Thursday, August 28, 2014

Changing car ownership

For the pass 6 months, to my knowledge, hubby has been contemplating a car change. It actually started from me, due to my 2 accidents. I felt I wanted a new car - a safer car, a brighter car. Not sure why compact was not in my terms of reference.

Given that a car is a car to me. And it made no real sense for me to change from my Myvi to a Jazz when hubby was already driving a City (we deemed Honda is one of the more safer cars, compact did not cross my mind). Thus, I relented to taking over hubby's City and allow him the new car instead.

We made one troublesome mistake in this process. The new car was registered under hubby's name and not mine. If would not have really mattered since both our insurance now is charged to the same card. Only who pays which portion. And it did not really matter whose name was tied to which NCB. But it never crossed our minds and so we had to go through the painful process of Puspakom and JPJ. If we were to trade in the City to get the new car, we would not have had this hassle. But since now we had to transfer ownership of the City to my name and Myvi to the new buyer's name, we spent close to 4 hours in JPJ.

So, we went to Puspakom 2 times. Once to check that the Myvi engine and tint was in accordance to the limit. And the 2nd time for the City. As a result, we had to re-tint the City.

With the Puspakom reports in hand (they only last a month), next stop was to the insurance. I actually could have done this earlier and saved myself a bit of running around that day. But, oh the trouble of leave and wrong info!

So, I had to cancel my previous insurance and start a new one. My current insurance company was suffering from a system-down that day. Darn it! So, I had to go to the next nearest insurance company to make a new insurance. You don't need your name to be on the registration card of the new car to create a new insurance no matter what your insurance agent tells you! But you need your new car to have an insurance if you want your new road tax!

So, insurance in hand, we went to JPJ. We did the transfer of ownership and the road tax in 10 minutes (although we waited 3 hours and 50 minutes)! The new buyer of the Myvi paid 100 to a runner in JPJ itself to do it through the back door (literally a door at the back) and she left after 1 hour.

So, I am driving the City now. And there is a real difference. I feel bends are easier to manuever, there is more grip. Braking is definitely an immediate effect now. The only thing I need to get used to is the ease of having a compact car not. That tight squeeze just became a little tighter for me!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

6th August 2014

This date marks an anniversary for me now. The anniversary of the passing of my dad.

This is what happened....

I dropped my son as usual at 6:35 am at my parents place. Daddy and mummy moved down to PJ late last year to help me ferry and care for my son who was to start Standard 1 this year. At his grandparents place, my son would have his breakfast prepared by my dad and dress up for school, with grandma's assistance and then grandpa will send him to school. So while my mum was helping him dress up, my dad went up to change and get ready to send my son to school. He went up around 7:10 am. Close to 7:20, with no sign of my dad, my mum went upstairs to check on him. This part of the story I heard from my mum. She went upstairs and saw my dad lying on the floor beside the bed. He was lying on his side, his comb not too far away from his hand. His pants was wet. My mum cried out! Having heard grandma, my son ran upstairs. I am not sure what happened at this juncture but my mum must have told my son that grandpa has fainted.
My son told my mum not to worry and rushed to the bathroom to bring handfuls of water to splash on my dad's face. He shook and shook my dad and told my dad to get up and bring him to school.
"The sun is up, time to get up, kung kung!"
"Cannot sleep already, I will be late for school!"
These were the cries of my innocent 6+ year old boy.
My mum called everyone she knew.

My neighbor was the first to arrive, having been roused by my husband to check what was happening. He told me that he jumped out of bed, washed his face, changed his clothes and rushed next door. He even forgot to brush his teeth. As soon as he arrived, my husband and my daughter arrived as well. Victor went up first soon to be followed by my husband. I learnt a few days later when I saw my son performing the same action on his sister that Victor attempted CPR. Victor later told me that when he arrived, my dad's hands and head were already cold. The only warmth he felt was near my dad's heart. Between my husband and Victor, they tried ways to resuscitate him. They also took turns calling hospital after hospital as well as the police in an attempt to get an ambulance to the house. The kids I heard were very good. Keeping to themselves and not being a bother.

I received the call from mummy at 7:23 am. I dropped everything and rushed home. On my way home, I kept praying that this was just a matter of low blood pressure and he would just need some glucose drip or something. Let everything be okay, I kept repeating it in my head. Driving keeps one from using the phone but when I reached the Sunway toll, there was a bad jam. So, I picked up the phone to call my husband. He picked at the 2nd attempt. I asked him about the kids. And I also asked him what was happening. It was all good until I asked him the last question. "Is daddy breathing very faint?" Silence speaks clearer than any words. My tears fell unchecked. I called my sis.

In my head while I was waiting for her to pick up the call, I heard myself think "Daddy will not be with us in Singapore!" (We were in the midst of planning our first overseas trip. It was supposed to be HK as promised by my dad to my son. But we opted for Singapore Sentosa Island instead. It would have  been out first family trip overseas.)

They were also caught in a jam and my bro inlaw was driving. So my sis could spend some time calming me down. I was never so aware of the need to drive careful than that time. My sis arrived at home first. I learnt from hubby that between the 3 of them men, they heaved my dad into my sister's car and made their way to Damansara Specialist Hospital. I arrived shortly after and parked my car at the house. Jumped into hubby's car and we decided to drop the kids at my daughter's (and my son's ex) kindergarten. The principal was kind enough to take both of them in and take care of them until evening.

Since I was no longer driving, I could make some calls. One to our pastor for prayer. A few messages to church members for prayer. I received a call just as we were parking from my bro inlaw asking me to hurry to the emergency ward. My hands were shaking and my heart was beating so fast. When I arrived, my mum exclaimed "Daddy has died, Ann!" My sis and mum were crying. Strangely I felt calm. To a certain extent I had already cried. I told mummy "It is okay, mummy. He lead a good life and he died a quick death. He did not suffer. It was the way he wanted to go." I noticed that my mum was immediately comforted and she stopped crying. In a way a little positiveness does help in situations of hopelessness. It was my way of coping and I hoped it was a way my mum could cope, at least for that very moment.

How the news spread was beyond me. We made a few calls to my dad's friends. And the news spread from one person to another so much so we had calls from people all over Malaysia.

Being new to the church in PJ and it being troublesome to bring the body back to Ipoh (to the church my dad spent 10 over years of his life), we asked if the pastor who baptized my dad could also bury him. He obliged and agreed that we should bury and not cremate him. Although my dad did mention he would like to be cremated, it was something we never talked seriously about. So, due to circumstances, we decided to buy a twin plot in Semenyih and bury him in the Christian Memorial Park. We came to realize that embalming packages bought in advance cost cheaper. And empty plots for burial are sorely limited and come at a high price. The embalming itself cost us 14K (21K if not bought in advance. But we bought 2, one for my mum so forked out 28K this time round), another 20K for the burial process and about 32K for the plot of land. The manager from Nirvana that saw to us was very kind and that really helps. So, best to do all of these in advance and determine the person you want to deal with and hope when you need to, that person is still working there.

The day of his death, we spent a lot of time at the bank. Everything, even though it had joined names, had to be cancelled. Only those things that had nominee we could afford to leave it for now. And Fixed Deposits have a tendency to be very troublesome - dependent on branch made, account branch and amount. We realized later that Maybank has this surviving clause where if the account is in joint name, the surviving member gets full sum of the account. In other banks, the surviving member gets only half. The other half dependent on the will.

We completed all the banking on Thursday at 11 am. Took a quick bite and made our way to Nirvana Sungai Besi. The embalming takes about 1 day so it was about the right time for us to perform the customary dressing up. Fastening the button of daddy's coat reminded me of the time when daddy put on my veil when I was getting married. The act of preparing the person for their biggest change in life. Although you are sad to see your kid getting married, you still have to let them go. I was saying goodbye to daddy. It would be the last time I get to touch him. There is some parting in performing this act. All necessary actions in the process of saying goodbye.

After which we choose the casket and finalized details of the wake service. It was to start that evening 7th August at 8:30 pm. Having done all that, we rushed to Semenyih to choose the burial plot. They say it is better to go there and decide for yourself rather than use digital images to decide. The look and feel of where you want your daddy to be resting. We chose based on convenience, the plot is near the road. We chose based on the fact that there was a healthy tree growing nearby. We chose based on how well the neighbor kept their plot. We were asked to make a decision at this time too. If we would like to have the casket put in, and then soil, and then cement slabs and then soil again. OR casket, cement slabs, then only soil on top. We decided for the former, thinking dust to dust right. But if I could choose again, I would choose the later as the soil when it knocked the casket did not sound comfortable. And it covered all the flowers we threw in.

I remembered on that day when we buried daddy, the sound of the earth hitting the casket made me think "Daddy, sorry about the noise!" Every hit made me cringe. I am glad the music helped bring me to another place.

The 2 days we had the wake, it was a full day affair. Olivia, my dearest friend who lost her mum told me that seeing daddy as often as I could that 2 days will help in the grieving process. So, whenever I could I would be my daddy talking to him and asking him to help me. I met friends of my dad who I actually cherish in my heart and I was so glad they were there that we could comfort each other. Even some friends who I know hate to travel made it all the way to bid my daddy farewell. I was so touched by their effort. And I hope one day I would be able to return their favor.

On Saturday we buried daddy. I didn't want the casket to be closed. I actually didn't feel ready not to see daddy anymore. But I had to let go. Incidents had happened which made my son very aware of my emotions and I had to teach him to let go. I walked away because I could not handle seeing them close the casket. I waited at the door and leaned on my eldest uncle's shoulders and watched them load the casket in the van. At that moment, I felt glad that I had a close enough relationship with most of my uncles and aunties. The preparation of the van was done in a seamless manner - to putting the picture of my dad at the front of the van to rearranging all the flowers in the van. We were told to walk behind the van for the short distance to the front gate. Mummy, sis and I with my 2 kids walked in front with so many friends and relatives following. We then proceeded to Semenyih.

When the burial process was complete, I really wanted to stay a while longer. Like what we see in the movies right. To sit quietly for a while and say good bye. But we were rushed off for lunch and it would have been for the best since it was close to 1 pm and lengthy goodbyes never did anyone any good. Seeing the whole process through, there was closure. And talking to aunties after that, mending some fences, understanding their grief, it all helped.

I am thankful that I have my son. He was very close to his grandfather and in a way both of us can grief in a way hubby and my daughter do not. I am trying to fill up the gaps my dad left in my son's life and he fills up  mine. So long daddy, see you one day in heaven.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tribute to daddy (possible part 1)

I need to write this. It's not like I will ever forget but it helps to write about it.

As the days progress (I can't believe it's just day 3 without him), it seems to get easier. But I reckon it's just tiredness and the memorial that makes it seem easier. There are still so many areas we need to find replacements. And with each moment that we need to replace his presence, the loss of my dad washes anew.

This cannot be a sequential log. Some will be short, some will be long.

Daddy loved to learn. Barely a week ago, he was just telling us he bought the new ipad mini.
"But you know Ann, the one with the retina is so much better!"
He never shunned away from learning. He was always learning, always willing to listen to any bit of information we could give him. He never thought himself so great that his kids could not give him more information.

He had the highest integrity. His external person was the same as the person at home in terms of his integrity. He never accepted anything from anyone. He did no favors. If he did anything, it would have been with a clear conscience. He was always constant in his views and always strong in his stand.

He loved road trips. He loved to explore. He was always interested when I wanted to tell him about all the road trips I made. He always listened and he was always interested, always interested.

Daddy always did things well. I remember him saying "If you want to do something, do it well and complete it". I was a lazy girl so this lesson might have been what made me the person I am today.

I remembered when I got into a car accident, daddy told me, if money can help you solve the problem, it's not really a problem. He never help on to money like his life depended on it. He was a generous man but never frivolous. He spend when and where was required. He was never a stingy man. He worked hard to get where he was and I don't remember ever having to ask him for anything.

I remember one time when we were in Kuching. It was a rare occasion cause I only remember this one night when we were gathered in the master bedroom and he told us stories from when he was young. And we laughed and laughed till the elastic of my pants broke. Just when he was narrating a story about a teacher whose pants kept coming down and he had to keep using his forearms to hold his pants up! Daddy was a funny guy.

You would think as a man, he wouldn't be all that bothered with what happened in our girly lives. But daddy went shopping with us. He used to help mummy pick out gowns. He was very particular about the way we dressed. I remember he would even comment that we were pretty, or request us to change our clothes.

...to be continued....

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I am in love.....

I am seeing this man. Everyday I go to work, I always take some time to see him. He knows me not; but that's okay. Each time he opens his mouth, I have to close my eyes so that I can savor his lyrical conversation. I am in awe of him even though he is a few years younger than me.

He can be considered a handsome guy. Although not in the macho kind of way. He has that cute, boyish look which I can't resist. And I love the twinkle in his eye when he tells a joke. Or the frown on his face when he is saying something that is close to his heart.

He has the most untidy mop of curly hair when he forgets to get it trimmed. With longer hair like that, he looks like a little child. You want to reach out and push all the curls away. But once cut, it makes him look so much more mature. I can never call him an immaculate man because his lack of self grooming is always evident. Natural curls and spectacles don't work to his favor.

But his passion for his work and the effort he puts into the things that he loves makes up for his occasional disheveled appearance. It kills to be with a perfectionist. So, I don't envy the lady with him. But to stand on the other side and be a recipient of his perfect work, that feeling is awesome. It's like drugs and alcohol and chocolates all at the same time.

His work demands to be greatly appreciated. And you can do it best when you start to understand the process he takes. You then strain to catch the little differences that distinguish his from another. And so I love him. I love that he has such passion to produce such perfection that is capable of bringing me to such heights of drive, freedom and calm.

I love him, who is Josh Groban.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Things I have this year! (udpated)

I realize I have not been updating my blog on the kitchen tools and gifts I have got this year! Not even sure fi I did that last year. But this year's purchases are worth mentioning!

Bought this gadget at last. I won't even call it a kitchen aid. I bought it more for experimenting and for some ease (now that I have used it), rather than it being a need!


In fact before buying it, I was like a yo-yo - yes, I will buy it, no I wouldn't buy it. Until hubby lost track of my decision making process! I was also looking and comparing other brands like Tefal and Buffalo. But the baking feature and the FB support/pages shifted the pendulum in favor of Philips.

I am at this point still trying to understand the gadget. It's funny because it's the first time I actually have to put in this much effort to understand him. I call him a him because it's really not temperamental at all. And it's black, whatever logic color has to do with gender. I would have preferred the white and blush of purple her, but she gets pigmentation issues as she ages. So.....

The other thing that I got was a present from hubby, presumably to cover all occasions in the year if he doesn't pay for him (you know as in him!) at the end of this month! :)



I wanted wanted wanted a long wallet since my black Prada zipper got spoiled. But never could rationalize the purchase. I have enough purses after all for my usage. But the thing about long wallets is that the money can be seen and segregated so easily. And I can just take the change and put it in without stuffing or folding. Of course, I never can do any shopping (kids!!!!) and given I hadn't even attempted to talk though my rationalization, I never bothered to look.

So, when I opened the box and saw it for the first time, my practical side reared it's smug head and in my mind I went - "the color is light, dirty very fast" and "Ummm....I don't really need it do I?". But having decided what to use when and re-arranging everything, I love it. And my black Prada has been downgraded to fetching-the-kid-carry-everything use. Which is great cause I needed something to put just my phone and my license.

So, rationalization sometimes works best after the fact. Can this be my anniversary lesson this year?

***
Realized there is one more thing we got this year.

315792-canon-pixma-mx522-wireless-office-all-in-one-printer
Reason being - Christopher's last minute request for pictures. And the fact that we don't subscribe to any magazines or newspapers. Also hubby got tired of my last minute rush to get things printed for church! It's lying on the kids study table and being put to good use.

Bukit Melawati and Sekinchan

Conqueror of another day trip destination around Selangor. This time it was to Sekinchan with a pit stop at Bukit Melawati.

We took our time to start our journey, having just recovered from Bookfest lethargy. We may have left around 9+ and arrived Bukit Melawati one hour later, give and take. One look at the long queue and we were debating if we could make the walk up the hill. But given we had a 4 young kids in tow, there was not much that needed to be decided. We waited it out and actually, it was not that long a wait. As in none of the kids had to be pacified that the tractor (they call it a tram, but it was more like a tractor) was coming.

The tractor brings you up the hill where the fort is and the canons and the monkeys. And we disembarked to snap, snap, climb, climb, feed, feed. And then just before the kids started complaining, we boarded the next tractor down. The next stop was an aquarium of sort. I can only say that it is something 'of sort' because we didn't get down, much to my son's loud dismay.

It was close to lunch time and our next destination was supposed to be the highlight of the trip.

Leaving Bukit Melawati, we were half amazed, half worried to see the multitude of tourist buses coming in and heading out in the same direction as ours.

And we were not to be disappointed. The traffic to Sekinchan was ridiculous. Unlike previous road trips where we only had to content with mostly cars and a few buses, Sekinchan was pilled up with buses.

Arriving at Sekinchan, we attempted lunch. The first place we saw from a distant looked kinda of comfortable, in a sense it was not that full. But disappointment followed (again) - the tables were already all booked for the tour buses arriving soon. We had no choice but to settle and wait for a table in the next restaurant. The only good that came out of waiting was hubby bought many many packets of crackers at a cheaper price. The same shop was closing by the time we returned later. 6 dishes, RM120 poorer and 1 and half hours later, we were back to exploring the town.

Our first place was Mango King and the famed paddy fields. I reckon the number of people really killed half the joy of exploring and buying. I would have bought more if maneuvering the crowd and keeping track of my kids weren't such trouble. As it is I only bought 1kg of ciku for RM8.

After that, it was the paddy fields and the rice factory. Before the trip, we read blogs about green as far as the eye could see. Then I came across one blog which told me the seasons for the rice planting. And July was such a bad time to go if you want to see green. In a way, it made us laugh when we did see one patch or two of green and decided to snap just the green section of the field. Hilarious deception!

We paid the RM4 for the ticket and you get to redeem a packet of rice with your ticket. The 'show' was in mandarin and the guide spoke in mandarin which was a BIG HELP NOT. Seriously......are they expecting only chinese tourists here? I was half sighing, half telling myself to at least enjoy the air conditioning!

After that, we made our way to Pantai Redang. I say it again.....I would have enjoyed the expectation of seeing the rustic swing and tree house from TVB series Outbound Love more IF the jam wasn't that bad and the crowd would just thin out, if not vanish out of sight.

I mean, it was meant to be reflective and serene. But no, no, no....we had to share and take turns and squirm and line up and squeeze...and all in the hot blazing sun. Even a spot in the shade was hard to come by. But we saw what we came to see. We conquered the crowd in the best possible way and (can I say this) still had a (relatively) good time. Again the boy was disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm by the others to play in the sea and build sandcastles! Oh Lord, my son's uncanny definition of fun!

Perhaps the rush back to KL made the trip a little un-ended! Normally we round it up with dinner and we would go home cool-er. But this time round, we could not. So, all in all maybe I will go back again but this time to see the fireflies and next time at the right time, if ever there is one for Sekinchan.

Maybe when everyone has watched and forgotten Outbound Love....