Friday, May 28, 2010

Letting go...

Today is Wesak Day. The first day of a three-day weekend.

Unlike the normal weekends, the house is pretty quiet today. Ayah is at work and will only probably be back around 4:00pm. No surprise there, huh?And Hanna is busy doing her revision for her Mid-Year. Or at least I HOPE she is revising in her room now. She has yet to come down today, not even to have her breakfast. I normally would just leave her to study in her own time and on her own terms, and with her own style of studying. It has worked well thus far, and she has been doing quite well in school. Hopefully she'll be fine, insya Allah.

As for the other two munchkins who have been the ones who would be making the noise and memeriahkan the house during weekends (and weekdays, too, for that matter) - Hasya and Hilman, they are away on a school camping trip in Sungkai, and will only be back tomorrow evening. It's for the school's Unit Beruniform. They've been having the programme for years now, and Hasya was supposed to go last year, but, I didn't let her.

We never had problems with Hanna going on overnight school trips before this, even when she was in Primary School. I guess because we knew that she was quite independent, and the fact that the first few trips that she went on, they were all made compulsory, and we could not say "No". So, after a few times, it was easier to let her go.

This time around I had decided to let Hasya and Hilman go on the overnight school trip even though it was not compulsory for them to go. I was quite reluctant initially, but, Ayah said we should just let them go. And after their pleads and "Pretty-pleases", I gave in and decided to let them join their friends on the trip - NOT without feeling anxious about it the whole time (and still feeling it now actually!). One of the reasons why I finally gave in was the fact that both of them will be there and can (should?) keep an eye on each other.

And the preparation for their first camping trip was quite an experience for me, too. The things that they needed to bring, included, inter alia -

Sleeping Bags

Selimut (on top of the sleeping bags?)

Insect Repellants

Baju and Seluar Sukan yang mencukupi (And how many pairs should that be?)

Cawan atau Gelas Plastik (and both insisted that they needed to bring BOTH?!)

Kasut yang sesuai untuk bersukan (Okay - does that mean ON TOP of their school shoes which they normally wear with their Pengakap and Tunas Puteri uniforms anyway?)



And because BOTH of them were going, whatever in the list that they didn't have, we had to go buy those stuff. TWO of each. So, TWO Sleeping Bags, and I went to get TWO types of Insect Repellants for EACH of them, TWO new pairs of Baju and Seluar Sukan each (on top of their existing ones), and new trainers for them as their old ones dah tak muat. I also got them a travelling toiletries set each.

And of course, I also added my own wajib items for them to bring along with them -

Panadol tablets for kids
Minyak Cap Kapak
Kool Fever Patches
Two pairs of normal clothings (even though it was not stated on the list)

And not forgetting some food supplies which included some Gardenia Butter Scotch Bread, Chipsmore Cookies, Tiger Biscuits, Some Pringles, and some Zip Chocolates for each of them. (Yup! This Mommy is worried they all tak cukup makan kat Camp nanti, especially anak bujang I yang memang kuat makan tu...Hehehe!)

The process of packing had started a few days before that. And Hasya insisted that the teachers had told them that they were not allowed to bring the normal handluggage type (with the rollers, etc.). So, everything was packed in duffel bags. One for Hasya, and one for Hilman. Two BIG duffel bags at that, too, as I didn't want them to bring too many bags with them. Even their sleeping bags could fit in them.

The arrangement was for me to send their camping bags to school on Thursday afternoon, when they would also hand their school bags for that day to bring home with me.

Came Thursday morning, after they had left for school, I made one last list check. Satisfied that they had everything they needed in the bags, I started to zip the bags up, and as with other things which could have only happened to me, the zippers to Hasya's bag just ripped open!!

It shouldn't be a major problem because we did have other bags which I could have transferred all her stuff to. But, I kept on hearing her voice insisting that they were not allowed to bring the normal roller bags.

So, this Mommy had to wait until 10:00a.m for the neighbourhood Midi Market to open. Went there, and they only had roller bags. Rushed to Te*co, and they only had roller bags. Rushed to OU. Oh yes - they do have duffel-like bags, BUT at over RM500/= each?!

Luckily one of them had some promotions going on, but, I had to walk a bit to an open area in one section of OU, and spent about 10 minutes searching for a good one at a relatively cheaper price. Found one which looked solid, selling at RM100 (after 50% discount). Aiyyyooo! Still quite expensive just to bring to a kid camping trip, I thought. But, I had no time to look for cheaper ones, and just pejam mata and paid for it.

Nasib baik lah Zaidy was driving me around, so, on the way to their school I managed to transfer all of Hasya's stuff to the new bag and we reached the school just before the bell rang. I was asked to send the bags up to the Hall while waiting for the kids.

The bell rang at 1:00p.m, and while waiting for Registration for the Camping Trip to start at 1:30p.m, the kids and I had lunch at the canteen. After lunch, I had to follow them up to the hall as I had to show Hasya her new bag and asked her to REALLY look at it and familiarize herself with it. Takut nanti dia tak kenal her own bag pulak lah kan?

And I was so worried if they (Hilman especially!) could not find any of the things that I've packed in their bags, and kept on telling them, "IF you cannot find any of the things, PLEASE check ALL the pockets, okay? They should be in one of them, okay?" I think I must have said that to them at least TEN times? THAT, on top of my pesan to brush their teeth and go to the toilet before they go to bed!

After registration and a briefing by the teachers, Hasya and Hilman salam-ed, hugged and kissed me and we bade farewell. They boarded the buses and I could see how excited they were. Hilman kept on looking at me, smiling and waving, while at the same time talking to his friends non-stop! But, I could see from his face that he was feeling a bit sad to go without me. While Hasya being Hasya, even if she was feeling sad, she was not showing it at all...

I had to leave before they bertolak as I had something on at the office at 3:15p.m. And as Zaidy drove me off, and as I glanced back at the bus they both were on, I felt a huge lump in my throat, and I was fighting back tears which had already welled up in my eyes...

And I said to myself... "Oh God. Ni baru camping trip nak gi Sungkai! How la nanti when they are really leaving home for good...?

Oh tidaaaaakkk...

...SOBS... :(

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How we spend our time together in the car... :)

One of the things that is common to maidless moms like me is that we could not leave the kids at home whenever we need to run errands outside, for me - especially at night when Zaidy, our driver, has gone home.

For instance, last Tuesday night - I had to send Hanna to her guitar class at OU, and I had to bring both Hasya and Hilman with us even though the class was just going to be for half an hour. And mind you, Hilman was having a slight fever and I would have preferred him to just stay at home and rest, but, NOPE - I still felt safer to angkut all of them sekali with me.

And last night, when I had to fetch Ayah back from the hospital - again, had to angkut everybody with me. Much to the dismay of Hilman and Hasya who were watching the final episode of MONK! And you could see how frustrated they were when we reached home at 10:00p.m and Monk had just ended, and they didn't know how the mystery was solved. Sorry, kids! :(

I even contemplated to bring them with me when I wanted to send the washloads to the laundrette last night, but decided against it as the place is just 3-4 minutes away from the house. So, I made sure I got back home within 12 minutes!

But, one thing I like about all this is that I get to spend more time with them in the car. Something that I've missed since Zaidy started working with us. And I like it even better when every now and then Ayah would also use the driver and not drive to work, and I would have to fetch him from the hospital when he's done. Like last night. The conversations in the car can be quite interesting and amusing when all of us are together :)

For instance -

Ayah : So*ha*dy (his doctor friend at work) has been promoting this game to me to be uploaded to my phone, It's called "Mo*ste*s and Pl*nts. But, you have to pay for it laaa...(FYI, Ayah and I only upload FREE stuff ajer so far :))

Me : What does it do? I mean, how do you play it?

Ayah : Apparently it's quite clever and interesting - the monsters will attack you, and you have to defend yourself by planting trees/plants around your house, and the trees will have all the ammunitions, like seeds and all for you to shoot the monsters with.

Me : And what do the monsters do?

Ayah : Oh they have several ways of penetrating into your defence - they can use polevaults, and....

And just at this point, Hanna butted in.

Hanna : Oh God, Ayah...Don't tell me that these are the things you and Uncle So*ha*dy talk about when you see each other at the hospital, please...(eyes rolling...)


Another conversation -

We were using the jalan belakang Sungei Buloh to go back from TMC to Sri Damansara last night, when Hilman saw the sign to go to Kuala Selangor, and he started asking -

Hilman : Mommy what other "Kualas" are there in Malaysia?

Hasya : There's Kuala Lumpur.

Me : Kuala Lipis, Kuala Kedah...

Hasya : Oh yes, Ayah's school - MC*K, in Kuala Kangsar.

There was about a 10 seconds silence, when suddenly, out of nowhere -

Ayah : Kuala Bear...

And the kids just started laughing uncontrollably!

I know...I was quite a LAME joke ("What do you expect from Ayah?" - the kids would say) but, the kids laughter was just contagious and all of us just started laughing! :)

Another one -

Hanna was just sharing with us some of the lame jokes she and her friends had come up with at school using their fingers and thumbs.

Hanna : If this is a "spear" (and she held up her index finger), what is this? (And she started moving the finger vigorusly to the left and right)

Us : Hmmmm...Dunno?

Hanna : SHAKEspear...


Hanna : Okay, okay...If this is a "lighter" (and she held up her right thumb), what is this? (And she started bringing the thumb up above her head).

Us : Dunno? (Obviously we just didn't want to think too much knowing how lame the answer was going to be!)

Hanna : HIGHlighter... :)

Hehehehe! :)

And she continued -

Hanna : Oh ya! Oh ya! Another one! Another one!

Us : Okay... (?)

Hanna : If these are your thumbs (And she held both thumbs up), what is this? (And she started moving her thumbs up and down alternately)

Me : ThumbDRIVE!!!

Hanna : LOL!!! Yup!!

And then Ayah exclaimed excitedly -

Ayah : Okay, okay! I have one! I have one!

Kids : Oh no!!...(eyes rolling...) (LOL!)

Ayah : If this is Hanna (and he put his index finger in front of us - and at this point the kids had started giggling already!), what is this?(And he slowly raised the finger up above his head)

Hanna : Oh Ayah...puhleeeaaazzz?!

None of us could give any answers!

Ayah : Give up? Give up?!

Kids : WHAT is that, Ayah?!!

Ayah - giving his victorious look as nobody could figure it out, then came out with this -

Ayah : Hanna SO HIGH LAAA.... *


But, we ended up laughing bagai nak rak anyway. NOT so much because we thought the joke was funny, but, more because of how lame the joke was!


Aaaahhh...I love spending time with the family in the car... :)

* For those who didn't know - Hanna's full name is Hanna SUHAILA ;)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kids trivia :)

I was having tea at Ayah's niece's birthday do at Sa*ja*a KL with Hasya and Hilman this afternoon when both of them started to ask each other some trivias to test each other's general knowledge while at the same time throwing in a few riddles to each other.

Two of the questions, and answers which really cracked me up were these two :)

# 1

Hilman : Kak Ngah. What's the difference between painkillers and killer pain?

Hasya : Pain killers kill pain. Killer pain kills you!

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Good one, Hasya ;)

# 2

Hilman : Which planet is hotter, Kak Ngah? Venus or Mercury?

Hasya : I don't know. Mercury?

Hilman : No, Kak Ngah! Venus. Because Venus is Luuurrveee (with full expression)... and Luuurrve is HOT!

And I looked at Hilman and he looked at me, and both of us looked at Hasya, and the three of us just burst out laughing!


(Hmmmmmm...Should I be worried about the second trivia? I wonder...) :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good riddance...

Her name was Anis.

She was the replacement maid whom we got after four months of me being maidless in Sri Damansara. There was no contract between us. The deal was - we had to pay the introducer some RMxxx, and we pay Anis RMxxx every month. No strings attached.

Apparently she had been working on this modus operandi since 1997. She could go anytime she wanted, and we could terminate her service anytime we wanted.

We got her on 13 March 2010, and within a day of working with us, I got to know the A to Z of all her previous employers. Why she didn't like or liked working with them, why she left the job(s), etc.

The first two days, I found her to be too talkative, and as if she was laying down HER terms with me indirectly.

Example 1 - she told me that she once worked with a Chinese family who lived in a BIG house, but her job was easy because rumah "tu tak bersepah". And I felt that she was hinting at me that my house WAS bersepah! And I remember cursing underneath my breath - "Of courselah rumah aku bersepah, mangkuk! I had been maidless for nearly 4 months then. What do you expect?! It is YOUR job to unsepah my house, woman!!!

Example 2 - she told me that she once worked whereby she had to take care of an elderly couple, and she hated it.

Example 3 - she told me that she once worked with a family but, she didn't like the mother-in-law whom she said always "interfered" in her job. My take on this was that the MIL was not happy with the way the job was done by the maid around the house and was merely telling her on how to do things right. And she didn't like that. Indirectly telling me NOT to tell her what to do.

Example 4 - she told me that she once worked with a certain "Tan Sri", and the Tan Sri was really nice, but, she didn't like the Puan Sri because the Puan Sri was really fussy. Hinting to me that I should not be fussy like the Puan Sri (?!)

And the list goes on and on. You got my drift?

And on the second day, after telling me all her working experiences, while at the same time subtly "laying down all her terms" etc., she suddenly became very quiet and non-responsive! It was just so damn hard to get her to react or respond to any of our requests, etc.

She never uttered a word whenever I asked her or give her instructions on what to do and how to do things around the house.

Example - "Anis, bawang ini nanti, kamu tolong potong dadu, okay?"

And she would continue doing whatever she was doing (washing dishes, etc) without acknowledging what I had said to her. And I would then repeat myself again until I was sure that she actually heard me, and she then responded, "Iya, iya, kakak! Saya dengar tadi!" Sounding annoyed with me!

Many a times when my kids asked her for help, she would raise her voice and asked them to do the things themselves!

Example - Hilman would ask her where his baju sukan and seluar sukan were (as the maid would be the one who either washed/ironed/folded and kept them), and she would just tell him at the top of her voice, "Carilah sendiri dalam bilik!" And Hilman would come to me and tell me that he had tried looking for them at the normal places but he could not find them anywhere. And we then found his baju sukan and seluar sukan kept in his baju tidur drawers.

She would also tengking my kids if they put the cushions on the carpet while watching TV in the living room! What the...??!! My kids couldn't even lepak and enjoy watching TV at home! She even pushed Hasya's head once! Pantang nenek moyang I!!

And the third day she was with us, our ASTRO decoder ranap. We came back one evening and found the channel set/fixed at the "Pay Per View" Menu and we could not access any of the regular channels! The decoder ranap. The remote control also ranap!

And since she came, my microwave has also rosak and whatever mode we now use, it can never go beyond 59 seconds. So, if I need to cook something for 10 minutes, I would have to wait in front of the microwave and re-start it everytime it hits 59 seconds. So, that means 9 times of re-starting the damn thing over 10 minutes!

And I once found the blender LEAKING while she was using it!

I know some would say that I should understand that some of the maids had never used all the elctrical appliances, etc., and that is why we have to be patient with them while they learn how to use them.

But, this Anis surely could not use the same excuse as she had been working in Malaysia for the last 15 years!

And lagi satu pantang nenek moyang I - she suka sangat buang makanan!

Many a times I found rice and leftover lauk in the bin. And once I caught her pouring the Chicken Korma which I just cooked a couple of hours before that, into the sink. Mind you, there were still 4-5 chicken pieces left, with some potatoes and carrots in it! And when I asked her why she was throwing the korma which was still good, she said "Saya tak suka lauk ini!"

WTF?! I didn't cook the dish for you, you *&%$#!!*!! Even if you didn't like it, my family could still eat it, you *%^$#@!*!!!

Menggelegak hati I!! But, me being me - I just tegur with a slightly raised voice.

I guess, tu yang dia naik kepala tu!

She slept at 9:30p.m or latest - at 10:00p.m, irrespective of whether Ayah dah balik from work or not, or whether Ayah has had his dinner or not! So, Ayah being Ayah, he would normally come back after 10:00p.m, and I would set the table and prepare his dinner and later tidied up the kitchen, etc. A few times Ayah had asked me to just leave everything for the maid to do in the morning when she woke up. Sometimes I would do that. But, sometimes, if I larat, I would just clean everything up myself. Malas nak tengok sink with dirty dishes. But, if I was not up to it - I would just leave everything as it was. And the next morning you could see the maid tarik muka when she saw the dirty dishes.

She woke up at 5:30a.m every morning - the same time as me. And if you do your maths right, that would be EIGHT hours of sleep every night, whereas yours truly only got an average of 4 1/2 or 5 hours of sleep! Siapa yang boss sebenarnya, kan?

The only thing she did when she woke up would be to set the breakfast table, and dump the washing into the washing machine, while I do the cooking. She would then sweep and mop the floor while waiting for the washing cycle to finish, after which she would hang everything in the backyard.

I would leave for work around 9:00a.m, and most of the times the kids and I would only come home after 7:00p.m. That would be TEN hours of being left alone. TEN long hours alone at home while I was at work.

Apart from folding and ironing the clothes, you tell me what else would she be doing in that TEN hours...

She really got it easy working with us.

I also found her very rude and she had no respect for us.

But, I kept my patience as I fikir and bersyukur that at least she was helping me out around the house, and more importantly, she was doing the damn laundry for me - the whole package of washing, drying, folding and ironing for me! So, I tutup sebelah mata aje to some of the things which would have driven me up against the wall in a different circumstances.

It's true what they say - beggars can't be choosers...

Many a times I felt like firing her and sending her back to her SIL's place in Kg Sungai Kayu Ara (which is just sepelaung from our house!), but, selalu tak sampai hati coz' I pitied her as I knew that she needed the job and money. (And of course, I needed her to do my laundry, too ;)Hehehe!)

The kids didn't like her. They called her "The Wicked Witch" as she had this really shrieking high-pitched voice. Ayah didn't like her, too, simply because he felt that I was doing things around the house more than the maid did! But, he kept quiet as he knew that whatever it was, at least I had some help around the house.

The arrangement was for the maid to have cuti once in one or two months, so, I was not surprised when she suddenly told me last Friday that she wanted to go back to her SIL's place on Saturday, and that I could then fetch her on Sunday night. She TOLD me to send her at 1:00p.m on Saturday.

Came Saturday, Ayah and I and the kids took our time in the afternoon as we wanted to wait for Edisi 7 on NTV7 which was airing an interview I did on some current issues. We were just waiting in front of the telly when the maid suddenly came down the stairs and halfway down she just asked me "Kakak! Bila mau hantar saya balik?!"

Tak ke kurang ajar?! Why couldn't she come down and ask nicely instead of literally shouting at me from the staircase?!

Ayah masa tu dah meluap-luap dah, and if I hadn't been there, mau dah kena penampar Minah tu there and then!

We sengaja took our time after that because we were so bengang with the maid, and we only left the house at 2:15p.m after solat Zohor.

On the way, I asked her how much money she wanted for belanja. I offered to give her only RM400 and she insisted that I gave her her full gaji. Ayah was reluctant as he was afraid that the maid would run away and not come back.

But, for me, I'd rather pay her whatever wages she had earned, and if she decided to not come back, at least I didn't owe her anything. So, I gave her her one month pay (FYI, we had already given her half a month pay at the end of March, i.e exactly 2 weeks after she started working with us as she claimed that she needed to give the money to her brother who had to go back to Indonesia to berubat kena buatan orang, etc. Ladida dida... They can really come up with most amazing tales, kan?) But, well...

Anyway, we dropped her off at Kg Sg Kayu Ara on Saturday afternoon.

And on Sunday afternoon, I got this SMS from her -

"Assalamualikum! Kak saya anis, saya tak mau kerja lagi dg kakak. Saya tak dikasi sama kakak ipar...saya mau kerja restron"

And I tell you, I had never felt so relieved hearing the news that my maid was not coming back as I had felt then!

And when I told the kids the news, all of them gave a BIG "YEAYYYYYY!!!! Makcik Anis is not coming back ever!!! YEAAAAYYYY!!!"

The kids REALLY, REALLY, REALLY didn't like her. And mind you, our kids are not those type who are that particular about maids before this.

It feels so peaceful around the house now.

Bersepah a bit. But, VERY peaceful :)

GOOD RIDDANCE, I tell you :)