Saturday, December 19, 2009

Half-Assed Work, and the Great Tree Butchering

For what may be the first time in our marriage, BE hung up the bath mat the other day.

Look, I'm not any kind of perfectionist about housekeeping or anything, but seriously. Did he look at that and think he did a good job and that the towel would dry sometime in the same week? Or did he just not look at it?

I often wonder if men do this kind of thing because they don't know any better, or if they do a crap job on purpose so they won't be asked to do it anymore. My dad tells me it's the latter.

The other day in the kitchen, I looked up at the light. BE changed the bulb a few months back, but this was the first time I noticed it.

Here's a close-up in case you can't see the problem.

That's right. He neglected to replace the screws that hold the fixture on. So every time I cook, the Light Fixture of Damocles is hanging over my head, held on there with good intentions and, I suspect, a big dollop of İnşallah. İnşallah is something you can say when you don't want to take responsibility for your own behavior, and everyone just accepts that.

After discovering the light (which I just left that way, BTW, figuring if it's stayed this long it'll stay longer unless there's an earthquake or someone starts jumping around in their kitchen upstairs), I looked out the window and discovered they'd done this to our beautiful trees.

I know trees need to be pruned from time to time, but this? This is awful. To get an idea of what the trees used to look like, check out the smaller ones in the background.

All over the city are these shorn trees with thin stumps and scraggly tufts of growth on the top. Why? I have no idea. It's not like there are any telephone lines overhead, and the branches, even if they were in any danger of falling on a house or car, were not thick enough to do any damage.

And I wish I'd gotten a photo, but to clean up the branches the next day there was one man with a tiny little hatchet breaking them up to load onto a truck. I might be Damocles, but that poor fellow was Sisyphus. At least our trees will make good firewood, I suppose. Maybe that's all they were ever there for.


rebecca said...

One of our neighbours has just done that to the trees in our back garden:(

Your bathroom ceiling reminds me of when I lived in a Toki flat, I had just such a ceiling and dust and grit was always falling through the cracks. Plus you could hear everything that went on in your upstairs neighbour's bathroom. Do you find that?

Stranger said...

Ew, aren't those ceilings awful? When we first moved it, I was forever running into the bathroom in a panic that a pipe had burst up above, but it was just the neighbors flushing their toilet or showering.

We used to live on the 7th of 8 floors. Now we're on the 4th floor, so there are way more bathroom sounds to enjoy. LE, having recently been potty trained, is very interested in bathroom behaviors so he's forever pointing at the bathroom saying things like, "Man go pee!" "Upstairs go poo!"

Anonymous said...

take a look at the trees in spring!

american husbands (a generalisation, sorry) are all great handyman!

go on, go on...

what a colonial approach - the natives stink, I am great!

expat love said...

i feel sorry for a man who wife puts up stuff on blogs globally, whose wife probably doesn't tell him anything, in a passive aggressive way.. gosh! how ridiculous is that. if you are that unhappy, why don't you leave your marriage... is someone putting a gun through your head to make you stay.....

Jess said...

Hi Stranger,

wow, I'm off the blogs for a month, and I come back, and you have so much to say! Whoo, I sympathize. It's been fun to read, but I know where you're coming from (minus the marriage part.) Glad I'm back to reading/enjoying your blog! Take care!

Stranger said...

Exat love, Anonymous, you are so clever and so right about everything. It's like you're in my head and you know me so well. Thanks for taking time out of your busy lives to share your helpful and contructive thoughts with me.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

for the record, the anonymous above is not me.

sandyhoney said...

I've just tuned in after some time... At least your blog is getting read! I, too, have a Turkish hubby, and there are just some things he won't do. Hanging a towel is one of them. However, he seems to think that he knows how to do minor electrical work, which is scary...

His dad, though, is in the hospital right now, surrounded by family members wailing "Babam kaybettim". With my stiff-upper-lip British background, this is hard for me to understand. It's like, the more and the louder they are, this, to them, shows how much more they love him... Whereas to me, I'd be of the mind to be as positive as possible, so that he might actually believe that he has a fighting chance.

But, they look at me like I've sprouted a pair of tassaklar on my forehead when I quietly suggest being more positive around him.

Y said...

My husband hangs up his towel but with the top third scrunched against the wall and towel bar--so as to ensure the top third of the towel will not dry by day's end.

I often wonder what it is about the effort and time it would take to hang the towel so that it actually hangs over the bar and would dry that drives my hubby to leave it scrunched there and risk having to use a cold damp towel the next morning. Perhaps he worries the cumulative life-time effort might take five minutes off his life. Or, perhaps, it would delay that first morning coffee by about half a second each day.

No matter, because I love him, and the sight of the scrunched towel every day would drive me mad, every day, I fix it on my way out of the bathroom. As penitence, he has been assigned dish-washer duty indefinitely (even when he cooks).

I cannot understand doing something half-way, nay, usually he's about 90% to the end, and then just stops. Leaving stuff he's used laying around after he's done repairing, fixing, cleaning, whatever, is the worst. Usually, he ends up waiting for me because I start picking up and putting away all his loose ends just as we're leaving the house. When tries to complain, I shake the item at him with a smile and ask who left this lying here so that I would be left to put it away.

I figure fair is fair and he should care just as much about saving my sanity, if not more so, than me....hehehe

PS - As for the missing screw in the light fixture. I'd grab my hubby and drag him underneath it, give him a kiss and tell him he has to stand there until it falls or he puts the screw in. Yes, my hubby is Turkish, but he knows who the boss is :) and I try to lace my complaints with a smile, some kisses and carefully crafted compliments (you know, something like "aslan kocacagim [insert complaint here]").

Y said...

Correction, that should have been "aslan kocacigim".

Stranger said...

Okay, lengthy response time:

Anonymous, I wouldn't know if American husbands are great handymen because I've never had one. My husband's being a crap handyman has nothing to do with being Turkish, so I don't know where you got that idea. Anyway, I'm usually the handyman, but he's better at changing lightbulbs because he's taller.

Expat love, don't worry about my husband. The blog is the nice version of how I get things across to him. As for why I stay in the marriage, there are a lot worse things than having a gun held to your head and I think if you thought about it for half a second you might be able to work that out. Keep it to yourself when you do.

Other Anonymous, unless you have some Internet Jekyll Hyde thing going on, I never though jerky Anonymous was you.

Sandyhoney, I'm sorry to hear about your FIL. I never quite get the scripted drama either. I hope everyone is doing okay.

Y, you have a very wise and loving and level-headed approach to things. If I can ever get over being pissed off about the real problems I don't write about here, I'll consider your approach.

Happy holidays everyone.

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

I wouldn't know about spouse problems but the towel problem doesn't need to be a problem. The real solution is two-pronged:

-- Perhaps at a small cost in absorbency, artificial fibers work fine and dry fast. They also don't rot as easily. (If you are the kind who'd take pride in their expensive towels made out of dead plants, I have nothing to say to you except to point out that the 'tul perde' you probably also have and take pride in are most likely polyester.)

-- Don't use bars. Largish hooks and corresponding tags/loops on towels and bathrobes work OK.

An exhaust fan with a timer or a humidity sensor might also help. I haven't tried rigging one up yet, but I intend to.

I think rather than trying to 'train' the untrainable, technology can be put to good use to obviate the need for such training.

seamus said...

Great posts here. It is like the law in Beylikduzu that it must be as devoid of decoration, nature and beauty as possible.Oh and have as many of the same shops and restaurants on the same street selling the same things.

Private schools:

Why oh why do they employ staff who are all under 25 yet give advice to parents when they have little life experience and have never been parents or married themselves?


Stranger said...

Bülent, I'm pretty sure our tül perde are made of something unpronouncable. Our other towels are on hooks and I probably shouldn't complain because BE always hangs up his towel. I only remarked on the bath mat because it's the first time he's hung that up. Our new house has the bonus of a bathroom with a window so the towels are much less smelly, but in the old house I often wished for a fan.

Seamus, the trees used to be really nice and green spaces like what we have outside our house are so rare. Maybe that's why the shearing upset me so much.

It's funny/sad they keep building all these stupid shopping malls out near us where all the shops are perpetually going out of business because everyone still only goes to the Migros mall that's always been there. Hope your Istanbul Christmas was better than tolerable.

seamus said...


Beylikduzu - why oh why am I still here?

I told you about the school psychologist-anyway my wife was called to the school on Friday to discuss his problems.

23/4 year old single girl with no kids with a degree in child psycology from Marmara Uni says:

My son has Attention Deficit Dısorder as well as emotional problems and needs psychotherapy. My wife has got an appt. with a professor from Marmara Uni.

The fact that he speaks 2 langs fluently and does homework every night and is mad about sport-and is learning German at school and is 5 fucking years old - doesnt matter.


Stranger said...


Y said...


Sounds like your son is a gifted genius and bored out of his mind at school. He probably has the ability to focus on a number of things at once, giving the appearance of ADD. As for emotionally disturbed, intellectual boredom can drive one nuts, even at age 5. All of that may be hard for a twenty-something of only average intelligence who has never had to do anything but memorize the content of text-books to understand. (PS - Ability to memorize and parrot vast amounts of material does not equal intelligence.)

Dear Stranger,

I'm sorry to hear that there are other very real problems that you must deal with. Take it easy on yourself and good luck.

Stranger said...

Thanks, Y. I'm sorry too.

seamus said...

Turkish "education" ia so tragic. And what is more tragic is that they cannot see it.

Stranger said...

Seamus, I mentioned your situation to my mom (30+ years special ed experience), and her nose is seriously out of joint about their approach. A few things she mentioned:

It's not possible to diagnose ADD in a 5 year old. That comes up later when a kid starts having difficulties with learning tasks that require a lot of concentration. She said ADHD is possible to see at this age, but it's something quite different.

A school psychologist, whatever her age, has no business telling a parent a child needs psychological treatment. S/he can describe the child's behavior and what s/he finds disturbing, and perhaps recommend a GP visit if the child is hurting himself or other kids. Otherwise it's up to the parents to decide how to deal with it.

And honestly, the whole thing smacks of racism to me. Yours is not the first bi-cultural kid I've heard about to be labeled as difficult, slow, badly behaved, or whatever other shitty label people come up with because the kid doesn't fit some narrow definition of how kids are "supposed" to be. One friend of mine was warned about an "impossible" kid in a 4th grade EFL class he was teaching. Turned out the boy was bored silly with his Turkish English teacher because his mother was American and he was already fluent, and the teacher didn't like being corrected or catching the kid reading Harry Potter when he was supposed to be copying from the board...

So, I hope you guys can get something sorted out before these morons screw up your son for real.

Jess said...

Hi Stranger,

two things: I went to the Kapali Carsisi last weekend. There's a particular street I like to take to approach it from the Gulhane area. The street is very touristy, but it's wide, pedestrian, and has enormous, gorgeous old trees lining the sidewalks. Guess what happened to them? Aieee!!!

The second thing is a blog called True Wife Confessions. It's created and moderated by a Canadian woman. People send in all the things they wish they could say to their partner, or the things they'd rather *not* say to their partner. I'm all for venting on one's own blog, but wow, do you ever get the whole life spectrum on TWC. I laugh a lot, and sometimes I'm aghast; either way, I can't stop reading it. You might enjoy (??) it. I dunno if enjoyment is the right word....

seamus said...

Stanger -thanks but there is nothing I can do. My wife has an almost fanatical belief in experts and a sort of Baron Munchousen (sp) syndrome love of doctors and health problems. Her family love illness and many of their conversations are about ludicrous illnesses and folk remedies as well as doctors visits.

Whatever I do or say he will end up goıng to Professor Doctor Mucait.

seamus said...

I forgot to mention that 3 or 4 days ago my wife got a call on her mobile from the school informing us that if we paid next years fees by 31 Dec we would get a great discount. I mean why would we want to pay a whole years fees in cash 8 months in advance and be given less than a week to come up with the money. No shame about ringing up the parents with their latest scam.

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Seamus, this is the way organizations here work and act when it comes to stuff like that. I think your irritation is justified, but won't get you anywhere. The same goes for taxes, gas/electricity pricing etc. You find out about next year's taxes around new year's eve, the price raises become effective in the middle of your billing cycle (they try to pro-rate the usage) and so on. Ditto for your other complaints about teaching/schooling -- they pervade in some reasonably abstract form.

I think you are wrong in observing that the natives don't notice these things, though. Many do. It is just that people don't expect to be able to do anything about them so they just adjust and tell their kids to do the same. That's what we were told (Well my sister figured it out herself, I was the one who'd get in trouble at school. Both our parents were Turkish born&raised, BTW). I think what that did for (or to) me was that ever since early ages I acuired the habit of never really expecting any kind of formal authority anywhere to be rational let alone compassionate. So I am pleasantly surprised when I turn out to be wrong. Saves my sanity (such as it is) as it turns pretty much all surprises into good surprises. I imagine -- perhaps outside of a handful of societies -- this is what's experienced by the vast majority of humanity.

Outside of commiseration, what you guys could do that'd be useful to people who'd attempt what you've attempted is to write up what you found inside and what it did to you once you opened the box both for the country and cross-cultural marriages. There must be ways to do this w/o over-generalizing and triggering defensive responses and/or abuse or unduly scaring people. I wouldn't quite know how to do it even if I had the foreign perspective, but I suspect English teachers would. Am I wrong?

seamus said...

Bulent you misread my post. There was no increase just a sad attempt to get us to pay 8 months in advance with a discount as a carrot.

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Not really, that's what I intended to mean when I said 'reasonably abstracted.' If early payment gets you a deal, that's effectively a change in terms offered and thus the price. If you knew about it at the time you were quoted the pricing, you'd have arranged your finances accordingly and perhaps taken that option. No?

seamus said...


I did pay in advance-I paid this years fees last august and got a discount.

I dont know what you mean by reasonably abstracted.

It is a cheap scam.

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Oh, OK.

By 'reasonably abstracted' I mean a general attitude you can abstract out and identify by disregarding various details of the specific cases. In your case -- which I indeed turned out to have misunderstood -- it would have been the rushed offer of a deal. I took that to mean that the pricing had changed on very short notice. This would have been similar to changing, say, natural gas prices effective right in the middle of the billing cycle or making your planning almost impossible by announcing changes in taxation a few days before they become effective. (Which, BTW, might have something to do with that rushed 'pay before Jan 1st.' deal. It is possible that they want to recognize that income on this present year's accounting before they close the books and figure that it'd be bad in some way for it to be recognized on next year's books.)

Is it making more sense now?

seamus said...

It is the sheer lack of shame here when it comes to money that gets me. Every single time I get a taxi from the airport I have to have a nasty arguement with the driver. The pathetic attempts at trying to use TEM or going via the coast road or pretending that E5 is blocked-just to rip you off for 10 YTL.

I got accosted three times yesterday in the space of 3 minutes outside Migros with various attempts at cons.

The big cons do not make me so angry it is the small shit which gets me.

Y said...

Stranger & Seamus,

I understand you are both feeling frustrated and, maybe?, a little home sick. However, don't forget there are many many problems here in the U.S. too.

Seamus, I kinda get your son's "diagnosis" because I was a "behavior problem" too. The only reason I wasn't diagnosed with ADD and medicated was because it was so long ago that it hadn't yet become the fad. I was a problem because I was bored out of my mind. I eventually was accelerated through but only after a fight and my mother threatened to sue.

My sibling, on the other hand, had learning disabilities. During one meeting with school administrators the school psychologist got so angry that my parents had the gall to request speech therapy that she yelled at my mother that my mother was crazy. Many parents of kids with learning disabilities here end up suing school districts to get them to follow the laws and provide appropriate education/therapy for their kids.

It's ok to criticize Turkey and its system, but really, when it comes to educating children, there's no system that's perfect for every child. Parents have to find ways to ensure their kids get what they need because all mass educational systems cater to the lowest common denominator-- which is practical but misses the mark by a long shot.

Yes, and I empathize with you on the illness obsession and demi-god status of doctors in Turkey.

There are days when I wonder why the heck I stay in the US and don't return to Turkey. My complaints are too long to list. I realize I'm just idealizing the other place. So what's the end result? Life is miserable? Oh, that would be so Turkish! :) No, when life gives you lemons, make some lemonade, or lemon meringue pie, or something else lemony slathered in sugar as you complain about it (I added the last part in as a compromise :)

Wishing everyone a happier and sane new year!

sandyhoney said...

JustME - Holy nuts on the comments here! Have a happy New Year's.

Stranger said...

Wow, guys. I've been meaning to respond but I had to give it some time.

Jess, I'll have a look at True Wife Confessions. Perhaps it'll give me some perspective, and I do enjoy a good train-wreck of a website. It's kind of like watching 'Cops.' In fact, I think I'm horribly tacky to have brought up marital problems on the blog, but at the time I was just being very eaten up by it. I think if I hadn't referred to BE as an asshole in a previous post, the towel and light fixture thing wouldn't have seemed as mean. But there it is.

Seamus, school fees in general just make me mad. They charge these impoverished kids in public school (how on earth do they pay? What happens if they don't?), and they charge fees on top of tuition. Why not just include it in tuition? Even LE's baby school manages to get 100 or 200 YTL for "supplies." I suspect they have a deal with a kırtasiye and someone's pocketing something, because why can't they just give a list and let us buy the supplies ourselves?

Bülent, it does seem to be a cheerful type of fatalism that helps people get through the day. I find things work for me better if I can just shrug them off in this way, but after some time it all starts to weigh on me and it's not really a natural state. Maybe after 20 more years I'll be better at it.

Y, I think "the grass is always greener"-ism was discussed in another comments thread. I think for people who have never lived in another country, it's more natural to blame individual people or individual systems for things that go wrong or are stupidly frustrating. But once you can compare countries you start blaming the whole country or the whole population. When certain commenters (and BE for that matter) get all huffy and defensive, I wish they'd get it through their heads that blaming on place isn't the same as saying the other is great. A lot of things foreigners struggle with, Turks struggle with too. In my case, a lot of my blaming the whole country is because I don't understand individual systems in Turkey, and in either country I try hard not to blame individual people for anything because it is rarely their own fault. Except for a couple of stupid, rude girls who work at the Beylikdüzü Garanti.

Sandyhoney (and everyone else, even the jerky commenters), Happy New Year to you too!

Vicky, Bursa said...

Yowzer - loads of comments!

I'd like to sympathise with you over half assed jobs by husbands. For weeks and weeks I have been asking, hinting and perhaps even nagging my husband to bring his drill home from work to do some stuff around the house (attaching drawers and wardrobes to the walls as our son is now very mobile and extremely strong). The plan today was to get up early, go to ikea at 10am, get the drill and get on with it (suggested by him, miracle of miracles). However, we left the house at 1pm as my dear man decided last night would be the perfect night to finish the raki and watch films till 4am, so getting up at 11.30 - nice. Also before we left I asked him to check what we need to get in the way of screws etc, to which I got a shrug and 'we have everything we need'. So of course it's Sunday night, nothing has been done and we have another week of drawers being on the floor. Bliss.

seamus said...

Having worked in private education in Turkey I know that everything is a con to extract money from the parents and my son's school do it with a perfect brilliance right down to the gorgeous receptionist with her perfect clothes and make up.

My son has a cold and so is not going to school today-my wife is taking him to a paediatrician at the hospital. I put the phone down on her last night (she was at ananne's)after I pleaded with her to stop going to hospitals and giving him antibiotics-he has had more antiobiotics in his 5 years than my entire family but to no avail.

I now have two options:

1 Argue with wife about it and fuck up the whole week and upset kid.

2. Ignore her obsession with doctors and illnesses and have a good week.

I really am worried that she enjoys the attention she gets when he is ill. I found myself buying a giant bottle of protex (antibacterial soap) the other day because I knew she would love it.

Even sex is a problem for her because she is worried about mikrob and has to have a shower, do her hair etc. after so it is just easier not to do it.

Vicky, Bursa said...

Seamus - the antibiotics thing is crazy isn't it. The clue is in the name - antibiotic gets rid of bacterial infections and will do nothing for a cold (a virus) beyond getting rid of the good bacteria in his system. I have similar conversations with my son's babanne - me - he has a cold. Her - must be mikrop. Get antibiotics Me - no - it's a virus - his immune system will deal with it. I still haven't really forgiven her for not telling me, when my son was 7 weeks old, that several children had streaming colds at one of the many birthday parties we had to go to. After he caught it and it developed to bronchiolitis (there was nothing worse for us than hearing him struggle to breath and on a ventolin machine every hour for days at the hospital) the response was, well he can't have caught it here as we told the kids not to kiss him. must have been in the 30 secs between car and apartment when you brought him here without a hat. Mikrops in the cold air. nothing at all to do with a stiflingly hot apartment and ill children breathing cms from his face, then.

seamus said...

We got the long list of supplies he needed-everything from play dough to staples-bought it all and I have recently noticed a 259 YTL bill from the school- I have pretended not to see it to avoid another bitter row.

Nomad said...

Can't believe the response you've got from your post! Wow.
Here in Izmir, the city government did the same thing with the trees. Reminded me of a photos of tornado damage back in my Midwest days. There was a rumor - completely unsubstantiated- that the limbs (from the widespread hack job) was sold as firewood. In my heart, I could not believe it- as cynical as I am.

Stranger said...

The firewood theory isn't too far-fetched, judging by the size of pieces the guy cut the tree into with his little hatchet before carting them away in a truck. It certainly isn't for beauty that they cut the trees like that, and though I don't know much about tree pruning, I've seen enough pruned trees in my life to guess that it isn't about the trees' health either.

I kind of hope it is for firewood, actually. At least the poor trees are being well-used.

seamus said...

How is that they are able to construct the tower blocks in Beylidkduzu so that when one flat are cooking hamsi all the flats can smell it.

Also in my bathroon you can hear everything in the next door neighbour's flat courtesy of the vent. I have heard everything from wife beating to screaming at kids.

I have a bit of a phobia with the lifts in my block as usually one is out of action and they are always being repaired. At the moment one of the lifts has all the buttons bar the actual numbers removed leaving gaping holes. I am scared that if I got stuck nobody could be summoned as there is no button to press to call for help.

seamus said...

On the never ending what men cannot understand about women and vice versa a tentative answer may be that you are better off being gay. There seems to be a phenomenon in the Uk of people in their forties and fifties leaving their husbands and wives for same sex partners.

Nomad said...

did you know... that it is easy to start a forum of your own? :)

41 comments? Gimmney-crickets!

seamus said...

It is official-kid went to Professor Dr..... and he has attention deficit disorder but it is not serious and he has above average intelligence for his age and his karne is good. He had to go a few more times and the wife has some books to study with him at home.

Nick said...

As a married man, I've often found the my wife is much more pickier about these things than I. It'll dry. Don't worry about it so much :P

Also, this and the light is a pretty typical example of a half-assed Turkish job. "Why do it right when you can do it half-ass for cheaper and in less time" seems to be an unspoken motto of some sort around these parts.

Stranger said...

Wow, Nick. I'm glad you commented because I haven't looked at this in a long time. It was this post and comments (even the crappy mean ones) that got me thinking about a lot of stuff and somehow life in Turkey became a lot more tolerable after I got home from this last Christmas. I attribute the change to thinking about stuff, and an increase in my self-prescribed mood alterants along with a big spoonful of giving up, and not dealing with those things that can't or won't be dealt with.

Plus there's my little boy who deserves better than Bitter Mommy. He doesn't give a rat's ass about the towel either. He just wants gummy bears. I have to find a way to provide them without feeling over-indulgent.

So when the bath mat is crumpled on the floor every day, I pick it up and chalk it up to that (the towel), and other things, being my lot in life.

Then I spend a couple of hours avoiding thinking about feminism in any way. Feminism has its merits, but not in Turkey, and not in an everyday kind of way in any country. In America, they've just co-opted feminism for selling Brazilian waxes, home pole dancing and baby tees. In Turkey, feminism is still in its fish-without-a-bicycle infancy, though they seem to be trying to work the headscarf thing into it somehow.

But in the day to day, mind-numbing work for no pay or other fringe benefits is honestly just best left ignored unless you happen to write for some clever publication, which I don't, so I have to clean up the damn towel (clearly the towel is symbolic of other issues) and find a way to deal with it, and suddenly I totally get Mommy's Little Helper.

As for the trees, the one snarky Anonymous was kind of right that they would look better in spring. Although they look better than they did right after they were shorn, they don't look nearly as nice as they did before the shearing so I still don't get why that was necessary.

And I still feel bad for blogging that my husband is an asshole, but mostly because I feel that was a very tasteless thing to do, and I was brought up better than that.

As for half-assed jobs, well... There's a lot to be said about that, but I take surprisingly little pleasure in learning the results of a half-assed job. Sometimes it's about half-assed construction that makes people die in earthquakes or flash-floods. Other times, it leads to much more expensive repairs down the road (such as in the crappy aluminum parts my husband's uncle used to build the machines in their factory, despite the fact the family has access to all manner of heavily discounted or even free stainless steel through generations of trade contacts).

I fixed the light fixture myself, but there isn't much I can do about the other stuff, any of it.