Thursday, January 6, 2011

But will it play in Peoria?

Sunday afternoon I was packing for my trip to Peoria and I hollered down the stairs to my wife who was surfing on the computer.
“Hey! Would you check the weather in Peoria IL for me? I need to know so that I’ll have a clue what to pack!”
“Sure – hold on!” she yelled back up the stairs. A moment after that, all I can hear down stairs is her and my daughter-in-law laughing. I kind of figured that wasn’t a good sign.
“That bad huh?” I yelled down the stairs.
“Yeah, the highs are in the twenties. Your gonna freeze your ass off!” followed by the sound of both of them laughing again. Oh great . . .
So what to wear that’s a happy medium? Warm enough that I wont freeze to death, but not so warm that I’ll roast in the airports. For that matter, if I can avoid the long skirts, the damned TSA wont pat me down.
‘What to wear, what to wear . . . ‘ I was thinking as I rifled through my closet, and then suddenly I had it! Years and years ago, like about ten or fifteen years ago, I bought a cute little red and black suit at Macy’s on sale. I remember thinking at the time that it was awesome when I got it, but my wife popped my balloon when she took one look at it and said that it was way too 1980’s. . .   I HATE it when she does that! Intellectually I know that I’m a big boy and that I should make up my own mind about what I like and don’t like, but every time my wife slams an outfit, it pretty much ruins it for me. The few times that I have gone ahead and wore something she told me that she didn’t like, I’d hear her voice in the back of my head the entire time.

“That doesn’t look right . . . Those look like old Mom Jeans . . . That color wont work for you . . . that looks like you just stepped out of a 70’s disco . . . “

Of course it doesn’t help that she is usually right.

Well, this time I was gonna do it anyway – I liked and bought the damned suit and I was darn well gonna wear it!

Once again I was up at 3AM to get ready, make the drive to the airport, and get there early enough to get through security. I wasn’t thrilled to get up that early, but it was either that or spend the day lamenting the lost opportunity to fly pretty and enjoy my day. I arrived at the airport with about an hour and a half until my flight left, and so had assumed that I was in no danger at all of not having enough time – I was wrong. As the escalator brought me from the ground floor up to the second level where the airline counters are, I was shocked to see a huge line of people snaking all of the way down the airport and blocking the doors and ticket counters. I walked along side this line for a few dozen feet looking for a way across it to the ticket counters, but everyone was anxious, in a hurry, and not inclined to leave gaps for people to walk through. Eventually I had to more or less force my way through the line, saying “Excuse me” as I went.

As I approached the “First Class / Elite” line at the Delta counter, one of the male Delta CSR’s waved me forward.
‘Are you first class or Skymiles Elite?” He asked me with a smile, but then he frowned and rolled his eyes.
“Never mind, that was a really stupid question considering how often you fly with us. In fact, I’m kind of surprised that you aren’t Platinum!”
“I know! I missed Platinum by only three thousand points! I would be diamond with you guys if my company didn’t always book me on the other airlines when their flights are cheaper. As it is, I’m Gold with you AND Gold with US Airways too!”
Once I got all checked in with the airline, I grabbed my back pack and headed for the TSA screening line. Given the huge line of people in the “standard” or “non-elite” line (wow that sounds conceited doesn’t it?) I was a pleasantly surprised to find that there was not a single person in the Elite line and so I went right up to the inspector. Looking at the envious stares and glares from the people that had been standing in line for 40 minutes, I couldn’t help thinking that every once in a while, being a frequent flier does have it’s perks!
As I sat my shoes, back pack, and other odds and ends on the X-ray belt, I kept looking at the TSA inspector at the metal detector waiting to see if he was gonna yell “Female Assist!” like they have on my last two flights or not, but this time he didn’t! So apparently a knee length skirt is not enough to set off the TSA hounds! Instead of telling me that I had to stand aside for an inspection, he grinned and pointed at my shoes on the belt.
“And now for the lady with the plaid pumps! Or are they Tartan? I never do get that right!”
“I don’t know myself. All I know is that they are cute and that’s good enough for me!” I replied with a grin. As I made my way through the metal detector, I started looking around for the young lady that had frisked me on my last two trips, because I wanted to be a smart ass and go out of my way to point out that I had worn a shorter skirt just to save her the trouble of frisking me. I had hoped that it might have made her laugh, or it might have just irritated her, but since I didn’t see her there, we will never know. I still think I should have worn a mini skirt just to poke fun at them though.

Oh, as for the suit, I’m gonna have to say that I think this is one of the very few times that my wife was wrong about an outfit, because I thought it looked great!

Just last night I was told that I have to be in the Boston area arriving on January 23 and leaving on January 27. Not ten minutes or so after I found that out, I came across a Facebook post mentioning that the Tiffany Clubs “First Event” takes place the week before that and ends the night I am supposed to arrive. Now I am thinking about arriving a day earlier so that I can go socialize with the hundreds of other TG’s that will be there, but I have a couple of concerns. First, since I had no idea that I was going to be there, obviously I haven’t paid to be part of the event, and given that I will only be arriving late on Saturday night, it wouldn’t makes sense to shell out $100. So would that make me a party crasher if I show up to BS with people? My other concern is that while I have not yet made my flights, I know from experience that I will probably have to get up at 4AM, and wont arrive in the Boston area until 6 or 7PM. That means I will have already had a 12 to 14 hour day and my makeup will look like hell – would I really want to go to an event like this, and meet so many people, being that tired and looking that bad? I dunno – gotta think about it.

Well, that’s where the transgender part of this story ends, and now I’ll move on to something a bit more personal. If you’re not in to that, then here is where you might want to gather your things and leave.

Long long ago, in a desert far far away, I was born in Apple Valley of southern California. About a year after I was born, my mother separated from my father for a whole host of very good reasons including his tendency to drink to oblivion and abuse his wife and children while doing so. Fortunately I went and lived with my mother. Unfortunately, my mother was in very poor health and in and out of hospitals, so at several points in my young life I had to go back and live with my father and his new wife and children. My father had two sons, David and Mark, from a marriage prior to my mother, and his new and current wife came with two girls Pamela and Michelle. Then he and his new wife had another Son “Sonny” and a daughter Tracy together.
My memories of this time in my life are pretty vague, as you would expect considering that I was only five or six at the time, but I do know that I was eventually returned to my mothers care, and my father and his new wife and children went on about their lives without me. Off and on through my young life I would visit with my fathers family and sometimes even live with them, and so I came to know these “half” brothers and sisters, probably a bit more as friends than as family, but there was a bond there. There was the bond of growing up with an abusive alcoholic in the house. There was the bond of having very little in the way of material possessions. There was the bond of counting on each other because you knew that you couldn’t count on anyone else.
In the end, my father proved to be far to dangerous and unreliable for anyone, most definitely including myself, to consider it safe for me to ever visit him again, and so it was only many years later when I was almost an adult, that I learned he had given my little sister away through an informal adoption. He and his new wife had split up for the very same reasons that had split he and my mother apart. His wife managed to take her two oldest daughters with her, and had begged him to let her take the other children as well, but he flat out refused. As far as I know, I am the only child he ever fathered that actually was allowed to leave with the mother when divorce came. Anyway, I don’t know the whole story, but years later he did something that could almost be considered decent – he gave Tracy to a couple that desperately wanted a child. I say decent because once he was single, this removed the only good and decent influence on the children left in his home, leaving them at best unattended, and at worst, flat out abused. I wouldn’t have wanted little Tracy to grow up in that house . . .
What I’ve only recently found out though, is that Tracy’s mother had begged him for years to give Tracy to her and he refused to do it. Once she found out that Tracy had been given away, she begged him to tell her where she had gone, and who she had given to, but he again refused to do the decent thing and tell her. One of the sweetest and most adorable little girls you can imagine was gone from our lives forever. . .
With the advent of the internet I began searching for Tracy but had no idea at all how to start. The adoption was informal, with no court documents or records, so there was no way to find out who he had given her to, what state she had gone to, or what last name she now held. Ultimately I more or less gave up, and left several posts on genealogy web pages hoping that maybe someday she would find me. That was 2001 and I checked back on those posts for many years before finally deciding that it was a lost cause.
A couple of weeks ago, with the marriage of my son, my wife suddenly became interested in genealogy, and in her research stumbled across the posts that I had made years ago. More important, she stumbled across a response by my sister Tracy in 2009! In her response, she gave her email address, and listed the names and ages of her children. I of course started by sending her an email, but apparently she had stopped using that address some time ago because they went no where. I then started searching for the names of her children and found a couple of likely candidates, one was on facebook and the other one on Myspace. With my pulse racing, I sent messages to both, and a day later had a response from her 13 year old daughter. More or less it read:
“ha ha – you done good! Yes, Tracy is my mother, so you are my uncle and I am your niece! We live in WA and her cell phone number is XXXXXX.”
I sat there for about 20 minutes staring at that number. For twenty years I’d looked for her and now that I had a way to contact her, I had absolutely no idea what to say. What do you say to a little sister you don’t know and haven’t seen in almost forty years? What do you say to someone that was given away at the age of eight and who probably had no idea how badly she had been missed, or how many people had devoted so much effort to finding her?
Finally I made the call . . . and got voice mail . . .  Don’t try and tell me that God hasn’t got a sense of humor . . .


  1. I am happy beyond words for you! :) I hope that someday soon the 2 of you may be reunited

    Oh and I'm with you- that suit rocks. That said, I'm an 80s fiend. :D

  2. Hi Kimberly :-) How are you? You may not, or might remember me...this is Kelli(tall, thin, auburn hair), we were friends on the old Yahoo 360, and we met at SCC-2008...yeah, one girl out of around 1000! ;-) Anyway, I was just looking at recent Facebook posts(yep, we're friends there too), and I noticed your photo, and the word "Peoria"(I'm from IL), so I decided to stop by here and see what's going on with you(I remember always enjoying your stories of traveling, etc.!), and I am SO delighted to read this story about your sister! Just amazing, and once again, the Internet has done something good(I think it does more good vs. bad, imho.)! And good for you, Kimberly! I look forward to hearing more about this, and I hope it all goes well when you two are reunited!

    Take care, Kimberly, and always--Safe travels! (Hugs)

  3. Have fun in Peoria! I'm from Chicagoland too, but about 2 hours away. I wish I was closer so I could tell you about local sites and places in the area . . . but I'm Peoria knowledgeable!

  4. Ummm . . . I meant Peoria UN-knowledgeable! :-)