Letters to Holly

Tuesday, September 9

Checking Out the Closet

Out of the blue on Sunday night, Your Sister expressed worry if The Deputy comes out as gay.

It wasn't so much out of nowhere maybe. Another teen-age child of a friend has identified as the other gender, changing clothes and name. It seems to average one a year now, and that doesn't count the students at the school. It comes with the age. Whether it's role-play or a fundamental actualization, this is the age to do it. You're going to get slagged at school each day for something, might as well be for something you intentionally establish.

I remember it with girls during my high-school years. Not so much with boys. They would project their behaviors a little more, but no boy changed his name to a more feminine one. Girls seem(ed) to have more leeway with "tomboy" behavior.

She said she's worried how much harder it would be to be gay in this town at that age. I told Your Sister that, if our guy did come out, there's a stronger support system for him than just five years back, and he won't be in that position for another ten years. Who knows what the consensus will be, even in a town so slow to move in conjunction with national trends.Will there be conservative and fundamentalist blowback? Yes. But those folks would/do complain about the kind of relationship she and I have, and we've been married nine years.

I thought about the possibility even during his first year, and I decided that I will treat his relationships as I do yours: If it's convenient and healthy, I'm for it. If it's not on equal footing, I want my guy to have the advantages. The other person isn't my concern; that's for their posse to fret over.

Your Sister already decreed I would have The Talk with him. I may have volunteered. I never got it, and that was a major handicap for a Baptist-raised yokel. I owe him a better head start.

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This was probably the last year we ask my mom to watch the deputy during DragonCon. Her judgment is suspect. She didn't feed him any of the meals we prepared, instead sharing the eclairs I bought her. Yes, his meals were eclairs. And handfuls of cookies. We told her she could spoil him, but that's beyond the pale. He also didn't go to bed before 10 pm. She broke our DVD player by shoving in a disc into the unopened tray and lost his swim goggles, and lied about eating the sandwich ingredients she asked me to buy for her. None of them were even opened.

It'll be fun. He'll be five next year, and we can split up time between the convention and the local attractions. He'll see characters he'll know, and we can put him in costume too.

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I see the doctor tomorrow for this weird sensation in my throat. It started last week, and it feels physical. I initially thought a pill was lodged in there. I can eat and breathe fine, but the texture when I swallow is distracting. It's not a cold, not this far down my gullet, and it would have bloomed into head gunk by now. It's probably spiders or cancer. Occam's razor and all.

Picture of the Day

Maybe the doctor will give me these.

Monday, August 25

Long Weekend

The daycare was closed Friday for a teacher workday, and I minded the Deputy.

He got his first haircut that morning. I sat him down on Thursday to pretend to cut his hair to prepare him. It didn't help much. He watched the barber cut my hair before he got into a chair. He was mostly OK until the barber had to bend his ears, and then he got squirmy. He also had an itchy face and shook his head a lot. I stood with him to settle him down enough for the barber to finish. We went back home to clean up before heading out to see his first movie.

I picked Guardians of the Galaxy thinking it would be enough like Star Wars to fascinate him. That kinda worked. I talked him through theatre etiquette, picking good seats, and the sensory overload of the experience. I think the latter got to him. Also the unknown characters. He didn't know who was a bad guy or a good guy, and he was suspicious of them all. About halfway through, he asked to go. It was right after a sequence of sad scenes, and while he couldn't express it, I think that bothered him. We walked around the lobby and went to the bathroom (he had eaten about a pound of salty popcorn), and I told him we would go to the toy store afterward if he saw the rest of the film. He agreed, and we went back in in time for the all-action final act. He was squirmy and talky, and I blame the sounds and editing cuts. Also the film length. If it was a shorter film by ten minutes, he would have been fine. But he made it.

I expected him to want Guardians toys, but he chose a jedi four-pack with a clonetrooper because he adores the clonetroopers. He also passed up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Hulk toys. So he's consistent.

Your Sister worked the whole weekend to prepare for school. She put off the usual preparations, and she had to catch up in the last two days. on Saturday, she took him to the school to watch DVDs while I stayed home to work on the costume. I sewed Velcro to the robe layer, and that was a slow death. Black thread, and black farbic, and thick black Velcro strips and oh Good Lord. Earlier in the day I did an apheresis, and  the attendant missed the vein runway he had marked, and I think he grazed a muscle. It has never hurt like that before. Iodine pain goes away much quicker than this did. During the sewing I watched a documentary called Cave of Forgotten Dreams about a pristine cave art collection in France. It's on Netflix, and I recommend it. The art is much more refined than normal cave art.

Sunday morning, i mowed the yard and found a turtle. When the grass gets to a certain height, turtles are inevitable. I showed him to the Deputy before hiding him back in the high plants behind the house. That should have kept him clear of the neighborhood cats. I met up with an old college friend and her family later in the day. Your Sister hung out for a bit before going back to school. I made dinner for us while the Deputy ate his thawed food; we ate supper after I put him to bed.

I've prepared him for this weekend with my mom while we're in Atlanta. I ordered eclairs for my mom this morning. It's her babysitter payment and her not-so-secret weakness.He knows his routines so well, he can walk Mom through the two days easily. I'll teach her how to use the DVD player; it's easier than her trying to figure out Netflix.

Picture of the Day

I made a Hulk for my wrestling video game.

Wednesday, August 20

No Sale

I saved myself $750 by pushing two buttons.

My phone was acting slow since Hawaii, and I knew the constant photography was a blight upon its soul. Finally the power button didn't respond, and I could only wake up the phone by sliding out the keyboard. I figured the phone was toast.

I went to Best Buy instead of a Verizon store because Your Sister and I have had bad experiences with them in the past year. For me, the salesperson sold me a phone that had not been cleared of the previous customer's contacts and photos. I had to go back and get all that erased, and he offered me a free shell case and screen cover for my trouble. They had to be ordered. I went back after the weekend to get them, and he had forgotten the entire conversation. Your Sister tried to order a new phone and equipment from the local store, and they were understocked and open at erratic hours.

So, yeah, Best Buy. I browsed at some nice phones much fancier than what I have. The one I picked would cost me the full price because Verizon wouldn't let me upgrade until October. I figured the price would be worth it until I drove out of the parking lot and realized I was crazy. I could wait two months. I took the fancy phone back for a refund and reactivated my old phone. That night, I opened the back to look at the battery and found a small note telling me how to rest the phone. I pressed the mute and power button at the same time for ten seconds, and it cranked up. Works just like new.

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We all got together on Saturday for Your Dad's birthday. Your Sister threw the party at a restored train station. It has a few cars and engines open for tours, and it runs a small trolley along a few miles of track. We ate in a refurbished train car, and The Deputy was in heaven. I think Your Dad was too. They both got free shirts, and we may go back to the trolley before winter.

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We're plucking roma and cherry tomatoes from the backyard garden daily. The Deputy and I eat cherry tomatoes after his dinner every night. Somehow we're now growing pumpkins. I didn't plant any. I didn't plant any last year. We had one grow maybe five years back on the other end of the garden, but now we have at least five swelling and turning bright orange. I blame birds for pooping out seeds from other folks. Your Sister thinks they might be from intact seeds from our jack o-lanterns in the compost bin.

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Your Sister started back at school on Monday. She gets students next Monday. Next Friday, we go to DragonCon. My costume is almost ready. She's renting hers from a local place, and she bought a blonde wig. I have about another hour's of work on my outfit, and that should be done this weekend. I'm also wearing my costume's shoes around the house to break them in. Mom will again watch the boy, and he can manage an entire weekend almost by himself. They'll be fine.

Picture of the Day

If you're looking for a new series to catch online, look up Hannibal. It's true horror and gorgeous. It's amazing what they're getting away with on network TV.

Monday, August 11

This Thing On?

Thought I'd crank this up again to catch you up in the easiest way.

We seem to still recover from the trip. Our sleep cycles are all askew. The boy cannot sleep before 11 pm, making him a rascal for three hours after bath time. Your Sister and I both slept in late over the weekend, which is something we haven't done in months.

I was able to get up fairly early otherwise to run at the school. I thought I would have an easier run on the flat terrain, but I can go faster with a longer stride. I'm really running now, not an uphill shuffle, and I can see some results already. I definitely lost weight during the vacation, and I attribute that to lots of fruit and deputy carrying. I haven't gotten over the pineapple, and I bought two of them in the last week for breakfast and homemade pizza.

The deputy has taken to lying as all kids do, and we're trying to break him of that by taking away toys. It's a phase hopefully. He and his mom got a planet model set for his birthday, and they spent the weekend painting the Styrofoam balls. He likes astronomy, and I link that to the Star Wars planet names.

I'm working on a new draft of my next comic project, something unrelated to the Focus stories. This will be my fourth pass at it, and I hope to have a thick trade's worth of issues ready by March and the Seattle convention. I don't know when I'll get the final word about being approved.

We are three weeks away from DragonCon, and we have almost finished my costume. We have maybe two hours' worth of work on it, and I'll use my lunch break today to look for the proper belt style. I think I'll need to make it with curtain rope and clasps. I bought the shoes last week at the mall. I also discovered no sports store carries my brand of running shoe anymore. I thought about getting running shorts, but they're $30 on clearance. Yeesh.

I was interviewed for a local arts podcast over the weekend, and I'll post a link when I see it. It was about an hour, and it was in Asheville. That gave me a great excuse to stop by Five Guys for supper on the way home.I can't eat from there every week, but God knows I want to.

And I got a call Saturday from my bank saying someone in NJ was trying to use my debit card number. The transaction was denied, and my card was spiked. I am sans card for a week, which is not happy time making.

My Mom was horrified that the deputy ate octopus. She also asked if anywhere in Hawaii sells hamburgers. I told her, by and large, the islands have everything we have and a little extra. She seemed OK with that.

Picture of the Day

The convention is getting closer. My beard is on borrowed time.