Sunday, 30 September 2012

Busy little bee

Since coming back from my trip to the UK I have not really stopped, large projects at work mean that we have a busy period at the moment. Add to that the amount of chores that I also have in home at the moment and it seems that I do not have time to think, let alone stop and recharge.

So what's been keeping me busy for the last 29 days?  I wonder if I can do this without rambling on to much...  Let's see!

Firstly I had a difficult first day back in the office.  With unfortunate timing I had to visit the gender clinic for my three monthly check up with my psychologist the morning I went back to work.  That mean two things - firstly that I would have to work on the Sunday afternoon before starting work to make up for lost time, and secondly that I would have to work from the morning that I should  be catching up with all that has happened during my break.

But, I used the time to go though the 400 mails I had during my vacation and figure out which ones still required action from my part so that by the time I hit the office after my appointment I would be up to speed and ready to start (rather than the normal sit behind your computer for the first day trying to catch up!

The appointment went amazingly - 20 minutes of a 60 minute appointment was enough to show that I am on the right track and that, at the moment, I don't have any issues.  Work's going well, family life is going well and I am simply living my life.  That is the biggest change from the beginning of December, I am no longer spending time stressing over my gender, I'm just living. (Sorry, that feels like such a cliche sentence - but it's just how it is!)

Then on Thursday I had to back to the hospital for my second trip to the MRI for the medical research that I was taking part in.  I took the afternoon off of work as vacation to try and make sure I could get there in time. The only problem was that I ran out of time. Instead of having enough time to make my lunch before leaving I rushed a banana as I ran to my car...

The afternoon was spent doing intelligence and memory tests, orally, written and on on the computer.  Then for the MRI section.  I went into the machine, got half way through the first of 6 tests and the thing crashed and needed to be restarted! But I made it though the rest of the test, and was then given some fun information - which I am not going to share here just in case anyone reading this volunteers for a similar study! They did tell me that the radiologist will also look through each of the scans as normal just as an extra service.

After all the fun of the tests it was time to see the endocrinologist to see how things have been after the first  3 months on hormone.  And to tell me that now the study has finished I switch from patches and injections to 2 tablets twice a day! Oh, and I managed to scare her with my blood pressure.  175/90 the first time she tried to read it.  It dropped a bit the second time, but I have to try and relax when I go back in three months.  It doesn't bother me too much as I know my blood pressure sky rockets when someone tries to measure it.

The time over the following weeks flew, projects and firefighting in the office and seeing family.  Until last weekend when we had our company weekend away.  We were really lucky with the weather that we had - sunny and warm when the week had been damp and cold!  The afternoon was spent making a 'lipdub' to the Black Eyed Pea's I Got a Feeling.  Dressed in a witches hat and over-sized pink sunglasses (we had to wear something crazy) I really got into it after staring with more of a 'oh my god, what the hell is this?'  OK, I'll admit there was a glass of wine (and a bit) in between the first thought and enjoying it :)

What I was surprised at though is I saw a picture someone took and liked it that much that I used it for my Facebook profile. I may still be a little obscured by glasses and the hat, but for once I was looking genuinely happy on a photo!

After the lipdub it was time to go to the hotel room and get changed for the evening.  The theme was black and white and so I had brought a dalmatian print black and white dress, with black leggings and a black cardigan. No one knew what we were going to be doing and it was a shock when we turned up at a quay next to a party boat from the supper club.  The evening was spent on the water with good food, music and drinkable wine.  An evening spent mixing with various groups (also a new experience to me - I normally stick with my colleagues rather then mixing with others groups) on various parts of the boat was a lot of fun.  I called it a night early, as I was driving home the next day I did not want to be to late / drunk, but not before we had two people dressed as panthers stalking the boat.  They acted the part perfectly, and were really intimidating when in a narrow corridor.  But... If you stroked their heads as they walked past they would roll on the ground just like our cat does when you fuss him.  Amazing!

Another week of work brings me almost up to date.  We had a new folder through from a shop last week and both Mrs Stace and I found things we wanted. So a trip to the shops before doing the shopping yesterday and I have a new outfit:

I love it, though it makes me look even taller.  I just hope it's not 'too' for work...  Next week will tell.

They are going to be paired up with new boots that I got a few weeks ago:

Yup I'm starting to get adventurous!

What else...  Well I've been busy with our IT.  Mrs Stace's old laptop died and so we have done our normal thing.  I got myself a nice Vaio Ivy bridge untra portable and she had my Sandy bridge laptop that I had just updated with an SSD.  Now we have to spend the time migrating all of our applications, files and settings and then I am giving my two old laptops away.  They are no use for us anymore, but i have one colleague who is going to use one as his YouTube recording machine (it should be good enough for that) and I'm going to see if my brother can use the other one.

Oh...  And our ceiling fell down in the bathroom!  We noticed a bulge where the 17 year old coating had just given up the ghost.  Half the plaster and coating had come loose so yesterday I had to teach myself how to plaster.  It's not neat, but there is no whole anymore!  I need to sand it down to smooth and then I am going to use fiberglass wall paper to hide the mistakes and just paint it white once everything has set.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Wow, that was a quick trip!

Mrs Stace and I had decided that we were not going to go away for a holiday this year - we have way too much going on and thought that we would not have enough time between appointments to actually go anywhere.  It was going to be a vacation of day trips, and maybe the odd weekend away if we could find the time.

Then about three weeks ago one of those appointments was cancelled and we were suddenly presented with  a week and a bit where we could afford to be unavailable...  But, it was going to *just* long enough - no time to relax.

After thinking for as long as we could (about 1 hour) we decided that we would take the trip - I really wanted to see my family again, and I know that they were also anxious to meet me.  A week later and the car was serviced, the chunnel was booked and we were ready to go!

I cannot say how nervous I felt arriving at the passport control for the first time with the new one - but I went though without a problem or any strange looks from the woman checking the passports there.

It was great seeing my parents again, and spending 6 days with them was worth the effort that it took to go there. Their poor dog took a while to figure out who I was - but once she realised she didn't leave me alone for the whole time! It's a little bitter sweet though - she is getting quite old for the breed of dog that she is and  I fear that she won't be there next year when we go; she was looking very old and tired this year.

I managed to do some work on my Spitfire whilst there this year, welding a hole in the rear wheel arch with my dad.  It was a small rust hole and it needed filling more than patching and so that's what we did.  I tried to fill it (blowing metal out at first!) and my dad put the top layer on (or to put it another way, I tried to fill it and he made good my repair!)  It's really nice to be able to say I did some work on the restoration even if it was not really that impressive!  The car itself is coming along nicely though - the rear wings are now on the car and it looks like a Spitfire again! Now just for the rear light panel, and rear skirt panel and the tub will be done!  Just the bonnet assembly to fix and then it can be put back together and sprayed!

We made out normal trip to Waterstones and got another 12 books to add to the collection - we are up to 520 now in our library! - and a relaxing few hours spent browsing.

And I spent time going through my new wardrobe with my mum, and going through her new wardrobe (she has recently lost a lot of weight and so is having to treat herself to a new one too).  I think that was possibly the highlight of the trip for her - it was only the second time we have really spent some mother / daughter time together since I transitioned and it's something she loves doing.

Of course, 6 days meant that the time absolutely flew past and in next to no time we were having our Sunday roast (Lamb - it's traditional when we go to visit) and preparing to leave again.

A long drive to Leicester (each drive seemed to be along drive - I don't think we had a travelling day where we did not spend half the time stationary!) and time to start visiting family members there.  Only on my mums side unfortunately - my grandparents on my dad's side were on vacation, I have still not spoken to my aunt who is struggling with me, and the rest are just not close enough to go and visit.

First to my mums brother, his wife and my cousin.  They have seen me on Skype, but never met me yet.  It went absolutely fine with them, as we were expecting.  There were a few problems with the name, but they got it.  It was an enjoyable evening with them even if both Mrs Stace and I were exhausted from travelling.

The second and last day in Leicester was spent visiting my grandma and both of my mums sisters. Now, my grandma can be very, very sharp with her tongue.  Whilst she is fine with me, she can make very much jelly fish comments - complements that are really not compliments at all!  But no, nothing.  Half hour or so of chatting just as normal, and not one single mistake with my name - not bad for someone who is 85!

The visit to my mums youngest sister was not something I was looking forward to.  I knew that she would be fine (she had already met me as Stace last year), but her partner is struggling and had previously said that he would not be able to call me Stacy.  If he wanted to avoid using names and pronouns then fine, I would accept that - but I was not going to accept being called by my old name.  I was getting quite nervous about it, after all I did not want to cause a problem for my aunt!  But in the end it went fine.  Whilst he had no idea what to say or do when we first turned up, after a few minutes it went well - he did not use any name, but was perfectly friendly and even gave me his phone to check something on-line.

Finally, we went to see  my mum's middle sister.  It's been a while since we had visited her - but I knew from my mum that she wanted to me meet now.

And I am so glad that I did! She was in tears (good tears!) when she saaw me and spent the first half of the visit staring and complementing me on how I looked.  She apologised for staring and said that she just had no idea what to expect, but it wasn't what she saw! The second half was just a good catchup for the last couple of years. Apparently as soon as she left she called my mum to say that she had a wonderful daughter - which of course put my mum in tears too!

All in all it was a hectic, rushed but fantastic visit to the UK.  Lots of firsts for me as Stacy, I finally got my name changed on my UK bank account (HSBC in Inverness is staffed with very friendly people who cannot do enough to help you! So much better than the Leicester branch who have been useless over the last few years!)

It was definitely a confidence boost - for some reason I was worried more about being me in the UK than I am here in Holland and yet there was no issue at all.