Sunday, November 30, 2003

Before the Blog: Fall Wrap-Up

In September, we went on another Susquehanna Club women's camping trip; this time to TinyTownNamedAfterAGuy.

On October 11, we hosted a National Coming Out Day House Party fund raiser in conjunction with Out for Dean. The highlight of the party was a conference call with Gov. Dean.

The two parties that had raised the most money and had the most guests started the questioning, and then they gave the other parties a chance to play "fastest fingers" for the rest of the questions.

Earlier in the party, we'd discussed what we might want to ask, and our friend J's 15 year-old daughter (same one who helped paint our house) suggested asking Gov. Dean why first-time voters should vote for him. When it came time, we were shocked to hear the operator call on us for the first question!

I introduced J's daughter and she asked Gov. Dean her question. I'm not sure any of us remembered a word he said though, we were so excited!

We didn't do anything real exciting for Halloween, but we carved some cool pumpkins.

In November, we got PerfectPuppy.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Before the Blog: Summer Wrap-Up

In addition to all the shopping, painting and packing, we found time to do a few other things over the summer.

We went on two camping trips with the LGBT camping club; WoodsInStateWithMuchConcrete in May (co-ed) and DifferentWoodsInNeighboringState in June (women only).

At the end of May, we went down to Texas for my nephew's high school graduation.

In July, I went back to Texas to volunteer for a week at the summer camp that I used to go to. This week was a special all-girls session planned and run by camp alumni, and I was on the planning committee.

I also organized a SomeStates for Dean information booth for the CapitalOfBlueState PrideFest at the end of July.

We saw Melissa Etheridge in concert at a music festival in TownWithBibleName and managed, again, to end up close to the stage. There was too much walking, way too long a wait for the bus back to the parking lot and it was hot as hell, but the concert itself was great.

Before the Blog: Our New Home

We Bought A House!

In April, we decided that we were close enough to being ready that we should stop by a local Real Estate company that was holding free "How to Buy a Home" seminars each week and get more information. Wow, what a great marketing ploy. The seminar turned out to be the two of us and a Realtor, and within a week, we were looking at actual houses.

After visiting fourteen houses, ranging from "The Wacky Shack" where we had to bite our tongues not to laugh as the owner showed us the "improvements" he'd made, to the "one that got away," with the gorgeous ceramic tile and tub for two (nevermind that it didn't fit any of our other criteria), on Memorial weekend, we visited number fifteen and fell in love.

Given what we'd already learned about how quickly houses were going in our area, we didn't want to wait long to make an offer. We went out to dinner to discuss it, although we'd really already made the decision. We called our Realtor from the restaurant, met her at her office and wrote up the offer that night.

The next day, we were at the grocery store, buying food to take to a party that night, when my cell phone rang. It was our Realtor, calling to ask if we'd be okay with closing at the end of June and renting the house back to the owner for a few weeks, because her new house wouldn't be ready until August. We said that would be fine, and she accepted our offer.

We did close on June 30, and spent most of June and July shopping, packing and planning. With some help from my parents, we ordered new furniture for the living room, dining room and bedroom.

When the previous owner moved out at the first of August, Iimmediately went to work stripping wallpaper in the kitchen and master bath. Throughout most of August, Shrike spent her days bringing boxes over and unpacking what she could, before going to work in the evenings. When I got off work, I went straight to the house and worked on the walls for a few hours.

We both worked on the kitchen walls for the last week or so, when Shrike was working the day shift. We got both rooms stripped, cleaned, spackled, sanded, taped and primed just in time for some friends to come help us paint on the Sunday before Labor Day.

I had actually painted the bathroom the night before, so that was all taken care of. We painted the kitchen, while our friends J and L, along with J's 15 year-old daughter a-different-J, painted the bedroom.

On Labor Day day, after a few tests and a few additional trips to the hardware store, I finally worked out a faux technique I liked and did that below the chair rail in the kitchen and on one entire in the living room, while Shrike painted above the kitchen cabinets and we both worked on various final touches.

On Tuesday, we went to BeachTownInOtherState with Shrike's family. We had a great time and would've loved to have stayed longer, but had to come back Wednesday, because the new furniture was delivered on Thursday.

After a weekend to finish packing and other final preparations, we actually moved in the next Monday. Now, we just have to finish unpacking!

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Before the Blog: The Birth of an Activist

In April, Whozat started attending the monthly Howard Dean Meetups in a nearby town and founded a group called SomeStates for Dean, made up of Dean supporters from BlueState and three others nearby.

Friday, February 28, 2003

Before the Blog: You Can't Get Theah from Heah

In January, we realized that Shrike was somehow scheduled for a four-day weekend, right before our anniversary, so we decided we'd use the American Airlines gift certificate that my brother had given us for Christmas and take a short vacation.

After debating for a while about where to go, we finally settled on the Big Gay Mecca of Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Why, why, why we thought that going to a beach town in Massa-fucking-chusetts in February would be a good idea, we will never know.

The plan was to fly from CapitalOfBlueState to Boston, MA and then onto P-Town. We'd considered flying out of BigCityTwoHoursAway, like we usually do, but that would've required a stop-over in BigCityInBlueState, and that seemed silly.

On the way to CapitalOfBlueState, it started snowing - never a good start to a vacation. By the time we were all checked in at the airport, we'd learned that our flight had been delayed.

After we'd been waiting about four hours and the departure time had been pushed back several times, we were finally told that there was no way we'd be getting from CapitalOfBlueState to Boston that day, but that there was a flight to BigCityInBlueState, and from there, we might be able to get a flight to Boston.

We decided that even if we couldn't get to Boston that night, if we at least managed to leave CapitalOfBlueState, that would be some kind of progress, so we went with that plan. We were able to catch a flight out of BigCityInBlueState, and made it to Boston that evening. As we were waiting for our luggage, we saw some people that we'd been talking to in the waiting area in CapitalOfBlueState.

We said, "Oh, did you go to BigCityInBlueState, too? We didn't see you on either plane." "No," they said, "They let us fly out of CapitalOfBlueState after all. We got in about 30 minutes ago."

So, after learning that we'd flown to BigCityInBlueState for no apparent reason, and knowing that no flights were going to Cape Cod that day, we found a hotel, got some dinner and went to bed.

While still in CapitalOfBlueState, we'd talked to the airline that flies to Provincetown and had managed to get on stand-by for both the 8 am and 11 am flights and had actual reservations for the 2 pm flight, in case we still hadn't made it out of Boston by then.

When we got to the airport, we were told that it looked like there would be room for us on the 8 am flight, unless two more people showed up. The girl at the ticket counter gave us a few updates as we waited, and right after she told us that she was closing the flight in five minutes, so it looked like we were good to go - two more people showed up.

"So, how would you like to go to Hyannis?" she asked. "There's a flight leaving for there in the next hour."

Once again, the idea of "making progress" won out, and we took her up on the offer. She explained that there is a bus that leaves from the airport and runs from one end of the Cape to the other; we could catch it at the Hyannis airport and it would take us to Provincetown.

Remember the TV show Wings? That was pretty much what we were flying.

The planes seat nine people, including the pilot, and they ask how much you weigh when you check in. That always worries me, because I know how people are about telling their true weight. What if everyone has lied and we're carring 300 pounds more than the pilot thinks we are? Surely they take that into consideration. . . .

As it turns out, the flight to Hyannis stopped at Martha's Vineyard on the way. The pilot told us that we'd be stopping to let some people off and then continuing on to the Cape immediately.

However, when we got to the Martha's Vineyard airport, a guy from the ground crew came out and told the pilot that we actually needed to switch to a different plane. Everyone got out, got our carry-on bags from the "wing locker" and headed inside.

We got about halfway across the icy runway (yeah, that kind of worried me) when the pilot told us to come back, because we would be staying on that plane after all. Um, ok.

When we finally landed in Hyannis, we went to look for the bus. As it turns out, the bus station was actually a few blocks away. We went to the rental car counters to see if we could get a car there and drop it off in Provincetown.

Only two of the four companies had locations in P-Town, and neither of those had any cars available. So, back to the bus. . . .

We caught a cab to the bus station and the moment we walked in and looked around, we knew that we didn't want to go that route. Not only was it entirely skanky, but the next bus to Provincetown wasn't until mid-afternoon.

We borrowed a phone book and started looking for rental car companies, hoping there was something other than the ones at the airport. As it turned out, one of the "no cars available" companies from the airport had second location just a mile or two away. We called and, sure enough, they had a car that they'd be glad to rent to us.

Why the guy at the airport couldn't have called his other location and checked on that while we were talking to him, we will never know.

So, after another cab ride to the rental car company, and a quick stop for lunch, we were on the road for Provincetown. It took a couple of hours to get there and it was a beautiful drive, all the way up Cape Cod.

We drove straight to the Provincetown airport, returned the car and called a cab to take us to the Bed & Breakfast where we were staying. When we finally made it to the B&B and checked in, we were only about 24 hours late.

This story is already way to long, so I'll just summarize the rest of the trip by saying that it was about 20 degrees out, there was a foot of snow on the ground and we were a few yards from the water. There were probably about 10 other tourists in the whole town, most of the stores were closed and no restaurants were open past midnight.

I believe the highlight of the trip was the first evening in P-Town, when I told Shrike that "We just fucking got here and we haven't even done anything yet, you can't expect shit piles of joy to just come pissing down on your head!"

I don't know that it made us feel any better that night, but we've gotten much enjoyment from it since.

All in all, though, we saw lots of things that looked like they might be fun if they were open, or if there were more people there, so I would like to try it again sometime in season, but I haven't quite convinced Shrike yet.

Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Before the Blog: On Being Famous

Whew - Is Christmas over yet?. It seems we've been celebrating it for a month. We flew to Texas on Monday December 23 to spend Christmas with my family and returned on Saturday the 28.

The next day we did Christmas with Shrike's extended family, and then celebrated with her more immediate family on New Year's Day. We finally found time to exchange our gifts to each other last Friday - January 3!

We had a really nice New Year's Eve - not too crazy, but we've decided that we're too old for craziness anyway. We went to a new gay bar in a nearby town and met up with Shrike's sister and her partner, and a couple of new friends.

Funny story about that, actually - a few weeks ago we got an email saying "We really liked your website. . . my partner and I are planning a commitment ceremony. . . in TownWhereShrikeWorks."

Needless to say, I emailed back and told them that we're neighbors!

After a few emails back and forth, they told us about the bar, and we decided to meet them there. We really enjoyed meeting them, although it was a little disconcerting realizing that they already know so much about us, like when they told us now they met - then told us how we met! But we got over that, had a great time and hope to get together with them again soon.