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I have been having difficulty loading this page for some reason, but now I'm back at it. As those who have been following know-namely Monica, Chrissy, and Emma Sweet--this has been a rough summer. In June, I found out that I was losing my job after almost 11 years at PACE Broward. And then, at the end of July, my wife died rather suddenly. She had not been doing well for quite a while, but we always thought there would be more time. The weeks following my wife's death were filled with a crush of friends and retatives offering support and sympathy. We had a final memorial gathering at the house. We had a good turnout and it went well, and then Sunday came and I was truly on my own for the first time in forever. I don't know what got into me, but I didn't waste any time beginning my transformation into Michelle. I presented as a man for my wife, but thre was no need any more. I would still grieve my loss, but I knew this time was coming, and I already had some ideas about what I would do when I was on my own. Besides, I wasn't returning to my old worksite, so people wouldn't know any better. The first thing to go was the moustache. I had been threatening. Although I am close to 75--November--my hair is still brown. The only part that is gray is my moustache which I had to continually keep dyeing with Just for Men to keep from looking like a pensioner. Even then, it still had streaks of gray that wouldn't be covered. What a pain! My wife did say thought at without a moustache, I didn't look like I had any upper lip. In this, she was absolutely right. My lower lip is full enough; the upper lip, not so much. I have since learned to push it with a lip pencil and lipstick. It is what it is. A plastic surgeon could probably enhance my lips, but I don't see me doing that for many reasons. Anyway, back to the topic. I had enough of a severance package and paid leave from work to last me a little while, but not for a whole lot longer. I needed to work to supplement my social security check. I went through all the requirements to substitute teach as a fill-in while looking for a full-time job, but school had not yet started and there wouldn't be any demand for subs until it did. I did have several interviews with schools for ESE (special needs) support, but never got called back. I have good experience and great recommendations, but I have a feeling that my age may have eliminate me. I began to widen my search beyond education--I still did not want to be back in the classroom--but that may change. I would even consider anything that I could do that paid at least $15/hour, but that's not minimum wage yet. Last week, I interviewed with AFLAC to sell accident insurance, but haven't heard back from them either. Then, Ms. Brooks, the ESE Specialist, I worked with from the school district called to tell me that I was expected to sub at the Pompano Youth Treatment Center--a Department of Juvenile Justice detention center for boys--on Friday. Since I had not previously registered with the Broward substitute teaching system, I thought that one had fallen through. Not so. I was told that classes started at 7:15, and I got ready and left the house about 6:20. Even with a major wrong turn on the turnpike, I still was early enough to have to wait in lobby. It turned out to be a pretty easy day. During the first two periods, a chess teacher worked with the boys on their chess.The rest of the morning was taken up with a movie. The boys were respectful. I didn't do a whole lot, but I did get paid for it, so what the hey. Now I find out that I am booked for the next week at a different detention center. I might actually have to do some work for this one. Given the circumstances, I have not ruled out a full-time teaching gig with one of the centers. It actually felt good to be working again, not that I haven't enjoyed or really needed some time off, but it will be a relief not to have to worry about an income. But, in the meanwhile, Michelle came out and has blossomed and will continue to do so. That is not changing. I will never go back to where I was. This is who I am--so world, get used to it. I have to give a shout-out to Andrea, who has become my mentor and guide in transforming into Michelle. The other girls in the CD chat room have all been supportive and fun just to be with. So that's it for now. We'll see what kind of trouble I can get into tomorrow. Stay tuned.:)