On first day of 2022: Scrubbing poop and throwing out 3 tubs of Häagen-Dazs

31 December 2021.

I was waiting for the delivery man to arrive for replacement of the fridge. They will need someone to move all the food items out prior to their arrival. They never reach. The whole day it had been pouring and I assumed that was the reason why they couldn’t reach as per the agreed timing.

You see, in order for them to reach the lift, they will first need to head up a flight of stairs. To do that with something as heavy as a fridge in this pouring rain could just be one mishap waiting to happen.

7.00pm.
I assumed they won’t be reaching. I texted the management of the apartment to update them that the fridge did not arrive, most likely due to the heavy rain. Indeed, the management replied that it was due to the heavy rain and the delivery of the fridge will be reschedule for the next day. The next day was a Saturday and Saturday is the day that I will be heading back to my parents’ home.

“Yes, but if only they are coming in the morning or early afternoon, as I will be going back to my parents’ home.”

“If evening?”, the management enquired.

“Yea, I usually stay there overnight. But I guess I can stay till latest around 4. As long as I can reach by dinner time, it’s okay.”

“Ok, I try to get him to come by around 1 to 2 pm.”

“Thanks!”

I honestly can’t remember when counting down to the next year stop becoming a thing for me. Perhaps it was age. Or perhaps it was how my friends faded away or vice versa.

I needed a drink. A bubble tea that is. Chi Cha San Chen at Novena. Surprisingly for the many times I passed by the shop, there wasn’t a queue, a stark contrast to the one at Tampines. Sometimes, the wait at Tampines could be as long as 40 minutes. 40 minutes for a bubble tea. Imagine that, just exactly how much do people in Tampines love their bubble tea to tolerate such a wait. And don’t get me started on the queue at the coconut drink place.

There was a telegram message from my friend, “You wanna do drinks?”

Botanic gardens. That is really close by. 20 minutes by bus and 20 minutes by bicycle. Sometimes I wondered about the parameters that Google use to calculate the cycling time right. So far, I usually do at least 25% longer for cycling.

“Sure”.

I looked at the map. Google directed me to walk along the main street and turn into the expressway, where I could board a bus to Botanic Gardens. Or I could just walk along the river and cut across the few paths. Or so I thought. It turned out that there was no through path for pedestrians and I had to make my way to the path that Google had shown me.

At least, now I know there is a Balestier Home Team building near me.

“This is adult bubble tea”, my friend remarked, in response to my recount of wanting to get a bubble tea back earlier.

Adulthood. Sometimes I wonder if I had a childish appearance to others. The girl who seemed to take life seemingly lightly, perhaps a little bit of the Peter Pan syndrome. I still dream of traveling around the world when I reach 35, and I still want to resettle in another country. Perhaps a little so, because what is life if life is not play?

Recently, I was listening to Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It struck me deeply that Nike was started off as a crazy idea, and that Phil Knight came out with a company on the spot to start off as a distributor for Onitsuka Tigers. His story of how Nike came to be, was riveting, a liberation from the whims of Onitsuka.

Michelle Obama’s autobiography, Becoming, was still fresh on my mind.

How does it feel, to be someone of power? Of someone who leap frog various bands of the societal strata that they were born in? Of someone whose actions impacted millions of lives?

Maybe I might never know, or maybe one day I might. Then it was almost 12, last day of the year.

1 January 2022.

A new year. Maybe some new goals? Or maybe more insignificantly, just another orbit around the sun. I seldom do new year resolutions because I don’t think they really work. I prefer to design system around my life. Every now and then, I would evaluate the system for adjustments.

I have goals too, though they are more like milestones for me to reach when I hit 35.

Rounding up the few systems/ adaptations to the system that I have set in place:

  • Food system (Purchasing of groceries, understanding the rhythm of my housemate, prepping, cooking and freezing the necessary)
  • Attire system (Laundry, maximum no of days to wear home clothes)
  • Transport system (Alternating among working from home, cycling, and taking public transport)
  • Upskilling system (Reading, learning online and studying for my degree)
  • Exercise system (Hitting the gym, cycling and jogging with colleagues)

I recently also bought the following:

  • Containers for food organising
  • Kobo Forma
  • Bicycle + new bicycle seat + needed accessories
  • Pressure cooker
  • Multi functional cooker
  • Sports bra and tops
  • Collapsible pails for washing
  • A few decorative stuff and reeds to enhance the living conditions

This year will be a special year, as with each year that had passed.

I sat in the high chair at the kitchen countertop, staring at the kitchen. I moved to open the cupboard where I kept my items in the first row. The food item should be on the left side and the containers should be on the right side. There, it looked more organised now. All the wakame kelps should fit into this taller air tight container. And one of the smaller air tight containers could be used to fit the seaweed mix.

After some shifting around, I stared at the kitchen again, specifically the counter around the sink area. My non-stick sauce pan was taking up space at the drip area. There were 3 drip trays, mainly used by 3 people. It would have been better if there were a multi-level drying rack but laying out the drip trays horizontally worked as well.

I got to put this saucepan away so that I could plan for more space once my electrical stove arrived. Most of the cupboard were occupied or too small for storage of the saucepan. It had to be that one empty cupboard area.

That cupboard area was the one where I took out the huge saucepan that I now used for cooking noodles. That cupboard area was the most neglected cupboard area. When I first opened the drawer, defecation of perhaps lizard or insects formed a neat row on the front part of the opening. There were some on the door hinges as well.

We got to do this. No, I got to do this.

I took out a new scrub from my stash, put on the washing liquid and scrubbed away. The ones on the cupboard floor was easily removed. However, the same cannot be said for the one on the door hinges. It was as though what ever defecate on it decided to chill on the door hinge and defecated layers upon layers of dried up poop.

I cut the towel that I used to mop the floor into half, and another half of the half. One to be used as a wet towel and the other half to be used as a dry towel. I made sure the door hinge is full of soap and that I had exhausted the capability of my scrub. Then I wrapped my keys around the towel to force the fecal out.

Could it have been 1 hour? I was not sure. But it sure was long enough for 2 of my housemates to ask me what I was doing.

“Cleaning. I want to put the pans in it.”

Cleaning, menial tasks are one of the easiest thing in life. No doubt, it is or it could be back breaking work. Easy to the mind, I meant. One could just carry an empty head but still be able to complete the require task. I had cycled through enough such labor-intensive work to make such a statement.

I had kind of lost track of time when I decided to check the current time. On my phone, the management of the apartment had texted me and the group, that the fridge will be delivered in 30 minutes time. I replied okay in both the Whatsapp chat.

10 minutes prior to the arrival of the delivery man, one of the housemates and me started moving the items in the fridge out, leaving only the items in the freezer inside. My 3 tubs of Häagen-Dazs, 1 cup of 7-eleven water and my mixed frozen peas. My ice-cream had became a creamy mess and my bag of frozen peas was anything but frozen.

2 men arrived with the fridge. One with a tattoo that covered the whole of his left shin and calf. I moved the fan, bench and lounge chair to clear the path for them.

The fridge that arrived was distinctively different from the one that we are using. It was shorter.

“There’s some difference in the fridge?”, I asked.

“The capacity is about the same,” the guy handling the fridge replied.

They removed the fridge only to realise that the power socket will be hidden if they had pushed the fridge all the way in.

“You won’t be able to switch on the fridge if we push the fridge all the way in. We might have to leave the fridge here.”

“You can’t do that. How am I supposed to push it?”

He walked to the stove area and asked if they should placed it there instead.

“You can’t, we won’t be able to cook then. We can only put it at the original spot.”

“Okay, we will push the fridge halfway up the platform, and you will have to switch it on 2 hours later. Only then, you can push up the fridge.”

“Can’t you switch it on right now?”

“You can’t. The fridge will spoil.”

“Okay then.”

“Just be careful of the water pipe. You might have to lift the fridge a little bit just in case.”

With that, they left the fridge halfway propped up the platform. It was 12.30pm. I texted in the group to update that the fridge will only be switched on 2 hours later as instructed.

After which, I quickly gobble up the chocolate that my friend gave to me a few days before. I looked at my farm fresh milk. It had bloated up. Gas. Bacteria. I opened up the cover, to hear the fizzling of the gas that escaped from my milk. It smelt like fermentation had taken place, or whatever chemical reaction. I threw it away, and took no hesitation to throw my 3 tubs of Häagen-Dazs as well. I read enough on salmonella and how susceptible dairy products are when they are in room temperature to take any chances.

This is my new beginning.

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