Monday, October 10, 2011

It was only a curve

RVing has its moments. First of all there is the beauty of the USA and the companionship of other RVers, both of which makes any problems seem small. Of course there is the cost of gas and repairs, but that pales with the advantages of taking your grandkids and doggies along for the trip, having your own kitchen, and a comfy bed without the fear of bedbugs. However, we have a large coach, and there are just some roads that leave a lot to be desired. One could say the same for many highways, of course. When one is driving an RV, there is decidedly a Rattle-Bang senerio that makes one wonder if the whole thing is just going to come apart in the middle of the roadway. No manner of packing can make all the noises go away when traveling many of our by-ways. This particular outting required that we drive through a short area of mountainous roadway. We knew it would be full of turns, but we have easily maneuvered those  in the past, and had no worries. However, Angela had recently had rotorcuff surgery, and her arm was still healing. Up the hills we went, managing each switchback without pain or difficulty for her, the coach, or the car we were towing. And then came THE CURVE. It wasn't just a sharp curve, it was a downright scary curve. This little devil had no curbing or rail, and the stinker had a dropoff that would give anyone with a fear of heights the willies. Angela motored into it slowly, using all the caution she could. She cranked the wheel and was careful to stay in her own lane, even though she had to maneuver as close to the line as possible, to give our tow vehicle the room required to follow safely. The coach was safe, so too the dolly, but one wheel of the car slipped off the road. Of course, when that happens,the object in trouble wants to drag the whole kit-and-kaboodle down the incline. Angela swiftly got on the gas and dragged the car along the curve, fighting the dangerous pull and forcing the car to follow us. Let me just say that there was no vegetation left along that 10 foot portion of the curve from where the wheel left the asphalt until it returned to its correct follow-the-big-coach position.  Both of us let out a long breath and wiped a bit of sweat from our brows. "That was fun," Angela said. All I could manage was a smile and a head nod. The remainder of the curvatious route was MUCH easier. When we reached the bottom, we found a pull-out that was a tad too small for us, but offered a bit of refuge none the less. Both of us piled out to see how much damage there was. None. None, I say. We could hardly believe it. We figured the frame would be bent on the tow dolly, and that we might have an axle problem with the car, but all was well. You see, it was all because of my Talented T and all of her experience on the grand prix and cross country tracks she had experienced back in her David days. Of course the fact that she is an excellent driver in general also helped. She is just a marvel, and I am glad to know that this was just another Best Thing About Being Married to a Transsexual.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Oh Brother

Let me tell you that I was SORE. I was sore ALL OVER in fact. Worse, I was in that state for several days. Why? We decided to put down a new floor.

In my earlier post I noted that Angela recently had rotor cuff surgery. This all happened a few weeks before that.

Angela's arm was beginning to give her some pain, but you already know that she can't be without a project for long, and I greatly appreciate that fact. So, since we'd been talking about replacing our aging linoleum floor for months, we decided to go ahead.

First, one must take up the old before putting down our new tile. I won't even go into the joy of trying to find that bit of ceramic bliss. Trust me when I say the choices for anything with any hint of gray in it was quite limited. Anyway, cutting through the layer of linoleum was easy, lifting it off the floor was less so, but still no strain for either of us. Then came the reason for my sore arms, body, and psyche: taking up the glue.
Lots of adhesive remained on the floor. Angela quickly discovered scraping away at it was too painful. Oh yes, we spent money on miracle removers, all guaranteed to turn the glue into liquid. Don't believe the hype. They all fall into the category of Buyer Beware. Save your money and just put down copious amounts of water, let it soak, and develope some muscle as you scrape away the gunk. Even so, Angela just couldn't do it. I quickly volunteered and made her go work on "something else." I had no idea four days of scraping that impossibly difficult to remove stuff from our cement foundation would leave me hardly able to lift my arms, much less anything else. Arnold the Swartz would have been sore; Hercules would have been sore; and I was beyond sore. Angela was most complimentary, or course, but I saw the twinkle in her eyes and the quiet chuckle that followed her "nice job, atta girl, and nice bicepts."

When I finished, she patiently set about cutting and laying the tile. It was my turn to say the same phrases along with the twinkle and chuckle. The tile wasn't so heavy that it hurt her arm, but she did have to get into a few awkward positions, so she had her share of Ouch moments.

Now we sit back and enjoy the new look of our pantry, laundry room, and third bathroom. A little shared pain never hurt any marriage.

Nurse Jonni again

Angela recently had day surgery. We arrived at 6 a.m. and returned home around 2 p.m. I've already confessed to not being the best nurse in the world. So, it's a good thing that Angela is not the type who requires anyone hovering over her. I'm great at checking in on her every hour, especially when she's sleeping. How easy is that. Unlike me, she doesn't get sick from anesthesia, so while I left a bucket close by just-in-case, there was no need for it. She doesn't want a drink brought to her, she prefers to get one after every trip to the potty. So, after surgery, in this case for some rotor cuff repair, she just slept from the moment we got home until dinner time. I expected her to be ravenous. Nope, she just wanted soup. Easy again. Oh, I tucked her in a couple of times as she slept, but I don't get any stars for being a good nurse or even a Nurse Ratchet. Oh well.

She's recovered now and doing her physical therapy. She's busy creating websites since she can't do any major projects for a few weeks. Believe me though, she has plenty lined up all ready. I'll keep you posted as they go along. I'm sure you can see that all this is just another case of The Best Thing About Being Married To A Transsexual.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Trouble right here in River City

Okay, okay, I've been gone a LONNNNNNG time. Here's the deal: I changed my email address and blogspot wouldn't let me in. Their sign-in had the new email address, but my account said it wasn't changed, so I couldn't get in with either email address. So, I'm sorry, but I am still trying to fix that. I finally got in using the old email address that I had changed because THEIR system didn't automatically put in the new address FINALLY after weeks of attempts!

Otherwise, the trouble is we seem to have a beastie or water under the kitchen floor. Whatever it is, we have a little hillock that rises between our kitchen and dining area from time to time. The tiles sound hollow, which means they're no longer attached. It's probably water, but I'd rather it be a gopher, rabbit, or mole (we have all three living on all sides of the house, so why not under?). Whatever it is, we're going to have to fix it. Dast-Oh-Dear, as the heroine might say.

Now, we just finished putting new tile down in the pantry, utility room, and small bathroom (that'll be another blog). THAT was a BIG job. Now, we can only hope we can salvage the tile from this area or we'll have to get new tile for the whole kitchen and dining area. Of course we won't be able to match this fifteen-year-old tile, we all ready know that. Dang. I like this tile. We don't want to do that because one, it'll be expensive, and two, we will soon be starting the cooler rainy season. Okay, Fresno isn't known for lots of rain, but we know that if we start a long project now, we'll end up with an unusually wet fall - so says Murphey's Law - right?

The good news is, I have a reliable tile person in Angela, the bad news is she tour her rotator cuff and is facing surgery. What now? We'll delay this must-do for awhile. My T does know how to take a day off now and then, so I'll just have to stretch that into a month of recovery time. I'll keep you posted on how that goes IF I can can in.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

They Touched My Heart - A Birthday/Anniversary to Remember

Angela and Audra threw me a surprise birthday on Saturday. Oh, yes, I had an inkling something was afoot, but I wasn't sure when, what, or where much less that it was to be a surprise party. They'd arranged for friends to take me off to see art galleries in a nearby town. One even convinced me she had a dinner party to go to later, so I was sure nothing was going on that day. Cars were parked well away from our home, so I had no suspisions until I opened the door. I confess to being totally surprised to see so many good friends inside.

My feet hadn't crossed the threshold before Angela presented me with a full-sized, blown-up version of a walker, complete with many well-known saying about the aged. Before I could move into the room, I had to first maneuver through a trail of orange cones - to prove I could get along with my new contraption. The livingroom was decorated in my favorite sea-green. I was quickly turned around to view the dining room table, very modern, of course, to see not a birthday cake, but a perfect replication of our wedding cake! Angela had had it made to specs, thanks to pictures from our album, and yes, it cost her a small fortune (but it was soooo yummy). There were three layers instead of four - lemon, chocolate, and spice. They were all good, but the spice was wonderful, to die for, and the flavors matched our original. Only the white cake layer was missing, but from the way folks chowed down on what was there, the one exception wasn't missed. You see, our 45th wedding anniversary is a month away, and Angela decided to combine wedding and birthday. They also served a delicious meal.

Audra, not to be out done, had compiled a video using pictures from our various family albums following me from birth to grandma. It was great fun to see all the old pictures, not to mention noting how thin I used to be. There were lots of questions and comments of course and a few laughs as well. Everyone oh'd and ah'd over the wedding pictures and the sailboat we lived and traveled on for two years.

The grandchildren and doggies were well mannered and adorable. Brooke, the four year old spoke with the adults using all her three and four syllable words, and the two year old Bree entertained everyone with her delightful smile and descriptions of how she helped put up the decorations. As for the doggies, there wasn't a bark or growl, an underfoot toy, or a anything beyond lots of tailwagging and puppy kisses.

When I stood to give my little speech, there wasn't a person in the room that I didn't have a short story about. All mean a great deal to me, and they had given special parts of themselves and helped me along the way over the years. All of them had welcomed Angela into their lives without hesitation.

Angela and Audra had pulled off their first surprise party and touched my heart in ways they can't imagine. Angela's loving thoughtfulness about the cake, and Audra's time and effort producing the powerpoint life review were remarkable. They touched my heart.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Up and Over

This was a I'm Glad It Wasn't Me day.You see, we were busy loading up the RV when Angela put the tow dolly on the back of the coach. Every thing was going just fine until she decided to load-up the car without ole vigillant eyes, me. Oh, she's put the car on alaone before, and she's even winched up smashed up race cars into place. I knew this was nothing particularly new. But, since we've had this rig, I'm usually out there giving the Left - Right - Move-up and Stop signals. Not this time, though. So, you can guess what happened. She went right up, over, and off without stopping. She came into the coach with a rather sheepish grin and said, "I, uhm, need your help outside."

That was putting it mildly. When I got outside, I couldn't stop laughing. There was my car (of course) straddling the tow dolly. The front wheels were not quite on the ground because the automobile was resting on its frame. "Now what do we do?" I asked.

"Well, the first thing we are going to try is to jack up."

"Uhm-huh," I said doubtfully. "Even once it's up, you have to get the wheels in place. So, we're going to be using lumber to make a ramp, right." She nodded, and we proceeded to raise the car, place lots of 4x4s and 2x4s beneath the wheels followed by a long piece so she could drive back into place. Naturally, we didn't have exactly matching piles of wood, but we managed.

I held my breath as she took her seat and grabbed the wheel. The engine started and ever so slowly, she backed squarely into the sweet spot. I motioned STOP, and it was done. We both let out a looong breath.

"Boy, it was a good thing you weren't driving when this happened," she said as she climbed out of the car.

"Me too," I said, laughed, and then gave her a kiss. "But I get to tell everyone."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Crappy Weekend

Okay, I confess that it wasn't all crappy, but . . .

You see, it all started durring a lovely RV outing. We had a wonderful time with everyone in our delightful RVing Women's group. The food, conversations, and doggies and kitties were great, but Saturday was very wet. I love my dogs, but neither wet fur and muddy feet, nor removing stickers are high on my Fun Monitor. After a riotious Trailer Trash dinner with the group, we returned to our coach to prepare for a quiet, dry, peaceful night. Angela went out to dump the tanks while I took the puppies for a walk. When I returned, Angela was still outside. I opened a window and asked, "Need help?"

"Nope," came the reply. Ten minutes later, however, she said, "Okay, I need you outside."

That did not bode well. First of all, it was raining madly, and it was 11:30, well passed Angela's bedtime.

"It seems the RV park's sewer hook up for our rig is backed-up or blocked," Angela said. "The rain could be the cause, but if that was so, the whole park would be in trouble. So, that means we're stuck with the problem. Of course, the office is closed too."

She didn't have to tell me that meant we really had a problem. What were we going to do with a sewage hose full of well, sewage? The good news was that the park link in the spot next to us was working. But, it was 40 feet away. Fortunately, we carry extra sewage hose for this sort of problem. Unfortuately, we usually know about the issue before we are hooked up for two days and can make the alterations before any thing fills the hose.

I could see by Angela's bussling around, getting out hoses, and thoughtful expression that it was going to be me holding our 'difficulty" for this switcheroo. I had visions of spending all day Sunday cleaning up a huge, smelly, yucky mess, even though it was not technically our fault.

With a great deal of care, Angela removed the sewage line from our rig and with much trepidation coaxed a bit more sewage into the park's input, unhooked it, and dripped more yuck into the near overflowing gap. Then, with a towel wrapped around it, just for me, she handed me that end too. Now, a 20' long 3" diameter hose filled with gunk is heavy, and rain was rapidly dropping into the upturned ends - splash, splash, splash - as I stood there with my hands full and my nose turned away.

She gingerly put extensions on each connection, hooked up to the rig, and then we inched our way over toward the new hole. She connected it slowly, but nothing happened! Dang. Okay, worse than Dang. You see, the new receptical was ever so slightly uphill. We have an 8 foot declining contraption to help with that, BUT, we now had 60 feet of hose slanting the wrong direction. It was not going to drain.

After the cloud of blue words dissipated, we got down to pulling lumber out of the rig's storage areas, looking for rocks, sticks and anything else we could use to overcome the problem.

It took half an hour more, but in the end, sewage was flowing, we'd had a nice warm shower and a few laughs. We crawled into bed and I said, "I'm so glad you thought of that towel."

Yes, it's a great thing to be married to a T.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pop! Zzzzzt! Fire! Dast Oh Dear! Damn!

Yes, that's what happened. First came the POP, then the Zzzzz. I went to investigate figuring the dog had pulled a kid's toy over and broken it. No such luck though. I stepped into the laundry room and flames were shooting out of an outlet. Now, that gets one's attention immediately. I'm all ready paranoid about fire (having been in a couple of small ones), so this was frightning to me. I yelled for Angela who was outside, yanked out everything that was plugged into that wall, got the fire extinguisher, and yelled for Angela again, "Fire! Fire!"
The flames were gone as quickly as I'd seen them and called out the door, but Angela came rushing in, "Fire? What? When? Where?"
I pointed to the singed area around and below the socket. "We're going to sound like that Abbott and Costello Who's on First routine in a minute," I reply. "We had 2 inch flames pouring out of there a minute ago.".
"We need to check other sockets all over," she said. So, we went through the house, garage and shop to see if there was any other damage.
Of course, there was all sorts of electrical units that smelled like fried eletronics. My computer was first on the list. "Dast Oh Dear." Thanks goodness for back ups and thumb drives. A clock was a goner, so too the toaster, blender, DVD player, and other small appliances. Every now and then we still find something else that was damaged in the episode. "Damn."
Angela fixed most of them, including my computer. Bless her little Novel Engineer heart. The rest we just replaced over time. Wanna know what the cause was? A gopher. He ate through our land line from the transformer to the house! PG&E had to replace the whole thing, so we were without power for several days (thank goodness for our RV coach - no it wasn't plugged in at the time).
Yep, this is just another Best Thing About Being Married to a Transsexual.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making our own sunshine with a tow dolly

It has been foggy and overcast for days now, but I always see sunshine when Angela and I are working on a project together. Angela is always fixing, inventing, or making something, because she's the one who has the talent. She can repair anything, and if we need something we can't find in the retail world, she'll come up with a new object to fit the need. Here's a small example: we sold our truck when we bought the RV coach, so we no longer had any way to haul large objects. So, she invented a way to convert our tow dolly into a flatbed carry all. It took some time to design and build, and it is a large, heavy object to carry. But, with it attached, we can now go to the lumber store and bring home almost any sized load.

Yesterday was another dull, grey day outside, but she was out there fixing the lights on the tow dolly. My job was just to hold things in place, pass her tools, and tell her how wonderful her work was. I found that even though it was cold and generally unfriendly outside, we made our own sunshine with our laughter at getting into awkward positions, curses at problems, and perseverance when something didn't work at first.

Yes, this is just another example of the Best Things About Married to a Transsexual. I'm very glad she's mine.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm ready for a BIG step too!

Some of my readers have taken me to task about saying the repeal of DADT is a small step forward. I continue to feel any step forward is a plus. I realize that Ts were not included in the legislation, although that could easily be tested by a few brave souls. Transsexuals are NOT being included in most legislative initiatives along with gays and lesbians, except in hindsight. Unfortunately, we don't have the lobbyist the G and L forces have, and the G and L forces don't often think to add the T to their lobbying efforts. The reality is that we in the T community need to be as visible as the G and L portion. Too many of our group are stealth/closeted. Many of us don't donate to those groups that are fighting for us. Many in the family don't vote. I can't make things change with a single blog, but Angela and I are visible and we vote at every election. We appeared in a Discovery Channel documentary called Changing Sexes: Male to Female. We lecture about Ts, and our marriage, at universities, colleges, & social service organizations. We round up panels for discussion groups, and we are active in our local GLBT+ community. We don't hide, and we try to help where and when we can. All I can suggest to move the T community forward is for more of us to be visible, to vote, and to make our lives known.