Thursday, September 27, 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Today I have accomplished quiet a bit of work around the house. It still looks horrible but not as bad as it was couple of days ago.

I cleaned and re-organized the closet in my bedroom. I still need to sort through clothes to donate. I was hoping to do it as I was cleaning it but since I must wear some of them to see if they fit or not, I just could not do it.

I am hoping to put the guest room in order on Friday since I must attend a meeting tomorrow. I am planning to take down the closet at the entrance and go through my shoes during the weekend. There are boxes of shoes I could not bring so, I know I have more shoes than I need.

I have asked the cleaning lady to come on Monday. Before she comes in everything must be placed in closets or drawers so that she can truly clean. Hopefully next week I will be done.

I just cannot imagine how it is going to be in the spring when I will have the apartment painted. I am also planning to re-model the bathroom and the kitchen in the next 2-3 years if I can set aside the funds.

Here is what I am planning to do:

1. Pay the investment apartment debt. (2013)
2. Have the apartment painted (2013)
3. Have a nice vacation in the US. (I already have enough miles to cover the airline ticket).(2013-2014?)
4. Re-model the bathroom (2015)
5. Re-model the kitchen (2016)

The dates are of course tentative with the exception of number 1 and 2.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Home

Now that I'm home there is major cleaning to do. My apartment was cleaned quiet a few times during the two years I was away but, now it needs a thorough cleaning. I am thinking of emptying every cupboard, every drawer and every wardrobe, giving it a good scrub down and getting rid of unnecessary items and putting everything in place. This is a major undertaking.

I am thinking of calling my cleaning lady twice this week. I have a meeting on Monday during which I will find out about my schedule with my new job. Once I know my schedule for the week, I am planning to call her.

Today, I shall try to clean up the kitchen cupboards myself and do a little grocery shopping. Once the kitchen is done, I am sure I will feel a lot better.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I AM HOME!

This morning my sis and mom came to help me load the car. Sis did an excellent job and was able to fit everything. I think when I told her I might end up leaving some of the stuff with her, that was enough motivation:)

I handed the apartment keys to the real estate broker, took the two months worth of deposit from him, kissed mom and sis and hit the road.

I was home at 5 p.m. with everything unloaded. I feel extremely tired but very happy.

I hope my tenant will pay his rent on time so that I do not have to worry about a thing. There is quiet a bit of unpacking to do but I am OK with that. Home, sweet home!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Yikes! Stuff will not fit...

I am almost at the end of my packing spree and I do not think, I will be able to fit everything in my car on Saturday. I must carry some of the stuff to my mom's home so that she can keep them for me until my next visit. My winter tires would also not fit so, those too need to be picked next time as well.

After the movers pick up the stuff on Friday, I shall need to bring everything that will ride with me to the entrance and then take down the curtains. I shall take the curtains to my mom. She will wash and keep them since I do not need them anymore. On Saturday, I will come banck to the apartment put everything in my car, give the keys to the real estate broker and head back to Istanbul.

So far, I think I am at 90% as far as packing is concerned. I hope to be done tomorrow.

This has been a harder job than I anticipated but so far I have done well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hate packing!

I always thought there were not much stuff to be packed but I could not be so wong! Sorting through drawers, bags, cupboards... I am just so tired of looking at documents, throwing away useless receipts, notes, old shopping lists, etc.

I want to accomplish quiet a bit today so that I do not panic during the week because apparently, there is a lot be done.

Here is  my To Do List:

-Separate clothing items I would need until Friday and pack the rest.
-Vacuum the rugs, roll them up and tie them. 
-Run the diswasher one last time after dinner and start packing the kitchen.
-Pack-up the toiletries that will not be needed immediately.
-Pack the shoes
-Empty the drawers by the bedside and gather all medicine together getting rid of expired items.

I was hoping to take back everything that was left with my car but now I have a feeling that I do not have enough space. I may put some of my stuff in the storage area in the basement of my apartment and get them next time I'm in town. My winter tires are already there. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

A New Beginning!


Today was my last day at work. Yesterday, my new colleagues called me to see when I shall be available to participate in some of their projects. I told them I will be available starting with the week of 25th of September. The sooner the better. Since my new work schedule will be flexible, I am a bit nervous about the income stream. I think the first 3 months will be a good indicator of what to expect. 

Today was a short one. I had my e-mail accounts closed, handed the laptop over to IT, made a round of goodbye visits to each department and took off:)

I was originally planning to work here until at least early 2014 but there are a few people who make this place miserable and poisonous. 

My mom and sis are a bit upset that I am once again leaving for Istanbul although they do not say so. I understand they would like the family closer together but, I just cannot stand this city. Most of my good friends are back in Istanbul and my life was better there. Now that I will have more time to myself, I can come to visit more often and mom can always come to stay as long as she wishes. I never wanted to settle here. I may sound a bit selfish but life is short and I do not want to postpone things. Job opportunities in this city are hard to come by and not well-paying. Istanbul is a very difficult city to live in for some people but it is perfect for me. The traffic is dreadful, the city is too big and expensive, jobs are very demanding and yet I love that!

I do my best to spend quality time with my family and I do not feel bad that I am leaving. This year I have taken two vacations with mom and one vacation with sis and BIL. I have spent at least three weekends of each month with mom and sis. So, while I was here, I tried to make the best of it. 

So my old apartment and my new life; here I come!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gadgets and Appliances


My gift hunting did not go well the other night. I just could not make up my mind as to what to get. My cousins run a gift shop so, I should get something that they do not already sell at their store. Probably I will get a small appliance that they can use.  After all, they can always exchange it if what I get is redundant or if they need something else.

There are two types of kitchen appliances I think: 1. Really useful ones and 2. Stuff that occupy valuable counter space.

I have a small toaster oven, a sandwich maker and a food processor. I also have a regular cooktop and a regular size oven. These are all I need and everything is used very often. 

I do not have or need a microwave oven. I do not need a coffee machine. I used to have one and gifted that to a friend who owns a bed and breakfast. I have a small plastic contraption in which you can fit a filter and pour hot water over a single cup. 

I once thought, I needed a bread maker but, 100 years ago when women made their own bread, they did not have bread machines, right? Besides there are good "no knead bread recipes" out there so, I will give them a shot when I feel like baking my own bread. I would like to make real whole-wheat bread not the fancy stuff that gets gobbled up like cake.

My mom uses a small electric chopper but I find chopping with a knife easy and less messy. I hate cleaning up the electric chopper. Besides, I certainly do not cook as much as mom does.

Some kitchen gadgets are also useless for me. I never needed an an egg separator or a melon baller. I can successfully separate the eggs and cut up melons with a regular knife thank you very much! I hardly ever use the potato peeler although I own one. A few good knives are well worth the investment on the other hand. 

I do not like clutter in the kitchen and I do not have enough counter space so, I try to do without many of the fancy appliances out there. From a frugal point of view, I do not think you can ever re-coup the investment for many of the fancy appliances and gadgets.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Overwhelmed? Not yet...


My last week at work! 

I called the Real Estate Broker today and told him that my apartment would become vacant two weeks from now and that I would like to draw up a contract with him and hand over keys so that he can show the place. I may become a landlady within a few weeks who knows?

Today I need to go buy a gift for my cousins for their new home and then go home and do some more packing. I should start packing some fragile stuff along with most of the kitchenware. I do not have a whole lot left to do so, I feel good about this but, when I go back to Istanbul, I will probably need at least three days to sort out old stuff, separate things to be donated and arrange closets. Summer shoes need to be taken care of, put in boxes and moved to the upper shelves. All cupboards and closets need to be wiped as well. My kitchen needs a thorough re-organization and cleaning.

I must have the apartment painted next spring. The walls are really dirty and I do not think wiping them will help at all. Every year the walls used to be wiped down but during the last two years, it could not be done due to my absence. Also, a couple of walls have humidity damage. Thankfully this year our apartment complex is going through an insulation project and the walls will not be affected as much in the coming years. 

I am not much of a home-maker type or a domestic type. I actually hate all sorts of housework with ironing on top of my list but, moving back HOME:) and the changing season has this strange affect on me. I needed a fresh start and now that I have the opportunity, I would like to do it right. My apartment is rather small so, I have to figure out a smart way to make a small office corner for working from home. A friend of mine has his own business and he already offered me to work at his office whenever I want or need to. So, hopefully, I will be able to establish a new routine.

I would like to start exercising on a regular basis and start watching what I am eating. However, I do not want to overwhelm myself either. Moving, starting a free lance life, starting an exercise and diet plan all together is not possible. So, I will try to make small changes and stick with them at first to test the waters. 


Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Life...


I will be entering a new phase in my life. I will have a fixed amount of money coming in every month which is about 1/3 of what I make. I will also have a rent income which will hopefully help a little bit. Then the rest will be flexible depending on the projects. I will be working as a free lance consultant affiliated with a Consultancy Company but I shall not be on their payroll. They will try to guarantee me a minimum of 4 days a month. If I work 9 days a month, my total income will match what I am currently making. So, why am I giving up a steady income stream while I have the debt? For peace of mind, for flexibility and for my sanity. I no longer want to be a part of the rat-race. 

However, this new life-style is unchartered territory for me so I am trying to build up a cash cushion to handle the fluctuating income stream. Once my apartment debt is paid, I will have a lot more breathing room so anything and everything I earn on top of my passive income can be spent on home renovation projects, travel and other things.

I keep referring to my debt as apartment debt, not mortgage because it is not a mortgage. In my country there is a stupid regulation that penalizes you when you pay your mortgage earlier. Since I had 75% as down payment for the apartment, I had decided to take a consumer loan with a slightly higher interest rate which does not penalize you when you pay it earlier. Since my siblings are in the finance business, they came up with three sets of debt schemes minimizing the interest load. It worked out pretty well because right after I took out those loans, the interest rates increased. Actually, the current rates are much higher than my debt with the highest interest rate of 12,60%. Think 15+%.

I will have to see what the new income stream will be like during the next 6 months to make/modify long-term plans. My goal is to wipe-out debt and build an EF of a whole year's worth of expenses. Once I reach that goal, I will be extremely relieved.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Different Styles.... So, don't judge others!


I was talking to a friend the other day and she told me that her husband quit his job since his company was not paying his salary for months claiming that the company was in a crisis and that he was looking for a new job. I offered to share his resume with a few headhunters that I knew. She told me, she was headed to the Beauty Parlor for a pedi and a mani and that she could send me the resume only in the afternoon and I caught myself thinking "isn't it time to tighten the belts a little bit? I would cut back on Beauty Parlor visits, if I were her". This sounds rather judgemental isn't it? After I hung up, I sat down to write this post because I felt bad about even thinking of judging her. Thank God I am not a big mouth to spill any and every thought. Everybody has different coping mechanisms with each unique situation. There may be a ton of other factors that I do not now about her life and her financial situation.

 After all she has a successful business and they can probably get by on what she brings in while her husband looks for a new job. Family help is also possible in their case. May be by going to the Beauty Parlor, she feels better about herself and not depressed so this has real value for her.

I am frugal by nature, and I like to budget. I like total control over my finances and that makes me feel good. My sister sometimes thinks I am a control freak. I may very well be one but, that is how I feel secure, comfortable and good about myself. I had already shared the amount of debt that I have. It is not a lot. Actually it is a very small debt that I can absolutely handle but, it still bugs me and I try calculating how and when I can pay it earlier. I am the way I am and I do not think I will ever change. 

It is not my place to judge others for their financial decisions and it is not anybody's business how I handle my financial matters. This applies to all life choices not just finances. So, breath in and exhale and... do not judge others.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Doubles


I emptied my towel and sheet drawers and packed them last night. It was a fairly easy job because everything was already neatly folded. I also did two loads of laundry and hung them to dry. I always use a drying rack. I have never owned a dryer and never needed one. I will end up having two drying racks when I move back home since I already had a drying rack back in Istanbul. I had divided the pots, pans and the other kitchen hardware between homes so, they will not constitute a problem but some items will double.

When I come to think of owning more than one item of household goods, I think I have:

4 irons
2 hair dryers
2 gas cooktops
2 sandwhich makers
2 wireless phones 
2 laptops (one is broken beyond repair but I do not know how to get rid of it)
2 broken cell phones (see above)
2 vacuum cleaners (I tend to like the old one better)
2 ironing boards
2 drying racks

And, um no, I am definitely not a hoarder because I purge my wardrobe every season, giving away the things that I do not wear and I also give away old pillows, blankets and sheets. Besides my apartment does not look cluttered at all.

Useless items must go but, I will hold onto some of the above just in case the one in use breaks down. After all, I have already paid for these and it is not like they will go bad or anything. They will just take up some space which I can handle. I live alone and I have enough room for everything. 

The Fall is the season I love best and it always gives me the sense of renewal by means of getting rid of useless stuff, making room for items that will add a cozy and comfortable charm to my living quarters. I also like to clean out the fridge, use up what is in my pantry to make room for fresh and new things getting prepared for the winter. 

Some people clean out their wardrobes after a certain season and donate the items belonging to the previous season. I do the opposite. After all, winter garments will be most needed during the winter. So, it is a good time to donate winter stuff now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Things To Do To Move Back!

I knew that I would be overwhelmed by how much packing I would do to move back home so, I have already moved my winter garments and some other stuff during my last two car trips to Istanbul.

There is actually not too much to pack but, since I am pretty lazy around the house, I am procrastinating. 

Then I remembered this from an old training course: How do you eat an elephant? The answer is "bite by bite". So, today I will pack clothes and accessories I shall not need within a month, do a load or two of laundry and look at the kitchen cupboards to see if I have enough boxes and tapes and bubble packs.

I have already found the carrier company to handle moving my stuff, thanks to a co-worker. Only a couple of things shall be sent to Istanbul, the rest will go to Antalya. There is an apartment co-owned by my uncle and mom.

I went grocery-shopping after work today. I knew there was not much to eat at home due to my very long vacation but I also did not want to overspend without checking what's on hand either. So, I quickly grabbed some fresh fish, bread, canned fish for another night and some non-food stuff and came home.

I was famished and feeling tired so, I quickly grilled the fish and gobbled it up. Then I decided to watch a favorite show before I started to pack. After the show I decided to write this post. See procrastination here?

Well after the post I think, I will have run out of reasons not to start working and finally accomplish something tonight. The hardest part is to start. Rest is easy:) So, off I go to attack the laundry first!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summer's End

My favorite season is the Fall so, on this very first day of the Fall, I am filled with joy looking forward to my last day at work on the 14th of September. On the 17th, I will file for retirement and finish up packing the rest of my stuff to take back to Istanbul.

I cannot believe it is only 9 more days of my draining, terrible job. I have been off since August 18th. I have spent 4 days by the seaside in Kaş, Antalya with my sister and brother-in-law. Then I took my mom to Barcelona for 5 days. We returned last week and have been resting ever since. Mom seems to have thrown out the towel on travel. It is too much for her to walk at the airports. She loves to travel so, may be she will forget how tired she was this year and come with me somewhere else next year. Who knows?

Here are the things that I am looking forward to this Fall:

1. Filing for retirement.
2. Emptying my apartment.
3. Moving back home:)
4. My first assignment as a consultant.
5. My first payment from my new job.

Feels good!