Tuesday, 22 January 2013

And there was me thinking...

that I'd have a break from visits to the Laurels but alas that appears as if it isn't the case.

The last time I went to the Laurels and saw my doctor we discussed when I would be eligible for the surgery that would remove the male bits I have down below and replace them with something that is more anatomically correct for me as a woman.

When we talked about it before Christmas I understood that because the requirements are that you complete two years of real life experience then I wouldn't become eligible to go forward for a second opinion and then get surgery until the end of this year. After getting through my second opinion then the average time to have the surgery is about 6 months. Well that would have put me smack bang in the middle of his GCSEs next summer and with the stress that youngsters are under already when it comes to exams adding me having major surgery to the mix wasn't going to happen.

My plan was therefore to aim for surgery at the end of 2014.

This meant that having seen the doctor and also Sara, my therapist, I wouldn't have to go back to the Laurels until the end of the year when I'd get my GP to refer me back to the clinic.

Well today has changed that plan.

Sara wasn't around today so I got to see just the doctor. We went over how things have been, what I've been up to and he was happy with everything. He asked me to confirm when I'd started RLE and I said that I'd properly started it, by going back to work, on the 9th January last year.

Well in April things are changing in the UK and we'll be following the WPATH guidelines. This means that the minimum time needed for RLE in order to be eligible for surgery is one year. Yes, come April I'll be eligible to be put forward for my second opinion and then if that is successful to apply for funding and then have my surgery.

Well we've been here before.

When I was originally waiting for my first appointment at the Laurels I expected it to take about 8 to 12 months before I was seen. In the end it turned out to be closer to 4 months, something that shocked both my partner and myself. With everything that we've gone through in life you'd think that I'd have learned by now that no matter what I think is going to happen, or not, and when, things always mess up my time scales.

This time though things aren't going to change, unless its to delay the operation. There are too many things going on at the moment which mean that bringing it forward, even if I was prepared to do that, simply isn't feasible. More about that in a later post.

On another positive note I popped into the Debenhams store near the clinic to get some foundation. The sales assistant mentioned that if I spent over 35 pounds then I'd get 5 pounds worth of extra points on their beauty card. There wasn't much I wanted but I decided that perhaps she could advise me on some eye shadow. Well she certainly did and  I got a mini makeover as she tried the colour out on me including putting eyeliner and also  redoing my mascara. We also had a chat about Les Miserables which is in the cinema. Looks like I might be going to see that this week, although I'll have to make sure I wear some waterproof mascara when I do.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Slip Slidin' Away

Well, young 'un got away on his ski trip. Of course being a school trip they didn't get away on time.

Earlier in the week he came home with a letter from school which said that everyone was expected to be at the school and 2:30pm, half an hour earlier than originally planned. Very sensible considering the weather conditions and also from past experience a good idea as they never get away on time.

Just after 2 o'clock parents and youngsters started to arrive so about quarter past two we headed out for the 100 yard walk to the school.

The queue was already quite long and we ended up waiting around the corner of the school building.

Half an hour later and no sign of the buses, fingers and toes starting to get cold from standing around. Suddenly, I find myself heading back to the house as we'd forgotten the label that should have been on the case. Fortunately the label had been put in a safe place so it was a brief explosion of warmth as I went into the house and then back to the cold as I made my way back and fastened it to the case.

After another half hour of waiting the buses finally arrived. A bit of nimble driving by the entrance and the buses were ready to be loaded.

Even though I'd checked with the school about the size of his case I'd been worried that someone would tell us it was too large. However, when I saw a couple of people turning up with large bags that must have contained ski equipment I decided that I could stop worrying. If they were going to get those on the buses then my son's suitcase wouldn't be a problem.

Youngsters on bus, mine simply handing his case over and then walking straight on the bus without even a glance back at his mother and me.

Finally at twenty to four the drivers started the buses and pulled out of the school.

They arrive at the resort, in Italy, tomorrow lunchtime. They return next Saturday, arriving back home Sunday afternoon.

I don't know how much he's going to enjoy it but from what I've heard from others I'd better start saving up for a ski holiday and look at taking lessons myself because if he gets bitten by the ski bug then he's going to be wanting to go again.

The wanderer departs

As the UK enjoys (?) the snow that has spread over the country since yesterday we are preparing for my son and two double decker coach loads of students from his year at school to depart for a week long trip to Italy to go skiing.

Everything is packed ready, although I'm tempted to double check his suitcase to make sure that everything is there since my partner went through the case yesterday after I'd packed it last weekend. I think I can manage to keep that urge under control though.

So at 3 o'clock this afternoon my baby, ok he's 15 so not exactly a baby, will be off on another one of his trips. A day on the coach and then he'll be learning to ski. We'll miss him this week but I know he's going to have so much fun in Italy.

He get backs next Sunday and will hopefully want to tell us all about his week. Can't wait to hear about it.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Car Boot Barbie

Last week Stace mentioned in a post about receiving her first doll at Christmas. I was so intrigued by the idea that I immediately popped onto that old faithful Amazon to see if they had any in stock and lo and behold they did.
Well being a software engineer myself I couldn't resist and ordered one. Amazingly despite the New Year it turned up on Wednesday.
Thursday morning the new recruit at our company went into work and sat at my desk. Well OK sat on my desk.
V, my boss, loved it when she saw it and promptly emailed her partner to say she wanted one. Not sure that she's going to get one.
The guys I work with also loved it. Their all geeks to some level and soon playing spot the computer references with the box. There are some brilliant ones, the Linux penguin sitting on the bookshelf, the binary representation for the ASCII codes for the letters in Barbie on the monitor. All brilliant! Whoever came up with the concept for the packaging really knew what they were doing.

Barbie on the parcel shelf of the car at work (can't take pictures in the office unfortunately)

That afternoon I was chatting with the guy that sits next to me and he said that he thought it was a really good idea having versions of Barbie that get away from stereotypical female activities. Engineering is such a male dominated industry that anything that encourages young girls to look at careers that they might not normally thing about has to be worthwhile.

When I was younger I used to have Action Man figures as well as Lone Ranger and Tonto figures, the latter used to be part of my Saturday morning television figures when they showed reruns of the series.

My sister used to have Sindy dolls and on one occasion when she wasn't around Sindy decided that she was going to take a short holiday and wandered into my bedroom where she decided to have fun with the boys. Unfortunately for Tonto he was the one that she picked on.

Well, I was just starting to deal with my own gender at the time and so poor Tonto ended up in one of Sindy's dresses. I'm not sure whether he enjoyed it but with his long hair he could be a girl a lot better that the Lone Ranger or Action Man, besides Action Man would never fit into one of Sindy's outfits.

At the time I was also just experimenting with trying on my Mum's things when I had the house to myself but this wasn't often. Sneaking one of Sindy's outfits and putting Tonto into it was something that was a lot easier to do and could be hidden away in a hurry if I was disturbed.

Finally though I have my very on Barbie, she wont get played with but kept just in case at some point in the future (like the Aliens Ellen Ripley figure I bought in Forbidden Planet 20 years ago, Lady Penelope's Fab 1 car, and the Stingray model that I've bought more recently) they are worth something as a collectors item. The others are on top of wardrobes or in a cupboard but Barbie is going to go on top of the unit in our living room along with the hoard of Discworld figures that are currently sitting there.

Big thanks to Stace for posting about Barbie I Can Be a Computer Engineer.

Academic Recognition

While reading Faline's post about attending an event at her daughter's school I found myself thinking of something that happened with my own son last December.

When I first told my partner and son that I was going to be transitioning we discussed how we were going to handle his school. Although there aren't many events that we need to go to there are a few, parent/teacher evenings, school trip briefings. We decided that unless it was vitally important then my partner would go and then she'd tell me about it when she got home.
Where it was unavoidable then I'd slick back my hair, wear some androgynous clothes and no make-up. We've only had to do this once.
All of this to avoid putting my son in the situation where he might have to deal with his classmates or school friends finding out about me and possibly ending up with people making comments, asking him questions or even with him being bullied. We discussed all of this with the school prior to my transition and agreed that this is what we'd do. The school were of the opinion that it was very unlikely that he would be bullied if people found out but then they would say that, nobody really believes that he wouldn't be given a hard time, even if only for a short while.

Over the last year he seems to have grown more comfortable with being out places with me and we've done lots of different activities. Even so when we are out and about generally if we come across someone that goes to his school we've usually had enough time for him to distance himself from me before he's seen with me.

Which brings us to last December.

We'd been shopping in our local Tesco supermarket. Just the two of us as my partner was doing something else that evening. As we were wandering around the store he went off to get a few bits and pieces that he needed to take to one of his youth groups for a Masterchef/Ready Steady Cook activity that they were doing.
I carried on getting the rest of the shopping and then went to find him. He was exactly where I thought he would be, in the sweet aisle. Now normally I'd have simply walked up to him but on this occasion I noticed to other teenagers stood nearby and something in my son's posture must have stopped me from doing so, instead I simply walked on and stopped a bit further down the aisle. After the two boys had selected their purchases and gone I walked back up the aisle to my son. I asked him if he knew the boys and he said yes, they were in some of his classes at school. A very close call.
As much as he feels able to be out and about with me doing things where the majority of people don't know us, he's still not ready to deal with his peers at school knowing about me, other than those who we've known since they were in nappies and even then most of them have only seen me from a distance in the last year.

I do look forward to the day that when we are out and about and he meets a friend from school or one of his youth groups and he feels able to give me a hug and say this is Jenna and she's one of my parents.

Blast from the Past

The project that I work on is coming to a close at the end of the month. We have a busy couple of weeks to finish testing the system, write up the test report and then hand everything over to our customer. Before we do all that we have to get them up to speed on how we do our testing and all the tools that we have developed to make our jobs a lot easier.

This week one of the customer staff came down to talk with the project manager about what we do in order to get a feel for how much effort is going to be involved in them getting everything set up and working efficiently. As part of that I was asked to go through what we do in order to run some tests and log the results.

When he arrived on Thursday I saw him sitting with the project manager and thought he looked familiar. I assumed that he'd been down for meetings or something before and I'd seen him then.

About an hour or so later one of my colleagues that works on another project came over to talk to his partner who is one of my bosses. He immediately got talking to our customer as he'd worked with him about 10 years ago. I assumed that they'd worked together on some project at the customer's site.

Later that afternoon I was asked to support a teleconference with some of our customers at their office. While we were waiting for them to join the teleconference the chap who was visiting us turned to me and asked me if I'd worked on project X Y Z several years back. I said I had and he then said so had he and mentioned working with a guy who's name I remembered but hadn't heard in years. I explained that I'd worked on the test team but didn't elaborate which probably left him trying to place me, something that has happened a couple of times now recently (I mentioned to the course tutor that I'd done a course with him a few years back and I could see him trying to place me).

Friday morning I spent a couple of hours running through our test process with the customer during which time I was acutely aware of my voice and consciously made an extra effort to keep it sounding as feminine as I could, something that is slowly getting easier as I'm practising more and more.

Next week we have two more of the customers staff coming down to be shown how we do our testing. Hopefully I wont have to go through it with them, hopefully someone else can deal with them, but I'm pretty sure as I seem to have become the de-facto test team lead that I'm going to be the one dealing with them. I don't mind as its good practice for me, which might come in hand for whatever role I end up doing from February.