So. This ridiculous thing happened to me and I just have to write it down for posterity. I mean, I told this to my friends and they thought it was CRAZY. It is pretty damn crazy. And hilarious. Only I didn’t think it was funny when it happened.
It all started on a Tuesday morning. I had taken Zac to see the paediatrician (AGAIN, I see him more often than I see my own family) and we were lucky to be in and out of the clinic in 30 minutes. WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT, GUYS. It was as good as striking lottery. But on hindsight, I think God was preparing for me something and giggling in his throne made of fluffy clouds and pink candy floss.
After seeing the doctor, I was wondering if I should go for coffee at a hipster joint. But I was dressed in very unhipster clothes and had no make-up on, and I refused to be seen in hipster joints in my most aunty outfit. So I headed home. And the moment I went through the front door, my helper asked me, “Ma’am, did you order tofu?”
There were three large bags of TOFU in various forms sitting on my kitchen floor. I was flabbergasted. Did I order tofu? Why would I order so much tofu?
According to the helper, a man came by with the bags and insisted that we had ordered the tofu – all 21kg of it. Not only that, he demanded payment of $99.50 for the tofu. My poor hapless helper was scared of his brusque manner and promptly paid up with her own money WITHOUT CALLING ME.
“Why do you think that I would need so much tofu?!” I asked my helper, aghast at her idiocy. “And why would I not let you know if something needed payment? I would have given you the money. And why didn’t you call me?”
“I don’t know! I thought ma’am having party. The man tell me to pay so I pay.”
That’s right, girl. We be having a tofu party for our vegetarian friends.
The receipt that the man had given her had NO company name and NO number to call. I was getting more and more irritated. How on earth was I going to get her money back? And then I saw it – the mistake. The delivery was meant to go to the unit on the 16th floor, not the 6th (ours).
I left a crying Zac at home, took the receipt and marched up to the 16th floor. It was a Chinese family and they had their front gate opened. The elderly couple looked up expectantly, as if they were waiting for me. I waved the receipt at them, told them that the tofu meant for them was sitting in my kitchen, they needed to sort it out and pay my helper her money. They mumbled something about how they had been waiting for the tofu, they had gone downstairs to collect it once they had realised the mistake but my helper did not understand them. I told them I did not care, just look for me once it has been sorted.
10 minutes later, as I sat nursing Zac, the elderly woman came down with another woman. They waved an invoice at me and said, “Here. Call the company and settle it with them.”
I asked if they could just take the tofu and repay my helper the money, and they said no, they couldn’t. Because the tofu was no longer “fresh” and they did not want it anymore. Like that’s my problem?
“But it’s your responsibility. Your helper stupidly took receipt of something that did not belong to you and paid. So it’s your problem. It has nothing to do with us,” they said.
What. The. Hell. Fine. I did not want to argue with them and promptly rang up the company. A Chinese lady answered the phone.
“I AM CALLING FROM BLOCK XYZ IN ABC DISTRICT AND YOUR MAN DELIVERED 21KG OF TOFU TO MY HOUSE BY MISTAKE. I NOW HAVE 21KG OF TOFU SITTING IN MY KITCHEN AND I WANT MY MONEY BACK,” I said politely.
The woman hemmed and hawed and said she would call me back after checking with her colleague.
“NO NEED TO CHECK. YOUR RECEIPT WAS WRITTEN 16TH FLOOR BUT I AM ON THE 6TH FLOOR. IT IS YOUR MISTAKE. I WANT MY MONEY BACK. SEND SOMEONE TO COLLECT THE TOFU AND REFUND ME.“
“Okay, okay, give me your mobile number please. I’ll check what time the driver is able to collect the tofu.”
After I hung up the phone, I turned to the two women at my doorstep.
“If they do not collect back the tofu and refund me, I will get the money from you,” I said firmly to them.
“Us? Why is it our responsibility? You are being unreasonable. This has nothing to do with us. We did not make the mistake, they did. And you should not have accepted the delivery. This has nothing to do with us any further,” they huffed indignantly.
I tell you, I almost felt like punching something at that moment.
“My poor helper earns pittance each month. This was from her salary. This was your tofu, you should take it and pay her back.”
For 10 minutes, we stood there, tossing our arguments back and forth.
Oh, did I mention that this was conducted ENTIRELY IN MANDARIN? My Higher Chinese teacher would have been so proud (despite my dismal C6 – in my defense, I did not study for the paper, thinking that I was going to ace it because my Chinese is fantabulous. Clearly not).
Finally, I told them I WILL FIND THEM IF THE COMPANY DID NOT REFUND ME and they started beating a hasty retreat. As my helper closed the gate on them, I rang the company one more time and demanded that they collect the tofu and refund me the money in the next hour OR ELSE. I slammed the phone down and suddenly, a voice piped up from the door.
“We’ll take the tofu.” I eyed the women suspiciously. “You let us in and we’ll do a stock take. And then we will take it,” they said.
And true to their word, they did take the offending tofu back and paid up the $99.50 to my helper.
Which they should have done in the first place. URGHS!!!
And so ends the tale of 21kg of tofu. Or otherwise known as the “It Only Happens To You” story, according to my girlfriend.
(I was trying to find a picture in my library that represents the WTF-ness of the whole situation but I couldn’t. So I shall just leave you with the following.)
Oh and the 21kg of tofu? ‘Twas meant to be shared among eight families.
You know, it’s kinda funny. Time crept up on us so stealthily that we hadn’t realised just how big you have grown so far. I mean, it’s like we have been keeping pace with you and we knew you were growing but suddenly, when we see you with your little brother, we discovered just how far we had all come together.
You, my boo boo, are an amazing little fellow. The past few months have not been easy for you but you have grown through it with such joy and unbridled love. You have shown me how strong you are and how much I really, really love you.
We started June just hanging out, you and me. Oh, we did loads of stuff together: we went to Ikea and had tea, chilled at the playground and looked at photos together. We read books and played with trains. We took naps together and woke up happy.
And then Zac came along and your world changed. Suddenly, you were thrust into the unknown and here’s a tiny human demanding so much of your parents’ attention, especially mama’s. Suddenly, all these weird big people were telling you to hug and kiss that tiny human, saying stuff like “if you don’t do XYZ, I will give your Thomas train to didi”.
Of course you acted out. You are only two years old. You are meant to act out at this age. And you did. There were loads of tears and illogical tantrums and strange demands. But those, those I could handle. What I could not handle was the sobbing: big, fat tears accompanied by cries of “mama! Mama!”. It nearly broke my heart into two, it made me wonder if I had been selfish in wanting to have a second child when clearly, my first-born was in despair. All I could do was to hold you, stroke your back, shower you with kisses and tell you that it was going to be alright and I loved you.
Three months on, you have blossomed into the loving and warm big brother that your papa and I had envisioned. You love Zac and say the funniest things to him. Like, “Zac, we go the NTUC, okay?” and “Mama give the num num to Zac”. You love to hug and kiss him, and then tell me to “take photo! Take photo!”
Of course there is still jealousy, of course you still want whichever parent is holding on to Zac. But that’s natural and to be expected. Bit by bit, you are entering the realm where you cannot remember how life was like without Zac.
You started attending school and oh boy, it was so tough in the early days. You cried your heart out when we left you in the new environment. I could not stop my own tears from falling when I saw you sitting on the teacher’s lap and sobbing. I wished I could help you to understand why we had to do this, I wished I could help you through your confusion and sadness.
But look at you now! There are still tears, true, but they go off pretty quickly. The teacher tells me that you are a happy little chappy who loves to sing, and you have a hearty appetite. Sometimes you tend to wander off and do your own thing but you know, that’s so you.
School taught you independence but it also gave you the “gift” of bugs. You caught a nasty bug and you never really recovered from it. For two months, you coughed and sneezed your way through life and we despaired of ever having you healthy again. Throughout this period, though, you remained your happy self and you never let the illnesses bring you down.
So yes, it’s been an eventful three months. Life has changed so much for you but you have been such a super trooper. I’m so proud to be your mama and so glad that you are ours to love and adore.
Don’t ever lose that wide-eyed wonder, okay?
Love you to the moon and back,
I knew I married the right guy when, after I rear-ended the car, he looked at the damage and laughed, before enveloping me in a big bear hug.
I knew I married the right guy when he steered the kid with the poopy diaper away from me because I muttered “I HATE POOP” out loud as said kid presented me with the smelliest arse EVAR.
I knew I married the right guy when he tried to register my interest in the iPhone 6 with my service provider without my asking for it to be done.
I knew I married the right guy when he dabao prata for me late one night, because I wanted to have some and I was no longer pregnant.
I knew I married the right guy when he brought me teh-si every single day when I was staying in the hospital with Zac.
I knew I married the right guy when he, knowing that I was torn between ordering a risotto and the oysters, decided to get the risotto so that I can have both.
I knew I married the right guy when I realised that I still like him enough to keep him, even though he didn’t get me any gifts nor flowers for our anniversary.
What a ride it has been, this past six years.
<3 Here’s to many many more years ahead! <3
Oh what a month it has been! It sure hasn’t been easy for us and it sure as hell hasn’t been easy for you too. But you have proven to us that you are a super trooper and a brave little thing.
You’ve been sick for a while, no thanks to a nasty bug that hit both you and your brother when you were all of six weeks old. It stayed and lingered and loitered around, until it turned into two nasty infections that your little body had to fight off.
It wasn’t pretty, the night you were admitted to the hospital. My heart broke into a million pieces when the nurse brought you to me after they had inserted the drip into your tiny hand and taken vials and vials of blood for tests. You were shell-shocked, your heart rate rocketed to more than 200 bpm and you were stiff. No amount of coaxing or cuddling from me could calm you down. I was scared, so so scared. Finally, you allowed me to nurse you and you fell into a restless sleep.
That night, you slept in my arms while your brother slept at my feet, clutching my legs for comfort. That night, the nurses and doctor worried about you, administered oxygen on you and took x-rays. That night, I hardly slept. That night, I felt real terror and understood what it meant to have my heart walking outside my body for the first time.
But then you bounced back. You fought the infections like a brave soldier and you were back to your normal self in a week. You remained the happy baby that you have always been and the nurses loved you so. And you made me so proud to be your mama.
So you haven’t exactly had the best start in life but we can only hope that this means things can only get better from now now.
Right now, you are the funniest little darling. You are happy to dish out smiles to anyone who would smile at you, and you love it when we respond to your babbles. Whenever I plonk you onto my lap, you break into the biggest smile. You just love it when we look at you and have conversations with you, Mr Social Butterfly. And when you are not a happy camper (because nobody is talking to you), you complain oh so vocally.
Even at this age, I can see glimpses of your personality. You can be impatient, getting frustrated when you can’t fall asleep quickly enough or when the milk flow isn’t fast enough for you. And yet you are a chill little fellow – you are happy to stay for prolonged periods in the stroller and you don’t fuss or cry much. You are also going to be a handful, I predict, judging by how active and physical you already are.
Sigh. Go easy on your poor parents’ ageing limbs, okay?
Oh my little Zac. Stay little for just a bit longer, please? You are mama’s last baby so do let me enjoy your babyhood for as long as possible? Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, baby boy.
Love you to the moon and back,
After our 7D6N “staycation” at Mount Alvernia Hospital, I said a silent prayer to the Big Guy Up There.
Please, I whispered in my head, let this cycle of mad illnesses end here now.
Three days later, Aidan was diagnosed with HFMD.
So yeah, there is a sense of WHAT THE FUCKERY lingering around here. When we heard the dreaded four letters from the GP’s mouth (that’s HFMD and not TOTO), Mr Thick and I visibly sank in our Birkenstocks. Back home, he looked at me in despair and said, “When are we ever going to catch a break?”
Because, poor man. He had a 10-day sabbatical leave and we were meant to do all sorts of romantic and sexxxxay things together. Like clear out the storeroom. Redo the boys’ room. Clean our study table. Install the invisible grilles in our balcony. Repair our aircon. Have coffee every single day. Have a meal here and there. Sleep. Go for a family vacation. But he ended up shuttling between our parents’ homes, our home and the hospital everyday. Not only that, he was also permanently attached to his work laptop during those 10 days because, obviously, the company would absolutely DIE without him.
But you know what, there are little things to be thankful for in life and I am not going to sit here and whine about how crappy and sucky it has been. I mean, it HAS been ridiculously crappy and sucky around here.
It’s also been good.
Aidan turned 2.5 years old and his verbal and comprehension abilities astound us so. (His toddler angst astound us too, though on another end of the spectrum.) He says the funniest things and has an amazing memory. Zac, oddly enough, is now three months old. I say oddly enough because I look at the itty bitty babies snuggled in the arms of their mothers at the hospital and wonder where my little squish has gone. He now resembles, in my very unbiased opinion, a garden gnome. Mr Thick and I still make each other laugh and we have not harboured thoughts of stabbing the other with a fork. Yet.
At the end of the day, we are going through this together as a family. Hopefully, nobody will need therapy in time to come.
Photo by The Beautiful Moments Photography