Saturday, December 24, 2022

By the time you read this, I will be home

 

This is the route of the cruise I am about to take.  By the time you see this post, I will be home and beginning to write entries to log what I did on my trip. But I am writing this entry on the day before I start on my bucket list trip.

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I figure that I will again leave my comfort zone by trying to "fly pretty".  Kim has documented many of her travels in her blog, "Traveling Transgender".  Sadly, she has not flown pretty to often lately, as life has happened while she was making other plans.  Hopefully, she will again be able to do so.  But if not, I will still be able to thank her for showing me that I can live the way I want if I am willing to make the sacrifices to do so.

Given that I still have an issue with how the airline has recorded my reservation, I still may have problems with Airport Security - even though I am a trusted traveler.  I hate the fact that the full version of my name is very masculine, when the familiar version of the name is good for both genders.  If I continue along this path of femininity, I will likely change my name to the familiar version of the name and look to have unisex versions of my image on my legal ids.

Relaxation will be impossible until I am in Honolulu.  Once there, I will be able to have fun.  Until then, I'll try to deal with the little things as they come at me, as it's all I can do to preserve my sanity when I'm nervous....

Friday, December 23, 2022

The last full day before starting my trip.

 

Today started with a lack of sleep from the night before.  And I had a 10 am appointment at Mavis.  AARGH!  So I stumbled into consciousness, got dressed, and went to Mickey D's before my car's appointment.  I had a feeling about what would be wrong with the car, and I am not sure if they got it right.  They claimed the problem was a TPMS sensor, and 2 hours + 100 dollars later, I was out of the place.  What a way to start the morning.

Next, it was back home to organize what I packed in my luggage.  And I was able to make some space in my luggage, so I could close both bags without effort.  Unfortunately, I will need to unpack/pack at least 3 more times, and I will not be looking forward to this part of my trip.  There are still so many things I need to do for the trip, and I know I will be under prepared in many ways.  As long as I have my clothes, my makeup, my wig, my CPAP machine and some money, all will be OK.

Since this trip will be made in female presentation, I'll be sure to have a full makeup kit with me However, I won't have a chance to do any touch up for at least 13 hours - and I may be showing some stubble by then.  Thankfully, I'll be able to hide this by wearing a face mask until I get to the hotel. And then, the fun begins....

I'm hoping to meet the widow of my late therapist.  She will likely be surprised to see me as a female. But I will explain that I never felt comfortable discussing this with her late husband.  And I hope that we will continue our chat in the way we expected when I last exchanged emails with her.

Sadly, my time in Honolulu will be too short.  But then, this is a problem in any visit to the Hawaiian islands.  There is never enough time to explore all of the islands, and never enough money to do the explorations right.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

I can't trust my car

 

For the past few years, I have been having trouble with slow leaks coming from one wheel of my car.  Every so often, I'd have to run over to the air pump and inflate the tire to full capacity.  This has become quite annoying, and I think that there is a flaw in the rim that prevents the tire from getting a perfect seal. Sadly, the tire shop had to be told about one rim that had gotten mangled in the past (how it happened, I have no idea).  And that rim was banged back into shape.  So if it was this wheel that is having problems, I still may end up buying a new rim and installing the tire on it to see what happens.  Until I find out for sure, I'll have to be ready to find an air pump in the coldest of weather....

My car will be 10 years old next year, and I've been averaging a little over 20k miles/year on the car.  Little things need replacement, and the car is showing its wear and tear. Until things change at the dealerships, I'm going to try to avoid buying a replacement until 2024.  Hopefully, this will be a wise move.

I'm glad that RQS comes up to me more often than I go down to see her.  Yet, I know that I will need to start driving to see her soon, as it wouldn't be fair for her to do all the commuting.  Ideally, I'd have a small car to drive to her neighborhood and have a larger car to drive around here.  So I've started to limit how much driving I do, so that I can make this car last another year.  The last thing I need is to call AAA when I'm in female presentation, as all my ID is for my male presentation....

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

RQS and I will be missing each other

 

Normally, I feel good for a while after RQS leaves at the end of the weekend.  However, this would be the last time we will see each other for about 3 weeks.  I'll be flying out to Hawaii for 11 days, while she will be visiting family in the South for a long weekend.   

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As I write this post, I will likely have returned from my Hawaii trip.  So we will be in the run up to Xmas, where we will be seeing family and friends.  I still have to find another gift to buy her, and she appreciates my frugality in finding a gift that will both bring her happiness whenever she sees/uses it and is something she'd consider good value.

Today, we ended up doing a simple shopping trip to Walmart, followed by a visit to a home furnishings store to get small gifts for my niece & husband, and for my nephew.  All 3 got mugs, as they will be easy to pack for their return trips back home.  Then, it was off to the nearby T-Mobile store to check on whether my plan is the Magenta Max plan.  It wasn't, so the store employee graciously changed my plan to give me greater value for the same price. (I'll now get free Wi-Fi on airplanes due to a new T-Mobile promotion.)  

Once we were finally done with stores, it was off to get a bite to eat.  As much as I prefer Burger King to McDonald's, I might have chosen the latter because of the woman manning the counter.  She could not operate the cash register, nor could she count how much money to give me in change from a $20 bill.  I was a little annoyed, but realized that fast food joints are now scraping the bottom of the employment pool and this woman was typical of the prospective employees left in the employment pool.

After finishing our burgers, I dropped her off at the train station.  Neither of us wanted to separate from each other, and the shortness of this week's visit made our parting a little sadder than usual.  Hopefully, we will feel equally as uplifted when we are together again....

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Packing for a trip is such a pain in the ass.

 

Over the past few days, I've been packing and unpacking then repacking for my upcoming cruise.  I have to be careful of what to take with me in my carry on bag, as well as worry about the weight limits for my checked bag.  Additionally, I have to be a little creative in what I consider to be my "personal item", as I will want to carry more than the airline would want me to carry into the cabin.

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The other day, I got an email regarding my in-flight snack/meal purchases, and I didn't respond quick enough.  As a result, I got locked out of buying what I wanted, as my favorite selections were already  sold out.  So, I'll have to pick up a bite to eat at the airport while waiting for my first flight, then hope that the snacks I bought will be enough for me as I fly from California to Hawaii.

It's been over a decade since I've flown.  And though I'm told that I shouldn't worry about things, I can't help but worry.  Will I get into trouble due to an issue with my ID?  Will I get hassled because I am gender non-conforming?  Who knows?  As they say, "in for a penny, in for a pound."  Most likely, I'm worried about too many little things.  But then, I am simply trying to be careful because this trip is expensive, and one I won't be able to do again.

Once I'm out in Hawaii, I have a decision to make.  A while back, my former therapist passed away. When I wrote to him, his (ex) wife answered my letter and said I should look her up when I get to Hawaii.  I think I will send her an email in the morning, saying that I should be out there in a few days, and mention when I will likely be available for dinner.

One thing I know, the posts I'll be making in regard to this trip should have some very interesting photos.  I expect that the recent volcano eruptions will provide for some great pictures....

Monday, December 19, 2022

I'm getting a little nervous

 

Ever since I decided to take my Hawaii cruise, I've said that I'm going to get "bombed" as soon as I am Honolulu.  (It's a bad Pearl Harbor joke.)  People who know me well know that I tend to drink with moderation, and often go for weeks without touching anything alcoholic.  Yet, on this trip, I have the beverage package - and intend to break even on what I'm paying for it.  (I'm only paying for the gratuities, so breaking even should be easy this trip.)

As my trip gets closer and closer, I'm finding so many little things to do beforehand.  Tonight, I was talking with RQS, and she said that I have a lot on my plate for the next few days.  For example, I would like to see Pat again before I leave.  Then I have to go to Mavis to have a slow leak looked at. To make things worse, I have a co-op board meeting the day before my trip.  And then, I must make sure that I have my boarding pass for the flights to Hawaii.

Even if I've done all the necessary things, I'm still worried about going through the security checkpoints at the airports.  Once through, I still have to think about having a bite to eat while traveling.  This afternoon, I received an email from the airline trying to get me to buy a snack and an alcoholic beverage before I board my flight.  Although I have no interest in drinking any booze, I will likely buy a snack or two on the flight.  This is far from the service one used to get on one airline in the golden age of air travel, as there are still people who raved about an occasional dish they were served on their international flights.

I'm not looking forward to sitting in a cramped seat for 12 hours.  But I only have to do this twice - once on the way out, and once on the way back.  Hopefully, the cruise/tour I'll be on is more than worth the headaches I'm dealing with now....

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Volcanoes!

 

There are two areas of the world that I want to see that have active volcanoes: Hawaii and Iceland.  And I will be in Hawaii soon.  One of the excursions I have booked will take me to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. However, I don't know if this excursion will take place, as the following message was posted on the park service's website:

HAWAII NATIONAL PARK, Hawaiʻi – Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park remains open following a new eruption on Mauna Loa volcano that began in the summit caldera late Sunday night, and migrated to the northeast rift zone Monday morning.

For everyone’s safety, the park closed Mauna Loa Road from the gate at Kīpukapuaulu Monday morning to vehicles. The summit, cabins and high-elevation areas of Mauna Loa have been closed since early October when the volcano began to show signs of unrest and increased seismicity. In addition, Mauna Loa Observatory Road, outside of the park, is also closed to the public.

The new eruption, which is the first time Mauna Loa has erupted since 1984, is expected to draw an influx of visitors to the park who hope to see a rare dual eruption from both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Viewing areas along Kīlauea caldera before sunrise revealed a massive glow from Mauna Loa caldera, Mokuʻāweoweo (13,677 ft. elevation) and a smaller lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu (4,009 ft.) at the summit of Kīlauea.

Neither eruption is threatening homes or infrastructure at this time. Kīlauea has been erupting since Sept. 29, 2021 with lava confined to the summit lava lake.

“Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is keeping close watch on Mauna Loa in tandem with our colleagues at USGS and Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent, Rhonda Loh. “The park is currently open, but visitors should be prepared and stay informed,” Loh said.

Visitors are urged to check the park website for closure updates, safety alerts, air quality and other information including links to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams and eruption updates.  

The Federal Aviation Administration has enacted a Temporary Flight Restriction encompassing a five nautical mile radius around Mauna Loa summit and 5,000 above ground level. Approved emergency response flights are excepted.


If you were in my shoes, would you think that this excursion will be cancelled?  If so, what should I do, given that all the cruise line's excursions have already been booked to capacity?  One thing I know is that I will get some great photos as we sail along the coast of Kauai....


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