Friday, November 10, 2006

Good 'Ol.

There is no other time like a good quality time spent with my old man. Not exactly a planned fishing trip or a night out in the woods, just father and son, but things do happen naturally. And I'm honestly glad it did. When I finally decided to take my hands off the keyboard and help him out, I started out thinking that it wouldn't take long before we both started quarreling over the smallest matter. But it turned out to be better than I expected. Didn't really expect anything, in fact.

Remember that time when I complained about the new tenants living below me, having their renovation and how I used it as an excuse to my laziness? It left our store room (and everything in it) looking like the place had just survived a snow storm or an avalanche, if that matters. Their renovation has got the most of us at home, deliberately trying to clean the dust off our furnitures by wiping them at least twice a day for almost everyday or madly warding the dust off by sealing all those cracks and holes in the house by stuffing them with newspapers! At least, that's what dad did.

Their renovation works started on that week when akak left - when her departure hasn't really sank into us yet. Maybe it was due to that that we didn't believe any of us could actually manage anything as big as cleaning out the whole store-room by ourselves (see how much we've become dependent on her?) by saying that it'd be useless because they're going to continue their work tomorrow. And of course, there's always the 'busy schedule' excuse. Everytime we opened the sliding door, we moan and grumble at the mess the workers have left us and cursed them under our breaths but close it back in disappointment and just simply choose to ignore it.

Thus, the place was left, blanketed in cement powder and thick dust for a couple of weeks now, unattended. Finally, today, dad decided to clean things up by himself. As usual, he didn't even ask me for my help, although fully knowing I was just chilling in my room. Dad never liked to involve his children in stuff like these, although he has all the rights to boss us around. He never favored asking any of us 3 children to help him in anything. That explains why we never had one of those I-helped-dad-wash-the-car moments. He's too particular with his car anyway - all that waxing and polishing! Kind of trained us to be spoiled brats, if you ask me! Or maybe I was always complaining about getting wet in the process of car washing? Perhaps.

I was in my room the whole day, out of boredom, hunted down for various online recipes and getting all worked up and hungry the whole time. It was a Friday and the weather seemed perfect (clouded with the occasional drizzle) for a day of lazying around at home. I put aside all the house chores and just spent the entire morning waltzing around the home, playing Kenny G's The Greatest Holiday Classics over and over again in the boom box, occasionally picking up a magazine or a book lying around to flip through. Well, that was before I decided to text Grace to ask where did all her cookie recipes were. I rummaged through her things in one of the cupboards in her room and found it after she called me. Overwhelmed by all the illustration and determined that I was going to do something by this Christmas, I went out the living room to tell dad to take me to the store. Crazy, huh?

I couldn't see the man sleeping on the couch with his Hokkien drama airing on TV. Seeing that the door was unlocked, I went out out to look for him. Shouted, actually. Since we're living in a 5 storey apartment, it wasn't hard to hear my voice if he was anywhere downstairs. I hoped down a flight of stairs to see him spraying half of the items from the storeroom with the pipe when he answered. I took the elevator down to see what he was up to. He was still spraying the shelf and a bunch of other things (I wondered how he got all those things downstairs by himself) when I asked him if he could take me to the store to buy some ingredients. He laughed at the idea and said that he needed to finish cleaning the storeroom by 5p.m..

I went back up the house, back into my room to do a little online searching. Searched a couple of other recipes and found out how things like oregano and sage looked like. Then I realized how much of a useless son I was to dad. True, that he never asked for any help but it was still my responsibility to OFFER my assistance. The thought how this might affect our relationship and even the future bugged me so much that I dragged myself away from the computer and immediately went to help him. I didn't offer. I just asked him what he needed to be brought downstairs and I got to washing all the pots and pans and clearing out everything.

At this point, I have to say that the gene of wanting to see something clean or being cleaned must be inherited. Mom had it and now, dad's showing me he has it too. I guess it's natural that the family has this (I don't know what you call it) desire to see everything sparkling clean, which includes self cleanliness. This family has been a true believer of appearance - even if it's ugly inside, making it look pretty in the front definitely makes us feel better. It's like the elation I get at the end of each cleaning seems to be so overwhelming and I couldn't help myself from going, "Damn! Am I good at this!". Honestly, I think I might become a pretty good househusand or a maid, for that matters.

So dad and I spent the entire afternoon, clearing out all the junk we have in the storeroom, taking the bigger things like plastic shelves, ladder and plastic pales downstairs to have it sprayed with clean water by dad while shifting the smaller things like a collection of empty bottles right outside the front door to have it wiped by me and have their plastic bags replaced. Speaking of which, it really makes me wonder why Chinese women (especially) have this addiction to collecting odd things in the kitchen. You should've seen what sorts of things that are kept in all the various plastic bags stuffed at every corner of the storeroom. Empty bottles, empty boxes of electrical items and even old mini stoves are wrapped neatly in plastic bags and left in the storeroom to rot.

Don't even try to say that they're keeping it for recycle or reuse... because they never do! Half of the things in there are of no use (do we really need so many empty bottles?) and are kept there to rot. And eventually when things like metals begin to rust and when we throw them away, they start wailing about the misfortune of the item, slapping their foreheads like they've just lost their child! I'm not saying akak's a Chinese woman. But she might as well be for she has picked up the annoying habit of safekeeping almost everything you can find in the kitchen! Or is it just their habit of wanting to fill up space? I really don't get it. Dad and I probably discarded a quarter of all the junks in the storeroom, giving everything a second (and third) thought about how they woman would react!

After finishing all those necessary dusting and wiping and after putting everything back to the way it was, I took the liberty to replace everything that mom has taken from the storeroom and have never gotten the chance to put them back. The cooking wok, pan and several other plastic bottles and containers were all stuffed back into the storeroom. See, the storeroom's just hanging outside the kitchen so it's use to stuff most of the kitchen utensils.
Not being able to stand the misplacing of objects I could easily tell in the kitchen (it's natural!), I decided to do a little more retouching. Kept the things that were meant to be in shelves and cupboards and arranged everything neatly and also throwing away plastic bags and other sorts of rubbish around the kitchen top. Decorated the reflective white marble dinner table with a basket of fresh fruits and that's it!

Let's just say, mom came home delighted and was almost afraid to even use the sink. I, on the other hand, couldn't help but admire my own ability (to keep everything clean and simple and also apply a little decorating skills)! Now I'm not sure if I still need akak. Whoops! I might take that back for now. Wouldn't want to go on a full time job as househusband now, would I? Or should I say, house-child? Nevertheless, I was happy that I was able to work with dad without stepping on each other's tails. Though I must say, I'm better at ordering people around, giving instructions to what needs and need not to be done rather than doing it myself. Probably got that from mom.

Oh and did I mention that I had Kenny G's Greatest Holiday Classic playing the whole time?

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