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No cold water for birds please.

Since my last update, I am glad to say that major renovations have ended for the new home and we are at the fun (but money-draining) stage – choosing furniture and decorating. This means selecting the sofa, dining table, bed frame, fridge, washing machine, etc. Today, the boy was at the new place to await delivery of the fridge and washing machine. As expected, these deliveries never come at the specified time frame (i.e. 11am to 3pm). Coupled with the heavy rain today, he found himself having to wait around for a bit.

Anyway, while waiting, he sent me this picture and captioned it: Our first visitor.

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This was the text conversation that ensured:

Me: Wow, nice! Did you serve it a drink?

The boy: No water here yet.

Me: Alamak. When will the water be up and running then?

The boy: Got running water. Just no iced water.

Me: Ah ok. No need iced water for bird. Cold day. Later kena cough. Or bird flu.

The boy:  Are you trying to be corny?

Me: Bird flu is very serious.

Tee hee hee. I is very funny.

 

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miss ene visits the River Safari

Yes, we did! Visited the River Safari for the very first time, that is. All 3 of us have never been there and coincidentally, the organisation’s Family Day was held there over the weekend so it was a good opportunity for us to check it out. Had plans to visit it once they opened at 9am but of course, having a baby means your plans never go accordingly. Thankfully, Elliott managed to get a quick spot of napping in before we headed out. This is always a good thing because it means a less cranky baby.

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Can you spot my mosquito patch? All of us had one, of course. I was expecting the River Safari to be pretty open and unshaded, like the Zoo but to my pleasant surprise, some bits had shelter while some areas were even air-conditioned (woohoo).

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With Halloween around the corner, decorations dotted the place which made for nice photo opportunities. From the publicity posters around, they’re having a Safari Boo kids event. Free for kids below 12 years old after 6pm!

I was a little apprehensive about taking Elliott because you know, hot and sweaty outdoor environment and my sweaty baby does not sound like a match made in Heaven but amazingly, the little man was a trouper! He sat quietly in his stroller (hooray!) and observed everything that we showed him.

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“Oooh, fish!”

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“More fish!” Ok, so he wasn’t too impressed by big fish.

I must say that as expected, the highlight of the visit was viewing the famed pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia at their lovely air-conditioned enclosures.

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Before we got to their enclosure, these Red Pandas enthralled the little guy. He couldn’t take his eyes off them! I guess it helped that at one point, one of ‘em Red Pandas got off the tree trunk and started to walk in circles along the perimeter of his enclosure.

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This made all the visitors (including us) very excited but I couldn’t help but felt a little sad.It must be a tad bored to be pacing like that? Either that, or he was stressed out by the sheer number of people peering at him and snapping a million pictures. Also, there is always that one (or two) idiots who cannot understand that “No flash photogrpahy” sign and continued to use the flash on their cameras.

That’s what Zoos do to me – I’m always in a dilemma. On one hand, I am pleased to have seen them up close, yet on the other, I feel sad for these animals in captive. Pffft.

So anyway, we got to the Panda enclosure and as expected, it was packed with visitors arching their necks to try and catch a glimpse of the pandas. Kai Kai was lounging and snacking on bamboo shoots (of course) and the decided to take a walk to the other side of the enclosure. Elliott, once again, couldn’t take his eyes off it. I guess a black and white target is an easy target to follow?

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We don’t have pictures of Jia Jia because honestly, they look similar. Besides, she had her back/butt to us (snoozing?).

It was the end of the first part of the River Safari after the Pandas so we took a break at the bridge that links the 2 areas of the park together. Did you notice that Elliott was dressed in a safari-themed onesie, completed with koala socks? Talk about dressing to theme ;)

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At this stage of our visit, the little one was getting sleepy, hence cranky. Out came the baby carrier (or the magic sleepy carrier, as I call it) and in he went. As expected, he fell asleep soon after, missing the entire second half of the park.

Well, ok, not really. Because Elliott did not meet the minimum height requirement (1.06m), we had to forgo the Amazon River Quest boat ride. According to friends who have been on it, we apparently did not miss much?

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“Sorry buddy, you’ve got quite a bit of growing to do before you get there!”

Decided to spend $7.50 on a gimmicky container filled with “fruit punch” which was essentially (to me), coloured sugar water. It was sooooo sweet, I had to add quite a bit of water into it for it to be palatable. I cannot imagine the kind of sugar high kids get on when they drink it.

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Me, my fast asleep baby koala and that $7.50 bottle of coloured water.

We spent quite a bit of time staring at the family of otters. Not sure if they’re family but they sure looked it as there were 2 little ones, and an adult male and female.

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We soon found ourselves back at the entrance of the attraction which signifies the end of the visit. Ah, that only took slightly over an hour? I have to say that between the 3 attractions, I’d be more keen to visit the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari over the River Safari. But that’s just me.

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Just as we made our way out, guess who woke up? Impeccable timing, my booboo! Here, he looks like he’s posing for the picture but in reality, he was trying to yank the hat off his head. Tsk.

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We can’t wait to take him to the Zoo when he’s a little older. That should be fun. I haven’t been there in a long long while.

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Hidden charges

My colleagues and I enjoy driving out for lunch during the lull period. In fact, driving out for lunch is the highlight of our work day because we get to eat at a nice place and come back to work with a full tummy. For lunch today, we headed to Chin Lee Restaurant located at the void deck of a block of flats along Bedok North Road.

In my opinion, they serve one of the best traditional Teochew dessert, the or nee. It is not too sweet which is unlike many of the cloyingly sweet versions out there.

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Anyhoo, the point of this entry is not to rave about the food at Chin Lee. Instead, I would like to draw your attention to a little unknown cost. Well, it was pretty unknown to me until today.

Now, we all know that restaurants charge for the wet napkins and peanuts/pickles that the place on your table at the start of each meal. I don’t have a problem paying for it because I am sure it all adds to their operating costs. However, I was pretty appalled that we (4 pax) paid $10 (excluding 7% GST) for “cover charge” and 2 plates of “pickles”. They were steamed peanuts, by the way.

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It works out to be $2.50 per diner for (1) a pack of wet wipes (2) chinese tea (3) steamed peanuts. In the bigger scheme of things, $2.50 is a negligible amount but I don’t get why 4 pax needed TWO portions of “pickle” (peanuts).

Also, having to pay $10 on top of a meal for items that were already placed on our table is a bit cheeky. I know places like Crystal Jade and Ding Tai Fung will bring these “pickles” to your table once you are seated which is when we usually say “No thank you”. The ones at Chin Lee were already at the table and although we knew that these were chargeable, it did not occur to us to tell the serving staff that we did not want/need it. So yes, maybe it was our own fault then.

Let me put it this way: I don’t have an issue paying for the items that I need/want. Really. However, I do have an issue with the items being placed on our table without any mention that they are chargeable.

Oh and to add on, I just realised that the or nee is reasonably-priced at $3.50 per (rather large) bowl but the deep fried prawn salad is $20 for about 8 minuscule pieces of prawns. Expensive, man.

 

 

 

 

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The day my phone died

So 2 nights ago, I was chatting with my girlfriends on Whatsapp as usual at about 11pm-ish when I decided that I really should go sleep because Elliott is asleep. I triple-checked that I’ve set my alarm for work, then turned my phone to “flight mode” (tip: conserves battery!) before settling down to sleep.

I have a habit of checking the time on the phone whenever Elliott fusses at night, just to see what time it is and how long he’s been asleep, which was exactly what I tried to do that night. Strangely, the phone stayed unlit. I was a little puzzled because I don’t think it was the batteries. Plugged the charger into the phone and still, nothing happened. I knew something wasn’t right but it was (I think) about 3am and I was too drowsy to fiddle around with a phone.

When I awoke, my worst fears came true: My phone was dead. Like, literally dead. Nothing I did could revive it. It just laid in my hands like a limp piece of metal. I told my mum about its “death” and told her to use Facebook Messenger to contact me throughout the day.

I left for work with my dead phone in my bag, making a mental note to take it in for repair.

It felt strange not to be checking Facebook and Instagram. It felt…weird not to have access to Whatsapp. What were my friends eating for breakfast? Who posted a cute picture of their pet dog/cat? What new skill did their child pick up last night? Is the world ending in 20 days? What article was going viral THIS VERY MOMENT? Who is having a bad morning stuck in traffic? Were my friends sending me messages on Whatsapp? What gossip am I missing? Did Elliott learn how to somersault in my absence?

So many questions, no answers. No thanks to my dead phone. I was cut off from the (virtual) world. My life was in disarray. I can’t think straight. I felt…empty.

There was no phone to check while waiting in line for my usual teh-si. I had to -gasp- actually look around my surroundings and -double gasp- observe people. Oh, I even had to make conversation with a random colleague who was standing in line behind me. A REAL CONVERSATION!

I did not know the time because my phone was my watch. I have ceased wearing a watch since I became a mother. Was it 9am? 9.30am?

Things got a little better when I got to the office and turned on my laptop. Ahhh, connected to the virtual world again. There it is, Facebook. And my  life saver (for that morning) – the Facebook Messenger. Chatted with my mum for a little bit about Elliott but she couldn’t find the “send photo” icon so couldn’t send me a picture of his cute morning face (that I’ve seen many many times but never mind).

After frantic googling, I decided that my best bet was to call the Apple hotline. It was 8.38am. The hotline opens at 9am. Tick tock, tick tock. I sat watching the clock.

9am finally rolled around and I got through without much hassle (THANK GOD). Long story short, all I had to do was to do:

(1) plug dead phone into powerphone via charger

(2) do a hard reset, i.e. hold the power on/off button simultaneously with the home button FOR AT LEAST 10 SECONDS.

Well. I actually did know about this hard reset to revive a dead phone but in my panicky state of mind (MY PHONE DIED!!!! ERMAHGAWD!!!!), I only held it for erm, 5 seconds before horror and fear set in (MY PHONE IS DEAD!!!!!! ARGH!!!!).

Lo and behold, the light of life, i.e. the Apple icon, appeared on the dark screen. MY PHONE IS NOT DEAD! WE ARE ONLINE AGAIN, BABY! Soon, the all-familiar home screen came back on and all my data was intact (note to self: Time to sync the phone).

My life was complete again.

So yes, my phone died. Momentarily. For one morning. Ok, a few hours. But it was enough to  make me realise how reliant we are on technology. And for the record, there was no emergency. There weren’t 25,762 unread messages on Whatsapp. So what if I didn’t know what my friends had for breakfast. It was more important that I had my breakfast.

It was actually a nice break from technology. I think I need to do a technology-free day morning once a week. Just to cleanse the soul and free the mind. Try it. You may enjoy it too :)

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Ice cream for dogs

I was excited when I discovered ice cream for dogs at the recent Therapy Dogs Singapore Annual Party. Yes, you read it right – Ice cream! For dogs! They’re called Vanilla Beans for K9 and they’re so new that when I spoke to one of the guys manning the booth at the party, they told me that they only started their Facebook page that very day.

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According to the menu, these “artisan ice cream for dogs” are made of human grade ingredient, healthy and full of probiotics. These were  of the flavours available for sampling that afternoon:

LTR: Strawberry, Apple, Original yogurt slow churn, Peach with chia seeds.

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We decided to try the Peach with chia seeds and I was offered a spoon for a taste (human grade ingredients, remember?) I took a small bit and it tasted just like yogurt. It was pretty yummy! Little wonder that Moon licked it all up in no time at all.

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I am looking to ordering some for Moon when they’re up and running proper. I am sure the furry one will appreciate the cold treats during these hazy hot days.