Friday, August 3, 2018

A Short Story: Adapting To Something New

 
Written by
Mabel Wong
           
     Mindy was wide awake, past her bedtime. Her parents’ bedroom lights were still on. Mindy’s curiosity got the best of her. She silently creaked open her door and walked out being so cautious not to make any noise. She placed an ear onto the door and listened. “Wow! Thank you, I’ll be there!” said Mindy’s mum and hung up the phone. “What did she mean by I’ll be there?” whispered Mindy under her voice. She heard her mother’s footsteps approaching and hurried back into her room. She laid in her bed thinking about what she just overheard. Suddenly, her door opened and in walked Mindy’s mum. Mindy quickly closed her eyes and pretended to sleep. Mindy’s mum sat on her bed and brushed her bangs off her forehead. She kissed Mindy on her cheek and walked out of her room. The last thing Mindy wanted to do that night was sleep. Eventually she became tired of the many questions in her head and so little answers that she fell asleep.
                          
     The next morning Mindy woke up so tired that she forgot about last night. She lazed around in her bed for a bit and decided to wake up. It was a beautiful day outside, the rays of sunshine shone from her windowsill. The birds were chirping on the tree branches, it was just like the type of mornings in the movies. Mindy got dressed and brushed her teeth. She made her way to the table, halfway there she could already smell the aroma of blueberry pancakes. “Now that, is a breakfast to look forward to!” exclaimed Mindy. On the table were blueberry pancakes piled on a plate, a glass of milk and finally, a platter of fruits. “Morning Sweetie!” greeted Mindy’s mum. “Morning mum” replied Mindy. They both took a seat at the table. Mindy got started on breakfast as soon as she sat. When she finished with a nice glass of milk, her mum’s expression changed to being serious. “Yesterday, my boss called and he said that I got the promotion, sadly it’s in San Francisco. I told him that I needed some time to think about it." explained Mindy’s mum. Mindy gulped hard. “So, what your trying to say is that WE’RE MOVING?” asked Mindy. “Precisely.” Said Mindy’s mum. They spent some time talking about it and Mindy finally gave in.

     It was hard to take in that they were moving. Mindy did not get a wink of sleep that night, it was sad that Mindy had to leave her only home. It took an entire day to box everything up. When they were done, it looked like their house was made of cardboard and boxes. Slowly but surely, it was time to leave. It took a while to say goodbye to their home but the time eventually came. They took a taxi to the airport. Mindy always liked the airport, seeing the planes take off and land really satisfied her. They arrived at the terminal and unloaded their baggage from the back. Checking in was not very hard for them as Mindy’s mum was always prepared. They hanged around for a bit and finally boarded the plane. It took a few hours to reach San Francisco as Chicago was not very near. The plane finally landed. “Mum, where will we be staying here in San Francisco?” Mindy asked. “Well, we’re going to have to stay in an apartment for now until we can find a house.” Said Mindy’s mum. “Oh, ok.” Mindy Said with an unsure look on her face but trying her best to hide it.

     Mindy’s mum waved for a taxi, and soon, they were on their way to the apartment. Mindy looked out of the window most of the time during the car ride. The scenery was beautiful, with beautiful houses, rolling hills and lakes. They arrived at their apartment. It was not very big, but it was an apartment nonetheless. Within a week, they slowly begin settling in. Mindy’s first night in her new bedroom was not that bad. She was still in the same bed her dad had built for her when she was a little girl. Her bedroom still had some of the same furniture, except a smaller space.

     The next day at breakfast, Mindy and her mum were discussing about Mindy’s new school. It was San Francisco Sunrise Middle School. They called it SFSMD for short. Mindy needed a school uniform too, which hadn’t really been liked from Mindy as she liked to wear her own clothes.

     The days went by fast, slowly approaching the first day of Mindy’s new school. She was in the same school since kindergarten, so she did not know the feeling of being new the day finally came, Mindy woke up to her alarm clock. She did not want to be late, especially on her first day. She got dressed into her uniform, brushed her teeth and washed her face. She went to the breakfast table and saw her mum already there dressed for work. On the table was just a bowl of cereal and some fruits. “Eat up sweetie, we’ll have to leave soon.” Reminded Mindy’s mum. “Ok”, said Mindy.

     Soon, they were on their way to her new school. “Remember, you are walking home, ok?” said Mindy’s mum. “Yeah, got it.” Replied Mindy. They arrived at SFSMS. Students were coming from all directions. Some were walking, some were taking the bus and others were getting dropped off by their parents. The school looked so big. There was a football field to the right of the school and a tennis court to its left. This was a really big upgrade from Mindy’s old school. The doors were made of glass and you could see a sign inside that read office inside the school. “Here we are! Try to make some friends.” Said Mindy’s mum. Mindy nodded and headed out of the car. As soon as she thought she had not made a mistake yet, Mindy realized that everyone around her was wearing a different uniform. “Oh no.” said Mindy under her breath. She headed to the front glass doors and realized that there was a sensor at the door. She headed straight to the office and avoided all eye contact although she could feel many eyes staring at her with a puzzled face.

     The office was huge, but she managed to find the main counter. There was a lady there wearing a dress and a light sweater. She was a bit plump as far as Mindy could tell. She was already talking to another girl who looked just about Mindy’s age. ‘She must be new too!’ thought Mindy in her head. Mindy walked to the counter, “Hi, I’m a new student in the 6th grade.” Explained Mindy. “Oh, Hi Mindy, I’m Miss Miller, Sarah here is also a new student in the 6th grade too. Said Miss Miller pointing to the other girl. You two must be here for your class schedules I take it?” asked Miss Miller. “Yes.” Said Sarah. Miss Miller looked at Mindy and she nodded. Miss Miller begin typing into her computer. Two sheets of papers came out of the printer. “Here you are.” Said Miss Miller and handed the papers to both Mindy and Sarah. “And if you girls have any questions, you can always come to the office and we’ll provide you with answers.” Said Miss Miller with a warm smile. Both girls nodded. “And one more thing Mindy, you might want to switch out of that uniform.” Said Miss Miller with a playful laugh. Mindy chuckled.

     When they were out of the office, Sarah asked “Hey, do you want to have lunch with me?” Sarah asked. “Yeah, sure.” Said Mindy. And with that said, they left for their classes. “1st period, math.” Mindy said to herself. She went to a nearby student and asked, “Do you know where Miss Hayley’s Homeroom is?” “Yeah, just down the hall and to your right.” She directed. “Thanks.” said Mindy. She headed down the hall and to her right just as the girl instructed.

     ‘Miss Hayley’ read the sign on the door. She opened it and saw almost all the seats filled up. She quickly took the seat almost to the back of the classroom. There was a table in the front of the classroom, and the nametag read Miss Hayley. There was a nice lady there with glasses, she wore a sunflower dress and a sweater. “Good morning class! Who is ready to learn?” said Miss Hayley with an enthusiastic tone in her voice. “Me!” said a kid in the front row with his hand raised up high. He wore glasses and a plait collar shirt. “Okay?” said Miss Hayley and moved on. Even if Mindy did not say anything, she always had a passion for math and was excited to learn. “We’re learning about variables and expressions today.” Instructed Miss Hayley. The kid in the front row was very actively asking questions, maybe even too active. He was scribbling down notes while his other hand was raised up high. Mindy also took down some notes and had her hand raised up only when she really needed too. Others were busy whispering to each other and passing notes. Others were also listening but not really taking down any notes. So really, only Mindy and a few others were making use of their teacher’s time and knowledge. The lesson went past really fast, Miss Hayley handed out their homework at the end of class. Mindy was happy to receive hers. The bell rang, people started leaving the classroom. Mindy was the only one who took the initiative to thank the teacher for the lesson. “Thank you for your lesson Miss Hayley, I really learnt something from it.” Said Mindy. “Why thank you, although some students make my lesson fall on deaf ears.” Said Miss Hayley and smiled. “And you are…” “Mindy.” Said Mindy finishing her sentence. “you should go, don’t want to be late for your next class.” Reminded Miss Hayley. Mindy nodded and left.

     Mindy looked down at her watch and realized she was only a minute late from her next English period. “Oh no the time! Ok, Mrs. Rooney next period.” Said Mindy to herself. She didn’t mind asking anybody for directions, she ran as fast as her feet could. She raced past classes and eventually reached Mrs. Rooney’s classroom. She took a seat right in the nick of time. This time, an older lady appeared behind the teacher’s desk. Her face was pale and wrinkled. She wore glasses that looked way too big for her eyes. “Good morning students.” Said Mrs. Rooney in a less enthusiastic tone than Miss Hayley. We’re going to learn about on-demand writing today.” Explained Mrs. Rooney. Not surprisingly, Mindy was also taking notes. This seemed longer this time but it was still learning. At the end of the lesson, they received their assignment. They had to write a two-page essay on on-demand writing.

     The bell rang, and this time for lunch. Mindy remembered that she was having lunch with Sarah. She headed to the cafeteria and lined up for the food. She got a tray of mashed potatoes and baked beans served with some bottled water. She took a seat at one of the tables and waited for Sarah. As she waited people were still staring at her for wearing the wrong uniform. She felt like a hole would open up from the ground and swallow her into the earth and at the same time, she felt like telling those people to mind their own business. Finally, Sarah showed up. “Hi Mindy.” Sarah said with a warm smile. “Wait, why are those people staring at you?” Sarah asked. Mindy pointed to her uniform to answer her question. “So, how were your two periods?” Sarah asked to break the tension in the cafeteria. “Oh, yeah.” Said Mindy finally saying something since she felt everyone staring at her like she was an alien. “I really liked math first period, it was always really fun for me.” said Mindy. “No way! I really like math too, it’s my favorite subject.” Explained Sarah. The two girls spent the whole lunch talking. They found out they had a lot in common too. The bell rang again, that was their que to depart. “Do you want to meet up after school?” Mindy asked. “I would really like that!” replied Sarah. With that, they headed off.

     Mindy made use of every other lesson she had. At the end of the school day, her backpack was filled with homework. From math, to social studies, to science… Mindy never had this much homework in her life. But, she decided that this was what she had to get used to from now on.

     The bell rang, Mindy waited outside the office drinking fountain waiting for Sarah. She arrived right after Mindy did. “I was thinking of going to a park nearby that my mum took me to once.” Suggested Mindy. “Sounds like a plan.” Agreed Sarah. The girls headed to the nearby park. It was a beautiful and sunny day. They found a nice shady tree and decided to do their homework there. They concentrated and in the end, they only took an hour and a half to get it done. Although when you’re in homework land, it feels like an entire week. They talked for a bit until they went home. Turns out, Sarah lived really close to Mindy’s apartment, well, a little small vacation site while they were trying to find a house, is what Mindy’s mum likes to call it.

     When Mindy reached home, her mum was already started on dinner. “Oh, there you are! I want to hear all about your day.” Said Mindy’s mum. They had pasta that night. Mindy told her mum about her day, from her wrong uniform to almost being late for her English lesson to Sarah in the cafeteria and finally ending with homework in the park. “That was some day.” Said Mindy’s mum. “Talk about it.” Replied Mindy. “You made a friend!” exclaimed Mindy’s mum. Mindy shrugged her shoulders. “OH, we have to get you a different uniform sweetie.” Said Mindy’s mum with a little bit of a concerned look. They finished dinner and Mindy did the dishes. Soon, it was time to go to bed.

     The week passed, slowly getting more and more normal. And Miss Hayley secretly being Mindy’s favorite teacher. As the year passed, Mindy and Sarah became best friends. The two inseparable girls made more friends and soon, they became an inseparable group. Mindy and her mum eventually moved to a house. San Francisco was becoming their new home now.


Mindy learnt that not all change was bad, some change was good, especially this one.

To be continued…

- So proud of my 10 year old niece 😘💓 -
If you enjoyed what you read, feel free to leave some words of encouragement for more of these stories
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Thursday, May 31, 2018

May 2018 | MONTH IN REVIEW


Here's a quick summary of what we were up to this month.

  • So end of last month, Alex hired a guy to spray the deck with gelcoat. We normally try to do everything ourselves, as labour cost is expensive and we normally do a better job than hired help (of course, by "we", I mean he). But since we don't own a spray gun ourselves, we didn't have much choice... check the post to see the outcome of the job!
  • Alex also worked on the locker lids. Although it's not top priority on the boat projects list, since we had a bit of gelcoat left, we did not want it to go to waste.
  • Happy birthday to my Captain! Sorry you had to celebrate it alone. Promise we'll celebrate it soon! A Japanese feast perhaps? 😀
  • On the entertainment front, Alex watched a lot of TV this month - The Shannara Chronicles (Season 1-2), The Terror (Season 1), The Orville (Season 1), The Strain (Complete series), American Horror Story (Season 1-3), The Alienist (Season 1), The Man in the High Castle (Season 1-2) and The Killjoys (Season 1-3). Makes me wonder if he's really working on the boat!? {just kidding, I'm sure he is..}. As for me, I watched more Korean series - The Package, Marry Him If You Dare and BIG.

Check out our other posts:

Spray Painting Our Deck 

Boat Locker Lids


April 2018 | MONTH IN REVIEW >>


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Boat Locker Lids

Our boat locker lids. Probably the least of our worries, but since we had a bit of gelcoat left. Alex decided to fix em' up!

We have 4 large and 2 small ones on the front deck, 3 in the cockpit and another 2 on the lazarettes.

Larger ones on the deck. Before - this one actually doesn't look too bad
Removing the foam strip - leaves a very stubborn sticky residue
After cleaning the sticky stuff off
After sanding
The two smaller deck locker lids
Fiberglass cut out
Polyester resin applied (Alex hates using polyester resin normally, but if he uses epoxy, the Gelcoat may have adherence issues unless he uses an expensive primer)
After 1st coat of gelcoat
Fiberglass on, Gelcoat on
Drying under the boat
The battery compartment lid
The 2 cockpit locker lids

All done and ready to be returned to active duty... once he buys & applies some more foam for the lip seal {that is} - not an easy task here in Trinidad!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Spray Painting Our Deck


Finally getting the smooth sections of our deck (those without non-skid on them) spray painted with gelcoat. The gelcoat on the entire boat is still the original from when the boat as built 20 years ago, and we had a lot of sections on the deck where the gelcoat had worn off so badly that the fiberglass was exposed.

With all the repairs that Alex completed such as the jib sail track, the steps, the bow and the forestay chain plate area in the last few months, it made sense to finally get the deck spray painted with a fresh coat of gelcoat.

We'd normally do the job ourselves, but because we don't own a spray gun, Alex hired a local guy to do the job. 💸 We also considered other means of applying the gelcoat (paintbrush or roller), but previous experiences suggest that it never looks very good when brushed or rolled on... unless you're prepared to do LOTS of sanding afterwards (and of course, we weren't).

Since I'm not there to witness what went down, I'm handing this post over to Alex

...

Would love to do the entire deck (including the non-skid areas which actually constitute most of the deck anyway), but have yet to find a way of properly preparing a non-skid surface for re-spray ... as far as I'm aware its pretty much impossible without completely removing the old non-skid completely and starting from scratch - something I'm definitely not looking at doing! So for the time being we put up with chalky gelcoat that leaves your feet white when you walk on it.

The preparation:

The original area of gelcoat (where it had simply worn off) were sanded with 80grit, then 120grit sandpaper. Lots of small (pinhole sized) cavities & voids in the fiberglass were filled with a polyester based filler & also sanded. Finally the areas not to be painted were masked off with plastic & masking tape.

The areas (such as the step, the jib track, the forestay chainplate area & the front of the boat) that I had repaired with epoxy (I do all my repairs in epoxy as I don't like polyester), were challenging as there's a lot of controversy as to whether gelcoat will adhere properly (long term) to epoxy. In the end I decided not to risk applying the gelcoat directly to the epoxy repairs, but to spray on a gelcoat primer 1st. Only time will tell if this was the right move?

After spraying the white primer, small holes/voids became more apparent & these too were filled (with the same polyester filler paste) & sanded carefully (so as not to sand the primer off), before the final gelcoat application.

We used Duratec (also referred to as High-Gloss) in the final layer of gelcoat - it was pushed heavily on us to use, but in hindsight, I would not use it again unless I was re-spraying the whole boat. It does make the gelcoat come out glossier, and has other benefits ... but for small repair areas it does not make sense - especially when the rest of the surrounding gelcoat is 20 yrs old. Besides, its costs almost 4 times what the gelcoat costs!

The deck covered in plastic to protect the areas that are not supposed to be painted
You can see the areas that need to be repainted

The job:
Spraying the jib sail track with primer
Spraying the forestay chainplate area with primer
Spraying the step with primer
Spraying the front of the boat with primer
After spraying the primer & filling the now-visible holes/voids, the surface had to be sanded down before applying the gelcoat
The step gets gelcoat
The forestay chainplate area with gelcoat
The front gets sprayed with gelcoat

The outcome:



What we used: Locally available Gelcoat, Duratec, Hot Shot polyester filler, lots of Acetone, lots of 1" & 1.5" masking tape, plastic, 80, 120, 220 grit dry sandpaper, 220 & 320 grit wet/dry sandpaper, rags, MEKP & Tack Free (to ensure the gelcoat dries hard & does not remain "sticky". [Duratec does this also, so you either use one or the other - not both]

Time taken: 7 working days - with most of the time taken up by preparation (of course). Actual spraying of all areas took less than a full day.

Lessons Learnt: Agree on EVERYTHING up front with the local tradespeople. Seems everyone (no matter how bad their work) will come recommended by someone. Don't believe what you hear! Definitely don't believe what the trades-person tells you ... they all claim to be experts & know exactly what they are doing - in reality, this is almost never the case. Supervise everything that they do as they will cut corners you didn't even imagine existed. 😀

Now what to do about our non-skid deck? Probably a good scrub!


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Monday, April 30, 2018

April 2018 | MONTH IN REVIEW


Here's a quick summary of what we were up to this month.

  • Alex was busy with more boat projects as usual. It doesn't seem to end, does it? But he found some time to make me a surprise gift! 💗
  • This month he attached a wooden strip onto the saloon roof, where he plans to attach the new bimini windscreen. The old screen was made of soft vinyl, but always had problems with the zips, or the snaps where it connected to the roof ... or the vinyl itself getting hard in the sun & becoming less & less transparent. The plan is to make the new windscreen out of clear 5mm acrylic (perspex) ... but this will be a challenge as the windscreen needs to be able to be opened & closed (depending on the weather), and its a curved screen - trickier to do with perspex than with vinyl ... lets see how it turns out?
  • Also, we're finally getting the smooth section of our deck spray painted with gelcoat. You might've noticed in some of our photos where the gelcoat had worn off so badly that the fiberglass was exposed. Check out our 'Spray Painting Our Deck' post.
  • Back in Asia, I surprised my mum with tickets to Seoul for her 68th birthday! ;) It was our second mother & daughter trip, and her first time in Korea. We had 4 wonderful days - 2 of which were warm and sunny, while the other 2 were cold and rainy. Check the blog later for a short post of our trip.
  • On the 29th, I attended my first Rugby Sevens in Singapore! Thank you Ennie for the invite! :) The final game between Fiji & Australia was exhilarating. 21-22 (Fiji-Aus) with less than 0:34 secs remaining, it all happened so quickly, tackle here, tackle there, run, run, run.. Fiji scores a try and wins the game! Sensational! Nothing is impossible... Nothing is over until the final whistle. 👏
  • On the entertainment front, I completed two korean tv series Goblin and Flower Boy Ramen Shop, while Alex watched The Gifted (Season 1), Star Trek Discovery (Season 1), Lost in Space (Season 1), Humans (Season 1-2) and Lore (Season 1).

Check out our posts this month:


>> Check it out! <<
Here's the wooden strip on the saloon roof
Getting spray painted
Changdeokgung Palace
Haha!
Final game between Fiji & Australia

Till next month. Thank you for reading! :)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Side Project: A Present For Me!

Sometime in April, I received a text.
A surprise he said, that left me perplexed.
Oh my, oh my, a present for me!
Can you guess, what it could be?

It folds and holds, and never grows old.
But if you leave it alone, it may grow mold.
How lovely it is, and made of teak.
So strong and sturdy, it is not weak.

Useful indoors and outdoors as well.
Can you believe, my name it does spell!
Rain or shine, it will never feel blue.
What could this be, do you have a clue?


Thank you so much for making this surprise gift for me! 💗 ;)




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