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Posts Tagged ‘mela v. world’

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I spent Saturday at the new place, having left the kids at my mother-in-law’s, meeting contractors then at various locations selecting tiles, toilets, ovens, sinks.

We had a quick late lunch at Terminal 3, then doubled back to pick up the kids for dinner at Oscar’s.

I turned a year older. I didn’t eat as much cake as I would have liked but I am now a home owner and I can’t wait to see what my bathroom will look like.

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I ask myself a lot whether I am a good mother.

I don’t really like to clean and don’t clean all that much.
I don’t stay at home all day with the children and pander to their every need.
Sometimes I don’t answer their questions and tell them to be quiet because I have a headache.
Sometimes I troll them for fun.
And I talk about my work more than I talk about my kids really.
Sometimes I also wished they would go to bed earlier so that I can so stuff I like to do.

Then I find these notes in my handbag at work:

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…and think maybe, just maybe, in spite of all of my shortcomings I might be actually doing something right.

Heh.

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I have spent two weeks after the departure of Commando and Catholic Girl went on Call Break doing 2 persons’ work.

Then I spent one week thereafter doing 3 persons’ work because Champagne Truffle went on holiday, a holiday he had booked because he thought that Commando would cover his work but then Commando left so tough luck.

So I haven’t done any of my own work for 3 weeks now. It is making my scalp itch and setting my teeth on edge. I am in perpetual high alert to duck in case anything explodes. I have spent many days laughing too much (because laughing is my coping mechanism) and many nights at home playing sad Chopin Nocturnes till midnight to wind down. It is not pretty.

Then on Monday, all the people on leave came back, much to my relief.

But The Buddha decided to have a protracted thermonuclear meltdown for an entire week, culminating in me spending two hours this morning just counselling people.

I thought that I could come into work today and look at my own files and answer my mail and feel better about life in general. But the morning is over, all I have done is to draft one overdue application and I have to scoot off to Court in the afternoon. This is just not happening for me.

I think I need a holiday from these people except that I have a new paralegal coming in on Monday and I have to reorganise the work to fit her into the team. So I am just going to down a shot of vodka (!!) and head out to Court to get on with the program.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate being middle management?

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We took vacant possession of our new (old) home yesterday evening.

I walked in and out of the empty rooms, horrified at all of the decisions I am expected to make about all that space.

My father though was in top form. He scrutinized everything and fired all kinds of questions at me.

“Are you going to re-do the toilets?”
“Are you going to take apart all of the kitchen cabinets?”
“Do you want to relocate the hob?”
“How do you want the bed frame to look like?”
“You need new doors.”

I looked back dumbly and tried my best to answer his questions, then gave up and told him feebly, “I think I need to see it all in daylight before I can decide.”

All I want to do is sit in a corner with my head between my knees and my eyes closed. Hopefully when I look up again, the house would be magically all done.

Then I wonder: Isn’t it amazing how I can make all these snap decisions at work about other people’s problems but can’t deal with my own life?

I clearly need help.

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Nice book

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Nice hair

And I won a trial!

But then my day rapidly went downhill from 4pm:
I left work late so I had to miss yoga.
I thought I’d go for a haircut but my hairdresser is not free to see me.
My office has degenerated into a disaster area while I was at trial.

Sigh.

*

Last Friday afternoon, I gave a seminar for 2 hours. Thereafter, I couldn’t talk to anyone for a day to recover from the trauma of public speaking.

This morning, I did a trial for 3 hours (at the end of which I won!!!). After all the cross-examination and oral closing submissions, I am now unable to carry on any extended conversations with anyone.

You know what’s wrong with me? I don’t like the sound of my own voice enough, which is odd considering that I like my singing voice.

On the bright side, I thought my cross-ex was quite good today. I fizzled out during closing, as usual. But the cross-ex was great. I am still high from it.

*

Conversation between Champagne Truffle and I after the trial:

Me: Do you wany to gallivant or go back to eat firm lunch?
He: I don’t know.
Me: Can you form an opinion?
He: Tough, given that I spent all morning not forming an opinion.
Me: How about what do you want to eat if we go gallivant?
He: Oh dear! Another opinion to form! And a difficult one!
Me: You know what? Screw it. Let’s just go back for firm lunch so we don’t have to think about this.

*

I’m going off to try to salvage the second half of my day by getting a pedicure.

Heh.

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I was listening to the radio with The Other Half in the car yesterday evening when that Stephen Bishop’s It Might Be You came on, reminding me of the one and only cruise I’ve ever gone on.

It was one of those cruises to nowhere. We left on a Friday night and returned on Sunday morning. My parents managed to get a cabin for 4 on a discount and we went with one of my mother’s friends with me as the fourth person.

I was 15 years old: Gawky, awkward, insecure and obsessed with the classical guitar. I hid behind my instrument a lot, behind my songs, behind faked chords, complicated solos. I was too old to go on a holiday with my parents, but too young to stay at home alone without getting into trouble. Hence I was roped into going for the cruise while my two older sisters could stay at home, unsupervised. I supposed that was a good thing. I don’t actually get along famously with my sisters.

At that time, my Biology lab partner had just broken up with her boyfriend from an all boys’ school nearby. He was trying to rebound on me and called me every day, which was really quite pesky. But because I haven’t garnered enough confidence or experience dealing with pesky boys at that age, plus I was a little flattered by the only male peer attention I’ve ever gotten in my life at that point, I tolerated it though I much rather be spending an hour each day sitting at the piano than having mundane conversations on the phone. Before I left for the cruise, he had said to me, “Think of me when you look at the stars.”

So there I was: Too young to go to the casino and too old to go to bed early. My parents and my mother’s friend headed to the casino after dinner while I was left to roam the ship by myself. I wandered around the decks, stared up at the stars, remembered the boy and grimaced. Okay. That didn’t quite do it for me. So I left the deck to explore the ship itself.

I came across the piano bar quite by accident. There was a pianist singing and playing. I sat in an unobtrusive corner to the left of the piano to listen. The bar itself was empty with only 2 or 3 tables occupied, not including myself. After a while, the pianist noticed me and we started chatting while he rested. He got me a drink and asked whether I would like to sing since there was no one around. I then spent the next 2 hours or so having a wonderful time singing with the piano. I didn’t play anything though he offered the piano up to me. I didn’t think the patrons of the bar would take kindly to Chopin waltzes and serious Bach Partitas.

One of the songs I sang that night was Stephen Bishop’s It Might Be You. You see, I lived next to the KTM train track and thought with my teenage affectedness that the song was my song because of the lyrics, I’ve been passing time watching trains go by…all of my life….

Saturday night was spent very much the same way, at the piano bar singing to no one in particular. When I left the ship on Sunday morning, the staff at the bar hugged me to say goodbye. My parents looked on, perplexed at the warm farewell I was getting and no doubt wondering what the hell I was up to on the ship on my own.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular relationship I was in from age 16 to 17-ish since I returned to my primary school 2 weekends ago to attend a talk about registering Peanut for Primary 1 next year.

The reason why I have been thinking about it is because the boy whom I went out with was my classmate in Primary 6. Also because I was sitting at the piano on Sunday while waiting for my tomatoes to roast and my bacon to render for my pasta sauce reading Chopin Nocturnes when I remembered a certain incident involving said boy.

I guess from age 10 onwards, the thing that defined me most as a person was my piano-playing. I was crazy about the piano. It was the one thing that I was really good at in life, something which no one could take away from me.

My piano teacher then wanted to arrange for an audition for me with [the late] Mr. Ong, in which I was to play Nocturne in C minor [with that haunting right hand cantabile and after five bars of which Mr. Ong told me to return to studio in two weeks with Chopin’s Barcarolle]. I was crazy excited and broke the news to the boy who was waiting for me after my piano class at the bottom of my piano teacher’s apartment block.

The boy flew into a rage. He claimed that he was uncomfortable with me attending class with a male person who will no doubt take advantage of me, in some misplaced sense of chivalry? Male chauvinism? I thought it was really ridiculous. We had a huge fight about it. We eventually made up but I still thought that he was being a complete ass about what was clearly very important to me.

I did the audition anyway. We broke up eventually due to some silly reason or other and I spent a while after that feeling quite resentful about a lot of things linked to and consequent to the fall out. One of the things that stuck with me was that maybe he didn’t want me to go to the audition because to him, my piano-playing was just some extended hobby with no relevance to real life. Maybe he just wanted me to be mediocre forever because what do I know, right? I am just this stupid naïve girl whom he thought was so easily taken advantage of.

The reality is that nothing eventually came out of my music education due to certain other circumstances but the fact that a boy tried to stop me from going after something I really wanted under the guise of “I love you and care about you” really stung. The lesson I learnt from that relationship was that I should never ever be with anyone who cannot support me in my endeavours or have any faith in me.

*

On a car ride one day, I turned to my husband and asked him whether he ever looked back on his past relationships and think: Hey, I was such a nasty piece of shit to her!

That’s a question that I really would like to ask the boy should I ever have the opportunity to in the future.

[Related post: the new year’s eve story]

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