Thursday, November 23, 2006

Temporary Tenants.

Poh poh got discharged on Tuesday and after what seemed like an argument heated discussion between mom's siblings, they decided that it was the best for poh poh to come live with us - at least for a couple of weeks before she goes back to her place. Damn, they must know I'm getting good at this househusband thing! So as it appears, I have to see to her medication, her herbal tea, bathe time and her other needs while balancing out the mountainous heap of laundry apart from everything else. Not that she's incapable of any of those above, it's just that mom thinks it's best she has someone to be disposed at any time to aid her in whatever it is she does. Not to the extend of tailing her back everywhere she goes, though. After all, it's just appendix and the doctor only restricted her from lifting heavy things.

Either way, poh poh isn't really the type of person who only tinkles the bell while everyone runs around the house like headless chickens making her wishes their orders. At least, not with me. Or she just simply doesn't like to think of herself as the disabled one, asking her children (and grandchildren) for little favors, although mom has given her full authority to boss me around. I mean, she kept saying, "No need lah," in Hakka while brushing the idea off with her hand when mom drilled me on what needs and need not to be done while I stood there and took in the orders like a little housemaid before she went for work. In layman terms, poh poh staying with me isn't exactly a pain in the neck. She doesn't require a lot of attention or anything for that matter. She's practically, dressed in her sleeping gown the entire day and only wakes up during meal times and bathroom breaks and when people come to visit. I'm just and extra hand lying around.

Which reminds me. I had an impromptu visit from sam yi - 3rd maternal aunt who's married to an Indian man whom we address as Uncle Rao (don't ask why) and has three children, aged 12, 7 and 5, lives in Kuala Kangsar, Perak and works as a teacher. She came back to Penang for a certain function and didn't have the chance to visit poh poh at the hospital, so she decided to drop by and trash the place before heading back home for Kuala Kangsar. Her visit with her entire family kind of took me aback as I wasn't informed or anything. I used to love it when distant relatives come for visits or sleepovers but I can't say the same this time. I was the one to entertain them and when they suddenly decided to stay for the night before heading off, I had to make the beds, take out the extra pillows and blankets and ensure the comfort. Mind you, I'm not complaining, but all these little things that I once took for granted certainly does make me miss having akak around.

Anyway, poh poh won't be the only temporary tenant around. Sam yi decided to let Danushya - her 12 year old daughter who looks way too big for a 12 year old and who happens to be my (official) godsister - stay with us, with the plain excuse of helping me around with poh poh. I assume she had discussed this matter with mom beforehand, when I didn't see mom's surprised expression or when she didn't stop to think about for a moment when sam yi informed her. Hey, I definitely do not need an extra hand if it was her real reason for staying! I've got everything under cover. She'll probably be here till Christmas, seeing that sam yi still has her examinations going on and the next time their family's going to make another trip back to Penang will be somewhere near Christmas. Don't get me wrong. Not that I don't appreciate an extra hand, if the extra hand was really handy in the first place.

Danushya is pretty much still a small girl, albeit her size (not fat or plump, just big frames) who still has her whole life depending on her parents and her akak. From what I hear (family gossips), she doesn't even clean her own plates at home not that I do when akak's around, but I still know how to do it! Her independence level is still low and basic homemaking skills are a far cry when it comes to her. I mean, c'mon, she's 12, going through puberty and experiencing a lot of hormonal changes! Believe me, she could be a little too obsessed in her things like her mobile phone (tender age to get a mobile phone, don'tcha think?) which is, of course, totally made up. Sadly, her exaggerations are only practiced around the younger cousins (think of Edmund). Probably explains why I unintentionally let out a sarcastic laugh when dad told me she was coming over!

I think, the only reason she exaggerates about everything is to get the elder cousin's attention. See, among us cousins, different groups of different ages do different things. Let's say, Grace, Carina, Adrian and I don't go running around chasing each other with the plastic ninja swords during family gatherings while Edmund, Nic and Divya tries to assassinate each other with the toy gun (although there are times when we get really crazy and join in the fun!). Danushya is technically stuck in between, not knowing which groups to go to (but I swear she fits in better with the latter!). Added with her shyness, she's always left out in any games or outings (like Rudolph!). Not that we exclude her or anything, she's always refusing with every invite! And now that most of us has past those years where mobile phones were the thing we can't live with most, she's only getting on the wagon of sheer teenage stupidity. Oh well, the girl's gotta learn!

By the way, the renovators on the floor below mine are still drilling their walls and cutting tiles with the ever continuous annoying sounds of melodious music smashing and cutting! It only means, I still can't clear the dust-covered storeroom. If only it was that simple. It's not. When the storeroom can't be used, all the big kitchen utensils (think woks, pots, pans and chopping boards) will be left lying around the kitchen top, making the entire kitchen look downright turbulent! Everything is misplaced and everything looks very disorientated, leaving my visitors with the impression that the place turns into a madhouse without akak and making us all look plain bad. I've requested that I clean up the storeroom, whether or not they're done with their renovation but dad managed to stop me in time before I went on another cleaning rampage!

Speaking about the kitchen, the kitchen itself has invited some unwelcomed new tenants as well! I was going around with my daily routine, cleaning the kitchen today when I spotted the unmistakable line of moving tiny black ants! Damn it, pests! I was cleaning one of the top cabinets, wiping the exterior doors and handles before I realize all those creepy crawlies were all over the rag I was using which lead to me spotting the actual line of black house ants, making their way in between and into cabinets! I figured that I was too much of a detail oriented person to let these things pass me by when I opened the cabinet (use to keep extra light bulbs and batteries). So I got the insecticide and started wiping out all of those uninvited visitors! I couldn't spray the insecticide freely because below that particular cabinet was where we dry the plates and cups. I had to use it with extra precaution, spraying only a little bit at one time to avoid poisoning the rest of the family with insecticide!

Well, so much for my good news. Now I have an extra person to see to, although it seems that she's big enough to take care of herself, it's still my responsibility to see after her, ensuring she doesn't die of starvation or any of the likes, considering how shy she is. Still, I'm not saying she's another pain in the neck (I'll see that she isn't!). At least I know now that both my grandmothers aren't fugly wicked old witches with bad breath and horrifying teeth that bosses their grandchildren around, scaring the shit out of them! They most certainly are not. Oh well, I still have the whole house to clean tomorrow, to welcome Grace's homecoming. Probably my last time cleaning the house before I surrender everything to akak once more! Until then...

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