Fair warning – some of you may have developed a picture of me in your head as a happy-go-lucky and upbeat person, always up for the challenge, and always heading out into the real world no matter what people may think of me. If you want to keep that picture in your head, you might wanna just go ahead and hit the “back” button on your browser now. I’ve always been upfront and honest in my blog, and am not about to change that now just because it is not a happy story.
As I am sure that you have noticed, my blogs are coming few and far between these days, and that is for an assortment of reasons. I have been very busy for my job, and am doing quite a lot of travel, but not much of it is as Kim. Nope, these days I am doing most of my travel the old fashioned way – as a tired and old man.
On the few trips that I have recently made “as Kim” (as if I am ever not Kim at some level) nothing worthy of writing a blog has occurred. I don’t know if people are changing and becoming acclimated to folks like us, or if my own perceptions have changed, but it seems that only rarely does anything terribly amusing or interesting happen these days when I travel. So, with nothing interesting occurring, there is no point to try writing a blog about it.
“Today I took a trip – nothing happened.”
The other considerations are darker I am afraid. I can’t recall the last time when I traveled pretty and actually felt like it was worth the time and effort. Worse yet, I’ve actually begun to feel like a bit of a freak myself. I can handle knowing that other people may consider me a freak, but when I start to feel that way about myself, we have a bit of a problem I think.
When I first started out on this little adventure, that is exactly what it was – an exciting adventure! It was also more than a little personally fulfilling for me. After a lifetime of hiding, of wishing, and of wondering what it would be like, I was at last out and about in the world as a woman, and it was a wonderful thing! I felt great and at peace with myself and at peace with my own personal demons.
These days? Not so much. I feel like nothing more than a chubby old man in a dress. . .
I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being a chubby old man in a dress, but that is not what I am after, what I want, nor how I wish to be perceived. Screw what others think, that is not how I wish to be perceived by myself.
What I have felt for the last six months or more is not at all flattering, and I am talking about far more than just my vanity. True, I am getting older and showing the wear and tear of those years on my face these days, but that is not the driving force here. This is far more about the way I feel about myself and how I perceive myself. We can debate all day long about the rationality, or lack thereof, of my seeing myself as a woman when I traveled pretty, but rational or not, that is how I felt.
I felt like “I am Kim – I have a right to be here, I’m pleased to be here, and I am honored to be here. It feels right that I should be here.”
I just don’t know how to state it any clearer, but I don’t feel like a woman when I travel pretty these days.
I feel like a guy who is strutting around in skirts and making an ass out of himself.
I feel like a husband that has put his wife through pure hell.
I feel like a father that has let his children down and done wrong by them.
I feel tired . . .
Despite all of this, I still make the effort here and there, sort of hoping that maybe this is a temporary thing with me that will work itself out; hoping that maybe the wonder will return to it for me. We shall see. . .
SO! What else has been happening with me these days?
To start with, I had a second floor bathroom rot out from under me. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Yeah, the previous owners of our home did a half assed job when they remodeled the bathroom off of the master bedroom. They didn’t use the appropriate drywall to back the shower stall; they just put the tile directly onto regular drywall that is not designed for high moisture or getting wet. Of course our first clue of this was when a tile literally just fell off of the shower wall, exposing the rotted and water damaged wall behind it. Even at that, we had not realized just how bad the damage was behind the tile, and we just stopped using that shower. Well, I finally got up the courage, or got desperate enough, depending upon how you look at it, to tear the shower stall down in preparation for putting up a new one. What I found shocked and devastated us – far more than just the drywall needed to be replaced. Every bit of structural wood behind and under the wall that tile had fallen off of was horribly rotted. Much of the wood was flat out gone – long since turned to dust and fallen away. Some of the wood remaining was about the consistency of Styrofoam – so weak and brittle that you could put your finger through it easily. What had started out as a one or two weekend job to replace a shower stall had morphed into two months or so of rebuilding an entire bathroom, to include the structure of the floor and the exterior wall. You just haven’t lived until to see your home with a gaping hole through the exterior wall up on the second floor. We have the scary part done now – the structure of the floor, sub floor, and wall is once again sound, strong, and complete. Now all we have to do is come up with a lot of money to buy the things required to do the “finish” work and install a proper floor and interior wall surface. We are going to use a “wood-like substance” for the floor (something that looks like wood but is designed to tolerate water) and we are going to put wood up on the walls. Once that is out of the way, we will install a claw foot “slipper” tub IF we can get the damned thing up the steps. At four hundred pounds, getting it up there is going to be a significant challenge.
As I think I mentioned on my last blog, my oldest son is going through a divorce. I don’t know any details and wouldn’t share them here if I did, but let’s suffice it to say that it is a hard time for him. My little boy, my first child, is in the US Navy, far away from home, hurting, and there is absolutely nothing that I can do to help make it better for him. What little I hear from him makes it clear that he is not doing real well and is clearly depressed. I just hope that he handles depression better than I did when I was his age, but I’m kind of doubting it. I turned to alcohol and pretty much drank like a fish, and I suspect that he might be doing much the same. I call and text him often and let him know that even if he is far away, he is never alone – we are always with him and will always have his back. I make sure that he knows that if he needs me, I can and will be there in no more than a day or two – no longer than it takes to either get flights or drive there. It sucks but it’s all I’ve got to offer him.
Do you remember those huge and painful bruises that I used to get on my legs for no obvious reason at all? We thought that we had that licked as I had gone almost two years without them, but they have once again graced me with their presence. Even as I type this, my lower left calf is a pretty shade of red and swollen to half again its normal width. It feels and pretty much looks exactly as if someone had taken a blow torch and burnt the entire lower calf with it. It hurts and it hurts bad, but in over 15 years, the dozen doctors that I have seen for it still can’t figure out what is causing it, nor come up with a treatment to make it go away. I just try to grin and bear it, except that I can’t grin and I can hardly bear it. Gotta feed the wife and babies though, so I keep going even though I can hardly walk first thing in the morning until it swells up so bad that it can no longer transmit pain. There are people out there with MUCH more serious problems so I will try and keep mine in perspective.
And at work? The only other field service engineer in my company that understood one of our more prolific instruments as well as I do is about to be fired. It seems that he has been fabricating receipts for things and expensing them to the company. Eventually, he got over confident and got so blatant that he caught the attention of our accounting department. They started going through his expense reports with a fine tooth comb, and then started reviewing his old ones, and have clear and unambiguous proof that he has been committing fraud and stealing from our company. There is no question that he is going to be fired. Now the question is, will they prosecute him? All questions of integrity and honor aside, I find it hard to imagine being stupid enough to risk a job that pays well and offers a lot of freedom, just to steal a hundred dollars here and there. It just doesn’t make sense to me. This guy lived in New Jersey, with-in driving distance of a LOT of our customers, and so now someone is going to have to pick up the slack when he is gone, and I expect that it will be me.
It’s ironic aint it? Now that I am no longer delighted to travel, it is almost a certainty that I will be traveling a lot in the near future. Sigh . . .