Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kat - Damn the torpedoes...

Saturday was a beautiful day, and once you get past the melt water on top of the ice, it was a pretty nice day for a walk. Saturday afternoon, I ditched the dogs and the family to have a little walk around the lake... a little alone time.

Anyhow, I wasn't the only one taking advantage of the abnormally-warm weather. There was Nick, who had this sweet, Electric-Blue, Victory motorcycle. Now I'd just recently started to look for a bike of my own last year when my life took an unexpected turn. I'd decided to forgo the over-played Harleys and the Indian's weren't quite my style, so the Victory bikes were certainly on my very short list for consideration.

I may be a girl now, but that is certainly no reason to stop thinking about motorcycles. Well, Nick's bike caught my eye and he was already talking to a friend of mine. I couldn't help myself, I wanted to find out if the Victory would be worth owning. I asked some questions, and soon realized that I had his full attention. I decided that this was a good thing, and that I could probably coax him into letting me take it for a spin.

I should have thought my words out a bit more clearly... "I'd sure love to ride it" isn't exactly the smartest thing for a girl to say to a guy. And while a line like that from a guy would likely have garnered the same meaning as "Hey man, mind if I take it around the block?", coming from an attractive girl it apparently sounds like "Please take me for a ride." But it was the double entendre of that line that embarrassed me enough that I just wanted to get it over with. So I didn't try to explain or otherwise draw-out the moment, I just accepted the offer.

It may have been a beautiful day for the middle of winter in Iowa, but it was still cold. Cold enough that I was happy to be able to hide behind someone bigger than I. He was like a big wind-breaker. I thought for sure that he was going to have fun smashing my breasts into him and getting me to hold on to him tighter, but he didn't - he was a very courteous host.

As we rode around the lake, I had to allow myself to experience the ride as a girl... as a girl who might be interested in this guy. I mean, Nick is pretty nice guy, and for a guy I guess he's pretty good-looking... if I let my body do the talking, I could feel that there was some physical attraction there. So, I decided to let my mind drift a bit... pondered upon if we were dating... would he be my type of guy? I tried to imagine him holding my hands as I held him tightly from behind. I don't know how long I was caught-up in those thoughts, but I realized that I'd laid my head against his back in sort of a blissful daze. I'm guessing that he had to have known that I'd gotten pretty comfortable back there, I'm sure I would have, had I been in his position. He was gentleman enough not to mention a word.

Saturday night I fell asleep early... dreaming about holding on tightly to Nick.

By dinner-time Sunday, Trip had already heard about my ride, and started to rib me about it... started, that is. Then he seemed to sense my unease about the whole issue and we, and later Jadyn, talked quite a bit about it.

Monday, the Iowa winter returned and Trip & Jadyn decided to drag me away from home for supper... to Nick's house. Apparently, I'm being set-up with Nick. I have to admit, the supper was pretty good, and the company couldn't have been better. With Trip and Jadyn there, I felt pretty comfortable too. I knew that nothing bad or extreme was going to happen, just supper and some pleasant conversation.

It was strange. For the first time, I really got to see Trip and Jadyn come together in a romantic-type way. I have to admit, they do make a cute couple - but it's still really, really weird to see someone else in that body... living a life that was supposed to be mine. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I really need to move on, to live what is now my life... anyhow, I wanted to feel that... to know again the euphoria that comes from loving someone like that. I tried to warm to Nick and let myself be open to the possibility of pursuing a meaningful relationship with him.

It's kinda' weird, to be the girl... but the feeling is mostly the same. The feeling that someone fancies you and is trying to keep your attention. Still, I don't know if this is going to work well - I feel like he is doing all the giving... all the work, and I'm just selfishly playing along... going through the motions. This is a good next-step for me, I think. I just hope that I don't hurt Nick in the process, he's way too nice of a guy. Maybe he'll sense that I'm not really into him and I won't have to worry about it. I'm not sure I want that either. Maybe I'm just asking for too much, too soon. But if I don't start somewhere... just jump right in, then I guess I may never know. God (and Nick) forgive me if I'm wrong.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jaci - Furniture Assembly 101

Sorry it has been so long since you all have heard from me. Life has been super hectic. As I'm sure you know by now thanks to Kat's runaway mouth I'm pregnant....with twins! So I've been scrambling to collect baby things and clothes. Man are kids expensive!

So today I invited Kat over for one of my home cooked meals. We made a plan dinner at noon and then to get things organized for the babies. So I cooked meatloaf and cheesy mashed potatoes, one of Trips favorite meals. Kat arrived late like usual but did i really expect anything else. We ate dinner and Kat only grumbled slightly about the lack of places to sit. I pointed out all of the things for the babies taking up space in the living room. That is when we decided to assemble the crib. Talk about an adventure. We assembled and disassembled the bed 3 times before we got it together right. Luckily no blood was drawn. Kat did make fun of me though because my new, "preppy mom" finger nails kept getting in my way, til she broke one of her own.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kat - Valentine's Day

I've never liked being single during Valentine's Day. I still don't.

There's still a part of me that is quite pleased that I'm not going to be making-out with some guy tonight. But that part is becoming more and more quiet compared to my desire to actually feel like part of something special. Or maybe it's just not wanting to feel so 'different'. I don't know.

I do know that it doesn't feel fair that, after all the years of trying to make Valentine's Day special for my various girlfriends (and girl friends), I get nothing at all now that I'm a girl. Where's the karma in that?

Being alone on St. Valentine's Day still sucks.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Jessica: Family reunion

I've been putting off writing this stuff up because I wasn't sure how I felt about sharing it. Art, Ashlyn, and some of the others have all met predecessors and successors and written about it soon afterward. Maybe it's different if you've been waiting and both you and he have settled into your new lives. Maybe I'm still having a hard time believing that it's even possible to talk about this. Or maybe I just don't have words for what this whole thing means.

After I called Mom to find out whether or not it was okay for me to bring guests home for Christmas, Parker did her thing, arranging for flights, hotel rooms for her and Dana, and a rental car. It was an impressive job, but she said it wasn't a big deal - handling that sort of arrangement is pretty much the definition of a personal assistant's job, and her boss regularly asks her to arrange weirder things than a few days in Boston.

"You must be good at it," I say. "I remember that Dina's father - Dina's the one who became Mindy - was in over his head as an event co-ordinator, but your skills must have been pretty transferable."

"Yeah, I think that was our one bit of good luck. I think Parker was initially hired for the job I inherited based on her looks, but I was able to build on that. If you'll pardon some advice from a younger woman, don't be afraid of using that unfair advantage in your head. Nobody questions when you're too competent. You said you were a cop in your old life; are you planning to do something similar?"

"Law school, eventually. I loved being a cop, but I don't know if I'd trust myself in this body; even now, I'll sometimes act like I'm still as strong as I was, and that's no business to not know your limits."

"Trust me, that goes for everything." She didn't elaborate, and I let it go.

Louisa dropped us off at the airport that evening, promising to take care of my car until I got back and thanking Parker for letting her crash at her house until she found her own place. Parker said she was glad to, and hoped Louisa would stick around for a while, and she'd help with work and a work visa if that was necessary.

I waited for Dana and Parker to enter the gate area before giving Louisa a big hug. "Five months ago, I'd never have imagined it would turn out like this. Finding Dina and Dana--" I laughed at that, catching it for the first time. "-- learning what we have... It's almost bigger than when I changed, if you can believe that. Anyway, I'll be back here in a couple of weeks, and when we find a lead on Marie, I don't care what sort of lectures or tests or anything else I've got, I'll be all over it, you understand?" She did, and I hugged her again. Then I went to join the others.

* * *

The plane ride from LAX to Logan seemed nearly as long as the drive in the opposite direction had taken. Dana somehow fell asleep right away, but Parker flagged a stewardess down early for a drink. She just looked at Dana instead of drinking it at first, though. "I don't know if I could do this alone."

"Excuse me?"

"I still have days where I feel like a giant fake, but I can come home and see Dana practicing free throws, totally natural, and it makes me feel okay. I know he's going to go off to college next year, and I'm preparing myself for that, but we're about to meet his mother..." She took a sip. "I never asked him to call me Mom. I insisted he call me Parker, at first, in fact, and I wonder if that's just encouraging him to leave me at this first chance..."

"I sort of feel the same way. It's kind of pathetic, at my age, to be worried about what some woman I initially resisted thinking of as my mother thinks, but..."

* * *

As you might imagine, we were all plenty nervous when we got off the plane. I'd called ahead with the gate number, so I knew Mom would be waiting, but I couldn't see her in the crowd. Dana's got a foot on me, though, and when he froze, I followed his gaze and saw her. I took his hand, nodded, and led him and Parker through the crowd.

"Hi, Mom. I've got someone here you might like to meet."

Mom was speechless, and we just stood there until Dana reached out to hug his original mother. I didn't have time to feel left out, as Mom reached out from the bear hug and pulled me in.

"I can't believe... Is it really you?"

"It is, Mom. I've missed you... I didn't even know how much."

I saw Parker looking uncomfortable out of the corner of my eye, so I cleared my throat and broke the clutch up a little. "Parker, you remember--"

"Kathleen!" Mom looked a bit confused as this strange woman grabbed her, and then realized.



Mom was a bit taken aback by that, then looked at the three of us. "Does it always...?"

I laughed. "Not always, just half the time. You remember Louisa, and Molly's still female, although... Well, it's weird."

"That's an understatement!" She looked at Dana some more. "I can't believe my little girl... Although neither of those words fits you any more, do they?"

Dana laughed. "Not really. But it's cool. I can't imagine my life going any other way, now." He realized how it sounded, and then started to apologize.

"Don't worry. I can't imagine having a normal daughter, so we're even." I gave her the exaggerated eye-rolling "Mooooooooooooom!", and we all laughed, and agreed to see what sort of places were open for breakfast on Christmas Eve.

* * *

We ate, Parker and Dana went to check into their hotel, and Mom and I decided to stick around Boston to do some last minute Christmas shopping. I wished I had time to see Ashlyn then, but Mom insisted we get home early, because there was baking to be done.

* * *

I had groaned at that, but it paid off when the Costellos arrived the next morning. Dana was carrying a stack of presents that must have weighed more than I do, but he dropped them all when we went through the kitchen. He grabbed a peanut butter cookie with an imbedded Hershey's Kiss in each hand and started shoveling them in his mouth. "You remembered!"

"Of course I did - although you weren't able to put them away like that before! I should have known something was up when this kid wasn't asking to lick beaters any more."

Dana seemed to ignore the last part, but smiled at the rest. "You are one of the two best moms ever!"

Hearing that made Parker and Mom both feel good.

We went to the living room to open presents. I laughed at the Lakers shirt Dana gave me, especially when he explained that it would provide good camouflage at school. Also because I'd gotten him a Paul Pierce jersey. Because, you know, likewise. I also got him a great big unicorn poster, leading to him warning Parker that no-one must ever know. The biggest laugh came when Parker unwrapped her present from Mom, a mirror with the Playboy logo across the top, so that if looked like a magazine cover. Dana and I didn't really get it.

"Barry was a huge breast man, and I just thought, seeing him with those..."

"Hey, they're the best money can buy!"

Mom wasn't expecting that! "You got implants?"

"Would you rather I was a total hypocrite?" Mom sort of shrug-laughed, while Dana looked uncomfortable, but Parker went on. "No, after a couple years, when I knew this was going to be my life, and everyone in L.A. seemed to wear plunging necklines that showed off more, younger cleavage than I had, I thought, why not? It was sort of the last step in accepting who I was."

"Yeah, well, I don't quite see how plastic surgery can be construed as accepting who you are, but if it makes you happy. Still, Jessica--"

Dana and I both answered "not a chance in hell!" simultaneously and laughed at it. Dana answered awkwardly that it was my body, but he wouldn't be thinking that way if it was still his, and I said I'd always been a leg man, anyway. But I still didn't like high heels.

We left the living room a mess of shredded paper while we waited for the ham to finish cooking. The half-dozen cookies Dana ate in the meantime didn't seem to diminish his appetite.

* * *

I wish I hadn't waited so long to write this down; I can't remember as many details of the next couple days, and now I wish I did. We had a good time - I introduced "my friend from California" to my friends from high school. Dana pointed out that I didn't have many of the same friends he had when this was his life, but that he liked the sort of sporty girls I hung out with, and wondered what it would have been like if we'd never visited the Inn. Would these have been his friends, or would he have grown up a total girly-girl? He seemed kind of revolted by the concept.

Mom and Parker did the same thing, although it was harder on Parker, because Mom still did have many of the same friends that she'd had nine years ago. She had two margaritas to Mom's one that night, but assured Dana that it wouldn't be an problem.

They went home on Thursday; Dana had one of those holiday basketball tournaments over the weekend.

I haven't yet stopped by to see them since arriving here; school has had me slammed. I have seen Louisa; she told me about her visit with Art/Penny; I'm going to have to find a chance to see the new Art.

So... That's me caught up. What's up with the rest of you?


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Kat - Still struggling to let go

Jeff's post really opened my eyes. Even after trying to take ownership of this life I'm living - trying to make it my own. I guess there's just some part of the me that refuses to let go.

I'd like to say that it's just being afraid of losing myself, of not being me. But that doesn't make much sense anymore.

As much as I'm trying to be who I am now, there's apparently some part of me that still pushes me to try to be the same Kat everyone knew before last spring. I seem to keep forgetting that I'm not that person, nor am I the same man I remember being before that fateful trip to the Inn.

I guess I'm just stubborn. Refusing to change, even when faced with overwhelming evidence... reason to do so. Even after convincing myself that I'm going to change... going to embrace this life as my own - it seems that I'm somehow either unwilling or unable to do so.

I guess I've always been a cautious person, and I'm still scared of what my future holds.

I think about what I want my life to like be in 5, 10, 20, 50 years... and I'm not really sure I know. Last year, I could easily answer that question. Now, everything is different. Well, I guess not everything. I could still make a comfortable living working with computers. Hell, I could even try programming, or some other technology field if I wanted to. As Kat, I have a couple years worth of general college credits, with no real focus... I could easily pursue pretty-much whatever path I choose.

It's the personal-life stuff - the dating and romance, marriage and family, that concerns me. No matter how I look at it, I just can't get used to the idea of being with a guy in an intimate way. Sure, I know that this body seems to like the idea - and I know that if I accept this new life, my own personal values dictate my partnering with a man and not another woman. It's just that my mind refuses to accept the thought as anything other than wrong, and even nauseating.

Knowing how this body reacts... if I wasn't such a prude, I'd probably just go, get plastered and let whatever happens, happen. Maybe actually having sex would be enough for me to let go and enjoy the experience. I don't know. I do know that I don't want my first time to be some drunken tangle... and I'm quite positive that I don't want to get more than I bargained for - no STDs, no babies for me.

I guess that part of me hasn't changed. Even when I was a guy I didn't want to catch anything or get some girl pregnant. And I always want the experience to be special... not just some wild night of random sex. Well, okay... so there were some exceptions to that last one - I am a m... was a man, and I had my needs. I guess even as a girl, I still have my needs... I've just been able to keep them checked... so far.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Jeff: Getting back in the habit

I don’t get a lot of time to write, so sorry if I don’t post here all that often. It’s honestly something I want to get in the habit of doing. After disappearing for most of a year that might be hard to believe, but it’s kind of like, now that I’ve had the time to really think about things, and what happened, and let it kind of work its way around the back of my head for all this time, I now need to start getting it out.

I’d rather talk to someone, to be honest, but the damn curse on that place makes it difficult. And sure, I could talk to Bree about it all, but it’s difficult. I mean, she’s my girlfriend, and she’s just . . . amazing and she’s helped me through some tough times, but. . . . Well. She’s the girl I used to be. That’s kind of weird. At least here, in a blog, I’m kind of working into words some of these thoughts that’ve been bouncing through my mind.

The problem, you see, is that I’ve got lots of thinking time these days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty damn busy. I’m holding down three jobs and racing around town a lot, but most of it ain’t exactly mind-stressing stuff. I’ve got a job at the local grocery store, unloading deliveries and stocking shelves and shit like that. I also get evening shifts at the bookstore, and I pick up a little manual work here and there, though a lot less than I’d like what with the weather recently, which sucks because it pays best. I’m pretty good with my hands, actually. Pop’s had to do a lot of DIY around our home in his day, and I’ve picked some of it up, I guess, and he knows some guys, and a few months back I was getting some pretty heavy work done. You should see me now. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been. All that digging and carrying shit around’s really bulked me up, and I’ve got admit—I get a real kick out of my body. I mean, I’ve always been a big guy and in good shape, but never like this. . . .

And yeah, I’m no idiot. If I get a thrill being built like a brick shithouse, it’s probably because not that long ago I was barely over five foot, weighed under a hundred and would’ve struggled my way out’ve a wet paper bag. I mean, God, I was tiny! And so weak....

Like this one time, out on one of the few big nights out I experienced as Brianna, out with a couple of friends and this guy called Frank....

(Shit, it’s so weird for me writing that kind of stuff. How the hell did I ever end up dating someone called Frank?)

I mean, it wasn’t like it was anything special, just a bunch of us crammed into a car on our way to this chick Clara’s house party, a kegger out on the edge of town. I think this was four? Maybe five months into the whole thing. I wasn’t going out with these kids because I wanted to, but Linda—that was my new stepmom, remember?—was driving me nuts and I had to get the hell out of that place for a bit. So I ended up in the back seat up this beat-up Buick with a bunch of other teens, crammed between Lara the cheerleader and Matt the bench-warmer for the school’s soccer team. Lara was pissing me off for some reason; I can’t remember what. Probably for being such a slut—God, she was such a little tramp!

Yeah, like I was much better, come to think of it. Strange how strongly some of the memories remain . . . can’t remember what that kid did to piss me of, but remember exactly what the hell I was wearing, the short skirt and tight t-shirt one of Bree’s friend had basically dressed me up in, and even the makeup I was wearing. But with Lara being such a bitch I ended up talking to Matt, even if he was a bit of a loser.

Thing is, I like soccer, I mean I really like it, but it’s not like a chick like Brianna’s going to have too many friends she can talk to who share the interest, you know. And even if they knew shit about soccer, they’d probably be a Man U or Chelsea supporter. Ugh.

So who knows how the hell it happened . . . we’d already had a couple of drinks before getting in the car, and we were chatting a bit about the game, which was cool, and then he started to make fun of me because I like Beckham, which wasn’t. I mean, sure, the guy’s past his prime but he can still cross the ball like no one else, and here’s this dick going on as if I only like the guy because he’s good-looking or something.

It really pissed me off that he wouldn’t take me seriously, even though I damn well knew more about the game than he did, and probably could’ve owned him on the pitch just a few months back. I think I gave him a shove or something . . . we started to fight, right there in the back of the car, but he wasn’t taking it seriously, and the angrier I got the funnier he thought it was, and next thing I know he had both my wrists in his hand and . . . God, it was so humiliating, how easy it was for him to overpower me! Everyone else in the car thought it was pretty damn funny, until Lara pretty much shrieked for us to knock it off. She was probably jealous no one was paying any attention to her anymore.

It was only after we reached the party and I stepped out of the car that I realized how damned turned on I was. We totally made out later that night. . . .

And, shit, I guess that’s why I still need to write about this stuff. Months after I thought I’d put all this behind me, these weird thoughts and memories still pop up from time to time. Don’t get me wrong. Like I said, I love the shape I’m in and the strength I’ve built up. And there’s nothing I love more than lying in bed with Bree and holding her close, her head on my chest and my arm around her. But at the same time, sometimes . . . I can remember what it was like to be in her place, with the arm around me and the strength and that sense of being protected, of being safe, and I worry that maybe . . . I miss it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Kat - What ills me.

I'm still waiting to hear from my doctors about their thoughts on my wild sleep problems and what I need to do to get them fixed.

I hate waiting.

I hate it almost as much as being sick.

I caught the flu bug. It took me out a few days ago, and I'm just starting to get back to normal. I've never liked being in bed too long, I'd rather be spending the time doing something productive... I dislike feeling like I'm missing-out, even if it's just helping out around the farm.

Still, the flu just takes it right out of you.

I'm just happy that it seems to be going away, and I can get back to doing something other than feeling sick and miserable.