Friday, January 01, 2021


 So, it has been years since I wrote anything here. Nearly three I believe. I wrote when my grandson was born. I don't know if a notice of a new post will show up on anyone's reader. It is okay if it does not. I need to write to think clearly and I have no better place to do it. 

I need to change Andrew's blog name to Andrea. 

Andrea is "trans femme nonbinary." I do not exactly know what it means, but I do not need to. I need only to love her.

And I do.

If you have read this blog way back from day one you will know that I expected that she was gay. I expected that she was gay until she started dating Alice. Dear lord, was that 17 years ago? I was somewhat surprised but I accepted that I was wrong and moved on.

Did you know they got married? Last year, just before Christmas, Alice's younger sister died. In early Mrach the tech company she works for sent everyone to work at home for however long this pandemic was going to last. Two weeks later she left Andrea. She called us that day so that we would know so we could call Andrea that evening when she came home and was alone. I think the death of her sister made her reconsider her life. I think that her awareness of the coming quarantine made her act more quickly than she might have. I do not believe she knew that Andrea was questioning her gender. I don't know that Andrea knew.

In the summer Andrea told us that she was nonbinary. That made sense of all the the things I new about her, but learning to use "they" as a pronoun was difficult. Later she said she was probably closer to "trans femme" and we could use "she/her" if we liked.  Will she someday tell me that she is a transwoman? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

I love her so much, as does her father. We do accept that this is the truth of who she is. We want to support her.

And we both cry a lot. Okay, I cray. He is much more manly about his sad and angry feelings. 

He has not been able to talk much about it, but I think we have the same two causes for pain.

We want her to be safe and happy. She teaches high school, and this year she is teaching remotely. She presents male for work and says she will continue to do so. That seems unrealistic to me -- given how happy she is being a girl. She came to see us for a few days at Christmas. She talked about how glad she was to get out of the boy clothes that she wore for driving. I find it hard to believe she can be happy leading a double life. On the other hand, coming out and transitioning at work is clearly something she is not ready to think about. 

And it scares us too. We knew transwomen who have transitioned and are happy. Actually, all the transwomen I know are happy, at least about who they are and how they live. It is not as though I know dozens of transwomen personally, but I do know several. But I also know that transwomen are not safe in this world. And it is very difficult to deal with your child not being safe. Even if she is 31.

She is 31. 

How did I not know? 

When she was five she told us that when she grew up she wanted to be a mommy, not a daddy. At the time I was working at the college (I still am) and her father was running a home day care. Her father was startled by this announcement, but it made perfect sense to me. Of course she did not want to run a home day care. She wanted a life like mine. I hugged her and told her that she could be anything she wanted when she drew up. She could be anything and do anything. I also told her that if she had children people would call it "being a daddy" but she did not need to worry about it.

And I took that as evidence that she might be gay. 

I did not every seriously consider that is was evidence that she wanted to be a mommy and not a daddy when she grew up.

She told me recently that she figured out that she was not gay because she knew she liked girls. (She is currently in a relationship with a transwoman).  She said that she was always safe at home and she was appreciative of that. She was always able to be herself and knew that no one would try to make her be different. She had gay brothers from the time she was 10. Her parents were active in PFLAG and she met transwomen. One in particular was a close friend of ours for a very long time. She was very happy that no one expected her to "act like a guy." School was hard though. 

I don't know how she thought about it then. She says she wished it did not take her 30 years to figure out her gender. She is glad that she was always safe in our home. She is happy that we are accepting an d supportive now.

And I do not let her knew that I cry about this.

I cry because I always wanted a daughter and I had one and did not know it. I cry because even though I tried to give all my children the space and freedom to be themselves, I still somehow failed. She told me and I did not hear. If I had listened, believed what she said, how different might her life had been?

I know all the things I would tell someone else if they learned there 30 year old child was trans. I say them to myself and I knew they are true. Hearing them in my own mind does not change the way I feel though. The same thoughts run through my head.

I remember all the time that I saw her and her brother and laughed to myself thinking that at least I had one heterosexual boy. From the time she was five until she was fifteen I was waiting for her to come out. From fifteen to thirty I believed she was just one of the kindest heterosexual men I knew. 

But I keep thinking...

How did I not know?

And I keep hoping..

Please God, let her be safe.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Me and my grandson

Me with my grandson, Gary's son, Rowan.

Gary isn't mad at me any longer.

Friday, May 20, 2016

An update just in case you are still reading

I feel like I left this blog hanging, like there should have been an end and there wasn't.

The stories in this blog continue, but generally we are all well.

Andrew is completing his MAT and expects to be a high school teacher. He is still with Alice. Alice feels like she has two bad choices: the wedding her mother wants to give her or the anger her mother will experience if they elope. So she continues to take the third path: the frustration her mother feels that they continue to live together. When she tells me about this Andrew just listens and smiles. It is clear he is ready to do whatever Alice decides, whenever she decides to do it. She is a graphic designer who likes her job. One of my small gift certificates at Christmas for the kids was a gift card to Albertson's (grocery store). She grinned and said, "I designed this one!"

Brian is living at home again. He is working at the Humane Society. Right now he is a lowly animal attendant. "My life is poop!" he says grinning. The Humane Society is expanding and he is hoping to eventually work in Animal Control. He has far too many animals. As long as they stay in the basement I can deal. He brought home a rescued tortoise a month ago. It disappeared from the gardening box in which it lived. We searched the back yard daily assuring ourselves that there was no way he (Vladimir Pushin) could get out. A week ago he came home having announced that Vladimir had got out and had been turned into the reptile rescue in the next town. I was skeptical, but he showed me the identifying marks. Brian went to dig out the gardening box so it was deeper and harder to get out of -- and, you guessed it -- found Vladimir happily burrowed and hibernating. So now there are two tortoises.

Carl lives in Portland. I've erased the paragraph I wrote about him. I will say just that he faces may struggles and we love him.

David lives in Florida. For the past few years he has been managing a hotel for a national chain. He is no longer with the young man we liked so much, but he seems happy. I do miss him.

Evan is the one I see most often. He has been with same young man for more years. They are lovely together and wanting to move out of their apartment and into a house. There may be mixed feelings there. The partner wants to move partly so they can have more pets. Evan would like to move so that he won't feel so crowded by the pets they have. There may be some concern that the the crowding would not be better for very long. Evan is 'the IT guy' in a company you have heard of. He is happy.

Gary is mad at me. He moved back in after my mother did. We told him at the time that we were happy to let him live here, but we could not take care of him as we did when he was a teenager. Most particularly we would not be his taxi service. That went about the way you would expect. He didn't want to get a job here because he really wanted to move to The City (or what passes for such), but he couldn't move because he didn't have any money. It didn't end happily. We have gone through rocky stages with the other boys and I am confident we will get through this too.

My sister did divorce her terrible husband. She graduated from college, currently works for a bank and lives with a very nice man who wants to marry her. She says she just can't get married again -- ever. She is happy.

My mother ... well, that might be a new blog. I may need to do that. She currently lives in a long-term care hospital. It is just three blocks from where I work so I eat lunch with her just about every day.

I want to thank all of you who helped me keep my sanity through the foster care years.  Be well.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

No Empty Nest

A new blog is coming. I'm thinking of calling it "No Empty Nest." There is a lot to tell you but here is the summary of the last few months.

Life with my mother is good. Particularly now that we are out of her hair and she has hours alone every day. She is doing more housework. She doesn't like doing dishes or vacuuming in front of us since she moves so slowly. She seems to feel good about being able to be helpful, and I certainly do appreciate the help.

The real news is my father. Where to start?  So you all remember he got married right? His wife left late last spring to visit her parents in China. Dad started getting a bit weird about it. He doesn't talk much on the phone, but well, let's just say I had decided that he must have started drinking again. He apparently thought that Mom moving in with me was such a good idea that he emailed Sis, who is getting divorced (more on that too) and said that she should find an apartment they could share in Minnesota. Sis decided that was a good idea, found a place and she, my nephew and my father moved in.

Within a week Sis realized that Dad was suffering from some form of dementia. It seems that Dad was aware that he was having more trouble managing his life. Moving in with Sis just seemed to him to be the obvious solution. Particularly since his marriage was in trouble. That is another story I will have to come back to.

Anyway, Dad left California with one small suitcase of clothes and his wallet. We learned from the tenant who rents the apartment at the back of the house, that the place was left in shambles. He (the tenant) has cleaned the place up and put all the paper work he can find on the table. There is a court date for the divorce in just over a week, and I am flying to California this weekend to go through the previously mentioned paperwork, possibly meet with the divorce lawyer, and maybe take statements from people. Sis is making a list.

So how's that a teaser for a new blog?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Hard Part

Before Mom moved in I told a colleague that I was sure that having Mom here would be difficult in ways I didn't expect. It is. Mostly it is easier than I even hoped. Mom clearly came deciding that she was just going to adjust to the way we do things. We don't keep the house as tidy as she would, she doesn't complain. She doesn't make veiled comments about my weight like I feared she would. (In the past it wasn't that she said mean things. It was more that she always noticed and complimented me if I lost any weight. She said mean things about OTHER people's weight problems. That combined made me feel bad.) Anyway, mostly living with her is good.

The hard part turns out to be money. She is indirectly far more expensive than I expected. Her direct expenses are of course minimal. Her impact on the grocery bill is nearly nil. She pays all of her own personal expenses. We even use her car, which she maintains, insures, and supplies with gas, whenever we have to take her anywhere.

So how is she expensive? My mother has always been very frugal, which has also meant that if there was something important she needed, she had the money for it. She expects me to be able to do the same.

So, for instance, the bathroom. Mom needed it to be renovated. I told her that I needed her to pay for it. Because of the inconvenient window, we hired someone who would do a custom tile job. No way would any pre-fab unit fit. They guy came, we think very highly of him. It was his idea to move the toilet. That would cost an extra $300, but it was such a good idea. In retrospect I suppose I should have said, "great, now install a pre-fab shower/tub and your great idea will mean that we will pay you less." The truth is that I didn't even consider it. The extra $300 was in Mom's budget, just barely, but still under. Then I realized that the shower faucet set up that the contractor was going to use would be great for just us, but for an extra $50 I could get the ADA compliant one that would be SO much easier for her to use.  I'd have to pay the extra, but how could I not? THEN I realized that moving the toilet and tub meant that there would be three small holes in the floor where the tub plumbing used to be. I debated what to do. I could leave it, I suppose. So there are holes in the floor. The obvious answer is to pay a very reasonable amount of money to have the floor tiled to match the tub surround.

I considered not repainting the kitchen which I had been planning on doing since before Mom said she was moving, but my father sent me money for my birthday and there was enough to cover it. When it was done Mom said that I really should put up knobs and pulls. I asked if she needed them and that if she did, I would split the expense with her. She said she didn't really need them, but that my nice painting job was going to get messed up if I didn't add the hardware. After she mentioned it a couple times, I just bought the pulls.

Our AC really isn't very effective and it gets hot here. She said that if it was okay with us, that after she caught up with having paid for the bathroom, she pay her next installment for "room and board" by replacing our windows in the living room with some like she put in her house (translation: high quality ones). We tried not to jump up and down for joy at that suggestion. She said that that would probably help keep the room a whole lot cooler, and did I think we could afford to add a window AC unit? I said sorry, but we really couldn't. THEN Roland told me today that he thinks that he thinks it might not even be safe for a elderly woman to be in a house that often hits 83 degrees in the afternoon (it is a dry heat), and he has ordered a window AC unit.

She has noticed that I have repainted every room in the house except the living room. She said she really doesn't like this color and that should be my first project next summer. I told her that I wasn't going to do it. I'd LIKE to do it, but see, the wallpaper under the window (behind the sofa) is falling off and taking some of the plaster with it. I have no idea how damaged the plaster will be if I pull all the paper off and that might be more of a job than I can handle. I said that if it really bothered her, she could hire someone to re-do the plaster and I would paint. She chuckled and said no.  Then later in the kitchen she said, "you know, I had several rooms in my house re-plastered. It really isn't that expensive."

I said, "mmm" and wandered off to have a whole conversation in in my head with her that she isn't having with me, if you know what I mean.  I hear her say, "I am planning on spending a lot of money on your windows, and the living room will still look bad unless you are willing to spend a couple hundred dollars to do something you clearly NEED to do. The wall paper and plaster are FALLING OFF THE WALL."

Then I reply, "Mom, I can't keep spending money that I haven't planned on spending. If the walls bother you so much, pay the couple hundred yourself. I'll still do the painting."

And she says, "You want me to buy you windows AND pay to have the room re-plastered?"

And I say, "No. I don't giving a brown word about the fornicating walls. I like the wall paper just fine. The part behind the sofa doesn't bother me because IT IS BEHIND THE condemned-to-hot-place SOFA! You don't even  have to buy the fornicating windows!"

Then I realize that I am cursing at an imaginary version of my mother and I probably should consider writing a blog post even if I haven't written anything positive and I HATE it when I only write when I have something to complain about, because really, mostly I enjoy having her here.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bathroom renovation pics

I plan to update this daily.

Day 2:

As you can see, we decided on a regular tub instead of either a walk-in (tub or shower). This one is lower than average, which will make it easier for Mom to climb in. There will be grab-bars aplenty of course.

Monday, July 09, 2012

bathroom renovation

Remember the posts about the need up renovate the bathroom for Mom? The big issue was that there was an inconveniently placed window. This is what my bathroom looked like this morning after we took out the shower curtain, rugs and towel bars:

After what the builder called "demolition" and I prefer to call "de-construction," the bathroom looks like this:

We are going to move the toilet to the spot next to the window! Problem solved. This solution is possible because the laundry room, which is directly under the bathroom has no ceiling. All the plumbing is easily accessible.