Saturday, April 27, 2013

Late, delayed updates

My average of fortnightly posts here took a backseat this time. I knew I was supposed to write last week but things got hectic. Somehow, there are always things that crop up unexpectedly that require time and attention. It's part and parcel of life for sure, so we just have to live with it.

Right now, I just can't seem to recall exactly what took place in ACE's lives last week. The week seems to have whizzed past in a blur....

I'm way behind in 'stocking up' on my writing for my fortnightly column as the existing stockpile is depleting quite quickly. A check on my last submission to the editor shows an email dated March 26. That means I've not been writing for a month. And a few days ago, I got another 'job' with a 6 May deadline....If it works out, I might become a regular 'supplier' for a new website. I think I'm getting too old and lazy for such 'pressure'. Why do I still do it, I wonder at times. Guess I'm a sucker for torture, and money, even if it's pittance. Gone are the days when work pressure and deadlines were a hundred times more when I was in the corporate world. I believe it has to do with mid-life crisis (my excuse), burnout and being uninspired -- a sticky rut to be stuck in. But maybe I shouldn't compare as things were different then. I had a full time job which paid a full time salary, EPF, sick leave, annual leave, medical benefits. Now, I have a full time job with no salary, freelance job which pays an annual sum of what I used to get as a monthly salary as an employee, no EPF or sick/annual leave or medical benefits. Sometimes, I think it's a scary thing to do -- to leave a good, full time career to be a SAHM.

E's birthday last week was a subdued affair as we don't usually make a big thing out of our birthdays, except for C's. It's enough that the extended family celebrates for every single member of the family, young and old (except for us 'out'laws, haha!). Twelve birthdays, Chinese New Year, Western New Year, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, wedding anniversaries at times (because everyone got married in November!), (and what other events?), bring the entire family together often enough to maintain the family togetherness.

Last Sunday, C and I played the drums and piano at church together so I had some practising to do. That took up some time as I had to figure out notes and chords on my own, something which I hadn't done in a long time, since schooldays, in fact, when I used to play in school, Girl's Brigade, and church.

C's school sports day turned out to be a non-affair last weekend as she insisted there was no point for her to go. Due to poor handling by the teacher-in-charge (my personal opinion) and apparent 'instigation' from a rival classmate, she was tossed between being a 4X100m runner and a reserve a couple of times, according to her. She got fed up with the whole thing so she didn't see the need to participate in the telematch as well since she didn't like telematches. Lately, school has not been too fun for C.... We tried encouraging her to go for team spirit reasons etc but to no avail.

This week, we faced yet another household kink. It's the outdoor water filter system this time. The pressure gauge became faulty and it also didn't do its periodic automatic flushing. Called the service people who said they'd come yesterday but as u-u-u-s-u-u-a-a-a-l, and not surprisingly, they didn't turn up. So it looks like I'll have to make another phone call on Monday... In addition, my mobile phone battery decided it was time to die so I'm in the process of getting a new one. Meanwhile, I have to put up with very short battery lifespan. I use the phone only when necessary and not whenever I feel like checking email, Facebook, take photographs, watch YouTube or TED videos.

I had been procrastinating in maintain my water lily jar for some time. The fish that I had that eats up the algae died mysteriously and the jar became too algae-ish for my liking. I don't know what that fish is called although the local aquarium shop people refer to it as 'bandaraya', as in the DBKL city council that's responsible for keeping the city clean. I felt bored yesterday so I decided it was time to do something about it. I went out and bought two 'bandaraya' fish. I decided it would be a more colourful ecosystem too if I added more guppies to the existing population so I got two male-female pairs of guppies. A row of Bettas (what we usually refer to as fighting fish) caught my eye, so for fun, I got a small, cheap one. I decided to name the betta James. The guppies are Samson and Delilah, and Joseph and Mary, while the 'bandaraya' are DB and KL. (A bored and tired soul needed to find a creative outlet!)

Hello, James!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The recent school holidays

The one-week school holiday was over too quickly! A and C spent the entire week at home, while E went to work as usual except for Friday when he took the day off for Good Friday. We got into a routine of work and play, mostly led by C herself as she drew up daily checklists of work items she  needed to look into, such as household chores I said she had to do, homework given by her teachers, music practice, and ideas/projects of her own.

Day 1: C's handwriting is very untidy! Since we told her she needs to earn her own money to buy things she wants, as well as for savings, she's been thinking of ideas, but so far, her ideas have yet to be put into action. Obviously, 'optional' in item no. 5 indicates some reluctance!
Day 2: She did quite a good job washing her shower stall but concluded that she would "never, never, ever want to do it again". It was hard work scrubbing the tiles, and floor and washing the glass door.  Her illustration on the whiteboard echoed my dream of being on a paradise island, instead of being stuck at home!
Later in the week, 'help do chore' got bumped to the bottom of the list, and indeed she did only one chore, insisting that she had written 'chore', a singular noun according to her, and not 'chores'.
Helping to mop the floor was one of the 'help do chores' activities.

We made meatballs for a soupy noodle one afternoon.
Caitlin's home-made lunch

We took a day off our work-and-play routine and went out to a mall for some fun and shopping in the middle of the week. Coincidentally, there was a free workshop with an eco-friendly theme at the concourse. You could participate if you had a certain credit card, or spent at least RM50 at the mall. She made an accessories hanger using recycled wood from tree stems or branches.
 And we did more cooking. One evening, C cooked a dish of basil chicken all by herself, with me providing the verbal instructions. We had it for dinner and it was a rare instance where she actually ate leafy greens (the basil leaves). This is one example that proves (although not all the time) that kids are more willing to try new food or food they dislike when you involve them in the cooking.

Caitlin's basil chicken stir fry.
On Saturday afternoon, C's five-year-old cousin came over to play and they made some cookies.

Apart from these, C managed to complete all her homework, and practised her piano and drums adequately. Her BM tuition and music lessons went on as usual. We went to church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. She played the drums at church for the praise and worship session.

Phew, we survived the school holidays quite well this time, and now we're back to the grind. Earlier this week, we had some difficulty waking early and getting back into our daily routine.

This month of April, we will have a few events to take note of -- C's school sports day, a field trip for a theatrical play of Roald Dahl's 'George's Marvellous Medicine', and of course, the long-awaited 13th General Elections. The PM had announced the dissolution of Parliament yesterday and now we're waiting for the announcement of the polling date. Also, E will be another year older this month.