I left off yesterday's story excited that my plan to help my ever patient, hardworking wife, Melinda, with the household chores at "The Compound" by enlisting the aid of our 13-year-old niece, Shaina, to clean our CR, Comfort Room, once a week, seemed to be working. In return for her scrubbing our toilet, I had given my niece, against the warning from my asawa that Shaina was not responsible, my old cell phone that was only displaying a half screen image at times, but could still be used if the phone was turned on and off a few times which would bring back the full screen. My wife and I were on our way to Iloilo for some shopping and to purchase a load I had promised for Shaina's phone.
After having the phone for almost three weeks and doing a good job of cleaning our bathroom (or so I thought), our niece had not lost the phone and was eager to text her school buddies. My wife and I came home with the Smart Buddy 300 peso load, which I had loaded to my asawa's phone first. I was getting ready to transfer 200 pesos to Shaina's phone (my wife wanted a 100 pesos of that load), and when I completed the transfer of P60 (can only transfer 60 pesos at a time), I asked my niece to check her phone to see if she got the first load. I had gotten an automated text message from Smart that the load was successfully transferred and wanted to verify it on my old phone.
Shaina checked the phone but only the half screen image would materialize. Nothing I could do would restore the full screen image making it impossible to see any new messages or to send any messages. My old phone was virtually useless. I make an executive decision to buy Shaina a NEW phone at SM City the next day, a Sunday. My wife had thought I had completely lost it, and repeated her opinion that our niece was not responsible enough for any cell phone, let alone a new one. But she knew I was adamant about sticking through with my plan and nothing she could say at this point would dissuade me.
We bought Shaina and her brother Sharwin along with us the next day to SM City at Iloilo. I roamed the mall to find the cheapest cell phone I could. Got a P950 (21.74 US Dollars) stripped-down Samsung model with no camera at a WellCom store, plus paid P100 for a case. Met up with my wife and the kids later, and my niece was thrilled to see that I had bought her the new phone. Took the SIM card from my old phone, charged Shaina's new Samsung, and she was all set for school tomorrow, Monday, with her status evidently elevated as a proud owner of a new phone with a P200 load. I told her to always carry the phone with her in her backpack.
Friday afternoon of the same week my wife comes into our room and announces to me that Shaina had lost her phone on the way home from school. She had not kept the new phone in the backpack as I had requested and had it with her at her side. I let out a string of expletives that couldn't be printed on this website or spoken at most R-rated movies. "Where's Shaina?" I bellowed. "She went back to 'The Crossing" to try and find her phone." my wife replied. ("The Crossing" is our downtown area where the kids are dropped off from their high school.)
"I told you she would lose it." my wife says. I'm sure she took immense pleasure in rubbing it in. I shook off the stinging words and "manned up." I firmly and forcefully said (without yelling): "Yes, YOU were right. I WAS wrong. I was stupid in giving Shaina that extra responsibility and that phone." I said no more and walked out of the room as I heard our niece come into the house.
I stand at the doorway of the room she shares with her brother and my mother-in-law. "SHAINA!" I bellow. She comes to the entrance. "You have made me look stupid (which quite frankly is not an immensely difficult thing to do), and you have lost your phone. Tita said you were not responsible, and she was right. You have proven that. You only had your new phone for five days that I spent over 1,000 pesos on and have already lost it! I don't want you to clean our CR anymore, and I don't want you to step foot in our room from now on to do any kind of cleaning." (That's a great punishment I mete out, huh? The kid now has a reduction in her chores.)
I walked out. Told my asawa that she can deal with Shaina now, and that she can clean the CR again. She seemed pleased. I was dejected and disappointed. A beaten man. A husband.