Monday, 29 November 2010

Can I just stop for a few minutes...

Well that went quickly...

This week there is no good or bad news...  My GD has been quite good this last week – more from the fact that I haven’t stopped than anything else really.  Things at work have just gone haywire in the last week.

In the Netherlands you can only change your health insurance once a year – and so any company that has anything to do with that industry has two extremely busy months at this time of year.  We were expecting a bit of growth this year, but visitors to the site have sky rocketed.  To the point where the infrastructure started to groan a little under the stress; a week of organising, fire fighting and stress followed but things seem under control.  My next task is to try and see what we need to buy in the medium term in order to keep it running smoothly.

I’m just trying to figure out what else has happened in the last week…  Almost nothing – I’ve worked, come home, collapsed and slept most of last week.

I made the HR woman laugh.  I was in the kitchen microwaving milk for my coffee when she was fetching something and she asked how things were going with me.  I said fine (which got a strange look) and I made the joke that I just don’t have time to think at the moment.  The strange look seems to be a Dutch thing.  I’ve had a couple of comments from people who know that how can I say fine when all of that is going on in my life. I just remove that from the ‘how are you’ question unless I am really having a bad week – it’s not something I try to concentrate on.  It is…  Something that is constantly there, but I feel that if I make my baseline 100% happy I’m just going to get so depressed.  So I don’t.  My baseline is an average day GD wise. If I happen to have a day when it’s not that present on my brain then that’s a bonus, but I know what I have to deal with in my head on a day to day basis and so I live with it the best I can.  Sorry tangent there :)

This weekend Mrs Stace and I went shopping.  Me for Skinny Jeans and boots, her for a new top.  Wow, was it busy.  It’s coming up to Sint Klas here in Holland (5th December) and so everybody was out last minute shopping for the kids.  I found my jeans, and got some advice from Mrs Stace – she is not comfortable shopping with me, but tries.  We got her top from Mexx and then looked for an outfit I had seen there recently – but they had sold out.

Then came traipsing around the shopping centre looking for boots.  With bots being in fashion at the moment I was not expecting a problem – I have average sized feet for a woman in Holland, but was I wrong.  Either the styles were plain weird, cheap looking or they broke the budget at 130 euros +; there was a really nice pair that I found – but at nearly 200 euros I put them back quite quickly!

We finished most of the shops and I could see that Mrs Stace was starting to struggle with it all so we gave up and went home.  Stopping on the way for something to take the chill out of the air - a bottle of Baileys and a bottle of gluhe wine.  The Baileys I put in hot chocolate instead of milk (instant hot chocolate I add, I don’t drink a cup of Baileys with some chocolate flavour) and the gluhe wine for after coming in out of the cold – tea glass of that, microwaved for a couple of minutes is just what you need to get the warmth back into you :)

Yesterday I continued the shopping trip from the warmth and comfort of my living room.  A trip to Mexx found the outfit that I was looking for, but also a great alternative making me glad the shop had ran out (and a 30% discount coupon for online use).  A trip to a Dutch online shoe shop (nothing compared to Zappos, but hey) found a pair of leather boots with 50 euros discount.  More than I wanted to spend but they should last a while.  I keep telling myself :)

Then.. Finally… A call to my parents – living in the north of Scotland they are currently experiencing a lot of snow (it’s just started today in Holland).  Mum has managed to injure her back, so I gave her a call to see how she is doing and how the weather is.  We chatted about her back, about her work etc.

At the end of the call she asked how I was doing, I told her about the shopping (I had just finished my online shopping at that point).  And finished it with ‘And you can tell dad he doesn’t have to worry – the new skirt is knee length’

She cracked up (as did dad in the background), and told me that they had been speaking about me again – actually scratch that, it sounds bad somehow – they were discussing that they had seen Stacy again.  They are both surprised at how I scrub up when changed – still not sure I see what they see, but better that than the other way around, and mum ended up apologising again that I came out a boy.  But…  Apparently…  Something that dad said made me smile.  He said he was upset that he would never get to tell me who I could or couldn’t date.  And that he could never terrify anyone that wanted to :)

I thought that was amusing.  Maybe if I had lived it I wouldn’t have done…

I am wondering whether to send them a mail with an extract of my last post.  It feels like the cowards way out, but I would like them to know what’s going one and just can’t bring myself to tell them verbally.  We’ll see…

Right, time to start making mince pies!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A couple of weeks of thought....

Sorry it’s been a while – it’s been an interesting few weeks.  Both in the good and the bad sense…

Now where to start?  Always a problem isn’t it?  Do you start with the good news, and then lead into the less good (I won’t say bad news, because though it’s not been fun I can’t say it’s bad…  Sorry I’m rambling now).

The past week or so has been extremely busy – I’ve barely had a chance to catch up on blogs let alone write any.  I’m writing this drinking Latte at a very good Italian Coffee shop in Schiphol airport waiting for my train connection.  (If any of you ever go through Schiphol I can recommend Pronto – just across from Starbucks and so much better!)

Right, the less good; I’ll start with that and finish on a good note.  Much better.  You may notice that this post doesn’t have a lot of structure – I apologise for that.

Two weeks ago I had a therapy session.  It was also Mrs Stace’s birthday and so I just went direct from work, without getting changed first – I kind of assumed that on her birthday she would prefer her husband to come home, and couldn’t possibly deny her that.  But that’s another tangent and not really important to the tale.  I was a good session, we discussed many things – I won’t bore you with the details.  Towards the end the therapist brought up the subject of making ‘the decision’ (my quotes) and that it’s not so much a decision that you make, it’s something that you know.  I told him that I thought I knew what my path was, and that that wasn’t my problem.  That confused him – I have to stop being so English.  So I clarified.  I *do* knew what my path is, and that isn’t my problem.  My problem is to do with cost, not money but Mrs Stace.  He again repeated not to worry and that will come to my in time.

That triggered two of possibly my worst weeks since I started blogging – and a very bi polar feeling.  Whilst I had something on my mind there was no problem.  Then I got 5 minutes to myself, or I got distracted at work and – boom! – I was back in melancholy mode again.  I’ve laid in bed at night trying to grapple it – I don’t actually know if I’ve had insomnia (though I’ve been waking far too early) but it seemed like I was lying awake for half the night.  Last Sunday I spent the whole evening on the verge of tears.

You see my problem that I just don’t see how you are supposed to come to any conclusion there at all.  I have two choices – both are fantastic and both fill me with dread.

1) I can go for transition
I don’t spend the rest of my life in Girl Envy, I don’t spend the rest of my life suffering what I am suffering at the moment, and hopefully get rid of the thoughts of ending it all (don’t worry I’m not seriously considering it – but I still think it’s not healthy to try and work out the best way to do it)

I stand the very real possibility of losing the love of my life.  The person who I have such an amazing connection that we don’t just finish each other’s sentences, we start them as well.  I have a crappy day, see her and suddenly everything seems that much better.  Just writing that sentence lifts me.  Christ, she cares that much about me that *she* made me go to the doctors last year when I told her everything as she could see what it was doing to me, even though she knew where it may lead.

2) I don’t transition
Reverse the above.  And add to it that I spend the rest of my life growing more and more bitter at my body and the way that it shall keep getting more bloke like as the years go by, and hate myself more and more.

But the chances are that I keep Mrs Stace in my life.  Chances are – nothing is certain of course.

So there we have it.  Do I spend the rest of my life slowly hating me for my body and how I have to live my life, or do I risk spending the rest of my life hating that I killed the best relationship I am ever likely to have.

That sentence is the one that has been causing me so much pain and confusion over the last couple of weeks.

Thursday I went back to therapy and brought this up.  His take on it…  Nothing is certain no matter which direction you go for.  Also…  No matter what direction I eventually go for don’t expect to do it without Stacy.  She’s here for good – if I try to put her back into the box and ignore her I am not going to be healthy, and the chances are that that will ruin the relationship.  I kind of guessed that one.

So it will become obvious what I have to do.  Apparently it’s already obvious to those in the know.  When we were discussing something last week I asked Mrs Stace if she had given up on male me.  She said that everyone has given up on male me, and threw the question back.  I said no I hadn’t yet.  I wonder if I am trying to convince myself of that, or if it’s the truth?

I told her that I knew where I should be, but wasn’t sure about the cost – but didn’t go into details.  I didn’t think she needed the pressure when making her own decisions.  My therapist convinced me that wasn’t the right route – that I should show her how much she means to me, just make sure that it’s not said in a pressuring way.  I tried last night and almost succeeded in keeping it free of pressure, we discussed it for too long and in too much depth – but she did say that she was glad I told her.

Anyway that was the not so great.  It’s still going around my head – and I still have no idea what I am going to do.  But the fact that I have discussed it, and that Mrs Stace knows everything that is going on in my head now has taken the edge off a little.

So that is the reason why I’ve been a little quiet.  I’ve needed to write this post, but not known how to do it.    It may be lacking in structure, but pouring my thoughts out seems to have been the only way to do it.  It wouldn’t feel right if I tried to edit it into something coherent.

Anyway – it hasn’t all been bad.  I’ve had a couple of good weeks in the office – it’s been busy in a good way; enough to do, and with lots of thinking involved – not just mindless tasks.  I spent time testing a new monitor (we have been complaining about our monitors for years as they are too cheap and nasty to use for coding.  And the next day 30 22” high resolution monitors were delivered.  I was amazed at the speed that it suddenly happened – no budget for months then on Monday I was asked for input into a monitor, Tuesday I tested and Wednesday we had new ones.  And we have a room full of happier developers.

And finally to close it off…  I’ve spent the last two mornings (I started this on Friday morning and am finishing it now on the Sunday morning) with a bit of a hangover.  We went for a night out as a team after work on Friday – shooting some pool followed by a nice meal.  It was a great night out – the only problem was that I didn’t get much sleep and did drink a glass of wine too much.  Then yesterday we went to see a friend of ours.  Who has exactly my taste in wine (the very nice white that we took with us just happened to be the same that she had cooling in the fridge for drinking with dinner, and the one she had open was one of my favourites that I’m slowly running out of as our supplier can’t get any more.  We sat and chatted for the evening, it was a lot of fun – but we managed to work our way through a bottle each, and I was still recovering from the day before.

This afternoon we say goodbye to some family – Mrs Stace’s cousin is visiting from Australia (her family moved out there years ago).  We are having a last get together at her parents place before they leave in the morning.   Should be a good afternoon, I just hope that I can make it without being pressured into having a drink :)a

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Some degree of normality returns

I think I have enough going through my head right about now, so time for some avoidance therapy :)  And a bit of a bitsa post I’m afraid…

Christmas is a couple of months away – that means that it’s time to start the cake!  My Dutch colleagues are always surprised when I say I am starting it this early.  One of them made the joke – if you start it now it’ll mature by the time you eat it.  He was surprised when I just answered ‘Yup, that’s the idea’ :)

It’s in the oven at the moment, another 3 ½ hours to go until it’s ready to come out.  I hope that it goes well – the eggs, sugar and butter didn’t mix as well as they normally do (well I say normally I’ve only made the cake for the last 3 Christmas’).  Fingers crossed!

The weather has turned over here in Holland.  It’s wet, windy and grey.  The bike has stayed safely locked in the garden for the last couple of weeks (I’m not so much a fair weather rider, but riding on damp, slippery, leaves is not my idea of fun!)  We woke up yesterday and opened the curtains to find the BBQ and bike covers where they shouldn’t be (ie not on the bike or BBQ :p) and were storing enough water for a paddling pool – if only it was hot you could cool off in them :)

The main down shot of the weather is that the cold season has begun again in earnest.  I should be preparing for a 5KM run in Amsterdam today, but as when I ran on Tuesday I could barely complete 1.5KM’s I thought it best to let someone else take my place.  I’m pleased that I did.  Over the week it’s got slowly worse – my throat is starting to go, and my nose is starting to get blocked.  Fingers crossed that it stops soon!  I could do without another winter of almost constant colds and all that goes with it!

Mrs Stace had her birthday this week.  Her father is a sculptor in his spare time and this year her and her sister were offered free reign (almost) to pick their favourite sculpture.  Mrs Stace chose an Owl in (IIRC) Italian marble.  It’s a beautiful piece and has pride of place next to the TV, we just have to find some way of illuminating it during the evening.  I’d love a strip of LED lights – but then you would see the lights which would spoil the effect somewhat.

And finally I spent the last half day setting up a new TV in the living room.  In order to create space for the Owl we needed to remove some of my toys.  The cable digi-box was the easiest to remove, provided we got a TV that had it built in (and the decision was in no way influenced by the chance to upgrade the TV ;p) An issue with someone in the shop translating Dutch to English (he was trying to be helpful, I’m not blaming him) made the job much harder than it was.  When setting up the TV he said you must use ‘Fast’ otherwise it will not pick up any channels.  There was no ‘Fast’ option, and after an hour (IT’er hanging her head in shame at that amount of time just for setting up a TV!) I found out that he meant ‘Quick’ which I found in one of the sub menus.  Using that the TV set-up was finished in about 5 seconds (it really was quick!).  And we settled down for Strictly and then watched Wall.E that my parents brought Mrs Stace for her birthday.  It’s a fantastic film, though neither of us can imagine a child sitting down and watching it all the way through.

Right, that’s it from my – time for breakfast, coffee and to catch up on what I wanted to finish in the office this week!


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Still seems to be OK with my folks...

Well my folks have gone home now, and I’m back at work.  Unfortunately the time that I have back from my parents going I am spending on catching up in the office.  I’ve caught up to a few days ago with your blogs (but I have been rather quiet I think – sorry), but still have quite an amount to read…  The weekend is coming up soon though!

I thought that I’d do a little follow up to Saturday…  Looking back over what I wrote I realised that I may have missed most of my emotions when I originally wrote about it.  I think I had too much on my mind, and was trying to get the post finished before people started to wake up.

What I think I wanted to add to the original post were my and my mum’s reactions when I first came downstairs.  I was expecting to walk into the room and I don’t know what I was going to do.  As it was I got to the bottom of the stairs took a step into the living room and said what do you think?  My mum turned around and her jaw hit the floor.  At which point panic hit and I involuntary took a few steps back until my back was against the wall – and froze.  I couldn’t force myself to move – outside of night terrors that I have occasionally, I have never had that sensation before.  My lip started to tremble and that’s when my mum rushed over from the sofa to come and hug me and tell me that I looked great; and we both started crying.  I wanted to add that as it was such powerful emotion that I can still feel it now.

After I hit the post button last time I went for a run.  The weather was awful – it was cold, windy and miserable.  And yet I was grinning from ear to ear.  I could have run around the lake spinning like Bill Murray in Ghostbusters (for those who remember the original film!).  I managed a very good time that day, and was still bursting with energy when I got in.

Due to commitments we didn’t get a chance to talk about it that much during the next day – I was wondering what they were thinking…

Monday came and it was mentioned a couple of times though out the day by mum.  We were sitting on the sofa and she asked me whether it had helped me, I told her that it had and passed the question back to her.  She said that it had, and that it was great to see me being so natural, and great that she felt so natural talking to me as Stacy.  She also pointed out that she thought it was amazing how much some subtle make up (I really don’t wear that much) and a hair style just transformed how I looked.  She said that her worries of me being out had now changed.  Before she had seen me she worried about what someone might to do me on the street if they took offence.  Now she says she’ll worry about her daughter being out.  I have to say it really does add to my confidence.

That evening when making drinks I asked my dad whether it had helped him.  He said yes.  It’s no longer a black hole with no idea.  He doesn’t know what it is, but it’s not what it was.  Then he said something that I was not expecting.  Paraphrased “I’ve not had experience of this type of thing, but I’m your father and it’s something that I have to say.  Your skirt is too short.”  I pointed out that I hadn’t worn the short one that I have.  He cracked up, but I think it was a good idea not to start with the short one :)  I found out the next day that it was a conversation that he had had with mum – who told him it was a perfectly OK length.  And she told me that just because I had not had those complaints when I was a teenager didn’t mean I was going to get away with not getting them now (and that it was quite a normal reaction for a father seeing his daughter’s skirts)…  I have noticed that since Saturday he has started to treat me more like a daughter.  A daughter that is a complete petrol head (we’ve been discussing plans for my own rusty wreck – well more rotten than rusty), but a daughter none the less – he’s shown me a lot more emotion than he did before they saw me.

She did ask whether or not I wanted to stand out in heels so much though – until I pointed out that I live in Holland and that at 5’10” I’m still 1/8” shorter than my wife - who also has heels the height that I wear.  She smiled and nodded at that.

That brings us up to date again.  I just got off of the phone with them before writing this.  They have talked more about it and are both really happy that I was prepared to do what I did – that it has helped them immensely as to coming to terms with it.  And that, no pressure, should I decide to transition they will just be proud to have the daughter that I am to them.

And I am shattered.  I was not expecting to be quite this drained from the experience, cloud nine, a few down times when feeling guilty for making mum feel guilty but mainly good – but I am really drained.

I am not sure if I missed anything here or not (struggling to see the screen to be honest!).  And on that note I’m off to bed!