Saturday, December 7, 2019

I have a good, but temporary feeling....

This morning, I got a call back from the US Census Bureau.  They asked me if I was interested in an Office Operations Supervisor position.  Considering it was an "inside job" (Full Time) located less than 5 miles away from home (Peekskill), I figured that I might as well say that I was interested in this temporary position, and accept that I could make a few extra bucks while waiting for a better position to come along.

- - - - - -

Normally, I don't answer my phone between 9 and 10 in the morning.  Once Fred Steiner's tune (Park Avenue Beat) begins to play and Raymond Burr's image (as Perry Mason) appears on my TV, my telephone will not get answered until the end of the show.  It is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it might be the one reason I may eventually subscribe to the CBS All Access streaming channel in the future.  (Of course, having Star Trek and The Twilight Zone there doesn't hurt either.) But once the show ends, I make myself available to people who want to talk with me. Today was a day where I followed my typical routine.

Around 9:30, the lady called from the census bureau looking to contact me.  A little while after the show had ended (and I had a chance to fully wake up), I called her back. A short description of this position follows:

As an Office Operations Supervisor, you will be responsible for the supervision of the day-to-day activities of the office clerks who support payroll, recruiting or supply management. Also monitoring the quality of work including the status and production.

However, the script that was read to me had much more detail than the two sentence blurb above.  When she read the script about the position, I picked up on the following information:

Assists in:
  • Payroll
  • Inventory Management
  • Clerical Tasks
  • Flow Control
  • Quality Assurance
Hours: 8-4 or 9-5      5 days/week     8 hours/day
Hired on for 8 weeks at a time. 
Trains Clerks and reviews their work
Monitors Progress against time critical schedules.

You'll note that the two sentence blurb contains all the same information I wrote down in my notes. But with both my notes and the blurb, I have a better idea of what will be expected of me - and from this job, I could eventually get an office manager job at a small business.  (This just happens to be the same kind of position that my late wife had.  My collar may be getting pinker every day.😀 )  However, this is not the position I really would have liked to have been called back for. (I had applied for a position which involved the maintenance of computer equipment on the same site.)  But if it can keep me from having to drain my savings account for a few months, it's worth taking on the position for 8 weeks at a time. The only problems I see are that I can't schedule my vacation cruise when I want to take it, I lose my flexibility to do things in the daytime, and I may have to be at work by 8 am.  OUCH!

- - - - - -

The big question:  Would I be able to socially transition on the job?

PS: The more I looked at the email and paperwork I received, it looks like I've been given an offer, as long as I pass a background check and get fingerprinted.  Although they had a training class the week following next, it interfered with long booked plans.  So I scheduled my fingerprinting for the day before that class, so that I'd have to be scheduled for a later class.  But I will ask one question before I go in for my fingerprinting - I am gender non conforming, with plans to transition.  Can I go for my ID card in my feminine presentation, and have the familiar, not my formal given name on the ID card?

Friday, December 6, 2019

Thanksgiving - And nothing got in the way to mar it except traffic.

I'm not sure of what I can and should say about today.  Nothing bad happened.  But part of me would rather have stayed in Westchester and taken advantage of an invite I had to spend the day with my friends from Game Night.

- - - - - -

Not sleeping well last night, I set the alarms to get me moving around 11 - and slept through my favorite TV show of the day.  I prefer the fictional courtroom drama of Perry Mason to the real life political drama going on today.  There is a part of me that always wants to see justice done, and real life doesn't provide enough of that for my taste.  By the time I finally got out the door, it was 1 pm, and I was about an hour late.

My drive to Long Island was uneventful until I reached the Bronx.  From there, traffic slowed to a crawl, and I was forced to get on side streets to make it to the bridge.  Once I was across the bridge, I went back onto side streets again to make it to my brother's place, arriving there at 3 pm, when I was expected at 2.  This was not a problem, as my brother had already picked up my dad from the nursing home, and the turkey was almost cooked.

We chatted about many things, and brought my dad back to the nursing home around 8.  One area of discussion covered addiction, choice of mate, and how relationships flounder. And that gave me an opening to discuss my criteria for choosing my late wife, my issues with Ex-GF-M, and some of the issues GFJ and I are having with each other.  (By my mention of complacency in the relationship, I avoided the need to talk about my transgender nature.) He touched on similar issues he had with his wife.  And we both (at different times) brought up our problems with my niece to make sure that she knows when to cut and run from a dysfunctional relationship.

Eventually, it was time to go home. And I hit only one small traffic jam on the way home.  On the whole, it was a good day - especially, since my brother was able to open up to me and that I didn't have to see my sister in law as expected.  (Nothing against her, save that her presence would have gotten in the way of my chat with my brother.)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Phone calls : Sometimes, my land line can be useful

Landlines and telephone calls.  Most of the time these days, they are spam calls for me.  But sometimes, keeping the old land line still has some value to me. Today was one of them.

- - - - - -

In no particular order, over the past few days, I received calls from the following:
  1. GFJ (We talk almost every day).
  2. My Accountant (I had some questions, and I wasn't able to call her back).
  3. The US Census Bureau (I had applied for a position, and this may have been about the first position I applied for).
GFJ had sent me a series of messages which gave me something to think about.  In short, both of us may have been getting a little bit lazy in our relationship, and she noted that she was getting jealous of my scheduling time with Patty and with my niece to do special things.  Why not GFJ?  Mind you, she noted that she was doing the same thing when she schedule a vacation with her friend.  So it was not blaming the problem on me, as it was blaming the problem on us.  This means that part of our problems can be fixed - as long as we stay aware of things.  And we will likely have another intense conversation about this the next time we're together.

Next was my accountant.  She and I have been playing telephone tag.  What I wanted to know was how much money I'd need to hold in reserve to pay estimated taxes on this year's income.  I cashed out an IRA in 2018 that raised my income by $4,600, and I had to pay about $4,000 in estimated taxes on all my 2018 income.  How much less would it be if I booked $4,600 less income?  Then, I had to find out how much money extra I should withdraw, if I withdrew $5,000 to take a special cruise.  Based on the information she gave me, I think I'll need to withdraw an extra $7,500 to pay for the cruise AND pay for the estimated tax payments through the year.  (I'll call her after the holiday to confirm my guesstimates.)

Finally, I received a call from the US Census Bureau regarding a position I previously applied for.  Since I applied for both an "inside" computer related position, as well as an "outside" census taking position, I am not sure of which position the lady was calling about.  She said to return the call before the end of the day, but she must have left early.  At least, I was able to leave a message on her machine.

- - - - - -

Later on in the day, I got ready to go to Fran's place for a pre-Thanksgiving party.  Fran is "out there", a transwoman who marches to her own beat.  Going to one of her parties means being there to hear Fran sing karaoke, as well as watch her perform a scene from her play based on her own life. It's not the best of places to meet someone and chat - Fran (and her daughter) love to be the center of attention, and will command it.  Yet, it's far from as bad as I'm making this sound. One can have the conversations I thrive on as soon as Fran is "off stage".

On the way to Fran's place, I stopped at Ulta Beauty to pick up some Dermablend foundation.  Although I got my container in a slightly different shade than usual, I figure that the face powder I use to set the foundation will bring it to the color I seek.  (I do it already with a slightly different color.  So I should be able to accomplish the same with this shade of flesh tone.)  After I was finished at Ulta, I drove to Fran's and parked around the corner from her place.  (Before I go on any further, there is no street parking where she lives, and all guests are asked to park at the church next door.)  Before I had the chance to  sit down, I was "accosted" by Kelly, and got the latest scoop from her.  And then, I was finally able to sit and relax.

After a couple of conversations and too much dessert, the party started to break up.  And it was time for me to go home.  In the past, I'd be chatting with FCP.  But that boat has long sailed away.  Normally, I'd call GFJ.  But her sons were at her place for Thanksgiving, and I expected that she'd be busy with them.  So I drove home listening to the radio instead.

US Census

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Thinking about an old friend

I first met WDS when I was 16.  That was about 46 years ago.  He lived around the block from the college we once attended.  In many ways, he was the smarter of the two of us.  Yet, he was the one to praise my intelligence.  He never graduated from the school. Yet, he had a more successful technical career than I had.  He had the drive to keep up with changing times and provide for his own security, where I was secured by the bronze handcuffs of the firm I once worked for.

WDS was born in South America, and immigrated to the US at a young age.  I don't know much about his pre-college years, as we never discussed that part of his life.  At the time I met him, he was playing around with experimental music.  But the thing we had most in common was an interest in programming computers.  He saw me as the young kid who'd sneak into computer centers to have his programs run. (I was the type who'd hack security to do what I wanted to do, but never had the wish to cause others any harm.) He was the more pragmatic one of our motley pairing. Education was to serve a purpose, and when formal education was no longer needed, he dispensed with it.

There is a several year difference in our ages, and he was the one who first found a full time job.  A year later, I followed suit, and left the world of day-time studies.  (I finished my undergraduate degree at night, taking 4 calendar years to finish my last year of studies.)   Eventually, we ended up in the same firm - for about 2 weeks.  And then, our career paths never crossed again.  However, we did take advantage of the fact that we were young, had high incomes, and no responsibilities.  I can still remember going into Greenwich Village for a French Dinner that cost each of us $100 - almost 40 years ago.  (Could you imagine what I could have done had I been more frugal with my money?)

As with most cisgender males, women have a "nasty" habit of coming into our lives.  I never was that successful in dating. But WDS was, and got married to a woman who couldn't stand my presence.  So we lost contact for several years.  And then, out of the blue, WDS reestablished contact after getting a divorce and our friendship was renewed.  A few years later, WDS met another woman and married her.  This time things were better - the two of them got along well, and his wife was able to tolerate (if not feel comfortable with) my friendship with WDS.

During this era, I got a job with the bank, and was there for 30 years.  I also met my wife, and WDS was best man at our wedding.  But our lives grew further and further apart - we had very different interests, and WDS had the social polish that I could never have.  (His father was a successful man in South America, and made sure that he had the social skills to travel in any social circle.)

My friend was there for me when my wife took ill and when she died.  And I was there for him when his wife committed suicide. Sadly, she suffered from the same type of cancer that took my late wife, and didn't want to spend the last 2 months of her life doped up and unable to have rational thought. Almost a decade later, I can still remember the basic details of that evening as if it were yesterday.

The last time I saw WDS was at a local pizzeria.  He came up to meet me and Ex-GF-M.  We had a nice lunch, and I always thought that I would see him again.  That hasn't happened.  However, about t years later, he sent me a gift - a fully loaded iPad Air 2, with LTE for when I don't have WiFi access.  This must have set him back a nice penny.

In the years since then, we have communicated exclusively by email.  I neither have a mailing address or phone number for him.  He does work for the local "Agility" (competitive dog training) circuit where he lives, but there is little trace of him otherwise.  I know that he kept busy doing very technical things - software technology that I don't even understand.  He has suggested that I get back into programming.  But I wouldn't know how to get back in and make a buck from it.  So I decided to take down my technology shingle and let youngsters with more energy stay in that rat race.

WDS does not yet know that I am trans.  I just wonder what would happen when or if he finds out....

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The only thing I bothered doing was as Mario

I didn't have much to do today.  So I ended up staying inside until I went to dinner with GFJ as Mario.  No laundry, even though I had (3 or more) loads waiting for me to bring downstairs.  No straightening up the apartment, even though I've made a big mess of this place since my cleaning lady's last appearance.  And no shopping, although that would have occupied some time and alleviated some of the boredom I've been dealing with lately.

My transgender nature is a problem for GFJ, and I won't go into many details here.  Although I've said that Mario will always be available for her, she is uncomfortable when I present as Marian.  This is easy to understand.  But it has caused us problems, and I'd bet that she'd always have some reservations about Marian unless she were to learn how not to see Marian as a threat to her relationship with Mario.  Strangely enough, she had always encouraged my growth as Marian, and now things once repressed are now coming to the surface.

Driving to Newburgh for dinner is something I don't mind doing.  And we had a pleasant dinner once I arrived.  (She took a nap in the diner's parking lot while waiting for me - she was already in town, and it didn't make sense to go home just to come right back to eat.)  But after dinner, we had another serious conversation where nothing much was resolved.  Yet, with nothing final taking place, there is always hope we can come to an acceptable resolution of our issues.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I called my brother to find out what's going on in his life.  It seems like my sister in law is dealing with her problems and realizes that she can't help a son who doesn't want to be helped.  What saddens my brother is that the mother of their two kids lost many of the opportunities to bond with her offspring because of problems triggered by her son from her previous marriage.  Since it would be wrong of me to go into any more details right now, I'll have to keep quiet until I'm ready with a way to describe things that does not identify my family in the process.

At least, I expect Thanksgiving to be a calm day, even though I don't know what time I'll arrive at my brother's place.  His wife will be there without her eldest son, and her son will not be pulling the triggers that get in the way of her maintaining her sobriety.

Monday, December 2, 2019

This weekend turned out differently than I would have expected.

Saturday was the second day at the Hudson Valley Trans Forum, and I planned to make it for the one topic I was interested in: Medical Options for Binary/Non-Binary Transition and Health Maintenance, presented by Robbins Gottlock, MD of Phelps Hospital Northwell Health  This is the kind of information that I would need for medical transition, and I figured that I'd attend and develop the kinds of questions I'd need to ask when the time comes.

As usual, I needed the alarm clock to get me up and moving in time to attend the above session - and I arrived just before the day's keynote address was given.  (I may discuss Trans activism in another entry.  But right now, I'm more concerned about what I can do to make my body more feminine.)  The morning breakout session was the event I came for - and the speaker delivered.  Most of his presentation covered the effect of female hormones on Male to Female transgenders.  But he also covered information for the Female to Male transgenders for the smaller population of that category in the audience.  I've filed his name away, as I may want to consult with him in the future. (This assumes that I am not in a relationship that requires me to retain male physical characteristics. If I am with someone like GFJ, I will not go any further with physical transition, as I do not suffer severe dysphoria.)

Once this session broke up, it was lunch time.  I was seated with three people, and was in the middle of an interesting conversation when they started their lunch presentation to announce a new service being provided to Trans folk of color in the Hudson Valley.  As one would expect from ineffective people, they focused more on the name of the collective and none of the specifics of what the collective would do for the people they are supposed to serve.  This reminded me of a group of women that Pat once associated with.  They spent much of their time discussing what to call the group, and then did absolutely nothing together ever again. Sadly, they have identified a group of vulnerable people who need help. But they have made the common leftist mistake of going "Ready, Fire, Aim" when going into battle....

- - - - - -

Later on in the evening, I was the Arts Westchester representative doing a review of this theater and the 3 short plays being performed this weekend.  I wasn't sure of what to expect, nor was I absolutely sure of where the theater was.  Unlike many towns, Ossining's Water Street is not immediately adjacent to the river.  This could mean any of two things: (1) The road once ran down to the river, or (2) the land West of Water Street is made from landfill.  Either way, once I was on Water Street, the GPS led me to the wrong location.  Luckily, I realized that GPS systems don't always provide correct directions, and that I'd have to drive along Water Street to find the theater.

The Westchester Collaborative Theater is a small 50 seat operation sited near the Ossining train station.  To find it, one can not rely on a GPS.  Instead, one has to drive along Water street towards the train station and look for standing signs pointing to a theater building at the end of a short alley.  Luckily, I saw those signs and parked my car about 100 feet away from the alleyway.  Then I went in and was warmly greeted by the staff.  What I wasn't expecting was a small theater packed to capacity with good actors performing 3 very well written plays.  If I had known about this place before, I might have gone to see some of their performances without Arts Westchester's free ticket. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to review another one of their performances.  Until then, I'll be sure to monitor my email for notices from this place, as I'd pay to see things this good in a small setting.

- - - - - -

Sunday was a rainy day.  So I made it a Jammie Day.  Not much to say about it, save that I woke up early enough to go to church and did not do so.  Instead, the comfort of my bed was much more enticing to me.  Recently, I've noted the most important reason for me to go back to work.  No, it's not money (though I could use it).  Instead, it's having a routine that forces me to get up in the morning to do something constructive. And I know that all of the volunteer work I could do won't cut it for me. It's that extra incentive of receiving a paycheck that will help me get up in the mornings, and keep me from having excuses to have more Jammie Days than I really need to have....

Sunday, December 1, 2019

I keep on checking out prices on the 15 day Hawaii cruise

Sometimes, prices go up when planning a cruise.  When I first started tracking the price of a 15 day Hawaii cruise out of San Francisco, supplied the following price for an inside cabin on cruise leaving in early November: 

  • Base Fare          -  $1844 (includes $922 single supplement)
  • Port Fees/Taxes -      241 
  • Gratuities           -      225
    Simple Cruise      - $2310

In the middle of November, the same site quoted me the following for a similar cruise leaving on January 27th:

  • Base Fare          - $2180 (includes $1090 single supplement)
  • Port Fees/Taxes -     241 
  • Gratuities           -     225
    Simple Cruise    - $2646 (an increase of $336)

For fun, I decided to examine prices that Princess could get for flights bringing me into San Francisco the night before the cruise, and leave late in the day that the cruise returns to port.  (I'd take an earlier flight if I couldn't connect with a friend during the day.  That would have to be arranged before the cruise.)

  • Base R/T Airfare     - $300 (prices varied a great deal)
  • Checked Luggage   -     60 
  • Transit to LGA         -     50
  • Transit from SFO    -      50
  • Hotel in SF              -    200
  • Transit from Hotel    -     20
  • Transit to SFO         -     50
  • Transit from LGA     -     50
    Subtotal                  -   $780
    Simple Cruise        - $2646 (an increase of $336)
    Base Total              - $3426 (before excursions)

By the time I'm done, I expect that this would be a $5,000 cruise. I'm not sure if I would want to spend this much when unemployed.  The Panama Canal cruise that I started monitoring a while back, again starts looking like the best of bargains.

When I first ran the numbers this summer, I figured that I should budget at least $4,000 for the trip.  Since then, the overall price has changed for this cruise and my expenses are listed below:

  • Base Fare             -  $1698 (miraculously, no single supplement)
  • Port Fees/Taxes     -     543
  • Gratuities                -     315
    Simple Cruise         - $2556
  • Trip to NYC Pier       -     60
  •  from Seattle Pier     -     40
    Simple land cost      -    100
  • Airfare (SEA-JFK)      - 250
  • Trip JFK to Home        -  60
    Minimum Cost        - $3066

Which trip would you choose?

An early dinner with a friend

  Last night, I mentioned to Pat that I wish I could have been born a cisgender female who looked like this when younger.  If I were younger...