Thursday, February 28, 2013

Flat Tire

A couple of weeks ago, I went out to my car and realized that one of the tires went flat. I scratched my head and tried to remember how long has it been since I had changed a flat... I figured, more than two decades...

I could either change it or ask for help and I chose to change it myself. Why? It is free and it gives you a good feeling of accomplishment. I am a 46 year old obese woman and yet I can still do this all by myself... So proud:)

I took the flat to a tire shop and had it fixed and re-installed. I also found out that my snow tires are still in good shape. I am still thinking whether I should use them next year or not... This year I have used my car a lot less than previous years and I could avoid driving in bad weather since I  do not have to go out every day now. Well, I will think about this while I do some research online.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Debt Status

My debt on the rental apartment is now below USD 8,000 with final payment due in May 2014. My new windows are still being paid and I will be done with those payments in July.  I have realized that I have another small payment I had been making for the insulation project for my current apartment.

I used TL figures to tally up all my debt as of today:

14,041 Rental Apartment (Starting amount 48,710)
     780 Insulation of current residence (starting amount 2,080)
  1,440 New Windows (starting amount 2,300)
------------------------------------------------------------
16,261 Remaining Debt (Total Starting Debt 53,090)
USD 9,053                                              USD 29,558

I am planning to have the bathroom re-done and the whole house painted in June. I already have that money in my savings account. 

I would love to pay up all of the remaining debt but, I just do not want to sacrifice my liquidity. My bathroom project may end up being costlier than the estimate I have been given. Also, I am expecting guests from the US this summer and I cannot quite estimate what that will cost. They would like to spend a week in Istanbul and a week by the Aegean Coast. So, I am holding on to the cash I have and trying to build up even a bigger cushion.

Slow and steady I guess...



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Diet Progress

If there is one thing I am happy to lose, it is my weight:)

I am pretty heavy, considered morbidly obese but, the dietician thinks I will be in the lower category within a couple of months at most because I am close to the border.

So far, I never felt like I was on a diet because I eat really well. It is a bummer that I have not weighed myself at home on the day of my first weigh-in at the dietician's office. Now I do not know if I have lost anything during the first week. I weighed mysel today and I will be adding a new ticker for my weight loss journey. If I cannot reach a somewhat healthy weight now, I may be doomed because I am getting closer to menopause.

My next weigh-in will be in late March. I am hoping to see her in two week intervals but, it is not possible now due to her crazy schedule. Since summer is approaching fast, people are overcrowding the dieticians.

My jouney to a healthy weight will probably take at least two years at a slow but, steady pace. I know I will get bored, frustrated, stuck at a plateau in the process. I am sure, I will lose control and cheat as well. In the past these have been always the reason to give up the diet altogether. I am older and wiser now so, I will handle the diffculties better.

Right now, I am not required to exercise. The dietician needs me to reach a certain weight before I start exercising. Otherwise, she thinks it will be too much on my heart.

I am drinking tons of water and eating healthy food in 6 good size portions. Happy so far...


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Creative Saving

When I travel for work, I incur some expenses which are reimbursed later. Usually, this is 3-4 short taxi rides, 2-3 meals and my bus tickets (when I flew, my tickets were purchased by the company, now I purchase my bus tickets and they reimburse me).

I have realized that I consider the expenses spent money since it is not a large amount so, I have decided to channel the reimbursements into my savings accounts. Lately the Turkish Stock Exchange tanked and now is a good time to buy some stocks. If I were not traveling, I would spend some money anyway so, I treat the expenses like found money. How is that for creative saving?

I never put all my eggs in one basket so, my savings are made up of cash in a short-term interest earning account, some dollars, some gold coins and some individual stocks in order of liquidity.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Easy Wardrobe

I have recently been traveling every week for my part-time consultancy gig but, I usually work less than 10 days a month.  What I love about this is that I do not have to have a lot of work clothes. I can pretty much rotate what I have for at least two years adding only a few pieces which may wear out. Even if I lose weight, I shall still be OK.

As for other times, my uniform is a pair of jeans and a cotton turtleneck in the winter and a t-shirt in the summer. I have gone through my clothes a second time this season and donated many more items that I do not need in my wardrobe. Not having to go to work every day is such a blessing! I like the feeling of old, truly broken in clothing when I am home although, I try to be presentable in case the door bell rings or I would need to rush outside for whatever reason. So, I do not wear things that are falling apart. The only excepiton to this are my cotton comfy nightgowns. I gave one to mom the other day when her nightgown was in the wash and she asked me where I got it because it was so soft and thin and I started laughing. It is probably 10 years old so over time, it has lost it's thickness. You cannot buy one like that. You have to wear it down yourself:)

I like to have an easy wardrobe with neutral colors. My winter pants are black, navy and charcoal gray. All my tops go with these three basic colors. My summer pants are beige, pale green and tan. Most of my tops are white and all the rest are pastel colors. I do not like to spend a lot of money on clothing especially now that I have learnt how low they actually cost.

Recently, I am working for a textile industry customer that produces various clothing items for some well known brand names and looking at the costs, I do not think I will ever pay full price on anything or buy brand names unless they are deeply discounted. It s truly amazing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Off to the dietician we went today...

I have been putting on weight since... forever. I am currently at an all times high and so is mom. Today we bit the bullet and went to see a dietician. She is a sweet young woman with a good attitude. Very encouraging... So, today is the day we start to eat healthy and concentrate on our health.

Tomorrow I will be on a business trip for four days (yes, on a bus again) and, it will be a little tricky but I think I can manage my menu while I am away from home. Today we did our grocery shopping, so mom is equipped with fresh veggies, fruit, yoghurt, and whole wheat bread while I am gone.

We shall not be exercising at all till we lose some weight. As of now, we shall watch what we eat and drink plenty of water.

I think this is my last chance before menopause considering my age. I hope, I shall not sabotage myself this time. Having mom as a support buddy is a good thing. Wish us luck!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Another Business Trip... On the Bus...

I have developed a phobia of flying lately and I am trying to deal with it. I have been reading a book based on NLP techniques. Once I get the technique it is describing, I will book a flight since, I must trigger the terror I have been experiencing to wipe out my phobia. If I cannot deal with it by myself, I shall seek professional help.

So, almost all day tomorrow, I will be on a bus going to Izmir for a day long business meeting on Friday.

This is really stupid because an aircraft is much safer than a bus. And, I have been on planes several times. I have flown with Turkish Airlines, Delta, United, US Air, American Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Alitalia, Pegasus, Anadolu Jet and Cathay Pacific. I used to love flying. Anytime an opportunity came by, I would be very happy. I know more about aircrafts than an average person. I know the dynamics of flight and I know it is the safest way of travel and yet I have developed this stupid phobia. Arrrggh!

Below is the list of flights I have been on.

Ankara-Istanbul-NYC-Istanbul-Ankara X 4?
NYC-Pittsburgh-NYC
NYC-Phoenix-NYC
NYC-SF-LA-NYC
Ankara-Zurich-NYC-Zurich-Ankara
NYC-Washington DC-NYC
Istanbul-Frankfurt-Dallas-Frankfurt-Istanbul
Istanbul-Frankfurt-Phoenix-SF-NYC-Istanbul-Ankara
Istanbul-NYC-Istanbul
Izmir-London-Izmir
Ankara-Istanbul-Ankara X 6-7-10?
Ankara-Izmir-Ankara X 5?
Istanbul-Izmir-Istanbul X5?
Izmir-Bucharest-Izmir
Izmir-Istanbul-Lisbon-Izmir
Izmir-Rome-Taipei-Rome-Izmir
Izmir-Zurich-Taipei-Zurich-Izmir
Izmir-Istanbul-Barcelona-Istanbul-Izmir
Ankara-Istanbul-Washington DC-Istanbul- Ankara
Istanbul-Bodrum-Istanbul
Istanbul-Geneva-Istanbul
Istanbul-NYC-Istanbul X 3
Istanbul-Munich-Istanbul X 6-7?
Istanbul-Munich-Barcelona-Munich-Istanbul
Istanbul-London-Istanbul
Izmir-Ankara-Erzurum-Ankara-Izmir
Ankara-Cyprus-Ankara X 3
Istanbul-Antalya-Istanbul
Ankara-Munich-Rome-Munich-Ankara
Istanbul-Rome-Chicago-Rome-Istanbul
Istanbul-NYC-Las Vegas-NYC-Istanbul
Istanbul-Izmir-AND I COULD NOT BOARD THE ANKARA PLANE and this was my last time!







Thursday, February 7, 2013

Re-do the bathroom or not... That is the question...

I live in a two bedroom apartment. I have bought the place in 2004 and even at that time, I wished I could have updated the bathroom and the kitchen. However, I had run out of money and I could only do the floors and the walls.

My bathroom is really tiny so re-doing it will not cost an arm and a leg. I have not budgeted this for 2013 but, I can certainly make modifications in my budget to fit this. Besides, the whole apartment will be painted in 2013 so, re-doing the bathroom before the paint job makes a lot more sense.

I am planning to get rid of the tub which I never use. Mom is getting old so taking a shower while standing is an issue. She likes to sit on a plastic stool while she is lathering. I am going to need new shower doors, new tiles, a new bathroom vanity, a cupboard on top of the washer, a new toilet, new faucets etc. Need to crunch the numbers to see how much it will cost. I usually add 20% on top of my calculations because once you start tearing something down at home, Murphy makes sure additional issues pop up.

I think I will play with my budget until the end of April to see if I will be able to bring in enough extra income to cover the expenses. If I can, I will start the project early May. It will be done in 10 days or so during which I will need to stay at a friend's because I have only one bathroom. The paint job will have to be done in July. That one is already in the budget.

As for the kitchen, That can wait for another year or may be even more...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mini vacation in Bodrum in May

I booked a mini vacation for mom and me yesterday. We shall spend 4 nights at a resort in Bodrum during the last week of May. It is one of those Ultra All Inclusive places. It is normally a very expensive resort but I have taken advantage of an early booking at a 35% discount. I can cancel 72 hours prior to check-in.

All I want is to take advantage of the sea for four days. It seems short, but we really do not like to stay at the same place for long. Mom especially hates that. We shall be driving down there so, on the way back we may  stop at some other place if we feel like it.

I must have been a duck in a former life. I love staying in the water for very long especially if it is cool. I do not like the Mediterranean because the sea is very warm between June till October. I prefer the Aegean Sea, especially Cesme, Izmir. The water is cool and there is always a nice breeze at night so yu can sleep comfortably. Bodrum is much warmer but I think, it will be just perfect in late May.

I wish, I were born in Canada, Alaska or some northern European country; some place where weather never gets too hot. Istanbul can be brutally hot in the summer but thank God not for very long. May be 2-3 weeks usually late July-early August.

Anyway, I already started looking forward to this mini vacation:)


Saturday, February 2, 2013

USD 10,45/gallon

Above is the price of gas in Turkey. The gas prices have been "adjusted" twice in a week lately. 57,4% of this price is tax. We are using the MOST EXPENSIVE gas in the whole wild WORLD!

So, people in other countries, please do not complain about gas prices!