Saturday, October 28, 2023

If I were a normal sized gal, I'd have an easier time packing.


My doctor has been telling me for years that I must lose some weight.  This has been one of the hardest things to do, given that I no longer burn off as much fat as I once did with my everyday activities.  An unfortunate byproduct of this is that my clothes take up more space in a carry-on than they should - especially in Marian mode.

Over the past few days, I have been trying to squeeze a week's worth of clothes into a single carry on bag, with any overflow going into a small backpack.  It was a little easier for me when I had a bag from Mystic Seaport which could be expanded at will.  (It was a great personal item to take on a plane.)  But I think that it migrated to RQS's place - and that I don't have it when I need it.  AARGH!

Sooner or later, I'll have to learn how to minimize what I pack.  But my makeup and toiletry kits take up a lot of precious space - something I wouldn't need if I traveled as Mario.  At least, I'll be traveling as Marian on this trip, and not needing to present as Mario for at least 7+ days.  I can finally get my nails done!!!  

Hopefully, I'll be able to drop a few pounds before next summer's trip....

Friday, October 27, 2023

Switching Handbags - something all women do from time to time.


Normally, I carry my personal items in a bag similar to this.  Being able to wear a handbag makes things so much easier for me, that I have started to hate having to use pockets when presenting as a male.  Yet, I'm not out to say which is easier, as pockets reduce the number of things one must hunt through to find the things one wants.

Today, I received a small Crossbody bag that I can use to hold my essentials while traveling.  Why is this important?  I don't want to be rummaging through a small backpack (my personal item) to find things when at the airport.  Instead, I want to carry a small bag to carry things such as my driver's license, cash, and my cell phone that I can stuff in my backpack when I no longer need access to them.

Although it will feel very awkward at first, I expect that I will find this bag very useful when I travel en-femme, and flying with only a carry-on.  But if I'm checking bags, it makes much more sense for me to carry my usual handbag, as this gives me much more flexibility when I arrive where I'm going.

Let's hope that this isn't wasted money....




PS: I ended up changing my wallet too.  See why in future posts....

Thursday, October 26, 2023

The sofa's delivered, but there is a defect


The clock keeps ticking, and I am not yet packed for my trip to Chicago.  There is a little bit of ambivalence about this trip, and I'm still not sure of where it's coming from.  But I'll discuss that again later.

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Today was the big day.  I had a few things to do today, and got showered and out of the house by 11 am.  My first stop was to return an item purchased online at the local post office.  Then it was off to the local library to return some books, and finally to Kohl's to do an Amazon return.  About the only thing I did do to take care of myself was a quick burger at a fast food chain.  (I know my doctor would disapprove.)  And finally, I would return home to await the delivery.

Around 12:30 pm, I felt I could use a short nap, so I put the CPAP on so that I could fall to sleep if needed.  (I had the alarm set for 1:30 pm, just to be safe.)  As I was arising from semi-consciousness, the doorbell rang.  It was the deliverymen.  Within 15 minutes, the new sofa was snapped together (the sofa backs slide into place for ease of delivery and setup.)  But there was something wrong - the control for the right hand seat wasn't working.  The deliverymen noted the issue and left.  I didn't have to sign for anything -yet.

Although I still don't know when someone will come to fix things, I told the men that I won't be available until next Thursday afternoon.  Hopefully, everything will fall into place then, and I will have a fully functional sofa.

PS: Amazon sent me an email that I should expect a replacement drill tomorrow.  This is a good thing, as I can not drill into the legs of my coffee table to install casters without it.

PPS: I called Raymour & Flannigan, and got a date 10 days out for replacement of this sofa.  Hopefully, I will have no problems with this sofa - especially, when I have to stay in Mario mode until the new sofa is installed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Another Day, Another Return to Amazon


Yesterday, I boxed up a dress that had to be returned because it was too big.  Today, I have to return a drill I bought from Amazon because it wouldn't charge.

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Buying off-brand items of Chinese provenance is like buying pigs in a poke.  One doesn't really know what one is getting until one opens the box and inspects the merchandise inside.  Sometimes, the product is quite good, and is a bargain.  Other times, the product is garbage, and has to be returned.  In the case of the drill above, it has a solid feel, but ts construction leaves a little to be desired.  For example, this drill is charged using a USB-C cable.  But it doesn't come with a charger block that can be plugged into a wall socket.  So I connected it to two charger blocks of my own, and it didn't charge.  So, back it goes to Amazon for a refund.

Over the past few months, Temu has been spending a fortune on a media campaign to get people to use its shopping app.  From having a woman dancing on screen showing off her latest purchases to "authority figures" showing products on Temu whose prices are too good to be true, this firm's business model is built on getting customers used to low prices and cutting Amazon out of the shopping equation.  But Amazon has an advantage that Temu doesn't - One and Two day deliveries.  If I need a product NOW, I can get it quickly.  With Temu, the product has to be shipped by air from overseas, and then delivered to the end customer.  They don't have Amazon's economies of scale.

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Even Amazon has its weak points.  If I need to inspect an item, try on an item, etc., then Amazon doesn't do much for me.  For example, I'd prefer to look at a pair of shoes and try them on before buying them.  I'd have saved from many mistakes, had I been able to do this more often.  If I need something "yesterday", then even Amazon isn't the right place to buy something.  That is why "Category Killer" stores are so useful.  I'd never know what products are available (and at specific price and quality levels) without being able to see them in the stores.  The blinds in my windows are examples of items I needed to see in person before buying them.  And I wouldn't have wanted to have them shipped to me, then have to ship them back if they weren't what I really wanted.

There are some products that Amazon realizes require a hands-on purchasing experience.  Their purchase of Whole Foods was a good way for them to see how people buy perishable goods, and apply what they learned to in-store shopping experiences.  When I was in LAX (Los Angeles Airport), I saw a store which used Amazon's shopping technology to offer a "Grab and Go" shopping experience.  Yes, it may be convenient.  But it lacks a human touch.  If a product is defective (let's say some foreign product if found in a bag of chips), one has no one to complain to.  

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In the end, no shopping experience will ever be perfect.  As a TG who straddles both masculine and feminine worlds, I like the ability to find products online that I can buy - all in one place.  But I miss being able to chat with store personnel to find out what looks best on me.  

But for now, I have to shower, get dressed, and return my drill before my next delivery comes....

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

I forgot it was a holiday, but the post office didn't.


I decided to return a dress I bought through Amazon.  It looked "just OK", but not good enough to keep right now.  So I boxed it up, printed a return label, and got set to bring the dress to the post office to be returned for credit.  One problem - today was a Federal Holiday, and I can't bring a package to a post office that's closed.  AARGH!  That's one more task I'll have to take care of tomorrow before my new sofa arrives.

After that, I figured that I should make a quick run to Walmart to pick up a couple of pairs of leggings.  Unfortunately, I misplaced those I used to wear to work under my tunics, and needed a couple to wear on my upcoming trip.  Again, a problem - the local Walmart didn't carry in my size.  So, I decided to drive up to Fishkill, where I found 2 pairs in my size in a color I could wear under tunic length dresses.

Do I intend to wear dresses without leggings if I can?  Yes!  I prefer wearing dresses whenever I can.  As a TG who lives on both sides of the gender coin, I prefer to wear dress like garments that reaffirm my feminine nature.  However, I'll have my leggings, so that I can be practical in the cooler autumn weather.

The awkwardness in my plan is that I'll be with RQS at her place the day before our trip, and there the night we return.  Why is this an issue?  No counter space in her bathroom.  I'll have to get made up in a hurry, and can't afford to skip anything, or to leave anything behind.

Keep your fingers crossed....

Monday, October 23, 2023

I can't believe I made such a dumb mistake


I just received a dress today, and I can't believe that I made such a dumb mistake as I made.  As most women know, women's sizes are all across the chart.  Depending on the vendor, I run from being a woman's size 1X to 5X.  Usually, I order size 3X when ordering from Catherine's, and 2X when I'm ordering from Woman Within.  Because I wanted to avoid the BOGO 50% off deal, and get the above dress at 75% of list price, I ordered it through Amazon.  But I made one BIG mistake.  Being a size 28, many of the places I shop at put me into a 3X dress, as consistent with the sizing on the Catherine's site. But this dress has a Woman Within label, and a size 3X is a size 30-32.  I'll have to return it before I travel. (As if I didn't need any more things do I?)

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Getting home after a weekend with RQS is a little sad.  Yet, there's a part of me that still enjoys being by myself, and not having to answer to anyone.  Today was one of those days.  I always enjoy it when we're together.  But sometimes, I like being alone.  I guess many widows and widowers get this way in our old age.  But I had the chance to see my neighbors, and inform them of my travel plans.  They will look for any deliveries that come after mid week,  and hold them for me until I get back from my trip.  It pays to have good relationships with one's neighbors.



Once inside my apartment, I proceeded to take care of installing a 6 outlet adapter that I had just received from Amazon.  Although one can get these at Home Deport, Lowe's Target, Walmart or any decent hardware store, I decided to bundle this with the above order for ease of bookkeeping.  As usual, I did things the hard way, and didn't wait until the morning to start this task.  Instead, I had to look for a flashlight to see things, and then screw this in for security.  I don't want to think of this again when I have my reclining sofa delivered in a couple of days.

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As you can guess, I have lots left to do before my trip, and not enough time to do them....

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Powerball. It's a hope and a dream for many.


As I write this, the Powerball Jackpot is at the $1.4b payout level (if taken as an annuity).  Given that the odds of winning are roughly 250M to 1, it is almost always a sucker bet, and an easy way for states to pick peoples' pockets instead of levying taxes.  But once taxes and the current value of money are factored in, any jackpot in the $900M+ range is a rational bet, as the after-tax payout in present value dollars is commensurate with the risk taken to win that money.  So, I will likely spend a tenner to buy 5 quick picks and indulge in a poor person's dream.

When my dad was alive and living at home, he would give both my brother and I several scratch-off tickets on our birthdays.  Yes, it was a waste of his money.  But it was cheap entertainment for us.  Once, we had the pleasure of taking him to the Connecticut casinos and spending a day together.  No, it's not how I'd normally spend a day.  But it made my dad happy, and that's all that counts.

Do I think of what I'd do if I won the lottery?  Sometimes.  But it would simply allow me to own a small home where I had a two-car garage, two cars in the garage, one of them electric and the other gas powered, and convenient to mass transit for my long term needs.  If I won it today, I'd probably travel more than I do now.  My life wouldn't change much.  But I wouldn't advertise that I got lucky, as all the "distant relatives and lost friends" would come out of the woodwork for a handout.  

What would you do if you won a big jackpot?

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...