Annie and James Rushden were man and wife, until James revealed he was transsexual. Annie writes about the experience of falling in love all over again with her partner Claire. Same soul, different gift wrap.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Such an exciting day

Today was Claire's first full day en femme in Atlanta.

We started out the day by getting dressed to go to the zoo. The first thing we decided was to buy an annual pass ($79 get two people admission for a year) and we had to deal with the policy that they normally have in place - you must show picture ID with your membership card. So I spoke to them and showed them the letter from the therapist stating that James is undergoing transition and should be addressed as Claire and treated with all the normal protocol afforded to a natal female. Because Claire can't change her name legally yet (other paperwork is pending with the government) she has all male picture IDs. They were very gracious and said just show the letter with the card until the people that work the membership area get to know her. Thus, she now has a zoo membership card coming in her name. Very exciting. The zoo itself isn't the best zoo, but it is a good place for her to get comfortable in a crowd.

We had a pretty good time, and only got a couple of stares. Claire is about 6'5", so she's a very tall woman. She has a slight build, and she's pretty passable. Most people don't even notice her. But some do, and they see the heavy makeup (dermablend) required to hide that damn black hair on her face. We're going to have to find a MAC counter and see if they have anything that will do a better job. But for the most part, I would stand back and observe passers-by, and what I saw was that 99% of the people paid no notice to my 6'5" beloved. The remaining ones that did--all but 3 of them just glanced and moved on. Nobody was nasty, thankfully.

From there, we came home, touched up makeup, used the restroom and headed back out to Kohl's. Talk about jumping in with both feet. Claire was amazing today. My very brave girl mingled with the people in Kohl's, got some cute clothes, and only had one family act up. Just nudges and whispers, but I thought it might take the wind out of Claire's sails. Thankfully, I was wrong. Claire really started to believe in herself today, and it showed. She didn't care what people thought about her, she just went about her business today as the fabulous woman she is. I do have to say, that the employees in Kohl's were fabulous. We dealt closely with 3 of them, and if they noticed anything, they didn't let on.

We ran into CVS to grab some nail repair stuff. A pretty uneventful excursion, we saw no reactions at all.

Back to the house we went, to have a late lunch, feed the puppies, let Claire have a quick shave and a reapplication of makeup, and off we went again. This time we went back to the Outwrite bookstore. We both had a lovely cappuccino and we split a banana nut muffin. After that, we jumped back in the car and headed to PetSmart. We interacted with a store employee, browsed around, Claire used the women's room, and some young punk guy nudged his girlfriend and whispered to her about Claire. Claire just held her head high and shot him a look that basically let him know he was a small-minded jerk. We walked right by him and he wouldn't look at us. We paid and left, and Claire was just doing fantastic.

After that, we cruised over to Little 5 Points and checked out the shops. The other bookstore we wanted to check out--Charis Books--was closed, so we grabbed some Mexican food and headed home. Hopefully, we can hit the bookstore tomorrow. We have it on good authority that it's a really cool bookstore if you're trans.

All in all, Claire had a great first really full day in the general population as herself. Starting to live full time before beard removal has had sufficient time to work may not be all that easy, but staying home and being a housewife certainly takes the pressure off right now. As for me, I'm just thrilled watching my sweetheart take these steps and build her confidence. I had a priceless day with her, and it made all the hassle of moving to Atlanta so very worth it.

She's tempting me away from the computer with Dove ice cream, so I must go. Can't say no to Dove, ya know.

Peace, Love, and Inspiration,

ps - if you're going to Atlanta Pride, drop me an email!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Long week :)

Well, the chaos is subsiding and it looks like life might be finally settling down. I have to say we're loving Atlanta. Claire was able to go out en femme tonight - complete with using a pushup bra with her own physique instead of using breast forms as augmentation. This was a huge first time experience. We had a lovely evening, including going to the Outwrite Bookstore and getting a new book (Head over Heels). Claire's energy is changing and the constant tension she was carrying is finally dissipating.

We drove by the Star Bar, where apparently Twinkledome was happening tonight, but decided to stay a little low key tonight. So instead, we hit a quiet Starbucks in Little 5 Points, which promptly filled up with people. Claire was a little nervous at first, having really only ever gone to LGBT friendly places en femme before, but when nobody gave her a second look she settled in.

After Starbucks, we drove over to Barnes and Noble, just to walk around for a few minutes in another general public place. Again, nobody gave Claire a second look.

Tomorrow we plan on hitting the zoo. We had planned on buying a year's membership, but we found out that you have to present your card plus an ID when you get in. The only picture IDs Claire has are in the name of James with a male picture. So we're going to talk to a manager tomorrow and see if there is anything they can do, as Claire really wants a membership in the name Claire, as we were planning on the zoo being a safe place to go for outings for Claire to practice her photography skills.

After the zoo tomorrow, we're planning on coming home for a bit, then heading back out for coffee again and more just being out in public time. I'm looking forward to it, because I love being out with her in our own town and not having to hide.

Peace, Love and Equality,


Sunday, June 10, 2007

We're here!

So, I'd love to be able to share how easy and wonderful our move is with everyone. But...


I have never rented a place sight unseen before, but this place looked great in pictures. So, we went ahead and rented it since I didn't have time to travel up to look at it first. So after many little glitches, we hit the road to Atlanta. We arrived in Decatur and pulled up to our new home. The landlord is a realtor, so he left the key in a lockbox for us, so we grabbed the key and went inside.

We walked into our lovely new kitchen and realized we weren't alone. Apparently we had about 200 roommates, swarming all over the kitchen. Yup. Roaches. Now, I've lived in houses that had an occasional roach, sometimes it's just unavoidable. But this... well... oh my god.

The bathroom mirror harbored a colony of the little guys. And the tub -- ants.

Oh, and of course, now we're in a new town 4 hours from our old home, and the movers are on the way with our stuff. There's not a whole slew of options at 6pm on a Friday.

Oh, and yes... the air conditioning. The a/c was broken. 98 degrees, no air, and roaches. Yup, Atlanta was starting out great!

So the landlord came over, and told us he'd hired a company to clean and do pest control, and was unaware of the problems. He offered to split a hotel room 50/50 with us for the night, and is getting an HVAC guy here tomorrow hopefully. He did buy a bunch of pest control sprays and we put those down immediately as we waited for the moving company to show up. They arrived 2 hours late, and one of the guys smelled of booze.

So now, it was 10 pm Friday, we're in Atlanta and no way in hell were we spending the night in our new home. So we ask the landlord what a good hotel to hit was. He recommends a Holiday Inn near Turner Field. So, you would think the night would get better, right? Romantic, quiet evening in a nice hotel.

You'd be wrong.

Yes, we stayed next to Turner Field on the night of a Braves game.

Until midnight, people screamed, banged on doors and sounded like they were going to rip them from their hinges. We finally fell asleep at midnight, and at 12:30am our phone rang. Guest Services wanted to know if we'd ORDERED a PIZZA. I was not a pleasant person to this employee.

So, I finally fall back asleep around 1, and have to get up at 6 to get back to the house and get ready to go to the airport to catch my flight back to Savannah, get my SUV, finish cleaning my old place and drive to get my 2 german shepherds and drive them up. Four hours in an SUV with two wound up german shepherds is not fun. It's even less fun driving on I-20 in Atlanta with shepherds rocking the SUV. But, we made it. The dogs fell in love with their new backyard.

When I got here yesterday it was about 98 degrees outside and poor Claire has been cooking. Aldactone drops your blood pressure and hers is low anyway, so she had to be very careful to stay hydrated. She says she lost 2 pounds in sweat yesterday.

I sprayed the hell out of the house with some strong perimeter spray and for the most part I think we have most of the roach problem in hand. So we stayed here. We pulled our bed into the center of the room so it wasn't touching any walls and made sure no blankets touched the floor. I sprayed a big square around us and had a giggle thinking that it was akin to a pagan ceremony. Then we laid there and slept very lightly -- waking every so often and eyeballing the ceiling. Yes, we left the lights on!

My Galaxie was delivered in one piece thankfully :)

So now I sit here sweating in my new home. I don't see any roaches but my bathtub is filled with dead ants. I don't know where my clothes are for my first day tomorrow and I'm absolutely wiped out.

I have to say that poor stressed out little Claire is handling all this bug stuff with tremendous grace. I wish her start in Atlanta could have been easier, but I think that once we get the problems sorted out here it will be a nice little house for us. I did have a lovely morning drinking coffee on the huge deck watching the pups play. We're planning on doing that for breakfast tomorrow.

Here's hoping I won't get lost and I'll be able to catch the MARTA train with no glitches.

Thanks for all the emails and PMs everyone sent! I'll keep you posted.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

T minus 1

Today is the last visit to the chiropractor (and great friend) Dr. T - a really tough goodbye. After that, we head on to our friend Ted's hair salon, where Claire will be getting her first 'official' girl haircut. She's also going to get her eyebrows touched up - better her than me lol ;) Another really tough goodbye. We tried to drop some flowers off to our regular doctor, who has been overseeing Claire's hormone therapy, but her office was closed yesterday.

After that, a quick lunch with my son and back to finish packing the house. Our antique Galaxie should be on a car carrier by that time and headed back to Atlanta, the city where she was manufactured.

Tonight, the dogs go to a boarding facility to wait out our move. I fly back Saturday morning to pick up my SUV and haul them up from Savannah to Atlanta. 4 hours with 2 german shepherds in close quarters... whew. Fun.

Tomorrow at around 9am we have to be ready to go, as the movers will be arriving. They should be done packing us up around 1-2pm and then we'll be on our way to a transgender friendly city. I'm really excited at the idea of Claire having the pressure off of her to pretend to be someone she isn't. This will give her some time to work on her voice, figure out what career she really wants and just settle in to her proper identity.

On a somewhat related note: today at 10:45am, Steve Stanton officially becomes Susan Ashley Stanton. I hope she has a great day to celebrate her officially shedding the wrong identity and embracing her proper one.

Cable gets shut off today, so we'll be back online by Monday hopefully.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Of goodbyes and empty offices...

Today was my last day at the county and Claire's last day at her agency. I feel so torn between sorrow of leaving friends and excitement about starting our new life. I leave behind a couple of really close friends and quite a few more really great people that have been so wonderful to be around. Leaving the courthouse today was like running the gauntlet, people demanding hugs and wishing us all the best in Atlanta. My best buddy Brian was definitely hard to say goodbye to. He's been a great friend to us, and has known about Claire's condition for months. Frances, my wonderful friend, embroidered a gorgeous present for Claire: a magnet with the "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it" phrase and her wishes for a successful and happy life as Claire in Atlanta.

We put the real reason for our leaving on our exit interviews, so I'm sure our workplace will be buzzing with the news by tomorrow.

I'm off to go pack. Cable keeps cutting in and out so I better get busy ;)

Peace, love and happiness,