Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Falling to bits...

No, not me. Thankfully - though it's been a little bit of a coaster ride since last week I'm happy to say that I don't have that much to say at the moment.

No, this is about my rusty wreck.  Whilst I was visiting my parents I took a look around the work so far, and the work remaining.

What I saw scared me - and made me ask my dad if it was actually still viable.  He's adamant that it is, and that whilst it's the worst that he has seen and worked on is still doable.  All it's going to take it time!  And mig welding...  And Oxyacetylene...  And new steel.  Lots of new steel!

Here's a few shots of what used to be my pride and joy!

The back...

New rear light panel and rear panel needed for this hole...

New steel!!!  The drivers side floor, cross members, heel board, inner and middle sills.  The outer sill is to be fitted once the floor is welded in place so that there is enough strength to stop the tub warping.  Gulp. 

Why there is going to be a new outer sill

And again...

The passenger floor (about the same as the drivers floor was).  That is not grey paint you can see it's holes.  Well OK it is grey paint.  Paint from the garage floor!
On the passenger side of the car there is not enough metal left to support your weight should you try and stand in the car.  And it got worse. My dad has had to rebuild the windscreen support as well.

But he assures me it'll be fine once it's finished!  Fingers crossed - he hasn't let me down with a car yet!

And to finish my own efforts at gas welding, made from three different pieces of waste steel.  I enjoyed trying this, and if I dare say it didn't do bad for someone having a first try.  Then again I had intense one to one instruction from someone who had been doing this for 11 years before I arrived in the world :)

Update and PS: Apologies to Jenny for stealing her term 'Rusty Wreck' - though I think you'll agree it's apt!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Making my aunt cry...

The last time that my parents were visiting Leicester my mum asked if she could tell her sister.  This is something that she wanted to do a while ago so that she had someone close that she could talk to. At the time I told her it wasn't a problem - but she changed her mind, deciding that at the time there was no one else that needed to know.

This time she said that she said that as I have planning for transition she thought that it was time to tell her, and I agreed.

I guessed that she had told her when I got a very supportive text message from her.  I was going to call her at the weekend, giving her some time to think - but she was working the whole weekend and her home phone went through to the answer phone each time I tried.  The following weekend I gave her a call and we had a great chat.  Some of it about Stacy, but most of it was just a catchup as I hadn't spoken to her since February when I was last in the UK.  We also arranged that we would stay there for our stop over rather than with my dad's sister as we normally do.

So...  We got there after a long day's drive and got settled in.  Mrs Stace was not feeling well (I think I have what she had at the moment - slight dizziness and stomach cramp) and so she went to bed early, whilst I stayed up chatting about various things with my aunt.

The following day after a fish and chips supper (has to be done at least once when I am in the UK) and I asked my aunt if she wanted to meet me as Stacy - or would she rather wait until the new year.  She said she would like to see me now if I didn't mind, and if I didn't mind getting changed again before her partner was back.  Apparently he doesn't have too much of an issue - but has said that he would rather wait until I am living as Stacy before he meets me, because at the time he will see me as Stacy (which he doesn't yet).  My therapist has told me that some people work better this way, so I said OK.

I came down after getting changed and got some nice comments from her and we got chatting.  She tried on some of my shoes, as my mum had told her I have some nice ones and as she is a shoe person she wanted to try and steal some. Thankfully found she has slightly smaller feet than me so she can't :)

Anyway we got chatting again about various things, both T and non T related, and then she brought up the Livvy James story.  She said that she thought it was too soon for a child to know and asked me when I knew.  I told her I was four or five, and that it figures in my earliest memories. I think that this shocked her - she asked why I didn't say anything.  I answered that I was scared, and given the school I went to (and the attitudes there from students and teachers alike) that I didn't think that there was anything that I could do about it.

This got her quite upset, worrying about what type of life I have had and asking what quality of life I have had. And at that point she started to cry.  She came across the room to give me a big hug - though I don't know who was comforting who.

We got chatting again afterwards, but it was more chit chat than anything specific.  But I think that I can say that it was an overwhelmingly positive evening.

Oh, and she has changed her mind about Livvy :) 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Tired, Drained and Terrified

But happy...

It's been a little quiet here the last few weeks as I have not been around - or near to an internet connection most of the time.  I spent the time travelling around Ireland and the UK, and of course passing through Belgium and France on the way there and back! All in all I think that we covered something approaching 6000km in two weeks and spent nearly 80 hours behind the wheel of the car. As comfortable as the V50 is that is still a long time :)

There is the tired...

But...  That's not the only reason for the title. Yesterday, about 15 hours after getting back home I had another appointment with my psychologist at the gender team. I arrived a little late - I could not quite get into gear yesterday morning and was late leaving home. At least that is what I thought. What actually happened is that I checked the time of the appointment when I was in the UK and my phone decided that as I was in a different time zone that all appointments should also be moved as well so I assumed that everything was one hour earlier than it actually was.

So I ended up doing a new thing for the first time.  I ate lunch on my own as Stacy, in a restaurant. I don't like eating on my own at the best of times...   So I went in, chose what turned out to be the end of worst table. I chose a table next to an open window to get some fresh air, the problem was that the wind did not blow that much but the sun did make it very hot through the windows that were not open.  Thankfully I had a few appointments with a bit of a gap in between so I had a book with me - always a good defence when eating on your own and I spent what was actually a rather nice 1/2 hour eating a nice fresh sandwich.

The appointment itself was very surprising.  I had no idea what was going to be discussed this time but...  I arrived and my therapist started to talk about the official diagnosis, and we went though the diagnosis questionnaire and her recommendation letter to the gender team.  Just like that... And so I have had my last appointment, the other appointments have been cancelled and I will only go back when I start on hormones.  I have to wait until 3rd November for the gender team to discuss my case, and have to call back on the 4th to hear the official diagnosis, which will then be sent to my via post as well.

So now I wait.  Or rather my therapist at the gender clinic has told me to start planning for the end of the year - when I plan to transition at work.  I said I would wait until I got the official diagnosis, but she says that should be a formality.

There is the drained - it was an emotionally tough couple of hours - especially on top of the tiredness.

So that's it, I plan to transition at work the week before Christmas.

And I am terrified...

(Which I think is a good thing!)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Crazy and in confusion

After week or so of really 'meh' weather, it was really wonderful on Friday and Saturday.  The sun was out, it was warm and there was just the touch of a breeze to take the edge off of it when you were outside.

It was such as shame as those were two days where I could have done with it being slightly cooler and overcast!  Our office air conditioning is broken (again) and so if it starts to get anywhere near pleasant outside it is almost unbearable inside once the sun hits the windows in the afternoon.  Due to the fact that we are on the ground floor our windows are welded shut to try and stop people stealing our computers at night.  So all we have are three tiny windows that swing open.  When it's not too bad outside they work OK, but very quickly the room just gets too hot.  Thankfully someone is coming in on Monday to fit a new machine.

Also, when it's nice we use the old school yard of the building as a meeting room.  Friday was the perfect day for this, and yet I had to annoy people by saying I had to stay in the shade (seeing as I was starting laser again the next day the last thing I wanted was to get a tan on my face to reduce the effectivity and increase the pain).

Finally, yesterday we had to dismantle all of our dining chairs, and move an old coffee table and dining table to storage.  None of which are that pleasant when it's 28 degrees with high humidity.

Last night that started to change, I checked the weather radar for Europe and saw a nice storm slowly climbing it's way north to us from France.  Which is great, as we have nothing to do today so a cold overcast day where we can't use the garden is perfect!

Anyway, we went to bed last night with it still being uncomfortably warm just as the pitter patter of rain started in the windows.  I had some sympathy for a neighbor - it seems they were having a last garden party last night, complete with lots of fairly lights (I had to do this for my BBQ next year) which they had to quickly take inside once the rain came (OK, I'll do it with outdoor lights!).

We got to sleep, and that's where it gets weird...  I woke up at 1:30 only now the rain is hammering on the window like it's trying to get inside.  I got back from a bathroom visit and it was even worse.  Flash, count to 15 and then boom.  OK three miles away.  I struggled to get back to sleep waiting for the next strike to come, I love watching thunder storms, but they also terrify me.  Or at least I thought I was struggling to get to sleep.  Either we had lots of really close strikes (we do occasionally get strikes somewhere in the neighborhood where it's almost instant Flash BANG!) and a low flying plane coming in to land at Schiphol whilst struggling a little, with lots of people panicing in the street or (and I think that this is a possibility) I fell asleep without knowing and my fears came into my dream...

But I rarely have a dream as realistic as this, and it's even rarer that I can remember everything vividly the next morning.  Maybe vaguely for 1/2 hour after waking up and then it all becomes hazy - but this is still there in completeness.  It's a little disconcerting I have to say...

PS Virtual New York cheesecake to whoever can guess where the title is from.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Bzzz, Crackle, Bzzz

And I am not referring to the sound quality of our new HD channels (the cable provider has just changed so that all normal channels are transmitted in HD - but sometimes as tonight the sound quality is not as good as it could be!!!!)

No.  I am referring to the sound made by my skin this afternoon.  After a summer break I started laser again.  This time at a dermatologists practice, once that works with the VU Gender Clinic, and I have to say after just one visit the difference between this and the previous clinic is huge.

First off they took a good look at my skin, something that the first clinic didn't.  And I mean good.  A magnifying glass with a ring light attached.

Second they went over the area slower and with more precision.  Look through the glass, gel, zap, scrap off gel and look through the glass to make sure that the hairs have actually been zapped. And then move to the next area.  Then after doing each of the zones she checked the whole face again and zapped the hairs that hadn't been caught from the first round.

She then put on some anti-septic cream, and gave me a tube to use for the next three days morning and night to prevent any infections.  We arranged another appointment and she gave me a prescription for a tube of anaesthetic to use the next time.

And throughout we had a good chat.  So whilst I may be in pain, and whilst I may be 100 euros a session worse off I think it's going to be well worth it.

Just a shame that I lost all the time with the other company.  Hohum.  As my therapist said at least the other company caused no skin problems.

After a wonderful hour sitting in the char of the pain I got home to find my in laws dismantling out dining chairs so that we could put the old chairs and dining table into storage and pick up our new one.  We have brought a green oak table - that is fresh oak not painted green ;p, with a matching set of chairs. Well, I say matching, they look the same and are from the same company - but if they are oak then I am stronger than I thought, I can pick two up with ease. I get the impression the chairs may be pine framed...

The table is most definitely oak though.  It weighed a ton :)  However, when we put the legs on it we found out that they had given us legs for a table 30cm bigger than the one we bought.  So back to the shop.  They had our legs in the warehouse.  They said.  It turns out they had gone walk about (no pun intended).

So they said that they would order the new legs, and I asked if we could get a discount - we now have to live for a few weeks without a dining table and take yet another trip to the shop to get the correct legs.  The guy at the service desk couldn't authorise that (wtf?) and had to call the store manager who annoyed the hell out of me.  'Not our problem, we haven't supplied the wrong legs, our suppliers have.'  Bull.  I pointed out that we brought them from the shop and not the supplier.  To be fair the guy behind the counter (NOT the manager) did what he could to help us.  It turns out that the table is on special offer this week, so I said cancel the order for me.  Order the table again (seeing as the they have to put an order into their supplier) and give me the discount price.  I'll accept that.

I hate computers.  With a passion.  Actually I hate programmers and systems analysts.  What should have been really simple suddenly becomes a major problem as it has to be done in such a way that the computer accepts it.  So rather than it taking a couple of minutes it took nearly 45.  But it was done, and we got a substantial amount of money back.  So we just have to live as students for a while and eat from our laps.

This evening we were supposed to be going to the culinary exhibition in the town centre, but as we were both tired from fighting the shop we decided to just eat in.  A table cloth on the (admittedly oversized) coffee table, and a spread of Chinese take away food looked very cute.  I'm sure we'll cope :)