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I must confess.

2017 started out really slow.
Like really really slow.

January felt like year end.

It was a mental and physical calm down after Flapper's unexpected spat of exciting events from second half of 2016.

Like the first Sony Action Cam campaign, the end of it created a sudden void. And so I vegetated as I pondered over what's next.

I don't do resolution list(s).
I prefer 'come what may'.
I prefer carpe diem.

But after all that adrenaline rush, the canvas appeared blank. I could not even paint a colour on it. And so I just took that much needed breather while the boys shot smoke out of their floppy ears from boredom.

Next thing I knew, I checked myself in for a laparoscopic surgery and that was me immobilized for two weeks. I was knitting sweaters out of spider webs that spun around me from being sofa-ridden. The boys and I gave one another loving bored looks and started a secret competition to see who was shooting more smoke out of the ears.


I guess the boys won.
At least I could still play games on my iPad while screaming boredom.


The 'Flapper' Bucket List 

I never wrote down an actual bucket list for Flapper but I did have a jumbled-up mental list. The list was not something I deliberately made up but just thoughts and ideas that came up a long the way. So no, I cannot recite what is in the list but more of a "oh ya! I want to do this with Flapper" or "I wish I could do this with Flapper".

The bucket list sort-of got hidden in my mind somewhere and with many thanks to Sony Singapore for selecting Flapper as the dog-influencer for the Action Cam in 2015, it gave me that much-needed motivation to execute the list which I ended up coining it as "Nine Promises to Flapper" (2015) and "Flapper Life Moments" (2016).

I have to admit the sense of accomplishment was mighty especially when I pulled off his epic 10th birthday getaway. I do still reel in disbelief sometimes when I reminisce about what was accomplished in 2015 and 2016.

Then came January 2017 and because I had completed all of what I had set out to do with Flapper, I ran out of ideas - momentarily.

So while knitting spiderweb sweaters, I stared at the 4.75 metres long white wall and was urged to FINALLY work on Flapper's 'Wall of Fame', which I now call it Flapper's Wall of Memories....


The Wall of Memories

The Wall of Memories is long overdue. Ever since Flapper started his first filming project in 2012, "My Dog Dou Dou", I told myself that I will put his stuff up onto the wall - one day. I kept his memories safely into a 'memory box' and I pretty much forgot about it.

Flapper's memories stored in this Ikea box

Post-surgery and being bored to tears, I stared at that wall and mentioned to boys' favourite Uncle Nic that probably it was time for me to get started on that wall. It's only been some four, coming five, years since I first said I wanted to build Flapper's wall of memories.

And that was that.

About a week later, 'Uncle Nic' messaged me to ask if I wanted to buy the frames for the wall project. He was at Ikea. I did not give much thought to it after that brief mention so I was caught by surprise when he offered to help me get the frames. I was touched too. There is a rare and evident bond between Flapper and 'Uncle Nic'. They will always have their sleep-buddy moment on any given #notalcoholicwednesday.

That rare and evident bond between Flapper and 'Uncle Nic'.


I mean, everyone loves Frodo!
Need I say more?

I had no idea what or how many frames I needed. I had not even looked at what needed to be put up. I quickly measured the obvious (latest) few articles that could be framed... the rest shall be purchased once I know exactly what is needed.

And that was how the wall of memories project started... after four years.


The Wall Layout

While waiting for 'Uncle Nic' to arrive with the frames, I went searching for that memory box. It has been a long time since I last looked at it and truth be told, I forgot it existed. I panicked a little when I could not find the old articles and clippings.

Then I remembered.
There is a box.
A memory box.

I went through the contents and realized that it was more than I remembered.

Ah!
All that fond Flapper memories.
It was indeed time to put it all up.

But there was one important piece missing.
THE movie poster.
That is a must-have.
It was how the whole 'Flapper-thing' started.

'Grandma' had kept the poster for safeguard since 2012. Can't trust myself with storing it. I would either lose it, crush it or tear it.

So yes, time to get back that movie poster from 'Grandma' and boy did I get a surprise when I opened it up. I vaguely remembered it to be a big piece but was not quite expecting it to be that huge - 27" x 41".

Okay, the movie poster is another tail on its own.

Anywoof, 'Uncle Nic' arrived with the frames. I did not have a mental image of the actual frame sizes so I was taken aback by the sizes.

"Oh God! I think I need to sit down and plan the wall layout properly before getting more frames.", I thought to myself.

It was then that I realized it was not such a bimbo project after all.

The first piece 'Uncle Nic' worked on was his 'signature' Flapper-triple-shot poster that we used for Flapper's first 'Meet-and-Greet' event back in 2013. I left it to him to work on his pieces while I worked on the magazine articles and such.

The 'signature' triple-shot poster of Flapper. Uniquely, it is the only print we have ever done with Flapper's "pawtograph". Yes! That is his actual paw print!

The unusual dimensions of the poster made it challenging to look presentable in the oversized frame so after some discussions, we decided that two the posters will need to be custom-printed and while, a couple of others need to be translated from digital to physical prints.

In the meantime, I had to get to the drawing board to work out the layout, print sizes and frame sizes.

Seems a little OTT (over-the-top) to do a wall plan but that was the only way I knew how to make sure I bought the correct frames, the print dimensions were accurate and most importantly, I could fit everything in.... starting with that huge-a** movie poster.

For the Love of 'Uncle Nic'

I have and always will be grateful to have 'Uncle Nic' as a friend and Flapper's sleep-buddy. As I worked through the wall plan, I laughed and joked with him, "I think this is your personal 'wall-of-fame' too! Next time your clients ask to see your portfolio, you can bring them here!"

'Uncle Nic' has worked closely with us since 2013 and most of all, always there to help with Flapper's commitments. So despite my initial reluctance of stretching my meagre budget of $200 (SGD) on this wall project (based on the cost of Ikea frames), I decided to spend a little more on his images.

So.... for the love of 'Uncle Nic', I ended up re-printing the 'triple-shot' (Meet Flapper) and 'Love is Ageless' posters.

For the love of Frodo, his Barkery print ended up being the most expensive of the additional prints.

For the love of 'Uncle Nic', I topped up an additional $200 for those prints.

Bless.


For the Hate of Taobao.com

I spent about three whole days trying to source for that damn movie poster frame. Never in my wildest imagination did I think it would be that difficult to source a reasonably priced movie poster frame in Singapore!

I found a shop, Poster Hub Singapore, that sold the movie poster frame. It costed $70.00. Only. After paying Ikea type prices, $70 felt a tad bit steep. And after forking out that extra $200 for the prints, $70 felt even steeper.

But after searching pretty hard for the damn frame and the person responding to my enquiry on Facebook was really patient. Just for that fabulous customer service, I was ALMOST adamant in getting the frame from Poster Hub.

Then I remembered the hearsay about Taobao and decided to go snoop. It was said that it has everything. Maybe I could find that cheaply-priced movie poster frame.

Thanks to automatic google-translate, I eventually managed to navigate (with much difficult) around that blardee website and found the frame.

Maybe it's just me.
But hell it's hard to shop on Taobao.

However, the hearsay was true. It was indeed cheap. So that huge a** frame costed about $18 + $10 shipping cost so that totalled to about $28.

$28 versus $70.

$28 won.

Then I found the Ezbuy website and realized it was the 'Singapore agent' of Taobao. I did a price comparison and well, it was about twice the price of getting from Taobao direct. I mulled and pondered over 'which one should I purchase from' and I confess that part of my decision to use order directly from Taobao was to trial-test how reliable it is.  At most I lose $28 and never use it again.

My other rationale was that both ezbuy and tabao come from the same source, right? And surely with 'everyone' (loosely-saying) buying from Taobao, it couldn't be that unreliable.... right?

WRONG!
Very wrong.
The order that never got shipped out and I could not get a refund for the international shipping cost.
So I ordered the frame on the 6th of Feb. As of 20th Feb, the status was still "To be shipped". Mind you, full payment (including international shipping cost) was very promptly charged to the credit card but I did not receive any email confirmation.

"Remind the seller to ship" DOES NOT WORK. It gives a useless 7 days dunno what notice and that was that. No matter how many times and days I tried, I could not remind the f-ing seller to ship.

The direct chat crap DOES NOT WORK either. I can click all I want (no reaction) and I even tried opening it in a new window. Eh nope. Nothing works.

I tried dropping a message to taobao for help. Did not work.

I tried for DAYS to figure out HOW TO GET HELP. I did not get very far.

Then finally on the 20th of Feb, I managed to figure out how to get a f-ing refund. The only good news out of this experience was... the refund was handled within 5 minutes. Ha!

Which left me thinking the seller probably never intended to sell this frame to begin with?

So then I realized the refund was only for RMB90.00 = SGD18.00.

Then it took me another 3 days to figure out the 'cancelled shipping cost' = I do not get back the SGD10.00 even though the goods never got shipped! Hoorah!

I gave up trying to navigate around that goddamn useless website any further.

On 24th of Feb, I finally surrendered to losing that $10 and to hell with taobao.

At least I did not lose $28.
Just $10.
I'll leave it.

But never ever EVER purchase directly from Taobao again.

On this note, I would just like to add in that about two weeks after my purchase from Taobao, I needed to purchase something else (unrelated to this project) and I decided to purchase via Ezbuy.sg instead.

By then, I had figured I was never going to receive that darn frame. Immediately upon purchase, I received an email confirmation. I purchased the items on 15th Feb and RECEIVED my goods on 22nd Feb. That's 7 days.

I was very impressed.

So my $10 lesson for the month?

NEVER EVER BUY DIRECT FROM TAOBAO.COM.


And finally, the Wall of Memories is completed. Almost. 



It took me a total of about one and a half weeks (and about $420 poorer) to complete the wall but sadly, at this point, the movie poster is still not up.

I am not going to bash myself up over the movie poster frame. It was just a $10 lesson on Taobao though I have to admit that I am still sore about the experience and am still without a frame.

I'm sure the movie poster will find its way up to the wall eventually but for now, I feel pretty accomplished that the Wall of Memories is finally completed (almost) after many many moons of procrastinating.

I did confess after completing the wall that the main reason why I hesitated for merely four years on building this memory wall was because...

As much as I am immensely proud of Flapper's memories, it will also serve as a daily [heartbreaking] reminder of this wonderful blonde boy when he's gone.

But for now, I will not dwell on such sad thoughts.

Now that it is done, all I can say is, "Flapper's Wall of Memories - Check!"


P.S. Many many thanks to the "daddy" for going to Ikea to help buy the remaining frames!

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