When you have small children, it is easy to forget that they grow up.
In your eyes, they are still toddlers and babies when, in actual fact, they have already outgrown their beds.
This is what the wife is for, to point out to the clueless Papa (i.e. Me) that it was time to buy a bigger bed for them. All three of them.
I left the wife to do the research and she combed through the catalogues and junk mail from furniture stores. We knew we wanted a bunk bed so that we could save some space in our little HDB apartment, so we focused on those.
That led to our first philosophical disagreement. The wife wanted something made of wood and I thought a metal bed frame was good enough. "Tough and sturdy what, steel," I said.
She would have none of it. A steel bunk bed did not please her sense of aesthetics and the few dollars saved would not be worth staring all day at what she considered an eyesore.
So it had to be made of wood.
We visited a warehouse-like furniture place that claimed to have a bed at an affordable $399. The flyers they sent out looked like the place was in a permanent closing-down sale. My Dodgy Place Radar was already going off.
When we finally saw the $399 bed, it turned out that they conveniently left out the GST, and there was an additional charge of $60 for delivery and $60 for assembly.
I absolutely HATE this kind of thing. Making me come all the way down to your out-of-the-way warehouse is bad enough. But to see this old trick used meant I was never going to buy from them ever. I mean, who has a lorry lying around to transport a bunk bed? And since when did GST become optional?
We went to another place, a store we bought from before. My wife calls it the Uncle Furniture Shop. Because we only knew the proprietor by the name of Uncle.
Uncle's shop is not pretty or swanky. It is chock full of furniture crammed into his tiny space and there is no sample showroom for you to see the furniture in their natural settings.
Nope, Uncle had none of that fancy stuff. Uncle had two things going for him: he was honest and he had no hidden charges.
His furniture was also not the kind that ends up in interior décor magazines (e.g. mags like Homes You Can't Afford). Just good ole functional stuff.
We picked out a bed that was made of wood, not too hideous, and he threw in a better set of wheels for the pull-out bed. The plastic kind given usually give way very easily, he told us.
We also had to pick out some mattresses. He recommended some spring mattresses. He asked if it was "for maid to sleep" because he could show us slightly cheaper foam mattresses. The man can be bluntly practical.
We said it's ok, we would get decent spring mattresses for the bed regardless if it was for maid or for kids to sleep on.
The wife wandered off to the back of the store to look at wardrobes, her voice trailing as she said something to the effect of, "You know, the kids' drawers and cupboard are also getting rather small and worn out..."
That was my cue to grab her and tell her it was time to go. If we lingered any longer, the wife would find items to redecorate our house in the Balinese, European or Uncle theme and my wallet would go from Queen-size to Single.
The bed was delivered a few days later. There was a great deal of excitement in the house, like I had bought a pony or something.
I had intended to let one of the helpers sleep in the upper deck but I spotted Isaac sleeping on it one morning.
"He fought for the right to sleep up there," Ning, our helper, said to me, with a smile.
The wife had predicted the novelty of the upper deck and the ladder would attract the kids to want to sleep there. I suppose climbing up to your bed feels like having your own castle or battle cruiser. Or perhaps a tree house, something most of us flat dwellers would never experience.
I still think a steel frame would have been better. Easier to mount the guns and turn it into a battleship.
mrbrown aka Mr Kin Mun LEE is the accidental author of the popular Singapore website, mrbrown.com, and has been documenting the dysfunctional side of Singapore life since 1997.
Affectionately known as the Blogfather of Singapore, his readers follow his writings closely, which these days range from current affairs, his family, and even his trips abroad.
Currently, mrbrown also hosts the mrbrown show (mrbrownshow.com), probably Singapore's best known comedy and satire podcast.
mrbrown is married to Ginny, his long-suffering wife for 12 years, and is father to three lovely kids, Faith, Isaac and Joy.