I often wish people knew how I felt when we knew my dad had cancer. He passed away a few years ago when I was 27 years old, and it felt like none of my friends understood how it felt like. Is it one of those things that you would never comprehend until it has happened to you? It’s a situation that many of them would likely not have to deal with for at least the next 10 years.
I was devastated, and still am sad about it because he was my rock. It was honestly one of the few things that I really feared for in life, and to have it happen way sooner than I wanted it to be sucks. The loss of a parent has to be one of the hardest thing to deal with as an adult.
What I really want to tell you is that if you have a friend who has a loved one who is really ill or has passed away, do show them your support. Please stand in their shoes and do the things you want others to do for you if it was you. Be a little nicer to them because they are going through a hard time. They may get grumpy or get upset over something silly, so please bear with them.
Also, appreciate every day you have with your loved ones. Never take them for granted. Actually, we should never take our own time for granted too. Life is short and very precious, so make the most out of it.
Since it’s the holiday season where it’s kind of the peak period for traveling, I thought I have to share this. I don’t know if this is common knowledge, but it’s definitely important for first time airplane traveler should know.
When your flight is delayed, it is the airline’s responsibility to work it out for you if it will cause you to miss your connecting flight, or severely hinder your travel plans.
My mum and brother were flying last Sunday, and it was an absolute nightmare dealing with American Airlines. Their 8am flight was delayed by an hour and 15 minutes which result in them missing their connecting flight to Houston IAH airport. Now here’s the problem.
- They made all of us use the self check-in stations.
Is this now the norm? I understand that some people like to check-in online or on their phones, but I can’t imagine everyone getting on the tech-savvy bandwagon. Like if we were flying on a budget airline and we have to pay extra to have our boarding tickets printed. We weren’t though. American Airlines is a full service airline.
- The self check-in station should have referred us to the counter when it shows that we would not make it for the connecting flight.
In theory, yes we could have just picked our connecting flight on the screen, but it was more complicated than it sounds. They gave us like three options that we had to choose from, and they barely looked any different from each other besides being 15, 30 minutes apart. We ended up picking the flight that reaches Houston the earliest because my mum and brother had an international flight to catch in the evening.
- After confirming the flights, we then realized the screen only showed the two connecting flights to HOU airport instead of three flights to IAH airport.
It was a mistake on our part, and we had to then queue in another line to speak to someone at the counter. We were still fine with it at this moment. I was amused that this self check-in process that’s meant to make the whole boarding process more efficient ended up creating a bigger hassle for us and American Airlines.
- When we finally got to the counter, the American Airlines staff told us to take a shuttle from HOU airport to IAH airport if we wanted to catch our international flight.
This was an absolute no-no for me that she did that. My mum and brother should not be lugging two personal baggages, two carry on luggages and two check in luggages from HOU airport all the way to IAH airport because of a flight delay. I don’t even know if they would be able to collect their luggage at HOU airport because they are technically suppose to wait for their later flight to IAH airport. Also, she had no idea how long the shuttle from HOU airport to IAH airport is, or the frequency of the shuttle.
- The American Airlines staff recommended us to take a taxi from HOU airport to IAH airport if we do not want to take the airport shuttle.
Why should we pay for their delay? (I just googled and it will cost about $70 by taxi and $40 by Uber.) We might as well pay for a direct flight to IAH airport if we knew we had to fork in more money and go through so much hassle, especially since they still had a 20+ hours flight back to Singapore after that.
- We had to continuously insist that American Airlines to get us to IAH airport on time, so that they would be able to make it for their international flight. It should not have been so difficult.
It felt like we had to hustle our way to get the American Airlines staff to refer us to another airline to get us to our destination on time. I knew that it was possible for them to do that because I have had flights cancelled on me. I just wish they would actually listen to our situation and provided us a reasonable solution. I mean, even if we do not have an international flight to catch at IAH airport, we should not have to take a 9.15am flight from TUL to reach IAH airport around 5pm because the rest of their flights are fully booked.
Ultimately, do not accept unreasonable alternatives from the airlines. If it was just an hour or two of delay, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.
That’s really just the price airlines have to incur if they have any flight delays on top of fully booked flights. Do not let the airlines interrupt your travel plans by more than three hours unless it’s due to weather or natural disasters.
What do you think?
Also, another thing we learnt is that you should always try to book US domestic flights that are from the same airline alliance of your international flight. That may allow you to save on your check-in baggage charges.
Hi everyone, sorry for taking such a long break. I’m trying to recover from my flu and sore throat after our trip to visit Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Los Angeles early November. I can’t wait to tell you more. For now, I’m going to share how I shop for my home decor at Target.
Target has a section of good deals in the stores. It’s called Bullseye’s Playground and the items cost either $1, $3 or $5. So far, I have realized that they stock up their seasonal items about one to two months ahead of time. Halloween items were available around end August, and Christmas items have been out since 1st November.
The more I dig into the items that they release each season, the more I realize I need to up my game. Here’s my secret:
- Join the Facebook groups that posts good deals on Target. I have been pretty obsessed with Bullseye’s Playground Fanatics. Nothing beats chatting with a group of people who like the same things you do. Lots of people are really helpful and friendly too.
Track the items you like thru Brickseek
- Brickseek.com is a great site to track down the items that you want. It works for a few stores beyond Target too. What I usually do is find the DPCI of the items I want from Target and use Brickseek to find out which Target outlet still has the item. So far, it has been very accurate for me. Most people on Instagram or Facebook would tell you the DPCI number if you ask them. The numbers are usually located on the price tag of the item itself.
Let me know if you have any questions, or if you love Target as much as I do. 😉
It is crazy how it has already been a year since we moved into our first home. I thought I would share some of the things I wish I knew while we were house shopping last year.
- Get an experienced realtor
This will ensure you get your best bang for the buck. We naively went with the first realtor that called us back, and she just kept telling us to match whatever the sellers were asking for. I wish we got someone who would help us get a good deal. I mean we are paying them quite a few thousand if the deal goes through.
- Fully inspect your house before you buy it
We didn’t realize there was a cover missing on one of the electrical outlet in one of the bedrooms because there was furniture that was blocking it. Also, another piece of furniture covered a small part of the carpet is ripped off at the corner.
- Try to inspect your yard on a rainy day
We didn’t realize that most of our neighbors’ yards are higher than ours, so the rain flows through our backyard to drain at a ditch. We were too focussed on making sure our land is flat to realize about the drainage in the neighborhood.
- A good kitchen sink and faucet makes a world of difference
I cook almost every day and thus wash dishes all the time. A big sink ensures you can wash huge pots and pans easily without splashing all over. Hopefully I’m not the only one that babies my stainless steel and non-stick pans. I rarely put them in my dishwasher. 😉
- Check if you have home warranty for your first year
I don’t know how common this is but we had no idea that we had one year of home warranty until the last month before it expired. (Thanks to the spam mail to renew our home warranty.) It definitely saved us quite a bit from using our home warranty to get our dishwasher and jetted tub fixed.
- Get a good computer chair
My husband kept telling me not to get the cheap computer chair ($99 from Office Depot) but I insisted that it would be fine and we could save some money. Guess who was right after two weeks.
- Look out for good deals on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and estate sales
Just be patient and wait for the good deals for items that are alright to be second hand. So far, we have been very lucky. We have gotten a vintage dining table & four chairs for $20, a Lane recliner for less than a hundred, 7-piece outdoor cast iron dining set for around $300, vintage dresser and two side tables for $150, Breville espresso machine for $20, Zojirushi rice cooker $40 and a Weston dehydrator for $30.
When we lived in Singapore, there was never a need to have a car. We could get to wherever we needed to via public transport like trains and buses. Even taxis are affordable. It was basically cheaper to hail a cab than it is to own a car due to the high car tax.
I was beyond excited to own a car when we moved to the US. It was a luxury that I never had in Singapore. Driving is fun although it comes with its own set of obstacles.
Learning a new city takes time. You need to figure out where to get what and what’s the best place to get what you need or want. With that, we rely a lot on GPS to go places. Google Maps has so far been very helpful and we use this phone stand to prop up our phone. It sticks firmly into the CD player which we never use, so it works out perfectly for us. The magnet has been holding up our phone the past two years.
Another useful car product we use is Rain-X on our windshield. It repels the rain well enough that we rarely have the need to use the windshield wipers. We were skeptical about it until we saw it in action. It really works and we only need to apply it two or three times a year. Here’s a short video to show you how it works.
How do you drink your coffee?
I like my coffee with lots of milk. Skimmed milk because I can’t taste the difference between skimmed and full milk, and it’s healthier. Thus, my drink of choice is iced lattes with a single shot of espresso. I get a little wonky (caffeine high) if I get a double shot latte.
It actually took me a while to like coffee. I always thought coffee tasted nasty because all I have tasted was the black coffee my parents drink every morning. I’m not sure when was the turning point. Maybe after I tried my first latte or mocha frappuccino? I may have wanted something strong to keep me alert while at work, and it just slowly grew on me.
Here are some neat things I have learned about coffee:
- Warm espresso drinks should not burn your tongue even if you drink it immediately.
- A good cup of espresso drink should taste good enough with or without sugar. A frothy milk will also add sweetness if you choose to have it in your coffee.
- Most iced espresso drinks are made with double shots of espresso. Sometimes Larry and I will buy a cup of latte, and we would get a cup of milk so we can mix and split between the two of us.
- If you drink espresso drinks very often, you should consider getting an espresso machine because it can cost lesser for you long term.
- An espresso machine needs to be cleaned after every use unless you get a Keurig or Nespresso machine. You need to do some research to decide what kind of espresso machine would suit your needs.
- I lucked out and found a Breville 800ESXL Espresso Machine for $25 on Facebook Marketplace. I was planning to buy it from another lady for $100, but did another search to find the identical model for cheaper. (She may not have gotten many hits because she did not include the brand and model in her description.) Look out for good deals online because there are people who do not use their espresso machine often.