This is yet another instalment in the continuing saga of Michelle Lea. As those of you who have been following along may know, I sold my house. It is now under contract with a closing date of October 2. I have had to jump through a few hoops in the matter of repairs to get the deal done, but now it looks like everything is on track--although my realtor tells me that it's not over until the money is in the bank. Nevertheless, I took the plunge, and last week I purchased a mobile home for the princely sum of $15,000. I was going to rent, but I wasn't finding anything that I was willing to afford, and this seemed like just what I was looking for at this point. My primary objective is to cut my overhead so that I can add to savings instead of taking out of savings to live. I will still have some monthly payments in the form of a lot fee, but it is $686, and I think I can swing that. It's cheap living for sure. Now we'll see how I like living in a 55+ community. Hopefully, my neighbours--I have a British spell check-- keep mostly to themselves. If it is awful, I can always sell or rent it and move on, but I think it will be fine. When I say, "leap of faith," what I mean is that I put $5000 down so that I can start moving my stuff during the month of September, and be totally moved in by the end of September. I will pay the balance with the proceeds of the sale of my house. That is the plan. We'll hope for the best.
My house is sold—sort of. I have a contract, but the lady—a judge—could back out over the inspection report which found some evidence of termites and roof leaks. I have not seen the final report yet, but it seems the repairs will come to around $3500. It could be worse. I have already sunk 3200 into remodelling the bathroom and fixing the damage to my patio. Anyway, you do what you have to do. I think it will go through. The closing date is October 2 which is good for me as it will give me time to find a place to live and get packed and ready to go. I have seen some manufactured homes for sale that are pretty inexpensive, but I am still being advised to rent at this point. I will see what I can do. So, that’s what’s happening on that front. I am still plugging away at AFLAC and opening little accounts—one last week and it looks good for one this week. I am waiting until I get moved to make any big decisions about new employment. I would like AFLAC to work, but I have to be realistic as well. We’ll see. My step-daughter arrives next Thursday to help me get packed. I’m going to give her a lot of her mom’s things, so we’ll get that ready to ship. I am packing away my feminine things while she is here—only three days—so no big hardship. I don’t want to deal with that issue now—or ever maybe. All in all, I seem to be holding my own. The adventure continues. For sure.
We had two showings on the house yesterday, and the feedback was very positive. One party is still debating over my house and another one. At this point, I hope they pick the other one. There are still some finishing touches to be done, and my guy is starting tomorrow with them. It will also help us pass inspection when that time comes. Besides, I am not quite ready to move, although that is rapidly becoming out of my hands. I did talk to Ricki Barr who was introduced to me by Monica. She felt that I should definitely seek some financial advice when the house does sell so that I make the best use of the money and avoid tax issues. Not a bad idea at all. We could have chatted all night, but I am in somewhat of a time crunch and had things that needed doing. I started writing down the addresses of places I find on the internet, and as I'm out and about, I am going to check them out. They look good in the ads, but I have to see what the neighbourhood is like. I want to live where I don't have to fear for my life. I am pretty much of a recluse, so I don't think I'll have to worry too much about my future neighbours (my grammar/spelling checker must be British)--as long as they mind their own business. My stepdaughter, Jilly, is coming for a visit on the 24th to help me pack. I am giving a lot of dishes and knickknacks to her, and it will be helpful to have her here to select what she wants. What I don't keep or give to the kids is being donated or thrown. I am trying to purge. I have to pack all my feminine things before she gets here, though. She's pretty conservative, and I don't want the hassle. I feel it's best kept a secret for now. Later.
It's been one year since my wife died--yesterday to be exact. It has certainly been a year of adjustment for me. I have had to deal with loss for sure, but it has also allowed me to come out and express myself and to be more honest about who and what I am. That has been very liberating, and the friends I have made on this site have been there with me with their sage advice and wisdom. It is much appreciated. Now today, I have made another big step in listing my house for sale. Initially, I had been hoping to keep it a while longer, but unfortunately, my income from AFLAC has not been enough to meet my expenses, and I need to downsize. Frankly, I don't need this big a house--not that it's that big--but it has a fair size yard, and all my free time seems to be spent maintaining it. I still have a little left in savings, and I want to get out while I still have a cushion. I plan to rent a mobile home locally for a while to see how that goes and how I like it. I can move anywhere now, but would kind of like to stay in Florida. Anyway, I'll keep writing about the experience--I have a lot of stuff to get rid of for starters.
After what seemed like a forever dry spell, I finally opened another account today and wrote some business. I had just come from a promising sales presentation with one company and thought I'd check up on an employer who had put me off the last time since she just didn't have the time. Today she was ready and we just did it. I wasn't expecting that, but I'll take it. I have been seriously considering doing something else, but I really would like this to work. I have some more promising things coming up. We'll see. Eventually, I will downsize, but I'm not ready yet if I can help it. I like my privacy and being able to do pretty much what I want--not that I do much. Just me and my puppies.
I've been sick this past couple of days--since Monday actually. Our training room at work has an ac vent that blows right down your neck, and I didn't have a jacket to ward off the chill. Funny to move from Minnesota to Florida to get out of the cold, only to freeze in air conditioning. Not sure that was the cause. Anyway, it started as a nasty cold Monday afternoon. I should have stayed home on Tuesday, but we have a new recruit that I was scheduled to train, so I did spend a couple hour with her. She even felt sorry for me and bought me some deli chicken soup to take home. The soup was good by no cure. I think it's flu since I have achy bones and am running a `100-degree temp. I've read several times what the difference is, but I don't remember. I did get my flu shot, but they are not 100% effective.
Note: I began this on Thursday and my computer decided to do its own thing, so I'm back again on Friday. For some reason, I didn't lose what I had written. Anyway, after sleeping my way through most of the week, I am back at it again. I'm not totally out of the woods, but I definitely feel better--more myself. Maybe Emma was right in that I needed a break, and I was going to get one whether I wanted to or not. Fortunately, my week was light. I did some follow-up today, and should, be ready for next week. I am reading John Connolly's Every Dead Thing. I've read it before a long time ago. It's a somewhat grim tale but well-written. It's good to be reading fiction again. I like to keep up on the news, but most of it is so depressing. Hopefully, this country can be saved. My opinion.
I had a long chat with Rich, my District Coordinator, this morning over iced-coffee at a Dunkin Donuts in Coconut Creek. It was across the street from the Hyundai dealership where he was having his car serviced for a brake alarm light. We haven’t had the chance to sit down and talk for quite a while due to both of our busy schedules. We hashed out my possible promotion to CIT (Coordinator-in-Training), and in the end we both concluded that now was not the time—if ever. Rich felt—and I totally agreed—that it was more important for me to be selfish right now and make some real money. So, I will be taking more time to do my own prospecting and less time training other agents; however, complications have already arisen. Rich’s wife, Robin, is in the hospital battling a urinary tract infection because of her recent major surgery. Reading between the lines, she is not doing well. I have a bad feeling that she might not make it. Rich is a real man’s man who married late. He also is very emotional and cries readily—something I am unable to do. As his right-hand man, I will continue to fill in and help as best I can. Some things are more important than money. I will be okay. I hope Rich will.
So, while it's been a while since I've opened any accounts and made any money, it seems that I am continuing to be groomed for a management position. I was invited to a higher level training at our market office this afternoon which was attended by veteran agents and managers for the most part. My regional manager also wants me to start attending monthly leadership training. This is all well and good, but as I think I mentioned before, my district manager (and I) are most concerned with my livelihood. His wife is back in the hospital with a urinary tract infection from her recent surgery, so I have had to help out. Maybe it's called paying it forward. Anyway, I am still due to have coffee with him on Saturday. We'll see what he says. And in the meanwhile, I have painted my toenails a kind of dusty rose. I think I still like deep red better, but this isn't bad.
Not sure I have the Spanish spelling right. I saw the sign on a vendor's cart in a Mexican market, and it stuck with me. Much effort, and little gain. All of our team seems to like working with me. My district manager's wife has been pretty sick, so I have been helping him out with the training, but I feel like I'm getting spread pretty thin. I am having coffee with him this Saturday. He wants me to succeed so maybe we can sort this out. Otherwise, I'm free floating. Not sure I'm ready for a relationship yet. I'm in no hurry or in any great need at this point. "When the right one comes along..."
So, as I mentioned yesterday, in an effort to get smarter, I am going to write a blog entry after I eat, walk the dogs, take a shower, and dress for the evening. (Heretofore, I would take to my chair after bathing and promptly have a good nap--maybe later.) Tonight, my topic is food and my evolving diet. My wife was a real meat and potatoes kind of girl, and so was I for most of my life. It was how we were raised, and we thought nothing of it. As we grew older, however, we began eating less meat, and when we did, it was either chicken or hamburger. In the meanwhile, I had been reading more and more about the ill effects of meat in the diet, and especially red meat. Now that I am on my own, with only myself to answer to, I have cut way back. I don't eat any red meat--well, except for the Big Mac my boss bought me a while back (he had a coupon), and just a little chicken every now and then. I am starting to branch out in my cooking, and I am working salmon into my diet which is somewhat challenging at this point. I am using canned salmon, and it is a little gamey smelling, to say the least. I have been putting a lot of lemon on it along with hot sauce, and it's not too bad that way. I'll have to keep experimenting. Anyway, my feeling that going at least partially vegan will be more healthful and help me maintain my girlish figure (LOL) as well as being more environmentally friendly. More humane to the animals too. So, that's all I have to say on that tonight. Hope to hear what you girls are eating.
My life as an AFLAC agent has been a struggle lately. I am still closing accounts, but they are small ones and don't amount to much. So, I have started to look at other employment opportunities. I don't need to make a lot which is a good thing. I am going to be talking to my District manager soon and see if he has any ideas. I had planned to stay in the house a while longer, but I could always sell it and move into something more affordable--like a trailer. I can't bear the thought of giving up my two poodles so I don't think an apartment would work. I wonder if there are mobile home parks for trans people. I have thought that it would be so cool to have a little community where we could all just be ourselves without society judging us. Maybe I could find a trans woman to share with. Who knows? We'll see what I can do in the coming month. Maybe make some money.
We're under our standard flood warning here in Broward County which happens just about everytime it rains. In this case, the whole state is involved as TS Alberto chugs its way through the Gulf toward the panhandle. Although we won't take a direct hit, we will still get our share of heavy rain and wind. Fortunately, I just had my roof repaired--again--and I am staying dry. But I wasn't able to get my usual yard work done today and have had a pretty relaxing day. A girl needs one of those on occasion, don't you think? So now I am nestled in my den with my two poodles and en femme for the evening. I just read a long article in New York magazine (I think) about Caitlyn Jenner. The reporter was trans, so the piece was sympathetic. Caitlyn's views and politics have brought her a lot of controversy from the trans community as you know. Even though I don't agree with her, I still have to admire her courage for coming out and being her true self. She sure brought transgender to the forefront, at least for a while. We seem to be going backwards again. I watched Fahrenheit 451 on HBO last night. I hadn't read the book, but the movie got a decent review. It was good, and I could relate as an old English teacher how out-of-fashion reading is getting--at least as far as books are concerned. If we as a society become illiterate, we are more susceptible to demagogues, and I think we are seeing that right now in our country. I am hopeful we can pull ourselves out of it. Anyway, I also read an article in Inc. Magazine about 10 things we should do every day to become smarter and one of them was to write 400 words a day. I don't know how many this is, but it's a start. Hope all is well. More tomorrow.
Hello everyone. It's been a while. I've been waiting to hit my next goal before writing, but with one week to go, I'm not sure I can make it. It is rather unlikely, but I haven't given up. Anyway, this place is the only place I know to tell my story and have an appreciative audience. A while back after my wife died, I let my hair down, so to speak, and began dressing in earnest as I was unable to do so previously. I was a regular member of the Cross-Dressing chat room, and I received many helpful tips from the girls--one of which was making good use of thrift stores to build a wardrobe. And so I went to our local Goodwill store and bought several dresses including a somewhat outrageous (at least to me) leopard print dress. It quickly became one of my favorites, and I actually received some nice comments from the pictures I shared. Fast forward to the present in which I recently opened an account with a Private Investigator/bail bond agency. The owner and his wife are African-American and have taken me under their wing and have become friends and are trying to help me with my business. Greg, the owner, belongs to an exclusive downtown club, The Tower Club, (maybe you've heard of it), and invited me to a mixer there so that I could make some more contacts. Well, when I arrived, I was greeted by Sandie, his wife, wearing you know, almost the identical leopard print dress that I have in my closet. I have to admit that it looks better on her that on me, but I think it is so funny. Anyway, that is my story. I will let you all know how my next week ends. Wish me luck.
So, I get in another crash this week. The car in front of me decides at the last moment to make a left turn from my lane and hangs out into it. I stopped in time; the car behind me did not. He tried to avoid hitting me, but no luck. The offending car took off, and the two of us waited for the police to show up. Anyway, my car is back in the shop and I have a rental. My car has SiriusXM and I always listen to music, either rock or classical. Now I have regular radio which I can’t stand, so I listen to NPR. Lots of interesting stuff.
I heard two stories today regarding Pakistan. One about Malala returning, it seems triumphantly as it should be. The other about a transgender person becoming a prominent television news anchor. It turns out that Pakistan is a conflicted country, at once progressive and tribal in nature. And although it is somewhat striking for a transgender person to have a high-profile position, being transgender in Pakistan is taken for granted. Homosexuality is not. Go figure. It seems to me the acceptance of gender and sexual differences is all about culture and custom. It can change—even here.
BTW, no one was hurt in the crash. Fortunately, I won’t have to pay the $8000 repair bill.
Hello again. Today I’m feeling “a bit low.” It’s going on eight months since Sue died, and maybe all this aloneness is starting to catch up with me. Then there’s the “always something there to remind me” thing like in the song. I was at a Chamber event the other evening at Westside Hospital with which we were both all too familiar, and who should I happen to run into—her oncologist. Just last week, I was prospecting in a part of town that I don’t visit, but it was where Sue had her first PET scan—seven years ago. We had our difficulties, but after 33 years, there are all the little things I miss. So, I guess I must keep soldiering on. I watched a Star Talk episode last night in which Neil De Grasse Tyson interviewed Stephen Hawking. His final remark was like Churchill: Never Give Up. Sometimes I do, but I’ll think about it tomorrow. That’s it for now.
it's a little embarrassing, but I am frequently being held up as a role model at our staff meetings. This despite the fact that I haven't made any sales recently, although that is going to change. I guess it's just that I work every day like we are told to do. There is no way around it. Unless you put in the time making calls and setting appointments, you don't have a chance to make sales presentations and close deals. I really don't think that I work that hard. But anyway. I did open another account today with a Bail Bonds and Investigations office. Great guy. He even wants to take me to an exclusive club he belongs to for lunch and even dinner. It may be an introduction for me into the legal world which up to now has been a tough nut to crack for me. I also made one direct sale--not a lot of money, but something. I finally got my neighbour who owns a flooring business to take a look at what we have to offer. I've got a lot of other appointments coming up, so we'll see how it goes. And tonight I went to another speed networking event the Chamber puts on. My little presentation seemed to go okay, and I did meet a lot of nice people again. I'll follow up with notes. I think things will come together by and by.
Yesterday was my wife's birthday, so it has been a bit of a poignant weekend. As it is, I have created my own little world, and overall, it seems to suit me quite well. My wife used to say that I really didn’t need anybody since I was so self-contained. I hate to think that’s the case, but there is truth to it. I have such a routine with the dogs and the house and everything needs to be on schedule. I really doubt that anyone would want to put up with that. I certainly don’t want to wish myself on someone at this point. Besides, I don’t want to take on anymore heartache and tragedy. I have absolutely zero desire to go out. I do make myself go to evening Chamber of Commerce functions—some anyway, and I am obligated to attend AFLAC awards parties, although I go under duress. I don’t drink anymore either and this is a party crowd. I’m just so content to be at home in the evening, dressed in comfy clothes, and looking out after my puppies. It’s quiet on the weekends. During the week, my phone chimes often with texts from my boss and co-workers. I still hear from family and friends, so I do have social life of sorts. It seems to work.
I was hoping to come back with a splash, but that will have to wait. For the record, I did hit my Fireball award--which came with a nice bonus--and I am now aiming for Super Fireball and an even nicer bonus. I am continuing to do what I do and try new things too. Nothing earth-shattering yet. I still feel confident that I will make my next goal. When I do, my boss wants me to take a leadership position on our team which means having a small team of my own along with a quota that goes with it. I'm not quite ready yet, but it is a nice vote of confidence. I have led teams before so I know how to do it. I won't mind the extra money that comes with it too. Aside from that, life goes on about the same. I pretty much work, eat, sleep, and do some dressing when I'm home. I am doing okay. I hope everyone else here is doing well.
I have enjoyed reading everyone's experiences in acknowledging their gender roles--some good, some awkward given the culture we live in. As I have written before, I am content now to be able to wear feminine clothing on my own and feel comfortable doing it. I have to thank the girls at TG Guide for being supportive and empathetic. I believe that if we do nothing else in life, we need to be there for each other. We're all we have, and we're all in this together. I love you all.
On another note, I opened my first business account all by myself today, and do I feel smart. It was a small beauty salon, and fortunately, the owner was a lovely lady who was very patient with me. I go back this Sunday after everyone is out of church to complete the enrollments. This makes three barber shops and now one salon that I have opened. Maybe, I have found my niche. I am going to the speed networking event at the Chamber of Commerce on Monday evening. That should be an experience for sure. More to come on that later.
I attended my first "Chamber Chat" s yesterday morning. I was held at a local Jewish Center for disabled children, and about 40 people showed up--a decent number in my estimation. As expected, everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and I was able to visit at some length with at least six. I did meet a few more in passing. This is just one of the events that take place o a monthly basis, and I think it will not only eventually be good for my business, I think it will be good for me personally to be a little more social. On the suggestion of one of my fellow agents, I have been reading Endless Referrals by Bob Burg where I got the idea to join the Chamber in the first place. His approach is very low-key. Be interested in the other person and let them do the talking. Then follow up with a personalized thank you note which offers to refer business their way as able. I think this is the rapport building phase. It will take time, but I enjoyed the gathering. BTW, one of the members gave a tour of their facility. JAFCO is doing amazing work with disabled children and their families. I was impressed.
On the other hand, my neighbor, Chris, invited me over tonight as I was out walking my dogs. He does invite me from time to time, and I was tempted to stop in for a few minutes. But it turned out to be a HUGE gathering, and I chickened out at the last minute. I am not feeling that great tonight, and besides, I think I would be a little overwhelmed and out of place. I don't think I'll be missed. And with that, I am going to take my two puppies and go to bed. And to all a good night!
It's been a few days since I've added anything, so I thought it is time. I have been keeping pretty busy with work and have opened two new accounts this year so far. I have three more ready to go before the end of the month which puts me on track to meet my next milestone. This is a good one since it comes with an $i800 bonus, and I can certainly use the cash. I may have mentioned that my District Coordinator wants me to be the #1 account opener in our market this year--I think I can make it.
Yesterday I had implant surgery. I had an appointment for a consult along with my routine cleaning , and as it turned out the dentist had a cancellation, so I thought I might as well go for it. It will help save three of my back teeth and restore my chewing on that side, so I think it will be worth it. I am lucky to have plenty of bone in my jaw so that no bone grafts were necessary. It was somewhat painful even with the novacaine, but I had little pain afterwards, so I'm happy about that. My next big expense will be my two poodles and their visit to the vet. As you can see, I need to keep working! No more feminine shopping for the time being--Michelle will have to wait. She is not hurting anyway--LOL. Later.
I was thinking (always a dangerous thing) yesterday as I wandered around my backyard about my life as it stands now. I obviously have spent my whole life getting to this point, and as the Grateful Dead sing: What a long, strange trip it's been.Being truly on my own for the first time--ever--is an amazing experience, and I have the opportunity to live out my remaining years as I choose. It's all on me now. I find that refreshing. So far, I have not felt any overwhelming loneliness--which I understand can kill you as bad a smoking. I am so used to working on my own whether it be around the house or on the job. I don't seem to have a lot of spare time, but I am going to make sure I carve out time for me. My wife has not been gone that long, and I do have some down times, but I am able to snap out of it. Maybe I'm just cut out to be alone. There are advantages such as no one telling you what to do or that you did it wrong--like Chrissie Hynde sings in her song. You can tell that I get a lot of my life's philosophy from songs. I have no interest in dating at this point nor do I foresee that ever happening. I have no room in my house now for another person--there is very little closet space. As you know, being a crossdresser takes a lot of room since I have two wardrobes. So, all in all, life isn't bad. My body is still functioning although my age is beginning to show and my eyesight is not as good as it once was. I'll keep barreling ahead as long as I can. We'll see what the new year brings.
Just a quick note that I hit my latest sales target which means an extra $350. in my pocket. I got some help from my Sales Coordinator to meet the goal. He knows how hard I work, and he is as anxious as I am for me to succeed. We work as a team and that is a good thing. I am in a position to hit my next goal a little sooner than this one. I have a lot to learn and will continue to learn as the time goes on. I'm going to spend the weekend getting organized for the week ahead. It might be high time to read another book on sales too.
I seem to have made it through the holidays in one piece and without going into a deep funk. I did it by pretty much sticking to a normal routine and staying busy--not hard with a house and two dogs. I was invited over to Christmas dinner and again today on New Year's Day by my neighbors, Dave and Jeanie. I was the only guest for the first dinner. Today, I was joined by another neighbor who lives next door to D & J, and with whom they have an on-again, off-again relationship. He wasn't drinking tonight so that made a difference, but still the evening felf strained. Also, dinner was awful, no other word to describe it. The corn on the cob was good, but that was it. Jeanie is not the best cook on a good day, at least to my palate. Anyway, I did my duty. I will be happy to be home on my own the rest of the week. I made a big pot of beef borscht yesterday. I found the recipe in the paper, and I haven't had borscht in a long time, so I thought what the heck. It is somewhat of a process to make--lots of chopping--but the end result was great. It was fun to do as well.
I did some work-work over the holidays, but I did take some time off too--need to recharge. I got a couple fo gift cards from by step-kids, so I bought a new pair of walking shoes that I can wear when prospecting--after all, I do walk for a living. They are dressy enough to wear with work-casual. I also bought a couple of things for me at Target that had been marked down--a pair of velvety lounge pants, a crushed velvet bath robe, and a chenille cardigan sweater. It didn't break the bank, and they are things I have been wanting to buy for a long time. I am happy with what I got.
So, on to the year ahead. My boss wants me to be #1 in new accounts opened this year--I think I can do it. My goal is four for January. Very possible. I'll keep everyone up-to-date. Happy New Year to all..
It's been a little while since I've gotten dressed up with bra and panties and all. I've been staying up later watching movies, and then it's time for bed. I felt like it tonight for some reason. Today, I drove to Jupiter, FL, which is about an hour and a half north of me, to have lunch with my sister, who lives in Vero Beach. It was kind of a nice halfway point for the two of us, and I had learned of a restaurant on PBS to try. Initially, I was hoping she would come by herself so I could open up to her about my crossdressing. But she was joined by her husband, so I let that drop for the time being. It was still good to see her, and we'll probably do it again soon. Another time. It's gone on this long, no need to rush.