Saturday, February 11, 2023

Some tickets I could get. Others, I could not.


Have you ever wondered what to get someone?  Given my age and RQS's age, neither of us needs more stuff.  Instead, we need experiences of the types we couldn't have while married to our late spouses.  Both of us enjoy travel together, and both of us enjoy going to live performances.  So I look out for musicians, comedians, and theatrical performances that I think the two of us will like, and get tickets for her as one of my gifts.

For Christmas, I bought tickets to "The Play That Goes Wrong", and she loved it.  For Valentine's Day, I bought tickets to see A.J. Croce singing songs written by his dad about 50 years ago. (I was a great fan of his dad, and his death shocked me when I was much younger than I am now.)  Hopefully, this performance will do justice to his dad's work.  And for RQS's birthday, I bought tickets for us to see Sarah Millican in concert.  Given that we both want to see this comedienne, I expect that we will have a great time.

However, not all tickets are easy to get.  Nor do many of the performers I like make it to the United States that often.  For example, RQS and I tried to get tickets to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and their "nearby" USA concerts are already sold out.  Ouch.  And don't get me started on Ralph McTell. I don't remember when he last toured the states, and I would love to hear him perform Streets of London in person.

There are many performers I wish I could have seen while they were touring, or while they were alive. For example, I kick myself for not seeing Ennio Morricone when he was last in New York.  Now that he has passed away, I'll have to settle for the music he left behind.  Another performer I doubt I will get the chance to see is Astrud Gilberto.  Yes, "The Girl from Ipanema" is one of my favorite songs. Since she is in her 80's, I doubt she'll be in the NYC area again.

In life, it is the experiences that count.  And they can't take away the memories of those experiences we had - especially if they are cherished by the people we share them with.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Unused Tableware and Coincidences

Years ago, my late wife bought 28 table settings with the idea (expressed to me) that she could entertain her extended family at one sitting.  Unless someone has either a large family, or a large circle of acquaintances she entertains lately, as well as a dining area large enough to entertain them, I can't see this being a reasonable purchase. 

These place settings were purchased before I met my wife, and were never used while we were married.  About a year after she died, my girlfriend and I packed these table settings into two large Rubbermaid containers, and transported them to my brother's place for storage.  My intentions were to give these place settings to my niece when she got married.  But this was not to happen, as she got married in London and is living a minimalist lifestyle unlike that of her parents and grandparents.  These place settings ended up sitting in my brother's basement for over 25 years, and didn't need to be dealt with until now.

Recently, my brother decided to deal with long deferred maintenance on his money pit of a house.  One of the things he needed to take care of was fixing the foundation of his house and doing a fresh pour of cement in the basement of his house.  This meant that everything in the basement had to be cleared out. As a result, I decided to keep 6 place settings, and give the rest to charity.

So, I drove to my brother's place and sorted through these table settings, separating them into a set of 6 for me, and a set of 22 for the charity.  Once done with that, my brother and I went to a German Restaurant in Franklin Square.  I was looking for something tasty to eat, and I noticed the lack of Sauerbraten on the menu.  (This was the last dish my wife cooked for me before she was too weak to cook anything.)   Coincidentally, It was about this time of the year when she became too ill to go to work, and the severity of her illness couldn't be denied any longer.  My memories of my late wife were getting triggered right and left. Yet, it wasn't strong feelings of sadness I felt.  Instead, it was a feeling of letting go of the past.  Part of my wife was moving on to a (hopefully) better place.

Would my late wife approve of what I did?  Who knows?  But I'm hearing no complaints from the great beyond....

Thursday, February 9, 2023

If it weren't for things to do, I wouldn't get up - A short post.


Being a biological male, I have to deal with a problem.  Once one no longer has to go to work, one loses a reason to get up in the morning.  In my case, I could stay in bed for days at a time, if I didn't schedule things to justify getting up sometime during the day.  One of the things I try to do when I'm up is to think about future travel plans, as they give me a reason to keep getting up.

Lately, I've been trying to book as much travel as possible into my schedule, so that I always have something real to look forward to. Three trips are already scheduled for the year, and I am looking to schedule one or two more trips.  So far, I have trips to DC, California, and Bermuda planned, and may book a trip to the Bahamas by the end of the year.

The California and Bermuda trips will consist of 7 day cruises, and be on cruise lines (Princess and NCL) that I have both sailed on before and enjoyed very much.  However, if I book the Bahamas cruise, it will be on a new line, MSC, and I have heard mixed things about this cruise line.  The things that most people complain about are the uninspired food offerings. If I take this trip, it will likely be without RQS, as I'm not sure if she'd be ready to gamble more money on a trip she might not enjoy. As for me, it will be an opportunity to travel as Marian and relax a bit.

Right now, the Bahamas cruise is only something that keeps my mind busy.  And even if I never take that trip, it's a pleasant diversion....

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Valentine's Day Cards - a short post


A while back, I lost a Valentine's Day card I had bought for XGFJ.  (No, it was not the card above.) So I ended up buying her another card, relatively neutral in sentiment, as I wasn't sure about our relationship at the time.  Later on, I found that this was a problem for her, given things said by my former cruise partner in an angry exchange of words. So, my original card was lost in the mess on my desk until recently.

The other day, I decided to look for this card, as I would be spending Valentine's day with RQS, and thought that the card I originally bought for XGFJ would be perfect for RQS.  I found this card, intact and ready to be used.  (I'm glad that I didn't write anything in the card, as I would have had to go and find something I liked just as much.)  

Would you use an unused Valentine's Day card if you bought it for use with a former love, but now use it with a current love?  It's certainly not an engagement ring which should be sized for a woman's fingers.  So, is this being cheap?  Or, is this being frugal?

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Insurance Bills - I hate dealing with them.


The other day, I got a bill for services (Lab Tests) rendered in December.  Normally, this would not be a problem, save for one thing - the cost.  Knowing that Medicare (Parts A & B) plus my supplemental policy (Part N) should pay for all but my first $200 in expenses, I had to make some calls.

My first call was to the Lab Test company.  After going through automated response hell, I got a response that said: "Your insurance carrier has questions about the bill before it can make payment."  Well, I know that Medicare should have no questions, nor should my supplemental carrier.  So my next call would be to Medicare.

It took me much less time to reach a human at Medicare than expected.  After explaining my problem, the human at the other end found out that no bill was presented to them!  Finally, I had an idea what the problem might be - the bill was sent to the wrong carrier.  Now, it was back to the Lab Test company for more information.

I make my third call, and figure out how to get to a human at the lab test company.  A woman answered, and told me that they sent the bill to the insurance company with whom my former employer used to insure their employees.  (Although I had coverage with them, I used my Obamacare coverage, as it provided better benefits between January and July, when I started on Medicare  This had to be a factor in why other lab test bills got screwed up.)  I gave this woman my insurance information, and waited for her to pick up on the line again - and then, the line disconnected.  

Now, I was a bit upset because at least an hour of my time was wasted on this problem.  But I was calm when I reached another person at the lab test firm.  He told me that the woman from my previous call got the insurance number wrong when she refiled the bill for payment, and I would have to make yet another call the next day to get this problem fixed.  AARGH!

- - - - - -

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I know that my doctor's office must have something to do with this. (Minor, compared with the computer and data entry screw-ups from before.)  A while back, I asked her to see that all bills get presented first to Medicare when I turned 65.  Obviously, I think she didn't contact the lab test company - and that their records never got updated. Yet, I could be wrong about this.  I'm left feeling that America needs to scrap the system we now have and go to a single payer system.  Is this a panacea?  No.  We will have just as many problems with a monolithic health care system as we do with a system run by oligopolies.  But its complexities won't drive people away from getting health care. And that's something I am strongly in favor of.

Monday, February 6, 2023

A friend invited me to a Broadway play.


Recently, I got together with Vicki #2 to have a bite to eat, and a drink to go with it.  It was nice to see her again, as we hadn't gotten together in months.  I said that if she ever had a mid week break in her routine, that she should call me, so that we could get together.  That call came the other day....

Although Vicki has seen me once as Mario (I was with XGFJ at the time), she knows me as Marian, and that's the way I always go to see her.  It's pleasant to get together with a person who knows and accepts my authentic self, and I was pleasantly surprised when Vicki invited me to see a Broadway play.  At the time I'm writing this entry, Broadway theaters are having a half price sale, and she was able to snag orchestra tickets for $80.  Since this was in my price range, I said 'Yes' and we proceeded to set a time and place to meet.

I wouldn't have chosen this play.  But I'm always open to new experiences if they do not take me too far from my comfort zone.  So I'll reserve judgement until I've had the chance to see the play.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Deciding how to get dressed can be hard for me - A short post.


For most people, it's easy to figure out how to get dressed for the day.  For me, things are a little more complicated.  First, I need to make sure of which gender presentation is expected of me that day. And only then can I make the next decision - what to wear.  Most of the time, this is a simple process.  If the day involves foul weather, strenuous work, or otherwise requires the presence of Mario, I dress as a male.  However, if the day allows or requires Marian's presence, I dress as a female. And then, I try to figure out what a cisgender female would likely wear that day.

Normally, I keep track of my future presentations by color coding entries in my online calendar.  But this doesn't always work for me, as I have to allow for days where I present as Marian for part of the day, then Mario for the other part of the day. So far, I don't recall many days where I start the day as Marian, switch to Mario, and then back to Marian.  But I'm pretty sure that I have had to do this switch on occasion.

As Marian, I try to wear dresses as often as possible.  RQS says that I'm more of a girly girl than she is.  In response, I remind her that she will always be the cisgender female in the relationship.  (Yes, I use other words.  But I use them to reinforce her femininity and  the idea that I can and will not compete with her true femininity.)  So far, she is comfortable with this.  But sometimes, I wonder....

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...