Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A busy month . . .

Wow there have been so many things happen since I last visited the world as Kim that it’s hard to decide what to add. A lot has happened but not much of it related to cross dressing. Does that mean that no one who typically reads my blog or posts will be interested? I honestly don’t know. What I do know, is that most TG’s I have spoken with or met have been very proud of their countries, and I think most have also served in their own armed forces, so I will go ahead and write and leave it up to you what you skip over and what you read.

So lets see – the last time I was out and about as Kim was in early October 2010 in the Denver area I think. The following week and a half was spent in a mad dash half way across the United States, in a mini van, with two infants and a seven year old, to go see my son graduate from Basic Training with the United States Navy. I spent over a decade active duty Army and of course told my son that if he had any sense at all, he would go in the Air Force or Navy, and this appears to be one of the few times he actually followed my advice. As any parent could guess, spending four days round trip cooped up in a mini van with three adults, two infants, and a seven year old girl, was utterly exhausting. Still, we did eventually make it all the way from the Austin Texas area to Great Lakes Illinois to attend my sons graduation from Basic training.
The night we arrived, I took a short trip from the hotel to scout out the route we would be taking in the morning just to be sure that there would be no surprises. As I pulled in to the parking area just outside the closed and sealed gate to the base, I had a bad moment. I looked at the cold and gray sky, and at the equally cold and gray buildings on the other side of the fence, and I realized that this was where my son had been for the last two months. Someplace cold. Someplace gray. Someplace alone. Someplace a long way from everything that he had ever known and everyone that he knew and loved. I had spent so much time telling him of the exciting things that lay ahead of him, of the places he would go, things he would see, people he would meet, and somehow I had forgotten just how terribly lonely he was going to be at first. With a fairly heavy heart, I backed the van away from the closed gate and returned to my hotel room.

The following morning started off in madness, as you might expect when you have the parents and families of something close to a thousand young men and women all trying to get to the same place at the same time. The first people we ran in to were in our very own hotel, but that was no big surprise given that the hotel was so close to the base. As our entire group of six left the elevator and headed for the dining room, we stumbled across a family with an infant girl in a sailor suite. It was pretty clear they were off to the same place we were, so we chatted for a bit, and let our little ones meet each other.

William Graduates Navy Basic 022

The next couple we met was there to see their daughter graduate. The father was very quick to point out that he was also ex-Army, and had in fact been Airborne (semi-elite forces). We had a good laugh at the Navy’s expense talking about how quick we were to make damn sure everyone knew we were Army and not Navy, and then laughing again when we both admitted that we had made it a point to steer our children away from the Army that we ourselves took so much pride in.

The ceremony itself was a fairly typical military affair. Lots of fanfare, patriotic music, and speeches by the high mucky mucks. We sat in the stands, desperately trying and failing to pick my sons face out of the hundreds of young men and women arrayed before us. During the first half of the ceremony, I held my youngest son, who is just a bit over one year old, while he was sound asleep in my arms and on my shoulder. I was more than a bit amused at the contrast between my oldest and youngest sons. It seemed like it had only been a few months ago when I had held my oldest son this way, and yet here he was, standing out there amidst a thousand of his “shipmates” and about to receive the most formal declaration he would ever have to prove that he was now an adult man.
At some point, my youngest woke up and decided to complain to the world about his being cooped up in a car for two days and then dragged off to some ceremony where no one would let him down to walk, play, and run. In other words, he started yelling just as loud as he could, and a good deal of the yelling took place while high ranking officers were speechifying. This of course led to mixed emotions on my part. Embarrassment that he was disrupting such a solemn occasion, and just a touch of amusement as I considered how many times I had wanted yell during long drawn out speeches given by officers when I had to stand in formation.
At long last, the speeches came to an end and the young men and women arrayed in front of us were released. My wife and future daughter-in-law started to make their way off of the stands and into the crowd in an attempt to find our young sailor, and I called them back to me.
“Y’all are gonna play holy hell trying to find him in that crowd. Let’s just wait here a moment. I’d be shocked if he didn’t hear his baby brother raising hell earlier and I’ll bet that he knows exactly where to find us by now!” I told them, and sure enough, a moment later my son walked up to us. To say that I was stunned would be an understatement.

William Graduates Navy Basic 046

When he had left home, his nick name had been “The Troll” because he spent all of his time in his room playing video games and would only come out to eat. Reconciling that with the clean and crisp young sailor with the short hair cut standing in front of me was boggling my mind. After a lot of hugs and excited talking, we made our way outside, and eventually to the car. That entire day was kind of a blur, but eventually it was over, and we had to take him back to the base for the night.

The following day was also a bit blurry, a busy day of walking a mall, seeing a movie, and going out to dinner. It seems that these were pretty much the things that he had been missing through basic and that he had wanted to do. Far too soon, it once again came time to take him back to the base for the night. This time my daughter-in-law and wife had to stay at the hotel to take care of the babies and get them off to bed, and so I took him back to base by myself. You are only allowed to carry them so far into the base – only to the church parking lot. From there you must drop them off and they will then walk the rest of the way to their barracks . . .err . . ship. We talked for a few minutes about this and that. About how proud I was of him. About how he should never feel alone because we were always thinking of him. About how it didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing, if he ever needed me I would come. Of course the military doesn’t tolerate being late, not even being close to the deadline, and so eventually we hugged, said our goodbyes, and I watched my first born child walk off into the cold night in his long dark over coat, walking alone toward the bleak and gray buildings off in the distance. I sat there in the car and watched him walk off until I couldn’t see him anymore due to the dark, and then I reached for the transmission shifter. I pulled it down into “drive”, sat there a moment, and then slowely pushed it back up into “park”. So much for my being Army tough and Army strong, because I sat there for more than twenty minutes sobbing like a baby with my face buried on my hands. All of my life I had been the one walking off into the distance. I was the one getting on the bus or the airplane. I was the one leaving everything and everyone behind and going it alone. Not this night though. This night it was my son, my child, my little boy, that was walking off in to the lonely night all by himself. All those years I had told him of the grand adventure that the military was, of the excitement and pride that it brought, and I had totally forgotten how terrible and awful the loneliness had been in the beginning. This is what I had encouraged my son to do and to be and I wonder if he will ever forgive me . . .
After a while, I thought I had my act together well enough to drive, and so I made my way back to the hotel where I made my way to the elevator and then to our room. As I entered the room, my wife looked at me with surprise and concern.
“Are you OK?” she asked quietly, trying not to wake up the sleeping children.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I lied to her as I hugged her.
“You look like you have been crying.”
“Nah . . . “
“Just allergies then?” she asked with a knowing smile.
“Yeah, just allergies . . . “ I lied, but the lie didn’t last long as I came apart and started crying again while I held her.

The next day was our last with him and we all went to drop him off that night. He and I  had a couple of moments alone outside of the van to say our good byes and it was all I could do to keep it together when he started crying while we hugged. I reminded him again that he was never alone, never more than a phone call away, and that I would always be there if he needed or wanted me. Much faster than I myself had recovered the night before, he pulled himself together and once again started off into the night. I watched him for a moment, and then I got in to the van and started to pull away.
“Hey! I can still see him! I want to watch him go!” my daughter-in-law pleaded with me as we pulled away.
“Uh uh. Trust me - that makes it a lot harder. “ I told her as I drove off. She probably thinks I’m a huge asshole for not waiting. Of course she has no idea how bad I had lost it the night before, or how hard I was clenching my teeth and managing my breathing just trying not to break down right there in front of her and the children.

We got back to Austin just in time for the weekend, and then on Monday I had to report for Jury duty. Several hundred people showed up and were crowded into a large room where they weeded out the first batch of people with a good excuse to not be there. Some were genuine excuses from folks that truly would have been under some hardship to serve. Some though, were just people that couldn’t be bothered to do their small part for our countries justice system.. Soon enough, they had the rest of us broke down in to separate groups and each group was sent off to a court room to be interviewed by the lawyers for the respective trials. In my courtroom, there were 60 people, and the lawyers asked a number of leading questions to the crowd in general, and sometimes to specific people. I kept quiet the entire time and just watched the madness. Some people were clearly still working the angles to get out of the jury duty. There were at least six people that kept popping up and responding to questions in a way that was obviously intended to make it clear that they were not suitable. I’ve got to be honest, at more than one point it took an effort for me to keep quiet, because I had to keep fighting the urge to stand up and shout at them “shut up and sit down you worthless piece of shit. Your country asked so damned little of you and you just can’t be bothered.”

At one point I realized that the defense attorney that was leading the question and answer session was not the one really evaluating people. While the one was in front of the crowd and talking to them, the other was sitting off in the distance intently looking at people. Clearly he was the one truly doing the evaluating while the other led us on and distracted us. I sort of started as I realized that while I was figuring this out and thinking about it, he was staring directly at me even though I was in the back of the room. 60 people in the room, at least 20 of them have been actively participating in the interview process while I sat quietly in the back of the room, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t choose me. . .
The trial was about a 41 year old man that had molested a 4 year old girl, and I’d have to say that serving on that jury was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever had to do.
While it was obviously an awful thing, there was no “violence” involved. The little girl, who is now five, took the stand and she was so bright and cheerful. I think that she will be “all right” as long as her family has the sense to not keep referring to it, bringing it up, and reminding her. She seems fine, but of course the scars are most likely on the inside (in her mind and soul) and will become more evident as she grows older.

The little girls mother is of course a basket case. The one and only time that she was forced by her work schedule to leave her daughter with her fiancé of two years, he molested her. Can you just imagine the guilt and anguish that this woman will have for the rest of her life? It's only human - as irrational as it is, she will always think that she should have magically known, that her ESP should have some how warned her. There will always be a voice in that mothers mind that whispers to her late at night "It was my fault".

The children of the man who did it are model students, well on their way to scholarships. When his 16 or 17 year old son entered to testify, more or less as a character witness, the man broke down in tears and I damn near did too. Could you imagine having to look your son in the eyes after having just been found guilty of molesting a four year old? Can you imagine being the young man, walking past your father to testify on his behalf, knowing that he had done this? Still, the young man did take the stand, did say that his father was a good man who had always been a kind and loving father.

His 14 year old daughter entering the courtroom carrying a stuffed animal and giggling for a solid five minutes from the shear nerves and mental anguish of it all. . .

His invalid mother sobbing that she had brought her son to the United States when he was ten to give him a better life. "He had always been such a good and decent man, how can this happen?"

Several life long friends of his came to testify as to his character, and even after learning what he had done, they were willing to stand with him and call him a good man that should not spend his entire life in prison for one horrendous act.

All of those people who's lives are shattered.
All of those families destroyed.
He had never done a single illegal thing in his entire life, and then he does THIS and totally destroys the lives of everyone who loved him.

One thing I am SO thankful for - while he tried to recant it when the lawyers got involved, the man confessed on video and gave details making it clear it was a true and honest confession. At least I don't have to live with the fear and terror that I may have made a mistake and helped to send an innocent man to prison.

Oh, the next time I’m called in for Jury duty, I may well be one of those low lifes trying to weasel my way out of it. I don’t think I can do that again . . .

After three weeks away from work, and one week spent at the office, I at last found myself back on the road again for my job. I would have to admit that it was with a good deal of relief, because I needed some quiet time alone after the last month. I couldn’t make the flight to Detroit as Kim though, because my flights got in early enough to go directly to the customer when I arrived. Still, the next day I was done fairly early and for the first time in a month, I was looking in the mirror to apply makeup. I was mildly surprised to find that in only a month I was already getting rusty on my skills, and so it took me a bit longer than usual to get ready. What really came as a surprise though was when I reached for the door knob to my room and had a small moment of panic at the thought of leaving the room. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that particular trepidation, and I’ve got to tell you, I haven’t missed it at all. Getting more than a little irritated with myself for being silly, I took the plunge, pulled the door open, and headed out!

I did a couple of things that day! I went and saw the movie “Hereafter” directed by Clint Eastwood. I would have to admit that I found it a little disappointing. They were trying to tell the stories of several people but they never really tied them all together coherently and I thought the end was unsatisfying. I love Clint Eastwood, but even so, I’m gonna have to recommend ya skip this one.

Detroit 2010 11 03 008

After I saw the movie, I went looking for a female coat. I have a huge and heavy coat but its size and weight make it undesirable when it comes to traveling. It takes half my suite case and that’s not acceptable! Lol  So anyway, I made my way through a Marshalls and a JC Penny’s checking out what they had available. As far as I could tell, no one gave me the slightest bit of attention, and that is of course just the way I like it. I found a couple of coats that I thought were pretty neat, but still hadn’t made up my mind. I found a royal blue coat at JC Penny that was on sale from $250 down to $130 that I really liked, but I still wasn’t positive, so I made my way to a near by mall to see what they had. After walking the mall I decided that I hadn’t liked anything I saw there anywhere near as much as I’d liked the blue coat at JC Pennys, so I made my way to the JC Penny in the mall instead of driving back to the one I’d actually found the coat at. I figured that they would probably have the same coat and I was right, but they were still showing the price as $250. Even though its tag said $250, when I ran it under the price check scanner, it came up as $130! YAY!

The following morning I was headed to from Detroit to Lexington Kentucky. I’ve been there once or twice before, but not often enough to really get to know the place. I was going to wear a white knit top with a long and very floaty and fluffy multicolored skirt, but when I got dressed they just didn’t look right together. In the end, I discarded the skirt and pulled out the same one I’d worn last night, and I thought the outfit looked pretty good if I may say so myself.

Detroit 2010 11 03 012

This time I had to go through one of those full body scanners at the airport. They really stress that you have to remove everything from your pockets, to include paper and the like, so I was a bit nervous knowing that I was wearing breast forms and hip pads. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so in I went.
“OK ma’am, please place your feet in the painted foot steps, stand with your hands above your head, and make a diamond shape with your thumbs and fingers.” The woman said to me as I entered the small enclosure. As soon as I was situated, the sensor very quickly rotated all of the way around me.
“OK, you can exit it now. Please step forward and wait.” She told me with a smile. I stepped out of the machine and moved forward about half a dozen steps to wait in front of her. About 15 seconds later she puts her hand up to her ear piece.
“Roger that. The breast area.” She softly says into her microphone.
“Ok miss, I’m going to have to pat down your breast area OK? It’s what we call a ‘sensitive’ area and so I will be using the back of my hand. All set?”
“Sure, I guess.” I replied, and the woman did indeed proceed to rub the back of her hands all over my upper chest area for a moment before telling me that I could proceed.
“So, am I going to get a personal inspection every time I go through one of those machines then?” I asked her.
“I have no idea. I doubt it though. It was probably just your under wire bra or something.” She said with a smile. I was pretty sure that it had nothing to do with the under wire bra, and everything to do with the fact that I was wearing breast forms. I grabbed all of my stuff and stepped over to a bench where I could sit down and put my laptop away and put my shoes back on.
“Aren’t those shoes SO cute?!” I hear a woman saying. I looked up to see three flight attendants walking by me and one of them is talking to another and pointing at my shoes. They were moving along pretty quickly and already moving away, so I just gave her a big smile.

The young man I sat next to was an aspiring movie camera man and he apparently liked to talk, because I knew everything about him shortly after the flight took off. It turns out that he is on his way back to Boston to work on a film, so we chatted about the making of movies. I’ve never been part of a professional movie, but I did once help to make a fan film for Star Trek, and that was enough to show me that while it was hard work, it was a great deal of fun. At one point he confided that he hated flying and had taken something to keep him calm. THAT turned out to be the right choice on his part, because as the plane was approaching for a landing in Lexington things started to go wrong. First we started to descend, and then we leveled off started to circle the airport.

“Well ladies and gentlemen, from the cockpit, we just thought we should let you know what is going on. During landing, we set our flaps to 40 to give us a bit more lift. The problem is, we are getting an indication up here that they are only extending to 20. Now this is nothing to worry about, but just to be on the safe side, I have declared an emergency and we will probably have a few fire trucks greeting us when we land. I want to repeat that this is nothing to get excited about - I have done this a couple of times.”
The first thought that crossed my mind was to wonder if he had “done this” in a simulator or a real aircraft, but I wasn’t gonna voice that one out loud. Then I remembered that the guy next to me had told me early on that he was afraid of flying so I looked his way and found him white as a sheet.
“I wouldn’t worry about it much. It just means that we are gonna land a little faster than normal.” I told him with a smile. I acted like I had a clue, but of course everything I know about flight is theoretical and flight simulator based. Still, I put my money where my mouth is and just returned to reading my book to prove that I wasn’t concerned. As I’d expected, it seemed to me that we just landed going a bit faster than normal. Even at the higher speed, we hit the ground pretty soft and then hit the brakes a bit hard. I gave my seat mate another smile.
“Well, at least the brakes work!” I told him with a grin.

When I got to my hotel I realized that I had stayed here before and had quite enjoyed the place – The Campbell House. They have a live band on Friday nights that plays old rock and roll, and since I was going to have to be there Friday night, that was going to be pretty cool!

On both Thursday and Friday nights, the installation and training I was there to provide wasn’t going so well, so I didn’t get off until late both nights – too late to bother going out dressed anywhere. Thursday night though, I found myself walking down one of the very long hall ways of the hotel, and there before me, in a secluded area I found a white grand piano and decided to give it a whirl!

On Friday night I went to Bogarts, the pub in the hotel, and watched the band and the crowd. Unlike my last visit here, I was drab this time and garnered no attention what so ever.

Lexington KY 2010 11 06 003
Saturday I had late flights back home. I didn’t have a thing to do all day but get home, and yet they booked me on flights that didn’t even leave until almost 5PM. I guess it saved them a couple of bucks on the flight or something. I did go ahead and fly home dressed, thinking that I wasn’t going to arrive until well after my children had gone to bed so what the heck.

As the plane was closing up to take off the pilot came on the intercom and assured us that he had 20 something years of experience as a US Navy pilot, and that the co-pilot also had over 20 years experience but as a Marine pilot.
“. . . so between the two of us, we have over 40 years of experience up here.”
To my surprise the gentleman sitting next to me started to laugh, so I looked his way with a raised eyebrow.
“I just hope he wasn’t an aircraft carrier pilot. . . “ he told me with a wink.
You will be glad to know that we landed safe and sound, no arresting cables, no fire trucks . . .

As long as it was Saturday, late in the evening, and I was dressed, I figured I’d just go ahead and go out in Austin for the evening. My daughter in law has often expressed a desire to hang out with me (morbid curiosity maybe?) and so I invited her to go. As I was parking the car and going to pay for the parking, a very drunk man walked up to her and I.
“You don’t have to worry about the machine, I’ll take your payment for you.” He told us, slurring his words so badly it was hard to understand him. My daughter in law and I just laughed and told him “No thanks”, and continued working with the kiosk. Our drunken friend took one real hard look at me.
“You have too much bass in your voice!” he told with a confused look on his face.
“Yeah, I’ve been told that before. Thanks for letting me know.” I replied. As we were walking away my daughter in law told me to ignore him, he was just an asshole.
We ended up at Pete’s dueling Piano bar on sixth street and really had a good time. Not a whole lot of music in the joint, but a LOT of humor. It was a great place to hang out and I definitely recommend it!

Lexington KY 2010 11 06 005

Did I mention that I’ve had a really busy month?

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