Friday, March 30, 2007

Just Shoot Me I am So Freaking Tired

Have been averaging one all-nighter per week since 4 Jan this year and I'm completely sick of all this. It's been almost exactly 3 months, and my average billable hours this year are at a record high but I'm completely wiped out.

I wish sometimes I could just do something else. Just for 1 month. Something completely unrelated, so I can clear out the old tired me and maybe I'll find some inspiration in all of this. Maybe I might actually miss this job (*hysterical laughter and knee slapping*). Maybe I will realise just how much I actually love what I am doing now.

Last night was no exception. A surprise conference call at 9.30 pm takes up the last half hour of the 2 hours that I've set aside for The Son. All through the call I can hear him crying for Mama. Why is the call so late? I don't effing know. During the call, there is a general request for a document to be amended overnight (by yours truly) only the comments and amendments are supposed to come from all parties to the call and they don't know when they will send these. So I'm supposed to wait around all night then. Spend the rest of my waking hours and part of the sleeping ones just checking the blackberry every few minutes then. Great stuff.

Told everyone to send me their comments in the next 2 hours. Then went to sleep and set the alarm for 4 am.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Childcare Leave and other fascinating observations

Was trying to figure out the other day if our own staff/ myself would be entitled to childcare leave and came across a treasure trove of interesting trivia.

1. None of our staff/ myself are entitled to childcare leave in law because of their job scope (executive/ confidential positions) which excludes them from the protection of the Employment Act. Wait. Correction - the PANTRY LADY would be entitled to childcare leave if her children were not already grown up.

2. For a woman who holds an executive/ confidential/ managerial position to enjoy maternity benefits, she has to be married to the father of her child. However, the "married" rule does not apply to women who hold jobs that don't fall within these descriptions.

3. Married women who hold an executive/ confidential/ managerial positions enjoy maternity benefits up to the 4th child. Unmarried/ married women who hold jobs outside of these descriptions enjoy the same benefits up to the 2nd child only. The "Two Is Enough" policy is still alive! But only for some people!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Learning to Live Larger

Of course after an en-bloc sale the first thing that the nouveau riche do is find out how much people will be paying for the new apartments that will be built on the en-bloc site. For me the shock came a lot earlier when I was walking The Son back to The Mother's house from Borders. I crossed the road to the newly en-bloc'd Parisian and as I passed the some-time-ago en-bloc'd Anguilla Heights, I saw something very interesting. A showflat, in the middle of a construction site. There was glass and steel and a gorgeous little fountain, with the promise of very cool air conditioning and some respite from the noon Sunday heat. So I dragged the sweaty grumpy Son in, and let him loose to wander the showflat with his little toy cars.

You know something's up when all the salesmen are in full suits. Also, when you walk in sweaty and in shorts and all heads turn to see who's at the door. Uh oh.

To cut a long story short, I wandered through a 3-room 1400 sq feet showflat that had been tricked out to the max. The finishings and interior design was gorgeous. But it couldn't disguise the fact that:

1. you couldn't fit a full size sofa set into the living room;

2. there is no space for the washer/ dryer in the house;

3. there is no maid's room (unless you are willing to spare 1 of the 3 bedrooms)

4. there is no space for the fridge in the kitchen;

5. you have to buy a plasma tv and hang it on the wall, otherwise there is no space in the living room.

Geez Louise. Maybe I can afford this, I thought. How much is a 2-bedroom apartment on the 16th floor? I asked. S$4.1 million.

And how much are the apartments which are going to be built on my mom's old place - which promise a cantilevered swimming pool on every floor? S$15 - 20 million.

How ironic is it that I can't afford - will never be able to afford - to live in the very street where I grew up?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Welka Homama

I'm glad I saved the best for last. Flew out to London on economy, came back on business class. I know everyone else has already had this experience, but this was my first time getting through a long haul flight on business class. And it was pretty damn amazing. I was actually sad to get off the plane and could easily have sat there for another 12 hours. Imagine. 12 hours, no phone calls, no emails, just a good book and anytime access to all the on-demand movies that I've missed.

I think the thing that makes it livable is the leg room. If I had that kind of leg room in economy, then regardless of the service and even if I have to bring my own sandwich and water, I'd be ok. Otherwise it feels like I've been trapped in a little box for 12 hours and every passing minute makes me more psychotic.

Then I got off the plane and there was the Fambly! And The Son had a special (and specially rehearsed) "Welcome Home Mama" message just for me! Very happy to be back. And no longer in wet cold snowing sleeting and hailing London.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Exhumed Again!

Feels like the plane from Singapore to London landed, door opened, and I fell out in a faceplant. Sitting between 2 large people in the economy section is no joke, especially when one of them appears to have taken a very effective sleeping pill before the flight.

Back by popular demand for another round of the seminar thing! Would be happy(ier) if I was not travelling on a day which happens to be my son's birthday AND Mother's Day as well. Spent most of the day lurching from point A to point B trying to get my brain to engage so that I could complete seminar prep. No luck so far.

Stared at what seems like a hundred pieces of identical luggage coming off the conveyor belt whilst telling myself for the millionth time, Jesus Christ why can't you buy luggage that looks a teeny bit different from everyone else's? From now on, you are only allowed to buy bright green luggage. Because trying to identify your black canvass drag-on from all the others coming off the same flight after 12 hours on the plane is just plain stupid. Then right at that moment, I saw a black canvass drag-on lying on the conveyor belt covered with dog hair. Right! That's mine!

Lunch was 3 bites of a very delicious salt roast beef sandwich (with mustard and rocket leaves) and 2 gulps of very nice apple juice. S$18. The trick is to be very careful when opening the apple juice. One clumsy twist of the cap and that's S$3 all over your coat and hands, with only 1 gulp left in the bottle to mingle with your tears of impotent rage and frustration.

Erghhh. Tired, sleepy. Must work another 5 hours. Really there is no rest for the wicked.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Adult Tears

are so very different from baby tears.

They seem to come from deep within a well that has long been written-off as dry and dusty. Before the tear track makes its way down a single cheek, all the mental barriers come down again and no one can recall why they were even sad in the first place.

A friend of mine went to get some professional help after years of feeling that something wasn't quite right. After introducing herself to the therapist, he said, tell me about your family and she broke down without saying a word (yes, he literally had her at hello). They got through 3 sessions and he never went beyond hello. Finally, she told me as I laughed myself silly, he told her she could spend thousands of dollars on therapy and never find out what was the problem. Or she could just take Prozac (at a tiny fraction of the cost).

What kind of fucked up therapy is that? I asked.

That's a good therapist, she said. He sees crazy people every day. He knows there's a limit. Says there's millions of people out there with some big time issues but they never think about or even know about these issues because they're so busy achieving the next thing. Getting through school, getting that degree, getting that job, getting that promotion, hitting the maximum pay level in their chosen career. They could be well into their forties by the time they reach a plateau when there's nothing left to achieve. Then the big crazy issues that've been suppressed all this time will catch up with them. So keep yourself busy, hon. And take your pill.

So why do I get so upset when I come here? she asked him.

Because I'm different, he said. When you meet people in your everyday life, all of your mental barriers are up and full-on. You are in control because you deal within your sphere of comfort. So even if you talk about things that hit on your big crazy issues, even if you are aware of some problems you have inside, you control what you share, whom you talk to, what you say, when you end that conversation. With me, you are out of your comfort zone and your barriers are completely down. So these are your baby tears.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Question of the Week

Why is it that a toddler will try eating toilet paper more than 5 times before he finally decides he doesn't like it, yet he won't even try broccoli once?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Yeah, we could be more sensitive

It never fails to amaze me how insensitive people can become once they are qualified lawyers. According to various sources today, there were exactly 2 ground tremors that could be felt within the Raffles Place and Suntec area that had people streaming out of office buildings out of concern for their personal safety. Me, I was actually seated at my desk the entire time and felt nothing, heard nothing, knew nothing until a secretary I was speaking with about something or other pointed out that people in various office buildings around us were actually evacuating as we speak.


I asked around and none of the lawyers that I knew had felt anything. All of us were still sitting at our desks, typing away in ignorance. Maybe all the years of sitting in standard office furniture has seriously hardened our butts and taken away all the sensation in our lower back. Maybe I wouldn't know if someone came up behind me and started shaking my office chair or even tipped me out of it, until all of a sudden I look up and my computer screen isn't there anymore. What do you know? I always wanted to have buns of steel and now apparantly I have them.

I looked around for my secretary to confirm whether some letters had been sent out and realised she had evacuated herself in anticipation of my noticing her evacuation.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Nothing Matters

Every now and then I am reminded of how little anything really matters. Got my latest reminder when we shifted 3 sets of ashes from the Mt Vernon Crematorium to the Mandai one and we were all forced to confront and repack the 25-year old ashes of my Grandfather, the 22-year old ashes of my Grandmother and the 8-year old ashes of my Fourth Aunt. Why repack? Crematorium regulations. Never mind that the urns are all built to last forever. According to regulations, you have to change urns when you relocate (add S$800 for the cost of new urns). To add insult to injury, we had the crematorium representative reminding us the whole time how it could be dangerous to inhale too closely to the long-settled dust of your relative "as there may be germs". Thanks, crematorium guy.

There was an hour's wait for the new niches to be put up, which I spent walking all over the place looking at other people's niches. What a lot of dead guys from 18 - 25 we have. Somehow women manage to navigate the tumultous period between 18 - 25 much more successfully.

So it comes to this - whatever we do, whatever we feel and think throughout our lives, nothing matters because we are just another face in another niche in another crematorium, staring ahead and waiting to be forgotten as our nearest and dearest pass on too.

I should be hoping but I can't stop thinking
of all the things I should've said that I never said
All the things I should've done but we never did
All the things I should've given but I didn't
(Kate Bush)

So what? It doesn't matter.