Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It all starts being a comedy after a while

GFJ stayed over last night, and the first thing that was on our list of things to do was get our cars out of the parking lot before the snow plows came to do minor cleanup.  Yesterday's storm left about 3.5 inches of the white stuff on our cars, and we were among the few that had not cleaned off our cars by the time the morning came.  So we got dressed early, cleaned off our cars, and then starting towards Wappinger's Falls.

On the way to pick up my phone, we went to the diner for breakfast.  Both of us were starving, and we would not have made it to the cell phone repair store before our stomachs started growling loudly.  Once done with breakfast, it was off to the repair shop, where I found out that my phone still wasn't ready.  It seems that while replacing the battery, the repairman screwed up my phone's speaker (he didn't admit it) and was ordering a new one to be ready on Wednesday.  AARGH!  I won't be able to make it up there again until this coming Saturday at best, so it'll be another week that Marian will not have a phone of her own.

Neither GFJ nor I wanted to waste a good drive, so we went to see "The Comedian". I'm not sure if you can call it a love story or a comedy.  But I can say that this movie was very entertaining, and that De Niro made me laugh with the scripted jokes. In fact, there is a tasteful bit of "potty" humor that I think will make many people laugh. But if I say too much, it will spoil the film. Hopefully, you will see this film before it is out of the theaters. There are many good gags in it, and yet it doesn't seem contrived.

Once done with the movies, it was back home to rest.  Reaching Garrison, there was a major detour away from Route 9.  It seems as if a tree took down some electric lines, and that they were sending people to either Route 9D or to the Taconic Parkway to proceed in a Southerly direction.  This added at least 30 minutes to the trip home.  But it did give us the chance to see a route we rarely take because it leads to the Route 6 "Goat Path" from the Bear Mountain Bridge to Peekskill.

Tomorrow, GFJ leaves for her mom's house, as she hasn't seen her mom for a while.  As for me, I might get the chance to spend some time in Marian Mode for a change.  I'll miss having GFJ around, but it'll be nice to get out and about again.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A weekend defined by a Birthday, a Cell Phone, and Snow.

Last Tuesday was GFJ's birthday. Since she wasn't here because of a cold, I wanted to make sure that she'd enjoy a belated birthday celebration on Saturday upon her arrival.

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The cell phone I use for "Marian Only" calling was broken, and I had to return it to the cell phone repair shop to get fixed.  It seems when the battery was replaced, that a connector wasn't reset for the phone's speaker.  As a result, I could not use the phone for much of anything except as a device to surf the web while using wi-fi data. So, I figured that I'd drive back to Wappinger's Falls before GFJ was on her way, and get back before she reached my apartment.

At the cell phone repair shop, I was told that I could wait a couple of hours and have the phone the same day.  If I had thought of it, I'd have suggested to GFJ that she meet me for a movie in Poughkeepsie, pick up the phone afterwards, then drive back to my apartment. Unfortunately, I didn't think of this, and will need to make another drive to Wappinger's Falls on Monday after all the snow is cleared.

- - - - - -

When GFJ arrived, we proceeded to pair her new cell phone with her car.  Unfortunately, Suburu doesn't make it easy - their car owner's manual doesn't make this process clear. So it took us an hour to figure this out - and she was pleasantly surprised to find out that she now had a car that would work with her cell phone.

Once done with her car, it was off for a drive, and then out for dinner.  Of course, it was my treat, and we went to an Italian joint almost in walking distance of my place.  No, this wasn't that romantic a place. But both of us were in "comfortable" clothes, and not wanting to get dressed up to go out.

- - - - - -

Both of us knew that it was going to snow overnight, so I made sure that I had enough food available to last until Monday. When we looked out the window on Sunday Morning, we saw that the snow wasn't as bad as expected, but that we made the right decision by calling this another Jammie Day.

Even though some people moved their cars today, neither of us were in the mood to disrupt our Jammie Day.  Hopefully, we will not have too much snow on our cars, or too much blocking our cars to get out in the morning.  I figure that my Marian Mode cell phone will be ready, and that both of us will be up for a nice drive....

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The ballad of NM and Megabank

To my readers:  This is a true story about a victim of America's banking system.  The following is her story (with minor editing for clarity) in her words.

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In 2007 My Husband closed on our Condo. It was deeded to him & he alone held the mortgage. In 2009 after he died, I contacted Megabank to see about keeping the unit. They told me to apply for a Modification. Which I did. Every month from 9/2009- 2/2011. I had to have the Courts put the deed in my name as per the instructions of Megabank. I couldn't get a modification without it.

Went through 3 settlement conferences with lawyers from Megabank from Dec 2010-Feb 2011.

I lost my full time job in there somewhere. Had trouble keeping up with the expenses. The Condo's HOA fees started to accrue.

At the LAST settlement conference the bank's attorney informed me that I could NEVER had modified that mortgage. It wasn't mine to modify. So from Sept 2009 until Feb 2012 I filed monthly modification packets.

I offered Deed in lieu, sell it, short sale, they said no. I offered to buy the Unit for $250K. They said No. they would only accept a judgement of foreclosure. I moved out because they said I had until July 2012.

2012 ended. 2013, 2014, and 2015 came and went. No judgement. I couldn't live there, couldn't rent it, and couldn't sell it. But I was still responsible for it. I was paying Gas, electric, water, insurance and NOT paying HOA fees. I couldn't. No more $$$. Lost the FT job.

So I get a wage garnishment from the HOA. My ex-best friend Deb helped them out with that one. No biggie. Wasn't making much so they weren't getting much.

2016 and 2017 came and went. And here we are. 4 years in Court. Sued Megabank for bad foreclosure practice. Won that Judgement. Thank you Judge Walsh but the judge didn't think that I was owed money. Oh well.

So yesterday (February 1), I find out the condo is going to auction today. It was sold. One bidder. It was sold for $253K, $3k more than I offered in 2011. Oh. Who was the only bidder you ask? Megabank.
They spent just under $500,000.00 trying to get a condo with a balance of $343k put a Widow through 5 years of HELL. AND turned around and BOUGHT it at auction for basically what I offered them 6 years ago. 

I owe the HOA Scum suckers 5 years of fees. Legal fees up the Wazoo. For a condo I never bought, never owned and wasn't allowed to live in, sell, or rent. I can't recoup the money my husband & I put in. I have our memories. For the short 2 years we lived there.
I still think I got a bad deal. But you can't fight big banks. Legal Aid is amazing and wonderful. I couldn't have done this without their support. So that's my story. Feel free to pass on to news agencies. I really wish I could get on a talk show.

- - - - - -

Sadly, no one was interested in reporting NM's story.  The media in NYC was not interested in writing a story about Megabank and its abuse of customers.  (Later on, news outlets attacked Megabank for aggressive sales practices which effectively encouraged its employees to falsify credit applications to meet unreasonable sales targets.)  I wish NM had been treated better. But her saga is over, and she can get back to a normal life.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Catching up on things after the snow

Snowstorms are not a good time for any living creature to be outside, unless one is a polar bear.  I'll bet that this dog was very glad that the snow ended - if only to be able to take care of its bodily functions.

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Last night, virtually all of the people scheduled to go to game night took "rain checks" on being there.  There were no available spaces on the street, and the nearby roads were not that safe to drive on. So I was one of the smart ones, putting off my appearance until next week.

When I got up this morning, I was unsure if the cleaning lady would come. So I made sure to get my feminine stuff out of the way, so all she'd see would be what one might expect to see in Mario's apartment. (This was a fortunate choice, as she finally came today.)  And then, I went to Wappinger's Falls to pick up my old cell phone, now that a new battery has been installed.

- - - - - -

On the way up to Wappinger's Falls, I texted Vicki to see about what time I should meet her for our trip to Woodstock. Then, I texted to Maria that I needed a confirmation, so that we could reserve a table for dinner - and finally have the two of my friends meet.  Unfortunately, Maria sent the following response:

I don't think so. I don't drive in bad weather and I'm not risking it. Plus my car is older and I haven't been going too far. Plus hubby's truck just shorted out and burnt the alternator and starter on the truck when he was plowing yesterday

So I have to help him pay for that, so money wise I don't have it.  I'm not making excuses. I would love to, but I just can't. Sorry. Maybe in spring when weather is better, I can do so.

Maria's car is getting old, and her hubby has his issues.  Maria deserves better from a husband, but she has had to make trade-offs to have a stable relationship.  She doesn't complain about her life.  She just moves forward, attacking problems as she runs into them.

- - - - - -

Once I picked up my phone, it was back to my apartment.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the cleaning lady had finally made her appearance.  Now that I know her schedule for being in Westchester, I can more accurately predict when she'll be here if she misses a day due to bad weather or other reasons.

For the most part, I rested for the rest of the day.  Yes, I had to transfer information from my "old Marian" phone to my "new Marian" phone. But that's mostly busy work. I'm still at a point where I could do a factory reset on the phone, and reload everything I need. And I may still do that, if only to clean out all the junk that has accumulated in the two-three years since I bought it.

PS: I didn't do a factory reset on the phone.  Instead, I set up a second user, and cleaned out a lot of the old applications and messages I no longer needed.  This allowed me to save a lot of space, and allow the phone to work a little faster.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Normally, I'd be getting into a dress...

If the weather had stayed clear, I'd be going out and about as Marian.  However, the only thing on my mind today is that I'll have to shovel the show piling around my car when the storm ends.

- - - - - -

Normally, since this is a Thursday and my cleaning lady hasn't come in a while, I'd be worrying about getting dressed before she came and to get out of the apartment. This would allow her to work without trouble, and for me to maintain the image that it's just Mario in the apartment.  Instead, I didn't have to worry about her being here because of the snow already in my parking lot at 9:00 am.

Although there wasn't too much snow yet, the snow was still coming down, and I expected to see at least 6 inches of the white stuff before I even bothered to set foot outside.

- - - - - -

Since I didn't expect to be able to do much as Marian tomorrow, I already started to plan for a day out as Mario.  I texted Ex-GF-M, and said that we will need to postpone our lunch. She said that she might be working from home, as it would be too hard for her to get to her office the day after a snowfall. In addition, I still have to pick up my backup cell phone in Wappinger's Falls - and that will likely set me back almost $100 for a battery replacement on a phone worth less than that.

- - - - - - 

Eventually, I'll be able to go out again as Marian.  Until then, I figure that I'll relax and enjoy a quiet day at home.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Seeing friends before the snow shuts us in.

Today was the last day before the upcoming near blizzard, so I made the most of it in Marian Mode.  There were only two things I had planned to do today, and if I knew in advance that I could run an errand as Mario, I would have postponed a visit to YGN until after the snow.

- - - - - -

Last night was GFJ's birthday. And I totally forgot about it yesterday - even though I had mailed her a birthday card the day before, even though her birthday present sits unwrapped on my sofa, and even though another birthday card was sitting upon my desk. So when I realized that I missed wishing her a "Happy Birthday" on the date, I sent her a message saying: "Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa."  (Anyone familiar with church Latin will get that reference.) 

Around 10:30 am, I called the cell phone repair shop and they told me that the replacement had not yet arrived, and that I shouldn't expect the phone back until next week.  If I had known I'd receive a call around 1:00 pm that the phone was ready, I'd have rearranged my schedule so that I could have the phone in hand before tomorrow's snow storm. Instead, I proceeded on schedule to see YGN around 4:00 pm. 

Just before I left for YGN's house, I received an email from the school offering the PMP certification course.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have to postpone the PMP Exam Prep course, originally scheduled to begin on Feb, 8th. The new course schedule is listed below:

PMP Exam Prep, Course 90314
Wednesday Evenings, 6-9PM
March 1 – May 3, 2017
Of course, I replied to say thanks, and let the gentleman know that this change would not be a problem.  (Do you think I really want to again apply for a grant to take a similar course?  No.  I'll use the approval and the money already applied to this course, and get it over with.) Now to tell Lili that I can't go on a cruise until May.  She won't be happy!

- - - - - -

I arrived at YGN's house about an hour late, but we caught up on things quickly.  Her daughter is now 3 years old, and she can be a terror.  But she's cute!  We discussed issues related to setting up her business in a new location, as well as the PMP course I'll be taking. Unfortunately, time passed all too quickly, and I had to run off to the FFGoW meetup in the heart of White Plains.

- - - - - -

Arriving at the Black Bear Saloon, I was pleased to know that I wasn't the last person to arrive.  While taking off my coat, I noticed that one of the ladies gets around with a foldable white cane used by the visually impaired, and was putting it into her handbag. (Next time that she comes and the weather is bad, I'll offer her a ride to make things easier for her.) There were 5 of us there, and 2 of the ladies were newcomers. 

One of the new ladies and I hit it off immediately, and I had to make sure that ALL my actions were in the range of a cisgender female's actions. But there was a potentially awkward moment (I don't like bringing up that I am transgender unless I'm asked) where these new ladies talked about being widowed, and I joined in. When I was asked about how my husband died, I simply said that my love died of cancer and left it at that.  If I am thought of as a Lesbian, I have no problem with that. I just want to blend in as a woman as much as possible. Later on, when we talked about the difference between how men and women interact with each other, I noted that men had testosterone poisoning - and it brought a smile to the ladies. WPB knows I'm transgender, and I think she enjoyed that comment, as it allowed the ladies to continue on, and yet acknowledge a biological reason for the difference in how men and women think, communicate, and process information.

All too soon, the evening had to end, and I was on my way home by 9:00 pm. I wasn't able to chat with GFJ again until 11:00 pm, but that was OK.  At least, we were able to have a chat before the tomorrow's big snow....

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pat and the Non Profit - not necessarily in that order.

Today, I called Pat and found out that she had done some damage to her leg.  It seems as some muscle got pulled (for an unknown reason) and she needed to contact her doctor for advice.  Getting injured at any age is a bummer, but when you are 75+ years old, any injury can put you at risk of being crippled for life.

- - - - - -

As has been my "habit" as of late, I got up this morning before any of the alarms rang. This is very surprising to me, as I haven't been falling to sleep until 2:00am - 3:00am, and I have been waking up progressively earlier - today, around 7:45am.  So I figured that I'd get up and take care of things.

Around 10:00am, I started getting ready to go to NPW, and arrived there a few minutes late.  In fact, I entered the office just as they were about to call me, and we proceeded to get to business.  NPWJ realized that I needed some assistance in setting up the "copy" to be ported from the old web site to the new web site.  She also noticed that the old site didn't even have NPW's mission statement - so that will be added to the new site as soon as I receive marked up "copy".

- - - - - -

Around 2:30pm, I called Pat and she gave me the news about her injury.  I suggested that I visit, and she said "yes" - after she was done with her doctors. I killed some time at Barnes and Noble, then proceeded to Pat's place. She had to retrieve her crutches from the basement, and I helped her to the car.  We went to a nearby place where they make "Jerk" chicken, pork and other Caribbean specialties, and we picked up some take-out to eat back at her place.

We had a leisurely dinner, and then got into one of our long winded chats.  I won't go into Pat's political views again, but she was disturbed by what's going on in DC.  Too bad that she isn't pragmatic. For the most part, it was a pleasant conversation.  What was most interesting was a topic that came up shortly before I left: Being Transgender.  Fran came up, and I mentioned that I didn't want to be like her. I work hard to have a voice in the lower female register, and I try never to appear as if I'm a man in a dress.  Fran, on the other hand, looks and sounds like a man in a dress, as she doesn't bother to speak in a more feminine voice, nor does she consider rhinoplasty to give her face a more feminine appearance. We went a little further, and I said that if I started on hormones, I'd eventually want to get bottom surgery - something that Fran would never do.  Pat started getting a little confused at this point, and I noted that Fran is not the type of person who wants to blend in. So she makes choices that makes her stand out in almost all situations.

Sometimes, talk of bottom surgery forces the next topic to be addressed - SEX.  And it did this time. I noted that many of us transgenders give up on having sex once we transition. If I were to start medical transition, I know that I'd likely not have physical intimacy again with another human being. I noted that if I had bottom surgery, this cowgirl would like to ride a cowboy once - just to see how the equipment feels in use. Pat said that men have sex to better their reputations in the eyes of other men.  This may be true when a boy is in high school, but it is not the case for mature men. I then noted that I was always focused on the desires of the woman I was with, and then Pat noted that I was truly a woman in mind.  How true this is I can not say. But I am much more comfortable as a female than I am as a male, and wish there was an easy way to go 24x7 without all the potential sacrifices I'd have to make.

- - - - - -

One of the things I found on my email when I got home was a message from the school which was offering my PMP Certification prep course. 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we need to postpone your upcoming PMP Exam Prep course. Unfortunately the instructor for the course is no longer available, we are working hard to assign a new instructor and update the schedule for the in-person offering of the course.

I will let you know as soon as we have finalized the new course details. If you are unable to attend the new schedule, you will be given a full refund for any payments you have made towards this course.
To me, the school may have not gotten enough people to register for the course - and wanted to postpone it until they had enough attendees.  I sent GFJ a copy of the email, and she started gently prodding me to find out whether another course was being offered elsewhere AND whether I could get the county to pay for that course as they were paying for this course.  I'd rather not open this can of worms. So I'll wait until the course if offered again, and let the school hold on to the money - and be sure that I am registered for the next time it is offered. (If there are problems, I can let the school and the county fight it out - as the school likely has the money and I already have a confirmation letter for the course that indicates I can attend when it is offered.)