Welcome to Tammy World, 2014 edition. This blog started in 2012, the most pivotal year in my life so far, when my transition began. In 2013 I was able to live completely as myself and was amazed at how easy that seemed but not surprised at how quickly the year flew by. Tomorrow I begin my 20th month of HRT and have almost completed 13 months of living full time, Real Life Experience. Things are beginning to come together nicely for me and 2014 promises to be even more monumental in my life, transition and adventures.
We've had a little bit of a lull here on the blog since the holidays so we have some catching up to do as well as getting on with the exciting business of the new year. Things have been a little bit stressful and crazy here as I talked about in my last post, Christmas in Tammy World. My dad has fallen twice more since Christmas morning when he had to go to the emergency room after a nasty spill on the porch while picking up the newspaper. He seems to know how to fall well so he hasn't hurt himself anymore and his arm is continuing to heal. Either my Mom or myself stays with him all the time to make sure he doesn't venture off without his cane or walker, as he tends to be pretty stubborn in his old age. He is figuring out that he needs assistance now but it tough letting go of your independence, especially after living most of his life as such a strong, successful man.
I take him to the doctor about twice a week to change the bandage on his arm and the stitches have yet to come out. The big news is that we are experimenting with having a sitter come in and help look after Daddy part time. It is taking a little time for my Dad (and Mom) to get used to that idea but Mama and I at least see the need for it. This should free me up again to get out of town and have some more adventures. I'm getting a little stir crazy here and I need it!
It's been two months since I last traveled out of town and that trip led me into the state of Pennsylvania. My blog about that adventure is part of the catching up we need to do from 2013, so look for that exciting entry as my next post. Tomorrow I am leaving for Pennsylvania for my first adventure of the year and the goal this time will be getting another full facial electrolysis clearing, my fourth one. I am planning three of these clearings in the first 5 months of the year, which should put me back on schedule and leave me over halfway through with hair removal. There are more big plans in the works after that, so stay tuned is all I can say right now.
A New Car
|First selfie in my new car|
My mind was not made up on whether I wanted a small "crossover" SUV or something like a mid sized sedan. I got a lot of advise from Mitchell on what would be acceptable for me safety wise, what had good reviews and what performed well. So it came down to a matter of what I really wanted within the parameters we set up.
My first instinct was to buy a purple car. I wanted to get something in a pretty color and I thought why not get it in my favorite color. The first car I drove came in purple, but it was really more of a dark cherry. I didn't like the way that Nissan Rogue handled and it seemed small inside, so I wanted to drive some more SUV's and give a few cars a try.
I found out that it would be extremely difficult to get a car in one of the bright, showy colors that I wanted. If you look around you will notice that most of the cars on the road are in what I call dull colors, grey, black, white etc. I don't like bright red so that color was out. So I gave up looking for the perfect color and just focused on looking for the perfect car. The few cars that do come in really, really pretty colors either seem to be the tiny models that are not big enough for my dogs and I, or some by a couple of the domestic manufactures that we wanted to avoid. I never had a "foreign" car but felt this was the right time to give one a try.
The day after New Year's, Mitchell and I went to two dealerships here in town and I test drove 7 different models; 4 cars and 3 SUV's. It started raining towards the end of the day so the last couple of vehicles I drove I wanted to test drive again on a better day. Because Mitchell had to go back to Virginia to work, we waited 9 days to look at and drive some more. I just feel a lot more comfortable having him with me at the dealerships because I don't like dealing with salespeople, although only one of the dealerships seemed to take a high pressure approach. That was the place where I drove the 2 models in the rain, so when we went back on January 9th I wanted to go to a neighboring city to look at the deals there.
This past year living as myself has really helped me a lot as far as confidence and I feel I pass pretty well these days, although I still think I have to keep improving. Having that license with female gender on it helps a lot when it comes to time to show identification and at all of the dealerships we felt like I passed to the salespeople. With this in mind, I was really enjoying the experience of looking for the right car.
On the 9th, our last day of test driving, we went to two dealerships and I drove 5 vehicles in 3 different models. The last car we drove was a 2014 Kia Optima LX. The LX is the base package but this particular car had 2 features I really liked that are usually only available on the fancier, more expensive models; satellite radio and a back up camera. The color was Dark Cherry and some of the dealerships call it purple. It has kind of a dark, royal purple, burgundy or cranberry look. It is an interesting color, and very pretty. :)
I loved the way that car drove. The fist Optima I drove was on a rough road in town in the rain, but this time I drove on the highway and in town, so I got to really get a feel for it. It felt wonderful! After we left the dealership I told Mitchell that if I could get the added leather seats thrown in, as well as a spare tire, I thought it would be a good deal. This was the first car to make me smile when I test drove it, so I had a really good feeling about it. I've learned to follow my feelings and they were telling me that this was the car.
Mitchell and I went back in the dealership and our salesman seemed to have a surprised but happy look to see us walk back in the door. It was almost closing time so there was really no one else around. Mitchell told him that we were not going to haggle over this car and that we wanted the leather seats added as well as the spare tire. He wrote his email address on a sheet of paper and told the salesman to talk to his boss and let us know by noon Monday what his best price would be, and that it needed to be every close to the number we gave him, which was lower than the sticker price. I have to admit to feeling more than a little bit turned on seeing my man operate like this, so smooth, confident and professional. It's just one of the many reasons I love him and feel lucky to have him in my life.
Mitchell decided to stay over an extra day and leave Monday night. This way he got to help me take my dad to his doctor's appointment Monday morning and find out about the deal on the car. He got a call from the salesman right before noon and the figure he gave us was acceptable. We were going to buy a New car. I started out looking at 2011 or 12 models and ended up getting a 2014! In fact this car was lower priced than the low mileage 2012 Honda CRV that ended up being my second choice. The only catch was that the deal included a trade in of my ailing Chrysler van, so I would have to drive it up there Monday afternoon when we went to buy the car.
There was another problem. I had not yet changed my name on the title of the van and I did not want to trade it in with a title showing my old name. Mitchell went with me to the DMV right after we got Daddy home and ate lunch, but we found out that it would take a couple of weeks to get the new title in the mail. I wanted to wait or drive up to Raleigh and pay extra to get the title right away, but Mitchell talked me into taking the van up and selling it with the existing title.
He reminded me that it had not been long since I changed my name and I was still having to deal with having to go places to change paperwork, an example being our visit to the local DMV office. I told him that was true, and even though this was outing me in various places I was just having to deal with it. But buying this car was different. During the the entire process I had been showing my new licence and felt that not only was I passing, that no one had any suspicion that there was anything different about me. This was the most normal I had ever felt in my whole life. Before transition I did not feel normal and while I have felt much, much better since going full time, I was still getting over the stigma of having to use my old name in official business or get over the worry that people could tell I was trans.
Having Michell's support made the decision to go ahead and sell the van with old title a viable option. My Mom was going with us because she was going to buy the car and put it in her name until after my divorce. No sense in adding more personal property to the list of things that have to be split. It would be my car to drive anyway and one day I would hold title to it.
Driving the van on the highway for 40 miles was a lot of fun, especially when I could only get it up to 45 mph because of the bad transmission. We were all worried that it would break down along the way and I did have the phone numbers handy for three different towing companies in the area. One of them was Lizard lick Towing , made famous by a television show I have never seen but seems very popular. I am really glad that the van made it all the way to the dealership but if I had to call a tow truck it would have been cool to have them come out, and possibly end up on television.
My dad stayed home with the new sitter and Mitchell drove his car, following me with Mama riding shotgun. They watched me like hawks the whole way and Mitchell even called me one time to tell me I was driving poorly. I got bored driving the car so slowly and ran off the road, but just for a second. Stuff happens...
When we got there everything was going smoothly and then the salesman asked why the car was still in Mr. Matthews name. He assumed it was my dad. That's when Mitchell looked at him and said there was something he had to tell him. Mama quickly took over from Mitchell and took the man inside to explain the whole situation. I really appreciate all she does for me and her acceptance, and I do appreciate her explaining this situation to the salesman even though Mitchell was prepared to do it. The only thing that concerns me is that she is all to willing to go telling everybody my life story, sometimes at the drop of a hat. We need to have a little talk about being more discreet, for my sake, but on this day things worked out well.
Like Mitchell told me later, I should take this as a really good sign. The surprised look on that salesman's face said it all. He had absolutely No idea! I am going to build on that as a mark of confidence as I continue my journey in 2014. Self improvement is still one of my primary goals, as well as getting on with the serious phase of my transition.
Like I said earlier, things seem to really be coming together here in 2014. Good things are happening and are going to continue to happen. I have a really good feeling about it. This year promises to be special, a watershed year like 2012, only better perhaps. Believing in your dreams helps make them come true. This can be true is your life too!
So what is next in Tammy World? Stay tuned to find out...
Tammy World 2014