Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tornadoes and Dirty Socks


Hmmm . . . what to write about, what to write about . . .
I’ve been fairly busy, but not much of it to do with my being transgendered (TG), which is the main focus of my blog I suppose.

So a few months or so ago we had a bit of a rodent problem in our home. When you live on the outside edge of a farming community this is just a fact of life and you deal with it. I had traps set everywhere that we thought was safe to put them – meaning everywhere we thought that our six year old and eighteen month old couldn’t reach. Weeks went by with no luck. Sometimes I’d find the traps in the attic tripped but with nothing caught, and that’s maddening. It’s kind of like the rodent is thumbing his nose at you – “nanny nanny boo boo”.
The good news is that I did finally catch the critter. The bad news is that the little basta. . .err . . . I mean the cute little thing, had apparently enjoyed some quality time in my closet before we got him. Can you picture just how thrilled I was when I pulled my brand new wig off of the shelf and discovered that Mickey Mouse had chewed away half of one of the plastic tabs above the ear?  
Brand new wig . . . wasn’t cheap . . . had already had it trimmed and styled . . .
If I hadn’t already got him, I’d have tracked him down and killed him with my bare hands.
Pretty much immediately I did three things:
  1. I took the family down to the Austin animal shelter and we are now the proud parents of two very rambunctious and hyper kittens. My children think that they are cute, cuddly, and adorable and don’t get me wrong, I agree with them, but in the back of my mind I like to fondly think of them as my little mouse hunter / killers. IMG00289-20110410-2101
  2. I contacted Amanda Richards of True Colors and ordered another copy of the wig that I had just bought from her. She was happy to place the order for me . . . after she stopped laughing . . .
  3. When I received the wig, I took it to Bonnie at Austin’s “Top This” to get it trimmed, thinned, and styled.
Bonnie came highly recommended to me by others in the Austin TG community and I think that they had it just right. She is such a neat lady, good at what she does, and she is fun to talk to. She’s fairly active in the local TG community, having gone to several of the monthly lunches with TENT - a local TG group there. Among other things, what impresses me is that she doesn’t take advantage of TG’s. Let’s face it, a lot of TG’s are scared to death, hiding in closets, sneaking out to their cars in the dark of night, and then sneaking from the car into “friendly” bars. Some of those folks are nothing short of terrified that others will learn what they are, and a lot of businesses will take advantage of that fear. They will happily charge you an arm and a leg for their perceived discretion and for their tolerance and willingness to accept you as a customer. Not her, and not “Top This”. Both times I went to her, she made time to see me the very next morning when I was on my way to the airport. She treated me like any other customer, with a good mixture of professionalism and friendship, and she did a wonderful job for me at a reasonable price.

Do you remember that itty bitty town called “Quapaw” in NE Oklahoma that I went to a year or so ago? Yeah, I had to go back there again last week. The bad news is that the way this service call came down left me with no choice but to make the ten hour drive there, and to do it in the middle of the afternoon. As a result, I left my office at around noon, tore through my home at a dead run throwing clothes in a bag, and then I was on the road for the long and oh so boring drive. No time to get ready and to go pretty and no time or point to packing anything for being pretty while I was there. I kept awake and alert through the long drive by listening (and periodically glancing at) the second season of “Doctor Who” on my IPOD. Don’t ya just hate mind sucking, face stealing aliens that live in your TV set!? But I digress . . .
My customer there has a very old version of our FTIR and it was a pretty serious mess. Without boring you too much with the techie details, the instrument has a very expensive mirror that is mounted on a motor, and this mirror moves back and forth, back and forth, all day long. To keep track of the motion and speed of this motor, we use a laser, and replacing those lasers when they reach their end of life is the vast majority of the work I do in the field, including this service call. I was almost done with the installation and alignment of this laser, and was no more than five minutes from heading to the hotel, when I did something really stupid – I accidently let my adjustment tool interrupt the laser beam while it was running. Since the system is using that laser to track and control the motion of this expensive mirror assembly, it gets really, really, pissed off when you interrupt it, and it slams the thing back and forth. HARD. Hard enough to break it, and it did. . .   Here I had gone to extreme lengths like heading out on a ten hour drive at 1PM to help a desperate customer and to make my company a profit, and instead, I had just destroyed a six thousand dollar component that my company would have to provide. I sure can go from being a hero to a zero in a hurry . . .
Needless to say, I had to arrange to have a new part shipped to me, and I had to stay another night. It was just my luck that this would be the night that the area was slammed by Tornados, decimating several towns and killing people here and there. The wind was howling so hard outside my hotel that it was pushing the curtains around even though the window was closed. The following morning I discovered that in my rushed packing, I hadn’t packed a single pair of socks or underwear. Damaged equipment, tornados, and dirty socks - this just get’s gooder and gooder. . .


So this week I headed off to Detroit. When all else fails, I know that I’ll always be returning to Detroit periodically. I was flying US Airways because their flights cost a bit less when you book them on short notice. Booking the flight for the next day on Delta would have been $1,000, but on US Airways it was $700. That’s a shame, because I really do like Delta better. Much like “Top This” and Amanda Richards “True Colors”,  Delta has always treated me like any other good and respected customer. US Airways has done all right, but I sometimes get the feeling that I am just tolerated there, and not truly appreciated or welcome. Anyway, as you hand in your checked baggage, you have to hand over your ID, and so I handed the ladies behind the counter mine. In it, I was wearing my short and “flippy” hair, and one of the young ladies behind the counter looks at the other and points at it.
“Isn’t her hair cute?!” she asked with a grin.
“I think that one looks a bit more “real” and maybe even a bit more age appropriate.” I told her with a wink.
“Oh, I dunno about ‘age appropriate’ “ she replied “I just think it’s cute. I like the little ‘flip’ it has at the end.”
“Well thanks!“ I responded. Just then I had a terrible thought – I hadn’t checked to see if the mouse had nibbled on that one yet!

I almost choked when a young lady took the seat next to me on the airplane and slid her bag under the seat – the brand name on the bag was something like “Trans!” Cute – sitting next to a “Trans” while carrying a “Trans” bag.

It was 87 degrees when I boarded the airplane in Austin, and when I stepped off it in Detroit, it was around 38 degrees. It’s just plain weird to go through a 50 degree drop in temperature in six or seven hours, and it was made all the worse when I stepped into a two or three inch deep puddle of water in the rental car lot. It wasn’t so much the cold and wet feet that bothered me as the thought of what that water was going to do to my pretty red pumps.
I’m starting to get that “I need a vacation” feeling again . . .


  1. Make sure the kittys don't get to that fish tank!

    Glad you weren't hit by a tornado. Makes me wonder what happens if you combine a tornado and a "Kim Bomb?"

    Vacation: Philly is fun this time of year...

  2. Yes, a vacation would be good! Great that you're able to do this enfemme, you look really good (love your smile!) - and isn't it true that most folks see us as just background noise?

    Power to you, Kimberly!

  3. Cats do not catch mice by instinct... they have to be taught how to be 'mousers' by other cats. You may end up with two cats that just sit by while the mice continue on doing what mice do!

  4. we encourage the local neighborhood cats to wander around our yard to scare away the mice that get into the 2 sheds with the 2 antique cars.
    unfortunately it seems the scare them into the sheds and i end up hiring an exterminator to provide me with packets of bate flake. then the little buggers instead of going off looking for water and dieing elsewhere decide to die under the seats of the car aggghhhh. almost as bad as when i used pellet packs and the dragged the pellets under the seat of the car. the flack stuff is more effective, but now in nj needs a ext. license to buy it. in nj the most effective stuff seems to get pulled fro the market.
    good luck with the cute kitties watch out for their claws on the curtains and furniture.

  5. Both Bonnie and Ronn are sweethearts. I met them when I went up to Austin for my first Tri-S meeting. Ronn set me up with a beautiful wig and gave me tips on the one I was wearing. And the whole time we just chatted away. Then Bonnie came to the meeting and couldn't keep her hands off my hair...cause I kept messing it up!

  6. Actually instinct does play a significant role. One of my cats catches small rodents, small birds (they have it coming, for dive-bombing him) and (unfortunately!) baby bunnies despite never having had another cat teach him. Granted that he is not great at it, but the simple fact is that they may well catch mice by instinct. Indeed many cats will instinctually attempt to catch them, but like our other cats, they may never really have any hope of succeeding.