Saturday, April 13, 2024

Emptying out my old car is a pain!


I never knew how much stuff I had stashed in my Honda Civic until I started emptying it out.  Not only did I find out that the Civic had more room in its trunk than the Crosstrek has in its storage area, but I am also finding a lot of stuff in the nooks and crannies of the passenger compartment that I have to find homes for.

My first pass at cleaning out the old car resulted in me putting a large storage container into my apartment's downstairs storage compartment.  Then, I realized that things such as my phone charger were left in the old car.  So, I transferred them to the new car the next day.  Of course, there was even more stuff to transfer, such as my "coin can" (container for spare change) and my "Club" (steering wheel lock).  And still, I have to get around to cleaning stuff out from under the seats and then doing a factory reset on the old car to clear out my Bluetooth/phone settings.

Luckily, DCD won't be able to take possession of the car for at least another week or so.  This means that I still have a little time to clean out the car and get it ready for him.

Friday, April 12, 2024

I screwed something up!


One of the phrases I learned from my days as a computer programmer is: RTFM.  This phrase, RTFM, is described in polite terms as: "Read the Fine Manual".  Since most of us programmers were fluent in multiple programming languages, at least one spoken language and profanity, we usually substituted a better word for "Fine".  Last night, I had one of these situations where the manual would have stumped me if I had read it.

When I bought my first car, the owners manual was less than 100 pages long.  Most of the controls were self evident, the stalk on the left of the steering shaft controlled the lights (some cars had headlight controls elsewhere), the stalk on the right of the steering wheel controlled the wipers, and the gearbox lever was usually on the floor between the driver and passenger.  Even without an owners manual, the average person could operate the vehicle in complete confidence that s/he wouldn't screw up anything important.

The Subaru Crosstrek is much different than my Datsun B-210 and my Honda Civic.  Not only does the owners manual check in at over 500 pages, but the quick start guide of roughly 160 pages needs a shortcut guide of its own.  Needless to say, things can get screwed up very quickly.  For example, one has to turn off the collision avoidance system in order to take the car into a car wash.  I have yet to figure out how to use the car's adaptive cruise control feature along with the lane centering feature to allow the car to perform limited self driving.  But most of all, the device pairing process between the car and one's phone may just be the most annoying of all differences between this car and my old Civic.

Connecting Bluetooth devices is usually a simple task, and in both my Civic and the Crosstrek it is.  However, I had to program in my speed dial numbers and associated voiced names (such as "RQS Mobile") each time I connected a new phone to the Civic.  The Crosstrek ingests everything it can from the cell phone, and then allows the driver to hit a button and use voice commands to work much of the electronics in the car.  Yet, I screwed something up that was working when I took possession of the car.

The day I took possession of my car, the salesman set up the connection between my phone and the car.  All I had to do was hit the voice control button and say "Call RQS" and the car would make the phone call for me.  However, my phone would continue to display a message "Repair with device to enable advanced message access feature."  So I did this, and lost the ability to use voice commands to dial phone numbers.  AARGH!  Given that a salesman wants to keep his customers happy, I sent him an email and hope he responds quickly with a solution.  Fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

The new car is finally mine!


Today, I felt like the day had more than 24 hours.  Not only did the night before allowed me just 4-5 hours of sleep.  But I felt like I needed to go back to bed for most of the day.

- - - - - -

The day started by me waking up early, and trying to go back to sleep without luck.  Given that I had a doctor's appointment at 10 am, I knew that it was going to be a long day for me.  So, I got showered and dressed as Mario, and off to town to see the doctor.  When I arrived, I found the place unusually empty, as if the doctor had come to the office for only a handful of patients.  

Lately, the doctor has had quite a few student interns from various medical programs assist him in his office.  Today, he had a new person, a young woman training to become a nurse practitioner.  And she introduced a different routine for the day, asking me a lot of questions that she could answer from looking at the doctor's records.  (She has to learn how to ask questions, as well as what questions to ask.  So I am not complaining.)  Then, the doctor came in, and asked his questions - and looked to put me on a new drug.  AARGH!  At least, I have renewed the supply of my old drugs, so the new prescription will have to wait.

Once done with the doctor, I returned home and prepared to remove the license plates from the old car, so that they could be placed on the new car.  Only one problem - I couldn't unscrew the fasteners holding the plates to the car, and I was in luck - my co-op's superintendent had just pulled into a vacant spot, and he was able to remove the plates with a little bit of effort.

- - - - - -

My next stop for the day was the car dealership.  Vicki came by around 1:30 pm, and off we went to complete the deal on the new car.  When I arrived, the salesman made sure to take a lot of pictures of me in front of my new car, and then started the process of showing me around the dealership before depositing me with the sales manager who sold me a couple of add-ons.  $1750 later, I was out the door, and the salesman showed me around the car, so that I could get the car home safely.  By then, Vicki was leaving, so I had the salesman to himself.  (Vicki noted that the fellow who sold her the car she was driving didn't take the time to make sure she knew the features on her car.  It's no wonder that he's now working at a used car dealership....)

When done with the salesman, I drove home to rest for a while.  And then, I got into a conversation with one of my neighbors.  It could lasted quite a bit longer, save for the fact that I looked at my watch and saw that I had to open the co-op's zoom meeting in 20 minutes.  So I rushed inside, and took care of co-op business for the next 2 hours.

- - - - - -

After the meeting ended, I was feeling exhausted.  But I figured that I'd make a run to BJ's as an excuse to see how well the car's automatic lights worked.  (There are a few things I have to be aware of with this setting, but I'll get used to it in time.)  What really gets to me is that I have to learn a whole new way to deal with the car's infotainment system and with its driver safety systems.  And this will also take some time.  (I just have to remember to turn the collision avoidance system off before going into a car wash, as the brakes will mistakenly hold the car in place to protect the car and what's in front of it....)

I think it's going to take a while to learn the ins and outs about the car, and I'd better be careful while doing so.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

An evening with DCD


DCD is a strange person.  He doesn't always learn from his past, and he makes the same type of mistakes over and over again.  Tonight was a typical example of dealing with him....

- - - - - -

I met DCD at a New Rochelle diner a little after he completed work for the day.  When he arrived, he started to tell me what was going on in his life, and I mentioned that his present situation with his girlfriend is similar to where I was with Ex-GF-M over 10 years ago.  His girlfriend is addicted to tobacco and alcohol, and wants DCD to participate in the addiction triangle: Person A, Person B, and the Addiction.  Whether or not Person B is addicted or not, Person B's behavior will either be that of participating in an addiction, or trying to deal with Person A's addiction.  DCD is the latter type.

I'm not saying that DCD has his act together.  He doesn't pay attention to advice given to him by well meaning friends, nor does he car about things such as payment instructions.  We chatted a little about Zelle and I mentioned that I don't use it because it has become a hacker's paradise.  Once a hacker is able to get into your account via Zelle fraud, the banks have a nasty habit of saying that your money is lost forever.  Yet, when we finished our meal, DCD didn't ask me how I wanted to get paid - he sent me money via Zelle!  This pissed me off!!!!  I planned to take the advice given by Clark Howard (, and avoid the use of Zelle to protect myself from scams.  And now, I had to use it to receive money from DCD!  AARGH!!!!!  (No wonder why his relationships fail - he doesn't pay attention to any important messages from anyone.)  Luckily, I don't have any banking apps on my phone, and avoid them like the plague.  I prefer to use my PC or Chromebook for financial transactions, and was able to use one of my lesser bank relationships to receive DCD's money.

When I asked DCD why he uses Zelle, he mentioned that he doesn't like "float".  What he did wasn't related to float.  Instead, it was related to his record keeping - he doesn't want to worry about whether a check has cleared or not - if he does a small value payment via Zelle, the money has left his account and his account inquiry always shows a current balance.  (One the way home, I mentioned this to RQS, and she said that DCD will continue doing things his own way, and not care about what others say to him in regard to their interactions with him.)

I'll end up seeing DCD again on Friday, if only to hand him paperwork for the car.  Hopefully, he won't screw things up, as I want the car out of my driveway within the next 2 1/2 weeks.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Closing out a weekend.


I accidentally deleted my original post for today.  So here goes....

Saturday was a rainy day where RQS and I would rather have stayed home.  However, I had taxes to take care of, and I had to take them to my new preparer.  Several traffic jams and delays caused by bad drivers losing control of their cars, we made it to my new preparer and were ready to make our trip to Suffern, NY to see the new Ghostbusters film.  

Why Suffern? you may ask.  There were closer theaters which involved much less driving.  Well, Saturday night's showing was accompanied by a Wurlitzer Organ being played prior to the 7:30 showing.  With the rain and road floods, we barely got to Suffern in time to get a bite to eat and enjoy the organ performance.

Too bad that we didn't stop somewhere other than the pizza parlor near the theater.  I won't name the place, as the food was mediocre at best.  But if you are in Suffern, skip the pizza and go for Mexican. At least we were able to get to the theater early enough to hear the whole organ performance. Was the film good?  For a franchise flick, it was pleasant.  But was it good?  It was an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half on a Saturday evening. When we returned to the car, I found that a slow leak was detected by the TPMS system.  So I drove home, and made plans to go to Mavis Tires the next morning.  

Sunday came, and I went to Mavis.  90 minutes later, the tire was fixed, and I was home for the rest of the day to rest with RQS.  Unfortunately, Monday came, and RQS had to leave.  So we got some lunch, and I dropped her off at the station, so that she could get home during daytime hours....

Monday, April 8, 2024

By the time you read this....


By the time you read this, several things will have happened:

  1. My taxes will be in the process of being prepared.
  2. I will be in possession of my new car.
  3. DCD will have started his process of getting the car registered in his own name.
  4. I will have given RQS her birthday present.
  5. My luggage will be opened, and packing will start for my California Cruise.

Of course, a lot of things will have happened in between then and now.  And you'll be able to read about them over the next few days.

- - - - - -

When I told my brother about my tax situation, I realized how much my brother wants to isolate my financial life from his.  I should mention that he wouldn't give me a recommendation for an accountant if I needed one this year, but would only help me file estimated taxes to buy a little time for me.  My guess is that if an acquaintance of his sees my returns, then they will have an idea of what a slice of my brother's life looks like.

Cleaning out my old car has helped me find things I had misplaced over the years.  One of these things was a canvas bag that I thought was in RQS's place.  Surprise!  It was in my car's trunk.  There was way too much stuff back there, and I'm glad that I am finally emptying it out.  (Guess what I'll be doing on Monday!)

Now that I have the information needed to get my new car on the road, I can give DCD the information he needs to start his process.  Hopefully, I'll have the old car out of my driveway soon.  If not, I know of at least one charity that takes donated cars.

Even though a bought theater tickets for RQS's birthday, I ordered a little something from Amazon for her to open up on the birthday itself.  Hopefully, she will like it.

And lastly, packing....   This will be a trip where I will spend one day as Mario and the rest as Marian. (I must visit my uncle while presenting as Mario.)  It's going to be nice to wear some warmer weather clothes for a change.  (I haven't worn a dress in California in ages, except while in transit to/from Hawaii.)  Since it will be Spring when I arrive, I have to bring sweaters (and a windbreaker) - especially for my time in San Francisco.  RQS's cousin knows I am trans, so it will be nice NOT to have to change into a pair of trousers when in San Diego....

Sunday, April 7, 2024

The trouble with taxes

This morning, I didn't need my alarm clock to awaken me.  Yet, I know I'll be exhausted by both the end of the day and by the end of the weekend.  And all of this is because of taxes....

- - - - - -

As I've mentioned before, I have had to find a new tax preparer because my old one retired.  I thought I had been lucky to know someone in the Trans community who could do this work. But her health problems got in the way, and she had to bail on doing my taxes.  This left me with 3 weeks to get my taxes done and no one to do them.

The first thing I did was to make an emergency call to my former tax person, and I got the name of a new person.  This was the person who took over some of her old business, and is located in the old office space.  YAY!!!  Even better, this person is hungry and wants new business.  So, I'll end up picking RQS up at the station and driving down to my Trans friend to pick up my paperwork.  And then, I'll deliver this packet to my new tax person in Queens and hope for the best.

- - - - - -

This will be a half and half weekend for me.  At least, I'll be able to take RQS out to the movies and relax for a little while....



PS: We picked up the tax paperwork from my Trans friend on Friday, then delivered it to my new tax person on Saturday.  Although it rained like cats and dogs, I made it safely to Queens, where the new tax person is located.  And then, after an hour of waiting (we were in line to meet with this new lady), we had a pleasant conversation and a good idea of what the tax preparation would cost and when it would be done. It's a nice feeling to know that this headache is going away, and that I'll be able to focus on good things again.

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...