The Problem with Bin Chute and Fumigation – Solved

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One of the things I love about living in Singapore is that they help me with my homemaking, by getting rid of cockroaches, that is.

(Yikessssss!!!)

The town council, I suppose, will have the HDB f’lat’s rubbish chute chamber fumigated once in every few months. You know, to keep those pests from invading your world. We are usually advised to mask-tape the hopper on each side (the gap between the hopper and its frame) to prevent the escaping-for-dear-life roaches from creeping into the house. (These roaches sure are tough, by the way, our flat is on the 7th floor and I still get them, lying over half-fainted on my floor!)

Now, did I mention the preventive taping and roaches still getting into the house? Yes, I did.

And it’s a super frustrating and horrifying experience at the same time. Good and bad for me being a stay-at-home mom. Good, because I witnessed and knew that those roaches just got into the house right then, half-fainted, and that was the best chance for me to get the broom and slap them dead! If the scenario were I found them only after I was back from work (or somewhere else), I can’t imagine what the guessing game of “are there roaches left still crawling somewhere in the house, bedroom, baby’s room?” would do to my nerve. Bad, because I saw them creeping in (oh those disgusting creatures, meeting them is bad enough already) and had to start killing them in panic mode! Well, good and bad in pretty much the same way. Look at things from both sides of the coin they say. I got tails on both sides. Anyway..

So what’s wrong with this taping?

We figured it out one fumigation day. As usual, we had the sides of the hopper all taped. Hubby was the taping guy, and he was home that day. Good! Two pairs of eyes and hands to make sure no roaches made it into the house alive. Once our block’s bin chute chamber was fumigated, we saw smoke coming out from the bin chute and soon after we found roaches around the wall where the chute is, some were lying on the floor already. They are quite small in size. Okay, one big fat roach flew in from the window, we both screamed and jumped in horror before Hubby slapped it dead. Very traumatic experience, I know. It still gives my goosebumps even now when I think (and type) about it. So that calls for closed-windows in every fumigation day.

binchuteThat big one is exception, now back to the chute. Since those succeeded in escaping were smaller ones, we came to suspect the handle of the chute, which were not taped at all. Afterall it totally didn’t look accessible for the roaches (and even the taping instruction in picture given out by the town council is one with tapes only on the sides, the handle is left un-taped). By the way, the type of chute I am talking about is the flat type with handle that works like a door knob, not the older type of which handle and chute is a one-piece-built.

Well as impossible as we thought that roaches could be coming out through the handle, there’s no harm in trying. Today is another fumigation day, we mummified the chute with layers of masking tape, extra layers on the handle! Sometimes the spirit of ‘kiasu’ is of good use too, you know. Heard the loud spraying of gas and slamming of metal door down there. Best of luck to the roaches and me! I waited for some minutes in front of the chute with the broom in my hand. (Baby was safe in the pack and play, in case you’re wondering.)

Voila!

Not one roach. Not even a hint of smoke. I went back a few more times to the chute and waited. Not a single roach in sight. Hooray!! Did a happy dance with Baby! A happy homemaker I was, and all the happier I am!

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*Kiasu: a popularly used Hokkien term in Singapore, is literally translated as ‘fear of losing’; is normally used to describe an extreme effort to play safe, or to out-smart everyone else in everything.

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An Alphabet of Wifely Excellence

It is that woman I am thinking about.

Yes, that one woman every woman looks up to with great admiration and a healthy dose of envy.

They call her the Virtuous Woman. You can find her at Proverbs 31 #10-31 (which, as lined out in verse 10, might send you into a further search for this lady 🙂 ). As I am one among those who are still searching, I found this commentary written by Derek Kidner in his book Proverbs throws clearer light along the path.

May I share this with the many women who share my quest for this wifely excellence.

The subject of this portrait is a lady of some position, who has servants to manage (15c) and money to invest (16). As her husband’s trusted partner (11) she has sole responsibility in her domain, which extends beyond the house to the management of her lands (16) and to dealings in the market, where she is as shrewd a seller (11, 18, 24) as a buyer (13, 14). She treats her advantages not as a means to self-indulgence but as a widening of her responsibilities (27), for she is a tireless worker (15, 18, 19): there are the poor to help (20) and the vicissitudes of life to meet forearmed (21, 25b). Yet with all her thrift, she is not austere (22), and with her business sense she is not hard, but a friend in need (20) and the delight of her children and her husband (28, 29). Her charm and her success (30, 31) owe nothing to chance, because her outlook (30) and her influence (26) have the solid foundation of the fear and wisdom of the Lord.
Except in this last respect, this lady’s standard is not implied to be within the reach of all, for it presupposes unusual gifts and material resources; nor is it much concerned with the personal relationships of marriage. Rather, it shows the fullest flowering of domesticity, which is revealed as no petty and restricted sphere, and its mistress as no cipher. Here is scope for formidable powers and great achievements – the latter partly in the realm of the housewife’s own nurture and produce (31); and partly in her unseen contribution to her husband’s good name (23).
– Proverbs, 178-179

One Little Step to Independence, One Little Step to Letting Go

My eleven-month-old baby girl has started taking her little steps on this beautiful blue planet.

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Here comes Baby Kana, the Little Explorer. Subduing the earth soon!

Isn’t it cute to see her toddling and swaying with her oversized-diapered-bottom? Hehe 😉

While yes, what a proud Mama I am , I can’t help but feel a bit ‘sad’ about the fleeting of the moment. A bit ‘worried’, too. (Well, I foresee lots of worries coming, part of a mom’s life, yeah?)

Right now, she is still holding onto one of my hands to guide her toddling around. In the past week, it was my both hands. Eleven months ago, I have her whole in my arms. And I feel, that very soon, she will no longer be. She will be on her own, off my hands.

Maybe, once in a while, I will still be carrying her, holding her hands. But surely, and the time is coming fast, I will no longer be able to carry her (she might be too big for me, or she might not want to be carried anymore, whichever comes first), I will only be able to watch her running around, and eventually I will only be able to watch her and let her go, into the world, on her own steps.

If there is no Loving Fatherly God out there to whom I can entrust my dear daughter, there will never be rest found for this poor heart of a mother. When this mother can no longer both-handedly hold her baby daughter, I know she is wholly body and soul in the hands of the Heavenly Father. And I rest in this thought.

Nevertheless, do slow down Baby. Let Mama hold your hands a little bit longer..

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Shedding Flowers for Good

Lately there has been thick layer of shed leaves and flowers covering the grounds and roadsides. It creates an autumn-like atmosphere in this tropical Singapore and we very much enjoy the ambiance especially during the morning stroll with Baby. 🙂

We found this beautiful scene at one particular spot of our route..

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Sometimes the flowers will be ‘raining’ down slowly on us while we stroll pass under the big mother tree. That’s a pretty romantic scene, isn’t it? We’ll open up our hands, trying to catch some falling flowers (Baby just loves it!) 🙂

Now thinking to myself, when I look at those fallen flowers on the ground, they looked just as pretty as when they were on the tree. But I knew they will soon wither and die there on the ground. That’s the life of the plant I guess. Perhaps that’s why they are beautiful. They bloom, they are shed, they wither. They produce seed, they bear fruits too. They live.

They live the way they are designed to live.

In my own life, likewise, there is a time for every different season. One season brings blossoms, another comes with the need to shed flowers and let them wither. It can be very tempting to want to stay in the season of blossoming forever;  the comfort of being single and carefree, the promising career, the perfect pre-baby body figure, etc and resent the inevitable needs to move on to the next season. Maybe I thought I see the obvious ‘wasted’ season coming. What is the good in having the hard work in producing flowers wasted on the grounds, trampled by passers-by?

After some trying-hard-to-recall-what-my-biology-teacher-said and ‘googling’ around, I think I found the scientific answer: to continue bearing another life.

treeSome are shed for seed-spreading, some for the purpose of focusing nutrients on the growing fruits, some are due to their mature age. (And some to brighten up some mother-and-baby morning stroll! 🙂 )

God designs life that way. One flower withers, but its sweet fruit is forming (or another batch of new beautiful flowers are in the making if it’s not a fruit bearing plant).

Too often the fear of wasted effort gets the better hold of us, and so we withhold bearing fruit. Even if we do bear fruits, they are bitter. Because we go through the process with bitterness.

It could be the resentment towards the post-pregnancy figure. It could be the discontentment in being stay-at-home mother. Or it could be the skeptical view about everything which restrains us from doing our best for our home. We refrain from cleaning ‘too much’, from giving our spouse birthday surprises, from baking cookies, from crafting play-and-learn activities, from planning creative playdates. For what we see is the withering flowers, we don’t see the fruit, we can’t see them yet.

Looking at those falling flowers, again. I can not see the fruits either. There might not be fruits, who knows? I don’t know.

What I think I know is this: God designs it the way it is, with a sure purpose not known to me. And it’s beautiful the way it is.

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So may we continue to flower our best, to not fret but joyfully letting them off in due time, and to patiently bear the unseen coming fruits. May we learn to put our faith in the Lord, who has beautifully governed the life of a tree, given full splendor to its flowers, willed their withering, and at the same time has mightily given new lives through the process.

We don’t know and so we thought it’s wasted. But God knows, and God will definitely use the ‘wasted efforts’, often in ways unimaginable to us.