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.




  1. Mandy -

    Were you in DC on 4/25 (Friday)? Even with family there, we could have met for 10 minutes in passing - by me stumbling into you at a given place....

    Now, I've been to the Postal Museum, and consider it to be one of the smaller gems in DC. When I was there, they had an exhibition related to the Titanic and Hindenburg disasters.

    What places did you and family stop in while in DC?


    1. OOPS, I didn't push the reply button, again, so my official response is below. Guess that's the peril of replying to a post at this wee hour of the AM! Sorry...


  2. Marian,

    Unfortunately no, we were there on Friday, May 2, not April 25. :-( As it turned out, we were just a week off your schedule!

    The sightseeing we did was all decided on a daily basis, according to the weather forecast, making advance planning tough... And we stayed home several days as well, working on my computer system and train. His girlfriend is a fabulous cook, and she wanted to impress us by preparing some great meals...which she did. If they get married, he certainly will eat well...LOL!

    Some of the DC sights were the usual Smithsonian places on the mall, crowded though they were. And finished up at the postal museum. They're ready to come back for more sightseeing (Udvar-Hazy, Chincoteague, Assateague, etc.) but our son's work gets in the way. You know how that is...

    So the kids spent a nice long, enjoyable vacation (his longest yet), and everything worked out very well. Now we get to go meet his girlfriend's parents down south - come summer, if it ever gets here! (And once it does, everyone will complain about how hot it is....)


  3. I am glad that the visit by your son and his girlfriend went so well and that they were both good with your attire and presentation. I do not think that anyone would think that either stirrups or capris are male clothes so it should only be a short step for you to graduate to skirts.

    I like the photo with the train. This past weekend we attended a wedding in Florida. Since my wife does not like to fly we opted for the Auto Train. My son, who was good friends with the groom came along with us on the train so any dressing was off the table.

    Less than an hour out of Lorton, just past Quantico, the train stopped. We had a 4+ hour delay while they brough another diesel down from DC. It seems that one of the two engines that pull the auto train had hit a car the prior week and the damage was not remedied.

    The ammenities on the auto train have been cut back. They stopped the wine and cheese service that greated us from boarding to departure. They eliminated wine at dinner unless we wanted to purchase it ourselves. They no longer put out snacks and fruit and the train staff seem a lot less friendly. Until I quit 3 years ago we always had fun with the train staff down in the smoking lounge since it seemed like most of the train staff were smokers. Last year AMTRAK eliminated the smoker's lounge. That may be why most of the staff now seem cranky.

    While we were stopped waiting for the new engine we learned that our return trip train was cancelled. This upset my wife since she does not like the car ride from Fla.

    Finally the train started again and we had dinner and went to bed. It seemed to me like the train had spent a lot of time stopped. When morning came the train was stopped in the middle of North Carolina. Union rules limit the amount of time that engineers and conductors can work so when that time ran out, due in large part to the initial delay, they just stopped the train and waited until a new crew arrived by car from Florence SC. Eventually they changed crews. We stopped again in Florence for another change of crews. By now I we were about 8 hours behind schedule. We were told that the new arrival time in Sanford would be 4-5 PM rather than 9 AM.

    Due to the delays we were way out of sequence and since the tracks are owned by CSX and AMTRAK only leases travel rights we were secondary.
    It was late afternoon when we crossed th GA/FLA border. Through Florida the travel was very slow. We later found out that the tracks were hot and CSX put a speed restriction on the auto train. Our new projected time of arrival was 7 PM.

    As we were nearing Sanford Florida (my guess is that we were less than 5 miles away) the train stopped again. It seems that the crew had reached its union mandated time limit and we had to wait for yet a 4th crew to get to the train to take us the rest of the way to Sanford. We finally arrived about 8:30 PM and found a full station of people waiting to board our train for the ride back north.

    We finally got our car off the train and made it to our destination around midnight. We were supposed to go to a wedding rehearsal dinner that night at 7 PM.

    The next day we spent trying to find an auto train trip back north since ours that was set to depart Monday was cancelled. I also had to find a car dealership that was open on Saturday to fix a headlight.

    We eventually decided to drive home. We spent one night on the road in Virginai and since we got a bad traffic report about I-95 north we decided to take rt. 301 to avoid DC and Baltimore. My wife was at the when we went over the Bay Bridge. She does not like heights and she was white knuckle all the way.

    The wedding was nice but it was a heck of a lot of travel for one partial day in the Sunshine State.

    As the phrase goes "It is a hell of a way to run a rail road".


    1. Sorry about the delay in response...we've been out with the antique car. It's been fun - but tiring - almost 1,300 miles in a week (mostly in capris and stirrup pants with flats or sandals) can do that to you! Our car friends had no issue with my attire, and I infrequently heard the dreaded "S" word. Only when we were in situations away from others, were we addressed as "ladies."

      Sorry to hear about the issues with the late Auto-Train. (A friend of ours was on that very same train!) Back in the 70's, we were on a railfan excursion train that was nearly 12 hours late - arriving after 7AM instead of 7:30 PM the night before. And in the ensuing years, we've been on trains delayed for: running over a pedestrian with her baby, who committed suicide by train (4+ hours), hitting a rock as big as a dining room table (5+ hours) and last summer's weather debacle enroute to Chicago, which caused me to miss an event. Stuff happens...

      Over the years, our experience has been that dispatching railroads generally shuffle the "out-of-time-slot" passenger train around from siding to siding, instead of just moving it along to get it out of the way. And because of that, "late trains get later..." Good things to remember when planning our trips...and yes, your conclusion is correct.

      There seems to always be bad traffic around DC. I'll drive hours out of my way to avoid it...

      If you took 301 headed north to miss interaction with the DC mess, you travelled over the Governor Harry W Nice Bridge (1.7 miles long, and 2 narrow lanes) spanning the Potomac River between MD and VA. It's a bottleneck, which in 2013 caused an appropriation to fund design and right-of-way acquisition for a new four lane bridge parallel to, and north of, the existing bridge. The old one will be removed upon completion of the new crossing, sometime well after 2019.

      If you continued north on 301, sounds like you probably traveled over the two-lane span of the 4.7 mile long and 187 foot water clearance, Governor W. Preston Lane Memorial bridge. That is, unless they were operating one lane eastbound over the 3 lane westbound new span, and you used the E-Z-Pass lane. Going Eastbound on the dual-signalled westbound span is a real treat...if your wife hates the two lane part, that would really terrify her.

      It's the bridge I cross any time I need to go to Baltimore...such fun! My wife won't drive it except in a life-or-death emergency.


  4. You are correct that they were doing construction on the bridge. First we had to wait while all the traffic was permitted to go west and then there was only one lane and my wife had the wheel clenched so tight I thought her fingers would turn blue.

    We have been on the Auto train about 20 times and have had some delays but they do build about two hours into the run for typical slow downs. there have been times where we were so early that the had to stop the train before the station so that the ground crew could get to work. It also seems that we have hit more than our fair share of cars. I think that the auto train has hit cars on four of our runs. On one run heading south it it a car and then clipped the back of a truck. I think the truck was just trying to run the gates but I think that some people who owe money on their cars simply leave them on the tracks since we have never had an auto fatality.