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Daily

Daily

Today, while getting myself some homemade barley from the fridge: Why am I moving out again? 😧

Met cchew for lunch! She’s back for a few days and brought my lululemon loot with her from down under. (AUD is so freakin cheap right now!)

We had lunch at London Duck by Fei Siong because she hardly gets duck in Brisbane and I was impressed! Would definitely return if I feel like spending $12+ on duck noodles.

She bought me a lululemon backpack, a monogrammed pouch and 4 boxes of raspberries for my birthday 😭🥰

Told her about my reno woes and asked where she got her waste baskets. Lol.

I’m serious. I was in love with her bin when I visited her home but I didn’t manage to find it.

Until now. She bought hers from Japan’s rakuten for $30 each, and shipped it to oz. I found a similar one on Lazada!!

Look! Can we just take a moment to appreciate how simple it is?

Works with any plastic or paper bag with a handle

And you can even put two bags!

I’m sold. This is the one I’m getting for our living room, bedroom and study!

Heh. Now if only I can decide on the type of flooring..

Cchew told me that if the difference between tiles and vinyl was less than $10k, that I should just go with tiles.

Sounds good. Mama Chew always knows best. Hopefully the quote with tiles will be less than $10k then. 🤞🏼

Omg. I was reading Dayre on the train and I missed my MacPherson stop. Twice. TWICE!!

From Kent Ridge to MacPherson. I missed MacPherson. I dropped at Tai Seng. I took the opposite train, and I freakin missed it again and was at Bartley. What!

C: Chu not concentrating is it?

V: I am! I’m concentrating on reading other people’s reno blog!

Daily

Windows

If I’d known that these windows would’ve been so expensive to replace.. I’d probably have used it to negotiate the price of this unit. Along with the load of tile work that needs to be done. 😔

We’d need FULL LENGTH SOUNDPROOF WINDOW! 💸💸💸💸

Thing is, the place was full of furniture then and the noise from the main road was really not that loud. Still.. if we’re going to be replacing the windows, we might as well get ones that are soundproof so that we won’t have to ever replace them ever again.

We’re getting quotes for soundproofing windows. The man who came down today was a lot more straightforward than the one yesterday, who spoke so much and told us so many grandfather stories that C and I were just squirming from how much he talked.

We’re not very outgoing people. But our level of politeness stopped us from telling the guy to please stop talking and just help us get our quote because it was GODDAMN hot in the house (no electricity yet).

Dead. Why this uncle talk so much?!

C texted me to tell me that we needed to go but I didn’t know how to get the guy to stop while he was mid-story. So neither of us did a thing.

Today, this other guy got to work immediately measuring our windows and asking us questions. Thing is, the one yesterday mentioned that it was possible to have blinds within the windows and that made me 😳😍. I mean can you imagine? That means that we needn’t worry about dusty blinds!!!

That sounds amazing. But how exactly am I going to afford that?

We asked the man about this today and he said that this was from China and they didn’t have this.

This makes me sad. I’m perfectly fine with China made windows, (what product isn’t from China nowadays anyway), but I preferred working with this man. He seems a lot less tedious. He also gave us the quote immediately after measuring the windows!

A staggering $9660 for all the windows (including the ones in the toilet), the ones in the study and the balcony soundproofed.

We also got our quote from one of our IDs today. My brother’s godsister.

Initially thought the project would be too small for her, since she usually works on big projects like condo developments and overseas work in Bkk and Indonesia, but she seemed open to working together.

She’d done my parents’ home, and after living in it for 10+ years, we have no complaints. I’d also enjoyed that process and her input. That said.. my parents reno cost a total of $100k including appliances.

So I warned her that our budget wasn’t quite the same. She in turn warned us that we were looking at a realistic budget of 75-90k including tiles, lights, loose furniture, bathroom fittings, windows, blinds, appliances.

She turned out to be right.

She even helped flesh out the layout I was keen on with more accurate dimensions.

But we’ve been in discussions for a month now and I haven’t seen her once. All of our discussions have been through WhatsApp or calls because she’s so busy.

It’s not that I need to see her face to face since lots of the things we spoke about can definitely be done over text.

At our site viewing, she was busy but sent her contractor, her 2 assistants and a team of aircon specialists down. It was an army of people, which was a little reassuring, but would’ve been more so if we’d actually seen her since then.

Still… she’s my first choice. I think it’s just that I’m a creature of habit and I already trust her work.

C isn’t so convinced.

Gah didn’t manage to leave for boxing again. I should really make sure to stop doing overtime out of my own volition.

I teach Pilates and when I’m teaching 1-on-1s, it’s so hard to stop when I know the student needs so much more work.

Second time this has happened so far. I shall go boxing tomorrow morning😩

Typing this out as I sit on the reformer, can’t get myself to work out alone. I miss my Pilates workout buddies!

Perlin from FloorXpert came by after the window uncle left, and something we learnt is that we can get contractors to cover up the grout to even the tiles out!!! No one at the showroom mentioned this at all! This makes all the difference, it means we won’t have to hack the tiles away for sure.

That said.. the ID has her own vinyl contact and I’m not sure how her contractors will install the vinyl or how well they’d work with subcontractors..

In fact, I wonder if we’d offend her somehow.

But her supplier (La Flor)’s vinyl planks are from Korea.

I’ve heard that vinyl planks contain toxic materials but the ones in Europe (Like FloorXpert’s) are not as bad. I was pretty sold on FloorXpert.

We’ll have to pop by La Flor’s showroom and give it a chance.

Daily

Foundation of a home

2.05am

I have a 7.30am class tomorrow but I’m still awake. God forbid I wake up late tmr.

I’ve been looking at gorgeous homes and decor on Instagram and Pinterest for so long – but who knew that this part of the process, looking for an ID and trying to make my budget work, would actually be such a royal pain?

Things I didn’t take seriously when buying an old resale HDB:

#1 Their choice of tiles

Whether their tiles are the ones i like or if they are even in good condition – because flooring works are insanely expensive and I should’ve used their old floor and wall tiles as a bargaining chip.

Wall tiles!! Why did they have to tile their kitchen walls?! I now have to pay for hacking them!

I remember walking around the unit with the idea that I would just remove everything they’ve done and I’d start from scratch. A blank canvas. Easy.

What was I thinking?

Perhaps that hacking meant just bringing a sledgehammer and some drills and going to town with them. Apparently not.

Removing a single thing like a cornice (I now know what a cornice is) costs money. Hacking tiles in the kitchen cost money. Hacking tiles in the toilet costs money. Hacking tiles in the living room costs money.

Why couldn’t the previous owners (though very, very nice people) have chosen broken marble or something more neutral than the patterned brick orange Italian tiles that cover the entire house?!

#2 Old units and their windows

I thought I’d just replace their very old windows. $7,000. Ka-ching!! That’s a shitload of money. And it’ll be even higher because I want soundproof windows at the foyer and the study, both are facing the main road, and directly facing a traffic light. $10,000? Possibly.

So I’m left with decisions as to whether I should refrain from hacking the floor and to overlay vinyl planks where I can (Bedroom, study, storeroom?) and to overlay tiles on top of the existing tiles in the kitchen and bath.

I’m not even sure if that’s possible. What if the bottom tiles are hollow or what if they pop?

And I don’t know if the existing tiles are level and even enough to vinyl over without feeling lumpy. Ughhh.

And do I forget about soundproofing? Or do I keep the old windows?

But these are the foundations of the house. Making changes to these later on would incur even more costs and a much larger mess and headache once everything else is done and once we’ve moved in.

The problem is that tiles are forever and my parents clearly want me to tile. Vinyl, though much improved what with advancements in technology, is still less durable and less hardy (dents under heavy furniture, scratches).

Any hope of keeping reno costs down, dashed!!

2.47am I’d better get some sleep.

2.56am Just spent the last few minutes trying to figure Dayre out and got sucked in reading some posts. Is this why nobody blogs on Livejournal, Tumblr or WordPress anymore? I’m amazed at the community, and how big it seems to be. I’d still keep cmf.org but this seems like an easy way to write throwaway thoughts and things. I guess it works more like a journaling of events than a diary but could work either way. Let’s see.

K, really going to sleep now.

6.50am

I managed with less than 5 hours of sleep. C slept earlier than I did and he’s still in bed doing what babies do best. 😒

This morning, Vinyl wins. By afternoon, I’m sure Tiles will find a way to catch up.

The Case For Vinyl:

Most cost and time efficient

Softer underfoot, not as hard to step on as tiles

No ugly grouting issues to maintain

Some faux wood designs provide texture and depth

Newer technologies, might actually last for 25 years

Against Vinyl:

Warmer underfoot

Not sure if our tiles are level and flat enough for good installation

Dents under heavy furniture

Not proven to last yet and changing flooring in the future would incur more costs and headaches

Overlaying means less height

Decided to get Clif with me to visit a Vinyl showroom. Felt like we had to see if we could be convinced by the material. FloorXpert was just a 5 min drive away!!

We were impressed by the look and the textures of the Belgium LURF planks. They even looked better than some pixelated faux wood tiles I’d seen.

FloorXpert seemed to deal with IDs and contractors a lot more than homeowners directly, and we were quoted $8.30/psf for the higher end vinyls that were from Belgium.

(Update 01/10/2019: $8.30/psf is a damn overpriced quote. We did not pay that amount in the end because my ID had a contact within FloorXpert.)

Because we’re concerned that the existing tiles are uneven and not leveled, we asked the salesperson what the process was. She mentioned a cement screeding on top of the tiles will help, and that the Belgium ones came with a better underlay than the Korean ones.

There was an area in the ground that felt uneven and we asked her about this. She told us it was because it was a showroom and they didn’t cement screed it. ?! Shouldn’t it being a showroom be a reason to install it well??

I’d have thought that making sure your product didn’t show any issues would be key to convincing customers about installing it.

Especially if they’re not traditional options like tiles, marble, laminate or parquet.

But sure.

I called my mother down to visit (she was 8 mins away). If anyone needed convincing, it was her. She is, after all the one offering us a sizable renovation loan.

She was super apprehensive. Asking questions on their product warranty (25 years for the Pulse range, lifetime workmanship warranty), how long their company had been in the market (since 2010), how long the manufacturers had been operating (since 1990).. her takeaway was that the company hadn’t been around long enough to receive complaints about its lifespan.

Fair enough. Though for its price point.. I can choose to replace the vinyl in the 10 years and it’d still be cheaper than tiling.

She was still leaning towards tiles.

C seemed a little exasperated that she didn’t understand that we didn’t want to go over budget if we can’t afford it.

Decided that it would be best to try and get a quote for tiles to see how much of a price difference it was and if it was “worth it” or not.

We made a stop at a tile showroom that her friend works at. (We’d be able to get a decent discount on materials from here) There were some gorgeous porcelain tiles that looked like marble.

But porcelain cracks. And I had to remind her more than once that the price seen here is only for the material cost and doesn’t include hacking and tiling labour costs..

Still would be good to find out how much this costs. Let’s see then.

At least now I’m good with either. Vinyl doesn’t seem so bad after all. Just depends on the final number.

Look! This was a staggering $6.3/sqft, and this slab basically costs $113.40.

We thought labour costs for this would be better since it was just one large piece but apparently not because it would take 3 people to install! Haha you learn something new everyday.

Daily

This millennial turns 30

This gingerbread cake with brown butter frosting and caramelized apples from @rabbitandthecake tastes like Christmas

I turn 30 today. But this milestone is a lot less significant to me when I also just became a homeowner not two days ago – and I will also probably be married by the end of the year as a result of this new set of keys. Thanks for making this choice for me, Singapore.

I will, however, choose to refrain from procreating just yet. I’m sure environmentalists and polar bears will thank me one day.

So you can see how walking into this new decade is a big fat load of easy and no big deal. What seems like a bigger deal right now is if I should go with Vinyl or Tiles? Quartz, Granite or KompacPlus? This contractor, that interior designer or that other one?

Hmm.

Daily

Are there majority groups without majority privilege?

I’m Chinese Singaporean and we make up the majority race. I’m definitely guilty of having Chinese privilege compared to the minority groups here. But I feel like this has been blown out of proportion by leftists in the West – and minority groups here seem to compare themselves with the African American minority groups but they’ve definitely not experienced the kind of racism (and slavery) that the African American minority groups have.

I just want to know if there’s any instance where a society can have a majority race that doesn’t act with majority privilege because the conversations that are happening here are suddenly overly sensitive and everything the majority group does is suddenly seen as “racial micro aggressions towards a culture that is constantly being marginalised as a minority”.

It’s getting tiring.

Daily

This hell

“People you may know”, ha! The irony is not lost on me. Were you keeping this account to connect with scantily clad friends, or is this an old account you’ve forgotten the password to? I sleuthed around, and well, I think we know you didn’t forget. I don’t know why I bothered checking. These were things I already knew.

I’d already seen the messages. Your phone was pretty clear. ‘Mahal’ might mean expensive, but in this context it did not. I’d already seen the photos. Your camera was pretty clear. By no means an artistic shot, but the scene as clear as crack. I’d already heard you say it. Our lunch was pretty clear. With arguments as incredulous as Trump’s, I’d already seen your view.

I’d already talked about it, cried about it, wrote about it and moved on from it. So why am I back down here?

Your old flame added me on Facebook recently, which caught me off guard, but also made me curious. Did she want money? Why else would she reconnect, and why now? Did she add you too?

I looked for her on Facebook once, after I saw that incriminating photo of your new conquest. I’d wanted so much to connect with her kids, to ask them if they knew what I knew, to break them and make them hurt. Perhaps I’d get some sweet revenge. But some part of me empathised with her, because I blame you more than I’d ever care about her, and I was never so gutsy. Did she see me as a recommended person she might know because I searched first?

If I’m not going to tell you, I may as well tell everyone. But this crawl space is frustrating and I don’t understand why you’ve put me here. This hell should be yours, it’s not my guilt to bear.

Daily

Extreme

I don’t know if there’s a word for how I feel. Love seems much too mild. This feeling is too strong, wild, potent and forceful. Too metal. I imagine this is how serial killers feel when they’re locked in on a target, how a heart attack feels when it yanks your breath away, how Christians feel when they’re feeling God-like power touch them.

This is the feeling I get sometimes when I’m just this fiercely obsessed about something. Almost…angry? I don’t know why. It’s the aggressive urge you get when you see an obscenely cute puppy and you just want to squeeze it to death.

This is how I’m currently feeling about Extreme’s music. The genius lyrics, melody, harmony, vocals and awesome musicality. From an era where musicians wrote magic because there were just no rules about what makes a hit song.

Obsessed with the entire Pornograffiti album. Start with these: Hole Hearted. Decadence Dance. Get the Funk Out. Play with Me. I’d list the entire album if you’d let me, but only because I wish you knew there’s so much more to Extreme than More than Words, even if it is a great song (made more amazing by Nuno’s harmony and Paul Gilbert in this video).

Daily

Now we know

The past month has been a crazy ride on this adulting train, and we’re not even reaching our station yet. Some of our friends already know this, but Clif and I are house hunting.

I’m met with good wishes when people find out – omg you guys are getting married?! – approval, congratulations and general positivity. It is a sentiment I then dampen by telling them not to congratulate me – it is not an achievement I feel I’ve earned and so doesn’t count. All I did was to agree to be married. It’s not something we had to work very hard for.

In fact, I didn’t feel a need to tell anyone, and I think everyone was confused by this. Posting a picture of my wrinkly dry hand on social media would have been easy..but I didn’t feel right doing it (which may have caused more problems on my end because I had to explain exactly this).

Congratulate me if and when we manage to be happily married for 10 years. I would probably have earned it then. Or maybe if we manage to organize a wedding/party because that would be an incredible feat considering our lack of event organization skills and general laziness.

So the only people we really officially told were our immediate families. Our friends found out when we were trying to get advice on buying property together. Yes! It is a thing, we are trying to crawl ahead in the next phase of adulthood. Now you know. (Maybe, or maybe you’re reading this in the future in which case, you’re late in knowing and it’s not your fault because I didn’t tell you.)

And I wish I’d known that it’d be this difficult (and expensive) to get a house we like. Maybe we’d have started listening about talks about Bidadari. It was a word thrown around a few years ago and I’d completely ignored it. Coming back to mock me every time I think about BTOs and when I see that my only options are Punggol, Sengkang, Yishun and Tengah. Where? No. Waiting 5 more years for a new flat to be built would mean that I’d be 35 when I move out. When? No.

So we’re making appointments. Researching questions to ask and things to look out for. Calculating budgets. Getting payslips. Submitting loan applications. Practicing my poker face and nonchalance (though I’m told I’m good at this). Viewing houses. Listening and getting advice from family and friends. Ignoring bits of advice from the family.

Wow they should’ve prepared us for this in school.

Finding out how much renovations cost. Finding out renovations don’t include furniture. Learning that people can expect housing prices to increase but it doesn’t mean that it’d be possible to sell for that amount. Learning that road noise in Singapore is a pain. Wondering if I would be able to be happy in a world where I could never open my windows ever or be subject to dust and fumes. Learning that if we’re serious we need to bring a chequebook along to make an offer.

Making plans. Downloading an amazing budget app to manage my finances better now. Finally setting up GIRO for my credit cards and handphone bills.

Popping by the unit we’re interested in unannounced to look at it at night and to meet the owner. Trying to learn negotiation tactics to make an offer below its listed price. Trying to sound less apologetic and like I know what I’m saying. Trying to not feel annoyed when I can’t get what I want. Asking for help for all of this.

They should’ve prepared us for this in school.

Things that make you an adult. Things all adults should know how to do. Things people don’t tell you about adulthood. There are tons of articles about this #adulting thing. Is it obvious that nobody has a clue?

We’re going to handle it. And this quote I stumbled upon just today makes me feel like it’s gonna be okay.

Your success in life is largely dependent on the number of awkward conversations you’re willing to have. – Tim Ferris

Now I know.

Daily, Writing

Witta, Queensland

I thought I’d show you this, what life looks like with peace. Where the buzzing of the roads become rustling of the trees, I hope you fall in love with life outside the streets. Then maybe when we’re old, we’ll watch the free skies be. And maybe when we’re old, we’ll live our lives like this. When days and weeks and months, turn into years and years of bliss.

Daily

Plant Parenthood

The not-having-kids thing. The i-want-to-move-out thing. Maybe it’s just something about the circle of life that creates a desire to be surrounded by living things. Millennial things.

I’ve always wanted to get some cacti and succulents in my visits to Bangkok but I’ve always been to afraid to even think about transporting them back to Singapore by plane. Turned out to be a lot easier than I thought, because all I needed to do was to open my mouth and ask the vendor at Chatuchak, who promptly said that he could pack it for me. Easy.

I also bought a ton of beautiful fake orchids, which are now laid out around the house. Am I becoming a plant lady? Okay then.