Wednesday, January 30, 2008
2:25AM. Cough. Cough.
I was awoken. The alarm clock on the night stand was the first thing I saw. Turned around and watched Wifey got up and off to the kitchen. The night was windy, too cold for Wifey apparently.
I could hear her whizzing breaths as she left the darkened bedroom. Heard the clink-clanks of a glass being taken off the dish rack and the fridge door being opened and closed.
I could hear in the still of the night, but probably had imagined most of the sounds she made in the kitchen as she went through the routine of taking her medication. Salbutanol was her cure.
She was having an asthma attack. Her second this month.
I laid in bed. Except for the light casting off the ceiling from the street lights below and the glowing green light emanating from the alarm clock, the bedroom was dark and gloomy-felt. 2:32AM...
My head on the pillow, I watched her in the dark as she entered the room.
She headed to the toilet and coughed hard, letting out the trapped phlegm, lots of phlegm from her throat. I saw her having a tough time breathing. Not the heavy breathing I prefer.
"Are you alright?" I asked as I sat up on the bed. "You want me to massage your back?"
"Go back to sleep..." she whispered as she came out from the toilet and got into bed, "I'm OK."
She coughed a little more and continued "I just need the medicine to take effect..." gasping a little, "I should be OK."
"OK."I replied concerned. "Wake me up if you need anything." I reminded her.
I could hear her whizzing breaths. Her eyes closed as she laid with pillows propped higher, trying to get back to sleep, but it was quite hard.
I just watched her silently, unable to be of any help. Just hoped that the medication took its effect fast enough. I sympathized with her being in that state, but she would not let me. She is that strong...
The bi-fold toilet door screeched opened and I was awoken again.
Wifey was coughing and letting out what I could only imagined were clumps of phlegm... more phlegm. I felt it was too much, too frequently this time around.
The alarm clock showed 3:20AM.
"We go to the doctor's tomorrow." I told Wifey when she got into bed again. "This cannot go on..." I sounded like I was lecturing her... the last thing she would need in the dark, early morning.
"I feel much better now..." Wifey tried to explain, "it's only bad at night." As if it was of any consolation.
It was so for almost the whole of this week, but she could not escape from an attack this time. She would be out and about running errants and shopping, doing house chores with teenage stamina, but come nightfall, the phlegm makes a gooey comeback.
Her last asthma attack was maybe eight months ago, triggered by over-exertion with an over-zealous house cleaning. She had two this month alone. This time by the cold weather of frequent rainy days and cold, windy nights. Cold even for my standards... from a guy who goes to bed with just boxer-briefs.
"Keep especially your chest warm with the blanket. We'll go the doctor's tomorrow." I said. Final.
She kept quiet... whizzed as she breathed and a while later snored in deep sleep. Finally. The medication had taken effect. I was wide awake instead, unfortunately.
5:43AM. What! Sigh.
The alarm clock broke my silent stares at 6:00AM. Time to wake our Son for school.
Groggily I made him breakfast and saw him off to school from the front door, minus Wifey who most probably was kept in deep sleep by the medication.
I felt a light throbbing in my head. Headache was setting in. Great! Sigh.
Bad sleep tonight... oh its morning already! Wifey was snoring. Poor baby.
I moved to the living room with my pillow and slept on the carpet in front of the TV...
"Sleep Ayah." Wifey said to me softly. She was already awoke. Sipping a cup of hot coffee in her hand as she sat on the sofa... watching me sleep.
The DVR time blinking 8:27AM. It was already bright outside.
I felt a little groggy. Fortunately the light-headedness I felt before was gone. "Let's get ready to go to the doctor's," I said to her as I sat up "and have our breakfast outside. OK?"
I sent an SMS to my boss informing him of my urgent leave off work today.
Doctor Yoong from Yoong Family Clinic & Surgery took his time to listen to Wifey's series of questions and concerns, then explained lengthly what she was going through.
She was taught how to use the Ventolin inhaler... let out all the air from the lungs, breathe in whole and hard, expanding the lungs while depressing the inhaler pump.
Strangely, it was Wifey's first inhaler. She managed to stay away and never used the inhaler at all throughout her asthma child-growing years.
She was also given Prednisone which she must take 4 tablets at once in the morning for the duration of 1 week. The phlegm had gone into her lungs, constricting it. She waited too long before seeking treatment, thus the newly introduced medications to treat her symptoms.
I really wanted to tell her "I told you so..." but it would just be rubbing it in. I told her so!
She had always given me some legitimate reasons not to seek early treatment. She would not if she had her way. Always too busy with house chores, the weather, just too tired... all of these had prevented her from leaving the house. She would rather tolerate the condition.
We sat together in the Kopi Tiam at Tampines Mart for our breakfast.
I watched her as she eat and thought to myself of this lady sitting in front of me... so strong-willed, yet so stubborn. She needs me to take her to the doctor. Come to think of it, I was in all her consultations with the doctor. Why is that?
Still, it is kind of... well, cute.
Wifey is still a mystery to this clueless guy. Got to love her. All of her.
Sipping hot coffee together. She is alright now... She's my Wifey. Love you.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
"Alright, alright. I'm awake now."
I stumbled out of bed and made my way to the toilet.
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp... and lots of other indescribable babble coming from our unofficial wake-up call service still heard behind the toilet door.
"Hey! It's Sunday!" I told myself while I perched on the toilet slowly gaining composure.
Our morning wake-up call provider - the prolific Mynah
Yes, we have this prolific talking Mynah that perches on our bedroom window sill or casement most mornings to wake both Wifey and I up.
It will come around 8:00AM and babbles loudly lecturing how lazy this couple is... telling us get up to start our day already.
Most days, I will wake-up to an interesting tapestry of beautiful dawn skies to start my day... stare to admire it for a while and then get ready for work.
It is not all that bad though, as some days, we will get to hear the many beautiful morning songs from the many different kinds of birds. This part is my most favorite as I get to lay in my bed listening to nature's lullaby while watching the skies change colors. Totally therapeutic.
Anyway, if we are able to ignore the wake-up call or maybe totally unperturbed by it, the next wake-up call after the snooze mode will be from a whole gang of 5 to 6 Mynahs chatting over the day's load of rubbish.
Literally, the city's rubbish truck will make its way every morning to collect trash from the central rubbish chute in our block.
I guess these are the same Mynahs that I have seen on several occasions while going to work. One particular bird will fly onto the moving rubbish truck that is making it way to our block.
Perched at the end of the truck, it gets a free ride until the truck stops and starts to back-up to connect its end to the central chute. This will be the gang's split-second time to forage for food off the truck buffet-style.
This morning, I just had to take some photos of our service call provider... the alarm-clock Mynah, since it is exceptionally chatty today.
"Make it go away..." Wifey told me, still laying down on the bed and making the shooing gesture with her hand "it will poop on our window."
Well, I would rather take its pictures...
Silently, I creped-up to the window and snapped some pictures behind the day curtains. I guess it sensed something was moving behind the curtains dark inside, as it stared in my direction for a few seconds before flying off with a continuous chirp.
I think we should be grateful, for not many residents here get a free wake-up call from a bird. When it does poop, our downstairs neighbor's window will get the brunt of it... so I am not all too concern about the after-effect of this service.
Only hope is that our upstairs neighbor does not employ the same service call... it will be a messy affair as far as window sills are concern.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
May not be the best of answers I have about myself, but then again, the answers reveal more of who I am... or aspire to at least be. This is a long list of soul-baring Meme when you're being honest...
1. Were you named after anyone?
Never asked my parents about it, but I do know that the name is mentioned in the Quran numerous times.
2. When was the last time you cried?
I can't remember. I was teary-eyed when I watched "I am Sam" about a year ago. That Dakota Fanning girl was awesome! I am her fan since.
3. Do you like your handwriting?
Come to think of it, I think I do. Wifey likes it too, so she always asks me to fill the forms and lucky draws.
4. What is your favourite lunch meat?
I'd rather eat more fresh vegetables, but chicken without the skin will be my choice.
Though I definitely will indulge with eating a crispy fried chicken now and then... which gets me further away from having that elusive six-pack abs. Sigh.
5. Do you have kids?
Yes. One genius of a boy. Another three I wished were only in my dreams. Makes our only child so very precious to Wifey and I.
6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
Yes, most definitely. I love life and like to joke. Though I appear flaky most times, I believe everyone has a good side. It's their choice to be the kind of person they project themselves to be outwardly.
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
I refrain from it because you use it to hurt another. Jokes aside, I know a few people who are and I choose to avoid them as much to not spoil my day.
8. Do you still have your tonsils?
Yes. Everything, teeth and all, still intact at age of 41. Thank God for my health.
9. Would you bungee jump?
Yes! Always wanted to when I was single, but there was no such facility in Singapore then.
Now that there are several, Wifey prohibits me from doing something "stupid" as I have responsibilities now.
So the closest thing to getting an adrenalin rush are on roller-coasters and free-fall space shots. The most recent was at Genting Resort early December 2008.
10. What is your favorite cereal?
Chocolate flavored Milo Cereal. Good on its own too.
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
No. I wear shoes without laces to work nowadays because I hate it when it gets untied while walking. My gym shoes are Velcro. I stay away from shoelaces. Yes, I am that lazy.
12. Do you think you are strong?
Physically I am because I workout often. Emotionally I am a fragile china. This sucks because I think I am compensating my insecurities with my workouts? Yikes!
13. What is your favorite ice cream?
Vanilla and Strawberry. Chocolate mint too. I can even taste it now... no, no, six-packs, remember!
14. What is the first thing you notice about people?
Their smile... I can somehow sense between a genuine or forced one, nonetheless they make the effort to smile.
I get pissed-off by people whom I know, but pretend not to notice you when they pass you by. It tells a great deal about them. I stay away from these people as they have so indicated.
15. Red or pink?
Red, please. Pink looks good on ladies though. Red is my "punch of energy" color.
16. What is the thing that you like least about yourself?
For lacking in self-confidence that has restricted me from trying new things and experiences since young thus has made me feel inadequate and not good enough somehow.
17. Who do you miss the most?
There is never one person. I miss my parents even though they are a bus-ride away. I will miss Wifey and Son when they are away. I hate to be away from them but fortunately there's the phone.
18. Do you want everyone to send this back to you?
Most definitely. Being honest online takes a lot of courage which exposes you and at worst become a target to bad intentions. Among friends, this is a great list to know more about everyone else.
19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing?
Not wearing any shoes in the house. Blue shorts now. Black shoes to work.
20. Have you ever re-gifted?
Never. I wouldn't want to receive one though I understand if someone has to. Gifts are personal, so from me sincerely with what I can afford.
21. What are you listening to right now?
Fancy that! Rod Steward's "Forever Young" from iTunes internet radio on "Big R Radio - Soft Hits" station. That is how I would like to feel... forever young.
22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
I love blue, but for crayons, I'd rather be RED. Looks better and clearer on white drawing paper. Catchy color.
23. Favorite smells?
Wifey's hair. Pine from a new furniture. Lavender and fresh-cut grass.
24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
Wifey, while I was going home from work on Friday. No other voice gets me excited when the weekend comes. Where to go, what to do for family outings.
25. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
This Meme wasn't sent. I surfed into it instead and found that I was tagged. Yes. I think the person has a beautiful soul and wish her all the happiness in her life.
26. Favorite sports to watch?
Badminton tournaments and bodybuilding competitions.
27. Hair color?
For an Asian, there is no choice... black. Though most Asians spot hair with lighter colors with highlights now, after the worldwide phenomenon of D.I.Y hair-coloring products.
28. Eye color?
Likewise, black. I know it's boring. We're a one-colored people when it comes to hair and eyes. Contact lenses let Asians become Caucasians, but I'd rather undergo Lasik to correct my vision. Still too expensive here. Sigh.
29. Do you wear contacts?
No. Never own a set before. With my last 3-month old S$270.00 prescription glasses fell out of my pocket and took a ride in a cab to never be found again, it's a blur 10 metres and beyond. Blind as a bat at night too.
30. Favorite food?
I have to give two favorites - Mom's Malay Sambal Goreng and Thai's Tom Yam Seafood Noodles. Can't live without it.
31. Scary movies or happy endings?
Happy endings, though I'd love for scary movies to end happily too.
32. Last movie you watched.
On the big screen - "Spiderman 3" on DVDs - "Me and You and Everyone We Know."
33. What color shirt are you wearing?
In tropical Singapore, most men don't wear shirts at home. So, no shirt on... I am like at the beach.
34. Summer or Winter?
Definitely summer. I love being outdoors. The sun gives out energy and lifts the spirits. Winter looks good looking from the inside out, but it gets gloomy after a while.
35. Hugs or kisses?
Kisses from Wifey, hugs to parents and best friends.
36. Favorite desert?
Chocolate cake and cheese cake - at equal rank.
37. Most likely to respond?
To this Meme? Carol from A Revision and Ellen from Coffee Granules.
38. Least likely to respond?
To any Meme... Andrew from Past Tense. His beautiful poetry is an enough draw.
39. What book are you reading now?
What's a book? I can't sit still to finish one. I only read PC and health magazines, thus my vocabulary is very limited, my grammar is everywhere.
40. What is on you mouse pad?
Apple mouse model A1152... why? Is there another use for it?
41. What did you watch on TV last night?
Godsend. It's about a couple who lost their son and resurrected him against natural rules by cloning him. Starring Robert De Niro as the doctor who did the cloning with bad consequences especially to the child, than the parents I think.
42. Favorite sound?
Chirping birds in the morning. Wifey's hello over the phone. Gentle waves crashing on the beach... the gift of audibles from heaven.
43. Rolling Stones or Beatles?
Too young for Rolling Stones to ever remember their songs. Beatles, definitely... imagine all the people...
44. What is the furthest you have been from home?
North America... Europe, then the army camp in Tekong Island when I was in bootcamp. Distance is a relative term, the heart makes you farther than you can ever be. Cocky, I know. But it's my truth.
45. Do you have a special talent?
I always thought I was great with art and drawing while I was in school, after looking at works from young talents now, I have none.
46. Where were you born?
Lorong Ternak, Singapore. A village where I missed so much, where Mom had all her 8 out of 11 children born at home, except for my last brother who was born in KK hospital.
47. Whose answers are you looking forward to getting back?
All the bloggers listed on the right side of my blog under "Brilliant Blogs." These are nice and interesting people and worth to know more about.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
"Ayah!" Wifey's shock expression as she composed her thoughts quickly, "I think we left the window open!" she finally blurted out.
"Oh ya!" I exclaimed. I just remembered we left one window open to give the cactus we bought from Cameron Highlands some sunlight. It was shining into our living room before we left the house.
The rain poured heavily, with thunderous revenge after a sunny morning this monsoon season. Yikes! We should have known better.
We were at Tampines Central Community Centre, just a few blocks away from our home attending our Son's first and maybe only Edusave Study Bursary Award Presentation this afternoon.
Though every year, our Son qualifies for the merit bursary from MOE - Ministry Of Education as a monetary reward for his good examination results, the final eligibility criteria was that the combined family monthly income had to be below S$3000.00.
Since our household income has always been above this limit, every year the letter from MOE would come, and every year we would have to ignore it. Nonetheless, every year we reward our Son with our own appreciation for his good efforts.
This time around is different.
Since he achieved good results for his PSLE - Primary School Leaving Examination, the letter came, but the limit was raised higher which made him qualify for the study bursary.
Dressed in his Dunman Secondary School uniform, he received his award from Mr. Sin Boon An, MP for Tampines GRO on stage with the rest of the deserving children, mostly from lower income families.
The letter urged for only one parent to attend the ceremony due to space constrains in the auditorium, but I guess they know how important this event is to the child's parents.
Both Wifey and I went anyway to clap and cheer our Son on. So did the rest of the parents, grandparents and siblings... everyone was there to fill the auditorium full of proud people.
It was one of many proud moments for Wifey and I of our Son when he received his award and got his pictures taken with our MP. He smiled proudly too. Hope this will spur him on to work hard and smart.
All that high left us oblivious to the thunderstorm outside the community centre. I even suggested to Wifey to stay at the CC for coffee to wait the rain out after the ceremony. Shish!
"Take my camera..." I told Wifey and handed it over to her, "keep it dry with you while I run home to close the window!"
"Come back!" Wifey stopped me, "You didn't bring your key pouch with you..." as she reached into her handbag and took out her set of keys to the front door.
"Ayah, I know a short cut through the void decks" our Son handed-out his hand for the key, "I can run faster than you... I won't get wet."
Ouch! I felt old suddenly... but all in good intentions from him. I gave him the key and he dashed off down the pedestrian bridge and disappeared into the covered walkway.
Yep! The rain came into to our living room and wet the laminated floor and sofa console table.
Everyone helped out to wipe dry the floor, but instead of worrying the floor might pop-out and peel if water was to sip in between the planks we felt great together. Still feeing good and proud of our Son.
He probably will not be eligible for bursary next year, not because we think he will not do well. We believe he will excel with our support, but I just received a raise at work this year that has once again render him not eligible for the bursary award.
Money aside, the blessing is our Son being in our lives... for being a great person, a good son.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
It was time to give them some spending money for the month. A little more for each of them this month because I got my 13th month bonus in December.
"Yikes... no umbrella!" I sighed to myself, apparently quite loudly as the passenger seated in front of me looked back probably thinking I was talking to her.
With the earphone pumping good music from my PDA, I guess my voice was a tat too loud. My journey in the bus alone while the rain poured outside was quite calming, solemn even.
Both Wifey and Son were just too tired to visit my parents after the late hours we had from our Son's Graduation Night.
"Hi Mom, I am on my way to your home... I'm in the bus now." I told my Mom when she picked up the phone.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier..." Mom sounded disappointed, "I could have made you something special to eat and take home."
"Precisely. If I did, then you will make a lot of fuss over and be very busy cooking or preparing something..." I replied lightly, "do you want me to stop by to buy you anything?"
Yong Tau Foo," Mom answered, "I want one too. Please get me more broccolis and dried stuffed-tofu too."
"Oh, yes. Don't forget to ask for more sweet-sauce too." Mom reminded me.
It rained even heavier once I reached Woodlands Regional Bus Interchange. Stopped by Banquet Food Court on the 7th floor to buy my parents their favourite meal for their late lunch.
"We are keeping it for later..." Mom told me, "we eat Nasi Lemak I already cooked." pointing to the food Mom and Dad already prepared for lunch. I had to eat lunch twice today.
I already had mine before I left home, but Mom insisted that I eat a little. I could not turn her down... I would be crazy to turn down her phenomenal cooking.
We talked some while sipping hot coffee after lunch. It was a very nice time there, cool from the pouring rain outside, a hot drink in my hand and warm conversation with my parents.
Before long, it was time for me to go home. Then they shine again giving me their warmth.
"Here... " Mom pointed into the plastic carrier, "some green grapes, Japanese cucumbers and a few packets of ground curry for Azi to cook at home." as she brought the bag over to me.
Dad started to pack everything together into one heavy Eco-friendly brown carrier.
Parents, they always fuss over their children. Always thinking about their children more than themselves... even when their children already have children of their own.
Rain or shine, they are still these warm, super-human beings. Mom and Dad will always reign love in my heart. Warm and tingly in the monsoon season.
I love them dearly for eternity.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Guess I was quite tired and dozed-off while we were on our way to Chua Chu Kang Campsite. The rainy weather and plush seats on the coach was too comfy that aided me snooze-land.
I took the afternoon off work, the first in the new year to attend our Son's secondary school students orientation-camping and Graduation Night 2008.
That was before I went for Friday prayers at Al-Gufran mosque and then joined by Wifey at Tampines Bus Interchange for groceries shopping at NTUC supermarket in Tampines Mall.
Stopped by the cobbler to get my sandals fixed, then off to Dunman Secondary School where the coach pick-up point for parents to the campsite was.
The school was having this 2-day 1-night camping trip to break the ice and to loosen-up the secondary one children's anxieties with their new school and the new culture they will be exposed to.
The secondary one classes from S1-A to S1-G, guided and mentored by their student leaders and teachers were there to get them to know each other - between fellow students and teachers as well.
Then, as though energized from the food they consumed, came the rousing cheers from the students with their hands-clapping, thigh-slapping chants loud and fun-filled.
It got us parents pumped-up with excitement too... a prelude to interesting events that followed through the evening.
"What are they graduating from?" asked one parent to a student leader.
It was told that all secondary one students came in as "Privates" and when they leave after their graduation tonight, they leave as "Lance-Corporal" ...unofficially of course.
Reminiscent of my army days, it seemed.
We parents had a nice spread of finger-food and refreshments while watching the students from each class putting a show. Dinner and a show!
The objective was for fun and confidence-building for all the students, but the message might not be that transparent as far as the parents were concern, it seemed.
I overheard one parent talking to another that their children's class performed better than the other... I am not all innocent myself too, because I thought our Son's class did the best.
I guess parents will always be parents... their own child will always be the best, regardless.
I did not recognise our Son's own voice over the speakers as it was low and course. Either puberty had set in or most likely because of the constant shouting and cheering that they had been doing for the past 2 days.
Anyway, our Son's class of S1-D came out tops. The judges agreed with me! They won a class trophy - an army helmet garlanded with leaves and butterflies... whatever that symbolizes... and be placed in the trophy display case in their school. Hurray For S1-D!
8:30PM. The show was over. The student did the final hurrah and stood at attention as they "graduated" as Lance-Corporals, bestowed with a stick-on red-seal ribbon.
Parents got back into the coaches while students did their final debrief before we all met each other at school to pick our children up for home.
"Home sweet home" was our Son's gesture when we reached home.
Two days of nondescript toilet experience and the not getting enough time to get a bath was too much of an experience for him. Well, he better get use to it because come 18 years of old, the army will give him much more "experience" than he could bargain for.
He went to sleep as soon as he entered his room and woke up later than his usual hours... ignoring his waiting PC and notebook.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
2008 came with a big bang of fireworks across many parts of the island... the world celebrated too, I am sure.
We were not at any party central for the New Year's countdown this year, but stayed home and watched the events at VivoCity on TV instead.
Though we foregone the countdown party and fireworks, we kicked-off New Year's day splendidly with our own brand of family celebration - outing on bikes!
The whole day was wonderful as soon as the 3 bicycles we bought from Giant Hypermart were delivered at 4:00PM on the eve.
Initially planned to go around the neighborhood and especially to chart the route to our Son's Dunman Secondary School, so that he could have a choice of either riding the bus or on his bike.
I planned a conservative outing to not fatigue everyone the next day, but we ended up riding the whole day and saw the most scenic places along our route we normally would not have taken if we did not purchase the bikes.
I should have taken my Lumix FZ10 digital camera with me though. So I used my cell phone camera which gave quite grainy color reproduction and fuzzy. I am however, thankful that we have the bikes and went outing on the first day of 2008.
There were just too many things we did and so many interesting places we passed by since we became so mobile now. I traced the routes we discovered around our neighborhood and the next estate - Pasir Ris:
- 10:00AM Left home to Duman Secondary School. 20 minutes, but stopped to take pictures and looked closer at interesting trees with strange-looking fruits.
- 10:30AM Had prata for breakfast at a coffee shop at Tampines Street 21 beside Northeast Community Centre.
- 11:15AM Paid tons of bills using S.A.M at Tampines CPF Building.
- 11:30AM Son had his hair-cut at Sri Nada barber shop in Century Square.
- 12:00PM Bought packed lunch and left for Pasir Ris Park via Tampines Sun Plaza Park bike connectors. Scenic and tranquil.
- 1:00PM More photos at Pasir Ris Town Park man-made fishing pond. Festive sight.
- 1:30PM Left for Pasir Ris Beach Park via Pasir Ris Mangrove Path. Beautiful.
- 2:00PM Lunch at Pasir Ris Beach Park. Serenity.
- 3:00PM Cycle through Pasir Ris Beach Park. Wonderful.
- 3:15PM Bought a kite and kite-flying at the open field. Childhood fun.
- 5:00PM Left for home via the long route at Pasir Ris Street 3 and 12. Interesting.
- 6:00PM Home sweet home. Out butts hurt and tan-lines. Ouch!
That was the best New Year's day I had ever spent in a long time!
We are now geared-up for more weekend biking expeditions to explore more pockets of interesting places we heard or read about so far... and as far as these pairs of legs can paddle because everyone enjoyed the outing-on-wheels so much.
This is going to be great year for my family! Hope you day was as great too.
Happy New Year everyone!