Saturday, November 25, 2023

I went in for an Oil Change and got a whole lot more.


Today, I had an appointment to bring my car to Mavis for a simple tire rotation and oil change.  Unfortunately, my visit cost a bit more than expected, and will still need me to visit them again tomorrow....

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Around 2 pm, I drove over to Mavis, expecting that I would only need to have my oil changed and tires rotated.  Unfortunately, I know that when the service manager brings you into the service area to show you a couple of problems, that I will always end up spending much more than planned on the visit.  Today, I was shown a nail that punctured the tire without allowing air to leak.  (Thankfully, I had road hazard coverage to reduce what I paid for a tire replacement.) Then, he showed me a valve stem that needed to be replaced.  The problem was that it has a tire pressure monitor attached, so the whole thing would need replacement.  About $320 later, my car left Mavis, only to need a scheduled return visit.

Once I left Mavis, I decided to go to Trader Joe's to pick up some food.  While on the way, the TPMS  idiot light went on - when it should usually be turning itself off.  So I completed my shopping trip and drove home to take care of some business.  I was no longer in any mood to go out again, so I called Mavis and explained the situation - and was told to come back tomorrow.

Later on, before I went out for the evening, I found out that one valve stem had a hard to remove stem cover (it was made of metal instead of plastic).  So I removed it with the help of a pair of pliers (hoping it's OK), and tested my tires' air pressure.  I think that they over inflated ALL of my tires.  So this is something I'll mention when I go back to Mavis.

If I'm right, the mechanic working on my car got a little bit sloppy and lost track of what he was doing.  If so, we'll find out tomorrow morning.  Now to change into Marian mode and spend the evening with some friends....



PS: The next day, I had to bring the car back twice.  Mavis said the left rear tire was a little low on air, and this stopped the TPMS light from turning on again for 20 minutes.  As soon as it came back on, I immediately returned to Mavis, where they did a complete reset of the TPMS system, and took the car out for a test drive. Hopefully, the problem has been resolved for the last time.

Friday, November 24, 2023

I went to the hospital today and came out with an appointment


I had some GI Tract issues a fewweeks ago, and I had to visit the hospital for a triage appointment to determine how soon I could schedule a procedure.  Today was that appointment.

My alarms were set to wake me up at 8 am, so that I could get myself ready to go to the hospital for a 10:30 am appointment.  (I was supposed to be there at least 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork.)  When I started filling out paperwork, I noticed something I haven't seen before - not only were they showing respect to the LGBTIQ community by asking both legal and preferred names, but doing the same for biological and identified gender related questions.  Although I went to my appointment as Mario, I could have gone as Marian without any problems.  This was a very pleasant surprise.  If I didn't have another appointment later in the day which required Mario's presence, I might have wished that I knew about this policy in advance, so that I could have presented myself as I want to be seen.

15-20 minutes after I arrived, I met with the nurse practitioner who would be examining me.  I talked about my symptoms, and she told me what likely happened.  Instead of repeating a procedure done in my doctor's office, she took my description of what was done as truth, and then told me that I was about 5 years overdue for the procedure,  So it was off to the front desk to schedule my procedure, then go on my merry way.

As I left the hospital, I made 2 calls: to Vicki, so that I have transportation to/from the hospital on the day of the procedure, and to RQS, so she knew what was going on.  I guess that I'm going to be living a busy life for a while....

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The days are counting down until my next trip


Soon, RQS and I will be on another cruise.  It'll be a short 7-day trip to Bermuda and back.  It's my first time in Bermuda, and I'm looking forward to the experience.

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During the reopening of post-covid travel, one of my pen pals took a pair of back to back cruises from New York to Bermuda, and loved them.  Now, it's our turn to travel there. And we're still trying to figure out what we'll do when we get there.

One of the places I want to see are the Crystal Caves.  Given the length of time we'll be in Bermuda, we plan to take public transit to reach the caves, as we've been told that the bus/ferry system is very safe and convenient.  The only catch is that public transit ends around 5 pm.  So, this led us to plan on staying near the Royal Naval Dockyard on our last day there, as we won't have to worry about getting back to the ship on time. And on our second day, we might explore their capital, Hamilton.

Although we will be on a big ship (not the one pictured above), there's a part of me that hopes that I can get RQS on a smaller ship next time, so that she can experience the more personal service offered on this class of ship.  The way things are going, it might be when I decide to go to Hawaii again.  And then, it will be as Marian, and not as Mario.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023


As I understand things, Spanish style Tapas are supposed to look like the dishes above.  Last night, we went to a restaurant that claimed to serve tapas, but served (what at best) could be called American style appetizers) - and we enjoyed the meal.

But first....

This was not going to be a day out as Marian, as I had to carry a couple of heavy donation bags to my car to be dropped off at Green Drop and didn't leave myself much time to do so.  Once I took care of this effort (which wasn't too much of an effort at all), we went back home to take care of laundry before going out again.

NoMa Social is a Tapas restaurant located in a hotel with the same name.  It's in the old Radisson space in New Rochelle, NY, and primarily serves the people staying at the hotel.  In a bid to gain more local business, they partnered with to sell 50% off coupons that could be used for meals.  Since our coupon would expire soon (given our busy November/December schedule), we decided to use it now.  (My doctor would scold me, if he knew how many rich meals I'd be eating in a two week period. But I digress....)  So, it was off to New Rochelle, where we found NoMa with the help from Google Maps.

The restaurant part of the hotel is located to the side of the hotel's entrance.  It is bright, minimalist in appearance, where the bar is the center of attention.  Most of the place is a contrast of white and black, with animated deep sea images being projected on the full width and height of the wall.  We were told to sit down where we pleased, and our waitress arrived shortly afterwards.  We ordered the special for $68, which included a pitcher of sangria, with five dishes of our choice.  We chose the following dishes: Crispy Pork Belly, Fried Chicken Dumplings, Tacos (Shrimp, Chorizo, and Beef), Calamari, and Buffalo Wings.  Although none of these dishes were out of this world tasty, they were filling and left us with a feeling that we will return again if we're in the neighborhood.

Why did I feel like talking about a restaurant today, instead of talking more about my bi-gendered life?

Well, the answer is that most of us TG people live mundane lives.  Being TG is not the focus of our lives.  But most importantly, Restaurant Six (that RQS, Vicki and I went to the other night) didn't even have the courtesy to even apologize after receiving a harsh (but polite) complaint email. (See yesterday's post for more info.)  I simply wanted talk about having pleasure eating out for a change, and had the opportunity to do so.

Monday, November 20, 2023

We had high expectations of a restaurant, and they failed us.


Hudson Valley Restaurant Week came, and we decided to have an elegant dinner at Restaurant Six.  Years ago, Vicki was married here (in the restaurant's prior incarnation), and it would be our first time back in its new incarnation.  Sadly, we were less than underwhelmed by the experience, and I found that I had to write a complaint letter before I could get to sleep.

But first....

As usual, RQS and I relaxed throughout the day until the bug took us, and we started to clean up my closet, making room for homeless accessories I own.  Several pairs of shoes found their way to a donation bag, and I gained a better organized closet.  And then we started to get ready for dinner.  

Around 5:15 pm, we left my apartment and drove to Vicki's house.  She was surprised that I was there on time (I am usually a few minutes late), and we were off to the restaurant.  I had allocated much more time than needed to reach the restaurant, as I planned to avoid taking the Taconic parkway (the most direct way) to the restaurant for safety purposes.  (I don't like driving on the stretch of road in Putnam county, as people drive at high speed on a road that has no shoulders, and has steep inclines on a curving roadbed.)  However, I decided to drive this road, as the sun was still out, and we arrived at the restaurant about an hour early.  So, we killed time by driving around for 30 minutes, and went back to the restaurant hoping to be seated early - which we were.

Instead of  repeating what I said in my complaint letter, I have to say that I wished we went somewhere else to eat, and Vicki could see that by how my conversation style differed from my usual style.  Eventually, we left the place, and I drove home on the side roads I planned to take on the way up to the restaurant.  We dropped Vicki off, and then returned home.  And that's when I decided to write my complaint letter.

Hopefully, they will fix things after reading this email.....

To the management of Restaurant Six:

This weekend, my group had the experience of dining at your establishment.  We had high expectations of your restaurant based on its reputation. Arriving early, we were seated quickly without having to wait. Although we were impressed with the ambiance and the quality of the food, we were very disappointed for the following reasons:
  1. Service was very slow.
  2. No napkins were on the table.  None of your staff noticed this even after bread and water were delivered to the table, and we had to ask for napkins .
  3. The time lapse between the serving of the appetizers and the delivery of our main courses was over 40 minutes.  After we finished our appetizers, no one cleaned up the dirty dishes on our table until one of our party asked about what happened to our main courses - and only then were the dirty dishes taken away.  Shortly after the table was cleaned, the main courses magically appeared.
  4. There was a noticeable lull in service compared to what was being received by other tables in the room.  
  5. At one point during the meal, we had an interaction with one of the wait staff, and he commented: "This is my first and last day working at this place."
  6. When my dessert was delivered to the table, it was not delivered with the spoon needed to consume it.  I had to ask for this.
  7. No one asked whether we would want coffee or tea at the end of the meal.
  8. The service was inconsistent at best.  At the beginning, the wait staff engaged readily in conversation, describing the dishes with enthusiasm.  Then, they disappeared and dropped the ball. After we asked about our main course, and it was delivered, no one bothered to apologize for the delay.
As much as I would love to come back because of the ambiance and the food, I am soured on the idea of returning due to the spotty service your staff provided.  My dining partners share the same opinion, and were very disappointed because there are many fine dining establishments in the Hudson Valley, and we expected to add this place to our list.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

For auld acquaintance be forgot....


In a way, this post is a birthday card to a former friend, and commentary on peaceful communications that have taken place over the past few months.....

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I have mentioned my former cruise partner in many a post, and wish we had found a way to bridge the gulf between us. Sadly, this did not happen.  A few months ago, she wrote me an email to say that she was glad that I have a solid relationship with RQS.  In the past week or so, she wrote me in regard to weight loss.  No, I don't think it's an attempt to rekindle a friendship.  To do that, she'd have to send me an email and suggest getting together over coffee (or something similar). But I do appreciate the communication, and wanted to wish her a Happy Birthday today, as I know that she reads this blog now and then.

There are friends of mine that I haven't seen in years.  One of which was the best man at my wedding. What I found interesting was that before he encamped to Florida a decade ago, he gifted me a top of the line, fully loaded iPad which I still use today.  Yet, he makes no effort to initiate contact with me.  Until recently, I didn't even have a phone number for him.  Still, I miss him very much.

Other friends are the types who are transitional in nature.  One of these friends (JS) was a woman who was very needy and destroyed her security for the sake of her children.  She had virtually no home equity when I met her, and she didn't have a good plan for her retirement.  Before she encamped to Florida, she had taken a job as a principal of a girl's school in Coney Island while living in Ridgefield, CT.  It was an unsustainable commute for her, and one which was destroying her health and her car's life.  Even her (then) financial advisor had to "read her the riot act" to get this woman's attention, and still, she didn't listen.  She now lives in Florida, is caught up in the MAGA cult, and is oblivious to reality.  I mention her, simply because she was a catalyst for trouble, and whoever tried to help her ended up having to abandon her because of her self destructive actions.

It is much harder to develop closeness as one gets older.  And I have lost several close friends over the years, friends I once could call on (when needed) for favors.  Some of my current friends will do these favors for me (such as driving me to/from a colonoscopy, etc.), but only if it works with their schedules.  It's not the same as when I was married, and could count on my wife to be there for me.  (I still miss her after 27 years.) But I've made do, by searching for a new love and finding one in RQS.  It's just a damned shame that she can't drive.  Yet, nobody's perfect.

As I get older, the more I realize that real wealth is the quality of friendships that one has.  And I am very grateful for the ones who are in my life....

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...