Wednesday, April 26, 2017

As much as I try to get up early....

My plans for the day were to do some studying, and then go out and see the Cat Lady for a leisurely afternoon. But I didn't get to sleep until 4:00 am last night, the Cat Lady was also up all night (issues on her side), and both of us agreed to meet for dinner - all by several asynchronous emails.  The lack of immediacy in email is an asset, as replies can be at leisure, and no one need be awakened in the middle of the night.

- - - - - -

So when I finally got up and moving around noon, the Cat Lady was already on her way to the doctor, and to take care of errands she had to do. And again, via emails, we arranged to have dinner at the same German restaurant we ate at the last time we were together.

On the way over to see the Cat Lady, I got a call from my brother. We were interrupted by dead zones from Annesville Circle to well past the Bear Mountain bridge. But it was a good call, as we discussed many things - including my brother's relationship with his kids. And as I was just about to reach the Cat Lady's house, I received a call from GFJ. We had a nice chat, but I wasn't about to tell her where I was and what I was doing. So I said that I was driving towards the Bronx - just in case she wanted for us to get together before Thursday.

Once done with my phone calls, I went to the Cat Lady's house (which was around the corner from where I stopped to chat with GFJ) and picked her up for dinner. Both of us enjoyed a nice German dinner, and then we went back to her place to chat. (This time, I'm very glad that I took my allergy pill before going there - I was able to avoid the strong allergic reaction I had the last time I was inside her house.)  If any of you are thinking anything, it was just chat, and there was no hanky-panky going on. I was keeping options open, while things are still up in the air with GFJ.

- - - - - -

Eventually, it was time to go home. And I was in no rush to make it across the river. So I took the side roads back into New York, intersecting with roads I used to use when seeing an ex girlfriend of 30+ years ago, and a former female friend from 20 years ago. Although I could see nothing, I was able to relax a little before hitting the highway needed to cross the river and go home.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A dress, but not in my size

I got up very late (even for me) today, and spent most of it doing nothing. (Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.) And when I finally got moving, there wasn't much time for me to be Marian before a stretch of days I had to spend as Mario. So I decided to take a drive to Paramus, where I could do some window shopping at Catherine's and at The Avenue.

When I finally made it to Catherine's, I was surprised to find as many dresses on the floor as I did. Of course, being just after Easter, I'd expect that that their early Spring merchandise would still be on the floor.  And when I saw the dress above, I figured that I had to try it on - even though the dress was a size larger than I normally wear.  Luckily, the dress didn't fit right, and I was spared the decision of having to buy a dress I didn't need.

Before I go too far, if this dress was in a different fabric, I still might have bought the dress. It was comfortable and loose. but given the fabric, it was the type of garment that couldn't be dressed down to be casual enough for game night. And I already have too many dresses that would be appropriate for a more formal summer gathering - such as a casual outdoor wedding.

After I was done browsing at Catherine's, I went to The Avenue and did even more browsing. And there, I found a couple of dresses, had they been in my size, would have jumped in to my car with me for the ride to my closet. Again, I was lucky. Nothing there was either interesting, worth buying, or in my size.

Since it was now almost 9:30, I made my way home with a stop at the diner for a late dinner. Normally, I might not have mentioned this. But I had transferred the contents of my black handbag into a brown handbag for Easter Sunday services at the local church, and I had forgotten to transfer my reading glasses back to the black handbag for today's outing. So, I ended up squinting at the menu while deciding what I was going to eat. Unfortunately, I wish I had decided to go to a different diner.  No, it's not because the food wasn't good. (I actually enjoyed the mixed vegetables for a change.) No, it's not because the service was bad. (It was slow, but not annoyingly so.)  No, it's not because the food was overpriced. (It was slightly more expensive than what I get locally, but not unreasonably so.) It was simply because of the 6 teenage girls behind me that couldn't help but talk too loudly. And that's part of why I asked to take some of my meal home in a doggy bag instead of staying to finish my meal.

I had an enjoyable last night out as Marian, and will soon take the polish off my nails so that I can spend a day out with the Cat Lady tomorrow.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Happy Easter!

It'll be a week after Easter by the time this post is published, so I'm wishing all my readers a belated happy holiday. 

- - - - - -

It's been a long time since I've gone to church. And I figured that I'd wear the above outfit out and finally get some mileage out of a dress I purchased late last Summer. So, when 8:30 am came around, I decided to quickly get showered, shaved and dressed - and out the door for a 10 am mass. And I'm glad I did.

There is never much to be said for a mass, save for the timeless familiarity in its rituals and its traditions. They can be comforting, even for those people who aren't that religious. Yet, if I could have whipped my cell phone out quick enough, I could have gotten a picture that would be the definition of cute: Two little girls pulling a "Radio Flyer" wagon, picking up offerings of food for the needy.

When services ended, the congregation gathered in the parish hall for an Easter Celebration. Finger food was being served with a little bit of bubbly, while the little children were being entertained by an Easter Egg hunt on the front lawn. I got into conversations with several people, one of whom was also called to Jury Duty - and picked to serve on that 18 month impanelment.  At least he has only had to report in for one followup session so far.  After that, I ended up chatting with a woman who made an effort to talk with me (that if I were in male mode, I'd assume she's interested in me for purposes other than friendship). We were getting along very well, and we exchanged contact information with each other.

By the time I left the church, it was getting warm outside, and I'd have never made it into the city on time to see a last Sunday Matinee associated with the "20 at 20" special. So, I decided to go home and change out of the dress, and get into something more comfortable and appropriate for a casual Sunday.  And then, I stayed home for the rest of the day, as there was nothing else that I wanted to do....

Sunday, April 23, 2017

I wasn't sure of what to talk about first

I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad.  And I'm not sure of what I should talk about today. So I'll start with a mention of my status with GFJ.  She mentioned that she was going to Atlantic City with one of her girlfriends, and I made a comment that we should do something like that soon - and there was silence. She gave me the answer I was waiting for, without having to say anything. Is this such a bad thing?  Probably not.  If she couldn't deal with me being trans, it's time that the relationship should end. But I don't expect that she will say anything until we meet on Thursday for an early dinner. (I wasn't going to foul up Tuesday with the Cat Lady just to get official bad news from GFJ.) And in many ways, I'd prefer not to bother with that dinner unless she is going to say something pleasant.

- - - - - -

The next topic for the day is my niece. We had arranged to meet at the Guggenheim for the beginning of the "Pay what you will" Saturday evening. And though we were on time, the line stretched around the block. Yet, once the doors opened, the line moved quick and we were inside by 6 pm.

We went to the top level and worked our way down the ramp, seeing many works of modern art that held my interest. She and I are kindred spirits. Neither of us believe the propaganda coming out of the right wing news outlets, and we both know to challenge the "news" coming out of the outlets we get our news from. We both fear what is going to happen in this country, but this was far from the focus of our conversation.

This is the first time I've had the chance to talk about her beau (who currently lives in London), her marital plans (not yet on the horizon), her options for childbearing (she is not ready to have a child, but wants to have that option if she chooses), and her parents (poor matches for each other, and part of the reason that she is being careful about the first three topics). Although she is young, she is wise beyond her years, and I am envious of her - as she has her whole life ahead of her.

Both of us liked the picture below, and thought that capturing the viewer of the art in the snapshot made this a great shot.  What do you think?

Next is a shot of my niece. She liked this shot of her looking at the mobile, as it puts the art and the viewer into perspective. (Some art wouldn't exist if it weren't for the people who view it.)

And lastly, I liked this shot of her - for reasons similar to the photo above.

She has given me permission to show her face and talk about her by name in this blog. So you may find better shots of her (and of us together) in the future.

For some reason, both of us breezed through this museum way too quickly. (I figure that she really wanted to go to a party out on Long Island, and she felt that her aunt Marian would understand. (I did, and might have been doing the same thing in her shoes.) So we took the 5th Avenue bus downtown (it was much slower than the Madison Avenue bus I took to get there). Around Rockefeller Center, I bid her a fond adieu, and proceeded to kill some time before seeing "Sex Tips for a Straight Woman from a Gay Man." (Believe it or not, I have a copy of this book, having been given a copy years ago at an Eulenspiegel Society meeting.)

- - - - - -

Once at the theater, the elevator wasn't working. So I had to climb the stairs to the second floor.  Did I say "Second Floor?"  Although it was marked as a "second floor", one had to walk up the equivalent of 6 flights of stairs to reach the theater. And then, when I got to the top, I was a little winded - but I still had to wait to take my seat, as one lady was taking care of ticket problems for her group of 5 ladies.

Looking at the first of the three pictures above, you'll see that the background is set up to make a joke regarding the book discussion (Raame --- Ram Me, as they used for the acronym.)  The second shot had an audience participant (on the right) being there as a foil for the jokes involving the two cast members. And the last shot has three female audience members doing air sex handjobs.  Now, there were two parties of women there: the first being ladies celebrating one woman's 60th birthday (she's bent over on the left) and the other being a bachelorette party (one woman from that party is on the right).  The 60 year old gave the best air sex handjob.

This picture is the one other audience member who got on stage. She had fun giving him a massage, as well as using a tickler where it wasn't supposed to go.  Could you imagine if this T-Gal had been called upstage to perform in either skit?

I highly recommend this piece of fluff. It's way too short, as I wished the fun could've lasted longer than it did.

- - - - - -

Then it was time to go home.  I'm going to get out of the habit of being in contact with GFJ, as once she (by her silence) told me that we were no longer going to be lovers, I no longer wanted to share parts of my life with her.  I "kind of" knew that this would happen a while back.  When she never accepted my help in things such as being driven to/from her colonoscopy, I knew that she didn't want to open up and trust me to take care of her.  Yes, I'm in contact with Lili almost every day. But we never shared a certain intimacy that GFJ and I once had.  In many ways, I feel she was looking for an excuse to end the relationship for a while, as I caught a message directed to her by one of her friends telling her that she could do better than me. (This sounds much like what Lili has been telling me to do about GFJ.) So now she has it - but I don't think I want to be in regular contact with someone who didn't really want me.

Of course, I'll go through the motions of seeing her next week, so that she can say what she wants to say. But I might find an excuse not to do so - simply because everything has already been said and done....

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sometimes, it's OK to expect to be treated as "Number One"

I couldn't resist this shot.  As I said in the title of this entry, it is sometimes appropriate to expect to be treated as "Number One."  This has nothing to do with the rest of the entry, except to show my readers what kind of mood I was in when I started to write down my thoughts for the day.

- - - - - -

Today was Good Friday. If I were religious, I might have been concerned about what food I'd be eating for the day. Instead, I started out by having an "omelette" made with ground beef. And this was my typical oblivious view of the world for the day - it may have been a religious holiday that many people honor, but it was something I remembered only when it was brought up to me.

Although I woke up at 7:30 am, I didn't get moving much until noon. My plans were to put in two hours of work at the GLBT Center, then kill some time before going to dinner with the FFGoW's. Well, my plans changed as soon as I reached the GLBT Center at 3:00 pm. They planned to close at 4, so I didn't get that much work done before they closed.

Once done at the center, I tried reaching Pat.  She and a man she was dating were on their way out to pick up her daughter at the group home, and then go to a restaurant to celebrate Pat's birthday. But that scuttled one of my options for killing time. So I decided to go to the bookstore, then get some iced tea and read a little.  It's amazing how one can easily kill a couple of hours at a bookstore is one has a mind to do so.

Next, it was off to the FFGoW meetup.  We had way too small a table for the seven of us. Two of the women were newcomers to the group, and one of them took an interest in my comments on Harpo Marx. (This woman was a professional actress at one time, and still has an interest in both stage and screen.)  Tonight, it seemed as if my feminine personality was smoothly firing on all cylinders, as I felt as if everything was working for me in my conversations with all the women at the table. And I was able to tell a joke that I picked up yesterday at "Not That Jewish" that almost got one of the ladies to wet herself. Later on, I got information from one of the regulars regarding an inexpensive education program she's part of - and I plan to attend these classes if I'm not working full time in the fall.

- - - - - -

All too soon, it was time to go home.  I wasn't sure about GFJ's holiday weekend schedule, so I figured that I'd wait to see if she reaches out to me via Facebook. This left me free to chat with Lili - and she doesn't want for me to resume things with GFJ if GFJ wants to come back to me. And there are good reasons for that - from my perspective. But I like having someone to hold. Lili wants for me to find a woman who likes people like me. This is a statistical improbability. So I plan to live my life among the company of women and be accepted as a peer.  Whoever I settle down with will know about my two lives, and have to accept both of them to accept me. Ideally, if the woman is truly a good match for me, this time around, I'll be wearing the pretty dress!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Not that Jewish.

Normally, my plans for a typical Thursday would have me going to the local GLBT center and doing some volunteer work. Today was different. I wanted to see "Not that Jewish" at the $20 discounted price available through the site. And I made my plans to do so.

The was one fly in the ointment.  I had promised my brother that I'd try to reach the town where the family homestead is, and try to find out information regarding a Rental Occupancy Permit that will soon apply for. They told me to expect a call back today - but it never came. So I'll have to pester them tomorrow morning.

Next on the list of things to do was driving to the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx, so that I could park at the subway station and get to the play on time. For a change, everything went well. Not only did I find a seat on both trains on my way to the Times Square area, but I also was able to make a quick uptown connection that saved me a third of a mile of walking to the theater. This allowed me to get there in time to buy my ticket AND have a chance to go to the bathroom before the performance.

The play was enjoyable.  Monica Piper (pictured above) discussed her sense of Jewish identity, being a cultural Jew, but not a religious Jew. Anyone familiar with Jewish tradition (even if not Jewish) would understand all of her references. She proceeded to talk about her life up to the point of her adopted son reaching his teenage years, and having similar feelings about his Jewish heritage - albeit from a different direction.

Once done with the play, I made sure not to dawdle in the city, as I knew that rush hour was coming soon. So I got on the train, and made my way back to the Bronx, where my car was safely parked in front of the subway station.

- - - - - -

As I got in my car, I figured that I'd try to call Pat - but with no response.  That wasn't a big deal. I was only looking to kill some time before going to game night. So I proceeded to Panera Bread for dinner, and then made it to The Avenue for some window shopping.  Strangely enough, this store carried several dresses I may have been interested in, including a pretty polka dot number that captured my eye.  Only one problem - I don't like this year's "cold shoulder" style, and think that this dress will appear dated after one season. But I did find a blazer in a size 30 that caught my eye, and came home with me.

I can see this blazer being worn over a solid outfit (or dress) and giving it some needed pop. And I might just be wearing it soon on a night out with a female friend.

After emptying out my wallet a little, it was time to go over to game night. And the fellow that creeped me out came up in conversation. We were making jokes about not playing "King of Tokyo", and I noted that he is a little like a puppy dog wanting attention from me. The hostess said that he may not have a full set of social skills for someone of his age. Yet, she recognized that I wasn't complaining, but only commenting about him. So "no harm, no foul" to anyone involved or discussed in that chat.

Of course, I lost the one game I played.  But I was very distracted (I didn't put my phone away) by texts I was receiving from Maria (she has to reschedule breakfast), YGM (she is still recovering from an operation), and my niece (having to schedule a museum date for Saturday). I'll have to learn NOT to pull out my phone as often as I do. If I were a smoker, I;d have puffed away a pack or so in the 3.5 hours I was there. (No one smokes tobacco there, but I'm only illustrating how my need to play with something is being triggered.)

- - - - - -

On the way home, I tried to reach GFJ.  But I think that she actually has made an effort to try and sleep earlier. If so, bully for her!  Maybe, she'll finally get a good night's sleep for a change.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Class was cancelled today

Both Patty and I were behind in our preparations for class today. Although she was further ahead in the workbook, I might have been further ahead in the online quizzes. But neither of us should have worried....

- - - - - -

One of the things I have been neglectful on doing is the online coursework for my class. In our text book, there are 15 chapters which we are responsible for knowing. Each of these areas will be covered in the class final, as well as the PMP certification exam. And, unlike Patty, I have no excuse for falling behind in the coursework.  So, when 3:00 pm came around, I knew that I wasn't going to be caught up by this week's class - and made it a point to not let this situation continue into next week.

At 3:15, I started my drive into Pelham, where I intended to park and take the train into Grand Central. The parking spot I was going to use is limited to 2 hours between 8 am and 6 pm. That means that if I parked my car at 4 pm, they couldn't ticket me after 6 pm. There is a wrinkle. If I got to the spot before 4, I'd have to wait until 4, so that I couldn't be ticketed. This would give me only 12 minutes to walk the 3 blocks to the station and buy my ticket. If I didn't make the train, I'd be unable to make it to Grand Central in time to meet Patty for a bite to eat.  This week, luck was working for me, as I made it in time for the 4:03 train that was running several minutes late.

I arrived at Grand Central before Patty, and decided to wait in the dining area where we usually eat. When she got there, she told me a story about leaving for a doctor's appointment without money or credit cards in her wallet, and having her husband run to the train station to give her cash as the train was pulling into Forest Hills. She was very lucky to say the least, as she was able to take the train (which was running late) and make her doctor's appointment on time. (If she didn't have cash when she met me, I'd have lent her the money to eat and to get home.)

Once we were done eating, we went to class.  Our teacher was late because of an emergency he was having at home. He had to interrupt class twice to deal with the emergency, and then had to drive home early to deal with that emergency.  Hopefully, he'll get it all sorted out by next week - and we will have an idea of how this class will be made up.

- - - - - -

After class, I had a choice. Do I go to an Off-Broadway play scheduled for 8 pm, or do I go home. As much as I wanted to see another play, I decided to go home. And this was the right decision....

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The beginning of the week, and falling prey to lethargy

An unmade bed.  Something which is a common sight in my place, except when the cleaning lady comes to do her magic.

- - - - - -

This week started very slowly. I could have done some studying - I didn't do that.  I could have done laundry - I didn't do that. I could have gone out en-femme - and I didn't do that. All I did was lay around in bed and watch TV.  Was this a bad thing to do?  Probably, if one is thinking for the long term. But right now, lethargy rules - especially when the weather is in the high 70's, and my apartment is at least 10 degrees warmer than that.

I need to start hustling to find work soon. But I really want to live my life as Marian, and I'm ambivalent about finding work as Mario. My friends know my dilemma, and they all want me to look for work as Marian, and get on with living my life in the way I want to live it. Yet, I'm going to give the possibility of finding work as a PMP at least one more year, as I don't want to see my potential Social Security benefits drop much further.

So, when I couldn't sleep this night, I started to do something proactive - I took the first of "many" quizzes needed to pass the PMP class. And I did terrible on the first go round. The next time, the answers came easily, in part because I remembered why I made my mistakes.  Unfortunately, I'm behind several weeks in quizzes, and I will have to develop a plan to catch up somewhat in the next week or so.

- - - - - -

Tuesday started a little better for me, as I had a reason to get out of the house - I had to pick up my tax paperwork, so that I could mail out checks by the weekend. So I was showered, dressed, and out of the house shortly before noon.

As expected, driving to Corona wasn't that bad. But weekday parking was a big pain in the back, as I could only find a convenient parking spot about 4 blocks away. (Convenience in this area means that I don't have to get up and feed a meter every 30-60 minutes.)  I didn't mind parking this distance away in the daytime, as the neighborhood is relatively safe when the sun is out. Of course, I was still surprised to see the door opened wide when I arrived at the office, as it is normally much cooler when I get my taxes done. But with a temperature over 80 degrees out, it was nice to have a breeze cooling the place instead of a noisy air conditioner doing the job. 

Now, I was hoping to make a connection with a former blogger after getting my taxes done. Unfortunately, her wife took ill, and she had to rush to her wife's side the night before. So that left me free to go home and get some rest. Unlike road conditions I saw 2 hours beforehand, all the traffic backups at the Whitestone bridge were gone, and I had smooth sailing on my way back home.

Although I was free to go out en-femme for the evening, I decided not to do so. I still had my studying to do for class, and I wanted to catch up on some of that study.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Summer in NYC?

Note: This post was originally written when I working in the city....

- - - - - -

Sometime last spring, the temperature hit the 90 degree mark and women took off their pants.  Of course, they were wearing their dresses and skirts.  And if one enjoys looking at female bodies, this was the perfect time to do so.  (No, I'm not thinking of sexual desire.  Instead, I'm thinking like an artist appreciating a work of art.)  

While waiting for a train at Grand Central, I took an informal survey of women passing by while I was eating a snack.  Roughly 50% of the women who passed by were wearing skirts or dresses, and they looked more comfortable than those women who were wearing slacks. The next day, even more women were wearing skirts or dresses.  When I reached work, I saw a lady who struck up a conversation while on the elevator.  She commented on how hot it was expected to get, the pleasure of wearing a skirt, and this being the payback for having to wear stockings during the winter.  (Little did she know that I also appreciate wearing skirts and dresses - and it was not something I'd bring up in a 30+ second elevator ride....)

- - - - - -

There is a big difference in the number of women who will wear skirts and dresses between suburban women and those who spend much of their time in the city.  It seems like when there is a greater population density, women will choose to wear skirts and dresses - as if there is a subconscious competition going on.  Yes, women dress pretty first to make themselves happy.  But there is competition going on as well.  

GFJ lives in far out suburbia.  I can't remember the last time she wore a dress.  In fact, I have worn more dresses and skirts while en-femme than she has done all year.  But then, women aren't competing with each other as openly as they do in the big city.  

I'm glad that I had access to the big city for work....


Monday, April 17, 2017

Opening up a weekend

Saturday came, and I was again free to do what I wanted. And given GFJ's movie recommendation, I put The Zookeeper's Wife on my list of things to see this weekend. But first, I must talk about my plans for Saturday and Sunday to put things into perspective.

- - - - - -

Saturday morning came, and I didn't have much energy to do anything. I should have been studying for class, but it was all I could do to muster the energy to get out of bed. Eventually, I looked at the clock and realized that I had to start moving if I wanted to make it to the FFGoW meetup at WPB's house.

I'm glad that I put the Brownies I baked on Friday by the door, as I would have forgotten them in the rush out the door. And rush I did, as I was running about 15 minutes late to WPB's place. Luckily, I made it early enough to enjoy dinner while it was "sort of" hot, and it was fun seeing all the ladies again.

There were more people there, but I didn't get any pictures. Given WPB's aversion to having pictures taken of her, I didn't include a picture of her here. We all enjoyed a sumptuous feast, and I enjoyed receiving compliments for my brownies.  One day, if I ever get a picture that truly flatters her, I will post it here - if only to give you an idea of what she looks like.

After being with the ladies for 3 hours, I figured that I might as well take the drive up to Mohegan Lake, and see The Zookeeper's Wife.  Yes, it's another one of those holocaust movies with a happy ending. But it is well done, and worth the time and effort I made to see this film.

- - - - - -

Sunday came, and I "hit the snooze bar" on all my alarms. When I finally got moving, I realized that I was going to be late for my trip into the city with HWV, and I called her to keep her appraised of my status. Even though I got out of the house 30 minutes late, we still had more than enough time to go have brunch then see "Church and State" afterwards.  I highly recommend the play - it is relevant for today's times, and it had solid performance from each of its leading characters.

Once we were done with the play, we walked over to Times Square, and then went for a drink before going home. Both of us chatted up the waitress, knowing that any chit chat we made was friendly chat among females, and nothing more than that. We dawdled over drinks and nachos for almost 90 minutes - and we were enjoying the food, the drinks, and the people walking in front of the tavern. As much as the citrus martinis we were drinking went down smooth and slow, I wasn't going to go for a third without a dinner between the drink and the drive home. So we paid the bill and drove home.

Both HWV and I had a great time, and both of us hope to do something like this again soon. She's a great person to have as a friend, and I'm glad that I opened up to her a while back....

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The ongoing story of a cell phone

For a while now, I have had two cell phone lines.  One of these lines is attached to a grandfathered unlimited data plan I have with Verizon. This line I use for Mario's calls, as well as calls to people who know me as both Mario and Marian. The other line is attached to an unlimited talk/text (no data) plan I have with Total Wireless. (Total Wireless is a rebranded reseller of Verizon's network capacity.) This line, I use only for Marian's calls. The first line costs me roughly $100, while the second line costs $25.

I had been using the "latest and greatest" of Motorola's offerings on the first line, often having paid full price for the phone to protect my grandfathered data plan.  If Verizon had offered me a plan where I could get the data I regularly used at a reasonable price, I might have surrendered my grandfathered status to continue getting discounts on my phones.  Sadly, this never happened when I needed it most.

On the second line, I used a cheap Motorola phone. Unlike the first line, I could only use a 3G CDMA phone, as Total Wireless had not yet cut a deal to allow its customers to use Verizon's 4G LTE network.  Recently, this situation changed, and Total Wireless now offers 4G data service.  I could now use an old Verizon 4G phone for the second line.

When I upgraded the phone I use on the first line to a new Moto Z Play (a midrange phone), I figured that I'd move my old phone to Total Wireless. It was working perfectly while in active use on my Verizon line. So I pulled the SIM card, and made my first trip to the Cell Phone Repair shop in Wappinger's Falls to get the old phone's battery replaced. If I had known what I'd be going through, I'd have bought a new phone instead of going the route I did.

Although I could have bought the tools required to work on the phone and had videos like this ( to guide me, I had decided to use the cell phone repair shop, as I knew that I'd likely screw things up the way my luck has been going as of late. The outfit's web site mentioned that it serviced Motorola equipment, so I figured that I'd be safe.

Knowing that it would take some time to get the parts, I was not bothered when the fellow missed his first target date of 2/4, and was prepared to wait another few days for the battery replacement. I called the gentleman again on 2/8, and he said the phone would be ready that afternoon.  However, with the storm that came the next day, I wasn't able to pick up the phone until Friday, 2/10.

On that Friday, I drove up to Wappinger's Falls and drove home with a phone not yet connected to any network.  So I put in the new Total Wireless CDMA SIM card and tried to use the phone.  Everything worked, save the speaker on the phone.  I played around a bit, then did a factory reset - that only served to clean out Mario's data from the phone. (I didn't mind this, as I didn't want Mario's name on the new phone for anything.)  So I drove back to Wappinger's Falls the next day and explained my problem.

My phone was back in the hands of the repair shop. Although I could have waited in the Poughkeepsie area for 2-3 hours, I decided to go home and pick up the phone the following week.  On Monday, 2/13, I found out that the speaker was still not working. So the repair shop had to order a new speaker.  This speaker came in on Saturday 2/18.  Unfortunately, the speaker still didn't work.  So the fellow asked me on 2/20 about sending it out for service, and I OK'd it.  As they day: "In for a penny, in for a pound."

On Wednesday, 2/22, I got a call.  It seems as if they ordered an incompatible speaker.  So, I was asked if I could wait for the new speaker to come in - and I said "Yes".  I have a feeling that he ordered the wrong part, figured out what he did wrong (with assistance), and then knew what he had to do.  AARGH!  Another 6-9 days of waiting.  At least, I don't depend on that phone for much of anything.

I figured that I should touch base with the repair shop on Monday, 2/27. And I was told that he is expecting to receive the part towards the end of the week.  This was not a problem for me, but it will now be a month that I have not had use of the phone.  Again, if I had known what would happen when trying to replace the phone's battery, I'd have bought a new phone and said the hell with the headaches I'd be going through.  But, without a functioning time machine, no one can have 20-20 foresight.

A week later, I decided to give the cell phone shop a call to see what was going on. The lady who answered the phone said that the phone was ready for pickup, and yet she wasn't sure about that. So she said she'd talk to the phone repairman (probably the owner of the franchise) and find out more. Well, I had plans to meet GFJ in Poughkeepsie for lunch, so I figured that I'd drop in afterwards.  

After a nice lunch with GFJ, we both went to the shop and asked about the phone. Both of us were confused about what the fellow was saying. Did he expect the phone to be shipped back from California? Or, did he expect to be able to contact someone in California in regard to when the phone would be shipped back to New York.  In either case, he was supposed to know something by 4:00 pm, and would give me a call (which came the next day). When I finally received the call, he told me that I should expect to see the phone on Friday or Saturday. 

On Monday (3/13),  I got dressed and made my way to the repair shop.  For the life of this man, he (and his crew in California) coudn't fix the phone. He offered me a partial refund (I know I could have gotten more) which I accepted, and then I went to Walmart to pick up a new phone for my "Marian only" line.  I should have known better than to have asked the fellow sweeping up the technology area for help. Although he was able to ring up the sale on the phone, it wasn't done right.  When I got the new phone home, I found out that it couldn't be activated because it was rung up wrong at checkout. As a result, it was back to Walmart to have this issue taken care of.  They ended up doing a return and new sale on a new phone, not bothering to do anything with the old phone. That was fine with me, as I got an extra phone charger out of the deal.

The old phone that no longer worked was a Motorola Droid X (2nd Gen.), while the new phone is a LG Premier LTE.  I could have looked more closely for a replacement phone, but I wanted something inexpensive and I wanted it now. As long as it worked with Total Wireless, and as long as it could run the most basic of apps, I figured that I'd be happy for a couple of years.

After I finally got the phone up and running, I was no longer sure if the phone would be piggybacking on Verizon's network. There is something about using "Big Red's" network that comforts me - and I think it may be related to having coverage I rarely need. (Several years ago, I drove to Cooperstown, and enjoyed listening to streamed music all the way up, save one small gap in a desolated rural area.) But when I checked the model number of the phone, I think I might have been lucky - this phone seems to be the CDMA version of the phone, and has a better than 50/50 chance of being on Verizon's network and not Sprint's network.

Sadly, this phone has mixed reviews, and I don't expect to have it around for more than a year or so. If I weren't so frustrated by not having a phone for this line available in over a month, I might have taken more time to buy something better. Battery life and memory size are two big complaints.  Although I can replace the battery on this phone, there is a limited amount of things I can do to cope with memory size. But until I decide to make the change, this will be the phone I use whenever I give out a number to people I want to only know me as Marian.