Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Feeling awkward

I have started feeling restless and awkward about myself. I need a break from everything, even myself and I don't know how to do that.

I am back in İzmir for work. I don't like this hot city. It wears me down. besides, Having to spend 3 sometimes more days each week traveling is getting on my nerves.

I love my mom but she has been with me since the New Year's and I miss my time at home alone. I need time to re-do the bathroom and have the house painted. I also need "me time" completely free and restful. Mom thinks she will go back to Ankara late August till I finish my home projects. She has stuff to do at home before winter too.

I want the home improvement projects start and finish...like right NOW! I do not know but I am restless. I think once I am done with this stuff, I should take a few days away from everything. May be I should go some place in Europe. That will depend on my budget of course... We'll see...

So far, I have attempted to get an estimate for the bathroom three times. Two never showed up, one gave me an outrageous price. This coming Monday, someone else will come to see the bathroom to give an estimate and I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will give me a good price.  If this guy doesn't work out too, I do not know what to do. I just want to get this over with.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Terrible Consumer...

I retired my old TV, a 19 inch SONY Trinitron today. It has been 22 years. That was the one and only TV I ever owned.  I remember purchasing it at 42nd Street Photo in New York City back in 1991. It is still in working condtion and I would normally not replace it before it truly broke down. 

I caved in and got myself a 32 inch smart TV at a pretty good price. My reasoning is that mom has trouble seeing the small screen and she loves watching voleyball games but I think I wanted a new TV too.

There was a huge line at the electronics store today. I was surprised to see the crowd so, I asked a sales person if they were giving away the stuff free. It turned out that "some" items were marked down by 30%. Of course the TV I bought was not one of those items but, knowing that the lady behind me paid more money for a smart phone than what I paid for the TV set made me feel a bit better about my purchase .

Tomorrow I will have it set up. I am going to have the cable box changed as well since the one I have is not HD. More expenses...

Oh well, my budget can handle small additions. The TV was already in the plans.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A week away from home

Tomorrow I am heading to Izmir again. I will be gone till Friday night.

Since I am going to spend tomorrow night at a friend's summer home, I wanted to bring a hostess gift and went shopping after dinner. I bought her 4 Strasbourg Bowls made in France. They are rustic green on the outside and beige inside. I hope she will like them.

The friend I am visiting is a new friend for me. She works like I do for the same consultancy company. We met about 10 months ago and instantly clicked. She is a very nice person and a very level-headed one. Her work ethics match mine perfectly and I like working with her.

I have a busy week ahead. I will bring my swimsuit to the hotel this time. It will be both relaxing and a good exercise.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Finally got my hair cut!

I dread going to the hair salon. I do not know why but I do.

My hair was long, not too long but long. In this summer heat I kept putting it in a pony-tail. Today I had it cut chin level. I hope, I will not have to go back to the hair salon for at least another 4-6 months. Thank God!

I bought 2 of my favorite hair-dye at a discounted price. I had one at home too so I am all set till the end of the year. I dye my hair every two months.

I know the discount price for this particular dye and I am always on the look-out for that price. I see no reason in paying inflated prices. Here is a tally of what I bought:

Hair Dye X 2
Wholewheat Bread X 2
Wholewheat Crackers X 2
Small watermelon
Fresh Apricots
Liquid detergent (4 lt. bottle)
Shampoo
32 Pack toilet paper

I dropped less than 100 TL(about USD 50) Not bad. The detergent and the shampoo will last me at least a year with what I already have at home.

Then I went to another store to get a large bucket of yogurt (2.25 kg=5lbs) and 4 cans of sardines. I paid 18 TL (about 9 USD).
Believe it or not that much yogurt lasts us only 4 days. Since I will be gone all week, it will last mom for the whole week.

Tomorrow we need to buy fresh produce from a farmer's market. On Sunday I am off to Izmir. Again...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Small Expenses Big Expenses

Home ownership is expensive. Things get old and need repair or replacement. I have been spending money since I came back to live in my principal home in Istanbul. I started with changing the windows and window frames. The bathroom will be completely renewed and the house will be freshly painted. Those are the big expenses in the very near future.

I just paid 50 TL (a little over USD 25) to replace the flushing mechanism of the toilet. The guy who did that told me that the old pipes are causing problems due to heavy rusting. When they take down the bathroom I will have the pipes changed as well.

Other planned expenses are:

The light fixtures in my room and the other bedroom currently occupied by mom.
New rugs for the family room
New shoe boxes, the plastic visible kind so that I will not have to take down everything looking for a shoe.
New TV (yes, I am finally caving in. The 19 inch I bought 22 years ago is still going but mom spends a lot of time with me supporting me in my diet program and she loves watching volleyball games. The other night I realized that the TV is real small and she is not able to see any details of a fast game. I am hoping to keep the cost under 1,000 TL if I can)

I am hoping to be done with home repairs and replacements this year so that I will not spend any money on the home front.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Impatience vs Simple Math

I have only 10 months to go on the rental property debt and boy do I want to pay it all now to get rid of it! The other day I found myself itching to pay the rest of the debt but the logical side of my brain told me to sit down and calculate whether it was worth it.

It turned out that it wasn't worth it anymore... So, I will hold on to the cash and make my monthly payments.

I just hate to see that debt item on my Cash Flow Chart.

Well, patience it is...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Oh what a loser I am!

After not being able to lose a single gram in a month, the dietician put me on a shock diet for 5 days and I managed to lose more than 2 kgs.

Here is what I ate for 5 days:

Breakfast:

2 Slices of whole wheat bread
2 slices of cheese
greens, tomatoes, peppers
Green Tea

Snack: An apple

Lunch: 1 simit(think sesame bagel), 1 ayran (salty yogurt drink)

Snack: Fruit flavored yogurt

Dinner: Salad and white meat only

I did not feel hungry at all.

So, in 5 months, I have lost 11 kgs (24 lbs). That is a healthy number and I am happy...

Friday, July 12, 2013

STORKS! It's all your fault!

I have been away since the start of the week and I am due back home today. I never expected to travel this much for my part-time work. I get to stay at a very nice hotel and everything but living in a suitcase is not fun.

In my culture they say if you see flying storks, it means you will travel a lot that year. Well, during each trip, I see storks and many of them.

So, the more storks I see, the more I get to travel. What a vicious circle! :)))

Hope you have a have a happy weekend!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

They want me in debt!

I use only two banks: let's call them Y and Z. Z is for everything and Y is just for the credit card I have with them for the last 22 years. I do not have an account there, just the credit card. I pay it through EFT with my other bank which does not charge me excessive fees because I am retired.

I have only 10 months of paying down debt left on my rental property with Z. Other than that I have no consumer debt. I pay my credit card every month and never pay a penny of interest.

Today, I received a call from Y and the nice young lady (read pushy call center agent) told me there was an advantegous credit package they have designed just for me (yeah, right!). I nicely (really nicely) told her that I do not need any loans. She kept saying but that was a really sweet deal. I told her again that I have no use for a loan. Isn't that enough reason to decline a loan? I guess at that point she understood that I am really a bad customer (they cannot make money over me) and we hung up.

I understand banks when they have these campaigns over the radio, the Net and even on TV but why bother calling someone who has not once asked for a loan from your bank?

CRM or no CRM that must be the question.




Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Counting My Blessings: Friends Edition

Yesterday an old colleague and a close friend of mine, Phyllis called to pick my brains about her daughter's College selection. I am no guru on this but having spent 25 years in the worforce in various companies and having hired many young college grads, I had some ideas which I shared with her

She and her daughter got into more specific questions and I told them there was not much I knew about those but I thought of an old High School buddy who is now a professor at my alma mater.

I was very friendly with her when I was 14-16 but over the years we have gone our separate  ways and only communicated through a Yahoo Group the graduates of my High school set up. I haven't seen her in probably over 25 years. Yet, when I e-mailed her about the specific questions she e-mailed back telling me that she would set aside a whole hour to see my friend's daughter face-to-face. I was so thrilled! I never expected her to set aside such time since I know she is very busy and actually leaving for China for a whole month this Sunday. What a great friend!

Then I thought about my other friends and I felt truly blessed for having them. Here are just a few examples of their thoughtfulness:

-One of them took my sister to surgery while I was on a business trip to the US.
-Another took me to the hospital when I had a massive vertigo attack
-Quite a few helped me in finding new positions when I was looking for new jobs
-One of them sent me his driver when I was too sick to go to the doctor's office and even set up my appointment himself.
-One of them just recently offered to check on my mom while I am away on a business trip.
- One cooked dinner and left it in my fridge for a welcome gift when I was returning from a long flight and took care of my plants while I was away.
- Another met mom at the train station since someone had bumped into my car and I needed to file a police report.
-One of them literally saved my life when I was poisoned by chicken and did not recognize the symptoms.
-Two have rooms for me when I visit them in the US.

I am very lucky to have them as my friends.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Got rid of tons of paper!

Today, I needed to find my health insurance policy. I knew it was in my "Important Stuff" Folder, only, it wasn't. So, I started to empty and sort out every file, every boc, every document bag I had. I ended up with a large pile of unnecessary papers. The policy? It was in my old laptop bag which I opened last:)

It was a satisfying job. Now, everything has a place and the Important Stuff Folder is slim and nice looking...

I need to clean up a few other areas at home and I will schedule them for every weekend.

I am patting myself on the back and I am going to get a cup of tea for reward...