Monday, February 21, 2011

A Trip Down Memory Lane and Hubby's New Hobby!

How many of you out there know where I was working before I started with the Dutch Oil Company? Answer? Probably less than a handful.

Before I gave up my life to work with the oil and gas industry, I was actually in construction. And that wasn't by choice either. I was given a scholarship by a construction company therefore by default I had to work through my bond which was 5 years. Which construction company, you ask? Yes, I worked with Gamuda Berhad. Proud to be a Gamuda scholar. But not so proud that I worked for a total of 6 months with them before paying back my scholarship to grab that better offer with the Dutch Oil Company. (Did I tell you that I only submitted my application to the Dutch Oil Company for fun, or actually just because Hubby did it, went to the interviews without putting too much effort, since I already had a career with a bond, and was complete boggled over when I found out that I got the job??!!)

I learned a lot about life, by being in Gamuda. It gave me a whole different perspective on life in the construction line. Or should I say, a female in the construction industry. I take my safety helmet off to those ladies who excel in this largely male dominated business.

I spent my internship on the construction of the SMART tunnel. Back then, they didn't even have a name for the tunnel boring machine (TBM). At 22 years old, I was going in and out of their multiple sites, visiting the retention ponds. Attending sessions with the public to inform them that the construction of the tunnel was not the cause of their house cracks and that it is definitely safe to drive in this 3 storey tunnel! It was definitely a surreal experience. Whenever I drive in the tunnel, I can still feel a sense of pride that I played a part in its construction. Did you know that if you were to run a staircase from the top to the bottom of the tunnel it would be at least 10 storeys tall? I only ventured once into the bottom of the tunnel, and back then I remember getting looks from the construction workforce.

Not admiring looks, mind you. They were actually not really happy as they believe that it is bad luck for a female to be inside the tunnel. Very superstitious, I must say.

After graduating, I was placed with SPLASH, a subsidiary of Gamuda who (back then) deals with the water supply for Selangor. At 23 years old, I drove a manual 4WD on my own for the very first time from Damansara Jaya to the Bukit Badong Water Treatment Plant. I would also venture into the deep jungles and even perkampungan orang asli to collect water samples for monthly reports to the Department of Environment Malaysia. One weekend I even drove the 4WD home and impressed my father in-law with my driving skills!

Needless to say, I was really sad when I tendered my resignation.

So when Hubby said that he wanted to drag me to Damansara Jaya to check out his latest craze, I agreed with the condition that we drove past the Gamuda office.

I used to drive on this road every single day to get to work.

*sigh* Bitter sweet memories.

Back then, lunch in KLCC or Pavilion was a ridiculous idea. It was usually lunch at the food court, or we would take turns cooking lauk for lunch. Well the cooking has to be done the night before at home lah. We would simply heat up the lauk. There was also a collection to buy beras as we would tanak nasi at the office pantry. Or if you feel like splurging, there's always Atria. Aaahhh those were the days.

So what exactly is Hubby's latest craze? Hubby has decided to ditch his scuba diving idea for another hobby - remote controled aeroplanes.

Aiden followed us to the hobby shop. Wasn't really a good idea as he wanted to touch every single aeroplane, helicopter and remote controlled car in the shop!

Love this yellow plane.

There is even an army themed aeroplane!

Hubby testing out the remote.

Yup this is the shop. Previously we checked out hobby shops in Berjaya Times Square and One Utama but by far, this shop gave us the best deal and after sales service.

After days and days of doing research and watching youtube videos (I swear I am going to puke if he forces me to watch just one more video of an aeroplane crashing), he ended up with this aeroplane model.

Even purchased a simulator so that he can sharpen his skills through the computer. Which I think is a good idea since the simulator will help his maiden flight to be accident-free. (And I don't think we can afford another aeroplane should this one crash into pieces.)

This was last week. We finally picked up his aeroplane as it took the guy 5 long days to assemble it.

So check out Hubby's new baby.

I will definitely take pictures of his maiden flight. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Green Fingers

What can you do with 30feet of land?

Plenty, given that you have plenty of moolah. Unfortunately, we do not have plenty of those, so please, throw the the swimming pool and the water feature ideas out of the window. What we can afford for now is just grass. Lots and lots of grass.

And since we're on the subject of saving money, what better way to save money than to clear your own garden? Besides burning a lot of calories, you get to show off your skills of wielding the parang to your next door neighbour. (What next door neighbour? Rumah sebelah kosong lah!)

This was my outfit untuk menebas. A pair of Ralph Lauren jeans, a Marks & Spencer top and gold Pedro gladiator sandals.

(Even Aiden was) hard at work.

Aiden had his own rake.

Aiden complaining that the mosquitoes were feeding off him.

After a while I gave up (with blisters on my palm) and called in the sifu - Bibik!

She was so skillful with the parang that she got all this in probably quarter of the time I spent.

After we cleared the garden (it took us two long afternoons!), we decided that no way were we going to do the landscaping on our own. Not only was it too ambitious, but we have tried planting carpet grass in the Ampang house and after all that hard work, it died. So we decided to invest our money on a local gardener.

Step one, plant all the trees and shrubs that you can afford.

Dark red shrubs for our dining hall windows.

Sweet red flowers for our patio side.

Small shrubs for our living hall u-shape window.

Wasn't really happy that they left the excess soil on the ground and simply covered it with grass. That spot is now all gooey and muddy whenever you step on it. *sigh*

Hubby wanted a small man-made hill at the corner, and his idea turned out to be a pretty good one! Love how this corner turned out to look like.

Hubby hard at work planting trees *yeah right* beside the BBQ gate.

While all that was going on outside, this boy decided to turn our table lamp into a microphone stand and started crooning away.

We also told the gardener to remove the MBSA trees in front of our house.

And replaced it with our choice of trees.

Check out the mess.

Step two. Remove all the stones in the ground and replace with clean sand. Level the soil.

Check out my favourite corner.

Ready for grass.

Our indoor garden being prepped. We wanted a Japanese bamboo to be planted here so that we could see it from the dry kitchen window sink. Such a pretty view while washing dishes!

Unfortunately the gardener brought this instead - his interpretation of a Japanese Bamboo. Hubby said "nie rumah Nenek I ade lah pokok nie!" (I'll probably see this tree in my grandmother's house!)

Step 3: Lay the grass!

This was when they were 3/4 done.

And last but not least, use a heavy roller (the 100kg barrel) to roll the grass flat.

And I caught this boy digging holes in my garden.

Of course, you will need to water the grass twice a day. Lots and lots of water, especially if it doesn't rain.

But look at what this boy's imagination created! A water hose turned into a gun.

He does not own a single toy gun, nor has he watched anything else except for Playhouse Disney. So where did he learn this???

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Invitation to an Open Dialogue between Cahaya SPK and Residents

I know most of my silent readers out there are generally Cahaya SPK residents who google things like 'Cahaya SPK blogspot' or 'Cahaya SPK renovation' and somehow or rather stumble upon my personal blog, or the general public who are interested in securing a property in Cahaya SPK.

So, for my fellow residents, on behalf of the Pro Tem Resident Association, it gives me great pleasure to invite you to our inaugaral Open Dialogue between Cahaya SPK and Residents. This is an activity organised by your friendly Pro Tem Cahaya SPK Resident Association (CSPKRA) for the benefit of the whole community.

If you cannot read the letter above (which we sent to SPK earlier this week), see below for the jist of it:


In reference to the above, we would like to inform you that a meeting was held on Saturday, 29th Jan 2011 between the Pro Tem Cahaya SPK Residents’ Association (Pro Tem CSPKRA) and the residents to solicit their views on the recent water supply outage, and a consensus was reached to organize an open dialogue session between the developer and residents. This is in order for residents to seek clarification from the developer on issues which include but are not limited to:

1) Security services and operations including the SOP
2) Ownership of security management and collection
3) Water supply
4) Cracks rectification
5) Clubhouse
6) Second guard house
7) Road lights
8) Drainage
9) Road safety
10) Maintenance of playground
11) House title
12) Status for flyover into Cahaya SPK
13) Status of road from P4 leading to Jalan Shah Alam - Sg Buloh via Sekolah Sri Cahaya
14) Status of slip road towards Sunway Alam Suria traffic lights
15) Mosquitoes
16) School and other amenities

We respectfully request your presence and any other top management personnel who are able to made decisions on behalf of SPK, to attend the dialogue session to be held at the details below:

Date: 19th February 2011 (Saturday)
Venue: Cahaya SPK Clubhouse
Time: 10am

We also respectfully request your assistance in informing the residents (P1, P2A, P2B and P3) of this upcoming dialogue session via your SMS notification system. This is to help ensure adequate turnout for a beneficial discussion.

We believe that this transparent approach is the best way to allay residents’ concerns and secure an outcome that brings benefits to Cahaya SPK and the residents.

So clear your schedule and pencil in this important appointment in your busy calendar. Share your views and let your voices be heard!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Recap of January

To continue the previous post, what happened in January?

1) We went up and down, in and out various hospitals. After Prince Court, we went to get a second opinion at SJMC and a third opinion at IJN. Did a bit of research, used my connections (two friends referred us to two different cardiologists in IJN while a relative referred us to an anesthesiologist who used to work in IJN) to get more information and finally we narrowed our choices down to only two hospitals. Since Hubby's condition is so unique, we found out that only two doctors are able to work his case in the whole of Malaysia, and they are in IJN and Gleneagles respectively.

Thank god for full coverage with the Dutch Oil Company (which also means I probably can never stop working)!!

2) My (only) eldest brother (whom I last met in Los Angeles back in 2008) came home for a short visit. And we met up with him over dinner at Fatty Crab in Petaling Jaya.

Nothing can beat this, yet.

The one on the right is my sister in law. When I was visiting them, she brought me shopping to all the best factory outlets! She even coaxed me into buying my dream Lady Dior and also another small Dior tote which ultimately consumed half of my Sakhalin paycheque back then. She taught me that when shopping in the US, if you see something just buy it as you can always go home, think about it and return it the next day if you don't like it! So don't mess with this petite lady, she is definitely a sifu in shopping-tology!

My brother is home!

After dinner, we went to visit Abang Ramli at his 'room' in my Dad's hotel. Abang Ramli (or should I say Datuk Haji Ramli MS?) and my brother go back a long way - they once produced an album together for a band who's name escapes me (that's how unpopular the band was) in the 90s.

Saw this lying on his room floor, must be the scores for AJL. Still can't believe Hafiz won Best Vocal!

Aiden exploring Abang Ramli's washing machine and dryer. Can you believe he has these and a microwave and a mini studio all cramped in a hotel room? Good to know he's moving into a house he built soon. Saw the 3D pictures of his new home and I was drooling over the concept. It even comes equipped with a humongous studio! (What else to expect, that is his bread and butter.)

3) Aiden starts to show interest in donning a kepiah and standing beside Daddy to pray! Although his attention starts to waiver as soon as Daddy starts to rukuk.

He even has his own sejadah okay!

4) Finally found the time to make my claims for the recent Houston trip. See below to see how much of the company's money I spent:

5) *sigh* How I wish the reimbursement amount does not show RM 0.00 as I could really use the money for one of these babies:

My dream car.
We went car hunting for Hubby (not for me, unfortunately), and I instantly fell in love with the soft top cabriole Eos. Althought Hubby was leaning towards the GTI or the Scirocco.

Aiden was all over the car, even demanding for the car keys!

6) Since we could not agree on our dream car, we decided to grant Aiden his own dream car!

A Mini Cooper S. Happy early birthday Baby!

His Cooper is so cool, it can be controlled via remote or via pedal. It even has a radio (yes a radio which gets Hitz.FM etc.) and also an audio jack inlet so that I can plug in my iPhone and play his favourite videos while he cruises around the neighbourhood!

7) Apart from the early birthday present, I was clearing the attic and found a whole boxful of presents from Aiden's first birthday which I had refrained from opening as Aiden was a bit too young for them back then. So since Aiden has outgrown most of his toys, Hubby and I decided to unpack the Thomas sets (all 3 of them) and assemble them together.

Look at the elaborate track we made for him! He was so happy with his new toy, especially since the battery operated Thomas runs on his own round and round the track. And for the next few days, he would just sit still and watch Thomas go round. Even if he was preoccupied with something else, he would insist for Thomas to be turned on. If we turn it off, he would immediately realise that the familliar whirring was gone and would whip his head around in the direction of Thomas. In a nutshell, we went through at least 8AA batteries during this phase!

8) The BBGS gang organized a birthday shower for Iza's second baby.

It's a boy! Which makes it a pair for Iza. Congratulations girl!

Theme was yellow and white.

And guess what? I agreed to make a diaper cake for the occasion! You should be very amazed that for a person who still draws orang lidi (which never fails to draw peals of laughter from dear Hubby), I actually managed to create an 'acceptable' looking diaper cake. Okay fine, with a bit of help from Bibik, of course. *grin*

9) We raided Ikea a total of 3 times this month! But the purchase that we enjoyed most was Aiden's first table and chair.

Initially, Hubby was against the idea as he thought Aiden would be too young for it. But I insisted, and we were pleasantly surprised when he actually liked it! He would sit in his chair and start colouring (or scribling) on a piece of paper, and this kept him quite occupied, which is quite an achievement for Aiden.

Look at him using multiple crayons and colour pencils to draw.

So cute, his legs couldn't even reach the floor.

His learning corner.

My son's first masterpiece - on an Ikea assembly instruction.

10) And last but not least, we have Unifi! Which was our first major achievement towards the big house move, followed by the kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, landscaping, curtains and touch ups.

Aiden testing the phone line while supervising the TM employee.

Well that's a recap of the past two months. It is definitely good to be back!
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