… and also the one question I absolutely, completely, entirely ABHOR.
So what do you do everyday?
WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE TO ASK THIS QUESTION?! Huh? WHY?!?! Jeebezus.
Admit it, you’ve wondered it before too, haven’t you?
I KNEW IT.
Usually a conversation goes along fine, until it reaches the “Oh, so what do you work as?”
If I had answered, “Lawyer” or “Accountant” or perhaps say, “Firefighter” or “Gang leader”, no one would bother asking what I do.
But because I answer that I’m a homemaker (although I prefer to say CEO of the house), the next question will always, ALWAYS, without fail, be “So what do you do?”
HOME STUFF LAH. Lawyers do lawyer stuff, homemakers do home stuff, is that so difficult to comprehend?
Not only am I asked in person, even Fu asks me the same question, because he has not been spared and bombarded every single time by friends and colleagues alike when he mentions I don’t have a job.
EXCUSE ME. I have a job ok.
In fact, I can assure you I work harder, longer hours than any job out there. My job also doesn’t come with off days or even official off-office hours. It also encompasses anything and everything under the sun. It’s the sai kang of sai kang jobs.
So where do I even begin describing something that does not have a boundary?
Most of the time, my reply to people is “Haha, read my blog.” It sounds like I’m dismissing the question, but my answer is actually quite serious. This blog documents what I do with my time. If not the content, then at least the very act of the time spent on writing that post.
But such an answer almost never satisfies people. They’ll be like “Surely that’s not all you do?” Geez. Do I ask you to go into detail about what you do at work??? Why so bloody kaypo -_- So I’ll usually just randomly rattle off things that I remember off the bat. But it feels like I’m doing myself a disservice since I do so much more.
Well if you’ve ever asked, ever wondered – even for a fleeting moment – what I do everyday, then READ THIS POST. It’s the least you can do to take responsibility for the frustrations I face.
I hope you’re ready, because boy are you in for a read. As if you couldn’t tell by the length of the prologue thus far.
I cook everyday, except on days when I self-declare breaks and do take-outs instead. This involves researching recipes, planning meals and what ingredients to buy.
It’s challenging buying for just 2 people because I have to balance the quantity sold in supermarkets with variety and how quickly the food spoils. Don’t forget grocery shopping and scouting out the best prices.
I’m much lousier at baking than I am at cooking, and spend a lot more time and effort on it. But I still like to do it all the same!
These are some of the more successful ones:
(not showing you the fail ones)
The floor, sink, toilet bowl, bathroom, basically every single surface in the house. Vacuuming, scrubbing, removing stains, molds, anything, everything. It doesn’t help that I have a hygiene OCD streak in me and need to do it very often.
I… do the laundry
This isn’t as easy as throwing the clothes in the machine and then hanging them out. I have the weather as my frenemy and have to meticulously plan around the weather forecasts, taking into account that each run takes on average 3 days to dry due to limited sunlight my balcony gets.
You have no idea how many laundry-related nightmares I’ve already had D:
I… manage finances
In addition to CEO of the house, I’m also CFO. It’s particularly tricky to track and manage accounts because try as I might to simplify things, we still have several bank acocunts, credit cards, money going in and out all over the place.
Just.. look at this infographic which best describes the situation:
It doesn’t help that banks in Japan are crazy and don’t settle credit card expenditures in the following month. Sometimes I’m billed for something I spent 4 months earlier! Only adds to the chaotic mess of account-keeping ZOMG.
I like learning new things. Apart from experimenting with new things at home on my own (for example, I recently bought an ocarina to learn), I also go for lessons like cooking classes and dancing classes. I’m very diligent and practise at home after classes! (it takes up a great deal of time to practise dance because I’m not blessed with dancing genes)
I’m learning the Korean language on my own. With a textbook I bought, youtube videos and iPhone apps.
I also signed up for Japanese classes. It’s held by a City council-type group, and actually catered more for beginners, but I wanted to have an allocated time to specifically practise my Japanese. I can only hope they don’t kick me out when they discover my competency in the language.
To further improve my Japanese, I recently started translating manga (Japanese comics). I don’t get paid or anything, but I’ve been learning a lot, and it’s also very fun!
Manga and novels primarily. I read manga outside of translating them too. Recently Fu has been buying e-books like they’re free and asking me to read them too. They’re non-fiction though, so my inertia is slightly greater. But I think I will read at least some of them.
Apart from having to edit Fu’s emails, my sister also often sends me her essays. Sometimes the essays run a few thousand words. But what to do? The things I do for my loved ones…
It’s been mostly anime lately, when I’m on my own. With Fu, we watch drama shows. Recently, it’s been all K-drama (and sometimes K-variety shows), although the occasional J-drama slips in at times.
I… design websites and bring ideas to life
Fu and I have been working on building websites together since late last year. Through these projects, both of us learned a lot about web technology these past months. He takes care of the back-end whereas I handle the front-end. However, the ideas come from both of us through hours and hours of discussion.
We don’t just sit around and watch drama shows ok. We work just as hard, and at times, harder.
I… run shops
You might already know about my online webshop, but I also dabble with eBay, selling collectibles :D
If you’ve ever tried running a shop all by yourself – from setting up the ecommerce storefront from design and coding to making business decisions like focus, pricing and policies to customer service to ordering, packing and shipping out the product – then, perhaps, you can begin to understand how much investment of time and effort running a shop requires.
I have games on the PS2 and PSP. And just earlier tonight, Carys & I started on a new MMORPG on the phone (which I hope we’ll get to play lots of! It’s been so long since we played together!)
I also love board games (no, not Monopoly… D: ). I play with only Fu most of the time, because it’s difficult to find people who enjoy such games. Also the reason why I own so many 2-player games (and know only the 2 player rules).
I… keep in touch
It is a lot more challenging to stay connected with loved ones when you’re not physically with them.
Somehow, time feels fragmented and disconnected. It’s as if we’re living on different planes of time.
Was it yesterday that she fell sick?
Was it next week that it’s her last day of work?
Have I already replied to his email?
Did he reply to my message?
At times I really lose sense of the place in time. It feels like it’s divided into “their time” and “my time”.
I also try to remember everyone’s birthday; To at least send a birthday message if I cannot manage to send a gift in the post. I feel it’s the least I can do to let them know they are still in my heart even though I may be miles away.
Last but not least, I… blog
This much is obvious. But what most people don’t know is how much time and effort goes into writing blog posts.
The writing of content, layout, taking of photos, searching and uploading of pictures (in my humungous stash of photos), editing of photos, copyediting… all of it takes time.
On average, it takes at least 1 hour for a short post, and the very detailed ones can run up till 10 hours or more. Yes, T-E-N.
If I’m gonna blog, I make it count. My perfectionist side refuses to let me publish anything less than a quality post. This usually results in a long review-edit-review cycle.
So there! After putting it off for more than a year, here it finally is. A list of the common things I do. I left out the less common ones, obviously. Otherwise I’ll be stuck typing this post for the rest of the year.
I hope it satisfies all you curious cats out there.
Now, if only there was a clever way to redirect people to this post the next time I get asked THE QUESTION… *shudders at the thought of being asked again*