Out

It’s April and I’m out of work.

Or at least that’s how it seems right now as I was more or less dismissed with an “I’ll get back to you later, I’m working on something” response from the client.

My guess is nobody would want to pay a freelancer like me at this time since finances may be tightening and the prospects for future business income may seem pretty bleak at this point.

Ah well. It’s not the first time that I have been without work since I began this full time freelance venture. It’s just that I can’t recall when this last happened, or how long it lasted (usually not long).

Anyway, it’s not good to leave my writing muscles unflexed throughout this period of work inactivity, so I guess the best way to stay in shape (mentally, I mean, mostly) is to find outlets where I can continue to write in some form or another.

I’ve been contemplating starting a social media mini series. I haven’t completely decided what it will be about yet, but I’m thinking something with positive vibes or a theme of hope would be good since there is so much fear and rumour mongering and depressing news going around lately with Covid-19 still in circulation.

Another thing I’ve sort of halfheartedly done (because in the past I usually fail at it) is sign up for the April Camp Nano. I couldn’t decide what to write about there, so tentatively I’m designating it as a collection of short stories, which I will write at random. Unless of course, some sort of direction or theme emerges along the way.

Meanwhile, life at home carries on in its usual fashion.

Today is just slightly out of the norm only in the sense that both hubs and I are already awake at 6+ in the morning (it’s usually only me) and there is activity in the kitchen already. Oh, and the Eldest One was awake out of the blue too (but hopefully, drifting back to sleep soon).

A grocery run may be imminent, and I do not look forward to finding out what is left or what dire straits we may actually be in soon. Sigh.

I’ve told myself I should write something here other than always journalling about real life. But I can’t seem to grasp any useful topic at the moment. I shall try next round, my dear Reader.

May your day today be brighter than the former, and may rays of hope shine amidst the darkness of your little corner.

In between

Dear Reader,

How is it like in your corner of the world today?

It’s Day #3 of the Restricted Movement Order here in Malaysia.

I am up early ahead of the rest of the family. Expressing breastmilk in a silicone collector as my youngest is not awake to nurse. Next in line for list of activities would be to put the cloth diapers into the washing machine and to gather the trash for my husband to take out when he goes out to get groceries.

Unlike many other families within the Klang Valley, we did not stock up food in anticipation of the Order. We only bought enough to last us for about a week during our last grocery run, and the week is almost up. Hence, I will need to plan meals very soon (within the next hour or so), and wake my husband to get to the stores as early as possible since we don’t know what stock levels are like in our neighbourhood stores yet.

From what I heard from a friend staying in another part of our city, it was crowded at the shops within their community. I certainly hope there won’t be too much of that where we are at.

I’ve generally always thought of where we live as being one of the quieter, less noticed part of Petaling Jaya. And yet, we kept hearing of Covid-19 cases in several nearby areas, giving us the notion that the virus is literally all around us. The most disturbing was the case of a preschool teacher who got it. This preschool had been opened recently at the mall where we normally go for our grocery shopping.

My husband only started taking this Covid-19 pandemic more seriously after he visited that mall on one of the days where they were still disinfecting the preschool and screening all shoppers seeking to enter the ground floor (where the preschool was located) for any signs for fever.

Now he finally wears a mask or brings a long a small bottle of hand sanitiser while he is out. He promptly cleans his hands upon his return from a trip out, and changes his clothes. There was an occasion where he even decided to bathe right away.

For our household, things aren’t too different during this Order than they are at regular times. This is because my husband and I are both self employed at the moment. A situation at work worsened around the time our youngest was about to be born, and so he left his full time job and has been in limbo since.

At the time the Order was issued by our Prime Minister, he had already begun taking on projects for this new consultancy gig he has embarked on. There had been relatively positive signs lately, and several possible work projects have been popping up.

On my end, my freelance writing work was finally beginning to settle into a routine after the abnormal activity I had over the past few months where I was serving a new client in a temporary role that ended in February.

Now everything is more or less slowing down due to the Order. We are wondering if we will get paid on time. Or whether there will be multiple delays and even a lack of work opportunities in the near future.

I know there are families out there with an even bleaker outlook to their household income sources than we have. Some cannot even work at all right now because their jobs require them to be out, or to be meeting people. There is no Work-At-Home option for them. I wonder how they will cope.

It’s only supposed to be a 2 week exercise, but my husband and I anticipate that this Order will be extended beyond just a fortnight. As it is, with the way many Malaysians are behaving, we might even see a far greater spike in Covid-19 cases. The thought is chilling.

I think of my two very young kids and I worry. They are happy with us at home at the moment. But will we be able to keep them happy and well once our funds run too low? Can we continue to afford preschool for our eldest one?

And what sort of world will they be growing up in, given the terrible turn of events that we keep seeing both on a local as well as global scale? I sometimes wonder if it would have been kinder to have not introduced them to this cruel, cold world.

But as I tried telling my husband last night, perhaps the best thing to do at times like this is to just keep looking ahead. To just keep focussing on the very next step. Because I think that’s all we have the capacity to do right now.

It’s daybreak now and I must go. I hope things are brighter where you are, my dear Reader. Till I return, I wish you a good day.

Almost there

Jamie showing his yet unborn baby brother some love.

This pregnancy is almost over and I almost cannot believe it! (I’m at Week 34, FYI.)

I guess in some ways I feel a bit sad about it all because this is likely going to be my last one. Deric has said before that ideally he’d like to stop at 2 kids, so that’s what we’ll go with (barring any accidents that might happen along the way, of course).

Jamie has been nothing short of positive this entire time, right from the moment he found out he was about to gain a sibling. I guess what helped a lot was that many of his other friends at church had also recently inherited new siblings or have one on the way. So it’s like he feels he is part of this cool growing gang of peers who have brothers and sisters and who can call themselves “Kor Kor” (big brother) or “Che Che” (big sister).

Of all things, that has been the greatest source of relief. To know that he is looking forward to this new phase of our family life, and that he intends to love his “Di Di” (younger brother) to bits.

Although we’ve been making effort do get certain things done in preparation for baby’s arrival (which is just next month aargh), it still feels like it’s not enough. We do need to step up the pace. It’s just that… it’s tiring enough as it is being pregnant, and sometimes I do feel like I’d want to be doing things I enjoy for a change and not just the stuff that needs to get done.

Due to my personal health quirks and upon recommendation of the Ob/Gyn that we are consulting, I will most probably have to go for a planned C section to deliver this baby. The very thought of it somewhat scares me because I had an emergency C section the last round and recovery was not fun at all. But I tell myself, perhaps a C section may be a good thing this time round, as it helps eliminate some of the unpredictabilities of the onset and duration of labour, and other ad hoc decisions that tend to take place in a normal delivery.

With a preschooler on hand and parents that aren’t exactly very involved when it comes to babysitting, I guess being able to say I will be delivering the baby on such and such a date and time will make things easier for everyone. Just perhaps not so convenient for me.

I do not look forward to confinement month (due to the expected painful recovery and the usual fare of responsibilities I might have to shoulder at the same time) but beyond that, it’s going to be loads of fun with 2 boys at home with me. (Not being sarcastic here, I do honestly look forward to happy as well as crazy days with them). I only hope we can continue with this arrangement of me being at home with the kids yet carrying out some form of freelance work. (Finances are undeniably a concern).

Ah, I am sharing too much personal details which may be boring you, my dear reader. But you know, some days, it feels almost as if there is no one else to listen to my thoughts or to take an interest in what’s going on at my end. So it might as well be you that’s reading this and keeping me company.

Thanks for stopping by as usual. I certainly hope to write more frequently in the coming days (I know, I know… I always say that… sigh).

Got tons that need doing around here so that’s it for now!

Phases, changes

I saw her today as I was about to get out of my car and head back to my apartment.

Her back was turned towards me, and there was confidence in her stride. She wore fairly fashionable clothes. Attire that probably contributed to that healthy sense of self-esteem she seemed to embody.

She was walking to her car, obviously with somewhere to go. At this hour, it would undoubtedly be an office of some shape or form. Or, at least, to a venue where a work related appointment awaited.

Before long, she was behind the driver’s wheel and then off she went, into glorious realms unknown.

I was her, once, not so long ago.

I would wake up just in time for breakfast and to groom myself and look presentable for work. I would rush off hoping to reach the office in record time. (Or at least before the boss arrived or noticed).

I would only have myself to worry about for most of the day, while only occasionally relating to my boyfriend/husband. And eagerly awaiting for the next moment when we would meet again.

Now though, I have to rise early every morning and rush to prepare breakfast and to get a little boy up and ready to face the world. My morning commute consists of a school run, followed by a return to the quiet yet familiar surroundings of my home as I spend the next few hours alone till my son is back from school.

Work for me takes place whenever and wherever I can find the space and time to do so. The main objective is to get it done, and to have it completed by the deadline I’ve agreed to with my client.

I rarely have time to myself, and most waking hours are spent attending to the needs and demands of my son. My husband and I chat throughout the day about our son, and other household matters like what to cook for dinner or what has run out in the kitchen inventory and hence, needs to be picked up from the grocery store on the way home.

Life has indeed taken a different turn, with its own new set of challenges, but I tell you truth: I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Day by day

Sun has just about set over here, and for a brief moment, the bedroom where I am typing from was covered in a beautiful golden glow.

My son lies next to me snuggled in his bed, asleep. So ends another week.

It has been an eventful season in many ways.

He had his first school trip. His teachers have been giving me positive feedback about his progress. Hubs and I discovered I am pregnant. We told our son about it. He now is overly excited about all things baby related and is proudly telling everyone he is on his way to becoming a Korkor.

Meanwhile, all the usual affairs of life continue: I tread the thin line between harmonious work management and maintenance of an orderly home. Days fly by and becomes weeks. Family members fall sick, then recover. Church duties repeat themselves in a predictable cycle. I grow more white hair.

My hair remains frizzy. My skin is persistently itchy in some spot or another.

But I suppose what matters is I’m alive. I have a family to love. I have enough purpose to keep going.

Often, before I even pick up my tablet to put down words for a blog post, so many thoughts and topics course through my brain. Only for them to completely abandon me the moment I actually start writing.

What shall I tell you, dear reader? I wish to have something profound to say.

But all I have are familiar adages.

Things like…

Life is worth living.
Seize the moment.
Be thankful.

I don’t know. Oh well.

May your life be fascinating and as quirky as my son playing drums while wearing 2 pairs of sunglasses.

(And yes, I do believe he just might be of rock drummer mettle. Or should I say… metal? Heh.)

Hope to be back soon. Hold that thought.