27 June 2009
posted by j at 6/27/2009 11:29:00 PM

Decided to attempt to keep some sort of log with regards to the house/reno...

Started hunting for a contractor proper sometime end May. By 2nd or 3rd wk of June, we got the quotations from 7 different contractors, plonked them on an excel sheet to study them, before making a decision. Here are the contractors we considered in order of quotations received...
1) Rustics Interior Design - Huijuan (recommended by an aunt)
2) IDS Interior Furnishing - Henry Lee (recommended by friend)
3) LWT Design Pte Ltd - Milli (online forums rec)
4) Impress 21 - Henry Goh (online forums rec)
5) Outlook - Samuel Wong (walk-in)
6) U-Home - June (walk-in, reviews online not too bad)
7) Renozone Interior Design House - Colin Phua (rec by friend, reviews online good)
8) Ah Mong (not even sure what the name of the company is) - rec by friend, emailed him but received no reply... so I didn't push for it.

After much consideration and revision to the design and quotations, we decided to go with Renozone. Reason? You can ask me privately if you really wanna know =)

9 Apr (thu)
Decided to get Jerry the 50 litre LG bar fridge (GR-051SSF-CAN) from HN BP(2 yr warranty) which was on offer ($179). Wanted him to be as comfortable as possible living at the new, spartan place before reno started.

7 May (thu)
Jerry saw that a Tempur mattress 17cm (Queen size deluxe) was on offer at HN Centrepoint and wanted to get it cos he thought it would be good for me since I generally find it hard to get good sleep =) 2 years warranty. Forgot how much.

21 June (sun)
Finally decided on a Panasonic Viera Plasma TV (think its TH-42PZ85U) with HD function. The techie (no prize for guessing who...) was really 'on' about this purchase since it solved his dilemma of whether to settle for either plasma (with great non-shadowy images) or LCD HD (good for future HD channels). This one has both! Blew our budget quite a bit though... $1799 from Courts TP.

23 June (tue)
First round of tile-selection for living room, kitchen and bathrooms. Both wall tiles and floor. Had some last minute idea about configuration of rooms and wanted to run it by Colin to see if it was feasible, practical and whether it would cost a lot more. As such, could not sign with him as planned. He was very nice about it though. Was a relief.

24 June (wed)
We finally signed the contract with Renozone. After bouncing between Plan A and Plan B, we decided to stick with Plan A cos of the price. Can't afford Plan B.

I am also unsure about the colour of the tiles we chose yesterday because I can't seem to get a hold of what sort of theme or style I really want. Inspiration not there. And I can't find what i'm trying to grasp for in the magazines I flip through. They're just all.....the same. Contemporary modernistic. Sleek. Not quite what I'm envisioning. It's not quite coming to me and I feel very bad about making changes again. Colin probably hates me. Nevertheless he is very patient and even lends me 2 design magazines for reference.

I plough through it till late at night and come across a few things which might work, but am not entirely satisfied. I finally fall sleep, dreaming about reno and styles and tiles....

25 June(thu)
I meet Jerry for dinner after a long day of meeting. We are both tired and grumpy. I feel frustrated that I can't get the elusive image of the style I want in my head. He is frustrated that I'm taking so long to decide and am appearing to be difficult.

He finally tells me to drop the idea of having a Picket and Rail table (I really really like that, but it's so ex, and I guess it doesn't make sense for me to center my designs around a dining table just cos I like it =P) and just think about what style I like and feel comfortable with. This gives me some perspective and I decide to relook the thing from scratch. This frustrates him a little more because it seems to him that 'relooking' means 'time taken equals even longer than before'. And I have a mini outburst because I'm so tired and frustrated and sleepy and petulant. It is not that I want to take a long time, I just can't get 'IT'.

And so, with much contrived patience, he starts asking me simple prodding questions to get some basic ideas of what I have in mind. And I start picturing and describing. And some images do come out... Soon we've walked around IMM and sneakily taken some photos of furniture which are in the style of the design we want. We've also collected some furniture catalogues for the pictures. These together with the word descriptions Jerry copied down while 'interviewing' me, he sent the very next day to Colin over email to give him an idea of what we have in mind. Bless him for his efficiency. Jerry, I mean.

We walk into Hoe Kee (bathroom/kitchen stuff) and begin looking at sinks, taps, hobs, hoods and ovens. After talking to Colin over the phone, we decide to run over to Balestier, to the shop he recommends for such stuff. After close to 2 hours in the shop, we have gotten everything we need (toilet bowls, sinks, taps, rain shower, jet sprays, bath shelving, towel racks, paper holders, bath mirror, hob and hood. We spend about $2700 and feel extremely poor. I am reluctant to get the kitchen sink from them because I've fallen in love with the one I saw in Hoe Kee that's on promo.

I get home real late and feeling sick.

26 June (fri)
I wake up with a headache, blocked nose and a sorethroat. Paranoid people at school tell me it's better that I don't go to school for meeting. I readily oblige and sleep the morning and afternoon away. Need to catch up on all the sleep I've been missing because of late nights doing research online and magazine flipping.

The GSS is coming to an end soon so Jerry and I are getting a little antsy about not having completed our shopping during the 'golden period'. We are also anxious that some of the things we've been eyeing (but holding off buying) have become 'display sets only'. I think we've been in and out of Courts, HN and Audiohouse for fridges a grand total of at least 10 times before we finally made a purchase on this day.

We finally decided to go ahead and get an LG 2-door top mount since it comes with 10% off. The rest we wanted have become 'display sets only' and the rest are above budget in spite of being on offer. We get the GR-M392YLQ Platinum silver (with option to change to white if it matches reno better) which is $845 with free delivery. 2 yr warranty. I think. From HN JP.

27 June (Sat)
I've slept most of fri and half of sat away because I came down with a flu yesterday and was anxious to recover quickly. We meet Colin again for the 2nd round of tile-selection because wishy-washy me changed my mind about some tiles. This was quickly done because it was easier with Colin having a better idea of the style we want. Definitely different from the usual. May look 'auntie' though. Hmm. Seriously hope not.

We are determined to finish up as much as the appliance-shopping within these few days to ride on the GSS as well as cos hols are ending for me and I won't have time to do much more of this. I don't think I've slept much more during the hols compared to sch time. Burned much midnight oil doing research online. I even have an excel sheet on various washing machines and their functions. Think I'm quite the guru on washing machines, ovens, contractors etc now...

At this point of time, we are considering getting either the LG direct drive washer 8kg, the LG direct drive 8/4kg washer dryer, or Indesit 7kg. It is a tough choice because Indesit is quite a fair bit cheaper with a $150 voucher which can pay for an Indesit oven and help cut cost. However, it is also notorious for really bad after-sales service with quite a number of people. Doesn't give me a sense of security if you know what I mean. We need the money though. Am going to research on amount of water used per kg I think.

Ovens, we are considering Indesit (for price reasons) and Uno/Techno. Haven't heard much about these brands in the area of ovens. Haven't done enough research to know about brands of built-in ovens and which are good. So far names like Tefal, Rowenta and Baby Belling have come up, but they fall in the category of stand-alone ovens. I do know about self-cleaning ovens,
pyro vs catalytic, single heating, double heating, turnspits and about turbo fans though =)

23 May 2009
posted by j at 5/23/2009 10:32:00 AM

It's been a while since my last post. Been in over my head with the tons of marking I had to complete. At some point of time during the no-day-no-night marking, I felt just about the same way I felt when I was climbing Mt KK. It's the "I'm so tired I wanna give up, I can't rem why in the world I'm here in the first place and I don't see how I'm going to make it out of the tunnel..." mentality.

However, I must put in writing, that in spite of circumstances and how I felt at that point of time, God has been very good to me. Providential in the small, yet significant and practical ways. CG, which has been reduced to meeting once a fortnight, happened NOT to be meeting the week I was piah-ing my marking. So other than bsf on mon and tue, I was free to do my marking on wed. And then, because most of the band members were off to Living Praise Pres for choir exchange, band was postponed, which meant I was free on friday as well. And then, some time during the week, Elder Goh smsed to say that he would like to postpone our pmc session for the week because he needed the time to prepare for sunday's sermon. Which left sat free for me to mark as well!! Wow...I was really thankful. I mean, what are the chances of all these happening in the same week, and during the week I needed the extra time the most? I know it was no coincidence, and am extremely grateful to God for His daily and timely mercies.

Another thanksgiving for that particularly long and dreary week....my dearest J. I wouldn't have been the least bit motivated if not for his encouragement, nagging and most importantly, his presence and prayers. He spent a good many days accompanying me on my marking sprees, patiently sitting by my side and entertaining himself while I marked. He never once complained about me wasting his time, nor grumbled about having to be 'punished' along with me. Instead, he encouraged me and motivated me to continue, and prayed for me as well. For that, I was sorely grateful and thankful to God for the gift I have in him. I remember in particular, that saturday night of marking fever week. I had already spent much of the week as well as the whole of that saturday sitting at a cafe with J and marking till I wanted to vomit. And yet I had to continue. The prospect of returning home to mark on my own was really daunting. I didn't think I would be able to motivate myself to do even MORE marking upon getting home, especially when I didn't have company. So I was really manja when it was time to go home. And guess what? My dearest, who didn't drive that day, drove us both to TW (our new and presently unrenovated place which he has been staying at during weekdays cos it's nearer to his office) where I could work undistracted (compared to my place) and the poor dear stayed up as late as he possibly could to keep me company, and then fell asleep on the floor in sheer tiredness, while I continued working.

(The funny thing about me is, I feel motivated even if my company is asleep. I just need someone by my side. Doesn't matter what he is doing or whether he is sleeping. Still better than having no one. Heh.)

And so, I continued working till about 3 am that night, until my red pen ran out of ink, just as I was approaching my quota for the day. Then I fell asleep on the single mattress, which J had given up for me =) Cos he's been the only one staying there, everything (bedding-wise) came in 'ones'. Since I got the mattress and the blanket, the poor dear had to make do with a bolster and a pillow. And in order to get to church on time, he woke up at about 7am the next morning and then I drove him to Chinese Gdn mrt station where he took the train all the way home to Eunos, changed and then headed for church (which is even more east). Felt quite heartpain for his sake.

As for myself, after the crazy marking till the wee hours consecutively for a number of days, I felt really dizzy and sick after getting home that day. Took me a number of days to pay back my sleep debt. Am really glad THAT's over. Phew. Nevertheless, in spite of that difficult period, I am able to testify to God's goodness, as well as the goodness of those He placed in my life =) Praise be to God!
28 April 2009
posted by j at 4/28/2009 11:23:00 PM

Today was a hectic day and I'm really glad it's over. But thanks be to God for seeing me through this day. I could not have done it without Him, and am convinced that He was with me, giving me all that I needed, whether it was wisdom, quick-thinking, grace or timely and gracious help from those around me. For all that I am very thankful.

SL, the CA of my bsf class, is away this week. Which means the admin team is effectively just, me. One of my worries before today was whether I'd be able to leave my Tuesday course on time. For 8 Tuesdays I have to attend a course at school till 5.30pm. The first few weeks of the course, the instructor ended after 5.30pm. If that happened today, I would have been quite late getting to church because after 5.30 the PIE would be really crowded and slow-moving. So I told SL and C to specifically pray that I get off on time. It turned out that I had ANOTHER course on the same day which had to take priority over the other, and this course ended earlier than 5.30pm =) And so, it is, in a way, a prayer answered. I got to church on time to set up =) Also, when I got to church I was still cotton-headed and a bit stressed from the day's happenings, but somehow when I started setting up, God cleared my head and got my adrenalin pumping. Everything that needed to be done just popped into my head clearly and quickly, and I did not forget anything. Praise God that I did not have a headache or neckache today! =)

Before today, I had to do admin on my own one other time. In comparison, that time was much much easier because somehow there were hardly any latecomers, all the DLs were present, there were no comm slips to issue and hardly anyone came to collect notes in advance at the end of the lesson! There were no hiccups or incidences or anything out of the ordinary. I had such an easy time, and yet I was anxious because it was the first time doing it alone. Now, on hindsight, I'd say God was very very gracious that time because He knew how I felt. He gave me the first time's solo run to get me used to things a bit so that I'd be prepared for...well, more. So today, knowing that I was more prepared, had one previous 'practice', and was somewhat less anxious, God upped the challenge a little. It was a lot more busy tonight. Things that don't usually happen on a regular basis on other weeks, all decided to happen today. I even had a tiny hiccup which has never happened before at all! One of the group secretaries marked the attendance in the wrong column, under last week's instead, and upon discovering the error, tried to erase the ticks she made but could not remember which were written in today! This has never happened before, so I had no idea what to tell her to do. My immediate concern was actually to stop myself from getting irritated (because I was already kinda over my head in things I needed to do) because I didn't want to be a bad testimony while serving God. Anyway, while I tried to stay calm, God gave wisdom. We figured out from the pencil imprints on the paper, which were previously there, and whatever we couldn't figure out, I got her to go ask those members whether they were indeed present the previous week. So everything was fine in the end. Heh. Also, we had an unusual large number of people collecting notes in advance, as well as latecomers, so that took up some time, marking attendance and all. There was also enquiries about attending class in a different country as a visitor and lots of early departures for some reason. Things which don't happen on a regular basis on other weeks, decided to all happen today.

Yet, I'd say things went pretty smoothly today, in spite of little incidences here and there and the busyness. Many thanks to those who worked silently by my side, lending a willing helping hand. THE question of the day was "Do you need help?" For that, I am very thankful. The ushers and the DLs who usually help were all really fast and efficient, and full of initiative. It felt like everyone was especially helpful today! Heh. God was also very kind to me in a small way (felt big to me though). I had to sneak into the room during pre-class prayer to make some changes on the attendance sheets, and just as I walked in, I heard one of the DLs praying for me. The timing was impeccable. I was in the room for only 10 seconds. I am sure it was no coincidence. I am certain that God arranged it such, so that I could hear it and be comforted =) And indeed I was.

I'm thankful also for little things that worked out so that the running was smooth: laptop connected to projector just fine and did not go into hibernation as it sometimes does, set-up was complete fast and early, fellowship hall's locked doors were discovered early enough for us to catch the office staff to get them to help us open them, the resignation of the regular caretaker did not cause any problems to our usual working, the combination of Ch's and Pris' groups in the end made things easier for attendance-taking and P took a group for the first time! Was also glad that Deborah came today and made things a lot easier for me. Some time was shaved off because there were people using the hall just before we got there, so we did not have to take time to turn on everything. The lights and air-conditioning etc were all on already. Roy came early and helped Jerry with the carrying of the heavy stuff. And then poor Jerry did most of the shifting of chairs in the rooms upstairs =) Most of the male DLs came early today and could help with the shifting. Thank God! In fact, most of the DLs came early today =)

Before I end off, just a note of thanks to the following people:
  • Deborah and Daniel, our faithful ushers who do much more than just usher. Am so thankful for their initiative and willing hearts.
  • Jerry, Alex, Samuel and Chung Yen for coming early and helping with the manual labour. Many thanks also for their initiative, willing hearts and strong arms.
  • Samuel, for always helping with admin stuff: collecting attendance, taking down room signs and basically doing whatever I request. Heh.
  • Jerry, for always coming early to set up chairs for everyone else, quietly, willingly and without grouse.
  • Alex, Samuel and Chung Yen, for always staying till the end to help move stuff and volunteer to carry the luggage which weighs 10 tonnes.
  • Deborah, for always staying till the end to help with packing and switching off lights etc.
  • Roy and HP for setting up the IT stuff quickly and efficiently, Roy also for the moving of stuff.
  • Cutie and Pearlyn, for always being so quick to offer and render help in whatever little needs to be done.
All praise be to God, our Sustainer and Strength!
23 April 2009
posted by j at 4/23/2009 10:57:00 PM

...my stomach cramps were bad enough to wake me from my slumber at 3am this morning, so that I could clean up the mess before it hit my bedclothes. Damage was minimal and quickly dealt with. My only grouse was my disturbed sleep from the severe pain. Thank God for painkillers...

...I have an understanding HOD who kindly allowed me to go in late for work because of the bad cramps I had. The timing was great too. Today was the only day in my 10-day cycle timetable, that I had the entire morning free from lessons...

...I only had 2 periods today and my students were really cooperative. I quite enjoyed my time with them. They were even observant enough to ask me with much concern, "Teacher, are you sick? You look pale..." Such darlings!

...my dear was so understanding today. He didn't take offence at my grumpiness, knowing that I was irritable because of that time of the month, and quickly bundled me off to rest. He then patiently waited for me to get my much-needed nap before we headed for a late dinner. I was much perkier and better-tempered when I woke up, so we had quite a nice leisurely dinner and walk at vivo. The place is so much friendlier on a non-weekend! After our date, he very considerately offered to drive me in my car back to my place, and was willing to take the bus back (tog with all the groceries he was lugging) to TW. Was quite xin tong for him to do that, so I offered to drop him off part of the way, and so we got off the AYE at JTH so that he could take 180 back from Chinese Garden instead of having to walk all the way to the bus stop from my house. The poor dear still had to lug the groceries back from the bus stop upon alighting, but he was a real sport about it. What would I do without him? =)

Thank God for all his daily mercies!
22 April 2009
posted by j at 4/22/2009 10:37:00 PM

Today, I give thanks that He got me through the day.

Have been dreading the cluster of days from Monday till today, because I knew the forecast was long and exhausting. What with BSF after work on two consecutive days, a 3-hour course in Drama on Tuesdays, Oral duties after school today, CCA duties after Oral, and then CG today.... I was definitely not looking forward to this week. Boy am I glad it's over. Thank God for the strength He supplied me with, the relatively good day I had in terms of students' cooperativeness, and for the unexpectedly good sleep I was 'forced' to have last night because of my lack of clear vision (my spectacles got warped sitting for a day in the heat of the car).

Thank God also that I managed to pick up my spectacles today! Otherwise I would have had to wait till Fri evening cos the optician closes on Thursdays. Am wearing it now as I type =)
20 April 2009
posted by j at 4/20/2009 10:41:00 PM

I know I have yet to share much about him in this space. So, it's about time I did =)

I give thanks to God for him, whose love for me is manifested in the acts of service that he so willingly and self-sacrificially undertakes for my sake.

For a few weeks, I had left my vacuum cleaner and a trolley in my car. I'd previously used these for cleaning up and for moving some stuff at my new house, and somehow never got down to lugging them back up to my current abode. I usually got back too late to secure a nearby parking lot, so lugging those cumbersome items past steps and the swimming pool was hardly something I was in a hurry to do at the end of each long tiring day.

My dearest tried in vain to remind me to return these bulky items to the house, but seeing as it just never got done, got it into his head to do them for me. Last Saturday, I had to attend a school function in the evening for a couple of hours till about 10pm. We were out in my car before that, so he offered to drive me to school and return to fetch me when I was done. Soon as I got off the car, he secretly drove back to my place, made his way into my house using my keys and lugged everything back to my house for me. And because I had been returning home late these past few weeks and had been unable to secure an underground lot (much to my grief), he decided to park my car in the underground lot he managed to find (cos he was quite early), and run back to our new place instead! Which is a good 6 to 7 km away!

He then drove HIS car to pick me up from my school when I was done, and brought this hungry woman (as always) for supper =) I was so touched. Still am. He does things for me so cheerfully and willingly, it puts me to shame. I have much to learn from him. His humility and teachable heart. I thank God for placing him in my life! =)
posted by j at 4/20/2009 10:26:00 PM

In last week's BSF homework, the first question was:
"What was the most important principle you learned from the lecture, and how did you apply it?"
I thought about it and this is what I wrote:
"Praising God for His past help gives hope for the future."
God has been really good. I know He has. The trouble was, if you were to ask me for specific examples, I would have to admit that I really don't remember many. I do remember the more major ones, but I have also lost many other littler ones along the way. Much to my regret.

And so, this is why I'm back. Because when I thought about how I was to apply that, I would have to first be able to remember what God has done for me, in order to be able to praise Him for his past help. Though putting it on the web is hardly considered private, I reckon privacy issues are easier for me to deal with than my never-ending issues with FORGETFULNESS. At least this way I can't lose what I put in writing...

So. Here I am again. After exactly 5 months of absence. Feels kinda weird. Wonder how long I can keep this going. I'm going to try and put in typing, things I can and should give thanks for. Whatever comes to mind, and that God impresses upon me from time to time =)
21 November 2008
posted by j at 11/21/2008 12:07:00 AM

Man....the rate at which my brain is deteriorating is scarily worrying....It is SO not funny.