Saturday, April 10, 2021

I finally got some papers notarized.


A few years ago, my friend Maria asked me to do a boudoir photo shoot so that she could print one of my pictures and give it to her husband as an anniversary gift.  In a way, this is my favorite shot, as shows a vulnerable side she rarely shows to people.  Of course, the picture shows that I am an amateur photographer, as no one should be consciously aware of how a scene is lit.

- - - - - -

Today, Maria and I finally had the chance to meet for a few minutes in person.  I needed her to notarize my signature on a form I need to send in, so that I can claim my share of the funds in my late father's IRA. So we scheduled an after work get together at a McDonald's near her house.

As usual, my work day was 8 hours of electronic "Whack-a-Mole",  Luckily, I had a good sleep the night before, and was able to get through the day without falling asleep at my desk too often.  This is a job that I go to for two reasons only: (1) Money and (2) Something to occupy my time during the day.  Do I enjoy the job?  Not really.  But I don't hate it either.  I should have looked for a part time job, so that I'd have more time in my life to schedule and do the things I want to do.

Luckily, I get out at 4:30, and can beat rush hour choke points on the way home, and on my way up North.  That is what I did, making it to Fishkill an hour before Maria and I were supposed to meet.  So I went shopping at the local Walmart to kill time, then I drove to the McDonald's to meet Maria.

This turned out to be a very quick meeting with Maria.  It was freezing outside, and we both had other things to do.  Her notary stamp was giving her trouble, so she had to stamp the form twice.  Hopefully, that won't be a problem when I send it in to the bank.  At least, I'm all done for now.

- - - - - -

Afterwards, I went looking for a place where a food truck is going to be next week.  Ever since I've heard of Cousins Maine Lobster before, and I wanted to try something from their food trucks.  Every time one is nearby, I'm scheduled to be elsewhere.  So I went to Hopewell, thinking that the truck was going to be there today.  And I was surprised to find another food truck there.  Since I was "in for a penny, in for a pound," I decided to try a grilled shrimp Po'Boy sandwich.  The sandwich was so messy, that I figured that it would be best eaten at home.  And 45 minutes later, that's just what I did.  It was yummy.  But the next time I order from this truck, I'll ask for a few less greens so that the sandwich is easier to eat.

On the way home, I talked with the woman who used to run a store I used to shop at.  We were getting along fine, but something she said was a hint that she couldn't deal with the Marian side of me.  Oh, well.  I haven't put a few years' investment into this relationship, so I'll have little to be upset about if she reacts negatively to my reveal.

Once I finished eating, I decided to make reservations for the dinner I plan to have with FH tomorrow.  She deserves to go to a nice place once in a while, and I'm glad I can take her there tomorrow.  FH may not be the one for me in the long term, but I like her - and that's what counts.

Friday, April 9, 2021

It's always something, isn't it?


Emily Litella (a.k.a. Gilda Radner) was one of the best characters on SNL's Weekend Update.  This character's shtick was to rant on something for a while until someone pointed out that she had misunderstood things, and then go "Never Mind."  Sometimes, I feel just as lost as Emily, but with no one there to point out when I've gone far off the deep end.

On the way home tonight, I was looking at many of the unforced errors in my life, and realized that I was mostly on my own in making my decisions.  My late wife was of little help while she was alive, as I was always bailing her out of her own problems.  My parents did the best they could, but they never understood the quality of the raw material I was as a person, nor did they know best how to raise me to be a fully functional adult.  I am very surprised at how far I've come in life, and am amazed that I did it with as little help as I got from people.  (I was extremely lucky to have the help of the right people at the right times in life.  Otherwise, I'd have been an underachiever who would have had no clue how far s/he could have gone.)

Most of us have a simple choice in life, and everything follows from there. Does one want to live in courage? Or, does one want to live in fear?  Most people choose fear, and limit themselves to a small part of the lives they could have led.  I was once one of these people.  Even though I'm at an age where I'm playing out the remaining cards life has dealt me, I'm choosing to live in courage.  

My dreams have always been modest.  Yes, there was the part of me that would have loved having money and power.  But the tradeoffs I would have needed to make without understanding the how or why were never worth it to me.  So, I had two dreams: The first one I achieved when young, becoming a successful computer technologist.  The second one I achieved in late middle age, being able to go out and about as a female without embarrassment.  And that took much more courage, as I had to overcome my fear of the larger society.

Yet, there is a part of me that is envious of someone like Fran, a TG woman who has marched to her own drumbeat for years.  She is truly unique.  She makes little effort to blend in with cisgender women. Instead, she is the type of person who would stand out in a crowd, no matter what her gender happened to be.  No, I don't think I'd be comfortable living as Fran does.  But I am envious of someone who can do so....

Thursday, April 8, 2021

It's hard to keep in touch with people when you're tired all the time


It's hard for me to keep in touch with people when I'm tired all the time.  No, others do it with a schedule like mine.  I'm just a bad time manager these days.  I can't imagine how I did it when I worked in the city and had two or three less hours in my life each day to work with.  But I did.

Part of me is trying to juggle too many things at one time.  I want to see as many of my friends as possible, and schedules often don't work the way they need to work to make this a reality.  For example, one friend, MW and I were supposed to get together this weekend.  She forgot that it was going to be Easter, and that she'd be having her dad, her boyfriend and his daughter over that day.  Additionally, she had to help out her ex, who had to go to the hospital for emergency surgery.  Another example is KOL.  LK and I make time for her, but she has a nasty habit of letting things in her life get in the way.  (I won't go into KOL's family issues here, but they are likely to be complex at the present from what we know.) And then, there are all the other people circling around my life who never can seem to stop for a while.

Of course, not getting enough sleep doesn't help.  I used to take the ex girlfriend's issues with sleep a little bit lightly.  She'd go to sleep with her cellphone in hand, and then wake up a couple of hours later, unable to go to sleep for another 4 hours or so. She was always overtired, and now I've fallen into a similar pattern.  AARGH!

At least, I found the time to polish my nails last night.... 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Until I find my new normal, I look both ways....


I often find myself thinking of mistakes I made in the past and what I could have done differently.  No, I can not change the past, nor do I regret many of the decisions I have made.  Instead, I want to learn as much as possible from my past, and make sure that I don't make similar mistakes in the future.

- - - - - - 

When crossing a road, we are taught to look both ways before crossing.  Now, I look both at the past and my future to figure out what I want to do next in life.  For example, I looked at my most recent past relationship, and realized that I needed to place a higher emphasis on communication in a relationship, instead of just getting along too smoothly.  I also look at the future, and wonder if someone like FH would be what I need.  She is not shy about making her needs known to me, and can drive me up the wall sometimes while doing so - and I'm glad she can do this, given the failure of my recent past.

I also wonder whether I should stay in the workforce as a full time worker, and whether I would work as Mario or Marian.  If I were to get a receptionist or office worker type position, I want to work as Marian.  There is something I like about appearing as a professional woman that fits my image of myself as Marian.  Yet, I like the image of a technical worker that I was as Mario. Which path should I choose if both were to be open to me at the same time?

It's not easy making these decisions, as I will have to live with them for a long while.  But I am glad that I'm in a position to make these decisions, instead of being held back by fear.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

I saw a friend today, oh boy...


When I coined this entry's title, I was thinking of writing a little poem along the lines of "A Day in the Life".  But I realized that nothing I could write could match Weird Al's wordsmithing. Since I liked the title, I figured that I'd stay with it.

- - - - - -

After work, I had only one thing on my docket - dinner with LK.  So, I rushed over to Rockland County after work and arrived at the restaurant 30 minutes early.  To kill time, I stopped into a drug store and picked up some face powder and a nail clipper.  And then I took a seat in the restaurant.

Shortly after I sat down, LK arrived.  And then we talked as if the year that had just past was like only a single night.  I was glad to find out that she has a new boyfriend.  She deserves someone good in her life.  And we started to tell each other the latest news in our lives. Both of us felt there was one thing missing - KOL, her former clinical supervisor.  So, before we left, LK invited KOL to dinner in 2 weeks.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this happens....

Once we were done with dinner, I bid LK a fond adieu and drove to the nearby Walmart.  I needed some new underwear, and they have the one brand I have found to keep a certain part of me properly tucked away.  (The last thing I need is to stand at attention when I'm not supposed to be able to stand at all.) Then it was time to go home and rest for the evening....

Monday, April 5, 2021

Not much to say today



Today was a dreary day, where I wanted to stay in bed all day.  And for the most part, that's what I did until I had to get up and start taking care of laundry for the week.

- - - - - -

Normally, I try to get my weekly chores done on Sunday, as I reserve Saturday for being with friends. Some of these Saturdays, you'll find Mario going out on a date, hoping to make another love connection with someone who could become special.  Other Saturdays, you'll find me spending time with a friend, just to keep from getting too lonely.

Given that it was wet and foggy outside, I decided to go outside as Mario - only to shop for a few lunches I could eat during the week at work, and to go downstairs to wash a load of colors.  (I can do whites during the week, as I now spend 5-6 days per week as Marian, and don't need them as much.) Soon, I expect that I'll see the new resident in both of my modes.  But I was glad I didn't see her today, as her dad was helping her move in. (He used to work on my car until I got better scheduling of regular maintenance from other shops.)  Sometime later this year, I'll see if she wants to be part of the board, as she suggested that she'd be willing to help out with things.

Towards mid evening, I worked with a fellow board member, and showed her the ropes of using zoom for a meeting.  Now, she has the tools to run a meeting without my assistance - and that's a load off my back.

I wonder when this problem will be completely resolved.

I have to be careful in discussing this problem, as I am a member of the co-op's board of directors, and do not want to reveal any of the internal workings of the board.

- - - - - -

A few years back, we had a contractor erect a retaining wall to secure the land one of our buildings sits on. Once one of these walls is erected, most people take it for granted as it becomes part of the landscape. However, this is a big mistake.  People have been killed because retaining walls have failed.  In New York City, retaining walls should be inspected every 5 years by a licensed professional if they have a portion over 10 feet in height, or they face a public right of way.  If this had been done for one wall, it would likely have been repaired before failure, and Northbound traffic on the Henry Hudson Parkway below would not have been affected.

In our case, I feel that the remaining part of our retaining wall has to be replaced. This will likely add to our costs in keeping our land from eroding from under our building.  This is a critical repair, and contractors will need to work up bids for our co-op.  This takes time, as the costs of labor and material availability must factored into the total price, so that the contractor can make a profit. But there is a cost of regulation that also has to be factored into the price.  Regulations often imply "best practices" which many unlicensed firms ignore.  Given that board members act in a fiduciary capacity for a co-op, we need to make the best choice of contractor, the best choice of retaining wall options, and the best value for money spent.  The latter may be the most important consideration, as our co-op errs on the side of frugality.

Later in the morning, I did some research and sent an email with the following text to our board:

I did a search for information regarding retaining walls, and came up with this important piece of info.. New York City now requires all retaining walls that extend upwards of 10 feet OR are adjacent to a right of way to be inspected every 5 years. This was in response to the retaining wall collapse that caused the shutdown of the northbound lanes of the Henry Hudson Parkway in 2005.(?)  However, there is not much regulation outside NYC, and most of that seems to regard decorative walls and permits. 

Since our managing agent's site representative is supposed to do a walk through of the property on a periodic basis, would this imply that proper eyeball inspections of the wall had not been done, and would it also imply that needed licensed inspectors should have been periodically used to inspect this critical part of the co-op's physical infrastructure?

I feel that "Best Practices" should always be used by managing agents in the course of business.  Once NYC established a 5 year cycle for inspection, wouldn't this define a "Best Practice" for our managing agent to see that our retaining wall is inspected on a regular basis?  I would hope so.

More to come as things become public....


Sunday, April 4, 2021

A trip into NYC


When I first worked in NYC many years ago, my friend WDS and I used to frequent this joint.  The food was always good, and the prices were always reasonable.  Today was my first chance to visit this place in years, and it didn't bring back any good (or bad) memories.  It was just another New York City restaurant that has weathered the pandemic, and has found a way to stay alive until things return to a new "Normal".

- - - - - -

FH and I had planned to visit Manhattan's Chinatown or Williamsburgh, Brooklyn today, and Manhattan won out.  So it was off to the core of the Big Apple, hitting every traffic jam along the way.  Once we reached Manhattan, FH's GI Tract started acting up, and we ended up in the West Village.  This is we found an on-street parking spot nearby several open restaurants.  And it was just in time, as FH had to take care of some urgent business.  With that out of the way, we sat down to enjoy a nice late lunch or early dinner.  

Considering that it was starting to get a little bit cooler after we ate, FH suggested that we head over to the Brooklyn Wegmans, so that she could pick up some food before going home. Unlike our previous visits, we had no problems finding a parking spot - Passover was starting, and most Jews were likely to be at home celebrating the holiday with family.  And then, FH's GI Tract acted up again.  So we cut our shopping run short, and went back to her place.   Unfortunately, there were no spaces available near her apartment, so I ended up going home earlier than either of us wanted.

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...