Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sandals! (No, unfortunately not the resort...)

When we got home from our wonderful vacation in upstate New York, my wife did a ton of laundry.  As she was putting some clothes back in my closet,  apparently she noticed my three identical-except-for-color  pairs of sandals, on the closet floor amongst the many pairs of ballerinas.  I've had them a while, but haven't really worn them much.  Which explains why I didn't remember them, or the fact that they don't have suede insoles.    They apparently caught her attention because of the fact I didn't wear my sandals every day while on vacation.

Here are some archive pix of what they look like:

  Note the pink toe nail color peeking out from under my housedress...that was a one-time thing a couple of years ago, while my wife was out of town.  But it's likely to happen again the next time, too!

Out and about in my sandals and capris 

Another view of my weather-resistant sandals from the archive.

She initiated the following discussion at dinner several days later, by reminding me that on vacation, she'd invited me to wear my ballerinas in the rain the first morning, to keep rainwater from soaking the suede insoles on my new sandals.   The next day, she observed (but said nothing) that I wore my ballerinas all day...which had dawned drizzly but cleared before we left the hotel.  Yes, I know I should have changed, but didn't.  And for 4 more days, when rain was forecasted but the days were dry, I chose my ballerinas - in spite of our agreement when I bought my new sandals, that I'd have to wear them every day for the rest of the summer.  There's even pictorial evidence of my wearing ballerinas in our photo album of the trip (it's the 6th picture of the blog FINALLY TIME FOR A POST, dated 5/22/14.)  Guilty as charged!  Because nothing was said immediately, I wondered if I might escape repercussions from the issue.   Silly me....I should have known better!

"If we'd prepared properly for this vacation, you'd have worn ballerinas only for a couple of hours on each of two evenings, rather than pretty much 'at will.'  The problem was that we both forgot you already own 3 other pairs of cute little sandals, none of which have suede insoles, and you've already worn them in the rain.   They still fit you comfortably, right?"  There was no way I could dodge the question, especially while sitting at the dinner table, so I answered truthfully "Yes - they fit, yes - they're comfortable, and yes - I've worn them in the rain."

"Good. From here on, we're going to be much more prepared around here, aren't we?" My comment was "Yep, and I'd definitely put money on it..."   Then she went into the details of how we'll (or more appropriately, how I'll) deal with the issue.

"Until cold weather hits in the fall, when we're not traveling, you'll wear capris, tops and your choice of sandals - all the time, unless I tell you otherwise.   For any trips or vacations,  I want you to pack and wear ONLY capri outfits,  sandals and a sweater, with a couple pairs of nude pantyhose in case of unseasonably chilly weather.  I'll determine in advance whether any events planned will merit your  most masculine outfit - that's stirrups, polo, pantyhose & ballerinas.   It's my call, and I'll make the choice for you.  Sometimes I'll want you to look more like a guy. You just don't need to know about it till it becomes necessary."

"A 'Yes' decision means your stirrups outfit will be neatly packed in my suitcase, and I'll hand it to you as we dress for the event.  Afterwards, I'll lock it away again, safely out of reach, so you can't possibly make the New York mistake again.  'No' means you'll be wearing capris and sandals our whole vacation.  I'll remind you to make yourself look attractive when we get ready for each evening, and you'll choose an appropriate capri outfit.  That's why you'll always color-coordinate everything!"

She reminded me that on vacation, every morning I'll dress for all-weather shopping and sightseeing, sporting capris/pedal pushers, a sleeveless (or for now, short sleeve) top with light sweater, my choice of sandals, purse, light foundation and makeup, with only lip balm and no jewelry.  "It's a very popular informal style for today's on-the-go women, so most folks we meet will presume we're together, on a 'girls' day out.'"

"You'll need to 'up-scale' your presentation for some of our dinners, as well as for unplanned, mis-described or impromptu events, where you can't wear stirrups because I didn't pack them. It's going to happen. Probably often. So, you might want a matched capri set for dinners and a cute, feminine 3/4 sleeve blouse for events, your single-band sandals, full makeup, lipstick, necklace and your purse. The girls at your nail salon could create something really colorful and artistic to look pretty on your fingernails,  but you wear acrylics and those colors are relatively permanent.  That's something I'm not prepared to deal with right now.  But at the very least, we need to find you a bracelet."

"Before you ask, your silver painted toe nails are appropriate with any color combination, but you're going to have to spend more time with the girls at the nail salon.  You don't want ragged-looking nails on display in sandals. They'll make sure your toes always look their best."

My response: "That's all fine with me. Sandals are my absolute favorite summertime shoes - I love how cool they keep me, and it's fun having my painted toes visible.  Yes, I messed up in New York, so I'm really glad you're now making me wear sandals.  Capris full-time will be fabulous - I might even need to buy some more.  They're so playful and feminine, as well as stylish - and much more fun to wear than stirrups.   And, they'll make packing for trips much easier."

At that point, everything was resolved, and my wife decided it was time to change the subject.  So we both went on to other things.

Over the holiday weekend, there was another neighborhood party.  Both of us wore similar white pedal pusher leggings (like the last two pictures above).   White sneakers and a tan blouse (with light white sweater - she's always chilly - completed her outfit.  I wore my white sandals (what a surprise!) and a red sleeveless polo, closely-shaved face with very light makeup, no lipstick, a necklace and a small purse.   We both had a great time, and there were no issues with my appearance.  Those who knew me as a guy, talked to me as a guy, despite my attire.  Others ,who didn't know me, just omitted the "Sir or Ma'am."  I didn't see any of the kids staring at me, but then, I really wasn't looking.  It doesn't matter.

This all seems to be moving along "swimmingly" as they say...and frankly, quite a bit faster than anticipated.  (Maybe like a rocket on a sled?)   Time will tell for sure whether this is real positive movement,  or just another false start.  It could be either.  I don't count my chickens before they hatch.  And I definitely won't "rock the boat" in moving toward skirts - slow, steady progress is so much better than backsliding.  Five years ago, I never would have dreamed I'd be wearing only women's clothes, applying my own makeup, and being accepted as a woman part of the time.

If it takes a year - or two - or three - for my wife to get more comfortable with my feminine side, that's fine.  Because in the event I miscalculate, "rock the boat" too much,  and swamp it, I can't swim!  Nor do I have any life preservers...


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Snoopy, or maybe even the Red Baron...

We've lived out here in the corn-and-soybean fields for a while now, and have never had a problem with aerial application of chemicals to the fields.  You can immediately identify radial-engined crop-dusting bi-planes by the authoritative bark of their engines, even before you see them.  (It's nothing like the sound of "pancake" engines that are in newer small aircraft.)  And the sound effect is like that of a World War 1 movie, when they swoop down to release their spray.  (The only thing missing is the rattle of machine guns!) While we don't go out of the house when they're active, I've never so much as smelled any of the chemicals.

Until this week.

We were driving through a wooded area of the countryside on our way home, with fields beyond the trees on either side.  Our car windows were closed, and the AC was running.   As we were talking, I faintly heard one of the bi-planes make a nearby pass, but thought nothing of it.   We kept talking as we drove, and I heard another pass, but still never saw the plane, probably due to a combination of the trees and the fact that I was driving.  About 20 seconds later we both smelled a very strong chemical odor, and within a minute my eyes started to water, then sting.  Yes, I was wearing my contact lenses, which didn't help.

Fortunately, my wife wasn't affected quite as much, so she offered to drive.  But with airborne chemicals in the area, I wouldn't stop or have either of us get out of the car, since we were only about 10 minutes from home.  I kept going (fortunately, little traffic to speak of). The watering stopped, though stinging continued.  When we got home.  I immediately removed my lenses and cleaned them thoroughly, then treated my eyes and put on my glasses for the rest of the day...which cured the symptoms.

While I really didn't think about it as I heard the plane the second time, I recall the noise being much louder.  I wonder if the pilot overshot the field and accidentally left the sprayer on as he flew up and over the trees and road?  Or, perhaps he neglected to factor the wind into his spraying pattern.  IMHO he should have let Snoopy (or as a last resort, the Red Baron) make his runs that day, or else he was a scarf-wearing, hotshot throttle-jockey, with no regard for his drift cloud and its effect on the innocent civilian population.   We really don't like the idea of being exposed to Round-Up (or whatever it was.) 

If I could have known what was going to happen in advance, and had seen (or better yet, gotten a picture of) the plane's registration number (they fly that low - just a few yards off the ground),  I would have happily reported the incident to the Federal Aviation Administration.   Next time (if there is one), I'll have my camera within easy reach. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Holiday Pedicure, or...A Wonderful Day at the Nail Salon

Well, it looks as though my presentation while on vacation was feminine enough for the head honcho of the hotel...    She (yes, "she") wrote me a very nice thank-you note, in response to our recent stay.  When it arrived last Friday, it was addressed to Ms. (insert real first and last name here.)    Letters like that are always a pleasure to receive!

Last Thursday I dropped into the nail salon for my usual silver shellac pedicure (the girls like that color on me, and it's accepted at home.)  With no appointment, I tried to get there before they opened and hoped for the best.  Unfortunately, two customers were in line out front, ahead of me, so I knew it would be a long wait...  There are only two techs on Thursday mornings, and both customers wanted mani's and pedi's for the holiday.

While I waited my turn in one of the spa chairs, I "vegged out" and relaxed.  A mother and her twenty-something daughter came in, and both said hi to me, like we were old friends.  In reality, we had met at the salon a couple of times, and sort of knew each other.

The daughter told her mother that "she has the right idea - relaxing while she waits!"  They were seated in the two chairs to my left.  As luck would have it, the daughter sat next to me and started a nail color and type-of-manicure/pedicure conversation...   It was fun chatting back and forth, with her mother deciding that sparkly purple would look nice on both her and her daughter, and that I should try it, too...

I educated them on shellac polish, and the fact that silver goes with everything - pants, shorts, skirts, and dresses.  In addition, it lasts over a month without chipping or wearing thin on the ends, which is wonderful as I won't be wearing closed shoes this summer.   They were both listening, and "mother" decided that she would try some shellac with her next pedicure.  This time, however, they both wanted to wear the exact same color purple on their fingers and toes for vacation.

The tech, who overheard their suggestion that I wear sparkly purple polish, chimed in with "I could paint her toe nails purple, on top of the new silver shellac.  Then I'll take a few minutes to give her acrylic fingernails a couple coats of purple paint, which will also help disguise the fact that she needs a fill."  (My fill appointment isn't till next week.) They all loved the idea, but I politely declined.  I said "that would be too radical a style change for me" and so they didn't pursue the purple issue.

Instead, they asked the tech to promise that, with my next fill, she'll make my fingernails silver, to match my toes.  She adored that idea, and said she'll even text them as she applies it!  To my surprise, the ladies said "That's a wonderful idea...if we're home, we'll come by to see how pretty she looks with matching nails!" Looks like this time, the girls are actually going to go through with it. Several previous threats never materialized.  And I won't resist.  Silver is neutral, and if absolutely necessary, I can always come back later to have it removed. 

Another woman (this one elderly) came in and was seated to my right, as the tech was removing my old shellac polish. She asked "Excuse me, ma'am - is your polish something different?"  So I explained it to her as well.  It was truly grand to be accepted as a woman, by other women, for my entire visit (which  lasted over an hour and a half due to the holiday workload.)

At least, now I'm happy to show off my pedicure...a couple pictures are  below:
 Silver-tipped toes peeking out from under my sleeveless house dress.

Pedicure, fresh from the nail salon...

It's amazing how, in spite of my voice being less feminine than my appearance, everyone made sure that I stayed "just one of the girls."   The whole time...  

Yes, I really enjoyed this visit!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Finally time for a post...

Back in town once again...  Between the visit from the kids and some out-of-town antique car activities, and some previously-scheduled appointments, my time has not been my own recently. Hopefully that will change soon...

My prior post was about the visit with our son and his girlfriend...   We had a great time, and look forward to their eventual return, as well as our visit to her parents' place down south later this summer.  Below is a picture of one of the beaches we visited on the Delmarva side of the bay...very pretty - and clean. (Those little  blurs are an attempt to remove the pix of the kids, for obvious privacy reasons.)   That almost-invisible bridge in the background is the Bay Bridge between Annapolis and the Delmarva.  Looks so deceivingly calm and peaceful from this angle.

It can be a 4-1/2 mile, stunningly-beautiful 6 or 7 minute drive...particularly at sunset.  Or it can be your worst traffic nightmare, with a backup stretching for many miles - which takes hours to unravel! 

Matapeake Beach

From this spot, in the years before the Bay Bridge came to be (built in the early '50's), a car ferry used to move people and autos between the mainland and the Delmarva, to save people from a four-hour-plus drive around the headwaters of the bay.

After the kids left, we switched gears - into antique car mode, and loaded the old car for a week on the road.  Without boring you by all the minutiae, we spent a week (and 1300 miles) traveling in south-central upstate NY, seeing the many sights the area has to offer.    Particularly notable were the Corning Museum of Glass, the Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY (a lovely little town - would be fun to live there) and for you NASCAR fans, a lunchtime spin around the racetrack at Watkins Glen, with a bunch of other tourists' cars. 

Trees were in bloom, and we were told it was about 3 weeks later than normal due to the cold winter.

Don't you wish gas was still the price shown in this museum exhibit?

On the track at Watkins THAT was fun!

 Strasburg isn't the only place to find a Red Caboose Motel...this one is in Avoca, NY!
Mandy on a boat at Seneca Lake.  Tripods are wonderful things...

Pedal pushers like these (but in different fabrics and colors) were my typical attire for our entire vacation.  Only twice did I enjoy the privilege of wearing stirrups - the one pair of long pants in my suitcase.  Both occasions were for dinners out, with friends, at nicer restaurants. (And I didn't spill anything on them...)

Rain was in the forecast for several days, and my wife didn't want the suede insoles of my sandals to get soaked. The first day, with rain in the forecast, she suggested "ballerinas look great with pedal pushers, so just wear them today.  You won't be the only one dressed so comfortably.  And, don't forget your pantyhose." How could I forget my pantyhose?  Closed shoes feel so hot and sticky without them... 

I was paying attention to the locals as we were "out and about" sightseeing. And, my wife was right...I certainly wasn't "the only one dressed so comfortably."   Many females (of all ages) were wearing outfits similar to mine!  (Well, except for the pantyhose, I guess!)  My appearance must have been sufficiently girly to not attract much attention - except from a few pre-teen and teenage girls on tour at one of the museums.

One difference between my outfit and those of the other women:  my shoes.  Their ballerinas typically were lower-cut and had cute string or bow decorations on the vamp.  About half displayed at least some toe cleavage.  Mine don't.  IF I ever find some girly ones like theirs "which actually fit", undoubtedly I'll be wearing them.  Thus far, however, they've eluded me.

For the rest of the vacation, I just wore my ballerinas whenever it was supposed to rain.  That was apparently a correct choice, as nothing further was said.  Others with us had no issue with my attire...  When we were alone, waitstaff and clerks either addressed the two of us as "ladies" or "folks."  Around others, no gender-specifc pronouns or titles were used. The only times I heard the "S" word was when I was with several men.

It was another fun vacation!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Just Enough Time for A Quickie

The kids have gone back home, and everyone agreed it was a fantastic visit.   I expected to be spending most of the time in stirrups, ballerinas and pantyhose.  That's precisely what happened - including last Friday when we went sightseeing in DC (see pic from the Postal Museum - it's only a pic of me, for obvious reasons).  But, two days were warm enough that I had to wear shorts and sandals.

Our son's girlfriend had no issues with my attire.  I suspect that was surprising to my wife, and may foretell a similar wardrobe during the two upcoming visits with his girlfriend's parents and family. 

But for now, it's back to capris and sandals.

My wife was doing some volunteer work on Tuesday, and she supposedly wouldn't be back till mid-afternoon. So after visiting Mom at the nursing home, I stopped at Goodwill to see what they have.  Another cute skirt and blouse jumped off the rack and into my hands.  Since I had lots of time till she was supposed to get back,  I considered buying, and wearing them home, to get myself some much-needed skirt time.  But a little indescribable alarm was gnawing away at me as I sadly replaced them on the rack.   It's a good thing for that little alarm...  She was home - back early.  Both of us would have gotten a surprise, as I walked in wearing a skirt and blouse...   I always hesitate about doing that sort of thing when she's in town.  It only works well when she's on her annual pilgrimmage to her sister's in Chicago.  If the skirt and blouse are still at Goodwill on my next visit (on a senior citizen half price day, of course) I may pick them up.  But it won't be for a while, and I certainly won't be wearing them home!

Also stopped in at the doctor's office Tuesday for a quick blood pressure check, to see how the meds were doing.  (The BP was OK.)  But much to my surprise, the lab techs both referred to me as "Miss", "she" and "her."  Yes, they had my file up on the computer.  Yes, it clearly says "M."  Perhaps they were being politically correct...but maybe not...since I was in capri pants, polo top and  sandals.  Just like the most of the other girls.

Wednesday a female nursing home resident complimented my hair.  It looked no different than any other day, but I complimented her back...and she was smiling when I left.   They brighten my day, and I guess I brighten theirs...a win-win situation for all.

I also stopped to speak about a few pending matters with the manager in charge at Mom's nursing home.  She knows me as male, but whenever possible avoids using pronouns, or "Mr."   Part of our discussion involved Mom's "apparently-lost-in-the-laundry clothing."   Since they were already planning to let me replace the lost items "on their nickel" if they aren't found in the next couple weeks, I asked for her sizing assistance (and I really went out on a limb here) "since I'm not familiar with small or medium sizes like Mother wears, only the larger women's sizes like these (then sweeping my arm past my clothes.) My outfit today clearly wouldn't fit her."

She didn't miss a beat with this revelation.  Obviously she (and the rest of the staff) already have my clothing preference figured out!  She said she'd try to come up with Mom's current size, but that she likes my comfortable-looking capri outfit today. "So, you must have learned the intricacies of women's sizing pretty well."  One more hopeful step out of the closet...

On the way home that day, I stopped at the local post office.  As I was leaving, a female customer who was also leaving, held the door for me (!) and she unlocked a car with election campaign signs on it.  So I stopped her and inquired if she was the candidate.   She was, and we introduced ourselves.  With my first name being what it is, and the fact I was wearing capri pants, a top with necklace showing, sandals, and carrying my purse, she addressed me as "Ma'am" through the discussion, which included her summary of qualifications.  With her background and experience, she seems like a qualified candidate.  She appears to respect transgenders (my 5 o'clock shadow was just beginning to peek out, as I was alone and hadn't applied full makeup), and she will get my vote if she survives the primary and ends up in the general election this fall  Unfortunately, she's the "wrong" political party to get my vote in the primary election...:-(

I'm now getting ready for several days of antique car activities.   I'll post whenever I can.