09 February 2011

I am now online and bringing you up-to-date

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Ok, so yesterday we travelled Ikea for hours. It is amazing how easily hours slip by. These stores are ginormous. Before we make any decisions on Trini’s bed and the lounge suite, we decide to check out Courts Megastore (a version of Harvey Norman). John has also made up his mind on the bed he wants for us so I am pretty easy going.

We ask the shop assistant about quality of mattresses and I get to test one which was quite nice. Then she offers to show me another one for comparison which was also nice but I couldn’t tell the difference. I said how much? She said $3000 just for the mattress. I said, no thanks, too much, I’ll take the first one. We then ask her about the bed we are interested in with a thin leather bedhead. Here’s the beauty. The base is a storage unit with hydraulics. You lift the lid with the mattress on it and let the hydraulics do the rest. Store anything you want in it and then close the lid. Now any clever storage designed furniture is a definite thumbs up, especially when it looks good too. Colour is settled on black.

I hadn’t realised how quickly we shop. I knew we never fussed about looking for comparable products once we found something we liked but 10 minutes to choose a bed, mattress, size and colour is ridiculous. Whilst John is sorting out the bill, I find a six seater dining table. Black leather chairs with stainless steel legs, stainless steel base in the centre and marble top. It just looks very classy. So we add it to the bill and voila. In half an hour we spent, should I even tell you this, okay here goes, $5800. Without even negotiating they offer to give us the delivery of $30 for free, a discount of $190 on the dining suite, a free mattress protector and 2 pillows. How’s that for service. The table is coming on Friday and the beds in 2 weeks.

Let me tell you about payment though. See John has a new credit card with an initial limit of $7500. He has already bought a queen size mattress for $1200 and TV for $1200 which he charges. Do you think we can charge our bed and table expenses to it? Do the maths. A big resounding no. So then I said well eftpos it but of course it exceeds his daily limit, which neither one of us knows what that is. So we then charge $3000 to the credit card and the balance to our Aussie visa. Well I may need to pay a foreign transaction fee of 1% but I can live with it if it means I can finish the shopping.

Before we depart we check out their linen department and all I can compare the quality and design to is Dimmey’s. You know the $20 sheets that after a few washes just beg to be tossed out. And I won’t even tell you about the patterns, 1980’s here we come and the washed out colour. At this point John informs me that linen just isn’t a Singaporean specialty. Some expat bloke he spoke to told him Australia linen awesome, Singaporean linen not. I mean I never bought expensive linen anyway but the selection here makes even my purchases exclusive. It looks like one of my trips back to Australia requires some purchases of linen. I’m okay with Queen size cause I shipped some of the linen with me but the King size will be a little tricky. I may need to do some web surfing to see what’s out there.

However, still satisfied with this trip we go next door to Ikea to get the Kivik couch, Besta storage cabinets and bed for Trini. First though, we need lunch. Now, I tried the meatballs yesterday at Ikea but nah, don’t know how it’s made cause it ain’t Ikea Richmond. And there is no schnitzel but there is the fried chicken wings which they do very well and is divine. Trini is living on air cause she’s not interested in too much food just milk, cereal, toast, juice and let’s not forget ice cream. I tried their iced tea and holy molly it was loaded with sugar, so I won’t be having that either. I could feel my teeth dissolving.

Whilst having lunch, I notice that we whities really stand out but nothing like Trini being the only blonde in a cafeteria that seats about 400 people. I’m just guessing. If Richmond seats 200 then definitely double it, that’s how huge Ikea is here. Is Trini being stared at and goo goo ga gad at. Most definitely.
Thankfully she’s quite oblivious unless directly gooed at. The fact that they keep slipping sweets into her hand when we are not watching is a new experience. Then it goes into my bag and then the rubbish. I know we have dental as part of our health insurance through work but not really interested in messing up her white pearlers quite this early yet.

Now, we were going to be daring and not so conservative and go for a red couch but in the end we settled on black again. Why? It just doesn’t go with the dining table. Needed a classier look. This particular red was just too vibrant and we needed something a little more subdued.

The storage units were easy but we found we got stuck with Trini’s bed. Whilst I was convinced for ages I wanted this particular bed cause it had so many functionalities; you could use it as a single, turn it into a double, use it as a daybed and consisted of large underbed storage but somehow I struggled with the idea of putting Trini on a foam mattress which is what they have. As you may know, usually Ikea mattresses aren’t exactly the same measurements as our standard ones. So didn’t want to take the chance that a normal mattress may not fit on the bed frame. For now the jury is out on what we will do for a bed for Trini. Not that it matters, there’s always in the middle of mum and dad on a king or the queen.

With our purchases in tow we check out with the Aussie Visa and organise delivery for next Sunday. We again experience efficiency and courtesy and parted with another $2400.

From here we crossed the road and walked into Giant Supermarket. Good LORDY it’s the size of Bunnings. It’s a combination of Coles and Kmart. One stop shop for absolutely everything except furniture. Think bikes, rollerblades, fishing, kitchen, laundry, clothes, toys, food, electronics, gadgets, you get the picture yeah? So we thought we’ll pick up a couple of things but somehow lost another hour and a half and had more stuff with us than anticipated.

This amazingly successful shopping trip started at 11am and finished at 10.30pm. Not sure how Trini managed to survive it all without a nap and we didn’t plan to be out so long but one thing led to another and the hours just melted away. Needless to say we all crashed and were out like a flash.

Monday, 7 February 2011

It’s 8am and we started the morning, post the must-have coffee for adults and milk for child, with a walk on the beach and the nearby pier. From the condo it is accessed via an underpass, through a small jungle park, across a dedicated bike/rollerblade path, followed by a dedicated footpath. Five minutes and we are standing on the beach.

Is it swimmable you might ask? Well, you could if you wanted to but with 100’s of shipping freighters dumping their waste and oil not so far away, you may reconsider. I guess a bit like Port Melbourne. Would you swim there with all the boats in sight? Given that both John and I are pool people, we are happy to just walk the beach, enjoy the views and traipse up and down the pier.

Once John went off to work at 11am, it was up to Trini and I to figure out the rest of the day. We started at playground 1, followed by playground 2, then onto lunch in the open air cafe poolside, more playground, followed by a 4 hour afternoon nap for the both of us, back downstairs for a swim, back upstairs for a shower and ready just in time for John to come home at 7pm and off to dinner we go back downstairs in poolside cafe. A spicy mee goreng, lime juice and ice cream later, we meet up with our real estate agent (Mervin) because I can’t figure out the front loader washing machine.

I am sure it is not rocket science, but after following all the instructions, the machine refuses to budge. In comes Mervin, follows all the instructions himself. The machine spins but no water, no washing. Can’t see the back of the machine cause the dryer is sitting right on top and both are pushed into a nook. Once the boys got serious and pulled the dryer oFf the washer, we discover that the water tap is turned off. So cool, we got that one solved. Now, I just have to figure out why the dryer is in the off position but everyone now and then has the desire to spin and dry. Not that it dries really. With this humidity, I am going to develop a whole new set of washing and drying skills.

Following a bit of chic chat with Mervin, I am informed that the cleaner will be commencing with us in a couple of weeks when all the furniture has been delivered and setup. Now that is a piece of frivolousness I am most definitely looking forward to, given my abhorrence of cleaning. I have no idea how I will pass my time here but cleaning isn’t one of them. I don’t mind tidying and I am very particular with washing and ironing clothes but don’t ask me to sweep, mop, dust or do bathrooms.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

So today we had our first train ride and Trini’s very first ride ever. We took the shuttle bus to Bedok train station (MRT). Three stations later we “alight” (Singaporean way of saying disembark) at Tampines MRT. Across the street is a 4 storey shopping centre with the entrance right past McDonalds. Our first pitstop is StarHub where we organise our new iPhone 4 to be connected. After an hour of organising, our next stop is a small stall which sells mobile covers. So I am being frivolous by ordering the Stilletos image with 26 crystals. Going for the whole girlie thing and $70 later. John goes for some techno, red image that ends up looking pretty awesome at half the price.

Lunch at Swensens where we both crave a bit of carbs and settle on spaghetti. One with salmon & cream, the other garlic, mushroom & chilli. The bonus is a free selection of sides or dessert. So we select fried chicken sticks & ice cream sundae. Now this sundae is no ordinary sundae. The strawberry flavour has real strawberry chunks and the chocolate flavour has delicious chocolate bits in it. A bit of cream, some glazed cherries, banana in the middle and some other flavouring, makes this a most yummy dessert.

Did we see any more of the centre? No!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are very quickly learning that to experience Singapore we have to do it with Trini in crèche. She is at a stage where listening is a selected skill, stubbornness and cheekiness a primary attitude. She’s not interested and we are spending more time dragging her around. Not fun for anyone. She most definitely needs developmental programs, playgrounds to run in and organised chaos like in crèches which are designed for her interests. We have a crèche 5 minutes walk that comes highly recommended with an imported English teacher from the UK. So what did I ask John as we depart for home? Please organise an appointment with the crèche. I have to admit, to finding it hard to entertain her 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Finally tackling the washing. What can I say this front loader is so slow, I would have been on my 2nd load with my top loader, whilst I am only half way with this one. I believe it is meant to be a 5kg machine, whatever that means because all I know is that the contraption is large but the washing tub is tiny. It may be more water efficient, apparently, but I don’t think so if I have to do more loads because I can’t fit it in. Go figure. Bring me the top loader thank you very much.

Second tackling project is putting my clothes away which would be a no brainer in a standard size wardrobe but this ain’t standard. Have no idea how I will fit both John’s and my clothes in a wardrobe that measures 1.8m wide. That’s half the size of what I had at home (and there I used a second wardrobe too). Ladies, think of it this way: take your clothes for four seasons and quarter them. Stick your summer quarter into your cupboard and that’s it. If you have a husband/partner he can stick his stuff in the suitcase, cause there’s no room. As for shoes, one pair of thongs at the front door and your done cause remember, you filled up the wardrobe with the clothes. As for jewellery, watches, belts, make up ---- lots and lots and lots of pretty boxes labelled so you can find your stuff. I have one less box, cause make up and me are not friends.