Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Local Boy's Attempt to Reverse Order of Nature ends in Failure, Tears, Snot

Family members were amazed and horrified last evening when their almost two year old toddler bravely attempted to reverse the long-established order of dinner before dessert, refusing to eat his nutritious pumpkin-and-codfish porridge in preference for "chocyate".

Onlookers attempted to persuade the toddler to reconsider his course of action by multiple deployment of a high-chair, several choices of High Five and threats but he was not dissuaded, instead opting to interface with the living room rug which he proceeded to infuse with copious amounts of snot, spit and tears. Local authorities were called to the scene to extricate the boy from the rug, after which he was airlifted to a nearby sofa. A half-eaten and partially concealed box of Gavotte chocolates were later recovered near the rug but neither the toddler nor the house pet were available for comment at press time.

A spokesperson for the boy has confirmed that the boy subsequently finished his porridge but was too sleepy for "chocyate".

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Me and My Carcinogenic Night Light

There's lots of talk about the health hazards associated with working late and sleeping late, but I've recently come across a guaranteed best-seller. Spoke at a seminar not too long ago about something or other, and was chatting with a fellow speaker after I was through. She was a doctor AND a lawyer (obviously an older lady). Asked me why I looked a little peaked. Have been up since 3 am, I told her. Paperwork is a bitch.

I thought she'd give me the standard reply - you should sleep more, eat properly, yadda yadda. But no. What did she say? You will get cancer. Yep. Cancer.

I'm sorry, what?

Yes. Do you know that if you do not sleep in complete darkness for at least 6 hours, your cell renewal is interrupted and cancer cells are formed?

[Because she was both a lawyer and a doctor, I took to heart the last part of her sentence. "Are formed." Not "could be formed" or "may be formed". "Are formed" is a bloody certainty]

So what happens if I fall asleep with the light on? I said, sipping on my (also) potentially carcinogenic coffee.

Oh. Then your body will form cancer cells lor.

So what happens if some light from the street comes into my bedroom at night?

Cancer cells will still form. You have to sleep in complete darkness! She smiled blithely. I thought I must be asleep and having a nightmare.

I mean, seriously. I do not have blackout curtains. I read before I sleep. Sometimes I don't sleep because I'm sitting in front of a computer. Not only is that going to have the standard effects on my body and complexion - it could also give me cancer??????!!!!!!! Am I literally killing myself, just living day by day? Worse still, when I read a book before I sleep at night, am I giving The Sleeping Husband and The Sleeping Son cancer as well??????

Ok! I have to go! she said, beaming. I wanted to kill her.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Signs that The Son might be spending too much time with The Maid

1. He can speak Tagalog
2. If you put a cloth in his hand, he will wipe the table
3. Renewed interest in the Fisher-Price stove set and in cooking ("gook-king")
4. Every maid along our street knows his name
5. When The Maid washes our car, he will also wash his little toy cars.
6. They both scold The Dog in exactly the same way.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Muted Frustration

Started off the last post somewhat relaxed even though I got dragged through an unexpected closing this Chinese New Year but ended off enraged when I finished the CNY resolutions. I have to do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, sometime this week, and boy am I not looking forward to it. I have to give someone an appraisal of their past performance. Have been told "you hafta do it" and "don't be trying to do it by email, you" and "there comes a time in every one's life when they have to give someone a negative appraisal". The Husband has been prepping me for this for almost a year now. I have been evading this thing for just about as long. How do you look someone in the eye and say "I do not wish to continue working with you." I've spoken with people who've done this and they say rather nonchalantly that it's hard, but if you have to do it...

I just know when the time comes I'll look the person in the eye and remember that this person is someone's mother, someone's wife, someone's daughter and also a provider to her family. And my judgement will be clouded. My words will be measured and self-censored. Basically, I might actually blurt out "Hey, thanks very much for all of your help this past year ... erm. yeah. Thanks again. Ok! This discussion is over! Bye!" Heergggh

The other problem with having just 1 kid

.... You start off the New Year of the Pig in a nett loss position. I don't know what the government thinks about their birth promotion incentives, but if my experience this CNY is anything to go by, it's definitely working. Chinese people are having more kids. Somewhere in Singapore is a Chinese woman visiting relative after relative with her 4 kids. Unless she's been stuffing S$50s or S$100s into her Ang Pows, she's definitely going to start the New Year with a tidy profit. A friend called me today to ask if she would be showing up at my house for the lunch gig. No, she can't make it, I said. Otherwise I'd be running to the ATM. Or shoving IOUs into 4 Ang Pows. Even so, 5 kids descended on my house at 11 am and wiped me out completely. Even faster than the 3 ERP gantries I hafta navigate every morning to work, and those are pretty awesome already.

Today marks the second movie that The Husband and I have seen together in a real movie theatre since birth of The Son about 23 months ago, which is pretty good I think. Unfortunately we watched GhostRider.

The Son went swimming today ("Mimming") and he seems to be getting the hang of things. Spent some quality time with my Hong Kong auntie and a float ("Foat"). Thereafter, the entire extended fambly made its way to a Hong Kong cafe (just for my auntie's sake), where some of us had our first authentic Hong Kong meal and my aunt had her 31,562th authentic Hong Kong meal.

My resolutions for this Year of the Pig:

1. pay bills on time
2. open snailmail within the same decade that I receive it
3. maybe even, perhaps, kind of ask or suggest to my secretary that, uh, some things need to be done, or maybe considered, to perhaps improve, like, work flow. Either that or she can elect to just start telling me when my clients have arrived at the office for a meeting. I'll let her pick. I don't mind if she goes for option 2 - it would be very nice not to find out by accident, say, 15 minutes later when I pass the reception and get a lovely surprise.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Show's over and it's all a blur

6 weeks, 4 companies, 7 agreements, 8 all-nighters, 9 archlever disclosures and $5 million later, the deal has closed and somewhere in Singapore today is a Chinese businessman who is very very rich and very very happy. I just found another white hair on my head, and it's probably because of this project.

In other news, the client have another deal for us and they would like to complete due diligence, negotiate documents and close by 28 Feb. Fantastic. Once that deal completes, all the hair on my head will either be black (having grown out from the last time I coloured it) or snow white.

In other news, I found my little "Printy Trodat" date chop which is one of the few things I've brought with me from office to office since my very first job in a law firm till now. That and the Hello Kitty stapler which has managed to survive the scourge of office petty theft and pilfering that has robbed me of countless items of stationery through the years.

Faced a bunch of law students earlier this week for 1 hour. It was great. Like a spa treatment, except no soothing music and no masseuse with large oily hands. It's such a relief to talk to people for an hour who don't have a commercial agenda, who are so relaxed, who can take time to think through legal issues without the constant pressure of time, deadlines, fee caps and bill collections. Can't believe that I used to be one of them, and what I wouldn't give to be sitting there listening instead of standing up speaking, with the pressure of having to complete what I am saying by 2.30 pm sharp because negotiation meetings resume in Suntec at 2.45 pm sharp. Plus the client wants to have a word with me before it starts, so he'll be there by 2.35 pm. Short of a telepod or a winged chariot descending from the heavens in a blaze of light, that is not going to happen.

What the hell did I do in Law School? Why did I feel so stressed the whole time? I have no idea.

Actually, why did I go to Law School? Oh yes. Because I didn't know working life was going to be like THIS.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma

Maybe it would be a humane thing to sterilise women who wanted to become lawyers. After all, even if you set aside enough time to fertilise the egg, you're not going to have much time for the stuff that happens afterwards. You'll feel a lot better about yourself if you didn't have to bother with all that.

Like maternity leave. Or resting after you've given birth. God knows I was lying awake thinking about my file list (not done! how will they cope when I'm gone!). Or having time to spend with your toddler, that is not also shared with your blackberry and people on a conference call. I was blowing bubbles yesterday evening for all of 5 minutes and got interrupted twice.

What I'd really like to do is hold my son and be in the present. Not with my mind frantically going through the events and emails of the day and wondering if there's something that I forgot to do. I want to enjoy him whilst he is still a baby. As it is, I can barely remember most of the first year of his life, and what he looked like when he was just born.

Seriously. I'd like to go home and give him some quality time and attention (for 2 hours) without constantly thinking that I should be sitting at the computer working on a document or some advice. I'd like him to remember me as not preoccupied with something other than him. And I would like to be present for his birthday this year instead of sitting on a plane by myself. This is not the life I wanted for myself or for my son. This is a Goddamned living hell.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Seriously. WTF is going on.

A horrible week looks like it's about to end on a horrible note. Have been too busy to sleep more than 3 hours a night and I think my colleagues are starting to notice that the black suit I'm wearing is the same suit. As this week. And last week. The combination of multiple-deadline-stress and lack of sleep is starting to make me hallucinate.

Like, did one of my neighbours really sit outside her house sewing at 3 am yesterday morning?

Did the people next door get drunk and start howling and shrieking at 6 am today?

Why do people walk their dogs in pitch darkness at 4 am?

Actually there is incontrovertible evidence that I am seeing things - the first of my, uh, 8 tins of BerryLite has inexplicably emptied itself out just sitting in my office drawer within hours of purchase. I'm keeping a very close watch on the other 7 tins. A very very close watch. When will you humans ever learn - you can't fool me!