who over charged, drivers who are rude, was there any suspension done immediately? NONE!

We all knew how Uber made our life easy especially here in Jeddah. I hesitated for a while to use careem for a reason that I got used using Uber. But one day, there was a problem with my credit card and I can not book a Uber to work. Careem has choices of payment… either you pay cash, card or top your bank card any amount to save it in your wallet or you can even use qitaf points (from stc) to pay your ride.

And my first ride was awesome! Lexus.. yes! that was the model of the car 🙂 and I was smiling from the inside because my ride was only 7SR (seven saudi riyals). If it was an ordinary taxi, I would still bargain to pay 10 riyals plus a filthy taxi and a smelly driver, though not in general, you can also find a clean taxi with a clean driver 🙂

And so my ride with careem is super! I was able to experienced different car models and drivers who are not only polite but speaks english too. I feel rich having a chauffeur with Lexus, BMW, Saab etc. I was tempted to ask why they do careem when they have this big luxury cars but you know, this is Jeddah, ladies are not supposed to be friendly with strangers 🙂

Today, I was lucky to ride with Mr Abduelah whose car is Hyundai Santa Fe, I forgot my eyeglass in his car and I contacted careem and it was an immediate communication to the Captain and wallah! my eyeglass was returned promptly! If this was an ordinary taxi, how could I ever retrieved my eyeglass?

So, I hope the Philippines gov’t should think about the system of Uber compared to the ordinary taxi. Taxi owners should compete fairly with the Uber, as what careem did to Uber. I think taxi in Philippines should have an improved and reliable system so the passengers are safe and not abused by an ordinary taxis.

Ladies, let me know your experience with Careem!

Cheers,

Jamilamimi (beautybeyondfifty)

 

 

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