Saturday, November 10, 2012

THE LAW OF THE GARBAGE TRUCK

I received this "funny" in my email the other day and it really struck home...please read.

 "THE LAW OF THE GARBAGE TRUCK" 

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, "Why did you just do that? That guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck." He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage -- frustration, anger, disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.

 Thought for the day:  Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.

 How has your transgendered life affected your outlook, attitude, and response to the world around you? As a very non-confrontational person, I seldom, if ever, unload my frustrations on anyone. Over the last few years I have developed my ability to sucessfully pass and present the "woman inside" without confrontation or even very many stares, side glances, or whispers. I feel that my truck is mostly empty. If your's is full, overflowing, and stinking up your life, remember the attitude of the taxi driver and enjoy who you are.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Unconventional Wisdom

THINGS LEARNED WITH TIME ~ I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." ~ I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. ~ I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. ~ I've learned that people will forget what you said... people will forget what you did... but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. ~ I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. ~ I've learned that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for. ~ I've learned that money doesn't buy class. ~ I've learned that under someone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved. ~ I've learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can? ~ I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts. ~ I've learned that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am. ~ I've learned that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them. ~ I've learned that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them. ~ I've learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. ~ I've learned that it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation. ~ I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Suzis




As you may have guessed, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Many of you know that I had my left hip replaced last January. The surgery was a success and the surgeon was very pleased with the way my bone was growing around the implant. He made this diagnosis during my 6 month checkup visit last June. They take X-rays at 6 weeks, 3 months, and a final one at 6 months...assuming everything healed well. I knew that my right hip was failing too, just not quite as quickly as my left one did. During that 6 month visit, I asked the doctor if he would X-ray the other hip and see what he thought. The X-ray revealed that there was no cartilage in the joint and the hip "ball" was already being malformed from the bone-to-bone contact. He also pointed out bone spurs that are notorious for causing pain in joints. My main reason for pursuing information about the other hip was because I had paid all of my out-of-pocket insurance expenses and the second operation, theoretically, would be fully covered. One caveat was that I had to get it done before the end of 2011. I explained this to my surgeon and he suggested that if I wanted to wait a while longer, that we could X-ray it again in early October. He is a very busy doctor and you have to make surgery appointments several weeks in advance. October finally came, the X-rays showed the same old worn out joint, so we set November 17th as my surgery date.

I don't know how many of you have had major surgery twice in the same year, but I assure you, that is NOT the best of times...lol. Even though they have you up and walking within a few hours of your surgery, it takes months to recover the full use and flexibility of that joint. The muscles and nerves from the hip to your feet are stretched dramatically when the joint is pulled apart. Thank God there are people that love to do that kind of work. I pretty sure I would be in a wheelchair before I retired, if I could not have had the surgeries.

Anyway, Nov. 17th finally rolled around. Since I just recovered from the first surgery, I pretty well knew what to expect. I was calm about the process but was definitely not looking forward to another 6 months of healing and recovery. I was not looking forward to going back to work. I was not looking forward to the pain and swelling ANY of the time. I hate pain...don't you? No matter how much I was not looking forward to the operation, the time had come. As a side note, I'm amazed at how advanced they have grown in the anesthesia field. In the operating room, they sat me up on the side of my bed, made me lean forward, then gave me a shot in the spinal nerve...morphine I think. In 5 seconds I was out. I began recovering as they were rolling me to the recovery room. I think they were a little surprised. I experienced no nausea, no grogginess, and no real pain. In an hour or so, they decided I was ready to be taken to my room. Now let me tell you, this doctor really takes care of his patients. I had a nice private room on the 9th floor, with a spectacular view of the Dallas downtown skyline. Just like last time, within a few hours a physical therapist showed up and made me get up and go for a walk down the hall. I guess the morphine was still working because I felt so well I didn't even use a walker. As we passed the nurses station they all looked on with amazement saying "well, look at you...showoff."

That night my wife stayed in the room with me and we tried to get some sleep. You see...I had to be at the hospital at 5am for pre-op. Since I live 115 miles from the hospital we set the alarm for 2am. I had been awake for 20 hours (minus time in the O.R.). It was time to get some sleep! That turned out to be a pipe-dream. You see, hospital maintenance seemed to think the middle of the night was a good time to strip, wax, and buff the floors in the hall just outside my room. Complaining did no good so we watched TV or tried to sleep anyway. They finally quit working around midnight, but that was not necessarily the harbinger of sweet dreams. If you've spent time in a hospital, you know that they are constantly waking you up to do a long laundry list of things like take your blood pressure, give you meds, draw blood, poke and prod...anything but let you sleep. I guess they got tired of stabbing me, etc, about 3 am, and we finally got a little sleep.

The next day, I was checked out in every way imaginable, given an "OK", and discharged to go home. Needless to say, I kept a close watch on my wife's eyes to make sure she didn't fall asleep on the two hour trip home. Also needless to say, we hit the hay when we got home. Now the fun of recovery could begin.

I probably should have reversed the order of my introduction so it read, "it was the WORST of times, it was the best of times." The surgery was over, I was home with plenty of hydro-codone/acetaminophen and aspirin. My Lazy Boy chair groaned with anticipation about how much time I would be spending in it over the coming weeks.

With both surgeries, the first week after surgery proved to be the most painful. After about a week, I began to notice a gradual improvement every day. The surgery was done on a Thursday. By Monday or Tuesday of the next week, I was going bonkers sitting around the house, so I decided I needed to make the best of a bad situation.

Suzi Time!!! :) Now begins the best of times...sort of. I knew I would not be ready to go back to work for about 3 weeks. At the same time I knew I needed to keep moving, work the muscles and nerves by walking as much as I could endure. Now, every day was something to look forward to. So many decisions to make...what outfit to wear, where to go, what to do, what to shop for...wonderful decisions.

Every morning I would shower, shave, dress, makeup, hair, and nails. I would hop in the car and head to town without a care in the world (I wish). Most of the time I would alternate going to Tyler and Longview. They basically have the same stores and I didn't want to wear out my welcome in either city...lol.

For the first couple of weeks, my leg was still very weak and lacked any endurance. I would walk into a store, do a little shopping, and I could feel the leg beginning to scream at me to get back in the car and rest, or at least sit down someplace if I was in the mall. Remember how your legs felt the last time you ran a marathon? Yeah, that's exactly how that right leg felt after about 5 minutes of shopping. Sometimes I could extend the experience a little if I would place all of my weight on my left leg while I was rifling through clothes on a rack.

Overall, the opportunity to be Suzi nearly every day for several weeks was a lifelong dream come true. Have you ever taken one of those transgender tests that asks you about your reaction to dressing only as a woman for a whole week? I was finally putting this question to the test. I blew it out of the water...I never wanted to dress as a man again.

Well, I guess we're getting back to the worst of times again...sigh. Eventually, I knew I had to get back to work. My wife had been working lots of overtime because she's in retail and the Christmas season was upon us. Her overtime has carried us. My company is not obligated to pay me any sick time but they did. They paid me a full week of sick time and a full week of vacation time. A $500 Christmas bonus has helped too. But that still didn't make me want to go back to work. My leg had not been tested for an 8 hour day. I had planned on working only half a day for the first several days after my return. Nope. They put us all under the gun to get a job finished and we only had a week or so to get it done. We've been building a church and the company promised the church they would be able to move in a week before Christmas so they could have services on Christmas day. Rush, rush, rush. My first day back I only managed 6.5 hours and I had to go home. My leg was swelled up like the Michelin Man's legs. I could barely bend it. That's really not a good thing because it increases the possibility of blood clots. Well, the next day, and every day I worked after that, I worked the full 8 hours. Oh, if only the best of times would return.

Well, we finished the job in time...aren't you glad? My bosses had been pushing us to get done because they wanted us to dive into another big cabinet building project for a building in Dallas. I was about 15 minutes from being totally finished with everything on our "punchlist" and I got a call from the project manager. He was calling to inform me that when we got finished that afternoon, we were going to be out of work until after the first of the year. Now, I don't know what that means exactly. I mean, all of time comes after the first of the year. That's a pretty vague statement don't you think? They seemed anxious for us to get going on that job but now they were laying us off for at least another 10 days? Hmmmm. My boss can be pretty miserly when he wants to. At other times he's very generous and likes to reinvest in his company. I'm thinking he saw the opportunity to save a little year's end money by sending us home for a few days. You see, we don't get paid for this time off. Nor do we get paid our normal paid holidays...Christmas and New Year's. Oh well...what's girl to do?

Aha! It appears that the best of times have returned, even if only briefly (I hope). For now, it seems I have the rest of this week to dress and feel somewhat normal. My leg is healing nicely and I have a lot more shopping endurance now. Even though I have some mixed emotions about the circumstances surrounding my new opportunities to dress, I feel I need to make the best of the situation.

Spending all this time as Suzi has been such a blessing and sheer joy. I never dreamed I would love it so much until it happened. Going back to work, to say the least was very depressing to me. "Dread" became the word of the day. I simply did not want to go back to work. Only my innate sense of survival has given me the intestinal fortitude to drag myself back into the old work truck, break out the tools and take care of business as best I could. My heart was aching to live full-time as a woman, find a job in the working world...as a woman, arise every morning to live as a woman. Yes, "the best of times" could become the "worst of times" if I'm not careful how I handle the situation. I know what my wife is thinking..."maybe this will help him get Suzi time out of his system." I don't dare tell her how wrong she is.

How do you keep on keeping on? Calie is the most wonderful example I've ever seen. I still have no intention of beginning a transition. I've made that decision...final answer...no. My recent extended Suzi time has been such a wonderful experience. I'm totally convinced my happiness and joy at being Suzi has sped up my recovery time.

Well, today I dressed and headed to IHOP in Tyler. The weather was cold and rainy...even a duck would not have liked it. I was greeted by the hostess who took my name and told me the wait would be about 15 minutes. We were packed in the entry and tiny waiting room like sardines. There I was, rubbing elbows with my fellow human beings...men, women, and children, and enjoying every second. I did not mind the wait at all. I had the chance to interact with, and apparently be accepted by the people around me. Eventually I was seated and a wonderful young lady named Chelsea served me. She was so pretty, feminine, and sweet...everything I dream of being and know I will never achieve. My meal was $11.99...I left her a $5 tip, just because. I went to check out and I heard the lady behind the register mention to a customer that Chelsea was her daughter. When it became my turn to pay, I asked her if Chelsea was her daughter and she said yes. I told her Chelsea was so sweet and did such a good job. I told her I left Chelsea a little note thanking her for her great service. Her mom suddenly looked so proud. I just don't know if my drab self would have done any of those things...the note, the big tip, the chat with Mom. I left feeling pretty good. Of course I was already feeling good. I hope I can carry that feeling through the rest of my life no matter how I have to present myself...no matter what kind of work I have to do, no matter what kind of clothes I have to wear.

I will continue to dream of the "best of times." I hope everyone who reads this will agree to continue that dream too. This life is short. I will continue to pray for help in the "worst of times." I will also continue to thank God when I'm able to experience the "best of times."

Thank God I'm out of hips to replace! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

SCROOGE SUZI



I didn't need the following explanation...which sounds like something Sheldon, on "Big Bang Theory" would come up with...to learn the truth about Santa. All I had to do was dig around in the storage room where I found a football with "From, Santa" on it. I thought this was cute anyway.



SOME FACTS ABOUT SANTA CLAUS

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer, which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children in the world (persons under 18). But since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist children, that reduces the workload by 85% of the total--leaving 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there is at least one good child per house.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding, etc. That means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, at tops 25-30 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming each child gets nothing more then a medium sized LEGO set (2 lbs), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting the "flying reindeer" can pull TEN TIMES that normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine--we need 214,200 reindeer. This increased the payload--not even counting the weight of the sleigh--to 353,430 tons. Again for comparison, this is four times the weight of the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance. This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per second, each. In short, they will burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and creating a deafening sonic boom in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa meanwhile, will be subject to centrifugal forces of 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250 lb. Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by a 4,315,015 pound force. In conclusion, if Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas eve, he's now dead.

Friday, October 14, 2011

HOW TO START A FIGHT

The Unreasonable Mother-in-law

One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a
Christmas gift...
The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.
When she asked me why, I replied,
"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"
And that's when the fight started...

______________________________

The Unreasonable Wife
My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
while we were in bed.
I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have Sex?'
'No,' she answered. I then said,
'Is that your final answer?'
She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes..'
So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."
And that's when the fight started...

________________________________

The Humour-less Wife
I took my wife to a restaurant.
The waiter, for some reason, took my order first.
"I'll have the rump steak, rare, please."
He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?"
"Nah, she can order for herself."
And that's when the fight started...

________________________________

The Mis-informed Wife
My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and
she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at
a nearby table.
I asked her, "Do you know him?"
"Yes", she sighed,
"He's my old boyfriend.... I understand he took to drinking right after
we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober
since."
"My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that
long?"
And that's when the fight started...

________________________________

The Dangeorus Wife
When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me
that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to
take care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer.. Always something
more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her
point.
When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass,
busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched
silently for a short time and then went into the house.. I was gone only
a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said,
"When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the
driveway."
The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

________________________________

The Lazy Wife
My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.
She asked, "What's on TV?"
I said, "Dust."
And that's when the fight started...

________________________________

The Humourless Husband
Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and
slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the van,
and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was
blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio,
and discovered that the weather would be bad all day. I went back into
the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed.. I cuddled up
to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered,
"The weather out there is terrible."
My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my stupid
husband is out fishing in that?"
And that's when the fight started...

________________________________

The well rounded Wife
My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3
seconds."
I bought her a bathroom scale.
And that's when the fight started...

________________________________

The Soft Husband

After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social
Security.
The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to verify
my age.
I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home.
I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and
come back later.
The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'.
So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.
She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me' and
she processed my Social Security application..
When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the
Social Security office...
She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten
disability, too.'
And that's when the fight started...
________________________________

The Masochistic Husband

My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw and said to me, "I feel horrible; I
look old, fat and ugly.
I really need you to pay me a compliment.'
I replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect."
And that's when the fight started...

Oh well...just thought you might need a good chuckle today :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Remembering Melissa

I was so saddened when Melissa told us of her cancer discovery. "Cancer" is one word we all fear, whether it be in reference to ourselves or someone we know or love. Now, Melissa's passing has left a huge void in so many of our lives. Melissa is one of the few people that could blog about flies in her house and make it interesting. Sometimes she reminded me of Erma Bombeck or Bruce Cameron. One day she would fret over the heat and humidity, and the next day she would blog about the beauty of her surroundings. So many blogs were punctuated with inspiring or just plain good music videos.

Melissa and I disagreed on just about everything political, but we were never disagreeable with each other. She had an amazing ability to look past those disagreements and right into the heart of the matter. I probably got more blog comments from her than anyone. It was her way of letting us all know that she cared about us. She also knew we cared about her.

I know God accepts Melissa just as she is. God always looks to the heart...to the motivation with which we express our life. In Matthew 23 Christ was asked what was the greatest commandment. To paraphrase, he said the first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul. The second is like the first...love your neighbor as yourself. In the deepest regions of my heart I believe Melissa has fulfilled the second great commandment. Her love for all of us was obvious. I also believe that God will find a way to joyfully bring her to see the same love he has shown ALL of mankind by giving his only Son as a sacrifice for our sins so we can have eternal life. In the end, I think Melissa and I will agree on that one :)

We love you Melissa...thanks for the imprint you have left on our community. In death, your life will be remembered always. As usual....Hug, Suzi

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shooo Doggies Granny!



...to quote Jeb Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies.

How hot and dry is it? The other day I saw a tree chasing a dog. There have been reports of birds using pot holders to pull worms out of the ground. What?...you don't believe me?

The image above is of a Texas rain gauge.

They say records are meant to be broken. Sometimes that makes us happy, sometimes not. This summer has been the hottest I've experienced...EVER. It's one for the record books here in East Texas. The bad news is that August is usually our hottest month...that just doesn't seem possible. We SHATTERED our old record of CONSECUTIVE days of 100 degrees or more. The previous record was somewhere in the 20's. I am overjoyed to announce that the new record has finally come to an end...46 DAYS! You may have heard news about Dallas having so many 100+ days, but it has been much worse 100 miles to their east. I forget how many new single day records we have set. We tied the all-time record for our area...111 degrees. I have a thermometer outside that always seems to match the official temps in Tyler. So many days I would come home from work about 4pm and it would be between 105 and 110 degrees.

It's not enough that we had a streak of 46 straight days over 100...there were quite a few days earlier in the summer that ALSO reached that mark. If we had not had a cool front and cloud cover yesterday (Saturday, Aug 13) we would be looking at another week of 100+ days to add to the record. I just hope we're not starting ANOTHER streak.

Compounding the heat streak is record drought. I planted a garden in April and if you had to buy the produce we reaped in a grocery store, that would cost you less than the price of the seeds and water needed to grow them. Maybe next year. In July we received less than 1/2" of rain instead of the usual 3". The same was true for March, April, May, June, and now August. August is our driest month and it usually averages about 2". May usually averages close to 5". We're about 15" below normal for the year. East Texas is normally a rainy section of Texas, usually averaging between 40-50" a year.

These conditions are extremely stressful. It affects peoples' attitudes and health. I suppose you could compare it cabin fever up north when everyone is forced indoors during bitter cold and blizzards. Down here it's still cabin fever except we are all huddled around the A/C vents hoping to stay cool. In the cabinet shop where I work, we are exposed to outdoor air and we use fans to keep us from burning up...no A/C though. By mid afternoon that 105 degree blast coming from the fan is only good when compared to having to work out in the sun.

It has been so hot that many of the trees have gone into survival mode and have begun shedding leaves. It looks like Fall in my yard. It's covered with leaves! Leaves are blowing in the streets. Everything seems so incongruous...boiling hot temps while the leaves fall. Hay farmers and ranchers are hurting badly. Many are having to sell their stock because there is simply not enough grazing grass to support them. We normally mow our lawn once a week. This year we have mowed it twice and that was back in May and June. Lake levels all over the state are dropping. In West Texas, I heard of one area that is being forced to purify sewage waste water because ground water is gone. Texas has 254 counties. Brewster county is about 5 times the size of Rhode Island, and dry as a bone. Out of the 254 counties, only 4 or 5 in deep southeast Texas...close to the coast...do not have burn bans in effect.

Yesterday seemed like a warm spring day as I shopped and otherwise spent my day as Suzi. Oh...the temp was only 97. We have a chance of rain today and tomorrow, then it goes back to high pressure, hot and dry until God knows when. Good news!...I fully expect it to cool off by mid-November :)