Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Arm Chair Directors, The Bane Of My Family!

 I face a lot of arm chair directors in my family. I agree it is always easier to put rocks and stones in front of anyone’s path instead of offering viable options to for any given situation so that it can be resolved expeditiously.

However, with arm chair directors, their mission is to thwart whatever good I am trying to resolve by asking ridiculously inane questions.

I present the situation.

Inter ceiling concrete slab of the upper floor to lower floor shows a water leakage.

I get our regular contractor to attend to it and the water proofing specialist suggests grouting. I am of the opinion that the water proofing membrane is already worn off (more than 17 years) and that the reasonable solution is to hack up the flooring of the toilet above and knowing full well that the toilet fittings will be ruined in the process.

Grouting is a short-term solution as water travels to other parts of the building.

Up rises the despot – arm chair director Bro who starts the interrogation.

“Turn off all taps to identify the leak. Turn it off for 5 days” he texted in the group chat with Sis, Contractor and me.

“And where would we all stay for 5 days without water?” I asked.

My question is ignored as he hammers on, “turn it off for 5 days, no one uses it and let the area dry naturally on its own” he continued.

“How will this help?” I replied.

Again, my question is ignored and he continues, “ I see rust stains on the wall” [contractor attached a photo of where the leak was] “steel bars and concrete slabs are affected”

Flustered and frustrated, “ If you want a scan of the entire building, then please call the professional builders in and certified engineers to review the physical structure of the building – steel bars, concrete slabs!”

“Do you want to take over the repairs?” I challenged him. I know that he is in Hong Kong and as arm chair director, he will not make any effort to assist but will instructs.

“Will you 2 chip in and pay for the repairs? Budget is $15,000 to hack up the toilet and replace with tiles, sink, toilet bowl etc.” I knew that money is the crux and whenever I raise money to be paid, silence will  ensue.

True enough both sis and bro skirted the issue of money and I asked why can’t 3 of us chip in and pay for the repairs? Silence is deafening really!

So I spoke up, “ Again, I ask, are you coming to solve the repairs? If so, instruct me to STOP and I will withdraw with my contractor and you take over? If not, I am paying for it in full to fix it and get it over and done with before more damage is faced.

Arm Chair Director shoots back a text, “Dad will pay for it”

My 2 idiotic siblings will never fork out a penny to assist the family. It is always for their own benefit only.

My sister has conveniently watched the messages that truncated without a word till the money part came and she said on text, “ let her proceed.”

Of course let me proceed right as afterall they are not going to share cost and they are darn lucky that I have to pay for it!

Sheesh! I hate Arm Chair Directors and I have 2 of them in my family.

Now I have to get the spare cash stashed in socks or chop change….Gaaarrrfield open your purses and no more lasagna for you as we are both on an austerity package till then! LOL!


Antagonized Beyond Words

The weeks fly by too quickly is my take and now it is Thursday, into June 2019!

2019 is at its halfway mark. Seems like yesterday, I was doing countdown to usher in 2019 and in the wink of an eye, Summer is upon those in USA, UK, Europe and parts of Asia whilst those in Africas, New Zealand and Australia are into wintry months.

I had an exhaustive day yesterday, trying to resolve issues for my parents and really blew my lid when my sister brushed me aside with her grand speech of “you don’t live with them, what is your worry” when I said that I needed help to manage some of our parents issues and that I was facing caregiver burnt out syndrome.

My siblings are not the most “sensitive” of folks and neither are they the most “compassionate” of folks. My sister’s philosophy is not to be bothered with my parents. She does not understand that with each call I get from my parents at night or at work causes my heart to miss a beat or pound harder.

Calling me is never good news – it could be a fall, illness or issues that needed my attention.

At night, I sleep with one ear open as I am Speedy Gonzales on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When my father last required brain surgery some years back, my sister was nowhere to be found. She had promised me she would see her father before surgery but she decided to take a detour for a holiday before presenting self to a sick man.

Hospital procedures cannot wait and I had to proceed with surgery for dad. Had my dad passed on then, it would have been too bad for my sis then.

Just last Wednesday, Mum called me at work to say dad is missing. My heart dropped as it means I have to start hunting for him. But I felt his dementia is not at that stage. Turns out that mum is so hard of hearing that she did not realise that dad is indeed in the house.

My siblings do not have an ounce of urgency for when their parents are concerned in terms of ill health or family emergencies.

What I do know is the me, myself and I will be the only reactor.

So, I blew my lid when I was brushed aside by my sis on the phone with her caustic remark implying what is the big deal for me “since I do not live with them”

I am tired. I am exhausted. I continue to do the bidding of my parents, regardless of time or day. They pretty tell me each time, ” you decide and get it done!”

No one understands me and worst of all, MR EX decided to start his nonsense again and of course like they say in asia, “eruption of Mount Krakatua” and molten lava flowed……


Life Deals Me An Uneven Hand Most Times

The writing is on the wall that I need to be in Bates Motel for about a week or two depending on how my tests and health improves.

I had carefully planned a window sometime in July and was smug about it as I had briefed Ms Fesity and Ms Blur that not much needs to be done during my absence as I would have cleared all things urgent. They only need to do the upkeep of usual work.

Ahh but my life is never a planned one and out of the blue, I am required to sort out something that will take place that month which my parents are unable to handle.

So, like a platoon Sergeant, I barked orders to my 2 trust vendors to help me get things done and added Sis and Bro into the whats app chat group so that in the event I cannot respond in time, at least the other 2 living beings in the land of Kiwi and Fragrant Harbor can take some ownership of caring for their parents’ needs.

I know that at the end of the day, my prediction of my constant saying to everyone I know is true – “Even if I wanted to die, I must find the right time and occasion to die”

Sudden death will not work as I need to ensure that the other living ones are cared for before I can take my leave from the earthly realm!

Which reminds me – it is bad to be a responsible person.

It is better to be viewed as an unreliable person or one who is nonchalant and this will be the best persona to adopt really as no one then bother you.

By virtue of the fact that I am responsible, reliable and can get things done, my father has decided to let his brain continue into marshland or marshmallow land. He does not choose to apply himself and lets his brain deteriorate.

I guess I do not show tough love as I always feel that they are old and helpless, which they are – mum only uses her mouth and does not care about anything else and neither will she thank me for all the care, help or effort I put in as she will always chime in and say, “I have other people to do it for me” – to which my retort is always, “Ya right – then please get them to do it for you and stop burdening me! No word of thanks to me, but always a sarcastic comment or things not done to her expectation!”


Looks like I will be managing another project of theirs from Bates Motel – life gives me lemon and so, lemon pie or lemonade anyone! Sugarless!


By The Bye…

As the weekend rolls by,

I bid Friday good bye.

The work week has quickly rolled by,

People tend to bid “hi” and “bye”.

I had an interesting week of sorting out warring humans.

Human relations are funny. We all co-exist at work, yet why all the angst and animosity?

It begins with mindset I feel. If one is not open to a spirit of cooperation and sharing then work becomes silo based.

The art of tai chi then comes into play and by tai chi, in our colloquial usage it means “deflecting” work.

There are some with the mentality of why bother explaining to newbie as it takes too much time and so, it remains forever the job of one person. Perhaps it is territorial protection to ensure job longevity so that no new comers can come unto one’s turf?

Then there is battle between “in laws” – Ms Calculative I having a hard time with her mum in law. The drama is so thick that Ms Calculative curses her MIL to death all the time and MIL will throw away her breast milk expressed for her 8 month old baby.

Why not give and take and let it go- was my silly advice!

In an Asian filial piety world, elders are to be revered. But Ms Calculative will do no such thing and is rather focus on getting what she wants. It becomes a battle each time so much so that it affects her work as she is on the phone sharing her sorry tale with those she know.

I find it sad as it puts the husband in the middle. He is MIL’s son and she is DIL. DILs are expected to respect and serve MIL but just not this one.

Who is right? Who is wrong? Who is to say as I am sure there are 2 sides to a coin and in this family’s tale, there is so much animosity that I feel it is a relationship that has broken down irrevocably.

Life is hard when there is a lot of anger, angst and hatred.

I am not a saint and am angry for the right reasons for situations that give me the short end of the stick of when I know I have been used.

I do have angst and hatred for MR EX as what he has done is not right! All the lies, cheating and hogwash was not fair but then who am I to say who or what is fair!

I live, I learn from daily lessons in life.

Most importantly, I adapt and change.


Breaking Up Is Always Hard To Do!

I hate break ups but I had to do the inevitable.

It is not easy finding the right “one” and I know there is never the “right” one but the fact of the matter was that this person did not deserve me.

We are all busy beings but when I am always relinquished to the end of the totem pole, regardless of “emergency” situations or otherwise, then I know where I stand in the totem pole of life with this person.

Yes, we are all busy people and yes, again I know some are busier than others. But time is for all of us to set and pace.

If I choose to prioritize, I will almost always, drop everything and rush off, especially when I know it is a situation which requires me to help.

I dated a guy with ants in his pants i.e. who self diagnosed attention deficit disorder and wants to chase every limelight available on his stage of life.

The way I see it, his goal in life is to be “seen” and glorified as the almighty savior of the world.

But the sad part is that I am never one who deserves his help. And I kinda take offence to that because, I am of the mind that charity begins at home and if you cannot put me as a loved one to be cared for and be a priority, then I am not.

He had claimed to me that he was getting out of his broken marriage and that I was to give him 5 years to clean up and we can start life anew.

Like a naive school kid, I believed him and 5 years became more than 10 years.

Throughout, I patiently watched and observed his antics.

He claims to be poor and in debt but I hardly see it as he spends alot on himself and his family (*I am not family, I am persona non grata)

I recognize from the time that he asked for me to give him 5 years, I knew in my heart of hearts that this joker was no more than playing the field with me. OR Americans would say, “having his cake and eating it too!”

I threaded carefully with him and know that he is not one to be trusted.

One year into the relationship he asked me for SGD200,000! Hmm…if I had SGD200,000 (Government housing with grant costs SGD300,000 for 4 bedrooms) I would be nuts to “give it to him” when he has been anything but a true loved one.

He is a complicated man. One part of me wanted to give hope to this relationship but the other part of me kept screaming he is nothing but a cad.

Well, after much deliberation, last night I gave him the full finale!

He was not at all nice about it. He claims that he was working his butt off and that I had the luxury of weekends to think of silly things.

Failure Point 1: Disregarding my self space! He assumes I need not work weekends and only he does! For him, drinking coffee at a food court and talking rubbish to his “friends” is a meeting, whereas for me, a meeting is a genuine long table with agendas and outcomes.

I do have coffee shop talks where meetings are informal but I always have outcomes.

I was silly to have trusted him and that whatever he promised, I should have been taken at 0.01% face value instead of 10% face value I accorded him as he was not prepared to leave his wife.

Looking back, I was very grateful that I was not conned of what little savings I had. Thank goodness I have mortgages to pay and so, there was little loose cash stashed away to hand to him.

I am philosophical about this – I deem it as our karma ripened and we had to part once all dues were paid.

Breaking up is not easy but in this case, I see it as a good outcome, else I would be saddled as the bill payer of his extravagant life style for his family.

Such is life and a sobering wake up call for me!


Why Two Timers Get My Goat!

I was riled on Thursday night! So riled that I tossed and turned till it was 2am before I got to sleep and wake up at 5am for work.

Why is it that man two time? I know this male friend of mine for years and knew that he was married with 2 grown up daughters.

He had been keeping “friends” with another woman on the side.

Why, I asked him?

if you are do unhappy with your marriage, why not call it quits and free up both parties to do what they wished properly and legally.

By doing this, he is being really unfair with his wife as it is not right to be two timing.

I disliked what he was doing and felt that he ought to think through carefully on his actions.

It is no point being vocal about how much the marriage has failed and what he does not like about this wife, but good grief, call it quits if marriage has broken down badly.

What riled me more is that this couple is seen as “church elders” with his wife being a so called “pastor” – these days I do not understand how this pastor status is conferred so easily.

I suspect that this friend of mine stays in the relationship for the sake of money.

It is sad when financial constraints begins to restrain one from making the right decision.

I am cross with this “friend” and disappointed.

The sad part is he sees no error in his ways and had in the past also tried to hook up with me.

I did not get self involved although he made promises to leave his wife etc etc.

Is it the genetic makeup of man or?

I find it hard to continue to respect and trust his friendship! Sigh!


A Conversation With Father

I received a phone call from my father two nights ago and he wanted to know why I have not been around for their recent medical appointments.

Missing the child or the manual laborer?

Was I missed as a child?

Was I missed as a missing good helper?

Probably the latter I supposed.

Long and short of the conversation was the usual that he will speak to the other 2 and that he was sorry for all this. He wanted me to complete the last journey with them so that after they are gone, his 3 children can have better lives.

Ahhh…key point is that he is missing Clean Up Gal On Aisle 4!

The other 2 cannot be bothered and I was the only sucker that would.

Of course it pains me to ignore my 2 parents. I know what it is like to be without help.

I felt the same with MR EX and axed him.

When I needed help, MR EX abandoned me.

But my parent and siblings abandoned me. Only mum stood by to visit me at hospitals.

I am not cruel but sometimes the necessity of being cruel to be kind, is real.

Will I regret my actions once my father leaves this earthly world? No, I did my best.

I always put self last. They mattered most and I do not accord self with any lavish things as family comes first. I reminded this to him and he apologized, again saying that he will speak to the other 2. Till hell freezes, I know he will not.

But I will still not bring self to forgive him for being the biased parent and not being able to lead his other children to be decent responsible children.

I have played this scene a thousand times in my head.

His 2 other children will be at the lawyers’ office with their spouse and mistress eagerly waiting to collect their windfall. Life then goes on for them, richly endowed, forgetting their parents.

I questioned the meaning of being a family.

What makes a family?

Certainly not blood!

Friendships? Maybe…possibly but in this diversified world, we never know what gives.

I guess I believe in believing in oneself.

Give, but not all.

Love, but with limits.

Care, but with concern.

Know, but not without wisdom.

I may forgive, but all the deities help me in this world, I cannot forget.

Yes, without any benefit if doubt, I will fry like a Colonel Sanders Chicken (Kentucky Fried Chicken) in hell!

My Mexican standoff remains….


A Lot To Say

With Chinese New Year now literally a day to Reunion Dinner, I have started sending out whats app messages to greet acquaintances and friends.

True friends are few and far between but I hope that those I categorize as “acquaintances” may indeed turn out to be good friends in the future.

I have lost the knack of making friends as experience has made me skeptical of this word called “Friendship” – A chat with MR EX some weeks back had him throwing salt on a wound when he retorted that my doctors are not my “friends” as they are paid to take care of me.

I rebutted him. True, I met them through a patient and doctor relationship. It was transactional at the beginning but as the years passed and we developed a trusting and actually fun patient and doctor relationship.

We discussed my medical anomalies. I shared with them my deepest fear or thoughts of my illnesses and they comforted me. Soon after, I have their cell phone numbers and they allow me to at their beck and call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I did not abuse this and respectfully contacted them only when I needed urgent medical attention. Soon after, it extended to care for my parents too.

I felt comforted that I had them with me, anytime. I did not feel alone in the medical need time so to speak.

Sometimes, they do not charge me a fee to consult them and would see me in their clinics without cost. I also received treatment without cost.

How does this not make them a friend I asked MR EX.

MR EX does not know what a friendship means and he even rebuked me when I packed desserts (“Not left overs from orders from the menu”) from where we may have eaten and give it away. He accused me of not feeling shame for “re-gifting!

I looked at him squarely in the eyes and said “No, I am sharing”

Yes, it is true that we may have a transactional business relationship with trademen and or doctors, but over time friendships build and I am happy with it as I have benefited from this friendship and in turn, I bring them new business – this is called my circle of friendship being a 2 way street.

My cable guy who runs cables for internet and optic fibres whom I met through a huge complaint session from me, has become a good friend. He has helped me with cabling up my parents’ premises seamlessly.

What makes a friendship?


Giving and taking?



Fresh air and sunshine kind?


Friendships Lost

Last Sunday a “friend” text me with an invite for dinner.

I hesitated.

2 phone calls in an attempt to reach me and I still ignored it all. I did not pick those calls nor reply to the message.

After 2 hours and in reading the next text that this person was waiting outside the estate and that he desperately needed to pee, my reply was ” you could pee in the bush for all I care”

I just felt the need to tell this person off for treating me badly as a friend in the past.

Obtuse or ignorant or callous? I would deem it all for this man.

I do not like fake friends and find self less tolerant of niceties for the sake of being nice! I wanted to be brutally frank or candid and tell it, the way I see it.

I sent back a series of 6 messages, explaining exactly how I felt as a “friend” – I do not like being treated like thrash and that only I could stand up for myself.

I do not know if my brutal truth and frankness affected him as the next thing he tells me is that he is not feeling well?

I torpedoed further! If you were not feeling well to begin with,why attempt to invite me for dinner?

Was this person testing his luck that our friendship was such that I would always forgive and forget?

Why should I as I am tired of being taken for granted in life.

I have done my best for this person. I helped with all sincerity and not because I sought to gain a medal of some arty farty establishment but out of true heart.

Sadly, I am always treated as a gap filler.

Well, all gaps are filled! Adios Amigos!


My Saturday Morning Scare

For the first time in a long time, I could sleep till 9am on a Saturday as my brother flew in en route from Sri Lanka to Hong Kong.

He said he will spend 5 days here and offered to take mum to her doctor’s appointment this morning. I was grateful!

As I drifted in and out of lala land trying to enjoy an 8 hour sleep cycle as I only went to sleep at 2am….the heavens did not allow it! Drats!

By 9.20am I got a text message from my brother to say that it seems the blood test taken last Saturday yielded results of a moderate high result of blood potassium.

My heart missed a beat as this means my mum was in danger of a heart attack. A million things clouded my mind but I quickly called my brother to go back to the clinic and speak to the doctor or when he reached there, to call me so that I could speak with the doctor.

My siblings are not conversant of the medical conditions of my parents as their role is merely if i am there, I just do the taking there and bringing them home bit. They are at a lost for medical things on my parents healthcare.

They also do not have the common sense to call me there and then so that I could speak with the doctor.

He did not sound too happy to totter back to the clinic but I made him do it.

My brain went into overdrive to find out the sudden increase in blood potassium levels. Anarex or Piroxicam could elevate it?

What about the recent lidocaine and steroid injections to help my mum in her pain management for the muscular pain she suffered from her fall in January 2018?

What about the high dosage of Calcium for 8 weeks and the new dosages of Vitamin B to prevent old age dementia?

My brother was cross when I called him on international call when he was at the clinic but I could not be bothered as he refused to pick up the free call through whats’ app.

I filled the doctor in on those supplements and medications that my mum was on.

A second blood test was ordered for my mum and I was so glad that the blood test showed potassium level falling back to 5.2. It was not 5.5 and I was relieved.

I also felt that the phlebotomist was having a hard time taking the blood test the first time as she was “digging”to find the vein. This may have cause an anomaly reading.

I am no doctor but based on common sense elimination of facts, I surmised it could be due to the lidocaine and recent taking of NSAIDs.

Still to err on the side of caution, I quickly asked my brother to whats app the test results to me so that I could check with Drs Boey and Dr Yip for their further advice. These were the 2 doctors that have introduced new drugs to my mum and I guess they would have a better solution or advice for me.

Meanwhile…my brain is on overdrive again as I worry about these things.

Come 9 October 2018, brother is off to Hong Kong and he will not bother to extend stay even if something major happens. I need to be prepared and again, self help to stay available for mum.

I pray not!