Thursday, January 31, 2008

*Muffled Scream*

Ok. So. A 20th year high school reunion is supposed to be a great event, right? You'd pay $100 to attend this great event, right? Even if you have to top up an additional $8 for a chair? It's fine. Maybe we're all going to eat our dinner while sitting in an Osim chair. Then there's the request for us to sponsor an additional $100 for each teacher who is attending. Fine. So obviously the teachers cannot afford a $100 dinner on their civil servant salaries. But now, there's a last minute appeal for an additional $900 TO RENT A SOUND SYSTEM. And by "last minute", I mean 3 days before THE EVENT ITSELF.

Surely for $100 per person, we could cover the cost of the teacher's meals. After all, they're not there for the door gifts, they're just there to be reminded how old they've become now that even their students are old. Why do we pay $100 per teacher?

Lets say there's 150 girls going, at $100 each. That's $15,000 in the bag. That's more than what I spent on my entire wedding, inclusive of GST. That's what some people earn in a year. You mean we couldn't have a proper sitting down dinner in the school hall with background music for that price? 150 girls attending means just 4 out of 11 classes in total are attending - a poor show. If 8 out of 11 classes attend (more likely), we have $30,000 at our disposal. I don't know what kind of luxurious lifestyle you lead, but that's a freaking huge sum of money to me to be blowing in 1 night on dinner for a bunch of women.

There comes a time in every woman's life when she has to CALL IT. Just call the organiser on their bullshit. When it comes down to brass tacks, the question is, how much does it cost to use THE SCHOOL HALL of that same high school for a reunion, to cater food, drinks, buy a door gift (mug? tee shirt?), rent a sound system, tables, chairs... and there's the burning question - why couldn't we just hold it in a hotel?

By way of comparison, Chinese New Year lunch tables for 10 people are going for less than $1000 each if you just stick to abalone and shark's fins. You could eat like a king for less than $100, and with background music in the air. There's even air-con. Imagine that. Air-con.

Why the fuss about air con? Well because originally we were supposed to pay $100 for dinner IN THE SCHOOL FIELD. Then it became $100 for dinner in the "Courtyard". What the f. is a courtyard, I asked a friend. She said it's some new part of the school that wasn't there back in the day. I'm almost completely certain that it's nothing more than a smaller field somewhere else but instead of just grass, there are also shrubs. Maybe a tree. Or a bush. But just 3 days ago, we got the fantastic amazing wonderful mindblowing news that now the event will be held in the school hall! Which is air conditioned! Clap your hands, girls! We're going to dine in style!

So the good news is, since the reunion is in 2 days' time, this is probably (no promises) the last entry where I'm ranting about the Reunion Organised By Stupid. I sincerely hope it's the last time. Unfortunately I expect a flurry of last minute emails tomorrow (Friday, the day before the Reunion) asking us to sponsor a microphone, a dress for Madam Organiser, Madam Organiser's panties, some tables for us to put the food, the food, the utensils, some napkins, maybe ice for the water. Oh, and something extra to pay for the electricity FOR THE AIR CON. Actually, since I've received so many emails from Madam Organiser over the past year (yes, it took a year to organise... er... this), I could write it for her - I know her writing style so well now.

hi all

can someone please sponsor my kotex

i am having my period

we don't want blood on the stage right

so ... i just need 500 bucks

hope to hear from you soon!


PS am really really looking forwrd to this!!!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Local Boy Improves on Turd Timing

In case anyone out there is waiting with baited breath for an update, The Son has given even more thought to his Plan A and since improved on the timing of the last minute poo poo with breath-taking precision.

Morning wake-ups used to be so simple when I was single. Wake up, brush my teeth, run out the door as I am zipping up my skirt and buttoning the blouse (with mixed results if I am hungover). Now, it's a million times more complex and with High Five providing crazy background music. What I can't understand is how The Son manages to poo twice in the same hour. Surely when you go, you go. Right? You can't decide to hold back 1 or 2 pieces for later. This is not a donut run. Yet The Son managed to do exactly that twice this week. This morning, he got the 2nd poo timed just as I was getting dressed for work, after he had been fed, washed and dressed, and then after we washed him up for the second time, he ran around butt naked evading the second round of getting dressed. Which did not have the expected result of him getting out of school, it just made me late and 100 times more cranky than usual, especially since I am caught up in mad season with 3 transactions completing in the same month and nobody is sleeping anymore.

It's always mad season this time of year, and always coincides with my annual one and only one lecture with the law school students. I have a transaction completing tomorrow immediately before the lecture which probably guarantees I will arrive even more wild-eyed than usual and could well succumb to the temptation to just stand there and tell them all that it's not too late to change their minds and find another career path.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A new wrinkle on an old trick

I am starting to wonder how much time The Son actually devotes to the different ways in which he can get out of school. I suspect the answer is A LOT OF TIME.

Last Wednesday, he somehow contrived to catch an authentic mysterious fever which no one else in the family either caught or passed to him, and which kept him out of school Thursday and Friday, which resulted in him not going to school for 4 days (inclusive of the weekend), and which somehow has given him the idea that he doesn't need to go to school anymore.

Anyway. So this morning, we encountered a fresh onslaught of anti-school resistance, with skirmishes at breakfast, butt-wash, diaper removal, diaper putting-on and some fake coughing just before we left (although there was a lot less fake coughing than we expected - perhaps that's a plan B or plan C).

We got him out the door with dazzling success - no screamy clinging to the door with neighbour peering through the keyhole. He even put on his shoes himself (!) with minimum fuss, only pausing to point out that Daddy was stepping on his slippers. The lift button was pressed, the lift arrives, we all step in, beaming and full of self-congratulation, until...

"Daddy, I poo poo'd. Must wash butt."

I cannot believe he actually squeezed a turd at the very last second as a delay tactic.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


So I'm just about to attend some celebrity-filled charity gala event and frankly I didn't give much thought to the possible repercussions when I RSVP'd to confirm my illustrious attendance but in keeping with usual practice, I decided to read the invitation more carefully just as I was getting ready to leave and now I am frozen in fear and horror.

Good. God. There. Are. So. Many. Celebrities. Going.

There's chup on my shirt (I had a splashy soupy noodle lunch).

I've just had 7 billable hours in the office.

My hair still carries the shape of my pillow. And the elastic band that's held it up during the 7 billable hours.

I am so so out of my league here. And as if that were not enough, one of the people I actually consider to be a good friend just told me the very same thing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'll give you S$2, you can keep the change

In this day and age, why do people still treat their maids like crap? I am so tired of hearing about it.

My Son's only friend, who bears the same name, has a Filipino caregiver who is probably going to incur a nett loss over the course of 2 years with her current employer, a housewife who shall remain unnamed because I don't know her name anyway. Woman has had a bad experience with a previous maid, and is obviously determined to work out all that psychological trauma by passing it on to her current one. So Dear Ms Son's Only Friend's Mother, when your current maid refuses to renew her contract with you after the 2 years are up, don't be asking people why you can't find someone who will stay with you longer than the minimum period. I have only 1 thing to tell you, and that is, if you wanted your home employee and principal caregiver to your 2 kids to renew her contract after the mandatory minimum period, then you should have fed her. Here's a tip:

1. If you insist on controlling the marketing budget to the last dollar, then you should budget to include, not exclude, food for the maid.

2. If she has nothing to eat, she will eat the cheapest thing she can find in the house, which would most likely be the instant noodles. However, if you prevent her from eating the instant noodles by obsessively counting and keeping track of the number of packets of instant noodles in your house, then you should also obsessively count your blessings that she has not eaten her hand or one of your kids by now. Forcing your maid through pure omission to run out and buy the cheapest microwaved buns from the minimart with her own money is such a class act I can't even begin to say.

And seriously, who the hell counts the instant noodle packets to make sure none are missing? 5 packets cost S$1.60, if you buy a good brand. Are you saving them up for a nuclear holocaust? Are you planning a trip to Mars? If feeding the extra person hurts your wallet so much, you shouldn't have purchased a condominium property in the East Coast. Or perhaps you shouldn't have hired a maid.

And if one day you should chance upon your maid eating food that you don't remember buying or asking her to cook, please don't ask her to share it with you because IT IS MY FOOD FROM MY KITCHEN AND I DON'T WANT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU.

In other news (and this is really quite surreal) my secondary school's long-awaited, long-planned reunion, which took 1 year to put together, which costs S$100 per person, which will be held in our non-airconditioned secondary school courtyard after 3 venue changes [and could we please sponsor the teachers S$100 per head to attend because the teachers cannot possibly afford to attend a party that is held in their place of work] - it is almost upon us and with every dawn the date draws ever nearer. There is less than 3 weeks to go before this historical event.

We have already planned to give the organiser a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of expensive wine and possibly a 3D/2N trip to Bintan in appreciation of her untiring efforts through 2007. As I write, the flowers are probably reaching full bloom in whatever European hothouse they are growing in, just about ready for cutting and shipment whereupon they will after a lifetime of growth and bloom, ultimately end up in the hands of a woman whom I consider to be a waste of space.

So it was quite a surprise for me to receive by email a request for an additional amount of S$8 to be paid for sponsorship of chairs. Make no mistake, it is S$8 per chair. S$100 for a ticket does not buy you a chair. It only buys you ... a ticket.

It has been one of my core beliefs, up till now, that when you buy a ticket to some kind of a dinner, that it would come with a chair on which you would perch your backside whilst you eat the overpriced overcooked food. Now that my very foundations have been shaken, I wonder what else could possibly be missing from the dinner arrangements. Do we need to pay extra for plates? Should we bring our own utensils? What about napkins? Is it pot luck? Should I bring dessert?

I feel a little bit sorry for the people who have taken the trouble to purchase gifts for the organiser, in anticipation of the opportunity to present it to her on stage. Because if she gets wind of this, we may be enundated by another series of emails asking for sponsorship of a stage.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Local Boy Reaches New, Dizzying Heights of Cunning

I believe The Son has given some thought to the whole going-to-school issue, since we have now forbidden him to say "I don't want go school". Every time he says it, we take away one of his toys. He tried shortening it to "I don't. want. go" instead, but quickly discovered that we would bend our own rules a little bit and still take away one of his toys, so he is back to square 1.

So this morning, we woke up to A New Plan. He's spent the last few days trying to inhibit the sequence of events from occurring which would lead up to his eventual departure for school. This morning, unlike every other morning since he was born, he did not wake up at 7 am, spring out of bed and insist that The Husband and I wake up also for the purpose of his entertainment. No. Instead, he just lies there and watches us to make sure we stay asleep. Every time I opened my eyes, he'd just be lying there, watching. So I go back to sleep, thinking it's too early. Husband tells me, everytime he opened his eyes, The Son would wiggle his chubby index finger at him. "You. Sweep." [Sleep - he still cannot do the 'l'] So he thought it was still early, went back to sleep.

And that's how it came to pass that the entire fambly woke up at 8.30 instead of 7.30, then got The Son to school at 9.30 instead of 8.30. Tomorrow, we are buying an alarm clock.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thoughts of a woman with a hangover

So I've been thinking about writing an article for a woman's magazine but for the life of me I just cannot get serious and think up a proper topic. Just these. These I suspect are just not going to cut it.

How To Put On Makeup Properly While Driving
How To Drive A Man Crazy (especially when he's driving the car behind yours)
Highly Effective Habits of 7 Successful Women (as opposed to 7 Highly Effective Habits of Successful Women)
Why You Should Put The Roofie in His Drink, Not Yours (and Not Yours Also)
10 CVs Written By Women (And Why We Burned Them)

Note to Self II

Alcohol is not your friend. In fact, alcohol hates you like you burgled its house and then burned the place down.

1 peach bellini, 1 glass of red wine, 1 glass of white wine, 1 cigarette. Who knew that this would be the perfect combination for stomach upset, food poisoning and general nausea? I feel wretched. Wretched. I have been brought low.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Local Boy Shortens Own Education to 1.5 Weeks Through Whining, Crying

We are having some serious problems getting The Son to go to school. It's gotten to the stage where he starts crying when he wakes up and sees that it is morning already. Any mention of school and he starts wailing. When we arrive at the school, the teacher opens the main door before we are even nearby because they can all hear the banshee from inside way waay in advance.

Prior to that, all of us at home get to enjoy almost 1.5 hours of screaming, argumentative resistance. "I don't want to go school! I don't yike it! I don't want see friends! Don't want see teacher! Don't want play. with. toys in school!" He will not allow us to do anything that could in any way advance the sequence of events leading up to his arrival in school, so it was quite a struggle this morning getting him to change his diaper, change out of pajamas and eat his breakfast. We gave up trying to put on his shoes so the banshee arrived barefoot. If it were left to me, the banshee would arrive in pajamas, wearing last night's diaper which will have a little something extra inside to freshen the air.

Given that I am the manager of the "Get Son To School" project, I am fully resolved to continue this course of action until HE LOVES SCHOOL. Some people send their kids to 4 different types of classes. God forbid I cannot get my kid to attend the same one class for 3 hours each day. The fees cost almost as much as our mortgage in the first year. HE WILL ATTEND AND HE WILL LOVE IT.

Husband on the other hand is starting to crack under the relentless a.m. whining. We've already had 1.5 weeks of this and it's just getting worse. Now The Son only wants to have "nighttime" (because there's no school at nighttime). We've had an internal discussion and he has suggested that if the nonsense continues beyond Friday, we'll take him out of school.

I have mental visions of a 21-year old loafing around the house, watching Barney and sipping Milo from a packet, whilst the MOE officers come and take me away for failing to register my son for school.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Son Goes To School With Hannibal

So there was a minor commotion at Suntec this afternoon, when The Husband told me that The Son got bit by one of his classmates in school. Apparantly there was a discussion next to the hamster cage that did not end well. And by 'minor commotion', I mean that I kept my complete and absolute rage to a simmering and muffled minimum whilst I planned my revenge on the 2-year old girl who had the unmitigated temerity to sink her teeth into my son's arm. Yes, the same arm that I spent 9.5 months making all nice and cute. IT'S MY ARM.

According to reports, Little Ms Hannibal got timed out and was reprimanded by the teachers. Well I'll show her time out. Tomorrow morning I'm going to be right there when she arrives at the centre and I'm going to teach school. What's the big deal - those are just milk teeth and they was going to come out anyway. I'm helping her save on dental fees. Also, I'm not to blame if I smack her right across the head while waving goodbye to my son. Kids that small - them's to blame for getting in the way.

That child's parent has 1 working day to come up with an apology, is all I have to say.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Note to Self

In your new place, Please Do Not Forget to observe Casual Friday if you don't want to look like a cockroach on a wedding cake.

You do not need to dress like you're attending a funeral. It's Casual Friday.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

10 Whatevers for the New Year

I have no resolutions for this new year except that we need to stay out of the poorhouse. But I have Smoot's 10 Best Whatevers, inspired by flipping through Her World at the gas station, also about the same time I discovered with bile-gushing envy that a primary/ secondary school classmate is the current editor of Her World. Aaaahh... kill me now.

Anyway, Smoot's 10 Best Whatevers for 2008.

1. Biggest happy discovery: That I really really really love Indian food, esp when it's cooked in Mumbai.

2. Biggest unhappy discovery: The 3 extra kilos I put on after giving birth are really really not going anywhere.

3. Happiest frivolous purchases: The paisley printed cashmere scarves from Mumbai - they are gorgeous and so soft mm mm mm mm

4. Happiest makeup purchases: Izu cream blusher. Apply more than a dot on each cheek and I look like I've been roasted. It will last me for 10 years!

5. Unhappiest makeup purchase: Izu loose face powder. Powder everywhere else (bag, bathroom, mirror, nasal cavities) but on my face where it seems to disappear right after application. Also, that wretched Benefit cheek and lip liquid tint that dyes my fingers red as I desperately try to rub the red strip off my face.

6. Greatest lipstick purchase: Bobby Brown lipstick kit. But nothing can rival the Mac lipstick kit that Gremlink bought me in 1999.

7. Worst lipstick purchase: Burt's Bees. Makes my lips peel very attractively.

8. Fave quote from The Son: *points to butt* "But here's a but" (in response to "RYAN! EAT YOUR DINNER! NO BUTS!")

9. Obsession of 2008: Bloody photoshop

10. Most awesome food moment 2008: Spooning Alaskan crab roe into my mouth at No Signboard Seafood with E@L, Indie, Husband and Mr and Mrs Gremlink. Time stopped, I almost fainted.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


To All The People Eavesdropping In The Lift This Morning, And Especially Those Who Were Laughing:

I was talking to my mother on the phone. If you had any experience in talking to my mother, you'd have the very same whiny half-crazed I'm-about-ta-go-berserk tone of voice that you were sniggering at. The woman turns up at my home at 11pm last evening to pass me some Really Important Documents, with Really Important Instructions. God forbid that between 11pm yesterday and 8.30 am today, I should have forgotten what she said, especially when it concerns me personally. And when she says to put the Really Important Documents in my pocket and she watches to see that I do, she does not have to pat my pocket right after that to make sure they are really in there. Trust me. I've had at least 30 years of experience in putting things in my own pocket. They are really really in there.

That said, after personally reminding me about the Really Important Instructions at 8.30 am and 9.12 am, her getting 2 other family members to call me at 9.30 am, 9.45 am and 9.50 am to repeat the Really Important Instructions could possibly be unnecessary. Especially when I am already running around like a crazy chicken trying to carry out the Really Important Instructions.

Also. Note to mother. When next we are standing and talking in the rain with a crying toddler clinging to my leg and you ask me to provide you with some figures for completion accounts, you can count on it that whatever comes out of my mouth at that point in time will be wrong. But you can also count on me spending some real quality time with a calculator before I write out my own cheque for the completion money. You do not have to call me and remind me to use a calculator to calculate sums. And when you do call me with this reminder, you do not have to ask me whether I know how to calculate the sums properly. There is a button for the plus sign that I can use. I get it.

In other news, The Son enjoyed his second day in school today. The teachers haven't called me yet to notify me that my son is gifted and could qualify for Mensa, but I'm sure it's a matter of minutes before my handphone and office direct line all ring at the same time.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year New Deals New Job

There's a whirlwind of activity this January 2008 in the House of Smoot.

Mother has changed job. My best guy friend is moving really close to me. I am (kind of) changing job and moving office (long story about a peaceful move - how interesting is that). We are buying a second business and setting up a third school. Oh yes - and my photoshop skills seem to be improving.