Friday, October 26, 2012
One the way through the Austin airport, I had to walk by two young men who were seated outside of the security check point, and like it or not, I had their full attention as I walked by.
"That's a dude." One of them said to the other, loud enough for me to hear him. He didn't exactly yell it out, but it was clear he didn't care if I heard him or not.
"Nah, I don't think so." Replied his friend to my great amusement. This was a perfect example of what I've always thought and said here - I look just passable enough that people are not SURE whether I am a cross dresser or not. Of course I'd rather that I was so flawless that I fooled everyone all of the time, but I suppose that I'll accept what I've been given.
This week I was working with a customer in Allentown PA who has two instruments that have been obsolete for about a decade. The instruments were made by a company that my company later bought, and so we acquired it along with them. Almost immediately after we bought them, it was decided that this product was too expensive to produce and support, and there was not enough demand for them, so the entire product line was killed. They trained just one person to work on them before the last one disappeared and that was me! Now the problem is that this device uses a LOT of very fragile components that degrade over time, and we no longer have spares, and so if just about anything goes wrong, the quarter million dollar machine is nothing more than useless junk. For this reason, I told the customer repeatedly that they should not spend their money getting it repaired, and I warned them over and over that there was a significant chance that I would not be able to bring it back into operation. Despite my very blunt warnings and advice, they insisted that it was worth their money to at least try, and so off I went on a mission that I was reasonably sure that I could not succeed at.
One of the reasons that they insisted that it was worth trying for, was because they owned two of these machines and figured that I could probably salvage parts from one to fix the other, and they were partially correct. I did indeed have to pull multiple components from one to put on the other, but in the end, I could not bring either into operation, despite spending two eleven hour work days trying. Being an optical instrument, it relies on several very expensive mirrors that degrade over time, and these components on both systems were in such bad condition that we had to throw in the towel and give up. So, I made a lot of money for my company, but had the horrible feeling of failing and leaving an unhappy customer behind.
Two VERY long days on my feet didn't do my leg condition any good at all, but still I was in a fairly good mood on the way home. I couldn't help myself and decided to have fun with the waitress at Denny's when she asked if there was anything else that she could get for me.
"Yeah, how about a frontal lobotomy?" I replied with a grin. She broke out with a laugh, but you should have seen the looks on the faces of the people sitting around me when I said that - it was priceless! The shocked looks almost made me loose it. You could almost see their thoughts on their faces.
"Oh my God, did she have a lobotomy?!"
"Holy shit, is that a nut job?! "
"Do you think she she's safe to be around?!"
At that moment, I was pretty sure that this was going to be my best laugh of the day, but I was absolutely wrong. . .
I was sitting toward the front of the plane from Allentown to Atlanta and watching all of the cattle. . . Err. . . I mean people boarding the plane, when I noticed a kind of frumpy and frazzled looking young woman in a blue sweat shirt dragging a wheeled carry on behind her. The problem was, her carry on was wide open and she was leaving a trail of belongings behind her as she traveled down the aisle, blissfully unaware of the trail she was leaving. Much to my surprise, the first item I noticed was a very elaborate and I suspect expensive thong/panties. My first instinct was to pick them up and return them to the young woman, but then I kind of decided I wasn't about to handle some strange woman's panties, and so I reached out to touch her arm.
"Ma'am, I think that you may have lost something that you're gonna miss later." I told her with a grin.
"Oh my god. Thank you so much!" She said, turning to pick them up as her face turned a very dark red. I was still smiling as she took her seat, but not a minute later the peace in the cabin was broken when she starts to yell at a man who was standing in the aisle talking to her.
"Look, I don't give a shit. My ticket says 4D and I'm not about to move!" She was yelling at him.
"But mine also says 4D!" The man replied with an Indian accent.
"Well that's too God damned bad, because I'm already here, and I'm not about to move! There is a whole row of seats here, so you just grab another one!"
As this argument went on, another woman was entering the plane and holding a tube of toothpaste in her hand.
"I think someone dropped this." She said to no one in particular as she made her way into the plane.
I started to laugh and pointed out the loud mouthed and belligerent woman in the sweat shirt to her.
"We'll, I'd be willing to bet that it is hers since she dropped a few other things on her way in." I told her with a grin.
The sweat shirt woman was still in the midst of yelling at the man that apparently was assigned the same seat that she had, and so the woman with the tooth paste was just a bit put off.
"Are you sure?" She asked me with a look of trepidation on her face.
"Purty sure! The thing is, the OTHER things that she dropped were a bit more. . . . umm . . . personal . . ." I replied with a wink.
As for the seat mix up? Yeah, the loud mouth in the sweatshirt was on the wrong flight, but at least she had the grace to apologize profusely as she exited the plane.
Oh, you'll be glad to know that she managed to keep her panties with her on the way OFF of the plane!
Damn but I love my job . . .
Monday, October 22, 2012
So I took a trip to Peoria Illinois and had to catch a connecting flight in Atlanta. I had about an hour and a half to catch that connection and so there was no great rush and I was able to take my time. After taking the “plane train” to an adjoining concourse, I arrived at my new gate, but with the overwhelming feeling that something was wrong. Then it struck me! I had left my back pack on the damned airplane, and oh joy, I had no idea what gate that airplane was at! So there was a good five minutes tracking down a Delta CSR to have her look up the gate for my arriving flight, and then half an hour to get back to that gate. Just to make things fun, the Delta rep gave me the wrong gate and so I literally ended up walking the entire B concourse by the time I found the plane that I had arrived on. Fortunately they had found my bag and it was waiting with the gate agent there. I remember thinking that this was a serious and scary sign of how far my mental status seems to be degrading lately, and that I’d better make sure that I never do that again.
Yeah, never do that again you idiot!
Guess what I did on the way back from Peoria? I kid you not – I got all the way off of the jet bridge before I realized that I had left my backpack on the plane again! I’m starting to scare my damn self . . .
So this weekend my wife wanted a little time on her own without the children, and so I took them shopping for Halloween costumes and stuff. We had about a 45 minute drive to get there and I was relaxing listening to one of my favorite albums – a compilation of old TV hits by Ray Conniff. When my daughter asked me what it was, I explained that these were all songs from movies and TV shows that were popular when I was her age, and then I explained a little about some of the TV shows.
I was kind of surprised to realize how many of those shows were ground breaking for portraying women taking careers and making their own way in a time where it wasn’t all that common.
I told her about the series “Police Woman”, that was all about a female detective, and she wasn’t all of that impressed at the idea so I tried to put it a little bit in context. I told her that back then, most women were housewives who were expected to marry and then stay home and take care of the children. A woman who was not only making her own way through the world, but was in fact doing it in a very male dominated career field, was something special and noteworthy. You should have seen the look on my daughters face.
“Why couldn’t girls get jobs?!” she asked me with more than a little bit of anger in her voice.
“Well, they could, but usually not real good ones, and they were usually kind of looked down on for doing it.” I replied.
“But that’s not fair!”
“Darn right it wasn’t fair, but that IS the way that it used to be!”
The next song that came on was the theme to “The Mary Tyler Moore” show and my daughter surprised me by asking me what show it went to, and much to my surprise I realized that it was much the same kind of show.
“Well, that show was also about a woman who was making it on her own!” I told her.
“Really?” she replied, looking kind of skeptical.
“Would I lie to you?!”
When the theme to “Welcome Back Kotter” came on, I volunteered the information about that show before she asked.
The next song that came on was the theme From “Laverne and Shirley”, and before I could offer its story, she asked me about it. I actually hesitated when it caught me by surprise that it ALSO was very similar to the first two.
“Well, that was a TV show about two young women living together and also trying to make their own way through the world without relying on a husband to do it for them.”
I dunno, I’m probably really late to this revelation, but it really did surprise me how many shows I grew up with that had as a significant part of their story, a woman making her own way in a male world. Today most of us , and certainly the young women today, take it for granted that they are free to have their own careers without being looked down upon.
My hat is off to “Police Woman”, “Mary Tyler Moore”, and even “Laverne and Shirley” for helping to teach little girls that it was possible to stand on their own two feet – that they didn’t have to rely on someone else to take care of them. Well done ladies!
Believe it or not, my daughter and I even spoke a bit about how important those shows were for that very reason.
“So, in a way they were heroes?” she asked me.
“Honestly, I think so. They taught little girls what they could do if they wanted to. They taught little girls that they could be whatever they wanted to be if they were willing to work for it.”
While my daughter and I were talking about this, my three year old son was sitting in the back seat in his car seat, and he perked up at the word “hero”.
“When I grow up, I wanna be Iron Man and save the world!” said my little super hero. The bad news is, I think that he has a ways to go. About half an hour later I was helping the recently potty trained little hero to go potty and he peed all over daddy’s leg.
I figure we’re gonna have to hold off on saving the world for a little while yet . . .
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Well you haven’t heard much from me these days, and that’s probably just as well as pretty much all that I’ve got to share is whining and moaning. I know that I’ve mentioned this horrid little skin condition that have before - Erythema Nodosum. My current bout with this crap is by far the worst that it has ever been, and my legs are probably 50% covered in these large and painful bruises and bumps, and this time I even have about half a dozen “bonus” bruises on my arms, even though the disease usually limits itself to the legs. Saying that I “hurt” everywhere is kind of like saying that fire is “hot” – it is a significant understatement. So not only do my legs hurt very badly, but they are swollen and covered in these horrible dark red, black, and blue bumps that just look horrible. Needless to say, this doesn’t really motivate me to get all dressed up and try and pass myself off as pretty.
This service call was probably one of the harder service calls that I’ve ever made. Harder not so much for the work that had to be done, but for the stress that was involved. The customer had major problems on their end that we had to iron out, and then after we worked out their bugs, we found problems in each of the three systems that my company had provided. Other than the fact that my legs hurt so bad, the physical work itself was not so hard, but the mental anxiety and stress of trying to troubleshoot and repair all of these issues at a high profile customer like IBM was a bit of a bear.
On this trip, I was stuck away from home for almost two entire weeks and so I did eventually decide to try and spend some time “as Kim”. Not much I could do about the pain, but I was reasonably happy to find that a pair of tights at least hid the nasty colors of the bruises. Believe it or not, this was the first time that I have ever worn tights, and while I was happy with the look, I wasn’t all that thrilled with how hot the darn things are!
The first time I got out was over the weekend, and I went to see a couple of movies. The movies must not have been terribly interesting though, because I can’t even remember what they were now. I do recall getting all of the usual grins as I was buying my tickets, drink, and popcorn though.
As I was getting ready and “putting on my face”, I once again suffered from the overwhelming feeling that I looked horrible. Every day I see more wrinkles, and I’m sure that it comes as no surprise to anyone that reads my blog, but I am pretty much obsessed with my hatred of what age has done to my face. In a pleasant surprise though, when I was all done and got my hair together, I was actually fairly pleased with my appearance!
The next time I got out was when making the trip from Fishkill to Albany New York the day before my flight home. Since I was booked for a 620 AM flight, I made sure that I got a hotel near the airport the night before my flight, so that I didn’t have to get up at 2AM to make the drive. Anyway, I made the one and a half hour drive “pretty”, and wore a dress and shoes that I had just bought at a Marshalls that week. Quite honestly, I don’t think that the dress flattered me too much. I thought that the shoes looked awesome, but I had a lot of trouble walking in them due to the height of the heels. With the fact that I just wasn’t used to wearing heels that high anymore, combined with the way one of my ankles was swollen with one of the bruises I mentioned, I was walking far less than gracefully. I really should have chosen shorter heels even though I very much wanted to try my new shoes.
So, odds are good you wont be seeing a whole lot of activity on my blog for a while, and for that I apologize, but I’d rather write nothing than to have folks start thinking that I do nothing but whine and complain! When my skin condition relaxes a bit and doesn’t hurt so bad, I’ll probably get back on the horse. Until then, y’all have fun out there~!