Monday, June 24, 2019

Closing up a weekend with GFJ

This was the first weekend in a while that GFJ was here from Thursday night until Sunday evening.  And as much as I'd have liked her to stay another night, I'm also relieved that I'd have my bed to myself.  But I digress....

- - - - - -

Today started with both of us having interrupted sleeps, and knowing we'd feel tired later in the day. After a quick breakfast (I had dinner leftovers, and GFJ had eggs), we drove down to Long Island to see my family for Father's day.

Arriving at my brother's place, we found an empty driveway.  My brother had gone to pick up my dad and get him a haircut before bringing him home to see the family.  So I figured that I'd walk around to the back door (unusual for me) to see if anyone was around.  No one answered the open door when I entered, so I "shouted" a little and got the attention of my niece, who then kept us occupied in conversation.

One of the things my niece mentioned was her story about buying a wedding dress.  After a few hours of shopping in NYC, she found a store that had exactly the dress she wanted, after she tried it on in front of her mother.  However, the management wouldn't sell it to my niece, claiming that he couldn't alter it enough and make it look good on her..  She is a size 8, and the dress is a size 14 (16?).   No other dresses in this style were to be had anywhere in NYC - they were all sold out at every bridal shop she contacted by phone and that the manufacturer confirmed that the style had recently been discontinued.  After at least an hour of waiting around the store, the saleslady convinced the manager to sell the dress for 75% off, with the requirement that she not expect the store to alter the dress for my niece.  After the sale, the saleslady slipped the store's tailor's card to my niece, and they arranged to have the dress cut down to my niece's size without the store making a profit on the deal.  Even with this, my niece had two more bridal salon visits scheduled.  Both GFJ and I told her that we feel that she should shop for a backup dress - just in case things don't work out with the first dress.

My brother finally arrived with my dad, and he apologized for the absence of my sister in law.  She was suffering with a migraine headache, and stayed in bed the whole time we were there.  I gave my dad his Father's Day present, then the four of us enjoyed hut dogs and burgers from the grill.  We chatted until 6 pm, and then we had to leave.  I had to get home early enough, so that GFJ wouldn't be falling asleep on her drive home.

We got home around 7:30, and GFJ was on the road by 8:00.  Hopefully, she'll get a good night's sleep tonight, as she has a lot ahead of her in the morning.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Quickie: The AC is out for service

GFJ has been a little bit of a friendly nag of late, reminding me to get my dysfunctional Air Conditioner serviced.  She's been a little bit annoying, but it has been in both of our interests to get my AC fixed, as we need it running to be comfortable in the apartment this summer.

- - - - - -

It's relatively rare that GFJ comes down on a Thursday night.  But she had a audiologist appointment this afternoon, and it made sense for her to see Marian in passing on Thursday, waking up next to Mario in the morning.

After eating a hearty breakfast, GFJ got ready to see the doctor while I tried to rest a little.  About an hour later, she nagged me a little (her wording, not mine) to call factory authorized service. I did just that.  Two hours and $160 later, the truck came and a vacancy was made where my air conditioner has been for the past 3 years.  I was told that I should hear back from them sometime on Saturday (or early next week) regarding the final cost of repair. If the problem is with the compressor, I have warranty coverage for 5 years.  Anything else, and I have to pay for it.  But that will still be cheaper than buying a new AC - especially now, with Trump's tariffs raising the price of many appliances by 10%-15%.Shortly after the truck left, I showered and dressed again as Mario. Then GFJ and I went to the diner for a bite to eat.

Knowing that her car burns a little oil (1 quart per 750 miles), we picked up 2 quarts of synthetic oil, then went for a nice drive.  Eventually, we made it home, and she topped off her engine oil.  This way, we probably won't be thinking of oil as we drive to see her mom for lunch in central Connecticut.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Wishing I could help a friend shop for a car.

A new car.  It's something I want, but don't want to commit the funds to get one.  And yet, I expect within the next year or two, that I will need one.  So this is a time I wish I could take a weekend off from GFJ and help a friend shop for a new car.

- - - - - -

Father's Day weekend is one day I expect to spend with family, knowing that my dad doesn't have that many more years to live.  At the age of 91, each holiday could be his last holiday, and I make sure to do my best effort to be there for him.  This will especially be true around Christmas, as my brother will be out of the country visiting my niece's future in-laws.  But I am getting way ahead of myself....

One friend (who only knows me as Marian) asked me to help her shop for a car.  The problem is that she is only available on weekends until the end of the month, and I am occupied with GFJ every weekend.  Part of me wants to take off a weekend, so that I (as Marian) can socialize on the weekend.  But my relationship with GFJ is worth more than making myself available as Marian on the weekends.

I'd have liked to spend a day car shopping with JS.  She needs a reliable car more than ever, and had a narrow focus on the cars she'd choose from.  Next September, she'll be driving from Connecticut to Brooklyn every weekday, and she'll need a car on which she can rack up the miles without worry. Reliability is her most important concern, with price coming in a close second place. Japanese brands such as Toyota are on the top of her shopping list, and little thought seems to have been given to American brands such as Ford or Chevrolet. Given that I'd like to piggyback my own car browsing on her car shopping, I missed a golden opportunity to do this.

However, if JS decided to wait until school ends to do this shopping, I'll be glad to spend a weekday making the rounds of all the dealers with her.  Sadly, I doubt that this will happen, as her July already looks to be booked up with activities including the ferrying of a car to Florida.

Friday, June 21, 2019

A visit to another LGBT Center

Nyack, New York.  It is developing a great Main Street where restaurants flourish.  However, the local LGBT center is off the main drag (no pun intended) by a couple of blocks and the entrance to their building is around the corner from the official street address.  From what I've been told, there are a large number of Rednecks in the village who are not comfortable with our community, so they have a low key presence in town.

- - - - - -

But first....

Today was the monthly visit of my cleaning lady.  Since I wanted to say hello to her for a change, I stayed in Mario mode until she arrived.  (I wanted to let her know that the next door neighbor might be in the need for a cleaning lady, and that she might want to leave her calling card by the door.)  This allowed me extra time to clean up some of the clutter in the apartment, so that she could work her magic on the place.

Unlike past visits, I didn't have much of a chat with the cleaning lady.  She was rushing to get out the door, and I was preoccupied with my thoughts. So once she left, I decided to rest for a while, and almost forgot that I had a 5:30 dinner appointment in Nyack.  When I realized I was running late, I rushed to get ready as Marian, then decided to take the Tappan Zee Bridge to Nyack, instead of taking the Bear Mountain Bridge.  This might have been a mistake, but a minor one.  I got to the restaurant about 5 minutes late.

Dinner at the Communal Kitchen was good. But I wouldn't make a regular habit of eating there, as the three of us spent about $65 each for dinner.  Would I say that the place was worth the money?  Probably.  I was just lucky to have enough folding money in my pocket to cover my share of expenses.

Following dinner, we walked to watch Major! at the LGBT center.  Arts Westchester had awarded the Pride Center of Rockland a grant to show some Transgender films, and this was the kickoff event. Although I was uncomfortable (my knees were killing me), I'm glad I saw the movie.  I never knew that this woman (Major Griffin-Gracy) was present at so many turning points in Transgender history.  And it is important to keep the accomplishments of this woman alive for the future to learn from, so that others can take on the mantle of advancing the rights of Transgenders in our society.

When the movie was over, the three of us from Arts Westchester went our own ways.  GFJ was waiting for me at home, and I made sure to change the bandage on her would before doing much of anything else. Thankfully, the wound has a scab where an blood/pus flowing opening was before.  And applying the new bandage/dressing was a much more pleasant task than it was this past weekend....

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Lili "likes" visiting doctors on days I have a Meetup scheduled.

I had two meetups to choose from today.  The first was my weekly Beacon Dining Meetup.  The second was a gathering in Westchester, where 20 of us would chat while listening to a local steel drum band.  And you can guess which one I went to by looking at the above picture.  But first....

- - - - - -

Good sleep eluded me last night, as I fell asleep sometime after 2 am, and woke up sometime after 8 am.  Normally, this would be enough sleep for me if it were a good sleep.  But for some reason, it wasn't.  So I figured that I'd nap for a couple of hours before getting moving.  However, that plan was thwarted by Lili asking me to come with her to her doctor on Long Island.

Both of Lili's breasts were draining fluids, and Lili's doctor wanted her to come to his office to be safe.  So I showered quickly, got dressed, and out the door to meet her at 1:15.  Once I got there, we rushed out to Long Island - and ended up waiting a while for her doctor to make room for her in between patients. And then, it took about an hour for him to finish with Lili.  By the time he was done with Lili, I knew that we were going to hit rush hour, and that we would likely not make a 7 pm Meetup.

We stopped for a slice of pizza on the way back from Long Island, and by the time we got to my car, it was too late for Lili to make the Beacon meetup.  As for me, I went to the Tarrytown Meetup, and had an expected issue finding parking near the Yacht club.  Although I didn't recognize any of the people, the Meetup hostess recognized me, as well as one or two other women.  And it was their recognition that made it easy to find people to sit with once I arrived.

Sadly, it was too noisy to have good conversations with any of the women there.  Hopefully, I'll be able to meet them again in a less noisy atmosphere, and get to know them better.  It's nice to be seen as a woman by other women - this makes all my efforts to blend in with women well worthwhile....

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

I almost forgot to take care of things.

Rocketman.  I liked the film, but Lili didn't.  If you're looking for a bio-pic with meat on the bone, this is not the film for you.  But, if you're looking at an artistic way of painting Elton John's life with music, this is the film for you.

- - - - - -

I forgot that I promised Lili that I would go with her when she visited her bariatric surgeon for a followup.  So, when Lili called me around 1 pm, I suggested that we meet after her appointment, then go to dinner and a movie afterwards.

Lili's taste in movies is different from mine, and she wanted to see an action film.  As for me, I wanted to see a bio-pic, or a story with a real plot.  But I could have gone with escapist trash, such as seeing Conan the Barbarian at the Drafthouse.  The compromise that Lili and I agreed on was Rocketman, the story of Elton John's life. We figured that she had a shot at making the 4:30 showing, and she said she'd call me when she was on her way to the theater.

Now that I knew when and where to meet Lili, I got showered, shaved, and dressed.  Lili called as I was applying my makeup to tell me that she was going to be at the theater at 4:15, and asked me to buy candy for her to eat while at the movie.  There was no way I was going to do this, as it only helps Lili stuff herself with empty calories.  This is the last thing Lili should want, as she is upset that she gained 10 lbs. since her bariatric surgery.  So I let her buy her own candy, while I picked up a small energy bar to sate my hunger after 7 hours of not eating.

While Lili was candy shopping, I called the factory authorized service center for my air conditioner.  They said that my AC's compressor was out of warranty, as it was over 5 years since I bought the appliance.  So I had to start thinking of alternate service arrangements or replacement of the unit.  OUCH!  I chatted with GFJ for a bit, and she recommended that I find out exactly when I bought the appliance - I might be able to squeak it in under the last few weeks of my warranty period. (This would prove to be good advice.)

Lili took care of our tickets, using the gift card we gave her and her (then) boyfriend on their first anniversary of being together.  And once we sat down, she opened up her stock of popcorn, Swedish fish, and chocolate for the carbohydrate/sugar rush she craved.  As for me, I could have done without anything, but Lili kept trying to push junk snacks my way - and it was hard to resist after a while.  By the time the movie was done, Lili was no longer in the mood to have dinner, and I was no longer in the mood to go back indoors.

- - - - - -

It was 7:30, and I decided to take a drive to the Avenue in Newburgh. GFJ and I chatted along the way up, and she talked about her visit to the doctor.  He said that she must have had an awfully good friend to squeeze out all that pus and pooled blood from the wound. And she mentioned that some of the stuff got on me while I was taking care of her.  (I should have been wearing glasses.  But, thankfully, the mess hit my shirt and was easily cleaned off with a moist cloth.)  By the time I reached the Beacon-Newburgh bridge, GFJ and I finished our chat, and I reached the Avenue shortly afterward.

There were two "new" salesladies on the floor when I entered the store, and I doubt that either knew I was transgender when we chatted.  Both hated what the store had to offer, as it neither fit the needs of younger women, nor did it fit the needs of older women.  The styles were either frumpy, tacky or both frumpy and tacky.  The buyers for the chain had no idea of what women are wearing these days, and I started to feel a little sad for these ladies.  Given that one of the two anchor stores in the mall (The Bon Ton) had closed in the past year, and that Sears would soon be closing, I don't expect that this store will be around next year at this time. 

- - - - - -

I left the store shortly before it was scheduled to close, then drove home.  Once home, I pulled apart my filing cabinet to find proof of when I bought my bedroom air conditioner.  Lo and behold, I bought it in 2016, not 2014 as I previously thought.  So I can call the authorized service center to see what they can do for me in the morning.  I guess my pooka is looking out for me after all.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A visit to DMV

The Peekskill office of New York DMV.  Usually, lines move quickly here, but today was a rainy day exception to the norm.  GFJ told me to do my renewal on some other day. However, I decided to kill a couple of hours waiting for my number to be called - just in case something went wrong, such as my eye test.

- - - - - -

Not having much sleep last night, I could have stayed in bed all day. The forecast of rain gave me an opportunity to make lemonade out of the lemons I was handed. Specifically, I didn't want to go out in the rain as Marian, so I took advantage of a "Mario Mode Day" to do a task or two that required Mario's presence.

Peekskill is only 5-10 minutes away from me, so I decided to choose closeness as my reason for going to this DMV office.  When I got there, it was busier than usual, and I needed to ask someone for help.  Once I found out which line to get on to start the process, I was able to get my picture taken and was assigned a number.  Little did I know that I'd wait about 90 minutes for this number to be called. 

Waiting at DMV is a form of purgatory. None of the benches are particularly comfortable, and the people you wait with are a true cross section of society.  Semi-attended children are running around, but they are not interested in causing trouble. Like their parents, they struggle to fight the boredom that permeates the place.  After a while, one starts to notice the little things, such as being able to make a reservation for service. Then you start to wonder: Why didn't I do that? Instead of waiting 90 minutes to be processed, you could wait 15 minutes or less to be serviced.  That's the kind of information you file away for use the next time you or your friends have to visit this windowless place of torture by boredom.

Eventually, your number gets called, and you get the privilege of being able to apply for your license.  There are two forms you could choose from: (1) A regular license renewal which  only permits you to drive your car, and (2) A Real-ID or Enhanced license renewal which permits you to drive a car and may be used for identification when dealing with the TSA imposed purgatory encountered at airports. In addition, if you choose the Enhanced license and pay another $30, you can use this document for land crossings between the USA, Canada, and Mexico.  But first, you must have your paperwork ready.

Assuming you've chosen the second kind of license, you'll need to establish your identity, your residence, your right to work in the USA, and your citizenship.  In my case, my driver's license proves who I am to the state.  My social security card proves that I have the right to work here.  My passport shows that I am a citizen, and that the Federal government has acknowledged my identity. And two utility bills show that I still live at the place on my license renewal application.  In my case, my license showed my name as Mario L. Johnson, while my passport showed my name as Mario Luigi Johnson.  So that had to be "Corrected", as well as how my mailing address appears on my license.  Of course, there was the little hiccup that I expected.  Traditional utility bills are for gas, electric, and phone service.  For me, I have cable service (with triple play) and electric service. This anomaly wasted another few minutes while the clerk found out whether she could accept this proof.  Luckily, she accepted it, and all there was left to do was take the eye test and pay for my renewal. And with that, I was out the door two hours after I arrived.

- - - - - -

As I left the place, the rain started coming down in buckets.  Instead of going home and unboxing my Freshly, I went to the local Chinese buffet and overate.  I hadn't eaten or consumed any liquids since I woke up, and I didn't care about calories anymore.  As much as I should have gone home and nuked two of the Freshlys, I wanted something more. 

My next stop was home for the night.  Several people wanted to talk with me, but I was too tired to do so.  I didn't regain consciousness until 9 pm.  So I figured that it was best to write this entry before my evening chat with GFJ....