Public Service Announcement

Daughter and I ran off to Londra last week to eat bacon and to shop (and more importantly to get a stamp in my passport to keep my NSW driver’s licence current).  I ate the bacon as Daughter recently decided that she is a vegetarian and apparently all things pork fall under that category.  I tried to explain to her that bacon is exempt from that whole “meat” deal because it is serious manna from heaven but then I realised that with her not eating bacon there is just so much more for me.

While I ate bacon and Daughter impressed me (and our bank manager) with her ability to spend more money in a day than than the national debt of a small African country The Turk stayed behind to hold down the fort and to look after My Hurley Dog.

Returning home I found my home spick and span (and apparently sans leaks), My Hurley Dog freshly coiffed and smelling like a daisy field but The Turk was looking decidedly worse for wear.  What could possibly have happened to have caused him to look like he had just been spat out by a raptor? One only had to take a look at his sad puppy dog eyes and his droopy expression to realise that the next few days were going to be a trial for all of us (even with separate residences).  The Turk’s symptoms were clear.  I put on my doktor cap and immediately diagnosed him with the dreaded Turkish Man Flu or TMF.

Oh no!

turkishmanflu

Up front let me just say that TMF is a more severe form of the generic and more common Man Flu.  Why is it more severe?  Well because the man is Turkish of course (and don’t start bombarding me with nasty comments I will merely delete them).

To help you identify this dreadful disease and to help with the recovery of your patient (and your sanity) I have compiled this list of helpful hints:

Symptoms may include sullen (or more sullen than normal) behaviour followed by the self-diagnosis that he is obviously dying.  An almost paranoia-like fear of mockery, inability to recognise sarcasm and his staunch belief that everyone is out to get him, the Illuminati does in fact control the world and aliens walk amongst us (FYI this is an example of the sarcasm that he will fail to recognise).  You will need to contend with his inability to ‘soldier on’ (hell the remote on his lap is too far away) and his constant need of reassurance from you of his current chances for survival (Slim mate!  Slim!).  Of course the most common symptom of TMF is his absolute certainty that nobody has ever suffered like this.  Ever.

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Ladies be aware that any lack of compassion on your part will put your patient’s life in danger.  You need to be Florence Nightingale.  For brownie points get out your sexy nurse uniform that you wore for Halloween all those years ago.  Really.  It will alleviate symptoms within minutes.  Fact.

Oh and don’t you go running off to the doktor for the infamous ‘serum’ or 15 different types of antibiotics.  This will not help you one little bit. This will only ensure the extension of TMF.  What will alleviate symptoms is keeping your suffering patient’s çay glass full and ensure that Kemal Sunal is on the television.  Turkish doctors have discovered that the dulcet *cough, cough* voice of Kemal Sunal has remarkable healing powers.  I swear!

Other remedies include *paça veya iskembe çorba (never gonna happen) or maybe that secret herbal çay that only his mother can prepare.  Import his mother.  Does’t matter where she is, doesn’t matter if you have to fly her in … do it!  If unable to supply said mother get any teyze that is available to prepare some unknown and most likely disgusting broth (in her house ‘cause the smell of that soup cooking will make you gag for days!).

Incidentally The Turk did survive the dreaded TMF … but only just.  I think a caring wife can give their man 48 hours of sympathy and if they are not back to their normal self then you throw him to the goats!

* paça veya iskembe çorba  Paça çorba is better known as Sheep Head soup while Iskembe çorba is tripe.  I would rather chew off my own leg than eat either soup but it is the only thing that will sooth The Turk when he is suffering from TMF.  I get Songul to make it and yes I can still smell it from two floors away!

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The Thing About The Turk

The Turk and I have an extremely volatile relationship.  We are hot and cold.  Yes and no.  Up and down (no it’s not a Katy Perry song).  For those of you who know The Turk personally already know that he is an extremely difficult man to live with.  He is completely OCD.  Everything must be spotless.  Everything has its place.  I live with a more relaxed view of things.  Shit happens so clean it up whenever.  He also has a lot of vices.  Things that he cannot seem to control and, despite me giving him ultimatum after ultimatum he will not, or cannot, change his ways.

kemal collage

We have been living together for 15 years now (married for 14).  It has not been easy.  And it’s not that I don’t love him, because I do (well most of the time anyway).  We are just two extremely different people who are, for whatever reason, like oil and water to each other.

I’ve received a few messages from you guys wanting a clarification.  I have dropped hints on a few occasions (my terrace / his terrace) and the truth of the matter is this – The Turk and I no longer live together.  Daughter and I have our own apartment upstairs and he continues to live downstairs and so far this new arrangement is working out just fine.

We are not getting a divorce, we just happen to live separately.  I did ask him if he wanted a divorce and, of course, he said no, “I will never divorce you. Seni çok seviyorum tatlım.”  Ugh!  I mean its 2017, Brad Pitt is finally free of that skinny brunette … and he’s on my List so if the stars would just align then we could finally be together!  As it should be!

The Turk and I still spend time together, one might even say too much time together, and we still make decisions as a couple but our evenings are spent separately (unless we are at a family event of course).  We breakfast together every day.  The Turk still makes us his world famous pizza on a Sunday night and I still make him chicken cacciatore or his favourite meal, Tepsi Kebab.  We still sit each evening on his terrace and have a glass of wine together (clearly I am an Enabler) and talk about our day and go over our plans for the next day.

There is no more fighting (well less fighting) and little things, like The Turks constant need to tidy teenage Daughter’s bedroom, are a non-issue.  And anyone with a teenager will tell you – do not go into their bedroom.  You will regret it.  Or maybe get sucked into a vortex of dirty clothes and rubbish.

Speaking of tidying up my relaxed view on cleaning still sends The Turk crazy and he has been sneaking up to ours to clean when we are out.  I left the camera on the other day and got to enjoy a comedic film of The Turk moving a bowl on the dining table three times before being entirely satisfied with its final resting place.  In the past watching him fuss would have sent me over the edge but now?  Now I merely smile.

I’ve got to say this though … our relationship has never been better.  Everything about this is better.  He is happier.  I am happier.  Daughter is very happy.  The sex is better.  The tension is gone.  The stress is non-existent.  Had I had known that this was the way to have a perfect marriage I would have gotten on board years ago and don’t worry I am sure that every other post will be about me whining about The Turk driving me crazy still … ’cause I’m sure that will never change.

 

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The One Where Everyone Finds Out

I had been sitting on this post for a few weeks now.  I had to ensure that there was no potential to offend the family with this one.  After all I seem to offend everyone at every opportunity *waves hello to the Powers That Be*.

I hope you find it as amusing as I did … at the time.  Now it’s just old news.

aria shhh

So anyway … The family had been keeping a secret.  Oh I knew all about the secret but because it was a secret I kept it a secret.  I mean I still told my yabancı friends here in Mersin all about the secret and we giggled about the potential fallout but I kept it from you guys didn’t I?  I did not make it public because it was, after all, a secret.

But the secret is now public and it was monumental!  Families ripped apart.  Friendships destroyed.  Worlds colliding!  Not really, but whatever.

You’re chomping at the bit now aren’t you?  Tell us Janey!  What is the secret?

Well … you might recall this post I wrote about a year ago now about young love in the Village.  A bit of a Romeo and Juliet type sitch.  True love, blah blah blah denied to them by their heartless parents.  After a lot of tears and a lot of threats Romeo and Juliet finally got their parent’s blessing and they ran off and had their nikah.

For the uninitiated a nikah is a ceremony between the bride and groom and is performed before a state appointed bureaucrat or sometimes a religious leader.  It is a very simple ceremony.  No more than 10 minutes in total and then you are legally married.

Anyway the nikah took place and everyone was happy, everyone was in love.  Romeo returned to his family home and the Juliet to hers as is the custom here in the Village.  The wedding party (reception) would take place a few weeks later and at that time the newlyweds will live as husband and wife.

A few days after the nikah Juliet arrived to prepare their home.  They built right next door to us – and when I say right next door I mean RIGHT NEXT DOOR.  Their building is flat against our building – see my thoughts on this particular crapfest here.  God only knows what approvals (if any) were gotten for this building but it does again beg the question why were we fined for building a second storey when they (and fecking everyone else around us) have obviously built without approval.  OK I am getting a little off track here.

The newlyweds borrowed our car (yes we are officially known as a hire car/taksi service for half of the fecking Village) so they could go and purchase cleaning supplies.  When they returned a mere FIVE hours later (!!!) she was screaming.  She was crying.  She was calling him every name under the sun.  Senden nefret ediyorum!  I hate you.  I hate your mother. I hate your father.  I hate the world.  The wedding is off!

Hold on a minute.  The wedding has already happened hasn’t it?  Ugh why is everything so confusing in Türkiye?

She disappeared into the sunset and has yet to return BUT the family kept it a secret.  In fact they still handed out wedding invitations in the hope that she would come to her senses.   Romeo arrived on her doorstep and begged her to go through with the wedding.  Nope.  Vito arrived on her doorstep and begged her to go through with the wedding.  No way Jose!  Juliet was standing her ground and, to be honest, I was impressed that she held out when many others would have caved.  She cannot marry him.  She does not love him and, frankly, she hates Vito’s wife with the passion of a thousand fiery suns (at this point she got some brownie points from The Turk because he hates her too).

A few days later Juliet updated her Facebook status to single.  This shit is serious.  Social media serious!

But the family still continued with the farce of the wedding proceeding.  They went and paid for the wedding salon and for the DJ.  All was well.  The secret was still a secret.  There was a LOT of whispering in the village of course – gossip is pure gold to these people – but still the family forged ahead with the secret until the very end because that’s what families do.

Until the incident.  Yes there was an incident and it will probably not surprise you that The Turk is smack in the middle of it all.

For those of you who live in Türkiye you all would have been to the party where the furniture is delivered to the newlywed’s home.  It’s probably got an official name to the party but I dunno what it is.  It usually takes place a few days before the wedding and gives everyone a chance to bring presents and help them set up.  This is a huge deal in the Village and the neighbours all began to question when this was going to take place, after all the wedding party was on the weekend.  At this point I said to The Turk that they may as well come clean and get on with it.  The wedding is obviously not going to take place.  Hayir!  There is still a chance of reconciliation.  I rolled my eyes.  Ain’t gonna happen!

Three nights before the wedding date Juliet’s father and other various family members arrived outside with a large truck full of furniture that Vito had purchased for the newlyweds and unceremoniously deposited said furniture onto the driveway!  Well didn’t the shit hit the fan at this point!  All of the men in our family ran outside ready to fight (including The Turk who had had a few drinks and was feeling a little feisty).  About now Sensible Janey says,  “Go and stop this before someone gets hurt” but Fun Janey says “Relax.  Grab a bira and let’s watch the show.”  I went with the latter and in fact invited my sister in law to come up and watch with us from the terrace.

The outsiders

I just need to paint this picture for you.  Do you remember the rumble scene from The Outsiders. You know between the Greasers and the Socs. In the rain.  Patrick Swayze in a wet t-shirt?  Rob Lowe who seriously never ages?  Tom Cruise before he got his teeth (and his nose) fixed?  It was dramatic and very, very hot wasn’t it?  This was NOT that.  This was two groups of middle aged men, none of whom resembled Patrick Swayze or Tom Cruise, and all of them who, frankly, should know better.  We have The Turk who, of course, recently had heart surgery.  We have Vito who back in March fell down some stairs (while drunk) and ended up nearly breaking his back.  We have the older, slightly balding, brother who feels that negotiation is the key to any argument (although he is not very good at it) and we have the younger brother who, although I love him dearly, really is a bit of a simpleton.  Along with these four middle aged dumb asses we have Romeo and his brother.  On the other side of this tense situation was a truck, a load of furniture and four very much middle aged men.  Similarly these men would never be confused for Patrick Swayze or Tom Cruise and no doubt their own medical histories, but these four men were surly and grim, and oh so ready to protect their daughter/niece/cousin’s honour, if necessary.

SIL, Daughter and I took our seats on the terrace just in time to witness The Turk grab one of the surly, grim visitors by the face and physically push him away.  Yikes!  I know I should probably have run downstairs and pull the leash on The Turk’s behaviour but I knew better than to get involved.  Keep the feck away and get ready for the fallout!

The neighbours all started to arrive because The Turk’s foul temper is legendary and no doubt this was going to be some great entertainment for all.  There was a lot of yelling and hand gesturing.  There was the occasional jostling; a hell of a lot of swearing and “he said, she said” but by the end of it all the secret was no longer a secret and the wedding was officially canned.

Two weeks have now passed since the secret came out and Romeo doesn’t seem too distraught by the break up (although he does update his Facebook status with some very deep, quite disturbing statements).  He has already replaced Juliet with a newer model (who apparently is, in fact, a model) so kudos to him.  Juliet has been seen out and about (although she will no doubt never set foot anywhere near this place again).  The Turk sheepishly went to visit Juliet’s family and apologised for his unruly behaviour and the gossiping ladies of the Village have more than enough to keep them busy for the next few weeks.

I still bring up The Turk’s unruliness at any opportunity and he still tells me to get fecked regularly.  So all is good in the world.

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10 Things I Hate About The Turk

Those of you who follow my blog will know that The Turk has been in Australia for a little over 3 months now.  His original plan of holidays and fun times down in Oz turned into a medical emergency and him being stuck in Australia until the Cardiologist gave him the all clear which, fortunately or unfortunately depending how you look at things, he got last Monday.  This means … yikes … he’s coming back in a few days!

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I have enjoyed my single life immensely over the past few months.  I have enjoyed not sharing my bed (and the earth trembling snoring).  I have enjoyed ignoring the housework (as a good Turkish housewife should).  I have enjoyed my nights out without him and I have enjoyed my nights in without him.

I now realise that I will not only have to return to a life shared with him I also get to experience his crazy ass, typically Turkish, male antics again and so, in celebration of The Turk’s forthcoming return, I give you  – 10 things I hate about The Turk:

  • His Big Fat Turkish Ego! I think this one covers everything else on the list but his ego is the largest thing about him *nudge, nudge*.  He knows everything.  He can do anything.  He spends more time in front of the mirror than I ever have and he is the total male package.  I am sooo lucky.  He tells me so every, single day!
  • His Turkish Compass. Being Turkish and a male (or maybe just male) he will never get lost.  It is unheard of.  Impossible!  Rubbish!  And yet despite this unique ability that is akin to a superpower he can never find his kimlik.  Or his mobile.  Or his bloody wallet.  He is like a Tyrannosaurus Rex – can’t see the shit right in front of him!
  • His love of stomach turning Turkish food. Ick!  Eep!  Yikes!  With The Turk returning he will bring with him the insane need to cook sheep’s head or brain or liver or kidney or tripe.  I just vomited into my mouth.
  • His ability to act like a four year old boy. Like all Turkish men when it comes to a confrontation with their wife, The Turk will run away with his tail between his legs. He will disappear for hours on end and turn his telephone off.  All this achieves is that I want to inflict permanent damage on his measly ass!  I blame his mother.
  • His coping mechanism. Due to his recent illness I will probably let this one go but it is still worth a mention.  When The Turk comes down with man-flu his ability to operate heavy machinery or even the television remote becomes non-existent.  The world, quite rightfully, comes to an end.  Full body aching or even a simple sniffle means that he has been struck down with nothing short of Ebola.  During this period of marriage I can usually be found yelling, “Just die already” but I guess I shouldn’t do that one anymore.  I am going to need a new catch phrase.
  • His penis. The Turk loves his ding-a-ling and re-arranges said ding-a-ling at least 500 times an hour. Just leave it alone for Christ’s sake. You don’t see me touching my boobs every few seconds.
  • His penis – take two! The Turk always has sex on his mind.  All the time.  He is so freakishly obsessed with it. Will he never get bored of being horny? And why is everything related to sex?!?!  When he rang to tell me he could fly his actual words were, “The doctor said I can have sex again … oh and I can fly home as well”.  *Sigh*
  • His ability to lie. To my face.  He does it all the time.  “Darling you sing like Madonna”.  “Darling no that does not make you look enormous” or what about the “I’ll be home in 5 minutes”.  The last one is the worst.  A Turkish 5 minutes could be 5 hours, hell it could be 5 days!  Shit just ain’t true!
  • His ability to help … others. It does not matter what needs to be done The Turk is there for you.  Your neighbour’s cousin’s, aunt is moving home?  Of course The Turk will singlehandedly carry her ugly Turkish furniture down 4 flights of stairs!  A problem with your toilet?  Bob the Builder ain’t got nothing on The Turk.  A nuclear reactor in meltdown?  The Turk is all over it but God forbid if I need a light bulb changed in the stairwell!  He is AWOL.  It’s never going to happen.
  • Not only he is always right – did I mention at any stage that he is a genius – his family is also always right. His brother is always right (did you see how I highlighted that?  Can you feel the tension?).  His sister is always right.  Everyone is always right except for me.  Even if I had made the suggestion two minutes earlier it is not right unless it has been said by a family member.  Aarrghhhh!?!?

Bonus reason:

  • The inevitable reverse culture shock that will hit The Turk as soon as he sets down his suitcase. I lived through it last year, hell I blogged through it last year! He will be grumpy.  He will no doubt sulk.  He will yell it to the world, “Coming back here was a huge mistake and we should move back to Oz as soon as possible”.  This line of behaviour will carry on for a few weeks until, like a puppy, he settles into his new home albeit with a few pee puddles along the way.

He does have his good points too you know.  I don’t know what they are right now but I am sure they will come clear once he has returned home – and tidied the house.

On reflection I realise that my “10 things” would not be limited to my Turk or to Turkish men in general but wow(!) I feel like a huge weight has just been lifted off my shoulder!  Now it’s your turn.  Spill the beans people, it’s cathartic.  What annoys you about your lesser half?

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Introducing The Turk

He is part adult, part baby.  He is emotional, overly emotional, passionately emotional.  He can be selfish.  He is stubborn.  He smokes.  He drinks too much.  He is a terrible driver.  He is argumentative.  He is dedicated to his family – too much so.  His crazy antics are the reason why the grey hairs on my now blonde head appear more often than they ought.  Only him.

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On a good day he is an acceptable human being.  He likes to clean.  He likes to cook.  He likes me.  On a good day.

On a bad day it is clear that I have upset the Gods and they have sent this demon monster to me as punishment for my wrongdoing.  My mother in law had a ‘whacking stick’ that she used on the stray cats if they made their way a little too close to the front door of her house.  I had also seen her use her ‘whacking stick’ on both The Turk and his brothers more than one.  I have decided I need a ‘whacking stick’.  I will keep it next to the front door where I keep the slippers for visitors.  If The Turk gets a little out of control I can grab my ‘whacking stick’ and wield it around like a big ass shiny sword.

In case you are wondering my Dad actually did like The Turk.  Not at first.  Not when you get his only daughter “knocked up” but he came around eventually.  He didn’t love him but he liked him all the same.  He said we were “well matched” and “both as ridiculous as each other”.  There you have it.

Daughter has another ear infection.  Her own fault.  She runs around in mid riff tops and cut off shorts most of the time and she will not take the medicine prescribed by the Doctor.  Last night she was very, very sick.  Ear aches.  Stomach aches.  You name it, she was suffering from it.  The Turk aka the most childish, spoilt, overly emotional pain in my ass that every existed spent the night sitting next to Daughter’s bed.  If the blankets were pushed off he put them back on.  Is it too hot?  He adjusted the air con (incidentally it is too bloody hot).  When she woke uneasily after a disjointed dream he shushed her back to sleep.  He offered to sing to her at one point but I heard her shout “NO”, we only need one rock star in the family after all.

I still need a whacking stick but perhaps I will not need to use one today.  Not today.

Forgotten Anniversary

Lying in bed last night I was going over the day’s activities in my head when I realised the date.  2 February.  Crap!  The Turk and I were married 11 years ago today.  The fact that we are still married in itself is a miracle as I have wanted to divorce him or murder him or perhaps break one of his appendages at least once a week since 2 February 2003.  But the more important issue at hand is that both The Turk and I have forgotten our wedding anniversary yet again!

It really should not be that hard to remember an anniversary should it?  After all it happens yearly, that’s the point.  But without fail either I would forget (and am usually reminded by the Accountant at my office who is excellent with dates) or he would forget (maybe it is a cultural thing because anniversaries and birthdays do not seem to be particularly important to anyone in his family) but the fact of the matter is this time we both forgot.

I nudged The Turk a few times until he woke up, “It’s our wedding anniversary today.”

“Huh?”

“2 February.  It’s our wedding anniversary.”

He rolled over and looked at the time on his clock, “It’s after midnight.  Not 2 February anymore.”

And promptly fell back asleep.

A normal wife would probably have exploded or pulled out a voodoo doll with their husband’s DNA attached at this point but I am not a normal wife.  He’s right.  It’s not important.  I have never been one to remember anyway after all I always relied on Bez from the office to remind me (Bez why didn’t you remind me?!).

This morning I woke up and, remembering that I had forgotten my wedding anniversary (huh?), I set forth to make brunch for The Turk and Daughter.  The Turk had already left to go and help his brother deliver maydanoz (parsley) so I had plenty of time to prepare.  Daughter was happy – pancakes are always welcome for a breakfast treat.

10:00 am and my feast is ready to be consumed when there was a knock on the door.

Kim o?” Who is it?

Unknown Turkish voice came from the other side of the door giving me a nonsensical Turkish reply.  Why do I bother asking?

I opened the door to discover a huge man standing in the doorway.  This man was seriously as large as the door itself wearing all black including a big, black, bushy beard.  He was no doubt a murderer or a terrorist or, well, I just did not have a clue but he scared the shit out of me!  I stepped backwards at the sight of him but then focused on what he was holding in his arms.  2 dozen perfect blue roses.  Blue roses!  I do not think I have ever seen a blue rose before!  The giant pushed the roses to me grunting some more nonsensical Turkish words at me and then disappeared down the stairs.  Daughter began squealing and jumping around and I was stood at the front door dumbfounded.

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By the time The Turk arrived home fifteen minutes later I had managed to regain my composure and locate/borrow enough vases to arrange my beautiful blue roses around our home.

“Darling.  Did you get my present?  Seni cok seviyorum.  And do you want to know the best part?”

“What?”

“They only cost 20 lira!”

Daughter threw the book that she was reading at The Turk, “Daddy!  Shhh!  How unromantic!  Jeeze!”

That’s my husband – always on the lookout for a bargain.  Happy (belated) Anniversary anyway.