Monday, May 30, 2011

We are moving into an Apartment....

Yup. It's been confirmed.
Closed the deal (what deal??) with our friend/business partner/landlord yesterday over drinks....
We will move into the apartment at the start of July. Or rather commence moving on July 1st.
Our lease on this house ends on 4th of July (Independence Day!!! Errr... but who's Independence day?) and that gives us some time to play around.
I told H that maybe we should check-into the Ritz Carlton for two nights during the move - when our beds are still not fit to be slept on. Afterall, it is only about 5 minutes walk from the apartment and he can get corporate rates. Heehheheehhe...
Why the move? Read here....
I won't say the apartment is cheaper since the water and power rates are higher... amongst other things. BUT our rent is below market rate for that size, which is approximately 3000 sq ft. Boys will still get their own room with attached bathroom. I will have to sell all my terrace furniture though. Yikes! I need to put out the advertisements!!!
Pros of moving to an apartment?
For one, I don't need to have my own security guards. No need to do the monthly transfers to the security company. No need to buy coffee/tea/biscuits etc.
Two - Can cut out our gym membership. Been paying over USD 60 a month per person.
Three - Next to a big supermarket. I figured this will really really be handy when my business starts and I can't do grocery shopping often. At least the maid can pop down to buy the necessities. I've had remarks like "mommmyyyyyy. There is nothing to eat in the fridge or cupboards!!!".
Okay... I gotta go. More later.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I need a massage!

I really do need a massage. No joke!
Have been so busy the last few weeks that I am absolutely knackered.
My body really aches for a massage.
I had initially wanted to schedule a massage session for this afternoon, but one thing led to another and I just couldn't keep to the appointment. And by the time I had some time, the spa had already closed. Perhaps I should sign my helper to a massage therapy program online. Then I could just ask her to work those tired muscles out anytime! Errr... but do you think my helper is computer-literate?

"Not eating from next week..."

That's what the hubs said... he's not going to eat any dinner from next week onwards. Guessed he felt that his pants are getting too tight.
No muscle and all flab!
Maybe I should be the GOOD wife and get him a bottle of creatine supplements to help him build the much coveted 6-pack. I think some supplements even increase energy levels - this would be beneficial for his weekly tennis sessions. Any advice?

Stress = Acne

I have been so stressed about everything lately - the house, the business start-up, the TESOL course, the kids etc etc that my body has just gone totally whacko on me. My sleeping pattern is totally non-existent and my face is filled with acne.
It's true. Stress = Acne!
So how do I get rid of the acne? It's not that my face is overly oily. In fact, I think my constant application of acne cream has over-dried certain parts to the extent there is scarring now. Sigh...
I'm told that I need to have to balance between cleansing and moisturizing. So what is the best skin care products that will help me rid of my stress acne?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Really. Should I go for a House or an Apartment?

Actually.... Apartments are generally MORE expensive than houses here.
And if they are in sought-after buildings/areas, the rental price of a two-bedroom apartment can be Much Much MORE than my 4 Bedroom + Study + 2 Maid's Room House with Swimming Pool. You would then say that the logical thing to do is to get a house then. Right?

But the problem with living in houses is the security. Not that it is unsafe but having security gives one a peace of mind. My house is a single house and we engage our own security guards.... Not that these guards can FIGHT or anything, but they act as a deterrent. Well, this peace of mind cost a whopping USD 700 per month. So in order to cut our overall expenditure, we need to either move to a cheaper house and have these security guards, OR move to a house within a complex which has it's own 24-hour security.

Normally, we wouldn't consider moving to an apartment (higher rents than houses. Remember?) but my business partner has offered to rent their apartment to us at a very reasonable rate and payment terms. One CRAZY thing about this country is that landlords demand the lease to be at least one to two years duration, and with that, the RENTAL amount for the WHOLE duration. Which means, if your property's rent is USD 2000 per month and you are renting for a year, you need to fork out USD 24,000 UPFRONT!
Anyway, my business partner told us that we can pay on a monthly basis....which is a great help.

Why the sudden change?
Because we WANT to stay back in Jakarta, we have to localise, i.e. our benefits are cut back. We still get housing allowance and schooling. Previously, the company pays direct to the landlords, school, car leasing company etc. But with the change, these will be paid to us in a lump sum basis. So obviously, we want to minimise as much as we can.

Back to the apartment.... Usually, apartments are really small. But this unit is over 3000 sq ft. Boys will still be able to have their own rooms, there is a separate family room, wet and dry kitchens and a maid's room. We can save on security and gym memberships. It's convenient (big supermarket next door, a nice mall about 10 minutes walk away).

So what's the problem
If you know me... you know that I am a sucker for drying out my clothes in the sun. How to do this if we live in an apartment? Use tumble dryer all the time? I can't lah

Also, I am a little apprehensive to rent from friends.... cause if something is not right, I don't feel too right to complain or demand for things to be done. Plus, we are business partners, and our sons are currently the best of pals. What is something turns sour? Will we be shoo-ed off? Or am I being paranoid

The other reason is that the apartment is slightly further from the school. I am told the journey in the morning might be an extra 15 minutes. I supposed this is okay

I don't know lah. Summore the houses that I have seen around my area aren't that appealing.

The ones I like, H doesn't like. For example, a really nice huge single storey bangalow with 3 very large bedrooms and a nice big garden and swimming pool within a 4-house complex. It was within our budget, but H thinks it is too old. :-P

The ones he like, I don't like. And there was this small house - 3 bedrooms + 1 study. New minimalist style with a small swimming pool in the backyard. It looks nice BUT I didn't like the idea that there is no access to the pool other than RIGHT through the house. I don't like the pool maintenance guy to come through my house lah! H couldn't understand what was the big deal!!! Bleah

So how

Dilemma. Dilemma.

House or Apartment?

As you all know, I am in the midst of looking for a new home.
Naturally, there is the dilemma of choosing either a house or an apartment?
There are pros and cons for both options.
I personally prefer a house, but a house would generally have more costs associated with it, and perhaps more problems too. At the top of my head, I know security is going to be costly. And and if the house has a swimming pool and a big lawn, there would be maintenance costs associated to pool-cleaning and lawn upkeep. I don't know how to clean a pool, but I sure can upkeep a lawn if I have one of those toro zero turn lawn mowers. So what say you? Go for a house or an apartment?

Printing Costs

Although I have a printer at home, I loaded up my USB drive with document files and opted to have them printed at a professional printing shop. Why?
For cost-savings, of course!
Do you know how much my printer cartridge costs? Just the black-and-white one is about USD 17 and will only print about 200 pages. And want to know how much it cost me to print 1000 pages and to have them all bound as well? It is so cheap that if i tell you, you will probably fall off your chair! USD 40! See the cost-savings? Should I need to do any color printing, I definitely will have it outsourced! Easier and cheaper!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

They need an Upgrade

Don't you hate it? I am sure everyone has experienced this before.... going to the supermarket and there is a problem with the barcode scanner. The cashier would be attempting to scan the item umpteen times, or when the scanned item reports a wrong pricing. This greatly frustrates me. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love shopping. Yes. Even if it is just grocery shopping. But when a BIG name supermarket uses sub-standard POS systems, I just get so cheesed off and wonder why they can't just upgrade to a more efficient system. Do you agree with me?

Family T-Shirts

Whenever we go on a family vacation, I will somehow get paranoid that my S2 will wander off on his own and get lost. I know he is already 11 years old, but that doesn't stop me from worrying. I actually told H that I wanted to get Personal Creations Tshirts for all of four of us .... All the T-shirts will have the same colour and have a distinctive look that is uniquely for our family. And if any one of us gets lost, we can report "so and so is wearing exactly like me"! Good idea?

Am I drowning yet???

Not yet... but almost!

Really have been soooooo busy with all sorts of things. See my last post on the list of things that my feet have got into. Plus I have resumed my painting sessions on if I have a lot of leisurely time. As we usually say "no time to even pang-sai"! Errr... actually that isn't quite true as my belly hasn't been well for awhile, I have been running to the loo pretty often.

For some time now, I have been tutoring S1 every night (with some exceptions) to ensure that he is confident in his Mathematical concepts. End-of-Year test is in a few weeks time, plus there is a end of Key Stage 3 Standardised Testing. As he is keen to get to the top Maths set, he has been quite determined. No need to nag him to do those past year exam papers. And today, he came home with 3 sets of past exam papers..... He knew that he needed the practice and I am stingy with my printer ink so he got it all printed at school..... all out of his own initiative!
I have to say that I was impressed and a little bit proud. For years, I have been complaining about his tidak apa attitude. This new determination to excel is a great change. ... Err but of course he is still determined to have his weekend PS3 Game time!!!

The ABRSM results came back. Our friend just narrowly passed! He was pretty disappointed with his results, of course. Told him that he should practise more diligently the next time. I kept reminding him that Grandma complained that he didn't even practise for 15 minutes, when he should have practised for at least an hour. Hopefully he has learnt his lesson and will not be too over-confident about his abilities. Next year then....

Private Tutoring
.... from zero student last week to three this week. Yesterday was my first fee-paying student. Don't know whether if I was boring or she was really indeed tired as she kept yawning and rubbing her eyes (she came straight from school and said she was up earlier than usual). Not sure if she will continue....although her mom wants her to. But teenagers being teenagers, cannot force them if they are not willing to. I mean I could be blabbering for 2 whole hours and if she is not concentrating, she will not be learning either. And tomorrow I will have 2 students in 2 different sessions - 1 in the morning and another just after lunch. Hopefully they will be awake.

TESOL Course
I am only at Unit 2 and there is still 18 units to go. Want to pengsan liow. Have to squeeze-in time to complete each unit. Took me about 3 hours to complete Unit 2 today. Prepositions, Conjuctions, Infinitives, Gerunds, Adjectives... Waliow! Cannot remember all liow....
In case anyone is interested, I am doing this with ITTT. Don't ask me if they are good cause I don't know....

Business Start-UP
Quite a number of challenges....that is keeping me up in the night thinking and worrying. I know it is rather silly to be worrying in the night when I can't actually solve anything. But what to do? I am a worrier. Been so stressed that pimples are coming out everywhere..... and I mean everywhere! Leave it to your imagination on where exactly pimples are coming out! Hahaha...

Yup! We may have to move to another house. Why?
Because we have been living in this house for the last five years and things are all starting to wear and really tear. H just came in and told me to get someone over to fix all the toilet bowls... water flowing continuously. And a few days ago, water was leaking through the S1's ceiling and some of his books were soaked. Boy! Was he mad!
Plus we want to find somewhere cheaper and within a complex. At the moment, we are paying almost USD 700/mth for our security guards, and that is a lot of money. Especially when it is out of our own pockets. So...wish me luck to find a lovely and affordable home.

Okay lah.... gotta go. Gotta send out a work email.

What kind of jobs?

What kind of jobs will always be in demand?
In my opinion, I would say healthcare jobs - doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, lab technicians, and the list goes on. Afterall, one does not choose whether to fall ill or not. And people do fall ill in both good economic times as well as bad.... although I have heard of the phrase "too poor to fall ill"! Aside from illnesses, there are medical emergencies that arise from accidents and disasters - which definitely one does not choose to be befallen!

Friday, May 06, 2011

What happens?

I wonder. I wonder what happens to one who is injured and finds himself no longer able to work.
What if he has no proper insurances and no able family members to support him?
What happens then?
Where can he turn to?
Some governmental-run social bodies? Charities?
Is there some kind of a disability appeal?
I would be interested to know where one can seek help if such a calamity has happened.
Please do share your information.

We are HOUSE fans

Almost everyone in the family... Except for S2. The hubs, S1 and I are all HOUSE fans. I try to get up on all the episodes whenever I have some downtime. The last episode that I watched was when Cuddy broke up with him AGAIN and he had been back on Vicodin. Why can't House just clean himself up GOOD? He really needs to find a mighty effective place for hydrocodone vicodin addiction detox. Maybe someone should tell him to go to Malibu Horizons. Might be good For House to get some real Californian sun whilst undergoing the detox program!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

I am absolutely Knackered!

You won't believe how much so....
Was rudely awakened up at 2.15 am by my own heart palpipations.
Yeah. GILA right?
I supposed was just a little worried about my S1.
Found out yesterday that his supposedly close friends have been calling him 'Chicken', and as a consequence he has been ignoring them and blocking it all out.
My initial question was of course ...whether if he had provoked them or whether if they had asked him to do something that he had refused hence the name-calling?
He said that he hasn't and doesn't know why.

He doesn't want me to get involved and says he will handle it himself. Of course, the mommy in me really wants to pounce out and protect my cubs!

Didn't managed to sleep till about 4.30 am.. and then woke up at 6.10 am as usual. Made Lor Pak Kou in the morning, then had a meeting with my "business partner"', and then met with a rep from one of the institutions.. came home. Was almost zonked out. But here I am still awake... trying to supervise the boys on their Mathematics revision/homework (and blogging at the same time).

Can't wait for my head to hit the pillow!

Myriad of Activities

A fellow mom from S2's class was lamenting about the myriad activities her kids are taking up. Or should I say the fickle-mindedness of her kids. There was the Tae-kwondo phase, then the horse-riding phase, then the Kendo phase etc etc. She said she wouldn't be complaining so much if it weren't for the amount of money spent on buying all the equestrian riding apparel , the Tae-Kwondo or Kendo attire. She had accumulated so much stuff over the years and wanted to put those items for sale. But when she looked at the little and cute tiny sizes, she just couldn't part with them. Talk about hoarders... she sure is becoming one.

Challenging but Exciting

Don't know if you have heard.... but I am finally doing it.
For years, I've been talking about this but not acting about it.
As people say... NATO (No Action, Talk Only)!
Do what?
Start-up a business.
What business?
Can I not divulge until paperwork is in place?
Basically, we have big dreams for this start-up....perhaps even to the point that we can provide franchise opportunities to interested parties.
One step at a time.

Need to De-Stress

I have been quite stressed the last few days... boys, the business start-up, my online course amongst other things. The worst is that H is not around for me to moan to, nor to give me a comforting hug. Where is he? Still in Europe... I am so stressed that perhaps I should get him to buy gurkha cigars from the duty free shops on his way back. Do you think this will help me de-stress? Afterall, H smokes when he is overly stressed....