Happy Birthday Ain

22 January 2018 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Because the extra teaching work I took last semester earned me some extra Republic credits, I was - for the first time in our lives together as husband and wife - able to buy Ain a real birthday present!

Bought at Lazada

I ordered it online and it arrived much earlier than it had announced it would.

Happy birthday, my darling wife. I love you very much.

 

Another January Weekend

14 January 2018 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

Last weekend, we went for a drive. This weekend, it was time for the farmer's market.

Orangeness

There were a bunch of fresh produce Ain wanted to pick up at the market. She knew of cheaper locations to purchase some of the things here, but it has been a while since we visited this market.

Greenness

Lots of green grown were sold here that we could consume to keep our biological avatars running without any errors.

These biological things make awesome salad

Ain pokes a papaya.

There's always a bigger fish

All this fish gives me an idea for an epic RPG campaign. (No it does not.)

 

One January Weekend

07 January 2018 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

We decided to take a drive on Sunday. Headed north, we then stopped at the restaurant overlooking the dam for lunch.

Waiting for food

But first, a photo to preserve the moment since we have no access to the quantum informational layer of the universe.

The menu

It is weird that we need to absorb and grok the information using spectral patterns of a certain frequence of electromagnetic radiation reflected off the menu and into our occular organs before we could figure out what to order.

Click to expand image

Can you imagine the sheer amount of quantum information that was formed and being formed, while interacting with each other in this photograph?

 

Fourth Form Kid

02 January 2018 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

I am amazed at how far this boy has come, from when he had difficulty in learning at primary school to being able to be liked by teachers at his new school here. Now passing the end of year school holidays into the fourth form, he has been accepted as a library assistant at his school, as I was at his age.

I doa for the best of opportunities and in the good and honoourable execution of his endeavours in the years to come.

Day before school
First day of school
 

Year End KL Trip Part Three

25 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Previously: Moving Day

Day 5

The next day was the housewarming. Guests came, there were prayers and then food. And the kids of course played everywhere.

xxx
xxx
xxx
 

Year End KL Trip Part Two

24 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Previously: Arrival at KL.

More cousins

After we reached Nia Nia's house with Aiman, it was time for the littlest cousin to join the fray. She was happy that her Abang Irfan and Abang Aiman came visiting. Grandparents Tok Bah and Tok Ma as well as the cousins' uncle Ayah G had been there for a day before we arrived. Together we were to help Nia's Team move from this house to their new house further down south.

Jumaat

It was a Friday so we all went for Friday prayers at a nearby masjid.

Chomp!

Before the television was boxed up, Nia continued to watch her favourite videos. Earlier, Irfan watched Bright on Netflix.

 

Year End KL Trip Part One

22 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

The last time I was back in Kuala Lumpur was November 2015, more than two years ago. I have not been back there since because, let's face it: it takes a lot of resources for us to travel there. One of the reasons we were able to go back the last time was because of a paper miniature art commission that required an extraordinarily high number of designs.

Without any sudden increase in art commissions we would not have the money to travel down south that far. Thankfully, I had extra teaching commission for an extra programme at work that would sustain us for the month.

DAY 1

xxx

We have scheduled this trip this time because it was known that Nia Nia was going to move and we volunteered to help. We began our drive at daybreak. I had the wheel until breakfast just south of Changkat Jering after which Ain took the helm.

xxx

Ain drove all the way through Perak and Selangor, reaching our first destination: Aiman and Zara's house! The scene that greeted us as we rolled into the Klang Valley was almost laughably stereotypical. Grey clouds that covered a yellowish sky.

Yes, we were back in Kuala Lumpur. We stayed at Aiman and Zara's place before heading for Nia's soon-to-be-abandoned house.

xxx

That night we all went to a nearby Pizza's Hut to celebrate the combined birthday occasions of Aiman and Zara. There was cake. I kind of missed Pizza Hut's mushroom soup. There is a Pizza Hut in Kangar but I have never ever been there.

 

Arau Dinner with Atok and Opah

04 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Before Atok and Opah headed back to the hometown, we thought we would take them out to dinner in Arau at a roadside eatery knows as Big Tas'Tea. We had nasi ayam chicken chop and pizza and yogurt drinks and a bunch of other neat consumables.

Who knows maybe we will be able to take them there again in the future.

Grandparents and grandson
Atok and Opah's selection
The pizza
Irfan finishes up
 

A Quick Jump to Perda

03 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Cik Su F spent an extra night with us. Then we headed south towards Perda to attend a wedding on Ayah Cik Farid's side of the family. Atok and Opah remained home as they thought the trip might exhaust them.

In the cockpit

Ain drove with Cik Su sitting shotgun. Irfan and I goofed around in the back together. She drove all the way to the hotel in Perda where Nia and family spent the night... and the uncle in the red shirt in the photo above awaited.

Nine!

After Nia was all prepped to attend the wedding, Ayah Cik taught Nia about numbers using the hotel signages. 

It us

Irfan took a photo of us at the hotel lobby.

 

Nia Meets Atok and Opah Irfan

02 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

It was one of those occurrences where several plans overlap and Atok & Opah Irfan come to visit the same time Ayah Cik Farid, Cik Ma, Cik Su F and Nia Nia came to visit. Thus began several days of Nia entertaining Atok and Opah with her brand of activities, which included singing and dancing to the Baby Shark song, as well as asking them to draw for her in her book.

Bag lady

Nia insisted she carried her own luggage.

Whatchaupto?

Soon, she was looking for Abang Irfan and tried to figure out what her cousin was doing.

NIA SMASH!

Also, she remembered playing badminton several months ago and thought she would hit airborn shuttlecocks some more. Obviously, she was forbidden to indoors.

 

Nia and the Return Home

22 October 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

We had the opportunity to meet and play with Nia Nia again as Ayah Cik Farid and Cik Ma had a 24 hour or so overlap with our stay at Pasir Mas. The day before we had to depart, they arrived.

Drawing

She showed us how to draw. Also, she asked us to read Irfan's old Hippo book.

The laptop watchers

She especially liked dancing to the Mitchiri Neko toon on Youtube and picking out the odd cat out among the clusters of cute cat musicians on parade there.

Wheee

Irfan as usual was great with toddler-class cousins.

No cats here

Nia of course loved playing hide and seek at Tok Ma's drapes in the living room.

 

A Sojourn To Jerteh

19 October 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

And so it came to pass that Irfan, Ain and I took a vacation back to Pasir Mas, Kelantan. And during our vacation in Pasir Mas we took a sub-vacation south to Terengganu.

Our primary objective was Kuala Besut, Jerteh.

Testicles

Kuala Besut was famous for its keropok lekor and other such seafood.

Tok Bah and I

For some reason, traffic was heavy. We randomly took roads that eventually led us to this keropok restaurant.

Ain and Irfan

Ain and I miss eating the Terengganu keropok lekor, which we once had quite frequently as I once worked in Terengganu.

It's a factory too

As we ate keropok and satar at the restaurant, the proprietors there were also processing raw keropok right there behind the sales counter.

 

17th Anniversary Dinner

15 October 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

It is now our seventeenth year together, Ain and I. So many hardships along the way and against hostile odds here we are still together, still in love; and with Irfan still in tow although he is not as little as he used to be.

He's a trooper

We thought we would try out the BIG Tas'TEA restaurant by the roadside at Arau.

Mulling over menu

We have always wanted to stop by, but we had to have extra change in our pockets before we could splurge on the more expensive Western food and smoothies and such.

We made sure in advance that we had the cash to visit BIG tas'TEA on our anniversary.

This is mighty big tasty

Sure the cholesterol level might be through the roof, but the chicken in this meal tasted fantastic.

 

Nia Takes Leave

25 September 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Nia spent several days with us. Her sense of fun and humour kept us amused for the whole time.

Peekaboo

She played with Ain.

Watching Trolls

She watched movies (well, just the one, mostly) with Irfan.

Group photo

Soon it was time for the Seri Kembangan crew to leave.

The crew of the departing vessel

Ayah Cik Farid, Cik Ma, Cik Su and Nia Nia packed up and prepared to leave.

The town crier

Nia wept sadly. Not because she had to leave us, mind you, but because Cik Su pretended she was not going back to Seri Kembangan with her. See you later, guys.

 

Nia and the Beach Cats

22 September 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

We went for an early dinner at Kuala Perlis with Ayah Cik, Cik Ma, Cik Su and young Nia Nia. The restaurant was by the promenade, right by the sea.

Abang Irfan

Irfan knew exactly what would float Nia's boat: Cats.

Meow Cat!

So he introduced her to a stray cat by the beach.

Rollers!

At first Nia more fascinated by the giant stone balls scattered all over the promenade. 

Ooh cat!

Then it struck her: Perhaps this can will not merely be a bystander or a passer-by. Perhaps she could make friends with this cat.

 

15th Birthday Plus One Nia

21 September 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

In a blink of an eye, Irfan is now 15 years of age. He is more or less an adult, as I myself do not remember 15 being any different than 25 besides more experience by dint of being the latter.

They both are adorbs
 

Even when he was much younger, I tried listening and talking to him as though he was an older teen. These days we are able to converse with each other in a multitude of subjects maturely - even if Irfan, Ain and I are prone to sudden infantile jokes and giggling like babies.

Nia looks like my sister

It so happened that on the day of Irfan's birthday, Nia, Cikma and Ayah Cik Farid came a-visiting and it was a far better day with their presence.  Nia even wore a cap!

Imprisoned!

The last time Nia was here she saw a cat. She awaited for the appearance of Abang the Cat from next door at the front grille.

Caked in frosting

We ordered a small-ish chocolate birthday cake for Irfan.

Happy birthday Irfan

Also, Ain made bihun goreng for everyone! 

Thanks for coming Nia Nia

It was only the first day of Nia's visit. More adventures were yet to come.

Happy birthday Irfan!

 

Irfan's Jaunt into Robotics

10 September 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Some time last month I received an email notification of an Introduction to micro:bit Workshop for schoolchildren to be held at the Mechatronic school at the university, and so we enrolled Irfan.

Ain and Irfan

It was a full day's programme. Ain and I decided to save our transport fuel by hanging around at the expansive computer lab. Because of that I got to play around with micro:bit as well.

With his new desk partner

To my surprise all the desktop computers in the lab were installed with Linux Mint.

Drag and drop then enter the variables!

The micro:bit is a small but multi-functional system with a processor, sensors, output jacks, LEDs and USB port. It can be used in conjunction with other hardware to create amazing tools. It can be programmed using a Javascript Blocks Editor online. The online editor has a handy virtual micro:bit for you to test out your program live. You can experiment with the micro:bit code yourself here. And then your program can be saved into and run by the meatspace micro:bit.

 

A Sad Raya Haji in Sitiawan

04 September 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha from the whole lot of us in Sitiawan...

...or something.

Daphnis at the ring

It was Eid and it was Sitiawan's turn this year.

Cold Enceladus

The trip to Sitiawan was not stressful for traffic was more than manageable. After nearly three years, I am still getting used to raya traffic being bad in the opposite direction.

Swimming in the Titanian Methane lakes

Irfan and I performed solat Aidiladha at the temporary masjid in town as a new one was under construction at the site of the old.

When I grow up I want to be Iapetus

Before long it was time to head home.

A sad footnote:The day we before we travelled to Sitiawan I had heard that an old family friend - my parents' good friend and my former classmates' dad - had been hospitalised. We visited him the next day and were met by his entire family, people I have known since I could remember and rarely meet these days. Sadly the next day - the day beforEid, he passed away. Innalillahiwainnailahiraajiun, Uncle Kamaruddin.

 

Suddenly, The Emergency Room

12 August 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 

... but upon my return home from my three-day hospital stay, I discovered that Opah Irfan had a high fever and could not sit up. She was extremely weak from illness. So, we took her to the Klinik Kesihatan downtown before it closed, leaving Irfan alone at home to do his homework.

When we arrived, Ain and Atok Irfan got a wheelchair for Opah.

No sign of Eriq La Salle

After a blood test, the medical personnel there discovered that Opah's blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature were sky high. The nurses there had to inject some insulin into her system.

Insulin time

Then, they called an ambulance to transport her to the Emergency Room of the hospital next door - escorted by Ain - while Atok & I returned home to get her medical records. What followed was a six-hour wait at the ER for the lab to return a new blood test to see if Opah needed hospitalisation. We took turns having dinner at nearby restaurants and staying by her side.

Fortunately, a hospital stay was unnecessary. Her blood was clean of any infection although her urine was.

We returned home just after three in the morning.

Back to the first pic

When Atok and Opah headed home to Sitiawan, Opah was feeling much better.

 

Finally, A Surgery

09 August 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 

Atok and Opah Irfan came to visit last Saturday for a medical reason.

FIVE DAYS EARLIER

The photo of them above along with Irfan was taken the day they left for Sitiawan on the 12th. Several days earlier, on Monday the 7th, I was hospitalised and surgery was scheduled for the next day.

Not my stats

There I was, once more unto the breach. This was my fourth attempt at surgery. A FESS to remove what was left of a couple of polyps and a septoplasty to fix my right air hole which was apparently too small. The first attempt back in early 2016 was postponed because of high blood pressure. The second was postponed on account of getting sick while under observation in the hospital ward, and I missed a work excursion to Terengganu in vain because of it. I was unable to go for surgery the third time earlier this year because of a priority cancer patient who took my slot.

Still the two of us after 17 years

Ain sat with me at the ward while Atok and Opah ensured Irfan was okay at home with school and dinner and such. I prayed that this time there would be no problems.

Hey a faucet on my hand!

They stuck a cannula in my left hand at the ENT clinic before I went to the ward.

Soon, it was Tuesday morning and they wheeled me to surgery. I was first on their schedule that morning. Thankfully my blood pressure was within acceptable tolerances, so they carted me off to the freezing operating theatre, transferred me from the gurney to the table, put some thing that warmed my body up -- I was unable to see what they were as they were putting the mask over my nose and mouth.

I thought I heard them say something about unable to get medication through the cannula.

Then I remembered no more.

I'm still alive?

When I was under, the doctors did stuff to my nose. Four hours or so later, Ain took the photo above after I was wheeled out of recovery and back at my bed at the ward. There was blood on my teeth. I hoped it was not because of me biting any doctors when I was unconscious.

I brushed my teeth as soon as I could.

I think this is the kids' version

For some reason a new cannula was on my right hand. (The one on my left had disappeared.) Also, there were teddy bears. Teddy bears. It must have been some sort of bonus achievement.

Final selfie before leaving

I have some padding up my nose where they dug in. They also cut away some septum to enlarge the right nostril, which could explain why I get out of breath quickly back in school when I was running. (I never run these days. Not enough dogs up here to chase me.)

A string was taped to my nose. The doctors will pull on it to remove the padding next Thursday. I am not looking forward to that sensation.

Finally, I was released from hospital Wednesday afternoon.

To be continued...

Edit: A Nasal Epilogue