Friday, July 26, 2013

I will not let him win

It amazing how one person can have such a negative impact on so many people.

I am referring to my brother in law.  I have mentioned him in previous rants.  I have met many disrespectful, rude, bullying, self centered ignoramuses in my life, but this asshole is the bottom most of the bottom feeders.

I have already spent far too much time and energy allowing my anger to control my thoughts.  I could not possibly list all the rude and hurtful things he has done to my wife and to my son ... he doesn't talk top me because he cannot match mental fortitude with me.  I will simply refer to the issue last night.

Timmy got a dog.  He is so happy to have her.  I have not seen him smile or heard him laugh this much in many years.

The moron calls later in the evening, while we were driving to town, screaming about how Timmy cannot have a dog.  His reasoning ...

After his mother dies 1/3 of the house is his.

Here's the problem, you idiot.  Your mother is alive ... you own 0% of the house.  And your mother said Timmy could have the dog.  Aldo, don't youy have 2 dogs pooping and peeing around you mother in law's house?  Why is it ok for you to do this but my son is not allowed to have a loving companion.

I guess if you called or visited your mother occasionally you would realize she was still alive.

At this point ... after I voiced my opinion into the frivolous argument.

Pam came unglued ... I hung up on her brother.

She called him back ... I called Timmy.  Pam was on the verge of a mental breakdown ... so was I.

As I left the car I warned Timmy that his uncle had his panties all bunched and might make things difficult.

I walked up the street.  Anger consumed every thought ... but not like anger I've felt before. I became emotional ... I began to cry ... to sob.  I sobbed so hard, but no tears came from my eyes.  I was painful ... physically and emotionally painful.  I had hurt Pam by butting in where I didn't belong and that only antagonized the bully even more.

After I left the car he began to tell a string of unfounded lies to bolster the "he cannot take care of a dog" argument.  The problem is they are obviously lies ... and they have nothing to do with the dog subject.

Then he yelled at Pam, "Do you know your husband wears makeup?"

"Yes.  And that has nothing to do with anything," she replied.

"I'm just trying to look out for you and warn you ..."

3 thoughts:

1 - My first hateful, transphobic comment and I don't even get to hear it in person ... not that rhis shithead would talk to me.  He's never liked me and has always been an ass.

When I heard that this was even said it hurt ... not hurt me because I didn't expect it ... it hurt  because it is just more ammunition that moron can use to hurt Pam.  She suffers enough ... she shouldn't have to defend me from her intolerant brother.

2 - What are you trying to warn her about?  Are you scared of me?  Does the thought of a person being true to themselves intimidate you?  We already know you are a racist, sexist bigot, so you're not warning her about that ...

3 - What the fuck does any of this have to do with a dog?  If the lies you are telling are true ... if they are only a fraction of the truth, what does that have to do with Timmy's dog?  If the fact that I am finally being true to myself is actually some form of mental illness, or somehow makes me dangerous, what does that have to do with a dog?

There is so much more to this situation, but I do not want to focus any more energy on the negative situations.

I will end this section with this thought ... I believe in karma, the rule of 3s, do unto others and all other philosophies that inspire you to treat others well.  He is one of a very few people in my life I wish to never see or deal with ever again.  He is one of possibly 2 that I wish the most horrible, anguishing existence.

I wish he feels physical and mental pain so extreme that it is not tolerable until he no longer exists,  Even this will not undo all the pain, damage and trouble he has caused Pam.

Other than those few hours on Thursday, the rest of the week was very positive.

I told another employee about my transition ... she was so excited.  She was excited because now, maybe she can borrow earrings from me ...

LOL

No.

Wednesday was a bit stressful as Sedona realized she was reaching a crisis moment ... I won't go into details as it is her personal information, but I will give her all my love, support and respect because she wanted to seek help before things got out of control.  I am so happy for her and will do everything I can to help her.

I did have fun at work ... I was just Tiffanie.  The work was still a bit tedious, and the corporate office still drives me nuts, but I was so at ease acting as myself that it didn't matter.  I am now using the ladies room exclusively ... and, although I am not dressed in frilly or girly clothes, I am presenting in a more feminine manner.

If I didn't mention it earlier, my manager and I decided to make the big group announcement at the September driver meeting.

Thursday was busy, but fun.  I accomplished most of what I was supposed to, but I left a little early.  I left so I could meet Pam and Timmy when they looked for a dog to adopt.

I was fun, and a little heartbreaking to see all the animals wanting to be taken home ... but there wasn't "the" dog for Timmy at the shelter.

Pam and Timmy decided to go to another shelter in a different city.  I went to my appointment with Catharine.  We had a wonderful conversation ... talked a bit about some of my family ... her family ... the state bird of Utah and a few other things.

After the appointment I was able to meet up with Pam, Timmy and Chispa ... his new, one year old pointer mix.  Such a beautiful animal ... So fun and so loving ... So playful, yet calm and controlled.

I have not seen my son so happy in a very long time.

This is the memory I will take from this day.

This tranquil, fun memory has helped remove the venom of hatred I feel toward the non-human who resolves to make everyone else miserable.

I do forgive ... I will not forget.  I will choose to remember the fun and love of that day, and the days in the future.

I still feel the hurt ... but not hurt for me.  I feel hurt that my loved ones are being bullied and there seems to be nothing I can do.  I will go out of my way to enjoy every moment I spend with Pam, Timmy and now Chispa and have satisfaction knowing that this idiot does not and will never understand this bond ... this love.

As strange as it sounds, the thing that brought me back to the more serene state of mind was pain.

I had another ... possibly my last (but probably not) laser treatment on my beard.  Sarah was very pleased with how well my skin is handling the treatments.  Today she turned up the juice again.  Every zap seemed increasingly intense.  Finally it dawned on me ...

Estrogen has made my skin far more sensitive.

After a few more zaps ... Sarah handed me a tissue and said, "I notice your eyes tearing up.  You are becoming a woman."

It was such a positive statement and a wonderful way to end the week.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Affirmations ...

There are some days when you feel like there is no wind filling your sails ... whatever momentum your ship may have had is gone and you're at drift on the open sea.

The last few days have been like this for me.

Not that anything horrible has happened.  It's more like my enthusiasm has been waning a bit ... I am not seeing the changes that are happening to me and within me ... I want to know things are improving.

Pam, Timmy, Sedona and I went to Sam's Club to get some stuff ... cat food ... paper plates ... and sinus medicine.  We picked up most everything we needed, but there was no off the shelf sinus medicine.  I sent the group to check out what we had and I would go to the pharmacy to get some legitimate Sudafed.

"Can I help you ma'am?"  The young clerk had a smile on his face.

I don't recall thinking about talking in my (close to) Tiffanie voice, but as the words started to come out they seemed a bit female sounding.  "Do you have generic Sudafed?"

"Yes."  He grabbed a box and turned toward the counter.  "We need to see your ID."

"No problem."  I grabbed my license ... the license with my legal name on it ... and a picture taken in 2005.

The young man glanced at the drivers license and quickly said, "Your license, ma'am."

I leaned forward and smiled.  "It's been a while since I had my photo taken."

The poor guy's face twisted and contorted into expressions I have never seen before.  "Ummm ... well, it's just ... ... this is you?  But we can't ... ummm ... well ... I'll be back."  He grabbed my license and walked over to a supervisor.  They chatted for a moment before he returned.  "We can't take this because ... umm ... well ..."

"Because it doesn't look like me?"

"Yes."  He heaved a sigh.  "I'm sorry ma'am."

"It's alright, hun."  I smiled.  "I undersatnd."

I walked away giggling.  Sometimes we need the affirmation to smack us upside the head to realize ho well things are going.

Pam eventually went back to buy what we needed.  I was on cloud nine because I know I look so different that the dude that occupied my body for so many years.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A meeting with my peers and the area VP

So, have I mentioned that I am a safety and training supervisor for a small bus yard of a major, nationwide (technically international) school bus company?  I choose to not mention the company name due to the policy that does not allow me to say negative things on any internet site ... but, although I vent about them sometimes, this has been a good company to work for.

Minus, of course, the corporate baboons.

About a year ago I went to a meeting with all the other training supervisors.  It was the first time any of them had seen me without my beloved and actually hated mustache.  I was wearing earrings as well, but several had seen me with earrings before.

Tuesday was a little different ... My hair is a different color, my earrings a little more girlish, my facial hair all but a memory (except the shadow of a mustache that I will refer to later), I am wearing nail polish, my skin is smoother ... ... oh yeah ... there are definite signs of breast development.

I arrived at the meeting a little late ... about 7 minutes, but still everyone was seated and had done roll call when I walked in.  There were several factors in why I was late, but it doesn't really matter.  I parked the bus and used the restroom before I headed upstairs.

Wait ... are you asking why I was driving a bus??

Well, it all started Monday.  I checked under my hood for the kittens then jumped in my car and turned the key ... but it didn't start like normal.

No, there wasn't a kitten in the engine ... you are just morbid if you were thinking that.

I started my drive ... there was some asshole behind me driving in a very strange way.  He wasn't tailgating me, but he kept going into the oncoming lane like he was going to pass me, but he never did.  As I approached a series of curves I checked my gauges (like all good drivers do) and everything was normal.  Temperature was good, fuel at just over 1/4 tank ... and the moron behind me eases out into the opposite lane again.

I checked my mirrors ... I checked oncoming traffic ... then, the low fuel alarm chimed.

I looked at the guage ... empty!

WTF?!

I pulled off the road onto a wide shoulder beyond the curves and turned off the engine.  I could smell gasoline.  I stepped out of the car and was greeted by a puddle forming by my left front tire.

This is why I mentioned checking under the hood ... there was no leak when I left.

It was the stressful beginning of what was a mediocre day.

When I got home I went for a walk in the field behind my house in the evening to take some pictures and unwind.  1/2 hour ... 45 minutes ... Much of it spent coaxing Loki (one of our many cats) to come home.  He stayed out the night before which is unusual ... but when he saw me in the field he followed me around meowing.

I tried to coax him through the back gate ... he stared at me, then turned back toward the field.

I cried.

It was as if he was saying goodbye ... he had chosen to be an outside kitty.

I kept crying ... every time I thought about him I cried.

I went to the patio door and called him again.

He walked to the back gate and stared.

"Come on Loki ... come here baby."

He ran toward me.  I opened the door and he trotted into the house.

I grabbed him and hugged him.

It was a happy night.

Tuesday morning was kind of a downer ... not because of the meeting, but because my manager was not feeling well and did not go.  I was looking forward to spending the day with her and talking.  It didn't matter that I was driving a bus ... it didn't matter that the bus does not have air conditioner, and it was a hot day ... it would have been nice to have Maggie there ... especially since I was presenting in a semi female manner.

I walked into the room and headed to the back table (my favorite spot).

"Oh good (insert my legal name) is here," Chuck, the area VP said as I walked to my seat at the back at the room.

Everyone turned to look.

I felt so insecure at that moment ... I waved as I sat down.

The meeting resumed.

Chuck came back to talk to me ... no hesitation ... no reaction.  He treated me normal.

My peers from other facilities approached ... no flinching ... no questioning the boots or the hair color.  They all just interacted as if it were another day.

I did not think that anyone would be rude, or refuse to talk to me ... but I thought that someone might at least ask a question ... or a comment.  "You changed your hair ..." or "Cute earrings ..." or even "Are those women's boots?"

Nothing.

But I'm not upset by that ... just a bit perplexed.

My wardrobe was not overtly girly, so that may have played a role in the interactions.  My hair was pulled into a ponytail, but the reddish blonde was a huge difference from the dirty, dark blonde of years past.  The earrings were a bit delicate, dangly and girly.  I wore a grey man's polo shirt because it "sits" better ... the women's shirts I have are just a touch shorter, so as I sit for a long time they tend roll up my fat belly.  This shirt I picked was made of a thinner material and did show the tiny bit of breast development I have a little better.  I did wear pants, but nothing special.  And of course, my comfy ankle boots.

Not female ... but so definitely not male.

Sonia from HR came back and talked to me a couple times.  We did not have a chance for any real conversations, just a few casual chats.  She did get to see me in my daily garb, and now has an idea of how quickly my transition is going.  I like her, and know that she will be behind me if any issues arise in the months to come ... but I doubt there will be issues.

Tuesday evening found me going for another walk.  Although I would not call anything I am doing "training," I am getting out of my chair, out of the house and intentionally walking around.  I am raising my heart rate a bit while moving, breathing and sweating.  It does feel good ... and I had a realization ... ... I don't smell like a sweaty dude!

I got back home and grabbed the shirt I wore to Rosemead.  I tentatively sniffed it ... no dude smell.  I sweated like a pig in the head and wore the shirt all day.  Usually the shirt I wear to L.A. needs to go straight into the washer even when I drive my car and drive in air conditioning ... Wow.  I mean, it was sweaty, and I wouldn't want to wear it without washing it, but the dude smell ... the men's locker room odor was not there.

I was happy.

The rest of the week was tiring, but fun ... hectic, but enjoyable.

I told 3 more coworkers about my transition.  One was very excited for me and told me she has a cousin who transitioned ... I never knew.  The others don't care.  They support me, but my transition is not an issue at all.  I'm relatively sure one of them figured me out a very long time ago ... and after a bit of conversation she pretty much admitted to that ... but again, she doesn't care.  She's happy for me.

I can sense a group of you reading this right now are screaming, "Oh good God.  Just tell everyone and get it over with."

To you I will say this.  My manager and I have agreed that for the few who have not figured it out before the beginning of the school year, I will announce it and post a memo at the first safety meeting in September.

I am a tad nervous ... ...

As far as my family ... On my wife's side I have sent a friend request to one of her nieces.  This niece is likely to be the most accepting of her family ... and possibly the most shocked and outspoken.  It is very likely to not be a "secret" shortly after she sees, and hopefully accepts the request.

I mean ... I am not a secret.  I haven't been hiding for quite some time, but I also have not gone out of my way to announce anything to some people.

For my family I sent a friend request to my niece, Sedona.  She has known about me for a few months and has no issues with me being transgender.  I have left clues and trails of breadcrumbs leading to my profile for any family member who wanted to follow them and find me.  This is one of the more blatant things I have done to make myself visible to them.  If they do and want to have an adult conversation, I will be happy to talk to them.

Of course if they still do not find me ... or if they refuse to accept me as Tiffanie, then that will be there loss.  I will be saddened by their choice, but I will not stop celebrating myself because they choose to be unhappy.

And as a test to see who actually reads to the bottom of my posts I have a tidbit of a story.

I have come to the realization that I will eventually need a bra ... not soon, mind you, but soon enough.

I decided to wear one on Saturday because we (Pam, Timmy, Sedona and I) were not going very many places, and would likely spend the evening watching television ... In a nutshell, if it became uncomfortable I could easily take it off.

It was a wonderful plan ... the only problem is I needed to get it on, first.  I am overweight and not very flexible, but how difficult could it be?

Ummm ... I won't go into details.  I will assure I did not injure myself, but I did learn that there is a definite technique or skill set I need to learn before this becomes a part of my daily routine.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Old photos, little kittens and Johnny Depp

It seems like every entry I either mention my cats, the feral cat and kittens, or I post pictures of them.

I love cats ...

I love animals.

I've always had a way with animals ... calming angry dogs, taming a wild bunny so I could pet it, having animals approach me that shy away from others.  All of the cats we have have adopted us ... or me.

*** Fall 1998

I open the gate to the small yard behind our apartment.  A small ginger tabby cat sat on our back porch drinking water that we put out for the neighbor cats.

I startled her and she ran away.

A family from a different building had moved out a couple weeks ago.  Did they abandon her?

Several days later I saw her again.  "It's ok," I said as I squatted near the gate.

She started to run.

"No, no, no."  I extended a hand.  "I won't hurt you ... Come here."

She stopped and stared at me.

"Come here, baby."

She walked over and smelled my hand ... then she rubbed against it.

It was official ... Red adopted us.  This cute little polydactyl kitty became out first cat in many years.  We would find out from the vet that she was likely 7 years old already ... but he wasn't positive.

She would be a mother figure to Moose when he adopted me a year or so later.

*** August 2009

Red was getting more frail.  We expected that this was normal ... after all she would be close to 17 years old if the vet was accurate on his age estimate.

It was late on a Friday night when we saw her stumble ... or her legs gave out for a moment ... I'm not sure, but it was noticeable.  "If she does this any more we need to take her to the vet," I said.  I had an uneasy feeling, but did not want to think of the possibilities.

Saturday was a much more difficult day for Red.  She barely ate ... she could hardly get around.

I knew the end was near ... I knew the visit to the vet would likely have her not return home with us.

She stayed close to me as much as she could.  When she couldn't climb onto the chair beside me, I helped her.

By the time Sunday evening rolled around she was barely moving.

There was a moment before we went to bed that Moose approached Red ... they stared at each other for a moment then Moose rubbed his nose against her.  He then lied down close by and whined.

Monday morning found Red unable to stand at all.

I laid her on a blanket near the couch with water and food.  I could not call in sick to work ... it was going to be up to Pam to get her to the vet.  I just hoped Red would hang inlong enough ... but then again it might be better if she didn't.

She made a feeble cry.

I felt numb ... I sat beside her and petted her head.  "It's alright ... don't be afraid."

She grabbed my finger with the thumbs on her paw.  She trembled.

"Don't fight ... just let go."  I continued to pet her with my other hand.  "Don't be afraid ... it won't hurt."

A brief gasp ... she released her grip on my finger.

I cried

*** ***

A wonderful friend on Facebook is watching one of her precious kitties pass to the other side.  I so feel her pain.

What you cannot possibly know ... it has taken me nearly 2 hours to write this story because I needed to pause many times to cry.

I have been on estrogen for 6 weeks now, and I am truly amazed how easily the tears come now ... how different, how open my emotions have become.  I always knew emotions were wonderful ... and now I truly feel them.

The physical effects of hormones are also becoming obvious as well.  My muscular strength is decreasing ... my skin is becoming smooth ... and of course my breasts are beginning to develop.

But you've heard this before.

Very recently I stumbled across some old photos of me ... with a beard, with short hair, in pretty good physical condition.

I do not like them ... I will likely delete some of them, but not all.

I had a strange conversation with my sister and nieces a short time back.  We wound up talking about Johnny Depp ... his movies and characters.

It reminded me that he first became popular when he was on 21 Jump Street.  Yes, I know he was in Nightmare on Elm Street and other projects, but that television show seemed to really launch his career.  I also remember (paraphrasing several interviews over the years) that he did not like the show, or at least the character they asked him to play.  He knew he had so much more potential than just playing the teenage heartthrob.

He was right.

He says that despite disliking that roll, he is very happy that he had that opportunity because it brought him to where he is today.

OK ... Johnny Depp fans, please do not inundate me with verbatim quotes from Johnny across the years.  It was the senti
ment of the statements I was relaying.

Just like my old photos.

I am not ashamed of the life I've lived.  I have been very happy with many aspects of my life ... with many of the opportunities I have been given.  I found my soul mate, I raised a wonderful son, I have worked my way into an important position ... I may not have experienced any of this had I transitioned earlier in life ... if I had been born a girl.

I want to keep some of the photos for sentimental reasons ... special times with my wife or son ... family events ... unusually silly, fun, sad or joyous occasions.

I want to eliminate the ones that are phony ... me trying so hard to be masculine ... a real man ... because I wasn't.  Those photos bring back dark and disturbing memories ... times I wish I could undo, but cannot.

But even these times are woven into my life fabric and are just as much a part of who I am today as anything else.

Like Johnny Depp, I always knew I was meant to be so much more than the role I was playing.  Now I can discover my true potential.









Sunday, July 7, 2013

This is day 1 ... ... again

Look at the new count down widget on the right ... ...

Yes, here we go again!!

I will keep this post short as I've been rambling rather endlessly over the past couple weeks.

First of all - The invasion is over.  The bigger part of the group packed up and shipped out this morning without incident.  I do enjoy the quiet ... and the relaxation.  I don't dislike my family, there is just a different level of ambient noise and anxiety when everyone is here.

My brother did wind up having a couple of conversations with me and Pam.  Last night he did the obligatory big brother worrying about our mom talk, but to his credit he asked his questions and listened to my replies.  I understand his concern ... I live with my mom and worry about her.  I cannot imagine being several hours away, having a job that makes you travel and not having any direct way to check on her.

This morning was more of a casual conversation.  I found a couple of his references interesting ... almost as if he'd read this blog and was giving me hints using certain phrases.  He wasn't fishing for information ... he wasn't giving advice, condemning  or guiding me ... it was just a chat.  Perhaps a sign of respect ... we'll see.

Today is day 1 of the rest of our lives.  Only time will tell how things work out.

Secondly - I only gained a few pounds over the food-fest known as the 4th of July.  Considering the volume of calories that passed through my system I am surprised I did not gain more.  I am not happy with any weight gain, but as careless as I was with the amount and healthiness of my diet, I am not upset with a few pounds of gain.

Today is day 1 back on my more healthy eating lifestyle.  Only good things will come from this.

Third on the list - Something kind of snapped in me today ... a switch came on ... an epiphany of sorts.  The San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon 2014 is 11 months away!

I want to finish it.

I will finish it.

For the ???, I lost count of the number, I am reviving my training calendar.  It can be adjusted to fit my current fitness level ... it has room for changes, such as cross training if my knees or ankles begin to bother me ... it has been filled out through June 1, 2014 ... the day of the marathon.  It is slowly increasing the exercise load, duration and intensity gradually to prevent injury.

Today is day 1 of the fitness plan.  I am inspired to torture myself once again.

I know I've talked about diet, weight loss, exercise and other goals many times before and have seemingly not followed through.

I cannot dispute this.

However, recently I have managed to do things that I never dreamed I'd be able to do ... I've been moving my life forward ... slowly ... patiently ... but I am moving.  If I can manage to face my biggest fears, take my biggest personal steps and survive, then I can manage to finish a marathon ... a triathlon ... and ironman triathlon.  And I know I can do all this because ...

Today is day 1 ... again.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

So at some point ...


At some point I realize that my family will stumble across this blog ... or be directed to it.  They may be reading it already and I just don't realize it.  Whatever the case they will likely be hurt or offended by some of my ramblings regarding their rude behavior ...

Oh well.

It may not be 100% accurate fact, but it is my perception of how things happen and the effect their behaviors and comments have on me and Pam ... and I don't care if they know.  In fact, if they saw how they act through other people's eyes they may actually try to treat people better.

Yeah, right.

So let's start with Wednesday -

I stayed home from work.  I had such a horrible headache and could barely sit up.  I truly believe the thought of my visiting family has disrupted my sleep and affected my mood more than the hormones I am taking ... but it is not relevant.  I just felt like crap.

I stayed in bed 'til almost noon ... didn't help.

Pam and I needed to run an errand ... or needed to get out of the house to be precise.  Nobody had arrived yet, but we both already stressing.  I still wasn't feeling very well, but going out with Pam is always good medicine.

During our excursion Pam gets a text from our sister in law ... They were barely leaving home and expected heavy traffic - don't wait for them to have dinner.

The drive for them is usually about 2 1/2 to 3 hours ... and the last time they left later in the afternoon they stopped and ate on the way.  This was a bit of a relief because we really didn't have anything to fix that would feed a larger group.

Pam dropped me off at home and took Sedona to town to go grocery shopping.

A few minutes later I get a text ... The group is almost here.

Shit!!

Now I suppose this would be a good time to mention that, even though I could likely quote most of the conversations verbatim, I am paraphrasing most of what was said.

I thawed some meatballs while Pam and Sedona picked up spaghetti, sauce and bread.

The group arrived and began the traditional loud invasion process.  "What's for dinner?"

I'm not sure who actually asked this, but I just stared.

Pam and Sedona arrived shortly thereafter.

As I worked at dinner the bulk of the group was trying to assemble a tent ... horribly funny, but too long of a story to tell now.

After dinner I was sitting at my computer ... one person said thank you ... Pam.

One brother, two sisters, one brother in law, one sister in law, 5 nieces, three nephews, my mom and a baby said absolutely nothing about the dinner ... not a "thank you," not a "good job," not even an acknowledgement that something had passed through their mouth and was satiating their hunger.

The baby has an excuse ... he only drank milk.

By later that night the usual fun and noise making ensued.  I don't mind the kids having fun, but I still was feeling a bit yucky, and everything was annoying me.  I finally took my sleeping pills in the midst of a conversation with Pam, my brother and his wife and excused myself to the bedroom.

Thursday I didn't feel much better ...

I woke up to the sound of the air conditioner turning on at 9 in the morning.

WTF??  Why is it on so early?

This was followed by the parade of people opening and closing every door they could find in the house while talking loud enough for the people next door to hear.

Crap.

I get up and stagger to the kitchen where I'm greeted by the question, "Are you getting the pork ready?"

Now there has been an ongoing joke about the pork because it is labeled "Pork Butt."  Insert all manner of "rubbing my butt,""picking my butt,""tenderizing my butt," and so forth.  I suppose this may have been a poorly timed, non humorous comment ... but it rubbed me the wrong way.

I closed the patio door.

I emphasize the closing of the patio because we have an air conditioner.  The purpose of the air conditioner is to keep the house tolerable when it is hot outside ... and it was pretty hot Thursday.  The patio gets very warm, especially in the afternoon.  Leaving the patio door open causes the air conditioner to run constantly.

I went to my computer and sat down ... the patio door was open again.

I closed it again.

I stumbled into conversation with my brother, sister and mom.  They were talking about the AC and the electric bill being so hi, so I said, "If the patio door stays open it doesn't what you set the thermostat at, the air conditioner will run constantly."

I closed the door again ... and again ... and again.

I was in the kitchen preparing the meat and closed the door another three times.  By the time I stopped counting I closed the door 13 times ... and that does not include the times I walked in or out of the house.

I got the pork cooking ... nothing fancy, basically a slow cook on the grill after an initial searing.

I went to the bathroom to take my hormones ... the sink was totally clogged and full of water.

Crap!!

Did anyone mention the sink was clogged?

No ... they just expect me to take care of it.  I poured draino in the sink, then went and took a nap.

After I got up I threw the hot dogs on the grill, checked the temperature of the pork ... ... Yes, I stuck a thermometer in my butt ...

My brother cut the meat and others set out the salads and plates ... but nobody said thank you.  Only two people even commented on how well they liked the pork.  Pam, and my sister from Florida.

I felt so under-appreciated ... It must be the hormones ... or the fact that my family expects their visit here to be a full vacation for them and Pam and I to be their wait staff.

Pam and I ducked out in the evening to see some fireworks.  There's a parking lot near the high school where we planned on parking, rather than pay the entrance fee and sit in the crowded stadium.

Well ... it sounded good.

I could not believe the number of cheapskate freeloaders crammed into this lot just to save a couple bucks.  They were all in my way ... how dare they.  Luckily Pam and I found a nice spot that was not under a streetlight, so I took a few nice pictures.

Friday I was feeling a bit better, but not much.

All I wanted to do was rest.  And that's what I successfully doing ... I took another nap, was feeling a bit more human.  There was no work, no cooking to do.

The menu for Friday night was nachos ... tortilla chips with the yellow snot of death poured over the top.  Quick and easy.  So simple the kids could do it ... but ... ...

While I was napping my sister in law decided that nachos was not an adequate meal.  We needed to have taco meat or something.  I didn't want to cook ... I shouldn't have to cook again ... there are 5 days worth of leftovers, plus the yellow snot ... why do I have to cook?

She walks into the house after returning from town.  "The hamburger is in the fridge on the patio."

I said nothing ... I was thinking, "Really?  That's nice.  Why are you telling me?  Who's going to cook it?"

I did cook it ... again nobody thanked me.

There is actually a bit more to this story, but only friends in a specific group know what I'm talking about.  I'll just say that I can still keep a straight face, but I was laughing inside.

I have truly avoided talking about Barb, my sister from Florida, somewhat intentionally.

She has been a godsend.  I hope someday she reads this blog to know how much I truly appreciate her help around the house this week.

My mom has enjoyed having conversations with her.

She treats me and Pam both with respect.

It was nice to reminisce, talk about our lives, have fun and not feel like I am being judged or treated like I am less important..

Barb actually apologized for the communication mishap about her arrival time and sleep arrangements ... it was not her place to do this.  She told people, but the people she relied on failed to follow through.  It shows a level of character and respect that seems to be missing from others.

I had a lapse in judgement today with Barb.

She wanted directions to a business near LAX.  I pulled up google maps and, after clarifying the address, showed her the satellite view and the map ...

I was on this account ... me ... Tiffanie ... not the name she calls her brother.  I know she noticed.  She did not question or comment ... She did disappear with my brother and sister for a while a bit later.  I kind of hope she tells them what she saw ... but I would hope that she would continue to show me respect and ask me what is going on.

I will tell her.

When she left to go to the airport tears welled in my eyes.  Goodbyes have never been emotional before.