About Me

Saturday, August 24, 2013

No mom, I do not need a bigger apartment...

I have been living in Istanbul for the last 13 years. My mom used to come and stay for a few weeks every year in the past. Now that I am technically retired and working part-time and that I am on a diet which will probably last for at least two years, she decided she should spend most of her time with me. So out of 8 months of 2013, she was with me for 6 months. I love mom to pieces but I have to admit, it is tough to live with someone if you enjoy being a lone wolf.
She manages to get on my nerves and I manage to get on her nerves every once in a while. What irks me most is that she keeps saying it would be nicer if I had a three bedroom apartment. I do not think so. Yes, my apartment is small but so are the costs associated with maintaining it. Besides, I do not have the funds to get a bigger apartment and I am probably not likely to ever save enough money to do so. I also see no compelling reason for it.

I am saving Money for the future to;
1.       Travel to the US for a month or so in 2014
2.       Re-do the kitchen, the entrance and the balcony some time in 2016
3.       Replace my car some time in 2018-19
4.       Have a fat cash cushion just in case a big health crisis happens

I think mom like spending time with me and she would feel more comfortable if I had a larger house. She may be lonely back in her own apartment even though my sister lives in the same city. She is working, she is married and she has one very sick mother-in-law. Mom gets to see my sister may be once a week if she is lucky. Besides, since mom thinks she has other responsibilities, she does not like asking my sister run errands for her. My sister surely knows this but does not step out of her comfort zone to spend more time with her or do things for her. I am not criticizing her because everyone is entitled to have a life of her own and so do I. 

So, I have got mixed feelings about the future of my living arrangement with mom. Does this make me a bad person? I do not know…

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 4 - Home Renovation Part 4

The contractor called to say he was sick and that he will not show up today or tomorrow. He will resume work on Monday. On Tuesday I am going to Izmir and will come back on Friday. He is hoping to be done by then but I am not so hopeful. The shower cabin will probably not be ready.

This sucks but, I just have to live with it.

IKEA delivery is today. So, I shall wait for them to show up and then leave home for a meeting.

The new piping was installed yesterday and so far there are no leaks. I will come by the house to check it out over the weekend.

Even though, I had budgeted for this, spending so much money all at once is making me nervous. I am hoping there will be lots of work during the last quarter of the year so that I can build up a bit more cash cushion. Meanwhile, I am not going to spend money on things other than absolute necessities.

I asked this contractor about pricing the paint job and he gave me a high quote. I know he has other work lined up already so that may be why because the current job he is doing was a good price. I called up another guy whose work I had seen and liked and without seeing the apartment he quoted half the price. After the bathroom is done, I will ask this other guy to come see the apartment and give a firm quote.

I am hoping to have the paint job done on the week of September 16th if possible.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 3 - Home Renovation Part 3

My poor feet hurt... I have a step calculator app on my mobile and according to that I have walked 7389 steps yesterday. For me that is a lot, for cardiologists, it is not enough exercise for a healthy heart. Well, I will work on that.

The carpenter had given a 2,000 TL quote for fancy bathroom cabinets for my tiny bathroom. I have visited every store in my immediate area and finally decided to get my cabinets from IKEA. Yesterday, I bought these;

A Sink cabinet
A Sink
Two mirror cabinets to put side by side over the sink
Two TV Cabinets in matching color to install on top of the washing machine. Why TV cabinets? Because they were the exact depth I wanted.
Two legs to support the sink cabinet

All for 1,028 TL. I have saved a lot of money by choosing to go the IKEA way.

I like IKEA because, you can mix and match pieces like LEGOs. My sister gave me the idea about the TV cabinets and I think it makes a lot of sense. Some people say that the humidity may damage them in the long run but even if that happens, I could easily replace them because they were the cheapest items that I bought. On the other hand, if I had paid 2,000 TL for fancy bathroom cabinetry, even a small scratch would upset me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 1 - Home Renovation Part 2

Yesterday the contractor and I went to the hardware store to order the tiles but alas! They were out of borders. I was disappointed but did not give in. I dropped the contractor at home for him to get started and I started calling other stores of the same chain. I ended up getting a different but even a nicer border. Yay!

I bought the borders and brought them home and ordered the rest of the tiles to be delivered today. I initially thought, I could buy them too but the packages are so heavy, I decided against it. Besides my car has already been handling way too much abuse.

The contractor took down the ceiling, took out everything except the potty. Today, he and his colleaguse will take down all the tiles and put in new pipes. He thinks he will lay the tiles on Monday.

Once the tiles are delivered, I shall go to the upholstery place. I think I will buy the fabric for the chairs from them. The place where I got the fabric for the love seat and the TV chair did not have much of a selection contrary to what I remembered.

So far there is way too much dust around but today it will be even dustier. When the contractor leaves tonight, I will take out the plastic sheets and put new ones down.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Day Before - Home Renovation Part 1

This morning I went to the hardware store to buy supplies for preventing dust getting to places where it shouldn't. I am placing cardboard on the floors to prevent scratches and dirt. I have put up nylon covers on certain places in the kitchen. Using lots and lots of tape, I must say.

In an hour or so, the upholstery guy will show up to get my furniture and to give me a quote on the chairs. The place where I bought the fabric for the furniture has matching fabric for the chairs. The price was reasonable so I may go that route.

I emptied out the bathroom leaving just a couple of things  for a last load of laundry and a last shower:(

Here are some pictures:
Behind the shower cabin

The Horrible Ceiling

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Getting Ready

The bathroom renovation starts Tuesday. I am already freaking out. People are telling me it will be messy and dust will get everywhere so, I decided to take some extreme precautions. Early tomorrow I need to go to a hardware store to purchase additional material to cover and tape everything that might get dusty.

The guy who will change the covers on my TV chair, the love seat and the ottoman will come and get the material and the furniture tomorrow. I have decided to change the dinner table chair covers as well. So, he will be taking them too if I like his price. My total budget for the furniture was 2,400 but with the chairs, I do not know how much it will be. I will ask him to price the chairs and decide whether I should go ahead with those or not.

Since this is the only bathroom that I have, going to potty and taking a shower will be fun! I have lined up a few friends for showers. For the other thing, I will just use either of the gas stations or the mall nearby.

I just want to shut my eyes and when I open them again, I would like to see a brand new bathroom, a nicely painted home and wonderfully upholstered new looking furniture. Yeah right!

Some people told me it would be much more easier to have put the entire apartment stuff in storage and have everything done in an empty apartment but, that would be very costly. Besides, I am not renovating the kitchen due to budgetary reasons so, I do not know how much sense that would have made.

My sister promised to cover the kitchen cupboards after the paint job. She is really very handy. Good thing that her husband married her because he cannot do a thing. My sister does most of the handyman stuff like putting together IKEA furniture, hanging chandeliers and repairing things around their home. Few weeks ago while my sister was putting together their walk-in closet, my brother in law was hanging laundry out to dry:) Fun couple ha?

Very few people read what I write but if you do, please wish me luck... I need it very very very much!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Oh no! The vacationers came back to Istanbul!

Summer is both a terrible and a wonderful time to spend in Istanbul. Terrible because, it is humid and hot. Wonderful because after the schools are closed, many people travel out of town to spend their vacations so the traffic gets better, the city becomes less crowded. Add a religious holiday that can be stretched for a week, half of Istanbul is gone! Last week was such a religious holiday and it was soooooo peaceful here.

Today I woke up and looked at the parking lot and immediately realized that the vacationers are back. The schools will be open very soon and people are returning home!

Today's papers were full of traffic horror stories about returning back to Istanbul. Apparently the traffic backed up 15 Km from the toll booths, the ferries worked roud the clock but the lines kept growing. Such a nightmare! I am glad I have not gone anywhere. I enjoyed Istanbul while people were gone.

Come next religious holiday, we shall be in Antalya but I plan to go a day earlier and come back a day after. Gotta love working part-time!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Yesterday was a day of accomplishments. I transferred cleaning tools and suplies along with other tools to the balcony shed.

I took down the cabinet at the entrance and washed inside of it. I am giving away many shoes and boots, a vacuum cleaner I bought but not pleased with and the clothes I gathered the other day.

The entrance cabinet is now home to all my suitcases. This is terrific. I hated having them scattered in the corners of the bedrooms.

From now on if I buy a new pair of shoes, a pair from home has to go. I got rid of beautiful brand new shoes I have worn may be twice. I am no longer able to wear pumps over 2 inches. So, off they went. I hope someone will love and wear them.

I will attack the closet that holds all my purses next. I am sure there are at least two or three that I can give away.

I do not want any extra boxes lying around anymore. Everything should be in cabinets, closets or drawers. I am just fed up with STUFF!

There are also decorative items way more than I need but, all of them have some sentimental value and I just keep holding on to them. I no longer purchase souvenirs with the exception of magnets. I take pictures instead.

I also phoned the contractor I decided to work with and told him that he can start on the 21st of August. Once the bathroom is done, I will have the apartment painted. That should take no more than 3 days. Hopefully I will be done by the end of September. For a long while, I am not going to spend money on teh apartment with the exception of absolute neccesities.

When mom comes back we shall cover the kitchen cabinets with self-adhesive paper to make the kitchen a bit more appealing. The entrance, the kitchen and the balcony floor is on my to do list after 2014. May be I will chance the entire flooring of the apartment then. It all depends on the budget.

2014 is the year when I will hopefully have my dream vacation. I will be exclusively saving money for that after September.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Home sweet-to-be-home!

I assembled the storage shed in my balcony yesterday. It took me a full hour, made me sweat like a pig and had me curse the manfacturer several times but, I succeded at the end. Glory!

Today, I am going to organize it but I need to get some other chores out of the way. I need to exchange something I bought for the "new" bathroom.

Here is the budget for the bathroom

Plumbing 1000
Tile (Workmanship only) 400
Gutting 700
Cement, Sand, other 350
Marble 200
Isolation Mtrl. 200
Miscellaneous 100
Ceiling 200
Shower Cabin 450
TOTAL (Contractor) 3600

Let's assume he made a mistake and the total will be 4000 TL

What I need to buy

Shower Faucet (GROHE) 209
Sink Faucet (GROHE) 199
Shower Set (GROHE) 289
Radiator 119
Wall Tiles 450
Floor Tiles 150
Misc. 50
Ligthing 200
Bathroom Vanity Set          1100
TOTAL                              2766
Let's assume I made a mistake too and the total shall be 3000 TL

A total of 7000 TL
(about USD 3600) is pretty good

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Stuff coming out of my ears!

My home is not very neat. I sat down the other day and considered why and decided that I have more stuff than I use.

I had gone through my stuff a while back and I thought I got rid of many things. Two or more rounds of that could work. However the thing is some of the stuff I have gets used however rare that may be. Some serving dishes see the light of day when I have company at home. That means 2-3 times per year.

Today I went through my wardrobe again and got rid of all size 26-28 pants (British). I am now a size 20-22 US and a 22-24 British. I also got rid of some shirts and blouses I haven't worn in a year. I am donating two coats I have not been wearing for the few years and giving away two thermal blankets I had purchased in the US many many years ago.

The shoe rack also needs attention but I am not doing it today.

I have ordered a storage shed for the balcony and I am expecting it to be delivered today. I am going to put it together and store all cleaning supplies and tools in it. This way I will have enough storage space in the built-in cabinet at the entrance of my apartment to put my suitcases, my tennis rackets, skis and ski boots.

There are a couple of things that will go after the paint job.

I have finally had the bathroom assessed by two contractors and I have made up my mind. I will post the budget later.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Roger Waters... THE WALL...

Yesterday night I was able to watch The Wall live in Istanbul at Istanbul Technical University Stadium. It was quiet an experience I must say.

I envy Roger Waters because despite him being my 24 years senior, his performance was better than mine. My back still hurts and my feet are killing me. I walked too much and stood up way too much.

It was an awesome performance and I am sure glad I witnessed that.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fall must be in the air... News from the pantry and the freezer...

Every fall I start thinking about the pantry, calculating how much tomatoes would I need to freeze, whether I should make pasta sauce for the freezer and such. This usually happens late August but this year, it started early. On the way back from Izmir, I was driving between fields of corn,sunflowers, melons, onions, tomatoes and other veggies.

I stopped at two farmer's booths set up by the roadside to buy tomatoes, melons, three varieties of onions, dry beans and chick peas.

Mom and I both like Ayas tomatoes the best for freezing. They are very tasty and they have very thin skin. I chop them in my food processor and add a little salt and then freeze them in zip-lock bags. On the way to Ankara to take mom back home, I think I will de-tour to Ayas to get some tomatoes by the case for mom, sis and myself.

Yesterday we found awesome grapeleaves and we stuffed them today. We will freeze them after they are fully cooked. I bought many freezer bags and containers. We also stuffed peppers and tomatoes to freeze. There were 1 kg of grapeleaves and it took mom and I about three hours to stuff them. It is a lot of work but sooooo worth it.

I will take an inventory of the pantry tomorrow. I think I have more dry beans than I can consume along with  quite a bit of bulgur. I bought 7 kgs of onions which will be difficult to consume on my own. I will share the extras with mom if she likes to have them.

I once found a good recipe that had tomatoes, onions, carrots and celery to be used as pasta sauce. It was truly delicious and hearty for cold winter days. I am thinking of making some this Fall too.

Now I have to go take a shower and get ready for The Wall:) Roger Waters is here tonight and I am going to the concert. YAY!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Going Home...to real cotton pillows...

I was in Izmir for the last three days and I am heading back home tonight. next week, I will be home all week and I love the idea! Thank God!

Yesterday night, I had dinner with an old friend. That was quite nice and we chatted for hours.

I am looking forward to sleeping in my own comfy bed tonight. The hotel is nice but the beds are extremeley soft and the pillows are not comfortable.

My bed mattress at home is orthopedic and very firm. I have my pillows made from real cotton just to my liking and they are fabuluous. Yes, in this country there are still comforter and pillow makers, using real wool, and real cotton if you like. My comforters are also hand-made and they are filled with cotton.