Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Of trivial things, and blessings in disguise...

This came via SMS this morning. Bits of it included "M @ Narita. Only fnd out flight wz 2335 n going to Tokyo (not Kobe!). Going to Ter**o fctory 1st thn tk shinkanzen to Kobe..."

That was from Ayah. He took the Airport Limo and left the house at 9:00p.m last night, informing me that his flight to Kobe was to be at 2355. Trust Ayah to not pay attention to all those irrelevant details...

He knew that he was going to a Cardiology Conference in Kobe, and he knew that he had to be the moderator for 3 of the sessions. He also knew that all expenses would be paid by Ter**o (a Japanese company which supplies medico-cardio equipments). That much he knew. And I guess that was why he thought that he would be flying straight to Kobe! Logically, THAT should be the case, right? And Ayah only dwells with logic, being a melancholic that he is.

What he didn't know was that his sponsors had arranged for a visit to their factory in Shin-Fuji, and that they would be bringing him and a few other cardiologist to the factory, and that they would be doing a demo and that they would be promoting some of their new machines to them. Luckily he was travelling with his sponsors and a group of other cardiologists. If not, AIIYOOOOO! Pengsan! I guess, all these 'little' details were rather trivial for Ayah to pay much attention to them? (Double Aiiiyyyooo!!)

Just like it was SO trivial to him to check whether his passport was still valid for travel or not. This was what happened three weeks ago. Ayah was scheduled to go to Ahmadebad, India on 17 January 2007 as a Faculty member for a Conference there and his sponsors had asked him to give his passport to them so that they could apply for his Visa to enter India. He did just that on 4th January 2007, only to be told 4 days later (i.e. on 8th January 2007) that they could not apply for the Indian Visa on his behalf because apparently his passport had expired in June last year ("apparently"?! Duuuhhh!!!) Anyway, as it was a bit of a rush, and it would be risky for Ayah to try to renew his passport then and apply for the Indian Visa, and as there was no guarantee that he would get his passport back from the Indian High Comm before 11th January, Ayah decided to cancel his trip to India. (YESSS!!!!)

Why did it have to be before 11th January? Well, he was scheduled to go to Surabaya on that date! So, off he went to renew his passport on 9th January at Pusat Bandar Damansara. Have to say that we were VERY impressed with the Immigration Department. No hassles, no queues. Only an ATM look-alike machine to deal with, and Ayah's passport was ready for collection after 2 hours (but he only went to collect it on 10th January,) and off he flew to Surabaya on 11th January.

And guess what? You guys wouldn't believe this - that was NOT the first time that this happened. Check this out - way back in 1992, Ayah managed to fly back to Malaysia from London Heathrow without ANYONE realizing or noticing that he was in fact travelling with an expired passport! It was quite mind-boggling that the security and the check-in counters had not noticed this when they were (supposed to be) doing their job at the airport! I guess security at Heathrow was pretty laxed then. Ayah was only told about this by his Arwah Daddy when the latter was going through all the passports belonging to the entourage, while he was waiting for the next boxed meal to be served on the flight! What can I say? That was just pure luck!

In a way, this is somewhat a blessing in disguise.

If it was not because Ayah had to apply for his Visa to enter India, he would not have discovered that his passport had expired.

And if he had not discovered about it then, he would have probably ONLY found out about it just as he was about to check in at the airport on the morning he was to fly to Surabaya, and chances were - he would not have been allowed to leave tanah tumpah darahnya to go to tanah seberang that day!

And if he did not leave the country that day, he would not have come back from Surabaya with all the batik tenun for me (Hahaha!), and the 15 kilos of keropok Indonesia.

It is also of course, a blessing in disguise as because of that, he had to cancel his Ahmadebad trip. Remember in my earlier posting in which I wrote that I was hoping and I was trying very hard to persuade him to cancel at least one of his trips abroad because of his slipped discs? Well, God is Great and truly works and moves in mysterious ways. My prayers were answered... So, his trips abroad were cut down from three to two this month (Lucky me! Happy me!)

I guess Ayah had been pretty lucky with all things which seemed trivial to him. But, I hope he would at least try to make an effort to dwell on seemingly trivial issues from now on. Who knows how "UNtrivial" and how life-changing they could be? But, for now, let's pray that Ayah's lucky stars are here to stay. Amin. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tree-house, anyone?

We spent our Thaipusam holiday by going out for lunch at H*lia Restaurant at S*me D**by Convention Centre this afternoon. Mak was the one who called everybody up to join her for lunch there. She insisted that she pick the tab as she said it had been a while since she had all her kids, menantu and cucu-cucu under one roof enjoying a meal outside. Ayah, the kids and I opted for the buffet spread while the rest ordered from the A la Carte menu. It could have been better if most of the food was piping hot, I guess. Imagine having cold roast beef with cold mushroom sauce, or cold spaghetti bolognaise, cold soup berempah, cold shawarma kebab, or even a bowl of cold beef wantan noodle soup...You got the drift? Suffice to say, Ayah, Hanna, Hasya and Hilman ended up being slightly woozy and unwell after that! Not sure if it was because they ate too much (despite the food!), or if the lukewarm dishes played a part in it? Anyway, that was that.

After saying our "Bye-byes" and "Thank yous" to Mak, the five of us decided to go and try to find Hilman's bedroom set for the new house. He had been asking for his bedroom set ever since we went to the new house last Sunday to do some spring, (PLUS summer, autumn and winter!) cleaning at the house. Hasya's bedroom set had arrived on Wednesday last week, and so, her room is the only one which is fully furnished now (minus the curtains, that is) And upon seeing how cosy and nice his K.Ngah's room was, Hilman started asking for HIS set, too.

The thing is, we ordered Hasya's set in July last year and they could only hold it for 6 months. We had no choice but to ask them to deliver it to the new address even though the house is still not as we wanted it to be yet. We were hoping to have all the furniture in after the renovation work is done. But, as it happens, our preferred contractor is pretty tied-up at the moment, and will most probably only be free to work on our house in the last quarter of this year! Well, I guess we can wait. As it is, not many of our neighbours have moved in yet. At least, for now we have Hasya's room to lepak in every time we go and check on the house.

Okay, back to the hunt for Hilman's bedroom set. We managed to find something at V*len*ia at SD, which I think would be suitable for him from age 8 until early 20s. We're thinking long-term, okay? We don't want to change it after only 4 years! Ayah and I have decided that we will only change the kids' bedroom set when we need to siapkan their "Bilik Pengantin" nanti. Hahahaha! Anyway, the set is only about 1/3 of what we paid for Hasya's set! Hilman liked it, and we're seriously thinking of getting that for him. However, as that was the first set that we saw, we decided to scout around a few other shops before settling on that set. We just want to make sure that THAT set is the best choice with the best deal around. We're putting a KIV on it, and hopefully we'll have time to look at other sets this weekend, before deciding on it, insya Allah.

Hilman being Hilman, he was pretty calm about the whole thing, and was very quiet. But on the way back home, he started asking questions. And as usual, one question led to another.

Hilman : Mommy, why didn't you buy me that set?

Me : We need to look around first to find if there are better ones for you, okay, dear? If we cannot find a better one, then we will go back to that shop and get you the one that we saw just now, okay?

Hilman : Okay.... (pause) But, no need la Mommy. Just buy me the one just now laa...(pause) Errr...(pause) okay laa Mommy. Never mind la...(pause) We go and find this weekend, okay? (Long pause)...If cannot find, we buy just now one, okay?

Me : Okay.

Hilman : I can't wait to move to our new house, Mommy. I can't wait to sleep in my own room, in my own bed, with the new set. (Pause) Errr....And Mommy, can we also have a tree-house there, please - just like N*deem. I can also sleep in the tree-house if I don't want to sleep in my room.

(N*deem is his schoolmate, who also happens to be the son of Mak's neighbour in PJ)

Me : Well, Hilman...We need a TREE before we can built a tree-house.

Hilman : You plant la, Mommy.

Me : We need a REALLY big tree for that, Hilman.

Hilman : Why, Mommy? So, you plant a BIG tree la, Mommy.

Me : The tree must be strong enough to support the tree-house. It has to have a sturdy trunk and very strong roots. These take time. If I were to plant it now, by the time the tree is strong enough, you will have outgrown all this tree-house thingy, Hilman. You'll be too big and too old for the tree-house!

Hilman : Ooooh, okay. But, why didn't you plant a tree at our house now, Mommy - when you and Ayah first bought it?! We could have had a tree-house by now, you know, if you planted a tree long time ago.

I just looked at him with my eyes wide opened. He looked back at me, and answered his own question -

Hilman : Oh ya...we don't have any space to plant a tree. It will not fit anywhere. Right, Mommy?

(In my mind - Yes, Hilman. Our current house doesn't have a proper laman. Every time you all wanted to play outside, within the compound , Ayah and I would have to reverse our cars and park them outside to give you all the space you need! Sigh...)

Me : Yes, Hilman.

And Ayah decided to chip in at that point.

Ayah : Well, Mommy. MAYBE we CAN have a tree-house at our new house. But, Hilman, maybe, it will be YOUR kids and all my other cucus who will be playing in it instead of you, Kak Long and K.Ngah nanti.

The kids all together : AYAH!!!!

Ayah continued -

Ayah : OR, maybe not. Hilman, MAYBE YOU will be playing in it, while your kids will be calling out for you to get down from the tree, and let THEM play in it instead? And MAYBE, every morning they will be calling out for you to come down from the tree-house as you need to send them to school, etc?! Hmmmmm....imagine that, Hilman.

By that time, the kids were all laughing their heads off at the back of the car!

Yeah, right, Ayah...

And MAYBE, it will be YOU AND HILMAN playing pondok-pondok in the tree-house after your retirement - and we will probably need a specially-made lift for you to go up the tree! HAHAHAHA!

Hmmmmm...Come to think of it, it's actually a cool thing - Ayah spending a Man-to-Man time with his son on a tree... Very primate, very private, very nice...

And anyway, so Hilman, do you want to sleep in a tree-house, or in your bedroom? If you choose the tree-house, then there's no need for us to go and find the bedroom set for you, huh? You can sleep with Mommy in the mean time - meaning until you're 18 at least? Hehehe!

So, Ayah - are we planting a tree next weekend?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Anything you can do...."

"I can do it better", that was probably what Hasya was thinking when she saw her Ayah doing the exercises for his back.

Ayah was given some diagrams/pictures by the physiotherapist on how to do some stretching and back exercises for his slipped discs, and he has been quite disciplined in actually doing them at home. And the kids seem to be quite amused every time they see him lying on his tummy when he does them, and they started calling Ayah "The Walrus" (it had always been "Fatto Whalo" before this...:))

The Diagram

Anyway, a few times when Ayah was doing the exercises, Hasya would follow him, and here are some pics taken of her showing Ayah on how to do it properly - HER way, that is!

"Here's how you raise your legs, Ayah!"

"And this is how you arch your back!"

"While you're at it, see if your toes can touch your head, old man..."

"This is how you do a bridge, Ayah"


And later - "Hey, make sure your fingers are touching your ankles, okay? Easy, peasy..."

(By the way, while Hasya was doing all these exercises, Hilman was exercising his thumbs and fingers - with his PS2, in the background)

Errrrr....Hasya, dear...we don't want to make a pretzel out of your Ayah, okay?!!

* For the uninitiated, Hasya used to be in the Selangor pelapes team for rhythmic gymnastics. But we decided to pull her out of it due to certain circumstances and because of a certain individual. Read about it here.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dr. Patient...

Remember when I wrote that Ayah had a severe back pain in my last posting? Well, it turned out that Ayah has slipped discs...

He has been having this nagging pain on his lower back which was radiating down his right leg for the past 2-3 months, and he was saying that it was probably just a muscle strain due to the nature of his work. He is required to don a heavy LEAD coat every time he does angiograms or angioplasties (like the one the hospital staff would put on when you go for your X-Rays, but maybe heavier than that?). The thing is, some days he would be doing more than a dozen of angiograms/angioplasties. Meaning that on some days he would be with the heavy lead coat from morning until late afternoon/evening.

The pain got increasingly worse in the last 3 weeks. Ayah being Ayah, he just couldn't be bothered to seek medical advice from his friends at PP*M. Ayah rarely gets sick. But, when he does - he would be flat. And even when he's sick, he never takes MC. That's Ayah for you.

I knew the pain was really affecting him when he actually bought a lumbar back support last week (which looks like a corsette, but with a piece of hard metal running through the back and two other pieces on each side) and when he started calling his colleagues at work to arrange for a scan and physiotherapy sessions.

He went for the MRI scan on Wednesday - and it was confirmed. He has slipped discs (L4/5 and L5/S1). What's worrying us is that looking at the images, one of the specialists said that it was rather "clean", while another said that he could see some fragments of the discs - meaning that Ayah MIGHT have to go through surgery to remove the fragments and clean the affected area. He will be seeing the latter friend to have a more thorough check-up and examination of the images on Monday. I pray that he doesn't have to go through surgery. In the mean time, Ayah has started going for TENS treatments and physiotherapy sessions at the Rehab Centre at PP*M.

Ayah said he felt like a VIP patient as he got to see a radiologist, an orthopaedic surgen, a neurosurgeon and a sports/rehab medicine specialist - ALL within 3 days! They made time to squeeze him in their packed schedule, and he's very grateful for that as the pain was REALLY affecting him, physically and mentally. And I could see that.

What's making me more worried is that he is scheduled to go for three trips abroad this month, all of which he could not, or rather - would not, cancel. (Remember, this is Ayah we're talking about...)I just hope I could put some sense into him and make him cancel at least one of the trips! Sigh...

I just hope he doesn't have to go for surgery. And I hope the treatments and physiotherapy will ease his pain and cure the condition.

In the mean time, no rigorous activities, no heavy-lifting , a lot of pain-killers, AND a lot of do'as for Ayah... Hang in there, okay? Sorry - I can only help with preparing the hot-packs and watch you do the exercises at home. I wished I could do more :(

Get Well Soon, dear...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Goodbye 2007...Hello 2008.....

2008 has not really started with a BANG! for us.

But, I would have to say, the LAST day of 2007 was something else for Ayah and I.

I guess some of you could relate to this - The "Meet-the-31st December-dateline-to redeem-whatever-points-needed-redeemed" phenomena, or rather, sickness?!

We left the kids with Daryati from 11:30a.m until 7:00p.m yesterday!

Went to pasar Taman Tun to collect Hilman's school trousers, and, also bought one papan of eggs.

Went to collect a photocopied book, and photocopied whatever documents needed for the kids' first day of school in Section 17.

Went to collect Ayah's passport at Mak's house.

Went to bank in some cheques at UM C*MB.

Went to MBSA, in Shah Alam to pay our overdue quit rent for the new house (plus fine some more!) We had to wait for more than 2 hours before we could finally pay the bill!

(All the time, my mind was thinking - the eggs...the eggs...the eggs!)

Went to MAS office at KL Sentral to collect Ayah's ticket to Surabaya, and also to redeem our Enrich points which would have expired today. Alhamdulillah, we managed to redeem some points and get tickets for a holiday a year from now, with the points.

Went to J*sco to renew our J-Card and redeem our points (which we later discovered could be done on another day. Eherks...)

(The eggs...the eggs...the eggs!!!)

Went back to SD, reaching home just before Maghrib. The one papan of eggs had been in the car for nearly 7 hours! Nasib baik tak menetas....

Anyway, after Maghrib we were frantically going through the Yellow Pages and calling the 103 operator to ask where the nearest Sen Heng/Sen-Q branch is - to redeem our points for our R*B Credit Cards which (yes, you guessed it right) were expiring by 31/12/07.

Got a number for a Sen Heng in Section 14 Jaya, and rushed there, only to find that that outlet is no longer there! Aaaarrrggghhh!!! And it was already 9:30p.m and we decided to just abandon the idea of rushing to SS2 to another Sen Heng shop. So, there goes our 44,000 plus points - gone with the wind...Serves us right for leaving it till the last day...

Anyway, so, off we went to Jaya 33 (our first time there actually) - the new hip and happening place in PJ, to have dinner at Cozy Corner. Sorry, no pictures. Food was top of our priority at that time, and I totally forgot that I had the camera in my handbag! Anyway, all 5 of us had sharks-fin soup and steaks (T-bones for Ayah and his daughters, sizzling black pepper sirloin for Hilman, and spare ribs for me - YUMMY!!!) And we're definitely going back there in the near future, insya Allah for their perfect steaks.

So, there you have it - our last day of 2007.

And now, for the first day of 2008...

What have my family and I done today?

Well, for a start, we watched the Countdown to 2008 and the fireworks display at KLCC...on TV (as always). We had a nearer-to-home fireworks display which we could have just gone to last night, i.e at The Curve, but, hello?! We prefer the comfort of our sofas at home, thank you. We could see the virtually non-moving traffic going to The Curve while we were passing through LDP last night coming back from Section 14, and said to ourselves - "Crazy people..." Hehehe! No offence meant! I'm sure those who celebrated the dawn of 2008 there had a fabulous time (but, maybe not-so-fabulous time queuing up to go home after the big party?!)

The four of us (myself, Ayah, Hasya and Hilman) ended up sleeping on the (too comfortable) sofas, with the TV watching us, and we only woke up at 5:30a.m! After sending the kids up to their room to continue with their sleep, we had our shower, solat suboh and only woke up again at 9:15a.m! The kids had their mengaji lesson at 10:00a.m, while Ayah went to the hospital for about 2 hours (well, no surprise there!)

We have no plans whatsoever for today, but the kids have been egging us to bring them to watch The Golden Compass. Hmmmm...have to discuss with Ayah. They will only start school on Thursday, so theoretically speaking, it's okay to bring them for an outing today (even though both Ayah and I will be working tomorrow after a 3 day break. Sigh...)

We ended 2007 with our own kind of "Bang!" - with me having a terrible migraine, and Ayah having a severe back pain yesterday. Maybe, we should just take the "Zen" approach to start 2008? After all, both of us are hitting the "Big 4" this year (YIKES!!!)


Well, whatever it is, Happy New Year, y'all. May 2008 bring better and greater things for all of us, insya Allah (ESPECIALLY for Ayah ;) Amin.