Archive for the ‘Going Home’ Category

Going Home, Days 6-7, 8/18-19/12: Deliverance

November 30, 2012

A former Econo Lodge, now closed, in Austintown, Ohio, where we spent a lovely final afternoon of our trip home.

Nov. 14, 2012

Here we go — the last installment of the epic Going Home saga, where Alexis and I and our yellow Penske beast left western Ohio Saturday morning with the goal of getting home to Connecticut by the end of the night. And as we found out, the road to good intentions is paved with hell.

For Going Home, the Prequel: Loose Ends, click here.

For Going Home, Day 1, 8/13/12: Leaving Fresno. Not., click here.

For Going Home, Day 2, 8/14/12: Sharing Needles, or Not Even out of California Yet, click here.

For Going Home, Day 3, 8/15/12: The Wrong Toins at Albuquoique, click here.

For Going Home, Day 4, 8/16/12: Amarillo by Lunchtime, But Let’s Wait ’til Oklahoma, click here.

For Going Home, Day 5, 8/15/12: The Big Push, click here.

For the entire Going Home series, click here.

The last day of the trip — or so we hoped and thought — began maybe a little more than an hour after the previous one ended, in that rest area on I-70 in western Ohio. The Saturday light was just starting to bleed into the darkness, black slowly dissolving into deep blue.

I descended the steps of the truck again to hit the women’s room, and I realized something: I needed a shave. I felt the stubble on my face, nearly a day’s growth — not nearly as much as in my boy days, but I could feel the slight coarseness of the stubble — and realized that I needed to do something about it, to be able to pass, especially in case of emergency. And I couldn’t shave in the women’s room, as anyone could walk in on me. Total pain in the ass. Electrolysis is near the top of my wish list once I get hired again and get working again. IF I ever work again at this point …

So, on to Plan B. Rough it. I opened the trunk of the Camry, took the razor and shaving cream from the well-worn Target bag I was using for my meds and toiletries, grabbed some napkins, climbed back in the cab, removed the makeup from my face, poured some bottled water into my hand and started splashing my face. I then lathered, shaved and cleaned up, alternating between handfuls of water and swipes of paper towel. A little messy, but it did the trick.

Then I reapplied my face — nothing too fancy, just enough where no one would read me — and then we were back on the road.

And one last time … showtime!

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Going Home, Day 5, 8/17/12: The Big Push

November 14, 2012

Beautiful skies from the driver’s seat. Interstate 44, somewhere in Missouri.

Nov. 11, 2012

Welcome to the sixth installment of the epic Going Home series, in which our beleaguered heroine, who, searching for work after losing her job in California’s Central Valley for the second time, does the Okie in reverse — travels Route 66 (well, at least the modern version) eastward as she travels to her new life in her old haunt of Connecticut, accompanied by her staunch and steadfast friend, Alexis.

For Going Home, the Prequel: Loose Ends, click here.

For Going Home, Day 1, 8/13/12: Leaving Fresno. Not., click here.

For Going Home, Day 2, 8/14/12: Sharing Needles, or Not Even out of California Yet, click here.

For Going Home, Day 3, 8/15/12: The Wrong Toins at Albuquoique, click here.

For Going Home, Day 4, 8/16/12: Amarillo by Lunchtime, But Let’s Wait ’til Oklahoma, click here.

For the entire Going Home series, click here.

My cell phone alarm at the Will Rogers Inn, in Will’s hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma, went off at 6:30. That was about six hours for me — surprisingly not very restful, considering it was the most sleep I had gotten all week. I’m guessing it was a combination of the accumulated stress¬† — the load-in, the running back and forth (and the car malfunction) before we could even leave Fresno, the various monkey wrenches thrown at us, the occasional white-knuckle fights to keep the truck under control — and the adrenaline that was still coursing through my body despite my general weariness.

But I was up, even if I was dragging by that point. And so was Alexis. We were checked out of the motel around 8. At this point, the heat wasn’t a factor anymore; it didn’t matter, really, what time we left. As long as we got home …

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Going Home, Day 4, 8/16/12: Amarillo by Lunchtime, But Let’s Wait ’til Oklahoma

November 12, 2012

The payoff for all our truck stops and fleabag motels: the Windmill Restaurant, Exit 1 off I-40, Texola, Oklahoma.

Nov. 1, 2012

The fifth installment in my epic move home from Fresno to Connecticut — accompanied by my most gracious co-pilot, Alexis — found us traveling through three states in a day. Clearly, we were getting somewhere — say, at least halfway across the country — but we were getting antsy to get home.

For Going Home: The Prequel: Loose Ends, click here.

For Going Home, Day 1, 8/13/12: Leaving Fresno. Not., click here.

For Going Home, Day 2, 8/14/12: Sharing Needles, or Not Even out of California Yet, click here.

For Going Home, Day 3, 8/15/12: The Wrong Toins at Albuquoique, click here.

For the entire Going Home series, click here.

Just as was the case the first night in Needles, we couldn’t get out of Albuquerque fast enough. Too bad, because it’s a nice-looking city, and I’m certain that, had we had ample time, and had we been able to find a motel parking lot big enough to accommodate us in some place that wasn’t fleabag, then we’d probably have dug the hell out of it. Oh, well, if I ever get the chance to motor west again — not likely at this point — I’m sure I’ll give it a second chance.

No time for what-ifs, though. We made our way out of the city under cover of darkness once again, sometime between 3 and 4. (And again, time starts to meld and twist when you’re doing a lot of traveling all at once.)

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Going home, Day 3, 8/15/12: The wrong toins at Albuquoique

November 5, 2012

Hmmm … this don’t look like a decent motel!

Oct. 27, 2012

Here’s the third day of my epic move home from Fresno to Connecticut, accompanied by the lovely and talented and wonderful Alexis.

For Going Home, the prequel: Loose Ends, click here.

For Going Home, Day 1, 8/13/12: Leaving Fresno. Not., click here.

For Going Home, Day 2, 8/14/12: Sharing Needles, or not even out of California yet, click here.

I set the cellphone alarm for 1 a.m. That would give us four hours’ sleep. Neither of us wanted to stay in Needles any longer than we had to. And especially in our bedbug-infested room at the Best Motel. But we needed some rest. But I also needed to get us on the road, and if I could make up for lost time from the first day and the load-in day — ease into a routine where we left earlier and retired earlier — then I wanted to do that.

Besides, we still had a long way to go. One day down — it was now Wednesday morning — and we were still in California, even if we were just across the Colorado River from Arizona. But Alexis brought along an old Rand McNally road atlas, with both a map of the U.S. and larger maps of the individual states in alphabetical order. And I would look over the map at different stops.

Rather than be daunted by the long stretch of road ahead, as I looked at the national map, I viewed it with joy. I mentally tried to figure out just how far we could get from day to day, how much of a chunk we could take out of the map,¬† and how soon we’d get back to Connecticut. The road might get boring at times, but the payout come the weekend would be well worth it. I hoped.

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Going Home, Day 2, 8/14/12: Sharing Needles, or not even out of California yet

October 28, 2012

Okay, just what the hell did I get us into? I-40 rest area, in the middle of the Mojave, about 4 p.m., temperature in the 110s.

Oct. 22, 2012

The third installment of the move home from Fresno to Connecticut finally has Alexis and me on the road.

For the first chapter, Going home, the prequel: Loose Ends, click here. For the epic-length second chapter, Going home, Day 1, 8/13/12: Leaving Fresno. Not., click here.

After the longest day of the trip — a delayed rental truck, two load-ins, near heat stroke, emergency last-minute replacement of a blown alternator on my car, and six hours of traveling to and from Oakland to pick up Alexis — the actual trek home would actually begin at last. Really. I swear.

But on less than two hours’ sleep.

And by the end of an arduous first day, we thought we were truly in hell — with the temperature to match. And we weren’t even out of California yet.

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Going Home, Day 1, 8/13/12: Leaving Fresno. Not.

October 21, 2012

The Penske truck finally arrives at Gene’s house, 9:30 a.m. — already an hour and a half behind schedule and it’s still morning.

Oct. 17, 2012

This is the second part of my epic journey home to Connecticut after eight years, for better and worse, in the middle of California. And the longest day of the whole trip — and we weren’t even on the road yet.

For Going Home, the prequel, Loose Ends, click here.

The Universe didn’t seem to want me to leave Fresno on Monday. Which is odd, because it didn’t give me much of a reason to stay the last 3 1/2 years of unemployment and underemployment — and made it pretty clear that it was time to go home, uproot again and head back across the country to Connecticut, from whence I came.

Even knowing what I had to do on this big day, and allowing for the fact that things don’t always go quite according to plan, things most certainly didn’t go as expected.

The upshot: My friend Alexis and I were planning to be out of Fresno and on the road by midnight. Well, we weren’t in Fresno come midnight, but we weren’t even near getting the trip started yet.

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Going Home, The Prequel: Loose ends

October 16, 2012

One of Fresno’s best-known landmarks, at the south end of Van Ness Avenue. At one time, before freeways. it welcomed visitors from the south.

Oct. 15, 2012

Note: It’s been two months since I, with a lot of help, loaded up a rental truck, attached my car to the back and began the journey into the next chapter of my life: the move home to Connecticut from Fresno after eight years of transition in ways I never could have imagined. Well, after a huge bout of self-doubt, regaining confidence, losing my religion and finally convincing myself again that I might actually be a real writer — well, here goes. Strap in:

I had long envisioned — hoped for — the Hollywood ending to what I’ve been through the last nearly five years, between the gender transition that started in January 2008 and the joblessness hell that began in March 2009. I imagined that, after all I’ve been through, there would finally be a great job waiting for me at the end of the rainbow — that I would be able to return East the conquering heroine to a great job, and then everything else would fall into place like so many dominoes.

Well, we all know that Hollywood is bullshit. And that life comes at you whether you’re ready or not.

And instead of coming home to hosannas and a wonderful new life, riding a atop a figurative white charger, I’d be driving across the country in the hottest time of the year in a yellow Penske rental truck, my rickety ’96 Camry attached to the back, with no job, lots of uncertainty and just as much blind faith.

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