Friday, January 23, 2009

Mechanical breakdown

We don't realise how much we rely on our appliances to make our life easier until it breaks down. Have you ever wondered which appliance you couldn't live without - even for 1 day? Well, over the past year or so, we've had a couple of mechanical breakdowns in our household appliances - TV, washing machine, air-conditioning, fridge. So which one can't we live without?

First off - the TV. The idiot box is very much a part of our rest and relaxation. But, we could live without it for a day. We can still entertain ourselves by reading or going to the movies.

Next, the washing machine. Another critical household appliance which prevents my hands from becoming a prune. I still remember my younger days when I used to have to help my parents wash the clothes by hand. It was no fun! But, when our machine was out of order for a few days, we still had other options. we sent my clothes to my mum's place for washing! On a worse case, there is always the good ol' kedai dobi or laundromat.

Air conditioning - In our hot Malaysian weather (especially in the last couple of days), this is another important appliance in most homes. With global warming, temparatures are soaring. How can we sleep without it? Well, when ours didn't work, we had to make do. Off with the quilt and on with the mosquito coil. Fortunately, when ours broke down, we had a spell of relatively cool weather. It also helps that we live near the hills, so temparature was at least 1 degree cooler.

And so, the winner is...the Fridge. Yes, this is the appliance we cannot live without. We had contemplated getting a bigger fridge to replace our 10 year-old fridge, but not so soon as we had just replaced our air-conditioning. Apparently, the fridge had other ideas. One night, the fridge compartment stopped working. When we discovered it in the morning, panic set in. What was I going to do with all my perishables? It didn't help that I had gone to the supermarket to stock up on groceries in view of the Chinese New Year holidays round the corner. Why oh why didn't we just get the fridge when we thought of it? We would have saved the hassle of finding temporary storage for my perishables and rushing madly to the electrical shops to get a fridge that could be delivered on that day itself. Then, there's the mad rush to unload the many bottles and jars of sauces and condiments and dried food from the old fridge when the delivery guy finally arrived with the fridge. But before we could breath a sigh of relief, let's not forget that the new fridge can't be turned on for 3 hours after delivery to allow the gas to settle.

Anyway, the moral of the story is this - If your fridge has passed the 10-year mark, get a new one whilst the old one still works to save yourself the hassle. Of course, if you're one of those people who doesn't cook a lot and doesn't have much food in your fridge apart from a couple of beers and some eggs, then it really doesn't matter. Otherwise, pencil this into your diary, which in our case is 2019!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Communication Breakdown

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw

When was the last time you had an argument with someone? What was the cause of it? Chances are it's due to communication breakdown.

J & I had gone to the trails at the hill for some exercise. At the start of the trails, he started to jog off and said something about meeting at the guardhouse. I wasn't too pleased. I thought that we were going to walk together, spend some quality time together. He didn't mention the run earlier when he asked if I wanted to go to the hills. Perhaps subconsciously, I ignored the signs when he strapped the heart monitor earlier. What is done is done. He was off before I could say "Aye" or "Nay".

Now, there are 2 guardhouses in the hills - One at the crossroad and the other downhill at the start of the trail. When I didn't see him at the cross road, I reasoned that since he ran, he would be ahead of me and he would be at the guardhouse downhill. To cut a long story short, he wasn't. I waited and waited, seething. As it was getting late and we had dinner plans, I headed home by myself. Meanwhile, J was waiting and searching for me at the guardhouse at the cross road. He back-tracked hoping to bump into me (which obviously didn't happen since I was waiting downhill).

This was a classic example of communication breakdown. Could we have avoided all the stress and frustration if we had communicated properly? I think so. If we had taken the time to communicate our expectations from the start or if we had taken the time to clarify our meeting place, we would have both enjoyed our exercise time more. Perhaps, we should heed the advice of the Greek philosopher, Epictetus who said “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Friends We Make In Our Journey...

Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose. ~Tennessee Williams

When I was a kid, I remember one of the phrases we used often in school was "I don't want to friend you" whenever some kid offended us or didn't want to share something, or for whatever petty reasons. Of course, all was forgiven the next day, and we're best buddies again. As we grew up, we made friends at different stages of our lives. When we moved on to our next journey, some of these friendships drifted apart due to time and distance. Yet, for those moments when they were in our lives, they made a difference, be it temporary or permanent.

Then years later, we meet again. Last night was one of those special reunions. The four of us met at Cava, a Spanish restaurant located in Bangsar. With some friends, it feels like you've never been apart. Whilst we're not exactly the same people we were back when we first became friends (more gray hairs and a couple of pounds difference give and take - probably more give than take), deep down, we're not that different from who we were in high school, or college or university. And as Ralph Waldo Emerson so aptly puts it, "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." .

Over good food (the Tapas, Tenderloin and Osso Bucco are highly recommended) and a glass of Chilean wine, we reminisce and laugh about the good old days (was it really that long ago?)- of weekend volleyball games and bus rides, of spaghetti bolognaise and Hard Rock Cafe. Memories forgotten are brought back to mind. We celebrate a birthday with a Chocolate Dream - if you're a chocoholic like me, this should not be missed! ("Happy Belated Birthday A!"). Perhaps, even more importantly, we celebrate life and friendships!

A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~Lois Wyse

Monday, January 5, 2009

Words of Wisdom

Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be.
Marsha Petrie Sue

It's 2009 already. How time flies. At the start of a brand new year, let us be bold and face the new year with courage, hope and no regrets. Happy New Year!