Week 3: Groceries, coffee, bicycle, and gym.

I’m back at my parents’ place again with my ice Americano. I wake up at 7, feeling refreshed. I wonder just exactly what are the factors that have bogged me down for the past working week.

On Wednesday, after a few calls with the remote team mates, I lie down on the floor, all my will probably melting and seeping into the concrete floor. On Friday, I couldn’t find the drive to put myself through work as well after yet another call to run through the code again. I lie down on my bed, particularly, the blanket area, and never quite make it to my desk again.

Is it the work itself, the bed, the lack of coffee, or the fact that I haven’t been exercising due to the Covid booster shot? I don’t know. Or is the system that I set for myself backfiring? I guess, I need a few more weeks to determine it.

Regardless of my fatigue, I still marvel at the sights and experience of living in my current place, at the stretch of Balestier, beside Balestier plaza. I love the walk alongside the main road at night, be it to Zhong Shan mall or to just randomly down either ends of the road.

My first groceries shopping at the wet market

On Wednesday, before work, I make a trip down to Whampoa Wet Market. Truth be told, it is actually the first time in my life buying grocery at a wet market. The closest that I make a purchase at a similar setting will probably be at New Zealand in their farmer’s market. Though the farmer’s market has a different vibe. There are fortune teller, people selling second-hand clothes and lots of home produce. If memory serves me well, farmer’s market happens once a week and it is visited by backpackers, people on working-holiday and locals.

It is almost a fun thing to visit the farmer’s market, looking at the fresh produce. I guess in general, grocery shopping with friends is pretty appealing to me. I’m weird, I know that.

I buy a bunch of spinach at $4.50. It is quite a handful bunch that I would later wash, cut and split them into eight servings. I also add a single tomato for 30 cents from the next store. For someone like me, who cook for only one person, it is perhaps a better option to buy from store that charges according to the weight of the vegetable.

80 cents coffee, Kopi-C kosong

My morning ritual also consists of a cup of coffee. I no longer has the luxury of relying on my coffee machine to brew fresh coffee every morning. Instead, my routine now is to either head down early to office to enjoy my cup of joe, alongside quality reading time, or to head down to the coffeeshop nearby for Kopi-C kosong and ramble in my head.

For someone who loves a good splash of variety in life, I surprisingly have almost a structure for every minute detail of my lifestyle.

Besides the Whampoa wet market are 2 hawker centers. I head to the smaller one, circle around the aisle of stalls before finally discovering the drinks stall. 80 cents for a small cup of coffee. It is a pleasant surprise, when I recall that the flat owner proudly points out the 80 cents coffee to me on the day of viewing. I purchase my usual, but am disappointed. I’m not particular about the taste of the coffee but I like the flavour of coffee to envelop my mouth. Yet, this coffee merely leaves a slight tinge of caffeine. It is way too watered down.

Still, it is acceptable, an acceptable result for being cheap. Not that I will ever order again from that stall. The biggest disappointment that could happen in my daily cup of coffee is when the coffee-maker mistakenly put sugar into my coffee. I do not like the taste of sugar in my coffee at all. Firstly, I could easily pick up the sweetness, which unless it is ice-cream or cake or dessert, is not a taste that I gravitate towards. Even for those dessert, I don’t like it too sweet or in general, don’t really take them. Secondly the sugar diminish the taste of the fullness of the caffeine.

Yes, coffee is important to me. One of my colleagues think I have a coffee problem. I need 2 to 3 cups of coffee from our Nespresso coffee machine for it to take any effect. Sometimes 2 in the morning and 1 after lunch. Usually, it will just be 1 in the morning and 1 after lunch. It’s just not the same without my own coffee machine to rely on.

After the coffee, it’s about time to head back, complete some house work and get ready for work. On the way back, there is an uncle, with a pot-belly, sweeping the floor outside of a shopfront. From his facial expression and his mumblings, he seems to begrudgingly take to this task. As a cyclist rides pass him, he swings his broom at the direction of the cyclist for a brief moment, while still mumbling. On Friday, I will once again pass by the same uncle, mumbling and sweeping outside of the shopfront.

A bicycle basket almost gone wrong

Due to my recent booster shot, I have temporary shelved the plan to cycle to work. In addition, as a result of being cheap and buying a not-too-conducive bike for long distance cycling, I need to make a few adjustments to my bicycle before I could start riding it to work again.

On my friend’s recommendation, I purchase a heavily cushioned bicycle seat that will shield my bottom from the discomfort of bumps and stiffness of the ride. I also purchase a back light for cycling at night.

There are many combinations of the gear that don’t really cut well into the bicycle. The few gear settings that will work with the bicycle are a slower than preferred gear or a heavier than preferred but optimal speed gear. The first day that I try cycling with the heavier gear, I feel aches in my knees. Not sure if it is due to the height of the seat, or the gear, or maybe both. The only way that I know that could fix this gear issue is to buy a new bike. Alternatively, my cheap way of doing things is to increase the height of the seat and the handles so that I could use more of my thighs and momentum to pedal through it.

Obviously, I take the free option, in hope that will not cost me my knees in the long run.

On Saturday, I head back to the bicycle shop to install a bicycle basket and purchase a helmet. The man at the bicycle shop brings out a basket and ask me if the size of the basket is good for me. I acknowledge it but didn’t check how much the installation of the bicycle basket will be. I assume it will be cheap because it’s a simple job right?

With that, he starts to take off the handle bar of the basket to install a bottom frame for the basket on the part of the bicycle frame near the front wheel. Then he places back the handle before mounting the basket. Finally to secure it, they use a power drill to make sure the screws are in place.

To my noob eyes, this looks like a lot of work. Please do not let this be $50, please do not let this be $50, I repeat internally.

“$12”, the lady, who helps to finish up the installation of the basket, mentions when I finally ask for the price.

I am relieved, and even happier to hear that, than I am to find a 80 cents coffee. At least I am satisfied with this job. I purchase a bicycle helmet from them before making my way back. Now I could cycle to everywhere easily. Well, at least as easy as my cheap bike could afford me to.

Novena Gym and chest muscle

The first place that I take my bike to is the gym, of course. The trip from my place to the gym involves a steep uphill climb around the Tan Tock Seng Hospital area.

I am never able to pedal on my bicycle uphill and I don’t attempt to waste precious energy on it as well. I need to expend these energy carrying weights and push myself to carry heavier weights. The ride downhill is always great fun, although, I will always cautiously apply a good amount of brakes to reduce a lot of the momentum downhill.

2–3.30pm is my gym slot. At 2.15 pm, I head out to reach at around 2.30pm. I’m glad that I’m staying near Novena gym. True Fitness at Novena is one of the gyms that has been recently renovated.

Before the renovation, equipment seem to be more slightly packed together and the lighting is to the dimmer side. After the renovation, there are 4 squat racks. I wouldn’t have remember how many squat racks there are previously, but this number of squat racks are pretty desirable.

Also, they remove all fitness classes from Novena gym to fully utilise the space for weight lifting and cardio. The combination of the amount of space and weight-lifting equipment make this place a heavenly playground for me.

Cherry on top of the cake is probably the fact that there are a larger number of attractive-looking and/or well-built people in the gym as compared to the Tampines gym. Not that I will stare but it is motivating to be surrounded with men with chiseled pectorals and beautiful deltoids, sometimes pushing so hard that their faces turn red.

I guess it will also not be so weird that I look into the mirror as I walk pass the mirrors. Since there are so many beautiful and well-sculpted people in the gym, I am guessing they do also spend a considerable amount of time looking into the mirror at the gym too.

For the gym session this week, I am just starting off as usual, or a little lighter than usual. My dumbbell chest press has been stuck at 12kg per dumbbell for quite sometime. Someday, I will move to 14kg. Someday. But today is Sunday. And this Sunday is my legs day.

So yup, deadlift to end off my first week of 2022.

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