Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stinky pterodactyls and Ouchy Lasers

So as is usual in our home, my four year old daughter got out of her bed and came in to ours at around 2AM. We had a LOT of trouble conceiving her after my son was born and so we both look on her as a bit of a miracle, so we do not discourage this. Besides, you only gitta be a little critter once. Anyway, somewhere in the night I roll over and hear the little one whisper.
“Poppa?” she says softly. I play possum hoping I can get back to sleep.
“Poppa?” she says a bit louder and still I try to stay asleep.
Next, I feel little hands pushing me to shake me awake and she gets even louder.
“What sweetheart?” I say, still sleepy and maybe not as nice as I would hope to be.
“Are you awake?” she says softly, as if there is any doubt.
“Yes sweetheart, I’m awake. What’s wrong baby?”
“There’s a pterodactyl under the sheets trying to eat my toes poppa.” She says matter of factually. At this point I notice she has her feet just about buried in my spleen, presumably to keep the pterodactyls away from her toes. I guess she figured if that pterodactyl was gonna eat her toes he’d damn well have to go through poppa to get to ‘em!
I did the usual parent thing where I reassured her that everything was all right, there are no pterodactyls in the world anymore, etc, etc. 20 minutes later she starts to quiet down and I think I’m outta the woods and can go back to sleep when I hear:
“Poppa? I have to go potty.” This is pretty typical stuff and nothing we haven’t done before.
“well go ahead baby,” I say, “You’re a big girl. You can go potty by yourself.” I feel the bed moving and shaking as she prepares to get out. I start to nod off again and then realize that after her first bit of movement, she is still sitting up in the bed.
“What’s the matter baby?” I asked.
“I’m afraid there might be a pterodactyl under the bed Poppa – would you go potty with me?” Took her potty and as she gets back in the bed I told her again that there are no more pterodactyls in the whole world. Apparently not quite understanding what they were talking about in her daycare when they discussed these things, she tells me:
“I know, they are stinked.” . . . . huh? I’m sleepy and didn’t quite get it myself.
“They’re what baby?” I asked
“They’re stinked Poppa. . . they’re all dead!” Ah . . . the light goes off.
“Oh, you meant they are EXTINCT!” I say.
“That’s what I said Poppa!” getting exasperated with the stupid adult again, “They’re stinked!”
So today I went in for a laser appointment. You can’t imagine how much trepidation I feel over this as I’ve tried laser once and it failed. But I’ve now had two people I know personally tell me that it has worked for them. One of them showed me pictures of before and after, and his beard was almost exactly like mine. Now it is gone. Anyway, did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people and I am convinced that the folks that treated me the first time were using both, the wrong equipment, and poorly trained techs. I have decided to risk it again.
These folks did exactly the right thing with me – she was honest. Among other things:
It will not kill all of your hair.
You WILL have to come back once or twice a year.
It will hurt.
There are no guarantees.
Okay, so I can accept coming back once or twice a year if it means I don’t have to be the bearded lady most of the time. Got all the paper work out of the way and laid down on the couch for my first treatment with these folks. Oh my God people, it had been years since I tried this and so the memory had grown vague, but that HURTS! Imagine someone taking a good thick rubber band, putting one end up against your face and pulling the other end back as far as they can . . . and then letting go so it smacks you. Now do that 30 or 40 times across your face while they also apply a hot iron to the area they just treated, and you start to get the picture of how it felt.
If you read the stuff put out by the companies that provide laser hair removal, they lie through their teeth. They tell you it is rarely painful but that some people with a low pain threshold may feel “some discomfort”. Forgive me for being blunt, but that is pure and utter bullshit. I don’t care who you are, it hurts, and it hurts bad. By the time she was done, I was shaking visibly from a combination of the pain and the nerves and my face felt like it was on fire. In Austin Texas, it is in the high 90’s (F), and so when I got in the car I thought I was gonna die of heat stroke, and my face was pulsing. Smelled bad too – smelled like burnt hair. Turned the AC on full, aimed all vents at my face and drove home. . .
With a smile on my face . . .
Feeling pretty damn good about it too!
Well, the swelling and redness went down in about an hour and by the time I got home my face looked no worse than it does when I shave closely three days in a row. Right now it feels like a sunburn but nothing serious. Keep your fingers crossed, ‘cause if it actually kills the damn hair this time, it well be WELL worth the pain.
Die beard, die!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Indianapolis, Racism, and a touch of Depression

So I had my monthly trip to Indianapolis this last week. Usually I just can’t wait for these trips because it gives me the majority of an entire week to do the girl thing. For some reason, I just couldn’t dredge up must interest this week. I even had an entire extra day to play as I had to make a warranty service call in addition to the contract work I normally do on these trips.

The ladies at the counter of the hotel recognized me and went out of their way to chat with me a bit. That’s kind of nice as I most places I go I don’t have a lot of people to chat with.I got in at about 3PM Monday night and just couldn’t call up enough interest to get dressed up and go inflict my presence on the world. Instead, I got a bottle of whisky, some soda, and dragged my guitar out into the stairwell where the acoustics are AWESOME!. If you have ever been in a stairwell where the steps are concrete with no carpet, you might have noticed that there is a LOT of echo and this is something I like when playing and singing. Yeah, I felt a little silly at first, but as I got warmed up, and got my first drink down the hatch, I wasn’t all the worried about who I might annoy anymore.

The next night was Tuesday – usually one of my very favorite nights in Indy because I like to do Karaoke at “The Metro”. Tonight though? Nope, still feeling sort of depressed for no real reason, and just can’t dredge up the enthusiasm for getting dressed up and going out so I exorcised for a half hour or so, and headed for the stairwell with my guitar again. Before I headed for the stairs though I stopped by the front desk and played a little for one of the ladies there. She had commented that she was disappointed I hadn’t come down and played any for them the night before so I thought I’d bug her for just a moment. As I was playing, I saw her manager walk in out of the corner of my eye. At least I assumed it was her manager, figured she might not appreciate my annoying her guests and so I got up to leave. This was when they started telling me I shouldn’t leave and they were enjoying it, but at this point I felt kind of self conscious and shy – would you believe it? I thought I was over that shy stuff, but apparently it’s still lurking down there to rear it’s ugly head every once in a while.

Wednesday rolled around and I decided to eat the hotels breakfast. I’m sitting there eating while reading my book when a woman in her early to mid 60’s walks by and says
“That boys gonna wind up missing!” I had not idea what she was talking about.
“Excuse me?” I asked. She looks at the TV where Senator Obama is speaking and then back at me and repeats herself quite smugly as she started to walk away.
“That boys gonna end up missing and I had nuthin to do with it!”
I guess I am na├»ve because it actually took me 10 or 15 seconds to put it all together and then I just sat there stunned with my mouth hanging open. The woman looked so damned normal and yet was apparently a raving racist willing to share her opinion with others. Shouldn’t they be wearing sheets and silly hoods, or maybe a flashing yellow light to let everyone know they are freaking crazy?
Here the man had achieved the status of being a Senator in the government of the United States of America, and as far as this woman was concerned he was a “boy” to be taken out back and whooped, deserving no respect or consideration simply because he was black. One of the next thoughts that struck me was why in hell she chose to share her opinion with me? Do I look like a racist or something? What made her think I would share in her delusions – my white skin and blue eyes? The next thought to strike was that gee, if you don’t like Senator Obama, I’ll bet you will really LOVE me tonight when I get off work and head out in a skirt!

Got back to the hotel that night and I still wasn’t exactly filled with excitement at the idea of going out, but I sort of forced myself to do it anyway. Figured I was going to regret not taking the chance to do the girl thing later, when it might be weeks before I got another chance.

I recently saw a friend of mine had posted pictures in a suit just like this, but in black and blue, and so I pulled mine back outta the closet just to see what it would look like these days. I really love this suite but am a bit worried that it might not exactly be the current fashion. I had it on just for the purpose of taking pictures – I did not wear it out. I have this unique little condition called Erythema Nodosum that results in huge swollen bruises on my lower legs, and so at the moment the inside of my lower left leg is one huge bruise that is NOT pretty to see in short skirts. The only amusing thing about it is that it is almost entirely a female problem – it’s very rare for men to have it. I thought that was pretty ironic. Anyway, short skirts are out of the question for a few months so I just took the pictures at an angle where my leg doesn’t look like it belongs to a monster, and then changed into a long skirt.

 This outfit has always been a favorite of mine as I think I look good in it and so I always feel confident in it. I did some shopping and then headed to a lesbian bar called “10” that I had found on line that was supposed to do Karaoke tonight. Compared to some of the places I had been, this was a pretty large place . . . with no one in it! There were maybe 8 people in it, and that’s counting the two running the Karaoke, the guy that owned the karaoke company and his boyfriend, and the bartender. Had one good laugh. The guy that owns the Karaoke company kept coming over to my table and sitting and chatting with me. I don’t think he was really flirting with me, just trying to be a good host. Anyway, his boyfriend was up on stage doing a song and pointed at me and announced over the PA system that I could flirt with his boy friend all I wanted, but “he’s going home with me!” I laughed and held my left hand up high while pointing at my wedding ring – I hoped that got my point across! These folks were perfectly nice but for some reason I just didn’t feel terribly comfortable – still not sure why. Called it a night pretty early and was back at the hotel by 1030.

Thursday night I got dressed up and did a little more shopping. Found a pink knit top at Goodwill for $2.00! I kid you not, only $2.00 and it still had the department store tag on it. Found another mall NE of Indy and went for a walk.
While I’m walking around I get a call from a good friend of mine in Indy – I wont mention her name as maybe it wouldn’t be appropriate to share her personal pain. Well, she has been married for almost 40 years and her wife does not know she cross dresses. Unlike anyone else I have met, she had no interest in cross dressing until she was in her 40’s, so it’s not that she was lying or hiding it from her spouse all these years. Anyway, she got busted – left some shoes in the car the wife never drives, and for what ever reason the wife got into the car and found them. It didn’t go well. Apparently at one point, the wife stated she would have preferred it was an affair over cross dressing. Ouch. Suffice it to say my friend, a very decent and good person, is in a lot of pain right now with forty years of marriage in serious peril.

I can’t recall the name of the department store, but their thing is to have a piano player at all times. I’ve been in a few of their stores and usually the person playing is bored to death and playing very mechanically – no art, no heart, and no feeling. I was therefore surprised to hear this lady play her heart out and sat to enjoy it for a moment. She was playing right under a dome and the best spot to hear it well was to sit exactly across from her which is what I did.
I gave her my compliments and chatted about 30 seconds with her and then headed out.
I went to “Illusions” again because they do karaoke on Thursdays. This is more of a neighborhood bar than a club scene, and in some ways I like it better for that. They also appear to like older music and country music, so I enjoy the music there more than at other places. This place was also not exactly crowded and had maybe a dozen people there – one of them passed out and sleeping on the bar stool with his head lolling backwards over his chair. He wasn’t hassling anyone and no one hassled him!

Unlike the other place though, I just felt comfortable here. Everyone there was genuinely friendly, were quick to bullshit with you, and just made you feel like one of the regulars. The bartender was very friendly always walking by and asking “You OK dear? Anything I can get you?” Since there were not a lot of people there I got to sing a lot and just had a lot of fun. The bad news is, toward the end of the night some drunk guy started to irritate the hell out of me. Invited himself to my table, started bitching about the people singing, bitching that he couldn’t play the jukebox, bitching, bitching, bitching. Someone got up and started to sing and this guy starts to almost shout though I’m only a few feet from him.
“What?” he demands. “What is he doing? What is he singing?!”
Anyway, the guy was clearly trashed, was a pain in the butt, and I had to work in the AM anyway so I called it a night at about 1130.

Someone recently asked me to start providing details about where I go and so here are a few for you:

English Ivy
944 N. Alabama
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
This is where I eat dinner most nights when in Indy. They have great food and are very friendly.

The Metro
707 Massachusetts Ave
Karaoke on Tuesday and Thursday and sometimes the talent is amazing. Pretty young crowd that is a mix of gay and straight and is always friendly

1446 E Washington St,
Neighborhood bar that is very friendly and not so crowded as the Metro. Good Karaoke on Thursdays especially if you like Country and easy listening.

1218 N. Pennsylvania St.
Indianapolis, IN, 46202
(317) 638-5802
Lesbian bar that has Karaoke on Wed nights. Sorry, but the Karaoke here did not impress me, and while they were clearly friendly, I just didn't feel all that comfortable

Monday, May 5, 2008

Another Cute Critter Moment

So I'm giving my four year old daughter a bath tonight and I'm washing her hair. While I'm rinsing the shampoo out of her hair I comment:
"You have such long and pretty hair. I remember when you were smaller you didn't have any hair"
"I know", she says with typical four year old bluntness, "YOU don't have much hair Poppa, its very short."
I laughed and told her "Yeah, I know, and most of it's gone huh?"
By now, I've got most most of the soap out of her hair and she looks up at me. "Yeah Poppa, you have a hole in your head." I almost lost it. I am assuming she was referring to my rather prominent bald spot but I'm not sure. :-)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Detroit City

Not a lot to write about concerning my recent trip to Detroit.
My first day there I wore pants. I keep trying to talk myself into wearing them and then changing my mind later so this time I sort of forced myself into it by bringing only two outfits. So I tried a couple of new blouses that I recently bought:

I love the look of the one on the right except . . .it works against me when it comes to the dreaded
beard.While it is not apparent in the pictures, in person the contrast between the beard free skin in the cleavage area and the beard I was trying to hide on my face was a bad thing. Having that much clear skin exposed just highlighted the beard. So I took pictures (that I quite like) and then put it aside for this other blouse and went to the mall and went shopping!

When I returned, the outside door at the end of the hall of the hotel refused to open with my room key like it is supposed to. No worries, I always ask for TWO keys for just this reason. Only problem is, the second key wont open it either. So there I am sliding the darn key over and over and I see a gentleman approaching to door from the inside. He’s still about 20 feet away when the key suddenly works and I’m in. He looks at me and smiles apologetically and tells me “I was just on the way to let you in”.
Wow, for just a moment I was being treated like a lady. He saw a lady stranded at the door and was going out of his way to help. Neat!

The next day was kind of a drag, if you will pardon the pun. I could NOT fix the instrument my company sent me here at great expense to repair. Most of the instrument can be serviced in the field, but there are some optics that must be calibrated and aligned at the factory using test and alignment fixtures the size of a work bench. Well, it seems that the problem with this instrument is one of the few that require it’s return to our factory. Got to the hotel around 130PM and forced myself to go exorcize. This is hard to do when you have an afternoon that can be spent being pretty. I just have to remind myself that if I DON’T exorcise, I will not be pleased with my appearance. I've been wanting to wear this skirt for months but it's WARM so had to wait until I was someplace cool. It has buttons up the back so can make the bottom pretty much as tight or loose as you like. The way it hugs your legs when you walk makes it feel very sexy and I think it looks classy as hell. :-)

Found a “friendly” club that was supposed to do karaoke and headed out at around 7 to find it and decide if it was a place I wanted to be. It was about an hour from my hotel so was a bit of a drive, but it looked quite nice from the outside, and also appeared to be in a pretty nice neighborhood. The only problem is, their web page had lied – there was not going to be karaoke there. I will put up with the cigarette smoke and bar atmosphere to sing and to hear singing, I will NOT put up with it just to sit and drink, so I went back to the hotel. As I’m walking down the hotels hall, I see the desk clerk approaching my room with a pair of slacks I’d put in the laundry. I’d called them several times earlier in the afternoon trying to get them before I got “dressed” to save just such an awkward moment, but apparently their laundry doesn’t get back until 9PM! So I approach as he is knocking on the door
“I believe those are mine,” I said with my biggest smile. He looks at me like I’m nuts.
“Yours?” he asks, clearly surprised that a woman was asking for slacks that he knew the guy who was staying in that room had dropped off.
“Uh huh, I called y’all about them earlier.”
Ding Ding Ding! At last I see “the” look that says he gets it.
“Oh . . . OH! Well here they are then! You have a good night now!”
Hmmm . . . I passed again, at least until I had to lead him by the nose to the point! You just never know . . .

Like I would have to tell any of you reading this, the bad news is that the life of a TG can have a number of head trips. For the most part I’ve come to terms with my head trips, but every once in a while one or two of them jump up and slap me in the face . . . hard.
Like today when I’ve got a two hour lay over in Atlanta and I decide to walk the length of the airport for the exercise rather than take the tram. As I’m walking I see the flight crew from Korean Air . For those of you that don’t fly much, I’ll fill you in on this. Korean Air must have very strict uniform rules because their flight attendants always look flawless. I’m not talking about just good, or cute, but absolutely flawless. There are four of these young women, each wearing this cute little white uniform, and each with her hair held up perfectly with a long hair pin. I kid you not, from the rear I could see that each woman’s hair pin was aligned at exactly the same angle as the next. – standing side by side they were perfectly parallel. With over 12 years active duty Army, you tend to notice these little details and appreciate the fact that it took some effort to achieve and maintain. I see I’m getting distracted from the point I wished to make. So looking at these perfect and petite young ladies, in their perfect uniforms, with their perfect hair, I was once again struck by the depression monster. All of my flaws just started screaming at me.
I’m male
I’m huge
I’m fat
I’m too tall
Even with half an inch of foundation I can’t cover the beard shadow
I’m a . . . man . . a man .. in a dress
I’m not . . . a . . .woman . . .
This is not a plea or a ploy for compliments where I’m trying to get everyone to argue with me and try and convince my I’m wrong, or I’m my own worse critic, or etc, etc. In fact that would make me intensely uncomfortable. What this is about, I suppose, is just to say that I’m human, and today I’m depressed.