Monthly Archives: May 2017

The longest moment


Oskar was invited to Margot’s birthday party today. This was my first birthday party with Oskar and I was a little excited, too. The two of us arrived at the condo and there was a nice birthday party setup just next to the pool. Margot’s dad, Rob, welcomed us and after we had handed over the present to Margot he offered a beer. Things went well.

I had brought a swim suit for Oskar and he was very keen to go to the pool where many kids were already playing in the water. I helped Oskar change, told him where he was allowed to play in the pool and then watched as he had fun in the water.

Very nice. I soon connected with another tenant of the condo, also German, and we were chatting while watching the kids in the pool. At one point I lost sight of Oskar, but did not think much of it at first. I looked again and could not see him. A little startled I looked more intensely where he might be hiding.

Now, this pool is split into two areas: on the left was a shallow pool for kids to play in, maybe 50 cm deep. The photo above shows Oskar jumping from the little wall into this very area of the pool. As you move to the right, however, steps lead into the grown-up pool. I would realize later that this pool was even 150 cm deep, in fact an unusual depth for a condo where most pools are 120 cm deep.

I had told Oskar to stay on the left hand area, but when I could not spot him I slowly looked to the right.

And there he was. What I saw shook me like nothing I have ever seen before.

There was Oskar. In the deep pool. Under water! A sad green blop in the water, trashing, struggling for air. I did not think. I just walked into the pool with my clothes on and pulled Oskar out. We both were shocked. Once on the deck, Oskar was of course crying madly. What must have happened is that after jumping several times into the shallow pool area for the kids, he likely saw some of his friends who were wearing water wings or had a floating tire on the other side of the pool. They were not playing where the pool was deepest, but Oskar did not realize this, of course, and then must have jumped to join them.

I have to assume that he was startled by the fact that there was no ground as he hit the water and he likely panicked. I would have wished that he had recalled his swimming classes, but I guess this happening was just too unexpected and he lost control.

Here’s what haunts me: I do not know how long he was struggling for his life. When it happened I was chatting and I simply did not see him jump or even moving to the other side of the pool. I should have, but I did not. I did not! When I got him out he did not spit out any water and the fact that the whole thing went down without anyone but me and the other German I chatted to noticing probably means that only a few seconds passed before I saw him. But not knowing for sure is killing me.

Once we had overcome the scare, I knew I had to make sure Oskar was not traumatized by this. I had also brought my swimming trunks, so I asked whether Oskar would go into the pool together with me. Surprisingly he said yes without much ado. Thus I changed, too, and then I carried him as I walked into the pool. I first walked to the place he had jumped into and showed him how deep the water there was, explaining that a pool might have different depths. We then walked to the kids’ area where he was at first sitting on the little wall, not wanting to do anything. 10 or maybe 15 minutes later he started to go into the water again. At first I had to be with him all the time, but soon enough he did not care so much anymore and then he jumped and happily played and ran with the other kids through the water.

At the time the cake was served, everything was very back to normal.


I was relieved. We stayed quite long, but eventually I declared that we had to change back into our dry (in my case still wet) clothes. When I took Oskar home we had this conversation:

Leo: Did you like the birthday party?
Oskar: No!
Leo: Oh. Why is that?
Oskar: I wanted to stay longer in the pool…

I guess that’s as good an outcome as I could have hoped for, given the circumstances.

But in spite of this, after the experience today I am not sure I can ever shake off the demons that touched my heart and soul today…



This is new. These bikes were standing just in front of our condo and I think they must have been put there only recently.

I have seen this in other cities, but it’s the first time I see such a service in Singapore.

o.Bike“, huh?
Interesting. I have to admit, we as a family currently do not have much use for such a service, but I like the principle idea and I hope they’ll succeed.

White belt in hair dressing


We normally have the kids hair cut at the QB House for Kids at Vivocity. These guys do a very nice job and the kids can watch and play on an iPad in front of them. If the queues are not too long I often get my hair cut there as well (but – believe it or not – I’m not playing with the iPads).

What a bad surprise it was when we got there today and we had to find out that the hair dresser had closed. Curses! That sure sucks. Even worse, our initial fallback option, a similar hair dresser at Toys’R’Us next door had shut down, too. I was massively annoyed. I felt we had wasted a lot of time in the morning already because we arrived at the kids’ swim classes and they did not happen because of a thunderstorm. Then we took the rather long MRT ride to Harbourfront, just to find out that the shop we had come here for was closed and the next best one, too.


In the hope to make the trip still count, we moved on to Harbourfront Centre which is adjacent to Vivocity. They have a Baby Spa shop there and after a quick call I was assured they’d also do kids’ haircuts. So we walked over and they confirmed again they’d be very happy to cut Oskar’s hair. I looked around…

Leo: Where?!

Baby Spa is more known for their baby massage and water play and sure enough there were a few tubs and water related things in the back. I did not see one of those chairs that I’m expecting when I go to a hair dresser.

The Chinese lady opened a folding chair and asked us to put Oskar there.
That looked fishy.

Leo: But you do know how to cut hair?

Sure, sure, sure. Okay then… Both Lamia and I were both doubtful, but then again I imagined that this might be one of the places where you just have a person who is a very good hair dresser and you do not need all that fancy stuff. You know, like in the karate movies where the best teacher for the upcoming fighter is this old buffer who seems weird and shit, but takes the young one under his wings and helps him to greatness.

Something like this went through my mind and it’s cool when this is actually is true.

In reality, this is just a bunch of bullshit, of course! The Chinese lady did not know what she was doing. Poor Oskar was sitting there patiently and we played little YouTube movies for him on an iPhone while she cut away without the slightest sense of how to evenly cut hair. Lamia would not have it and after a few minutes, when the damage was done, was all over her. Lamia explained what was wrong and we had to realize that it would only get worse. The lady then suggested to try next door (generously without charging money – ho, ho!) and I was dumbstruck: if we had just looked one shop further, there was an EC House, a hair dresser like QB House, and they even had a corner for kids’ hair cuts.

You got to be…

We escaped from that Baby Spa place faster than you can say “Edward Scissorhands” and got in line at EC House. It took a little bit but the hair dresser there did a decent enough job to fix Oskar’s hair and also cut Thomas’. They were even cheaper than the other guys…

We’ll have to find a new kids hair dresser closer to our place.

Early Father’s Day


Lamia was in the city in the morning and when she came home I was rushing to get Oskar to his football class, so I did not notice a big bag she was carrying when she came home. When Oskar and I came back from football, Lamia and Thomas were gone to French class, but this stood on the dining table.

The writing says:

Happy Father’s Day (a bit in advance)

In classic manner, I do not expect any gifts for Father’s Day. And I did certainly not expect anything five days ahead of time. I had a peek in the bag and got very excited. Lamia gave her permission over WhatsApp that Oskar and I could open the bag. And here we go:

A bloody juicer! With green apple! Oh my!
I always wanted to have one and Lamia always said that we did not have space to put it (which is true). It looks like my constant whining finally got through (which is a technique I’ve learned from my children).

This is so cool! Thank you so much, Lamia x x x

Here’s the juicer later in the day when everybody was back home:


And the juice is as good as I had hoped.

(… but the claim that you can clean the machine in a minute is bullshit – I’d say 10 minutes is more realistic if you don’t spend too much time on the knife element. Still pretty quick, though.)

Drip, drip, drip


In the last few days we notice that the air conditioning in Oskar and Thomas’ room was dripping water. It got so bad that we actually had to stop using it at night. That’s of course a problem in a country where the temperature is in the high 20s even at night and  the humidity rarely goes below 70%. Turns out our airco service contract had ended and we had missed to renew with these guys (boggles the mind: if I ran a business I would pro-actively try to re-contract existing customers, but okay…).

When an airco gets dirty, the filters and other shit inside clog up and then you have water dripping, because it cannot drain through the normal drainage pipe.

We called our airco service guys, confirmed we would re-contract and – hey! – they were able to squeeze us in as an emergency and thus showed up today to clean all our aircos. The kids were excited…

At one point they would have just needed some popcorn and a Coke to make this even more enjoyable…

Now all the aircos are working as intended again and they noticably cool the rooms better.

Love it!



For our good buddy…

Happy birthday, Alex! Na klar bist Du keine Sau. Ist schon klar, ne? Wobei, “Sau” in dem Kontext ist ja eigentlich positiv besetzt. So im Sinne von “coole Sau”, sofern das für olle Säcke wie uns noch gilt :) – aber wie auch immer: alles Gute zum Geburtstag. Du bist einzigartig und ich sag’ einfach mal Danke für alles!