Monday, December 29, 2008

And A Good Time Was Had By All

Smoot & Co managed to have a grand Christmas this year and this is despite the fact that no leave was taken - it was the rather lovely combination of Christmas falling just before a weekend and an official closure of The Firm on 26 December 2008, which resulted in a 4.5 day vacation for all in the House of Smoot.

A definite highlight of the Christmas vacation was the sudden discovery that my favorite chef in all the world has opened a food outlet not 5 minutes away from my home! This is the man who ruined bolognaise for me after he closed the Soul Kitchen and I couldn't get hold of his Tagliatelle with Ragu sauce anymore. No other bolognaise will do. For 3 years hence, I have walked the earth searching in vain for a pasta dish that would completely satisfy me in the same way and I have grown weary and a little bit desperate.

And now...

Ta da!

Oh happy day!

In typical fashion, I set out to renew my acquaintance with the great Ragu and of course overdid it and now the poor man thinks I'm a stalker.

First, I called him on his mobile on 23 December 2008 (it's not my fault - he gave it to the reporter) to check whether he is still selling the Ragu, and to check if I could come by on Sunday for lunch.

Then I showed up for lunch on 24 December 2008 with my ex-secretary. He was unable to serve us anything as his oven and fridge were packed with Christmas takeaway orders. Unfazed, I ordered 10 servings of Tagliatelle with Ragu for collection on 27 December 2008 at 11am - was having a house party so what better time to pass off his cooking as my own.

On 27 December 2008, I arrived at 11am to collect my perfect, perfect Ragu. I nuzzled the warm plastic boxes, put my cheek against the top one, opened the lid, took a long, deep sniff. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Asked the poor, terrified man if he was open for lunch on 28 December 2008, as I would be returning for the Kurobuta pork loin steak with homemade apple sauce.

On 28 December 2008, I returned for a long lunch with 3 young men aged 3.5 years, 19 years and 36 years. We checked out the Hungarian goulash, purple slaw and Kurobuta pork loin steak. Despite the background noise of a Malay wedding and the fact that the rotating ceiling fan did not quite reach us, it was a lovely meal, proving at least to me that when the food is sublime, my ears stop working.

I'm not sure when I can go back there again. I hope he does not recognise me as the person who ate at Soul Kitchen in its last month of operation so often and alone that he started calling me "Bolognaise Girl".

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Note to Self III

There are worse things in life than locking yourself in the gynae's Venus flytrap-styled toilet with nothing on hand other than a soaked urine stick.

Another note to self - this is not the first, second or third time you have locked yourself in that toilet and required rescue. Next time - don't bother closing the door.

In other news, the bean has acquired a bellybutton and a cardiac tube that makes really loud "lub dub" noises when my gynae cranks up the volume on the ultrasound. It also has really small arm buds that appeared to be waving when I looked in earlier. I happily showed the 2D ultrasound photos to 2 male colleagues.

"Where's the vagina", asked the one who had turned all red earlier on when he extended a lunch invitation and I turned it down "because I'm going to see my gynae".

Friday, December 19, 2008

A ray of little snowy hope

There is a pregnancy-related phenomenon that nobody talks about - in fact, there are lots of things about pregnancy that no one talks about but I digress - and that is nobody will touch you. I have a generally problematic relationship with my back which tends to flare up the moment the pregnancy test turns positive and that is my back will just start killing me, from start to finish of the pregnancy. No joke. Just pain, agony, stiffness, you name it. I need. a. back. massage.

And then here's the rest of the joke. Nobody will massage a pregnant woman unless they have had special training. And by special training, I mean special training in jacking up the price to twice the price of a normal massage, just to rub oil gingerly on my back as I lie on my side like a beached whale. If they were to try that on any non-pregnant, non-idiot customer, the person would just get up and walk out. I want a real massage, they would say. If I wanted you to just rub oil on my back with the tips of your fingers, I would have asked.

So it was with great reluctance that I called Qi Mantra last week, with my back in waves of agony, to cancel my next appointment with Little Snow, the woman with the magic thumb. Why, said Coco the rather nice receptionist. I'm pregnant, said I, waiting for her to say Ok then, good luck and good bye. To my surprise and joy, she said, well that's fine. Little Snow can give you a massage. She knows how to do it.

Oh joy! Oh tears of happiness! Oh happy day!

I no longer have to rely on The Husband, the king of the 20-second massage (followed by a long, heavy sigh indicating that he feels hard put upon and badly done by). I can now look forward to being bruised by a professional!!!!!!!

Leaving now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What a somber end to a long year

This December is one of the longest and most difficult that I can recall in living history, and that's not just because I am enjoying my first trimester. Basically, it has sucked. Work flow is either down or top urgent, and the work's getting pretty mean. For instance, today's work includes:

1. advising an employer re ex-employee flouting confidentiality and non-compete obligations after joining a competitor;

2. advising an employee re soon to be ex-employee putting in Singapore taxi claims for S$250 ++ per day (I don't think even a cab driver who drives around the entire day non-stop is even able to make that much money);

3. mass retrenchments;

4. some problematic employment pass applications - oddly enough, although one would not expect it at a time like this, the Ministry of Manpower has decided to slow down the processing of employment pass applications, thereby making it more difficult for companies to hire expatriates.

It's depressing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

How to Harness the Power of Murphy's Law to get Pregnant

1. Purchase an expensive limited-period non-transferrable gym membership and personal training package, which is only suitable for non-pregnant women

2. Do not renew your insurance policy

3. Start a new business of your own using all your savings

4. Buy a 2-seater sportscar

5. Book a "oysters and champagne" brunch one month in advance - bonus points if they serve predominantly raw fish and soft cheeses

6. Splurge on your dream Missoni string bikini

7. Sell or give away all your baby stuff - especially the super expensive baby cot, baby changing table, baby playpen and super expensive baby bottle steriliser

8. Kill your gynae