tahnik, aqiqah & majlis kesyukuran

tahnik & cukur rambut – applying honey into newborn’s mouth & first shave of hair

we did her tahnik at home when she turned a week old. we got Uztaz Abdul Aziz from Darul Ghufran Mosque to help shave her head and feed her some honey. he then estimated the weight of her hair and the corresponding donation amount, and we passed him the money to kirim to the mosque for administration. since Ghufran is raising funds for their re-construction efforts, i thought we could have donated to them instead. however, one thing we learnt is that donations from tahnik must go to the poor.

anyhoos it was a good session coz we also chatted on the origins of the sunnah, and discussed tips to help make her hair grow faster hee. we also sought his help to confirm how to write Watermelon’s name in Jawi for her birth certificate registration. luckily i didn’t make my own attempt, i would have been sooo wrong!

here’s an IG story that i wanted to share here coz y’all get watermelon references, and some photos of the tahnik. alhamdulillah Watermelon slept through the shaving until she got jolted awake by the sweet sweet honey.

aqiqah – sacrifice of animal on the occasion of a child’s birth

for aqiqah, also done on her one week, mama kraken helped arrange it through a relative who has contacts in Cambodia. they were erm, very enthusiastic. they promptly sent us photos to show the sacrificed sheep, and also the subsequent meal session organised for underprivileged kids. the funny/cute/not really cute thing is that in each photo they had a placard with Watermelon’s name on it and … blood splatters! keeping it very real πŸ˜³

majlis kesyukuran

we also held a majlis kesyukuran for family and friends on Watermelon’s first month anniversary. it’s an idea we’ve toyed with for months, and also meant it to be an open house since we’ve not invited relatives over yet. it was purely a makan-makan session with no marhaban since we already did the tahnik and cukur rambut earlier.

wellll as hosting open houses go, it was pure madness for NG and me! tried to catch up with guests as much as possible, but even then i’m sure there were some who fell through the cracks 😦

thankfully Watermelon was not overly fussy during the event though i felt bad that her feeding times were delayed. after latching her in my room, i’d throw on my nursing cover and go back outside to catch them guests. think she was so tired that she would fall asleep immediately despite me being sweaty and the warmth from the crowd.

alhamdulillah, although the idea was to share some rezeki with guests out of gratitude that Watermelon has been safely delivered, our guests shared rezeki with us instead ❀ may Allah swt multiply their rezeki back! aamiin.

oh yes and i got to order a huge 10 inch thai iced milk tea birthday cake for NG and some chocolate/salted caramel pods from my baker friends. love it when i have an excuse to order sweet treats heheh.

regret not taking a family photo with NG and baby before the event started 😦 so here’s my favourite photo of Watermelon instead. this was taken by her dad in our bedroom back when she was less than a week old. can’t wait for her hair to grow back! ⭐

proud homeowners us

over the long national day weekend last month, we followed the rite of passage for 80% of Singaporeans by moving into our own HDB flat. so it’s almost been a month of staying on our own πŸ™‚

there were a lot of adjustments to make but as pointless as it sounds, I can’t recall much now. haha. at first doing something different felt like a change, but soon after it became the norm. top of my head, some of these things are: planning my outfits for the week in advance and ironing them one shot over the weekend (used to decide what to wear + iron matching tudung every morning); planning our meals (maaaan it was hardly an issue when we were staying with our mums); trying to keep up with a weekly cleaning schedule … toilets especially was something that I didn’t have to clean previously hee. oh yah and also discovering each other’s habits and patterns at a bigger scale, and then scuffling over them πŸ˜‡

moving in & settling down

when we first moved in, our house was missing a lot of things: couch, coffee table, tv console, tv, fridge, washing machine, dining table, small appliances, INTERNET… but we had to proceed with moving because my parents had to vacate their house for their buyers, and they had engaged a mover so we thought we could tumpang their services. we ended up having to pay for our own trip ($300) but it was still worth it considering that they did ALL the heavy lifting and helped dismantle our storage bed and set it back up — something I was very worried about. it was quite sad eating our breakfast on top of our boxes on the first few days though. lol.

oh yeah and I cried before leaving my mum’s house for my new one, asking myself why I had to grow up. lolol. ok I just teared from typing that.

so anyway, our biggest lesson from moving into our new house was: sign up with your internet service provider early! we were busy and left it to a few days before the move. then we discovered that the earliest apmt we could get for cabling and set up was only the following week soooo we burned through our data plans in our first week of moving in. some more there were rio olympics videos that I wanted to watch immediately on toggle. I did try calling Starhub to charm the call centre guy into giving us an earlier apmt date, but best he could offer was the day before, which I grabbed anyway because dah desperate.

our block is still fairly empty and we’re the only ones on our floor. I kinda like it actually! heh. it’s quiet, private, and we easily get the best parking lots. perhaps coz our unit is near the lift landing and disposal chute, so it doesn’t scare me that rest of our level is empty.

hosting guests

we hosted my friends over the weekend and boy, it’s like a mini preview of hosting a hari raya open house seh. we went marketing for ingredients, cooked, cleaned the whole house, squeezed in laundry, then fried finger food and reheated the dishes and made drinks just before they arrived. tiring pe! but also satisfying and nice lah. I remember being super thankful that our house is small haha. looking at the bright side of our 90 sq m home!

so what did we cook? roti kirai! amacam, pro tak? actually we got mama kraken to come over last week to teach us how to cook it lulz. we figured that we needed to rehearse first before anyhow cooking for other people. insyaAllah next week we’re hosting NG’s colleagues, and the menu is … tulang! but MIL is helping us cook it lah hee. though we will probably try to learn from her too.

so yep, ending this entry with our first selfie in our new house. trying to enjoy our matrimonial home as it is now as much as poss, coz insyaAllah come next Jan, it’s gonna be population: 3!

reno woes

reno woes are real! before I go into the juicy (and somewhat scary) deetz, thought I’d document our hunt for an ID.

1. meeting with ID#1: beng who secretly disses clients

I approached this company after leeching off one of my Facebook friend’s post looking for ID recommendations. someone commented so and so from this company, so i tried contacting him. however he passed me on to another colleague (ID#1), so ok whatever. when we met him, I was like omg omg, we have met before.

you see, before NG and I got married, we were recce-ing the multi purpose hall of a new BTO project that emerged beside his block. a young-ish looking guy approached us, thinking we were residents, to introduce his ID firm. at that time I thought wah so shady seh, solicit for clients like this. the world is so small because this guy turned out to be ID#1.

back to 2016, I thought wah, macam fated eh??? so anyway, he brought us to two of his current projects for viewing. at both flats, he passed quiet comments about how he didn’t agree with the owner’s choices. first house was a cityscape wallpaper in one of the bedrooms. second house was the choice of blue paint for the living room walls. I’m wondering if he were to use our flat as a show flat, would he secretly diss our choices too?? dah lah you use my house as a means to get more business for yourself … then you want to talk bad about me behind my back some more? haiyoh.

the other problem I had with him was that the second show flat had this really high platform in the master bedroom. I’ve seen that trend before where owners build a platform in the bedroom and do away with a bed frame. the ones I’ve seen, at least, kept their platforms to ankle height. this one was knee height. which meant that 1. anyone above 1.75m (a guesstimate) could hit their heads on the ceiling fan and 2. it’s easier to jump down the windows??? ID#1 still can say “I don’t know why H_B approved this”. why did you even build it to begin with?!?! gawd. also one of the electric points was SO senget that anyone with OCD would surely curl their toes when they see it.

so we struck him off. he gave the lowest quote though. and NG liked him over ID#2. what, WHY.

2. meeting with ID#2: a quiet but eager guy; potential language barrier

we heard about this company through a Facebook ad that appeared on NG’s feed. the portfolio photos looked decent, so we gave it a go. from the first meeting I was impressed coz ID#2 took the effort to process the rough floor plan with our notes that I sent him, and re-drew it with a more professional software. he also value-added by suggesting some modifications to our layout which I really appreciated.

his company’s model is that they have a basic package with some nice frills like Blum soft closing system, and then you add on the extras you want. his quote was the highest we received but from the office show room and the photos he showed us, I was convinced that he had a good sense of aesthetics.

he brought us to one of his current projects. and hmmm, I wasn’t that wow-ed. it could be that the owners themselves opted for very simple and non-trendy touches.

I reaaally liked him (at least more than ID#1) and was keen to go with him, but NG was concerned that his not-so-great English would make communication hard. plus his quote was the highest and beyond our budget so … had to pass. boo.

3. meeting with ID#3: experienced lady

last one! after meeting the above two IDs, we didn’t know where else to turn to for suggestions. so I asked a friend, whose newly renovated house we visited last raya, on who his ID was. then I wrote to the company to request for this ID, but received a reply that he already left the company. that was how ID#3 was assigned to us.

I was lazy and perhaps a little paiseh to approach my friend again for his ID’s direct contact number, so we went along with ID#3. after all, the company should be fairly decent right? we met her with an open mind and … surpriiise, we liked her! she looked to be in her late 30s, early 40s, which is a change from ID#1 and #2 who looked around our age. she seemed a lot more experienced, plus we felt that she was easy to talk to.

her quotation was in the mid-range, and by then we felt lazy (again) to ask to see an actual project, so we went ahead to sign with her at our second appointment. plus we saw our friend’s flat anyway, so we were fairly assured of the workmanship.

after two months of working with her, the plot twisted …

our ID left the firm to pursue better prospects.

luckily she is a principled and responsible person who promised to see our project through (phew), though she gave two options. one is to stick with the old company. the catch is that her sub-contractors had “left” (I mean how do you leave when you’re not officially part of the company kan but never mind you get the gist) so she’d be working with the new sub-contractors whose work she has not seen before. side note: she reminds me of my own manager at work who’s about her age, also very conservative and unwilling to take risks. but perhaps they’ve learnt hard lessons through experience…

the second option is to try apply for a refund from the old company — apparently i just have to write an email — and then continue with her at the new company. the good thing is that her new company is not GST-registered so kaching … SAVINGS! but leceh lah, coz have to write email, tell some stories, act angry, act oblivious, be very firm, etc etc.

we went with … the second option. the GST savings were too attractive! plus we also didn’t want to take the risk with subcons whom she has not worked with before. also at that time I didn’t realise how much money was stuck/at stake with the old company. heh. after deducting for hacking works which had already been completed, I have about $4,000+ left of my initial deposit. i probably would have considered more carefully had i known that this is the amount we were looking at potentially losing.

at first it looked like there was a slight delay of a weekend for the refund, which was oookay lah. then delayed further for another 4 days. found out it’s because they’re waiting for another owner to transfer them payment before they can refund me. eeks, scary kan? so you can infer what kind of company we were trying to get out of … *shudder*

anyway, cheque was delayed further to over the weekend to monday. alhamdulillah, our ID finally collected the cheque on monday night and helped us bank in. the money has been posted in my bank account so i think we are out of the woods with this mini-ordeal?? think our nasib really baik that our ID has a lot of integrity and personal responsibility or it could have been worse.

lessons

I think it’s good to ask around friends and family for tried and tested IDs. I would try to get their direct contact numbers in case they’ve moved on to other companies, which could be common in the reno industry. you could still try some cold call approaches, but at least meet a mix of stranger and tried and tested ones to reduce your overall risks. also, an ID that worked well with one couple may not work as well with another. for example my sis also met our ID for a quotation but rejected her coz she felt her opening prices were too high.

secondly, I also happened to read an internal email between my ID and her accounts person. she referred to me as a “referred client”. I could be wrong but perhaps being a referred client means they jaga you a little better than a walk-in client.

lastly, if the firm is a private limited company, you may also want to check their compliance rating on A_RA’s website. the rating is not everything, but at least green ticks (to show that they have filed their returns etc) signals a professional company that has nothing to hide.

after what I’ve said above, I should put a disclaimer that I’m not ready to reveal who my ID or which company she’s from. at least not until the dust has settled, say 6 months aftfer we’ve moved in, when renovation has become a basi topic. heh. for now it’s our every day talk (headache, headache) and I don’t want to inadvertently jeopardise my ID’s relations with her companies. sooo in case you were thinking of asking me to refer my ID, hope you can understand where I’m coming from! ☺️☺️

salam ramadhan + house updates

salam ramadhan! hope everyone’s having a fulfilling ramadhan this year.

since a few years ago, I find each ramadhan a little more challenging than the last. perhaps it comes with growing older, cos with each year, balancing work with the early waking hours feels more tiring.

I was just reminiscing about how my first day of full time work happened to be on 1 Ramadhan some years back. for the entire month, I would go out for lunch with my Chinese colleagues and watch them eat. those were the good ole days where our team was just 5-6 of us and we were close knit enough to be lunching together every day.

nowadays I prefer to stone at my desk or steal a nap at the sofa area in the staff lounge. and I consider myself strong if I manage to walk to another building to run an errand lolol. oh how my energy level has changed…

this year I’m still very lucky to be bunking with my parents, alhamdulillah πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ mama kraken does almost everything wrt sahur and buka for us. haiz. felt a bit emotional thinking about this a few days ago. our last buka and sahur with her in this house will be this Fri night and Sat morning insyaAllah, because they leave for umrah on Sat afternoon and sell the house in August. and anyway, NG and I are due to move out around early August too so yeah. bittersweet … more so because I’ve lived in the house all my life so I’ve had countless sleepy sahurs and happy bukas in the dining room. I can only pray that Allah swt rewards my mum generously for her hard work and sacrifice despite her age πŸ˜”πŸ˜­

officially home owners

anyhoos! we collected our keys last week. didn’t read the letter properly, so we didn’t settle our fire insurance before meeting the HDB officer. oops! she buat pokerface je but in her heart she must have rolled her eyes at us. I know I would, just like how I sigh at my phone at people who neh read my Carousell descriptions closely. hoho.

we checked out our house immediately after coz we are so semangat like that. rolled a pineapple and all. ok kidding, we didn’t. I just like to joke that we did. then we returned in early afternoon with our ID who helped point out defects e.g. slight dent in door, uneven grouting (which she says will hurt when walking barefoot), some cracks. honestly, I’m not super bothered by them. maybe coz it was a hot afternoon and I was tired from all the standing (yelah, rumah baru mana ada kerusi).

we also did a bit of space planning by visualising the length of our wardrobe and measuring the ideal lengths of our sofa, dining table, etc. the next day, NG filed the list of defects with the building service centre (BSC) who said it’ll take 14 working days. so for now we’re still waiting for that to complete so that reno can start.

appliance + furniture shopping

meanwhile! we went appliances shopping and furniture browsing over the weekend. we checked out Gain City Sungei Kadut, which I totes recommend! it was a one-stop for us and the service was pretty good. salespeople are approachable and not pushy, willing to point out flaws of certain products, and helped pass us to another colleague such that we had a pretty seamless experience throughout even though we had 4 different people serve us.

we bought a washing machine, fridge, hob, hood, oven, and TV. omg! so adult. we wanted to buy the smaller appliances like rice cooker and airpot too, but mama kraken suggested waiting for contributions to roll in. lolol. which is a good point, coz NG then remembered that his sister offered to buy us something, so then we told her rice cooker please.

side story: NG and I couldn’t agree whether we should get a fridge with the freezer on top or bottom. in the end he gave in to me, heh heh. partly because the salesperson said the model I shortlisted has a slightly better cooling system than the one he shortlisted. hurrah. so bottom freezer it is!

also I’m really glad we brought along our parents coz my mum knew all the right questions to ask with regard to the hob and hood. we had no idea what to consider πŸ€” plus she worked her makchick charm to help ask for discounts and free gifts hahaha. love it.

there’s gonna more house errands this weekend… I gotta feeling we won’t be celebrating raya too much this year coz we’ll need the precious weekends to shop, pack, and move. nonetheless am sure the house will be worth it, insyaAllah 😊