Friday, January 13, 2012

Thanks Dad. . . . . (NOT!)

Wow – though I know it hasn’t been all that long, it sure seems like it has been a long time since I was last in Detroit! I guess with all of the trips to Albany, and then all of the work we have been doing on my home, it just seems like it has been forever.

Speaking of Detroit! I had a grumpy comment posted on one of my Flickr photographs:
“Would you PLEASE stop tagging all of your photo’s with ‘Detroit’?! No one cares about your pictures but you and all of your middle aged friends!”
My first inclination was to get irritated, but the more I looked at it and thought about it, the more I thought it was amusing. I have been pretty prolific on Flickr (** blush **) and a fair share of those photos are tagged for Detroit, so I guess I must drive people that are trying to find photos of Detroit absolutely nuts. Sorry ‘ bout that!
So anyway, it got me to thinking about a few things. The first thought that struck me was that it was almost a compliment as he presumably didn’t realize that I am not exactly what I appear to be, and neither are my “middle aged friends”. The second thing to cross my mind was that I think I’m a bit embarrassed by my obsession with taking my own damned photograph. It started out as a perfectly understandable desire to make sure that I had some memories to look at when I get older and uglier, and perhaps some sort of self vindication, but it’s morphed into something more – an obsession, a compulsion, an evil trip down an egocentric and egotistical road! (** GASP!! **).

My blog has become something that I am kind of proud of, and now I have to ask myself – is the blog about being transgendered in the real world, or is it about Kim’s photographs? On the other hand, the vast majority of the traffic to my blog is from Flickr, so how many people would stop reading it if I pulled my head outta my backside and stopped posting so damn many photos? Hmmmm, might have to find out . . . tomorrow . . . right now I have pics to upload. . .

My trip to Detroit was a fairly miserable one, with me sick, hacking, and coughing the entire way. Believe me, you don’t want to see a photo of that trip! The good news is, although I had been miserable for my entire time there, the night before I left for home I suddenly felt a lot better! Hoping that the healthy feeling was going to last until morning, I found myself pulling skirts and tops out of my luggage for my flight home – it’s time to travel pretty!

It’s been about a month since I last entered the world as Kimberly, and I’d have to admit that I was a bit nervous as I got ready. When I had myself all together, I took a look in the mirror and wanted to sob at the sight of all of the wrinkles that have attacked my face in the last few years. My wife has been very fortunate and has virtually no wrinkles despite the fact that we are the same age, but unfortunately my genetics were not so kind as hers. Still, it is what it is, and so I headed out to put my bags in the rental car and to get a cup of coffee from the hotels breakfast area.


Of course the first thing that I noticed was that it was a pretty messed up day out there – very dark and raining. My new shoes were so slick on the rain covered parking lot that I could have just about skated to the car if I’d wanted to. After I got my bags put away in the car, I headed into the hotel to drop of my room keys off and to get a cup of coffee for the drive to the airport. I dropped off the keys at the counter, where a young lady thanked me and wished me a good trip home, and then I made my way to the coffee pots. I made it about half way there when I heard a voice behind me.
“Hey you!”
I turned around to see Cheryl, the customer service representative that has always been so nice to me here.
“Good morning Cheryl! How are you?” I replied.
“Oh I’m fine, thank you. I take it that you are feeling better huh?” she said with a grin, while giving my outfit the once over. “Honey, you look great!”
“Awe thanks! I think I’m getting too old for this shit though. Everyday it’s more and more wrinkles.” I told her while making a boo boo lip.
“Do you dance?” she asked me from out of the blue.
“Are you kidding? I have a full blown phobia of dancing – just the thought of it scares the hell outta me!”
“So what do you do when you go out then?”
“Pretty much sit there like a bump on a log.” I told her with a laugh.
“That’s a shame. You should dance. I’d love to see you dance!” She said with a wink and a smile.
“Thanks, but no thanks!” I told her with a laugh as I poured my coffee. We said our good byes and gave each other a quick hug, and then I turned around to find pretty much the entire staff of the hotel behind the counter looking and grinning at me.
“Have a good trip home!” One of them said.
“See ya next time.” Said another.
“Count on it!” I said, and gave them all a little wave as I laughed and made my way to the car.

I had a brief conversation and laugh with the woman at the US Airways counter as she checked my bags in.
“And you’re just a touch under the weight limit on that one!” she told me with a smile as she took my huge suitcase off of the scales.
“Yeah, you know I really need to completely unpack that one when I get home. I travel so much that I rarely bother to completely unpack it anymore and for the life of me, I don’t see how it can be almost 50lbs for this trip. I don’t recall putting anywhere near that much stuff into it.” I told her.
“Hah! You don’t even know what’s in your bag? That would be so funny when you open it and wild animals come running out of it!” she told me with a giggle.
Yeah, about that bag? I’ve been home for two days and still haven’t opened it . . .

Detroit 2012 01 006

Going through the “full body scanner” at the airport, the female TSA agent literally laughed when she saw the results of my scan.
“Well, I’m gonna have to pat your legs down and I’ll show you why!” she said. Still grinning, she pointed at my skirt and the hundreds of little beads that were sewn on to it.
“You see all of those fancy beads on your skirt? OK, now if you will turn around and look at the monitor behind you, you can see that you have just about given our software a heart attack.”
I turned to look at the monitor that she had mentioned and had to bust out laughing myself, because there were hundreds of little “X’s” all over the lower legs of the cartoon figure there, apparently showing all of the places that the software recommended the agent personally inspect. There were a LOT of these little beads on my skirt, and so the cartoon graphic looked like a little blizzard.
“But it’s my favorite skirt!” I told her with a wink as she finished with her inspection.

So much for happy happy joy joy – from here out the blog is a downer . . .

So does anyone remember my telling you about finding my long lost half sister Tracy a while back? We were separated when she was about six and my father “gave her” to a couple in Georgia. The bad news is that I lost complete touch with her. The good news is, letting someone else take care of Tracy was probably the only good and decent think my alcoholic father ever did. Anyway, I found her about a year ago through the internet and we have spoken a few times since then. I suspect that she has plenty of demons of her own given that every photo I have so far seen of her shows her in a bar. I can’t talk too much trash about that though, because I’ve been there and done that. While Tracy and I have not really talked much since I found her, I also ‘friended” her daughter on Facebook and am seriously worried about the little girl. She is only fourteen, and all of her posts are regarding doing drugs and her “relationships” with boys, and most of her posts use language that makes this ex-army sergeant blush. 

Last night she posted about being in the hospital after taking a fist full of sleeping pills.

Was it attempted suicide or just stupidity that prompted her take almost two dozen? I try to talk to her and encourage her, but you can only push so hard when you’re just some strange uncle talking to a niece that you have never met and who lives half the North American continent away from you. A cute little girl, already hooked on drugs, suicidal, and apparently with no adult supervision. It makes me want to sob and scream at the same time. I wish that they would invent time travel so that I could go back and shoot my father – the one who started all of this mess. The fall out from one abusive alcoholic has resulted in the destruction, or at least serious damage, to at least three generations of my family now. One messed up little person after another.

Thanks dad . . .

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Home Improvement

Well, what to write about? Busy doesn’t come close to describing my life as of late but I really don’t know if any of it is of interest to all of you out there in blog world! Still, I have mentioned many of the things that we are going through, so I suppose it’s only fair to keep you up to date with events.

I believe that I mentioned that we just had our homes foundation repaired. This involved ripping up our wood and carpet floors, knocking about a dozen three to four foot holes in our concrete floors, and then digging them four feet deep to install concrete pads, piers, and jacks. After that $8,000 in work, they then tested our drain plumbing and told us that almost all of it was shattered and broken, and quoted us an additional $12,000 to repair it! I was on a service call at the time and so my wife was dealing with all of this on her own, and called me on multiple occasions crying and sobbing. See, we had taken a 401K loan out to pay for the work, and there was just no way at all that we were going to be able to come up with another $12,000 to cover the plumbing. We just didn’t see any possible way to make it through the situation. Fortunately, something about the plumber that the foundation people were using gave my wife the creeps, and so she decided to get a second opinion from S & D Plumbing out of Taylor Texas and thank goodness that she did! It turns out that the first plumber was either incompetent or a thief, because instead of the dozen breaks that he had told us existed under our floors, the new plumber found only two damaged pipes, and quickly repaired them at a charge of only $5,000. If you had seen the work that they had to go through to get to these breaks under our concrete floors, you would know that the $5,000 fee was not as unreasonable as you might at first think.

A lot of heart ache, tears, and dust later, our home was now level and had working drain lines and plumbing. Now the only problem was that we were pretty much outta money and had only bare concrete floors for Christmas. Sigh . . .
Still, you gotta count your blessings, because things could have been SO much worse. As it was, we had a house full for Christmas – ourselves, my oldest son with his wife and daughter, my daughter-in-laws parents, and my father-in-law. The floors might be bare and patched concrete, but we had a full house and home for Christmas!

Christmas 2011 014

In a rare event (this is the first time in the last 16 years) I had almost two entire weeks off from work, and so we started working on repairing our floors. We chose not to install wood floors, because they had suffered badly and we didn’t want a repeat of that. We also chose not to go with carpet, because all of the doctors had told us that carpet is bad for my daughters’ asthma because it collects dust. In the end we settled on rock tile, and got busy buying, prepping, and installing it.

Tile Floor 007

Let me tell you, a rock tile eighteen square inches and about half an inch thick might not seem too heavy at first, but spend two entire days on your knees holding these tiles out in front of you to set them in place, and I guarantee you some major aches and pains are in your immediate future. After getting all of the living room tiled, I spent pretty much the next two days hunched over and moaning and groaning every time I had to move. It makes me really look forward to doing the rest of our home – NOT.  Suffice it to say that by the time I headed back out on my first service call of the year, it was a relief to get back to work just so I could get some rest!

Tile Floor 043

My service call was in Tulsa OK, and so I decided to just drive there instead of getting a flight. It was either spend ten hours in the airport system, or spend seven to eight hours driving AND get to pocket a bit of money, so to me it seemed like a no-brainer. After all of the work on the floors, I honestly hurt too bad, and all of our things were far to covered in dust for me to even consider making the trip "pretty", so "Matt" made the drive while watching/listening to season two of "Torchwood" on my Ipod.

I’d have to admit that my year has started with a fair amount of good luck, because while I did get a flat tire on the drive, I got it as I arrived in Tulsa and just as I was driving by a mom and pop tire repair shop! I just drove off of the highway, into the repair shop, and paid a young man $10 to install new guts into one of my tire stems. Fifteen minutes later and I was on the way to my hotel without ever having to get my hands dirty! A little more good luck was found on my drive home when I stopped for gas just north of the Texas – Oklahoma border. As is fairly common in that area, the gas station had a small Casino attached to it, with one small room full of slot machines, and I figured “what the hell, let’s give it a whirl!”  I put $10 in the quarter slot machine and very quickly lost it all. I then put another $10 into a dollar machine, and after spending $5 of it, I hit a jackpot and won $88! I decided that I would go ahead and gamble until I was down to $80, and so played for a couple of more spins. Imagine my delight when I again won, this time about $40! With about $100 more than I had entered with, I took the money and ran for the border!

Well, next week I am off to Detroit and I had planned to make the trip “pretty”. It might be that the joke is on me though, because my wife and children were sick when I got home and they have been kind enough to share it with me. At the moment I am coughing, choking, and am a very active snot factory, so I kind of figure that odds are good I will end up making Monday’s trip the old fashioned and ugly way. Sigh . . .