Thursday, 27 August 2009
Saturday, 22 August 2009
We are not long into Julie’s retirement, scent from the bunches of lilies still permeate the house and we are not easily falling into our new life.
Without any consultation she has assumed that she can take over whichever parts of my half of the partnership she wishes and I should find other things to occupy myself with. She wants to do the cooking but has NO idea about how to shop. Except for wine and that has to be reduced! For someone who organised a team of workers she is incredibly reluctant to make forward plans and stick to them assuming that we have been able to open some form of communication. To top it all there is cricket on again. I should be grateful, five days of peace but it is on audio all over the house so that she can walk about and not miss anything! Some is digital via the tvs and is slightly delayed from the radio, the commentary is like a surreal poem in an unfathomable code. She is quite excited (by the cricket), England could win by some miracle, this is not really the done thing, they are supposed to be the underdogs. Well it keeps her happy but I have no Idea what she wants to do after it ends.
Julie is still supposed to be occasionally supervising the progress of the last work project adding her expertise, the project is months behind schedule. She was shocked by her treatment on her first visit when all privileges and access to project computers were suddenly withdrawn. She wanted to help out as unpaid volunteer and now feels that they will not appreciate her unless they have to pay. They are working on a one day per week project for next year, hope this works I need the peace and quiet.
There is a lot of moaning about lack of money as if I don’t operate at my best in austerity mode, being born into post WW2 shortages and that hardship has prepared my generation for any hard times to come!
The one thing which causes no problems is me being me anytime I wish, seeing me in a skirt all day if I wish has become accepted normal. It had been my greatest fear that we had not come to this arrangement before we were forced into such close proximity all the time. I feel so lucky while so many others out there are having such a hard time with their wives or partners.
We may go for a short trip north next week to see three friend’s exhibitions, bad timing leaves our free bed and breakfast unavailable but we wish to encourage them so I guess we shall have to pay up for accommodation and forgo the socialising we had hoped for.
First day without rain for weeks, if this lasts through tomorrow I can paint from the access tower which I put up a month ago and have not been able to use yet!
Sunday, 16 August 2009
A busy week, wedding anniversary 26th, Julie’s retirement and her birthday. Emotions on roller-coaster all week but we got through it unscathed. For the retirement we threw a party with finger buffet for fifty + which I did with one of Julie’s cousins, we did not want the standard saturated fat deep fried things which usually appear, just enough left for light snack later that evening!
She has been a very popular person at her work where she has been for over 32 years and they collected double what anyone else had ever got for a present, Her colleagues had commissioned a craft made necklace similar to one she had once admired but she had shown interest in an amber necklace from Poland some time before and put her name on it and thought she would be paying for that one herself, she got both!
After all the of the big party we had a quiet Thai lunch with a few cousins and close neighbours then a lazy afternoon when we all came back for cake out in the glasshouse out of the wind. Plans started to be made by all present on how to spend all this new free time. First priority is to stop eating cake!
Since the mortgage was paid up ten years ago we have managed fairly comfortably and gained a few pounds but now we will have to be a lot more careful with the expenses again, first saving will be on food! We aim to try and loose some excess and gain some fitness. This will be harder for Julie with her health condition, my incentive is to lose the belly which seems to be part of fat redistribution! Watch this space.
The buffet was finished for delivery ten minutes ahead of schedule, not a lot of time to get changed for the party and I was driving to the venue before I realised that I has not attended to my face, In fact I had not been near it for over a week. I could feel some slight prickles as my finger slid over my lip and in my imagination they were huge but too late. Returning home I got out the magnifying mirror to find a few fine hairs almost invisible with normal eyesight! Even better than that since I had not shaved for two weeks there was now a soft fuzz of fine velus hair catching the light! I had completely forgotten that this was the dream ending of these years of hair removal treatments to look absolutely natural, a heart racing damp eye moment. Still a few odd stragglers to catch but essentially job done, I am going to miss Aly and her girls but the money has run out and I would have had to stop soon anyway.
The epilator on arms and legs is so much better than shaving and so easy after the first major harvesting, life transformed so cheaply why did nobody tell me this before?
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
I have found a new room in the house! Twenty years ago it was abandoned as too expensive to repair and decorate!! I took it over as a studio space for when I needed to photograph artworks in controlled lighting, at that point the blinds were closed curtains drawn and extra blackout hung!!!
2.20 pm ,the rain has started early today!!!!
The phone stopped ringing several years ago when everyone bought a digital camera so the space became a magnet for every piece of junk imaginable,half should have gone straight out but that is not my decision to make so…
Yesterday I started to dig my way towards the window putting my back out and into spasm. Today with great care , for my back, I took down the blinds and let in the light. Quite a nice room with a bit of work, could not see it buy room lights which were so weak and got absorbed by the terra cotta ceiling colour, my lights were concentrated on the work and nothing else and usually in a black box!
The good news is that a cheque will arrive soon for £9000 /$14829, enough for a life changing holiday for two in sunny Thailand, the bad news is that the windows can no longer be kept weathertight and I have got fed up digging out rot and filling up the holes so the whole lot is going on replacing windows the result being that they will look exactly the same but they will work and for the rest of my life I do not have to ever bother with repairs. This is the third “summer” in a row where the wood has not dried out enough to work on them.
Truth be told given the choice and the money had to be spent on doctors bills I would spend it on what the world sees before bothering with the rest of the bits almost nobody will ever get to see but even that is probably too late so a set of double glazed windows it is then. We have agreed the price and all being well tomorrow they will be measured up exactly and the money will be gone sometime in September before the cold and damp weather arrives. I thought we had been saving this money for a new car to see us through the first ten years of retirement, I agreed to this at a time when my future was about a month ahead and that seemed to long. Never thought I would actually be here and spending it! Now you can see why I had to rediscover this room. Think it will be small enough to hide in for the coldest months to save on heating but some work to be done first.
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Half a lifetime ago I became friendly with someone I had known of for sometime as part of a joint circle of friends with my then partner. In testing the friendships after my break up this person stuck with me somewhat to my surprise. I had a fairly good education which as it turned out prepared me for absolutely nothing in this life. Here was a woman far better educated with far more degrees than I can remember but almost as unprepared for this life as me. As it turned out she took me in when I was at my lowest point and we have been together ever since.
I was happily unmarried but she wanted it and the tax brakes which it brought back then so we signed up after some years together, twenty sixth anniversary soon. We have had an interesting life together, not exactly conventional but we each fell into our roles quite comfortably. I stayed home to look after home, garden and her mother as she moved between her two daughters on a three month progress. Her mother had far too good a life and kept going for twenty years, luckily staying active almost till the end at eighty nine! We became best friends, she was hardly conventional either!
When asked I always said I was a housewife, perhaps not always the best. Most people’s reaction showed that they thought I was joking, how were they to know. This position allowed me to quietly be myself and within our tight budget do what I liked and be who I wanted to be mostly hidden from the world in our slightly too large old family house which has been in constant need of repair. We are fairly sociable and tend to spend most of our budget on dinner parties, so old fashioned I know but… The rest of the time I have had unmeasureable periods of solitude alone with my thoughts. Julie wanders off to work at a job which she has always called a paid hobby, resisting promotion to administration, preferring to do real and interesting work even though the income was little more than we needed. Time has moved on and before the end of the month my peace will be shattered. Retirement age has been reached and a new life is thrust upon us.
Long before we got together I had a strong suspicion that Julie had some kind of neurological problem. She did not recognize it herself for about ten to fifteen years and doctors took years to diagnose her but having lived with a mother with similar signs I was way ahead of them all. When our friendship started to become serious this gave me a world class dilemma. If you have read previous blogs you will know that I became homeless and jobless by my own choice knowing that my life had to change, in which direction I did not know so I wandered about for nearly a year, often with Julie.
She eventually made it very clear that what she wanted was for me to move in with her full time. It was clear that somehow I had found someone who was besotted with me in a world where no other female had shown even the slightest friendship in my whole period of freedom. It was clear that I could hardly abandon someone whom I adored just because of the fear of future health problems. We have been lucky and so far the problems have been more of an irritation than a handicap. Energy and mobility are reduced and she now walks with a stick but has managed to get to retirement with enough energy to still go back occasionally when her knowledge can be of use.
How have we been as a couple, an odd couple?
Like everyone else she ignored all my non masculine attributes and for most of the time felt that she had a husband, I came equipped with the appropriate male part to give her the thrills she wanted and I have to admit that being able to provide that pleasure was satisfying. She was somewhat puzzled by my lack of male animal lust which popular culture showed her I should have, how was she to know that I was not exactly playing a male role in these games. The real shame is that she would have liked to be the object of lustful desire, whilst I longed for the wooing and foreplay she was not really too interested in providing. What seemed to satisfy her most, always holding her attention as if life depended on it, was just having me wandering about naked! Easy to provide this service, but it was usually enough for her and never seemed to lead anywhere, when we finally spoke of this years later she said she just did it automatically like taking a quick snack and did not think of it as sex.” What idiots” I can hear you muttering!
So much of the web writing is about the dynamics of relationships when one in the partnership decides that they have to make the transition leaving the partner married to someone whose whole physical appearance and probably newly freed mental outlook has changed. They have to some extent been caught in a hurricane and have to decide how to make a life out of the pieces remaining. My story is probably of little use to anyone out there so don’t hold your breath for the answer to the ultimate question, but so far we have survived.
Julie’s condition attacks peripheral nerves causing numbness of fingertips etc. Well etc. Includes clitoral nerve endings in her case which if you think about our intimate interactions did not work out well. She found pleasure more and more difficult to achieve no matter how patient we were. She soon got bored with the effort which provided so little reward and lost all interest in any sexual activity. There seemed to be nothing that she wanted to do to gain any pleasure and least of all any thing like giving pleasure which just sounded too much like hard work!
Sex does not take up a large proportion of the day, well it didn’t in our case! So it just slipped out of our lives as did some of the physical closeness because Julie did not want to find herself in a position of feeling obligated to continue. I could not really demand attention since what I required was spontaneous affection. Wanting to be wanted I could hardly ask! We have agreed that sex is not likely to ever be part of our lives again.
Now, you will think we are completely mad! But life goes on…
Under this new regime I no longer felt any obligation to show any pretense at playing a male role in this relationship and my thoughts started to turn back to my gender unease.
We had bought a computer for some university jobs Julie was doing but I viewed it with suspicion knowing what would happen if we got connected to the web, even when it was changed to a mac in 2000 it remained stand alone. I knew that lasers had been shown to be capable of destroying hair and I had been following their progress to market. As soon as it seemed affordable I started to make enquires eventually finding someone who had just obtained the first “Intense Pulsed Light” machine in Scotland. Soon Dianne was a close friend albeit one who did not mind taking a fairly large pile of money off me to pay for her expensive machine. First cheeks and neck were cleared leaving the terrorist look as seen on my passport but it took a little deception on holiday to shave off the mustache and beard on chin. I said it was necessary to try snorkeling! Having found difficulty the previous year sealing the mask. Julie watched with horror as the face she had never seen began to appear. It was horrible! I looked as if I was smeared with coal dust and it grew to stubble almost immediately and was sore as hell. Naturally I said it could re-grow when we returned home, probably the only time I have ever had to lie to her. On our return I was on the phone to Dianne the first moment I could and got a quick appointment to start this last phase. Close round the mouth was eye wateringly sore despite being almost frozen but I hardly flinched.
At last I felt human with the wind on my face for the first time in over three decades. There was still grey hair to be dealt with by electrolysis which meant finding someone new. The first person I tried appeared friendly enough but brusk, just before I left home for the second treatment I received a phone call saying that she refused to continue with someone like me! To say that I felt gutted was an understatement of world class proportions. We have all had random abusive reactions when out and about but despite being on the phone this was up front and personal. In the past this could have thrown me into a deep and long depression but for once it had the opposite effect. I had not long given in to internet connection and one of the first things I did was start searching the web for local electrologists, I found Aly, she has been fabulous and it has been a joy to visit. When I was twenty a friend who was also trying to loose her mustache told me it was extremely painful, I had little more than her then and had some income and could have stayed on top of the growth but I believed her. With Aly I would often drop off to sleep! It has taken for ever but now there is only occasional odd growth and a few stubborn ones near the lips and shaving is a distant memory.
At the same time I started the facial hair removal I was caught by my doctor for a blood pressure test, it was high! Thought I would have this sorted fairly quickly then get up courage to confront them with a more interesting problem. It seemed to take years to bring under control with ever changing doctors, two died on me! Finally I found Claire, she soon sorted the pressure but kept having students sitting in on the days I had psyched myself up to say the words then one day she was alone. All she said was “why did you take so long to ask me”?
So what did I ask for? Straight out I asked for an orchidectomy, no problem she thought. It took a year of the hospital saying “yes no problem”, “no will not do it”, “perhaps”, “no”, “oh alright!”
During that year I tried to lead a conversation in this direction at home, we watched countless documentaries transition being a current popular topic to educate and amuse the masses. We went to a theatre performance about Christine Jorgensen at the Edinburgh Festival, the list goes on and on, she never showed any interest in a discussion of what we had seen! I was nearing my wits end and eventually nearing a date on the calendar. I said not to accept any thing for that date, “ok”, no questions!
The day before I am due to go in we get to the point! There was never any chance I would change my mind no matter what, it was this or oblivion! Thank goodness it all made sense to her though she was somewhat taken aback by it all. Everything about our life together suddenly was made absolutely clear and finally made sense. A passionate business meeting with tears which slightly realigned our lives and roles and allowed full visibility of the side of me which had been obscured for so long.
A bit dramatic. The operation you want to hear went off without a hitch, no, a bleeder had me back for emergency repair which gave us a perfect cover story for why I was laid up and sore! Could not wear anything but a skirt for over a week, what a shame, so wearing skirts at any time instantly became alright, she gave me that skirt but we are now fighting over it, sounds like my mother and her sisters! We have agreed she can borrow it whenever she wants. We are now physically closer than we have ever been with a fuller understanding of each other and I often get the caresses that I had longed for so much in the past.
Nine months on from the operation I have never been so calm or happy with my life. Have not had a single thought of suicide since the operation. There is of course the endless waiting for further health service appointments but because of this deep calmness I hardly care how long things take so long as they don’t come up with “take testosterone” like last time! Even Claire had to laugh at that one!
Life goes on as my blog hopefully shows.
Friday, 7 August 2009
This has been a busy social time in the past few weeks with a visit from my Canadian cousin, the only cousin with whom I am in contact. In my mid teens I spent the summer with her and we have been close ever since even though we often do not meet face to face except every five years. When we do meet it is as if we have only parted for a few weeks and we just carry on where we left off!
Last time she visited with her daughter I had already organised an appointment for an IPL session on my face so told them that they were getting a day out at a World Heritage Site, Edinburgh, but that I had to vanish for a while. I could hardly not tell them what I was doing since my face would be reddened for a while after the treatment. They just accepted what I was up to and never asked why.
Five years on Deb arrives and just accepts me as I am. I had emailed to explain that my appearance may be a little different, forgetting the previous visit details so she knew that the beard was now completely gone. In many ways I have not changed because I had never expressed a masculine persona, all I have done is wear ever more feminine clothing and change skin softness and body shape subtly due to vanished testicles!
At some point I had to get round to clarifying my situation because I have no idea where this process will take me by the time we meet again, I may be much the same or I may find that I have to proceed further, only time will tell. After several days Deb decided to check her emails and there after the pleas from her children for British sweets was a note to say that their new puppy was recovering from having it’s bits removed. I said that the pain would not last long, I lied, did not want her to think her puppy was suffering! At least her questioning look got us onto the subject.
How do you know? was the look followed soon after by the realisation of how I knew!
She is bright and ten times better with computer stuff so we have decided too keep in touch more often via the magic of the web so no surprises next time.
After four decades a close friend had a birthday party, usually he would be on holiday with family. This year he is home for the second of his cataract operations and his wife decided to cheer him up with a surprise birthday party. Checking that his blood pressure was alright after last years heart valve operation ( 62 years old! ), I went shopping for a present for a half blind photographer, something to cheer him up, something with pictures rather than text. Not too sure that his wife approved of my choice of a fat book of erotic photographs!
Later in the evening she started to make pointed comments about where did I find a shop for transvestites to get such shoes in my large size? If she was trying for the prize of a bottle of champagne for the first person to ask if I am transgendered she was too late, it was withdrawn a couple of months ago for two reasons. One is that it is now too obvious and everyone just accepts how I look now and two, there is only one bottle left! That gets drunk next week on Julie's birthday / retirement day and after that finances are going to be very tight and I shall not be buying champagne to drink let alone give away.
Birthday friend got present from son of ticket to see Jacques Lousier at the Edinburgh jazz festival. Someone had to take him! Fabulous evening, a rare treat.
Monday, 3 August 2009
Life is getting back to normal after a flurry of visitors and such like.
Julie has vertigo and is “listening” to cricket on the TV. I went to get her medication and the town was deserted. I am getting a proper lunch at midday and have had biscuits with a cup of coffee in a house where biscuits are forbidden for obvious reasons. Later on this evening I am taking a friend to a Jaques Loussier concert in Edinburgh about 60 miles away, I almost never get to see a concert.
I told someone recently that I never appear in my dreams and that they were all nonsense. So is this some weird dream or is it some new form of reality. I’m confused…
Sunday, 2 August 2009
Just over two weeks away on holiday visiting family my postcards started to be morphing into blogs! I was mentally composing potential chatty posts to recall my minor adventures like finding myself nearly upside down in a cloudless sky. My dreams which are always dull and annoying also felt like blog posts! Is this some kind of infection?
So where are all these amusing blogs you may well ask. Mostly filed under a mixture of headings and perhaps now lost.
Two weeks away and the happy band of blogs which I find myself visiting seemed to have a faint cloud of gloom hanging over it. At any given time we all know someone who is down for one reason or another but by the laws of chance they are not evenly distributed and here was a deviation from the mean, I think it drew me down where I had not been for nearly a year now. How could I be frivolous at this time? Should I be frivolous in the hope that it would help lift anyone happening upon my blog, who does read my blog?
Who indeed does read it? I started to write because I felt uneasy reading other blogs without being visible to some degree and joining in with the comments, I had to sign in and have a page so even though I had hardly written more than my signature for several decades I gave it a go. I find myself drawn to comment, why not? Surely dialogue and conversation is the aim when posting or have I got this all wrong?
Perhaps I go about this completely the wrong way. I am drawn to comment, perhaps too long comments sometimes and write out most of the thoughts which had been destined to my blog and just end up tagged onto someone else’s posts and never get an airing where they were intended.
Almost without noticing the days have built up since a decent post and I start to feel guilt! This is crazy, I have no sworn commitment just a heartfelt obligation to keep going despite not even knowing wether more than a handful of people even know the words exist. I am not the only one with time gaps between posts leaving you wondering if they have been squashed by a bus or just found a real life somewhere! Some longtime bloggers I suspect have just evolved, if that is the word, into bookfacers and tweeters but to me that seems like trying to have a quiet conversation in the centre of a riot compared to blogging’s sitting down in a quiet cafe to talk to a friend.
A strangely busy couple of weeks has drawn to an end and I am back online. Much of the fun stuff now seems past and half forgotten, maybe bits will float up on latter posts, who knows.
I started to write the blog just to get my thoughts down and recorded. A reader was just an abstract concept and about as likely as a lottery win without having a ticket but I still wrote it as if I had an audience. If you are that audience, sorry for breakdown in transmission, normal service is about to be resumed.