Wrapping up 2018

I have been remiss lately in my postings due to holidays, stress and other factors. However, I really want to start engaging more. I find that posting about my life lets me explore things and learn things about myself, or at the very least let’s me see where I was at a given point in time (even if sometimes embarrassing).

I am not someone who really has ever particularly liked the whole “magic day” that makes new things possible. Your new year starts when you want it to, it isn’t a date, but because I am more hypocrite then anything I thought I would start though with a bullet list of where I stand currently in my life, give me something in one year to look back and determine how things have changed at a glance.

Important Points in 2018:

  • I am married to the most fantastic, supportive man and love of my life for 26 years. Only decision (other than maybe transition) that I have not ever regretted.
  • I came out and began my transition in 2018, I have never been happier with how I looked or felt, lost 100lbs from March – December and am excited about the changes (20lbs more is my target, but I am ok where I am at if I don’t make it).
  • I am unemployed due to transitioning. I left my long term job because of the transition and working for the department of defense. I then left the county job to go to the state job in order to go to a place that would know who I am and support my transition. Only to be let go 25 minutes after I request off time for my upcoming gender confirming surgery (FFS/Orchie/Chest Reconstruction).
  • I have a great set of family I have chosen, it is small but meets what I need.
  • I have a great gaming group, first long term roleplaying game in over a decade.
  • We are financially stable even being unemployed thanks to my husband and being out of almost all debt (we got 100% out except student loans until I started medical transitioning and we had to buy a car).
  • I am in a secure apartment, with our goal to stay here for five years.
  • I am learning to walk away from toxic relationships, no matter who.
  • Our cat Ghost passed this year after spending three years with us.
  • I started photoshop, photography and digital art tutorials/classes online. Not much progress yet.
  • I finished 52 books this year.
  • Our book we are writing (accidentally gay) is at the editor and finally had first edit done, target date is around Valentine’s Day for publishing.

I will probably update this list as I think about it. It is after all only 3:55am and mornings are rough.

So, there you have in a nutshell (or bullet list) the big things this year that I remember happening). I will posts soon about what I want to do in the next year and see if it works out.

Apartment Gathering (dream)

I fell asleep this morning on our slightly comfortable couch after a lot of insomnia. It was the first dream I remember was end of last October.

We were living in an old apartment, it was above the first floor (but not top floor) and it was about 3 in the morning. We had a ton of people were in the apartment visiting, which in real life is extremely unusual. Several people I liked like Trisha, Kailey and some legacies/dying light people were there chatting away, it was almost the start of something like the parties we did use to host in Bellingham.

There were also several people over visiting that were maybe friends of those people, but who I didn’t have a clue about. They were kind of snotty, annoying, made themselves too much at home and would not have been invited by me, but they were with people I liked so I let it go. I need to make a clear note here though, everyone was about my current age, not actual age we were when we played dying light/legacies.

This went on for a little while when there was a singular older guy just on my last nerve. It wasn’t anything specifically, but he was kind of a whiny white guy twat who just bitched about everything. It was that weird entitlement you see in some boy gamers, along with the whole “friends’ zone” vibe he kept giving off. He should have been wearing a fedora. He kept trying to one up everyone in the stories when it was clear to everyone that he was lying about his experiences.

It was at this time that I noticed everyone kept coming in and out of my living room window from the outside. It didn’t make sense for a few moments in the dream since I knew it wasn’t street level outside.

It turns out that they were hanging on one of the rooftops around the building. We were in a similar apartment building to where I lived as a kid where there was multiple stories and roofs/ledges you could climb out on (more like a giant old mansion building where there was 1st, 2nd and 3rd story roofs scattered, depending on the location of the apartment).

On about the fourth time they are climbing back into the apartment I realized I had neighbors and I told them to get their ass in the apartment and off the roof, and to keep their voices down since the clock said it was 3am. There were murmurs of people not happy with that decision, but I didn’t care.

That older whiny guy whined some more for several minutes, and I sort of lost my shit, I told him to get the fuck out of my apartment, it was my place and I didn’t know him from jack anyways so he could go pound sand. He was really tugging at my last nerve and funny enough I didn’t feel bad about saying it after it was out of my mouth (I normally do feel bad even if they deserved it).

He sort of threw a hissy fit and started to act like I couldn’t do that while his friends were here, that was until I got closer to him and instead of getting more physically aggressive as would be my normal mode up to a few months ago, I pulled out my phone and said I was calling the cops if he didn’t get the fuck out of my house. Not sure what brought this change in tactics for me, I don’t recall being any shorter, but maybe I was skinnier like I am now and didn’t have the bulk.

Then everyone started packing up, I wasn’t sure if it was one of those things were, they all had caravanned in so had to go if he went or what, but I didn’t really care. However, asshole kept taking forever to leave my apartment. I stood up and told him he has 10 seconds and started counting down. I pulled out my phone and started dialing, this is when he still bitched but headed out with everything else without too much of a struggle after that.

A little relieved I watched as everyone left. I then turn down the stairs to the bottom floor and on the second set of stairs I see coming up are another large group of people, talking loud, and I dreaded they were heading for my place. The only one coming up that I didn’t dread was my mom in a wheel chair at the front of the group. I was caught off guard because I think I was half awake and realized she was dead and shouldn’t be there.

That is when I woke up disorientated on the couch with the hubby asking about the socks (ok I think he asked after I woke up, but it is all discombobulated).

FFS Surgery Consult

Back on December 4, 2018 the hubby and I went down to Phoenix to see Dr. Ley for a Facial Feminization Surgery Consult. We have been through this type of thing two other times. The first for hubby’s top surgery then for his metoidioplasty, that last was with Dr. Ley and Meltzer so we were familiar with how it would go.

She was polite, and a good surgeon with the hubby. Her bedside manner was a bit abrupt (as it was also during his surgery as well). That being said we knew we would at least get a straight estimate. We had gone to a local Seattle doctor and he had quoted more then $60,000 for procedures that didn’t include as much bone work as I wanted (he is more of a specialist in soft FFS, such as muscles, not so much on the bone).

We went in having already done that 15 minute consult last August and assumed 20k minimum. After the quote from the Seattle doc I was expecting more like 50+k because Dr. Ley had mentioned doing a lot more invasive stuff, I was prepared to not be able to get enough credit to get it all.

We arrived and got the facial/cranial x-rays which was a lot easier than expected. The people at that dental office that did the x-rays evidently do it for a lot of transgender patients and they were completely professional and friendly enough.

Then we arrived at the appointment and only had to wait a little while, it was nice compared to last time.

Once we went back the first thing we noticed was that Dr. Ley was incredibly friendly with us. She was open and warmed up the room verbally before going into the questions. She had no problem interacting with me physically, touching my face and giving me a very intense look over and comparing what she saw, to what the x-rays showed.

The first thing I noticed is she said unless I absolutely wanted it, she wouldn’t recommend a rhinoplasty (nose job). She showed me the x-rays and evidently my nose is already at a feminine angle (angling up slightly). She was clear that for a face to be seen as feminine has a very broad spectrum and my nose was already comfortably in that place. This was a relief as my experience at other consults pushed a nose job. It meant she wasn’t in this just for money.

She went over the rest of me and it came out mostly like I expected. She is going to try and lower my hairline slightly. She was honest, she doesn’t think it will go more than half an inch (maybe a little bit more if she can push it). I have a good hairline, but contrary to what other docs say, she was clear it would help, but wouldn’t be as far forward as some try to quote.

The next part was raising my brows. She can do that easily at least half an inch, that will also help with the lower hairline because between the two my forehead will be at least an inch less than it is now.

Also dealing with my forehead is she will be doing some work on my brow ridge, basically sanding it down to be less masculine, while basically filling and shaping the forehead so it doesn’t just become flat. Her experience as a facial/cranial plastic surgeon with infants reassured me she has the skills.

In addition she will be adjust the orbital area of my eyes (I believe this is the facial cranialplasty level 3, intense but it should open my eyes up a lot. It will make them look bigger, and give me more real estate to use makeup on above my eye. She thinks this will also be a big help with feminizing my face.

We got down to my cheeks and recommended cheek implants. I wasn’t so sure on this, we hadn’t considered it but she was right. My 100lb+ of weight loss has gotten rid of any cheeks, they have sunken in a bit and implants wouldn’t go away, they would give a feminine cast. I talked with hubby and we decided that is good. So it is now going to be more surgery then expected so the cost went up.

Then she went to my jaw and surprisingly enough she recommended that she doesn’t shave it down. The angle is good, it isn’t super masculine or thick and unless I really wanted it she would leave it alone. I was surprised, and happy that once again she recommended against a procedure she could charge a lot of money for.

Then we got to my lips, I wanted a lip implant to lift my lip from its typically flat masculine look to a feminine look. She said that is easy and while she was there she could reduce the space between my lip and my nose giving it even more feminine look. The hours added on to the rest of the surgery (including chin below) was too much for one day so she recommended I do that as a second trip down. That would be an ‘in office’ procedure and I could go home the next day. We agreed, I am getting it, but probably not until three months after rest of surgery.

Finally we got down to my chin, and she fully agreed that it needs to be reduced (thinned/shaved down). She goes in through the mouth for that part so it won’t leave a scar on my neck. She was skeptical of plastic surgeons who would go up and under the neck, leaving a big scar since you didn’t need to do that. This is nice, considering when they due the brow ridge they will have to pull the skin back from my skull and do the bone work underneath, at least it won’t be pulling skin off my full face, just my upper half… ya that is a gross image.

The final result, about $39,000 quote. It is a good chunk more than I originally thought, but still more than $20,000 less than Seattle with more of the procedures I want. Here is the breakdown:

Procedure                                       Fee    
FSCP w/ Brow Burring (6.5 hours)
Genioplasty (2 hours)
Malar Aug with Implants (1.5 hours)
Lip Lift w/implants 7025 (in office)
2 Nights Hospital                                     
$19,878.00
8,319.00
6,038.00
3,500.00
1,248.00                                    
Total $38,983.00 (still 20k less than Seattle)

I am very fortunate, we cannot afford to pay this but my credit is good enough to cover this with Care Credit and regular Visa. It means we are deferring student loans as we can, and we are going to be “going to school” broke but we can make the payments if necessary.

I am even more fortunate that my husband loves me enough to do this. When I saw the bill, even at 20k less than the other doc my initial response was to not do it. I didn’t want to tank his finances. He made it very clear he wants this for me, it is something that is going to help me in the future. I don’t care about passing in theory, but it will be easier to get the level of jobs I have the education for if I am not stuck in the middle according to society. So we are going to do it. Surgery is April 26, 2019 and the lip portion will be probably by August of 2019 depending on how my face will heal.

I will have a lot of future posts about this going into a lot more detail of the procedures and what we are going to do. I just wanted to get this out there as the basic what happened and how much. I will post examples of the procedures later as well.

Centering Myself

I have been quiet because I needed to take some time away and center myself. I talked about being fired last week, and that it caught me completely off guard. I needed some quiet time to set up for the long wait of unemployment, and to see where the finances stood for the husband and I. Mostly I just needed to work through the feeling of being betrayed.

The finances are still ok. We got both our student loans deferred (I am unemployed and eligible, he still had optional deferment available) so we can make it on his income alone, even with our car payment. So financially we are doing ok without any income from me.

I have turned in all the required paperwork, I wasn’t let go for cause and there should be no issues on my work record. I should get unemployment. However, that can take some time, since the four quarters they count my income are when I worked for the feds. The feds don’t report wages to the state unless a person requests, so it could be weeks before I get any unemployment… We can get by, but it means I can’t put money aside for the FFS.

Of course this all happened the same week I flew down to Phoenix, got my FFS, and everything medically is going into fast gear. So a lot of anxiety has been occurring. That being said, a week later I find myself happier. I truly was despising that job. Mainly the way my management team I was on would target employees they didn’t like. That put me on the other side of my co-managing team several times when I couldn’t agree to punish my auditors for things that didn’t merit that level of punishment.

On top of all this there was a lot of disdain for my transition that had been building up. There were some people that were great, but several people I worked directly with would get that weird lip pull back when I talked about it, and obviously they were uncomfortable. Evidently uncomfortable enough that after I submitted an FMLA request for my FFS surgery I was walked out of the office 25 minutes later with no disciplinary actions, no warnings, it was just cashing in on the CBA and giving me “no cause” for my being released.

The frustrating part is the reason I came here was they are supposedly open to transgender employees, that wasn’t the case in the end. Even now I am really frustrated I took a 30k a year pay-cut, my commute when from 15-20 minutes to over an hour and all because a boss I used to work for and thought was a good person turned out to be a pretty shitty person. It all kind of hit me there and then. This job was taken purely because of my old boss, and it was nothing like I was told.

This means that I am now applying at jobs as much as possible. I would like to earn as much money as I can before surgery to help offset the cost, but the odds are that no one will pick me up before April. I don’t pass anymore, and I am ok with that. I suspect job interviews in the conservative business world will not go as planned. You never know though, maybe I will be surprised.

So this week I have been meditating a LOT. Trying to sleep enough and taking care of the husband since he has a stressful job and the money responsibility is on him. I think he is liking that I cook, clean, take care of him overall. I hope it is making it easier.

Now a week later there is a part of me to be fulfilling the traditional wife roles, I have always been motherly to people (it is joked about) but now it feels like I can be who I am. The meditation and supportive family I have chosen has made this experience so far better than I had hoped. Now that I am feeling centered, it is time to prepare for the surgeries (4 of them in 2019) and to get mentally in the groove.

So there I am, more centered now that I am not working for a shitty boss. Finances are tough, but aren’t they for almost everyone?

 

Fired!

I was going to write all about my consult itself, but it turns out something more exciting happened. I got fired after submitting my FMLA paperwork for my transition surgery.

To be honest, it is more of a laid off situation, I am currently in a probationary period and within the first six months they can let you go no matter the reason (and they never have to tell you why). I assume this means I will be able to collect unemployment, the problem being is my job during the “unemployment year” was with the department of defense and there is a slew of hoops I have to jump through.

I have never received any disciplinary comments, never had any issues that I know of. I even asked my boss last Thursday how things were and she was fine. She even talked to me on Tuesday, the day before I was “separated” and was all chatty with me on chat while I was in Phoenix.

I went into work yesterday morning, and while I dislike my job I was putting 100% into it. I sent an email in explaining I am going to need to file for FMLA, that I am getting the surgeries and will need LWOP. Within 25 minutes HR had called me in and issued me a letter saying I was being separated. 

All it quoted was the Union CBA that outlines the authority they have to release me, they don’t need cause and they don’t need to say why. The letter is dated the same day as my email too so that means they ran down to the director immediately and had her sign it.

Now, I am waiting on my unemployment decision (the hard part is I worked for the agency who handles unemployment, so this is awkward) before I make any final decisions on what to do. I may just walk away if I get my unemployment and look for a better job, or I may pursue this.

ok, there is something funny about this.

While the union agreement does cover their butts and allow them to do this, there is no way that my FMLA request for transgender services wasn’t involved since I have had no personnel issues. With that information it is actually against state law to lay out retribution for my FMLA request (and in WA state transgender care is covered under FMLA, or at least the state’s expansion of it).

That however will wait until I hear back. For now I will be anxious, begin my job searches and try and get unemployment. All the while arranging for my surgery in April. It just means more debt… However, the alternative is worse.

Consult Trip to Phoenix (event)

We did it, we finally went down to Phoenix to see Dr. Ley for my FFS surgery. I will go into it’s own post on everything she is going to do, this rather is to just give a brief rundown of the trip itself.

We got to the airport later in the day. This is the first time we haven’t had pre-check in four years. Our first flights no longer working for the DoD. We were fortunate, the lines were really fast and not much wait… however then came the body scans.

The hubby went through without a problem. I stepped through and was scanned by the MRI machine. The hubby said he saw the light go off around my groin area. They immediately pulled me to the side and as he was about to pat me down I stopped him and warned him I am transgender and that I have boobs if he runs his hands up my chest.

That boy froze so hard. He looked like he was going to faint. He then touched me on the hip, on the side and walked off saying I was good. Absolutely no looking in the region that set off the alarm as well. So the hubby kept making fun of my groin after that until we got onto the plane.

The plane trip was easy, we just flew for a little over two hours, bored. The service both down and back sucked though. One passthrough with water and then both times the stewards disappeared into their little shack and we didn’t see them at all.

We landed, got our car and found our hotel room. Hubby wrestled with the air conditioner after we had some Red Robin then we went to bed and slept like crap. Waking up the next morning we went and got my jaw/face/head x-rays and went to the consult.

On the way back from the consult we had a great lunch at the “Old Mission” a really good, if a bit expensive mexican food place (upscale). The tacos were fantastic and the guacamole was decent, but a bit too expensive.

We then got to the airport and once again I got pulled by TSA, my groin lit up their MRI machine. I have no piercings down there, nothing in my pocket. This time I decided to not say anything about being trans and they guy did a pretty thorough background… EXCEPT HE NEVER CHECKED MY GROIN. He even swabbed me, but not my groin. I could see my groin lit up like a Christmas tree on the machine, but evidently he was scared enough of my dick that he didn’t go near it.

They then pulled my bag and my bag also had set off the scanners, this time it was the trail mix in it… Good job TSA, way to protect our borders… from my terrorist trail mix.

We then got there and waited SIX HOURS!!!! We had to turn the car in so we were stuck. We had only been away from the airport itself 14 hours total… There we sat (and hubby slept) until the plane came. We flew home, but that wasn’t all, we spent almost an hour on the tarmac in Seattle waiting because an Alaska Air plane had problems and couldn’t leave the gate.

Overall, I loved being with my husband, I loved getting my FFS consult, but the trip itself was too exhausting with no real stories to tell… other than my groin is disliked by the MRI machine. Hopefully details of my FFS consult after I have slept some.

 

Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo (date)

DATE DAY:
Where: Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo
Links: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA) https://www.pdza.org/
Date: November 10, 2018.

We have really been wanting to go see the zoo since we moved here in July, but with my jobs switching around and just the stress of transition we haven’t gotten out. Finally we decided to go anyways.

The zoo was sadly smaller than anticipated, but I loved the jellyfish and Dari the tiger the most. However, pretty much everything came over to check us out. According to the worker, Musk Ox had never gotten that close or walked towards people that she saw before.

The arctic foxes were cool enough, but their area was full of plastic garbage. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely sure they were there for a purpose, to entertain them. I also realize that they don’t have the budget of the Woodland Park Zoo. That being said it still was uncomfortable to watch (same with penguins).

The jellyfish photos came out better than I expected. The rest of my fish pictures sucked (and got tossed), except for the “disapproving fish”. I need to learn better techniques and get additional equipment for aquarium photos.

Dari the tiger however was my favorite. She is a gorgeous animal and was intently interested in a toddler and then me… is that saying something about me? If I wasn’t color blind I would have played with the color levels to get the picture even better, but that is the last thing anyone needs me to do.

She noticed a toddler across from her
She noticed me

I don’t think we will visit in the short term again. If we get money up (I am now going to be unemployed) I want to hit the other sites around first. Still, we had a great time and some of the animals were awesome.

DATE GALLERY!!!
(video clips below that)

 

Recovering Faded Photos (photoshop)

First let us make it clear at the time of this I am not a photoshop expert. I learn by showing others, so this is my inaugural photoshop trick/lesson. This time we are going to be trying to recover an old faded photo (misnomer, it is actually compacted, but faded is what everyone catches innately). This is done in less than 10 minutes (probably less than 5). There are multiple ways to do this, this is the one I know at this time and is pretty simple. I will also touch it up a little at the end.

Setup: In order to setup, make sure your image is scanned with the highest pixel count you can get (this photo is 600px scanning resolution), and scan it as RGB.

    1. Select yourself a nice faded photo for your use. Here is my grandfather and his mother in 1952 
    2. You will need to edit out the entire border area, the extra white space will from the photo will cause problems, so just crop it out. 
    3. The first thing you will do is make an adjustment using the levels tool located usually on the right of your workspace. Click it open and you will see how will show a histogram.

      Histogram for level adjustment
    4. The histogram graph should stretch from 0 to 255, but in older photos the black gets pushed into the middle, leaving it almost zero before and after the histogram in the middle. This effects how your photo looks. This is why it is actually not a faded photo, but the information has been compressed and doesn’t fully stretch out. From here it is going to be simple, select Adjust Levels, then where it says RGB click on the drop down menu and you will want to do this for each of the three levels, the R, the G, and the B.

      Selecting each section of the RGB
    5. You will want to pull the arrows on the bottom to be at the start of the actual histogram and the end of the histogram. The result is you would drag the left arrow until you get to the start of the histogram on the left, and drag the bottom arrow on the right (under 255) towards the left until you get  them to be at the start of both ends of the histograms. Once you are done it should look like this:

      Where to move your arrows to.
    6. From there I utilized the spot healing tool to do some cleanup on the photo (there was a couple of fold marks. However that isn’t required and I will cover how to use that in another quick tip. I just wanted to show you how I got rid of some of the bends if you noticed them.
    7. This is the final image, it is less than 10 minutes work (that includes a quick healing tool use.

      The final 10 minute or less quick touch up.
    8. This is a comparison photo between the two for the difference. I was actually shocked at how easy it was. I also found having to order it in a written blog format made it easier for me to remember as well. So be prepared for future things.
      The difference less than 10 minutes makes

       

      So there it is, my first quick photoshop tutorial. I love suggestions, comments or tips.

One quick note!!!  This logic works on other things as well, such as Mac’s Photos apps too. So I would follow same logic, same tools if you can and that should work if you don’t have photoshop.

Rough Feeling

manager
So much truth right now

I have been kind of quiet lately. Work isn’t working out the way it was presented so now I am stuck in a job that seems about as intolerant as other jobs made me worry about. Plus now I commute 2+ hours a day, working a set shift and for $20k a year less.

It has been a disappointing experience, and I will also admit my emotions have been all over the place. I suspect it is the holidays, stress, and my damn testosterone levels keep fighting my estrogen levels leaving everything a battlefield.

That being said, I have a wonderful husband, and great family made up of people I choose. Everything is going well logically. Our finances are fine at the moment, I am going to a consult for FFS on Sunday (maybe that is also adding to my stress), we are out of debt other than car and student loans. Life is good, just my emotions are lying.

I decided I needed to kind of blog about my emotions too. I have talked about doing it privately, but I find the only time I am good about recording things is if its publicly. Maybe I am just an exhibitionist. 

So it has been a rough few weeks, I am tired and I think I am starting to feel depressed again. Although I broke that big depression and I can feel emotions and I think that is also contributing to it. So maybe it is a sign things are getting better. I had a great Thanksgiving and I will probably post about that. It is good to get positive things posted.

Things will go well (and other than the work front are going well). 

How We Met

I wanted to post something about how Wolsey and I met. This is actually already posted on my AG account a couple years ago, but I felt it stood up to time well enough to be reposted here instead of completely rewritten.

(Wolsey and I talked, and thought it would be easier to refer to him with feminine pronouns. It helps paint the picture of what he presented as, and how I’d have interpreted his gender back when we met. This was a long time ago, and neither of us had any concept of what being transgender even was.)

A common question I get is how did Wolsey and I actually meet? Was it fate? Was it some quirky romantic comedy? Was it maybe even a horror show? The answer to all of that was no, or maybe yes in parts. Overall though it was pretty straight forward, or at least that is how it seems now.

I had recently moved up to Bellingham right before I turned 17. The first thing I did there was meet a group of friends that I played Dungeons and Dragons with. It was a household that several friends lived at, almost a flop house. A middle aged single mom owned the house, and was taking rent for all the teens she moved in. Most of these kids were near homeless, and this was a viable option for them. One of those people I met was my future husband.

Wolsey was a damn cute punk rock girl, at the time. She was a sassy smoker, drinker, and very alternative in her outlook. She had that intensity you only see in movies. She was something between a hard rocking Joan Jett and a manic pixie dream girl. Strangely enough, even with all that, she seemed to like me and wanted to hang out.

Yep, that is hubby

Over the next couple of years, she ended up dating my best friend, Doug. I was pretty shy and had ran away from a few different girls that approached me with my Dungeons and Dragons books as a shield. It wasn’t much different with Wolsey, when she showed interest in me.

Doug has the “slash” like hair and Wolsey is sitting beside him on his left before they went out. Remember these names, you will be tested.

Funny enough, Wolsey was the one who enjoyed playing Dungeons and Dragons with me the most. Her tough exterior was captivating as she roleplayed a cleric full of healing. She really wanted to help tell a story. Unlike all my male friends, who just liked to kill everything they encountered in my games. Even Doug would give both of us a hard time for liking the storytelling aspect of the game. I should have known that this was a good since Wolsey and I continue to play these kinds of games, thirty years later.

With Wolsey dating Doug, at the time, I was around her a lot more. She became my best friend, while Doug drifted off into a world I didn’t want to follow. I would be lying if I didn’t say I had a mad crush on her for a long time. We would wander off by ourselves while her boyfriend decided to hang out at home, and I just liked spending time with her. I had no expectations she would date me. I just felt like she was a really good friend.

Hubby

It was sometime during this time period when my parents had met Wolsey. They already knew Doug, and he brought her over, and they liked her. For a time, Wolsey lived a half a block down from my family and my father went over to borrow the phone regularly. That is when he noticed that Wolsey, who was presenting as a woman at that point was cute, and seemed to be focused on me. This went on for a while, when eventually my mom and dad asked how serious Wolsey and Doug were as a couple, and that they thought Wolsey would be perfect for me. I could not take the suggestion seriously because they were my friends and dating. I also just couldn’t believe that she was interested in me like that.

Eventually Wolsey and Doug broke up, and Wolsey asked me out to meet her for coffee. I freaked out. I wanted to be with Wolsey and I was positive she didn’t feel that way about me so I ditched her . . . at least twice. I look back now, and I can’t help but think I was such an idiot. At the time, I felt there was no way in the world someone as cool as Wolsey would want me and that I would just be making her uncomfortable.

This is me, with my dog Mucho and no clue about girls

Some time went by and I lost contact with Wolsey, as I became involved in my first live-in relationship. That partner decided to jealously block several communication attempts by Wolsey, something I hadn’t heard about until I broke up with that partner a few months later.

After this first major relationship breakup, I moved into a room at the same house I had met Wolsey. This time I was the one living there and not Wolsey. During this time, I had jumped four or five jobs in the space of a few months and was working in the paint department of Kmart.

That’s when I got an announcement over the intercom saying there was a phone call for me on line 3. I remember it with clarity.

I pick up the phone and it is Wolsey’s voice. She seemed excited and maybe a little out of breath. All she asked was what time I was off. I was confused and excited. I hadn’t seen Wolsey in months. I had missed her but I figured she was off dating someone and doing her own thing. Her words to me on the phone were, “Don’t go anywhere.” It was a pretty commanding tone and I agreed to wait.

Seriously, I worked for Kmart, I was not really good at life choices on my own, I am glad she made some of the decisions.

Twenty minutes later I hear stomping boots coming down the aisle and there she was dressed in a leather jacket, facial piercings, a very tiny shirt that revealed her feminine body quite explicitly, a mohawk, makeup, and the cutest purple crinoline skirt. I was getting off work about this time and she came up and hustled me to her truck and took me home.

We spent the next hour and a half talking. Over the next couple of weeks, we talked a lot and she kept showing up at my room. Wolsey was homeless at the time, but that didn’t bother me. I invited her in to my room and let her stay on my single-wide bed. I left out cans of ravioli, with a can opener and a spoon, for her to eat if she was hungry. Wolsey was always hungry and this was the one thing I knew she liked to eat.

Within a couple of weeks and we were fulling dating and she moved me out of that horrible room and into our own apartment. We had a tumultuous first seven months and spoiler alert… ended up breaking up for six months. I had been working graveyard shift as a taxi dispatcher, and it had created a huge scheduling problem between us.

There I am, in my full asshat bloom.

While I might have dated another woman and lived with her, this was the first relationship I wanted to last permanently. I had a lot of preconceived traditional, unexamined, views and expectations. I was confident though, so I asked Wolsey to marry me. I was surprised when she said no. I think I was too surprised to be crushed. I wouldn’t be crushed until later.

Now as I am older, I can admit I didn’t handle the relationship in the most mature way, and I suspect she thought I was someone I wasn’t. I kept putting forward this ideal of a relationship that didn’t exist anywhere. Instead of following my parents lead, or maybe one of my friends in a successful relationship I clung tighter and dug deeper.

Wolsey during our brief seven month initial relationship

The whole time, these decisions felt like a mismatch that would almost fit, but not quite. Wolsey was trying to get her hair styling degree and I pressured her a lot to pay attention to me. I was trying to work 18 hours a day and I can’t do 10 hours a day, let alone 18, without becoming someone I don’t like.

The relationship ended quietly a few days before Thanksgiving, and our third roommate decided he was going to move out with Wolsey and one of her friends who didn’t like me. I was left without roommates, in an apartment I couldn’t afford.

I ended up living with my old best friend, Doug. Unfortunately, he had developed a more serious drug and alcohol problem, and I still ended up paying all the bills on my own. When I complained, he brought me pizza he had found in a dumpster. This was not an easy time in my life.

The next six months were brutal and I drifted through multiple jobs and had multiple places to live after I had grown tired of living in that situation with Doug.

Trying to walk away from my junkie roommates

I ended up living with that same ex-girlfriend from before and her boyfriend. This time I was just as a roommate with another person sharing my bedroom.

Throughout all of this, all I could really think about was Wolsey, and how I had made things bad and how I could have handled things better. Even the things that really bothered me during the relationship now seemed insignificant.

What I knew was that Wolsey had gone hitchhiking with another gutter-punk down to California. I didn’t know if she was ok. I didn’t know if she was dating the guy, and it really did rip me apart. It bothered me so much I ignored other women that pursued me.

Our town was small, and I heard Wolsey had gotten back from California when I noticed her in the video store. I did everything I could to avoid her, my heart was pumping so loud in my ears I couldn’t hear the TV’s on display. I didn’t say hello, but turned away.

A couple of days later I was told I had a visitor by a very annoyed ex-girlfriend and roommate. I came downstairs and answered the door, and there was Wolsey. She looked tired, hungry and a bit sad. She looked worried. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen and sadly enough I almost shut the door on her right there. I was so terrified I didn’t know what to do.

Fortunately she did, and she stayed in my room a couple of days while we talked about things. I followed her back to her new place (the one with my old roommate and supposed friend.) Their household broke up within a couple of days of me visiting Wolsey and it ended up with Wolsey and I renting the house, with new roommates who were much better.

Wolsey decided to change, I can’t tell you exactly what happened but she cut her mohawk off, and got a job at Mervyns at the mall in the shoe department. We started working out our finances and she made it clear how much she loved me.

An actual photo of her getting ready to go to Mervyns. Also of me braving my death.

She asked me to marry her on the couch while I was playing one of the iterations of Megaman on a Nintendo gaming system. She said she never wanted to be with anyone else in her life and I replied the same. There was no way I wasn’t going to accept the proposal, she was everything I had dreamed about for years.

a picture of her the day she asked me to marry her.

We were married on Halloween of 1992, it had been less than four months since we had gotten back together and while we were married by a judge who was inappropriate, it was the most fantastic evening of my life. Marrying my spouse is the only decision in my life I have never regretted.

Getting married, still a lot of white male privilege there in me, but it would eventually be scooped out.

To this day I can’t see a cute girl in a mohawk, a can of ravioli, or smell the smell of cigarette smoke on a person without thinking about Wolsey and how much I loved him when we met.

That my friends is how Wolsey and I met and got together, well in a few words at least. Oh, and here is how we are now. Just as much in love.