Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Losing my wisdom

In my mind, the year 2002 will always be associated with my teeth. That year, I suffered the most painful toothache I have ever experienced in my life. It was brought on by my wisdom tooth that had only partially erupted. The eruption caused an opening in the gum which allowed bacteria to enter around the tooth in front of the wisdom tooth and caused an infection.

I have to eat antibiotics and wait for the infection to heal before removing my wisdom tooth. Luckily, the extraction of wisdom teeth was covered by the private medical health insurance plans (Bupa UK) provided by my employer. I only had to pay GBP100.

The dental surgeon I consulted with advised me to remove all 4 wisdom teeth at one go. He asked me whether I prefer to do it under local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia. I asked him which one does he prefer. He said general anaesthesia so I agreed to it.

The operation was done as a day case. I checked into the hospital and was given a single private day room. The anesthesiologist visited me before the operation and asked me if I have any concerns. I told him that the previous time I went under general anaesthesia for an appendectomy, I vomited when I woke up. I also told him about my fear of anesthesia awareness where some people wake up during the operation, paralyzed but fully aware of their surroundings. He assured me that he will give me the correct dosage of drugs to ensure that both events do not happen.

I was given a combination of inhaled anesthetic gases and intravenous drugs and I promptly blacked out. For both times I underwent general anaesthesia, I was completed "out of it" - no dreams at all. It was just black out and came to. Nothing in between. I wonder if death is like that. Just black out and no coming back. Well, I digress.

Back to the removal of my wisdom teeth. When I came to, my whole jaw was sore and painful. I then slept until the drowsiness wore off. Then I was discharged from the hospital.

The recovery took a few months. The lower part of my face around my jaw swelled up big time. There were stitches in my mouth and it was painful. It was soup and porridge for me everyday for what seemed like eternity.

Before the surgery, I asked the dental surgeon to please keep my wisdom teeth intact when he removed them and he did. You can see for yourself, here they are:

They are so big. I can't believe that the teeth were fully formed and hidden in my gums. I still have them with me today. Perhaps I should string them up and wear them around my neck in order to keep my wisdom.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mine, Yours, Ours

In my early days of marriage, I have often wonder how other double-income married couples manage their money. After talking to a few friends, I find that anything goes as long as both parties are happy about it. Here are some of the methods:

1. Popular Method.

Have a joint account for household expenses.
Each of them holds a separate individual account for personal use.
The challenging thing here then is to decide how much each contributes to the joint account.

Does each person deposit:
a. an equal amount (e.g. each person deposits RM600 monthly) or,
b. the same percentage of his/her net income (e.g. each person deposits 30% of his/her net income monthly) or
c. as much as/as little as he/she likes
into the joint account?

Then the other question is what are the items classified under household expenses.

If the husband wants to replace the old but functioning TV with a state-of-the-art TV, can this expense be considered part of household expenses and be paid out of the joint account? If not and if the husband is unwilling to fork out money from his own personal account but yet he is forced to do so due to his desire for the new TV, does he have the right to disallow his wife from using this new TV?

If the wife likes to eat out but the husband does not but gives in to her, who pays for the expensive meal? The joint account or each pays for his/her own meal or should the wife pay for both because she is the one who wants to eat out.

These are some of the things brought up by my friends as examples of the many things to decide in this method.

2. Share and Share Alike.

In this method, there is only one joint account. Everything goes into this account and all expenses come out of this account. At a glance, this is the easiest method to manage but then it is rather difficult to control who uses how much.

3. Wife = Financial Controller.

The husband puts everything he has into a joint account whereas his wife maintains her own personal account. The wife has the final say on what expenses get paid out of the joint account. This is the method used by my maternal grandmother but I don't think this method is popular with husbands nowadays. I have not come across anyone telling me the reverse where the husband is the financial controller. Perhaps this is because I only ask the wives.

4. Each to Each's Own.

Each of them has his/her own individual personal account. No joint account at all. They then decide who will pay for what. Surprisingly a few of my married friends use this method.

So the above are the four methods that I can recall. Does anyone have any other methods to share?

The most important thing here is that both parties must be willing to be honest with each other and to discuss about each spending and saving habits. No point having separate accounts but poor financial management and then needing one's spouse to bail one out in times of financial difficulties.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A new pet for 2010

My spouse bought me a pet for the new year. I chose it myself. When it gets dirty, I will give it a bath. Here it is (isn't it cute?):

Yes, it is a bag. It is to be my always-carry-bag. I always carry only one bag for almost all occasions. The bag has to have many compartments with zip fasteners. I used my previous bag almost everyday for 10 years until the colour of the leather faded away and the stitches attaching its handles to its body slowly became undone. It was my constant companion and sturdily carried many heavy loads for me. It has even gone through 4 winters with me in UK. That bag was also given to me by my spouse who was my boyfriend then.

In loving memory of my previous bag which has served me well, here are some photos of me and the bag. Photos below (right to left): taken in 1997 when I first visited Tokyo and in 1998 when my employer sent me to Hong Kong to participate in a project meeting.

Photos above (left to right): Bag came along with me to Shanghai in 2003, look at how the colour has faded (at my coursemates graduation in 2006), please don't ask me why I contorted my body that way while hanging onto the bag for dear life at the Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai (2007).

I really have many fond memories of the bag but sad to say although I wanted to keep it for the rest of my life for its sentimental value, I only kept it for another 2 years. I had to throw it away while clearing my things at the end of last year as part of my decluttering exercise.

I hope this bag will serve me for just as long as my previous bag. It does look a bit big on me (middle photo below) but then I like my bag to be able to contain many things. It even has a removable compartment for my netbook.

There are other colour choices as well such as sweet pink or refreshing green but I chose brown for its earth tone. I have started using it on 1 Jan 2010. Let's see whether I am still using it on 1 Jan 2020.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wishing you a happy birthday!

Happy birthday to you, dear brother! May you be healthy and wise always! Here are some photos to recap the good times we shared.

Though distance separates us now, I will always remember the day that you were born into this world. At that time, I have just entered secondary school. How time flies. Now I am much older and you have grown to be a young independent man.

May you have a wonderful celebration with your lovely wife. Enjoy your big day!