Thursday, February 22, 2018

A quick visit to the mechanic, followed by some time with GFJ.

It's hard to believe that I didn't have any pictures in my "2018 - Miscellany" folder until yesterday. But it makes a certain sense, as I didn't yet copy anything here because I hadn't yet anything worth capturing on disk.

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As you can see, my car made a quick visit to the mechanic yesterday. After chatting with him, and finding out that it didn't make sense to drop off the car until my three favorite idiot lights came back on, I didn't expect to see him again that same afternoon. But, as I started my car to go to GFJ's, the lights returned, and my car made a quick visit to capture diagnostic information before I went on my way.

There was a part of me that worried a lot about driving to GFJ. On the start that brought me to the mechanic's shop, the car felt as if it was running on 3 cylinders. When I started it up again, everything was back to normal. Although the idiot lights were still on, I was getting better mileage than normal all the way to GFJ's place. Once at GFJ's, we went for dinner, and then took a walk around the track. Neither of us wanted to take a long walk - we simply wanted to get our digestive juices running. Then it was back to her place to rest for the evening.

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Valentine's Day came, and neither of us wanted to get out of bed. I had to drive home, and she had to see the doctor in regard to how she healed from her recent operation. So we decided to have a late breakfast in New Paltz before parting for the day.  I knew it was going to be a long day for her. She had already been on a half hour call with the "Wasband" regarding work, and was still on another call (which lasted about an hour) when we arrived at the diner.

All too soon, we had to go our separate ways.  She got good news from her surgeon - she could again start lifting things, building up muscle strength that she lost in the 2 months since the operation. As for me, I got home in time to take care of an urgent matter, and then rest for a while.

Late in the afternoon, Lili called - and I told her that she had to complete her registration for the cruise.  She wanted me to enter this information, but I said NO.  Any error on my part (such as entering in the wrong passport number) could cause her not to go on the cruise. So I pushed this task back to her. And then, she sent me a link to a dress that she thought I should wear to her son's wedding in July.

What do you think of it?  Although a light coral might look a little washed out on me, it is appropriate for a Summer wedding.  I only hope that it doesn't make me look fatter than I am.

I didn't feel much like going out again. So I called it a day much earlier than usual....

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Quickie: Being on the Co-Op board

Being on a co-op's board of directors isn't always easy. If we're doing our jobs right, no one thanks us for doing the right things. If we're doing them wrong, there is no end to the complaints we receive. In our case, we are very happy that we have no active opposition from the outside and that we have a harmonious board.

Recently, one of our board members said that we should have backup for our two key positions: President and Treasurer. I agreed with her. However, this idea could also be seen as a threat. Wanting someone who could take over in case of an emergency is very important. But it could also be viewed as wanting to have an opposition slate ready to run things when the side in power is voted out. For a board as small as ours, we will need to take the systemic risk that comes with a small board, so that we can preserve the harmony we have in running things.

One of the tasks we now seem to be doing on a monthly basis is the vetting of new shareholders. We look at the financials of potential new residents and insure to the best of our abilities that new people will not become a financial drain to the co-op using objective standards. This is very important to us, as we can be sued if it can be determined that we broke the law in rejecting applicants.

There are mundane tasks that come up every year. For example, we have to develop yearly budgets, and monitor the performance of our vendors. Recently, we had to replace one of our vendors. Again, our decision was made focusing on finances and how the new vendor would best serve the needs of the co-op. Sometimes, a decision can be quick. And other times, a decision can take months to make and to implement. For example, changes which will be noticeable to (and that will affect) our shareholders are made carefully, as when we alter the internal or external appearance of our buildings.

Our co-op has one public meeting that is held every year. This meeting is the annual election of co-op board members. In the past, we had trouble collecting enough ballots to get a quorum to make the meeting and vote official. Now, we seem to have enough shareholders expressing an interest in the election to both send in their proxies or attend the meeting to cast their votes. As a form of providing answers to frequently asked questions, we have started to have yearly meetings where shareholders can ask questions of the board and other key people and get their answers. This is an important development. For example, shareholders unhappy with our board's inability to act on some issues can be told by our lawyer why we are forced to act as we do without us having to issue a reply that cause us problems in the future.

These public meetings can come at some personal risk.  A while back, I feared that my nosy neighbor could cause us problems by outing me as transgender at the public meeting. So I outed myself in private, and didn't have any problems either at the private meeting or the public meeting. Since I openly come and go as I please from my apartment as either Mario or Marian, there is not much this woman can do to me - especially now that she's moving out of the complex. Yet, I have to be careful, as my responsibilities as a co-op board member can affect her life. I must make sure that all my actions are taken with the best interests of the co-op shareholders in mind, and nothing more than that.

I could go on and on. But I'd rather finish off this entry and avoid the risk of going into any more details that could cross the line between public and private knowledge....

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A very tired Monday morning

Sleeping late can get to be a way of life.  Last night, I fell out a little before 3 am, and didn't wake up until almost noon today.  Considering that I've been living on a below average amount of sleep this week, sooner or later the sandman would catch up with me. And I feel much better for it.

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When I woke up, I thought it was earlier than the clock said it was. Being in a warm bed felt real nice, and I hated the thought of getting out from under the covers. If I didn't have to get up to relieve myself, I might have stayed in bed all day. Once I was up, there was no way that I was going to return to the bed.

Shortly after getting up, Lili called.  She wanted to discuss her issues with her boyfriend. He works mostly on the second shift, and leaves for work around 1 pm. Lili has been going to sleep late lately, so that they have no time to be intimate before her boyfriend leaves for work. Things are not going well for her, and I think that they will eventually break up because of physical incompatibility.

Once done with Lili, I started to organize things I would need for my cruise with Lili. We have some time to go before the cruise, but I wanted to be sure to have everything I need and to be able to get the little things I need while I have the time to get them.  Right now, I can't find my mini makeup bag, something which will be an essential thing for me to have on the cruise. There are other things I'll need, and I have to make sure I have a list of them in the next day or so, in order to be able to have them delivered in time for the cruise.  (I'm glad I placed the order for a new wig last week - It should be here well in time for the cruise.)

It wasn't until 6 pm that I decided to get out and about. And I figured that I'd drive down to Catherine's in Paramus to look at their new stock.  After gabbing with the sales ladies, I ended up trying on a couple of new outfits, neither of which I bought.  The first was a jumper which looked like a dress on the rack. This garment was totally impractical by its nature, as going to the bathroom would require me to strip off a garment which was too small for my torso. It also was too tight in the crotch area. Even with constructive use of belts, there way no way I'd look pretty in this outfit.  Then there was the polka dot dress.

Although the dress looked nicer in the mirror than it appears here, I chose not to buy it.  There are better things I could do with my $90 than to buy this dress. It was comfortable, but I didn't think it shows me off in the best light.  And I have learned not to trust sales ladies whose one goal is to move merchandise.

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On the way home, I chatted with GFJ for a while.  She had a busy day, and will have to deal with the "Wasband" tomorrow in her divorce hearing. So she warned me that she might not be in the best of moods when I come up to see her after my car leaves the shop again.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Who'll stop the rain?

As I write this entry, the rain is still coming down.  It has been a miserable weekend, weather-wise, and it's getting in the way of me going out - either as Mario or Marian.

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After yesterday's speech therapy session for Marian at Mercy College, I changed back into Mario mode for my overnight with GFJ in the Catskills.  We had planned to have dinner before seeing a movie, and I figured that I'd arrive in time to bring my bags upstairs and relax a little before we went out for dinner. Calling GFJ, I found out that the "Wasband"  was emptying his stuff from a back building on their property, and that she wasn't sure when he'd leave. So we made contingency plans to meet at the restaurant if he wasn't gone by the time I reached New Paltz.  Luckily, these plans weren't needed - he was gone well before I arrived.

Arriving at GFJ's house, we exchanged Birthday gifts (her birthday was earlier in the week) and Valentine's Day gifts. She made me wish I had bought a little more for her, as she can be generous to a fault on her limited income. We relaxed a little before going to dinner at the Red Brick Tavern, and I made sure that I would pick up the check (especially since it would be smaller than I'd have normally expected). Both of us enjoyed a Pastrami on roll with melted Swiss Cheese, and it was hard to eat because the meat and cheese were both plentiful and overflowed the buns.

Following dinner, we walked down the street to the local movie theater and watched Molly's Game.  The movie was better than expected, and the performances were solid. I was surprised to see Kevin Costner in the film, as the small, but crucial role he played could have been played by any journeyman actor without loss to the film. Yet, it was nice to see him doing a non-star role for a change, as a longer presence from him would have ruined the film by changing the focus from Molly to her father.

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The next morning, it was time for us to part.  Neither of us got much sleep the night before, and we were up and running before 7 am.  We were both on the road by 9 am, and went our separate ways.  On the way home, I saw a spun out car being lifted onto a tow truck, so I had an excuse to call GFJ to warn her about the road conditions. (The phone call also helped keep me awake for the rest of my drive home.)  She was hitting soupy fog on her way to her mom's and probably appreciated the conversational company until she was minutes from her mom's house.

Arriving home, I ended my call, brought my bags inside, and went to sleep for a little while.  For all practical purposes, my day had already ended and it wasn't even 12 noon.  And that's just as well on a day with this much rain....

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Quickie: My car will never stop surprising me. Or, is my voice "good enough?"

My car will never stop surprising me.  For the second time in two weeks, the idiot lights on my car's dashboard went on.  And for the second time, these lights reset themselves after a couple of days.  All I want is for my mechanic to get this problem resolved, and this means that the car's computer must be able to provide the error status when I bring the car in on Tuesday.

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When I woke up this morning, I was glad that I had set multiple alarms.  I needed the extra 10 minutes of rest before getting up, as well as to note needed milestones for my morning preparation that I had to meet on a timely schedule so that I could make it to Dobbs Ferry by 9:45.

Getting into my car, the idiot lights came on as expected and I drove the car to Dobbs Ferry without incident. However, after stopping into a quick mart for a buttered roll, the car started without the idiot lights coming on. AARGH!  Hopefully, enough information will have been preserved, so that my mechanic can resolve this issue.

This week's speech therapy session went all too quickly.  I feel that I have reached a point of diminishing returns. My speech is 90%-95% of where I want it to be, and it will just take a lot of practice to complete the process of voice feminization. This means that I will need to find ways of socializing with more females as a peer, and there are a limited number of meetup groups which may make this possible. So, I will likely need to take another tack and just start going to places (which may be co-ed) and start trying to socialize as my authentic self, Marian. Will I feel strange?  Yes. But I expect that it will be no worse than when I first started to go to gaming meetups.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Kvetch, Kvetch, Kvetch.

Kvetch, Kvetch, Kvetch.  Is that all she ever does?  (For those of you who don't live near New York, "Kvetch" is a Yiddish word that means "To Complain".)  And today's post is inspired by a neighbor who knows me as both Marian and as Mario.

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The first thing I did this morning was to take a quick shower and bring my car to the shop. This time, we had the evidence needed to diagnose the car's problem. But they didn't have the time to look at the car until Tuesday. This isn't that bad a problem for me, as I know what the issue is, and I know that the car will likely NOT strand me in the middle of nowhere.

When I was done for the day at the mechanic's, I went home and met a neighbor in the parking lot.  She was cleaning off her car, and stuck up a conversation. Almost everything she had to say was a complaint about something or someone. She wasn't looking for solutions. Instead, she was looking to vent.  Yes, it is the nature of a woman to Kvetch much more than a man. But men can and do Kvetch.

There seems to be a subtle difference between the use of the English word "Complain" and the Yiddish word "Kvetch".  Normally, "Complain" is used to get a problem corrected - I complain about something, and I expect you to correct it. "Kvetch" tends to be used to vent in regard to events or actions in the past, and I need to talk about what has been frustrating me as of late.

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Each culture handles adversity differently.  Some cultures tend to be stoic, and expect people NOT to complain about their lot.  Instead, suffering is seen as a test of character. Other cultures tend to be very vocal about their ailments, and deal with suffering by sharing their lot with others in order to lessen the effects of being frustrated by life.

Years ago, Henry Ford said: "Never complain, never explain."  I'm not sure of how right he was, but I know that he was a flawed individual who never Kvetched.  But with that being said, wouldn't you rather have a friend who isn't always dumping their problems on you?  Yet, you'd want someone you could share your problems with in a pinch.  This is the dual nature of being human - we all have a need to commune with others, while we also have a need to be alone at times.  Kvetching is a way some people fill that need for communication....

Friday, February 16, 2018

Idiot Lighting

Idiot lights - they are great to tell a driver that something is wrong with her car, but they are not meant to tell the driver much more than that. At least, I was warned to expect to see the three troublesome lights (Check Ignition, Check Power Steering, and Check VSA) come on again. And this time, I will leave the car running while I get the mechanic out to the car to see these light in person....

But first....

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When I woke up this morning, I figured that the only think I needed to worry about was when I would arrive at the GLBT Center and when I'd get to game night. So I took my time getting out, and arrived at the center at 3:00.  I didn't have that much to do, so I surfed the web in between tasks for dresses I could wear to the July wedding of Lili's son and (future) daughter in law.

I'm not sure, but I think any one of the 6 above dresses would look nice on me.  What do you think?

Around 6 pm, I decided to leave the center and meander over to game night with a stop at Panera Bread.  Dinner consisted of a half sandwich and salad, and I was sated on this amount of food.  (This didn't mean I couldn't eat more. Instead, if meant that I wasn't in the mood to have a larger meal.)  After I finished my meal, I went to the car and started it up. And again, for the third time in 2 weeks, the 3 idiot lights came on.  Damn!  I was hoping to spend most of Friday in Marian Mode, and I'll have to spend it as Mario, if only to talk with the fellows at Luposello's.

Next, it was off to game night, where I again lost at whatever game was played. But my mind wasn't into games tonight. Instead, I was thinking of car repair and other headaches I have to take care of before I go on my cruise.  Given that I have two weeks left before the cruise, I have to make a quick decision - do I replace my wig now and get a 20% discount from "list"? Or, do I conserve my cash. I also have to see about getting documentation to prove that I had health care coverage for 2017. This will be a pain in the ass.

And now to go to sleep, so that I can wake up early enough to bring the car into the mechanic and be done early enough to the the Cat Lady for dinner tomorrow evening.