A few personal things from the past week to catch you up on, going somewhat in reverse order. First, I’m relaxing at home this Friday evening resting up from a pretty annoying head cold I may be (hopefully) in the final throes of. No, it’s not one of those “stay home and deal with the pain” types of colds, rather one of those viruses that starts with a little bit of congestion, spends a day or two blocking one nostril, blocks the other nostril the two days after that, and leaves you reaching for the tissue box more often than you’d like. Or much more often if there’s a lot of sneezing thrown in. I think there must be a lot of dry air in the office I’m stuck in.
The only person I’m blaming for giving me this cold is Mother Nature. She had the audacity to send Madison from bone-chilling -30º temperatures last week to +47º last weekend to single-digit temperatures and icy roads and pavements today. Sure, I enjoyed that nice warm spell we had last weekend (who wouldn’t?), but the whiplash-inducing swings from cold to warm and back to cold again has been the frequent culprit of colds in my lifetime. Oh, well, I’ll survive.
As noted above, we had a warm spell in Madison last week, literally days after we were left in the deep, deep freeze. And as one is want to do, I got out of the house.
Last Saturday afternoon was the usual meeting of the trans/crossdresser support group I’m a part of. And as you can tell, I had a smile on my face, not just because it was a generally enjoyable meeting, but because it was just warm enough in the meeting room to shed my coat. Said room has a western exposure, not to mention lots of windows. Any hint of stiff winter winds through those windows and… well, at least there’s an artificial fireplace that heats up the room. Yes, the building and the room has a heating system, but let’s just say the room’s setup doesn’t help circulate the heat. Oh, let’s just say, too, that heat doesn’t grow on trees, if you know what I mean.
One of the fun things about the Saturday meetings of our group is that on most occasions after our two-hour meeting ends, we go as a group have dinner at one of the many restaurants here in Madison. It’s a chance to converse without the structure of a group meeting, talk up topics we couldn’t or wouldn’t bring up in a meeting, and more importantly present ourselves to the cis-gender world in a positive manner (we’ve never had strange or disdainful looks thrown in our direction). If, as the saying goes, there’s strength in numbers, then our little group is a pretty strong bunch.
Last Saturday, our group chose Monty’s Blue Plate Diner as our dinner spot. Located directly across from the Barrymore Theater on Atwood Avenue, Blue Plate serves up favorites from burgers to eggs, soups to salads, burgers to bakery. It’s all presented in a vintage-style atmosphere that befits the building Blue Plate once was (it’s a retrofitted gas station) and the neighborhood that surrounds it. Our group has been to Blue Plate more than once and have enjoyed it every time. The only drawbacks are that we tend to come at a pretty busy time (early Saturday evening) and the somewhat narrow layout tends to break up our big group into separate booths (bummer).
Dinner at Blue Plate was a perfect time to catch up with my dearest friend. J. couldn’t make it to the meeting, but she was able to squeeze some dinner time with us. I’m glad she did, because the two of us hadn’t seen each other since December, meaning we had some catching up to do. Let’s just say the two of us are holding up well. This month is J’s birthday, so I also gave her that most wonderful of presents — chocolate! Okay, not one of those big heart-shaped boxes of assorted candies you find at this time of year (Valentine’s Day is this month, too), but some of those block-sized, close-to-fancy chocolate bars you find in the grocery store (and I’m not talking those big-sized packages of Reese’s from the checkout, though those are good as well). If J. is smart, I hope she didn’t eat all of that chocolate at once, and that she shared some with her boyfriend. Because, you know, while chocolate is delicious and all, it can still do a number on one’s figure.
One of the things that J. and I shared during our catching up was how our respective work is going. And it led me to something I didn’t realize… well, sort of didn’t realize until starting a new work week a couple of days later. Remember back in November when I told how being in my work assignment for 13 weeks felt like being in a TV show? Well, I earned another 13 weeks after that. Today, as I write this, was the end of my 27th week at my assignment. And while there’s no guarantee, next month I may earn an indefinite renewal.
Am I happy about the possibility of sticking around there a lot longer? For the most part, yes. For sure, the duties are more difficult than I had been used to in my previous place of employment, but I’ve managed to meet the challenges. But there are still times when I fear I’ll fail to meet my manager’s expectations, and she still comes across as someone who’s hard to please and doesn’t like disappointment, which makes me worry about whether I’ll be a good fit with them long-term. And there’s the fact that part of me still misses my old place of employment, where things were a little easier and where close professional friends of mine still work. Oh, I’ve moved on, but my heart is still there, which is natural to say when you were there for almost 16 full years.
But one thing’s for sure: I still have work to go to, and I’m still needed professionally. And above all else, that’s a pretty powerful feeling. Here’s hoping I’ll still be needed there 27 weeks from now, or at least I’ll get the chance to impress another organization with my skills.