Saturday, October 30, 2021

I can't believe I stayed awake all day.

 


Today's post will be short and brief - just like the sleep I had last night.

For some unknown reason, I kept waking up throughout the night.  So I made sure to have two cups of coffee before leaving the house AND made sure to keep enough coffee in my caffeine stream to prevent blood from making me sleepy.  Even though I was getting tired throughout the day, I wasn't as sleep as I could have been.  Maybe it was the knowledge I was going to have an impromptu dinner with Vicki in Tarrytown.

Getting from Elmsford to Tarrytown via the back road isn't as easy as it used to be.  DOT is replacing the Route 100B/9A overpass, and has routed bypass traffic onto the street I work on.  So if you don't know which way to exit our lot, you could spend 15 minutes getting into a place where you could go West from Route 9a  - and that's exactly what happened to me. I made it to Tarrytown shortly after Vicki was freed up from her appointment, and we had a nice dinner at Leftris, our go-to place for Greek food.  It was hard to believe that we were finished with dinner before 6:30pm.  From that point, my phone was ringing like the switchboard at Grand Central Station.

First, it was my brother.  Then, it was TCL.  After this, I made a call to MWL.  And finally, a call from FH to discuss our Friday plans.  I also received a text from my friend from the Yonkers gaming group noting that I forgot about Trivia night.  Maybe, if I can get some sleep, I'll be able to attend the next session....


Friday, October 29, 2021

It's been two years...

 


Years ago, Ex-GF-M had a thing for Starbucks Coffee.  Her late husband worked for the firm, and finally had a career that he could excel in.  Sadly for her, he passed away a couple of years before we met, and she was still dealing with her loss at that time.  I broke up with Ex-GF-M because she was a bad influence on me.  It was the toxic effect of an addictive triangle (2 people and a substance - in this case, food) that took a negative effect on me.  When I met XGFJ, I thought she'd be the one.  But it didn't work out.  I lost my former cruise partner as a friend around the same time.  That loss was my fault, and due to gross stupidity.  However, I think she hurts more than I do based on a text she sent me at the end of September.  Too bad that the one person she could once turn to in time of need is the one person she can't turn to now.

- - - - - -

But enough of talking about that part of the past.  Many things have changed, and it is very interesting to look at the past and present to see where things are headed.

For 4 years, America had to suffer with a grifter as head of state.  (I didn't "drink the Kool-Aid" as many "Conservatives" had done.)  His rabid support frightened many people then, and still bothers people today.  There was a collective disbelief that someone they believed to be successful and a great businessman was simply a con artist behind a green curtain. But many people in New York, Atlantic City, and other places where he placed his flag knew him for his questionable business practices and not for traditional measurements of business success.  It seemed like every day a new scandal was erupting, and things got progressively worse.  Relief came when he lost the 2000 election, only because he mishandled the pandemic, causing the economy to crater.

The pandemic started off as if it was a problem local to China.  Little did anyone know how much trouble this virus would cause the world.  I can still remember a meetup group acting as if the virus wasn't dangerous when America started being aware of how many people were starting to get ill and die. Within a week, not only did this group stop meeting, but most businesses shut down for in-person work.  If you could work from home, you did.  Even now, 19 months later, most businesses are not requiring their offices to be fully staffed.  After 19 months, many of us are wearing masks to help prevent disease transmission.  With vaccinations (which people lined up for 6 months ago), many people are assuming that they are safe and catching the virus.  Luckily, most of the vaccinated only experience very mild symptoms.  However, there are selfish fools who remain unvaccinated, and this is causing our hospitals to be flooded with Covid patients.  Now, it looks like Covid will be around forever, but will be managed (for most of us) with regular booster shots.

Due to the pandemic, last year's baseball season was shortened to 60 games, with few people allowed to attend the games.  (Attendance was permitted for the people on the field, the TV crews, and security guards.)  At the beginning of this season, some cities were restricting attendance to a socially distanced few, gradually allowing more and more people to attend as long as they could show proof of vaccination.  Yet, there are some athletes who still want to remain unvaccinated, and are prohibited from working out or playing with their teams in their home cities.

In the period since the pandemic started, we have suffered a series of supply chain issues which are causing prices for many goods to go up.  Last year, with poor demand for automobiles, my brother was able to snag a late model car from a car rental agency for 25% less than the same car would sell for today.  Recently, a coworker flew to Hawaii on vacation, and found out that the normal car rental places had nothing to rent - a year ago, they had sold off their inventory to pay their bills.  Now, the rental car companies can't buy enough cars to refurnish their fleets, as the car manufacturers can not get the computer chips needed to build their cars.  (This is yet another pandemic related supply chain issue....)

Before the pandemic, I used to go on a cruise one or twice each year.  Last year, the tourist industry had to slam on the brakes and shut everything down in a two week period.  People were stranded overseas waiting to be repatriated to their home countries.  With one cruise ship, our former president decided to keep it from docking at its port of origin, so that he could keep our Covid infection numbers low.  Eventually, reality set in, and this ship made it to a nearby port.  Yet, many people had stranger journeys to make it home from overseas.  MWL recounted that the pandemic hit in the middle of an overseas trip, and that returning home was a confusing mess.  

Once the tourist doors were slammed shut, only a limited few people were allowed to make their way across borders.  For example, there were Canadian doctors and nurses who worked in the USA - they were allowed to cross.  But there were other essential people crossing the border, such as truck drivers making deliveries across borders, and Americans doing a land transit through Canada to reach Alaska.  The loss of the tourist trade hurt people on both sides of the border, Alaska and Canada's Maritime Provinces lost out on over a year's worth of tourist money - and the affected people will likely be affected for years.

However, things are returning to a new normal.  The US has allowed foreign flagged ships to sail to Alaska from Seattle, so that Alaska doesn't lose two years of tourist business.  Long delayed movies are finally making it to theaters.  I just saw the new James Bond flick, and can't wait to see the new Ghostbusters flick when it comes out.  I've started going out as Marian much more often, and feel comfortable traveling in both presentations.  I guess it's because I've been able to live much of my life as Marian over the past 19 months, and have a better idea of how much Marian (and Mario) means to me....



Thursday, October 28, 2021

I got nothing done this evening - except answering the phone

 

This morning, my "smart watch" told me that I only slept 4 hours.  So I knew that I'd be fighting to stay awake all day - which I did.  But I didn't know that I'd be on the phone all evening.

- - - - - -

Going to work as Marian adds about 30 minutes to my daily routine.  As Marian, I need to shave all over to remove all traces of masculine hair, and then do my makeup.  Mario doesn't need to do this.  So I lose a half hour of sleep every day I go to work.  And when I have only 4 hours of sleep, I become a zombie for much of the day.  In order to avoid big screw-ups, I double check much of the work I do while doing it, and after it's done.  So far, this has worked out for me, but I feel wasted at the end of the day.

I went shopping after leaving work, and stopped into both Target and Kohl's before going home.  With a quick stop at Shoprite to pick up lunch and dinner for the next two days, I received a call from Vicki on my (now) short drive home.  After unloading my bags, I got a call from TCL.  Then, just as I was falling asleep, TCL wanted to chat again. And finally, it was time for my nightly chat with MWL.  Not much done at all - even though I had 17 things on my to-do list.  

Sooner or later, I must take care of ALL the things on this evolving list.  But first, it's time for me to go to bed....

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Have you ever seen a supermarket almost empty of goods?

 

On the way home from MWL's tonight, I had to go to the supermarket before closing to pick up lunch for the next tomorrow.  Although I knew that the Shoprite in Tallman, NY was closing, I didn't know how empty the shelves would be.  Saying that the shelves looked like this a month before the store's official closing would not be an exaggeration.  Most of the goods had already been picked over, and only those items that would perish before the store closed were still being stocked.  (Why keep a supermarket open if one can't find fresh veggies, meat, fish and dairy?)

I felt sorry for the people who work there, as they will have to drive to new locations if they want to stay employed.  (This assumes that the staff has been offered jobs in the other locations.)  In this environment, people who can't get a better job than working at a supermarket will likely have a hard time finding jobs elsewhere.

Luckily for the people who shop here, the Walmart next door sells many of the same items that are found at Shoprite, save for the items mentioned in the first paragraph.  Yet, many of these shoppers will need to drive more than a mile further away to do their shopping.  But this closure makes me wonder: Will Walmart expand its footprint on site to sell the remaining items that Shoprite used to sell?  If so, did Shoprite terminate its lease to avoid direct competition with Walmart?

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

All went well, although I lost something I could use.

 

How many of my readers remember John Cameron Swayze?  Although he had a career as a journalist, he is better known to my generation as a pitchman for Timex watches.  The trademarked line "Takes a licking, but keeps on ticking" immediately brings to mind his stress tests of Timex watches in extreme environments, such as having a watch strapped to the propeller of a "cigarette boat".  The watch would work flawlessly after such tests, and this made Timex a best seller among affordable mass market watches.

Recently, I decided to buy an inexpensive Timex smart watch.  The watch is not that great, but for the price, I couldn't go wrong.  Although I doubt it would pass any of Swayze's stress tests, it provides decent value for $50.  The problem - I can't find my other watch (also a Timex, a sheer coincidence) that I use on a regular basis.  Given the mess in this apartment, I can understand how it got lost.  But I am annoyed at myself, as I wanted to wear it today on a date.

My date, I'll call her DWS for now, worked in a field similar to mine, and was a little more successful at it than I was.  She seems down to earth, and may be a good partner for me if she is able to deal with the Marian side of me.  (One can only hope.)  Is it immediate chemistry?  No.  I just feel comfortable talking with her, and I have more than a friendly interest (to phrase it politely) in the relationship we could have.  It would be nice to find out she feels the same way.

But I don't have much time to write today.  I've got to get ready to go to a concert with Vicki, and I must shower and dress for the second time today.  (I got sweated up replacing the carpet mat under/near my computer desk, and I want to be fresh for tonight....)

Monday, October 25, 2021

What would you do in my shoes?

Normally, when someone says that they snagged a deal way too good to be true, it means that the person with the deal may have been scammed.  I recently snagged a deal way too good to be true, and I have yet to feel that I have been scammed.  (I'll write more about this when I return from my cruise.)  Yet, I have a very minor gripe.  The price of my mini suite has dropped $250 since I booked the cruise, and I'd like to get some kind of freebie from the line (such as a soft drink package) to say thanks for booking the cruise at this price.

If you look at the map above, there are 6 staterooms in orange and brown.  (Port: 11632-11636, Starboard: 11132-11136.)  I have one of these staterooms.  From what I read, there are only 4 mini suites on the ship - all "Aft". But I could be misreading things, and there could be another 4 "Forward" mini suites as well.  As of the time I'm writing this entry, there was at least 1 "sail away" mini suite available.  This means, that if I rebooked my cruise to get the lower price, I might get a room of a lesser perceived value.  If one assumes I'm in room 11636 (only because it stands out from the rest), should I risk getting assigned one of the other cabins?

Although I am happy with the price I paid, and that I'll be spending more than that $250 on other things, Is it worth the effort to get the lower price?  How much effort is it worth to save money?  One person I cruised with would jump at the chance to save $250, and use this for other purposes.  As for me, I'm far from rich.  But not trying to save every last dollar has value too - it allows me to focus on getting acceptable value for what I spend, and not waste my valuable time chasing after ever decreasing savings.

So what would you do????
 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

If only I could read tea leaves....


Some people believe that the future can be foretold by reading tea leaves.  Too bad this isn't true, as I would be studying the subtleties of the tea leaf instead of working at a monotonous job.

- - - - -

If I had known how FL would have reacted to the discovery of my female side, I'd have eased her into this knowledge.  There are so many "If Onlys" in  life, that many of us get stuck dwelling in the past. For the most part, I regret a relatively small number of things - one of which is not to openly say "I Love You" to my wife early and often before she died.

None of us can predict the future - we muddle through it as best as possible.  Right now, I'm thinking of how to spend much of my time next year.  Do I leave my job and spend more time traveling?  Do I crack open my nest egg?  Do I spend even more time than I do now as Marian (if that's possible)?  In fairness, the best we can do is make intelligent guesses.

- - - - - -

One question I'll have to figure out on my own is how to break the news about my existence as Marian to a woman who only knows me as Mario.  One transwoman I know is now married to her second wife, someone who will accept her for who she is - unless this transwoman goes for medical transition.  Hopefully, this marriage will last.  So far, it has lasted long enough for the couple to buy a house together. 

May the two of them live long and prosper....



 

RQS went home, and I got keys made - a quick post

  One of the problems with going about as a female is that almost everything one carries around during a typical day is carried in a handbag...