Saturday, November 1, 2014

I find your lack of faith to be disturbing . . .

It was the usual Saturday morning routine for us and I'm sitting there surfing the web and sucking down coffee when my wife says "Oh, look at that! The neighbors cat is playing with a squirrel!"
'Well hell!' I thought to myself, 'this sounds like a cute and adorable Kodak moment!' I grabbed my camera and started recording video when my wife revised her assessment of the situation.
"Yeah, he's gonna kill it. . ."
Needless to say, I dropped the camera and we both went out and saved the baby squirrel from the cat that was happily torturing it. I had to keep shoving the cat away, because he wasn't at all pleased to be giving up his toy and meal, and while I kept him at bay, my wife picked up the traumatized squirrel and carried it into the house. I gathered up some old blankets that I put in the bottom of a plastic bin, and we did our best to comfort the little critter. My wife made several attempts to feed it but with very little success. . .
Of course both of my youngest children fell instantly in love with it, and who wouldn't? I mean it's not every day that you get to hold and pet a squirrel is it? Many times over the next day, that squirrel was picked up and passed from person to person for some major cuddles and petting, but it was becoming clear to my wife and I that either the squirrel had been seriously hurt by the cat, or the thing had already had some sort of problem and that was HOW the cat had got him.


Monday, after taking the children to school, we packed him into the car and took him to the vet who very quickly told us that the little fella probably only had a few more hours of life in him, and they weren't going to be good hours either. The vet tried to pick him up and place him on his feet, but he would just flop over onto his side, and sometimes would use his legs to drag himself around in a circle.  We tried to do what was right, and asked the vet to put the little fella out of his misery, and the vet was kind enough to not only take care of it, but to do it free of charge. Small towns do have their points. . .
I'll bet you can guess what my little five year olds first words were when I picked him up from school that afternoon.
"I can't wait to get home and pet my squirrel!" Came the happy little voice from the back seat, amid the sound of his buckling his car seat straps up. It just about broke my heart to tell him that the little thing had not made it. . .
Still, I assured him that we had given it two more days than it was going to have, and that we had certainly given it a happier ending than the cat had had in mind. Instead of being tortured to death, we had given it a comfortable home, amid hugs and cuddles - there are far worse ways to go. He cried for a good solid five minutes, but ten minutes later was out playing and laughing in the back yard.

The Start of my Day
I checked in at US Airways with the same lady that took care of me the last time, and she struck up a conversation again with me.
"Well howdy stranger! Where are you headed this week? Oh! You know this is Tuesday right? Where were ya yesterday?!" She teased.
"Yeah, I'm running a little late this week!" I told her with a grin. "I'm headed to Denver this time."
"Oh ho!" She said with a grin. "You know what is legal in Denver now right?" She was alluding to the fact that marijuana was now legal in Colorado, but that makes little difference to me.
"Yeah, I know, but it doesn't matter to me - I can't do it!
"I hear you. I would be unemployed pretty quick myself." She commiserated with me.
"Yepper! I have to take drug tests periodically to satisfy some of our customers requirements, and if I came up 'hot' I would lose my job. I'm not willing to risk it."
"You know, some of my friends and I are thinking about moving there and all getting a house together. We would be like three old spinsters!" She thought about it for a moment and then added while batting her eyes "Not that we are old or anything, because I just turned 28!"
"I hear ya. I've only just turned 29 myself - for the twentieth time now!" I told her with a laugh. 

The end of my day with no hem in my dress
Making my way across the Phoenix airport to catch my connecting flight, I grew annoyed at a long thread that was hanging down from my dress and catching on my legs, and so I reached down and tugged on it, and then tugged on it again when it failed to come loose the first time. As you can probably guess by now, this turned out to be a somewhat bad idea because that particular threads job had been to hold the hem of my dress. As a result of my tugging, I got to spend the rest of the day wearing a lopsided dress that had one side hanging lower than the other.  As if that wasn't bad enough, I had also failed to follow my own advice when it comes to wearing high heels while traveling - I had not made sure that they were going to be comfortable enough for an entire day spent walking. My feet were killing me! So there I am walking through two airports and a rental car facility wearing a lopsided dress and hobbling along like an old woman who has stones in her shoes. Yup - the very model of grace and beauty was I!

While waiting for my bags to arrive at the baggage belt, I took out my GPS and programmed in the address for my hotel so that I would be ready to go as soon as I got to my rental car. Inside of the airport, the GPS can't "see" the satellites though and just gave me the message "looking for satellites", so I chucked it back into my backpack. About half way to the rental car facility in the shuttle bus, my GPS must have picked up the signal because the bus filled with the deep voice of Darth Vader from the GPS in my backpack.
"I find your lack of faith to be disturbing - recalculating. Do not fail me again. . . "
Yeah, every single person on the bus was looking straight at me, some grinning, and some looking confused. Nothing like keeping a low profile and flying under the radar huh?

As usual, there was nothing particularly interesting about the work I had to do, so I won’t bore you with any of those details. Suffice it to say that I did my job, and then the next day I was on airplanes headed for home. For all of the usual reasons, I flew home “drab” (in male clothing). I was sitting in the gate area waiting for my connecting flight, when an older man and woman came and took the seats next to me. Considering that the gate area was largely empty, this took me a bit by surprise, but it quickly became obvious that the reason they had sat next to me was because I was near the electrical outlet that made it possible for me to plug in my laptop and start my blog, and also made it possible for her to plug in her cell phone for charging. At some point a conversation was started about where we were coming from and going to.
“So are y’all going to Austin?” I asked her.
“No, we are going to San Antonio, and then on to Houston. Have you heard about the Lesbians there?” she asked.
‘Huh?’ I thought to myself? What the heck does she mean by ‘the Lesbians’?
I wasn’t sure I had heard her correctly, so I settled for just asking her to repeat it and perhaps expand on it.
“I’m sorry?” I asked her.
“The Lesbians in Houston. You know the mayor?”
“What about the mayor?”
“She’s a lesbian! My husband is a Pastor in Anchorage and he is coming to speak at a conference against the Lesbians.”
I almost choked at this point, because here I was, sitting right next to her writing and cropping photos for my blog about being transgender, and out of a whole airport, this woman chose to share her mission with me!  Sometimes you just have to wonder how shit like this happens – I mean what are the odds? I usually do my best to never be rude to people as it very rarely serves a purpose or makes me feel better, but before the filter between brain and mouth had engaged, I blurted out “Wow! You guys are going way out of your way to spread intolerance, aren’t you?”
I would love to say that she looked shocked, or offended, or maybe even chastised, but no – she didn’t. She just turned back to her husband, and a few minutes later they moved off to sit somewhere else. I was still sitting there musing the situation when my phone rang. It was a customer of ours that lives up north-west of Fort Worth, and it seems that a component that I recently installed has failed already.  A big company can tolerate things like this because they either have spare instruments that they can use, or they have the resources to absorb the loss of a paying job or two, but a small company like his suffers a huge setback if their equipment fails and they can’t complete a job that they had scheduled. For a tiny company, this can be the difference between being able to feed his family or not. Now the problem was, since it was a five hour drive away, there was no way that I could make the drive and take care of him the next day without missing my children’s Halloween – AGAIN. I could only think of one way to take care him and not miss Halloween with my children and that was to make the drive to his location that same night just as soon as my plane landed so that I could work on his analyzer first thing in the morning, and then make the drive back home in time for trick-or-treating. Talk about a LOOONNGGG couple of days . . . 

Our Front Yard on Halloween