Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Quickie: My schedule had nothing on it, so I rested.

Today was the only day that I had nothing on my schedule.  So I rested.  And it was just as well, because we had torrential rain followed by strong and gusty winds.

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GFJ departed for work around 10 am, and I was free for the day.  By noon, torrential rains started to fall, and I was glad to be inside at the time.  A short time later, DR called, and I told her that I was going to do a shift with her tomorrow night as part of my training.  This made her happy, and since my orientation session will be on Thursday, I expect that I'll be doing an occasional shift on a more regular basis soon.

While surfing the web, I noticed that NPW (remember them) was working with the Westchester Library System to perform the Sexual Harassment Prevention Training required of all corporate employees as of this year.  Unfortunately, it applies to the smallest of corporations as well as the largest.  However, I've found that we can have our sole employee take an online course for under $50 - a steep discount from the price offered by one of our vendors. So I'm going to bring this up to the board and see what they have to say.

Later on in the day, we had strong winds.  It was another reason to stay in.  Was it a good reason?  Maybe not.  But it is as good as any.

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Tomorrow, we have a training session at the co-op to resolve a long standing issue unrelated to our one employee. And this will be followed by a stint answering phones at the nursing home.  So I'll have to be careful with my schedule, as I want to be sure that I'm in the correct presentation at the correct time.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Quickie: A short weekend with GFJ

There wasn't much to say about this weekend.  Both GFJ and I were a little tired today, and decided to take it easy much of the day.  However, I had an errand to run, and GFJ's presence, along with a need to present as Mario at the drug store, made it a Mario Mode Day.

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Neither of us wanted to get up until the afternoon, and by the time we made it out of the house, it was 4 pm.  The drug store was our first stop, as their pharmacy closes at 5 pm. So I picked up my pills, and off we went for a drive. Our next stop was a local diner because both of us were hungry, but not too hungry - and this meant that both of us had leftovers for another day.

Once done with our "snack", I decided to take a drive to Target to pick up a new set of sheets.  The ones I have been using are wearing out, and it's been about time (for years) that I replace them.  So that was my task for the day. When we reached Target, my GI Tract started acting up.  Instead of another long drive, it was a quick dash towards home and a clean bathroom....

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Not much to say for the day.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A quiet Saturday

The above picture captures my life as of late.  I've been given a few lemons, and have been trying to make lemonade.  No, I don't drink lemonade - it's both too sweet and too sour to quench any thirst I may have. So I'm trying to look at the bright side of things, instead of seeing problems as some of my friends do....

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Who'd have thought that the weather would be in the 70's today?  When I woke up and got dressed to go to my speech therapy session, I decided to wear a muted red midi dress (with a multi-color scarf to make it pop).  I grabbed my faux leather jacket because I thought it would be cool outside - but it wasn't needed.  And I got compliments on my outfit from the student clinician. 

Today's session passed quite quickly, even though we added extra time to make up for the week I lost to taking the civil service exam.  We BS'd a bit after the session, and I made it a point to tell her that I found her to be the most professional and the most effective of the student clinicians I've had.

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Once I was done at Mercy, I meandered to Pelham to see Pat.  She will always be blaming our economic system for the problems of the world.  Capitalism, Patriarchy, and other leftist targets are always to blame for the things that oppress people and are destroying the world. But she never thinks that our problems may be a result of a simple cause - too many people live on this planet.  There is a limit to how big any social or economic system can get before its flaws cause it to fail. And with 8.5 billing people (and counting), we're seeing social, economic, and ecological systems being brought under extreme pressure which may cause a Malthusian collapse.

Sadly, Pat takes all of these things personally.  I look at life and try to use the Serenity Prayer's philosophy as often as I can - and not worry about the things I can't change.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

If we're going to hell in a handbasket, I can advocate for things to help make the world a little better.  But I can't spend my whole life in pursuit of these goals.  I accept that the world was an imperfect mess when I came in to it, stayed an imperfect mess while I lived in it, and will be an imperfect mess when I eventually leave it.  All I can do is to try and make an incremental change for the better, and hope that others are doing the same thing as well.

Around 3 pm, Pat had to go and see her daughter, and I ended up going home. Although I could have done a little more as Marian, I decided to get comfortable and stay in for the rest of the day.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

There's a reason why the end of the week goes WTF.

I never expect bad weeks.  But I do plan for occasional bad days during the week.  And the motto above serves to remind me that there will always be a surprise that will throw me for a loop during any given week.  Last week, it was being hired at the nursing home without going through an interview. This week, it was being "trained" to answer phones, and finding that 4 hours have passed without me noticing their passage.

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Wednesday came along with early morning alarms.  I had to be at the nursing home at 9 am to begin the day's training, and barely got there on time. Once I arrived, I punched my time card and got to work answering phones.  Things went so quickly, that I didn't notice it when 1 pm came by.  At that point, I took my leave and went home to kill some time before seeing DR for dinner.

After a quick bite to eat, I answered a call from WDJ - and we chatted about goings on at the prior night's dinner with the dining meetup.  I won't go into details here, as I prefer to say things based on my own experiences. But I can say that WDJ had her strong opinions about the social dynamic there, and that there are some things that make her feel a little bit uncomfortable there.  In the middle of the call, I received a call from the nursing home, asking if I wanted another training session - and I said yes.  Then it was back to the phone call with WDJ.

Around 4 pm, I decided to drive up to Fishkill for dinner with DR, with a couple of stops across the river to do some shopping and to kill some time. After an hour or so of shopping and drinking coffee, I drove to the restaurant and met DR for dinner.  While at dinner, I opened up a little too much about my feelings on battles. And in retrospect, it didn't seem so ladylike. But then, I have unconventional attitudes for a transwoman....

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Thursday was a little better for me than Wednesday - I didn't have to be anywhere until noon, when I was to have lunch with Vicki #2.  I left only my usual 9, 9:30, and 10 am alarms on, and got about 6 hours of sleep from the night before.  Even though I was up and running early enough to be able to make lunch at noon, I ended up running late and met Vicki around 12:15 in Yonkers.

Vicki treated me to lunch, as she was doing her bit as a mystery shopper. Life is going well for her, as things are well with her, her partners, and her son - even though her son is having a little trouble in school because of his homework (or lack of it).  We didn't have too much to say to each other, as our lives are so very different.  And we stayed away from politics because the outside world is so depressing these days. So an hour and a half was more than enough for the two of us to catch up on things.

Next, it was off to the GLBT Center, with a stop at The Avenue along the way.  When I got there, I was surprised to find that the shoe store next door had closed, and that there was an empty space in its place. There was nothing much there I was interested in, so I took the slow road to White Plains and volunteering. I arrived at the GLBT Center and was ready to get to work.  It wasn't a day for chit chat, as I wanted to get my tasks done and get home. About 90 minutes later, that's what I did.

Earlier in the day, Lili was pushing for a 4 pm drive to Waterbury to see Book of Mormon, while I was pushing for a 3 pm drive to avoid rush hour. This could become a bone of contention, as Lili is not the best in planning for contingencies. When I mentioned this to GFJ during my drive back home, she wondered why I didn't just lie to Lili to get her to meet me earlier than Lili wanted.  In the back of my mind, I realized that Lili would have some idea of how long this drive would take, but would not have an idea of how to account for traffic jams.  Pushing the departure time back too much would only sour things on a day where we should be having a good time.  So I decided to take the chance of getting moving later than I want and having a rushed dinner before the play begins.

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Friday was the "big" day.  I was finally going to see "The Book of Mormon".   But first, it was a lunch with EP.  We had originally planned to have lunch at a tavern in Croton, but ended up eating at her place due to her responsibilities in taking care of her ailing grandmother. Unfortunately, she picked up a vegetarian lunch which lacked flavor - and I couldn't wait to get my fill of meat later on.

I left EP's place around 3, and got to the Stop and Shop near Lili about 30 minutes later to pick her up for the ride to Waterbury, CT.  She didn't believe me when I said that we had to be on the road as early as possible to miss the traffic jams that begin in Danbury and run halfway through Connecticut. By the time we reached the Danbury Mall, she started to believe me, and by the time we reached Southbury, she was a believer.  After passing by the theater around 5:45, we went to the Texas Roadhouse for dinner. This is definitely the place one would go for tasty, pre-seasoned beef.  (GFJ doesn't care for the spices they apply to their steaks before cooking.) Both Lili and I enjoyed our beef dishes (she had the chopped steak, and I had the strip steak), but could have easily filled ourselves up on the dinner rolls brought to the table.

We left the restaurant at 7:15, and parked our car across the street from the theater. The place is much bigger than it looks from the outside.  It seats over 2,600 people - more than some Broadway theaters I've been in.  After a quick trip to the loo, we went to our seats.  Both of us were very uncomfortable, as the pitch of these seats was worse than some airline seats I've been in.  So we looked for a couple of nearby empty seats, and moved into them as soon as we saw that they would be unoccupied. From that point, we were relatively comfortable for the rest of the performance.

When the show ended, we had to drive home in the pouring rain.  Lili couldn't see lane markings in the road due to the rain. And I was barely doing better, as I was looking for the rumble strips at the sides of the road to give me ideas of where each lane was.  Eventually, we made it back to her car. And then, I made it home for the night....

Friday, April 19, 2019

Taxes and other responsibilities.

Taxes.  There's no easy way to avoid them, and evading them is out of the question.  This year, due to the new tax law, I owe the government a significant amount of money.  And this only make me abhor Trump and the GOP even more than I did before.

- - - - - -

When I got up, I knew that the whole day was to be spent in Mario Mode.  So I showered, dressed, and got out of the house early enough to see my dad in the nursing home before lunch.  Although I spent a little less than an hour with him, I was glad that I made the trip to see him.  At 91 years old, he's a survivor, and I want him to live long enough to see both of his grandchildren get married.  (I should be realistic here.  When my nephew gets married, the ceremony will likely be somewhere across the country from here, and my dad will not be able to get to the wedding.  This means that my dad will only be able to see one of his grandchildren get married when my niece ties the not sometime next year.)  If he lasts this long, I will make sure that there is a video feed from the church to his nursing home, so that he can see the ceremony.

Once I was done with my dad, I drove to my tax preparer to pick up my tax forms.  Since everything is e-filed these days, I had to sign a couple of forms in her presence before getting my paperwork. I was glad that I arrived at her place early, as I hit some traffic on the way home.  Luckily, I had enough time to go food shopping before having to go to my co-op board meeting.

While home, I got a call from Lili.  She had locked herself out of her boyfriend's apartment.  Without access to her keys, she was lost.  Luckily, she had access to her cell phone and called me for help.  I'd have bailed out of the board meeting to help her, but she was lucky - her boyfriend was able to contact his super and have him let Lili into his apartment.  (Lili is staying with her boyfriend while workmen redo the floors in her house.)

At the board meeting, I approved a decision that I was later to regret.  Hopefully, the decision will not come back to bite me. But if it does, I'll deal with it then.  We then discussed a series of issues with our new managing agent, and were brought up to date with the status of the transition from old agent to new agent.  (From what I heard from our new vendor, I'm glad we made the change when we did - and I wish we had done so earlier than we did.)  I feel good about this vendor, and I hope that they deliver the good value we expect from them.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Monday, Monday.... Sad news.

Note: I'm still playing catch-up with my daily posts.  I should be in-sync very soon....

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I didn't know what time GFJ had to leave this morning, but we were awakened by alarms and spam phone calls.  So when she left, I had nothing much on my docket, save a little rest on a warm day.

Looking at my cell phone, I got a message from the leader of a meetup group.  One of the women complained about having a trans person in the women's group, and had a hard time asking me not to come again.  (She didn't instigate this.)  She had tried to contact Lili, but with no response.  So she had to reach out to me directly - and I made it easy for her.  Considering that this was a once per month group, I don't feel I missed much.

Next, I decided to message some friends to see if we could meet for lunch.  Vicki #2 and BXM were both available - on the same day.  I'll have to do some juggling to see them both later on in the week. And then, I got a call from the Nursing home in regard to doing another training session on the phones.  This will take up a bit of Wednesday morning.  So my week is getting busy, and hasn't even started yet.

- - - - - -

When message chatting with BXM, she told me that her dad died while I was on my cruise. She's swamped with paperwork, and has problems she wanted to talk to me about over the phone. Later on, she wanted to ask a favor of me - to be a hauling service to move some goods she has purched for a friend to her friend's place.  I am not a hauling service, and I don't want to put NYC mileage (potholes, rutted streets, stop light cameras, etc.) on my car. So I'll casually avoid her for the rest of the week.

Later on, I got a call from DR to confirm dinner for Wednesday night.  We chatted for a bit, and then scheduled the where and when of our dinner.  It'll be a diner that I've eaten at a million times before, and a place I regularly visit while in Marian Mode.

- - - - - -

I figure that today was a good day, even though it was an overly warm day.  Any more days like this, and I'll be turning on the AC....

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Back from the cruise and catching up on things

There are some things a person can not avoid.  Even in space, one needs to take a bio-break.  And the above toilet was designed for this need.  You'll note that the waste hole is much smaller than a normal toilet.  Astronauts have to be trained to correctly seat themselves, so that their wastes go down the hole, instead of being smeared on the seat.

Coming back from a vacation of any sort is much like going to the bathroom.  There are some tasks which can be delayed, but not avoided. And returning to "regular life" is one of them....

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Monday morning came, and I had several things I needed to do.  First, I had a couple of laundry loads to put in the washer and dryer. Next, I had to pick up some pills at the drug store as Mario.  I then had to pick up materials (pencils erasers, sharpeners, etc.) for a civil service exam I'm taking on Saturday. And finally, I had a monthly meeting of Arts Westchester volunteers to go to as Marian.  It would likely be a busy day, with a needed change from Mario to Marian in order to get everything done in one day.

With all that being said, I ended up doing very little.  I blew off the Arts Westchester meeting, as I had a little bit of a stomach problem.  (I had a feeling that my GI Tract would act up on me when I got up, and it did.  Too much rich food on the cruise.)  By the time I was finished, there was no way I'd make it to White Plains on time for the meeting.  So instead, I went to the drug store to pick up a prescription - and found out that the prescription I thought was suspended was still on auto refill.  (I guess I'll have to check back with the pharmacist when I pick up my next batch of drugs over the weekend.)  After lunch, it was off to Staples to pick up a calculator and a mechanical pencil I'll need for a civil service exam. And then it was home to do laundry.

I could have been even busier, had EP been available for a mani-pedi.  But I'm glad this didn't work out, as I had no energy left for anything at the end of the day....

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I awoke on Tuesday with nothing much to do.  There was still some laundry to fold and to hang in the closets, but this was something I could do at leisure.  So I decided to relax most of the day.  Eventually, I knew I had to do something, and I decided to catch up on the laundry still in the baskets. Folding underwear isn't a big deal. But when you have a couple of loads of it to take care of, it takes time.  And this is time that could be spent doing two things at once: folding laundry and watching TV.

Of course, laundry isn't enough to keep me occupied for long.  So I had a choice: Stay inside the house and find something to eat in the freezer, go out as Mario and get a quick bite to eat. or go out as Marian to eat and browse what's in the clothing stores.  Even though I haven't been out and about as Marian for over a week, it was still a hard choice because I didn't want to do anything that involved the spending of money.  And I ended up staying home for the day....

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My cell phone started trying to waken me on Wednesday morning around 8 am. (I enjoy catching part of the Morning Joe program if I'm awake at that time of day.) Unfortunately, I needed sleep much more than I wanted to watch (or listen to) the TV.  So, when 9:00 came, I really wasn't in the mood to answer the phone when I got a call from the nursing home that was interested in me being a part time receptionist. Much later in the day, I finally made it out as Marian, having the excuse of a meetup to get me out of the house.  It was too easy to stay at home.  So, having the Meetup was something I needed to keep myself from getting stuck in too much of a rut.

For a change, I left the house early enough that I'd be at the restaurant about 30 minutes before dinner was scheduled to begin.  The North Plank Road Tavern is in an old building in Newburgh, NY near the Beacon-Newburgh Bridge.  It was strange to enter the building from a tiny corridor in its rear, but it made sense because this entry was much more convenient than coming in from the front. Once inside, WDJ and I sat down for a conversation, and expanded it as people arrived. The food was good, but a little pricey.  And I went a little over budget, ordering the lobster bisque along with my main course.

All too soon, the meetup ended, and we had to leave.  WDJ and I made it over to a nearby diner for coffee, and chatted for another hour.  When it was time to leave, we couldn't find the waitress. So we ended up going to the cashier, telling him what we had, paying our bill, and leaving the diner without leaving a tip for the waitress.  (I over tip for good service.  Yet, I feel no guilt in leaving no tip when service is shoddy.)

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This Thursday was supposed to be my cleaning lady's monthly visit. After stripping my bed for her to put on clean sheets, I went out to lunch and then to the supermarket.  When I got back, she hadn't come.  So I hung out in Mario mode, waiting for her to come - and she didn't.  I guess I'll have to touch base with her in the morning and see what's up.

One thing I didn't mention was that EP and I were supposed to have lunch together today.  It was the second time she had to bail out of getting together.  Given that she's working off the books, I'm pretty sure that she's putting things with her employer ahead of friendships - and that's OK with me.  And I was glad that I didn't have a social engagement today, as I'd have had to stay outside the house until I spoke with the cleaning lady.

Around 5 pm, I got a call from the cleaning lady - she postponed her visit for 2 weeks.  And that's fine with me.  Every dollar I can defer spending is a dollar staying in my pocket that much longer.  With a big tax bill coming due to the new tax law, I can use every dollar I can get my hands on.

Just before I was about to change into Marian Mode, my brother called.  As much as I really didn't want to talk at this time, it was the only time we could speak.  He submitted his resignation to his present employer, took a minor demotion in rank, and signed on with a new firm closer to home.  He will now get to see his wife for dinner again on a regular basis - something he hasn't been able to do in years....

After the call, I did a quick change into Marian Mode and went to game night.  I didn't win anything, but I had a good time.  I told the hostess about an interview I have at the nursing home. And if I get the job, I'll be filling in for the night time receptionists.  It'll be my first job as Marian if they like me, and I can't wait....

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I had several alarms set for Friday morning, as I had set up an appointment to meet with the HR director at the nearby nursing home for a part time receptionist position. (DR had referred me, and they were very interested in meeting me.  What I didn't know going is was that her boss was ready to offer me the job solely on DR's strong recommendation.)  Getting dressed and out the door on time wasn't that hard.  But getting past a slowpoke on the road was. Luckily, I pulled into the nursing home at 11 am, and was chatting with the HR person within 5 minutes.  She told me that she was offering me the slot, and I accepted the position as a fill-in person.  I told her that I was transgender, and asked her to keep this on the QT from everyone else if possible. Although staff in the main office might know my real name and gender, the local staff need not know anything. After 3 hours getting trained (if you can call getting used to finding phone numbers and other information in a batch of papers), it was time for me to go.  However, I had to check back with HR to confirm a couple of things, and to make sure that the next time I'm there, that I'll be able to get a couple of minor issues cleared up.

Next, it was a quick stop at my place to get a warm coat, and then off to the GLBT Center to do a volunteer stint.  When that was done, I touched base with EP, and we agreed to get together for dinner at her place.  (She lives with her grandmother, so everything was above board.)  EP has serious intimacy problems with her boyfriend, and I hope things improve for her soon.  Auntie Marian was her sounding board. And I didn't mind this.  But there's a part of her that I know to be careful about.  No, I can't put a finger on it.  But it has to do with her becoming so friendly as quickly as she has done.

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Saturday had only one important thing on the docket - a civil service exam. And it is something one couldn't study for - either you know the strategies on how to take the test or you don't.  I was lucky, I understood that everything was a process of elimination, and that the answer was usually right in front of you, if you looked hard enough.

I drove to Nyack to take the test, and arrived a little early.  This was just as well, as the driving instructions didn't account for a school football (?) game being played which closed off the access road mentioned in the state issued directions to the testing center.  Once I arrived, I was ready to wait for a while - and did much of that waiting on line to get to the room where the test was being administered..

Once the test started, I got the first 15 questions (out of 45) out of the way very quickly. These were questions relating to supervisory skills.  I'd have answered a few differently had I been given more context. But I hope I answered enough right to do OK, as they counted as much as the next 30 questions combined. Then, things slowed down a bit while I had to parse a lot of words to choose answers best catching the gist of the paragraphs above. After that, it was another slog through more paragraphs to determine which answer could be inferred by the data given in the paragraphs.  Although we were given 2 1/2 hours to finish the test, I was done in 1 1/2 hours.

I called GFJ upon my return to the car, but she was busy.  This was just as well, as it allowed me to rest for a while when I got home for the night....