Tag Archives: stickin’ it to The Man

The Committee Has Spoken

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So probably both of you have heard that marriage equality passed in Washington, meaning that gay folk can finally make their status semi-legal.  Yes, yes, it turns out that several of us are seeking to be bound by the holy bonds of matrimony, and so far eleven states in the union have decided that if we want it that bad, so we should have it, or at least what version of it is obtainable without federal recognition.  Which of course is an ongoing struggle, but not one I’ll go into here.

The point here is that suddenly I’m engaged to be married.  MARRIED.  LEGALLY MARRIED.  (Sort of.  See above.)

When The Lovely Rhonda and I got together, four years ago, it was amid pretty much a metric ton of strife and we clung to each other like life preservers in the boiling seas of nursing school, familial disapproval, societal disapproval, angry ex-spouses, financial hardship, you name it.  Each one of those things could have split us up.  One might expect that perhaps once the stress died down a little (NOT THAT THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED OMG) we might have found that all that stress was the only thing keeping us together, but it turns out that we’re disgustingly happy.  Still.  After four years and some change.

So we’ve chit-chatted about getting married, always in the theoretical, and early on I opined that legal marriage for people like us would not happen in this country in my lifetime.

You can see how well that’s working out for me.

JUST KIDDING!

Anyway, the Family Committee has been hard at work deciding things in light of this new development.

It was decided last night over Swedish meatballs at Ikea that yes, in fact, we should marry.

Then later, after we had returned home, three-fifths of the Committee summoned us to Committee Headquarters for a wedding-planning meeting.

Somehow during this meeting one of the Committee members, no names mentioned (IT WAS RHONDA), brought up the fact that the party of the second part had never in fact ASKED the party of the first part to marry her, ON BENDED KNEE AS IS PROPER.  This was expressed with much eye-rolling and tiny jerks of the head to indicate that the party of the second part had best get going on this before the party of the first part lost patience with the whole thing.  Therefore was I obliged to assume the position and make my request.

At this point the party of the second part had to obtain consensus from the remaining three Committee members, and the dog, who all agreed, gravely and with a certain amount of sneaky face-licking on the part of the dog, that it should be so.   And thus was the engagement formally entered into the record, i.e. posted on Facebook.

A sub-committee will be meeting today to discuss food, decor, etc.  It looks like this thing might actually happen, unless of course some more people who want to hog the misery civil rights find another way to try and keep us down.

It turns out we won’t be kept down, and even if it were never recognized, we will still carry on being our gay selves and having our gay families and living our gay lives.  We’re not just pretty strong.  We’re gay strong.

 

Warranty Wars

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So about a year ago we got fed up with our crappy minivan and bought a nicer one.  It was used but so much sexier than the old one, with the seats that fold into the floor and power doors and this thing in the stock which tells time.  We named it Moby Titanic (as it is large and white) and we love it so moishe.

When we test drove it, it did this alarming thing at freeway speeds wherein the entire vehicle swayed distressingly when the brakes were applied.  We told them that if they fixed that thing, we’d buy it.  They allegedly did, and we bought it along with a warranty.  Even our mechanics agreed that the warranty was a good one.  We were assured that we could use it at our preferred shop, the one with the aforementioned mechanics.  We’re quite loyal to this shop as they saw us through nursing school when we were Broke Ass Poor.  At that time we had my car which was/is pretty reliable, and then The Lovely Rhonda also had this extremely shitty Volkswagen Passat.

We called the Passat “Flopsy” due to the antenna that should have stuck proudly into the air at a jaunty angle from above the rear window.  It didn’t.  It was distressingly flaccid, so the car became Flopsy.  (We could not help ourselves.  Shut up.)  This phenomenally terrible car broke down, like, a lot, which was really difficult for us to manage given that we were so very BAP.  The very good people at Peterson Automotive did everything they could to keep us mobile at shockingly minimal costs, and for this we are fans for life.

Anyway, a few months after we purchased the minivan the brakes started doing that thing again.  We spoke some choice words to one another regarding the integrity of dealerships and then we took it to Peterson’s and they fixed it for real.  Except that a few months later it started doing it again.  We mentioned this to them at the most recent oil change and they were so apologetic.  They felt bad that they hadn’t fixed it right the first time, and told us that they would fix it correctly and charge us only for the parts by way of apology.  We were super cool with this and dropped it off last Wednesday, and that, my friends, is where the real fun began.

Once they got it all taken apart they found that the master cylinder was starting to go, and this was going to be a bigger repair than anyone anticipated.  It was time to invoke the Warranty.   We’d have to pay only a small deductible.  Yay for warranties!

Oh no, said the warranty company.  The dealership has to release the van to allow it to be worked on somewhere other than the dealership.

No problem, we thought.  We talked about this when we bought it.  We’ll just give them a little call and all will be well again.

We were so naive.

It was almost comical how nobody would call us back.  For two solid days.  TLR spoke with every manager they had, and salespeople, and office ladies, and possibly the janitor.  She resorted to leaving voicemails for the owner of the dealership.  Everybody had to check with everybody else.  Nobody could give us an answer.  Finally TLR went down to the dealership and raised a wee ruckus.  I believe the F-bomb may have been dropped.  You know I don’t approve of such violence but people, by this time it had to be said.

One of the useless managers commented that the police could be called.  “Oh, that’s fine, I’ll dial the number,” said TLR, brandishing her cell phone with what I am sure was a flourish.  “They won’t arrest me.  All they will do is make it so I can’t come here.  And then you can’t fix my van here, so I win.”  That shut him up pretty comprehensively.

The only satisfaction won that day was that the dealership agreed to lend us a car off their used-cars lot so that we wouldn’t have to rent one, as by this time an easy repair that should have taken a couple of hours had now stretched into a three-day battle and it was now Friday.  Nothing would be resolved until the next week and we both had to work on Monday, in opposite directions from home.  We picked the car up on Sunday night.

Since we didn’t need to schlep any kids around I had opted for a sedan.  They lent us a virtually nondescript NissHonYota Narcoleptor 6000.  These are great cars that would run forever if only people could stay awake long enough to put miles on them.  Sadly they have the highest accident rate of any modern sedan, domestic or imported, because they are so mind-numbingly boring that drivers routinely fall asleep at the wheel and crash them into things.  It was Fugly Grey with an automatic transmission.  I think the seats might have been clad in Midwestern airport upholstery fabric, but I couldn’t muster the energy to care one way or the other so I can’t really recall at this point.  It’s a miracle I’m still alive.

Monday and Tuesday came and went with still no contact from the dealership, shocking I know, and as those are busy workdays for The Lovely Rhonda, Destroyer of Worlds, no progress was made.  Wednesday she was home and able to verbally harass them make polite inquiries by telephone, to no avail. This had been dragging along for a solid week.  We were starting to contemplate small-claims court as well as perhaps calling up the lesbian posse for some sliding-scale, child-care-provided fully accessible picketing.  Nobody does it old school like lesbians.

Yesterday she finally spoke to the one magical wizard of a manager at the dealership who reportedly had to all but throw acid in the owner’s face to get him to agree to release the warranty.   I received a text: “We win.”  The argument was made that we had been loyal customers and had even referred a friend there who bought a brand-new vehicle from them.  We were fighting this hard to be able to take our repair business to our favorite shop.  Did they really want to piss us (meaning TLR) off? Plus I think when the F-bomb is spoken in the hallowed halls of an auto dealership they have to perform elaborate cleansing rituals which probably gets expensive owing to the difficulty of finding virgins among the sales staff.

Thus we merrily skipped off to Peterson’s to collect our perfectly-repaired van, only to drive it directly to yet ANOTHER dealership for a recall repair on the ignition.

Brace yourselves, internets.

TLR called to check on the timeliness of the repair, as we had made it clear we had to get it back by a certain time.  Uh, that guy is at lunch and he’ll call  you back when he gets back around 2pm.   No, says TLR.  We need to pick it up at 2.  Oh.  Well uh that guy didn’t get a chance to let you know and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but now your key doesn’t work in the ignition we fixed so you have to pay $220.00 for a new key. 

At this point I blanked out a little because TLR’s head started to spin around on her neck and her voice dropped enough octaves that those whale microphones picked it up.  The guy could not get off the phone fast enough, and called us back a minute or two later to report that the dealership would cover the charge for the key and how soon could we come pick the van up?  You could hear him sweating through the tiny phone speaker.

We win.

Pride, Proud, Prude

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So today was Gay Pride in Portland, across the bridge from Vantucky where I live.  I used to live in Portland and Vancouver’s Gay Pride is kind of miniature and boring (no offense), so I’m more inclined to go to Portland’s.  Thus we sat on aluminum bleachers for a butt-numbing two and a half hours watching rainbow-clad individuals from literally ALL walks of life.  The bleachers were located directly in front of one of the premier gay clubs (The Embers) and there was an umbrella’d booth of big drag queens giving hilarious color commentary.  Aside from the hardness of the bleachers, it was a good time.

We don’t take our kids to Gay Pride.  It’s not that I’m not all SUPER GAY PROUD and stuff, although to be truthful I’ve been out for so long (more than twenty years now) and I consider it to be just a slightly different facet to my otherwise ridiculously average life that I feel kind of… post-gay.

I mean, I don’t go to GINGER PRIDE.  There’s no parade for BUNION SUFFERERS.  We PSYCHIATRIC NURSE MANAGERS don’t hang out at the waterfront all day extolling the virtues of underpaid social service jobs and purchasing specialty merchandise from one another.  So in a way, I kinda don’t get it sometimes.

But then I remember how we sometimes get killed for being gay, how we’re denied basic rights that heterosexual folk get just for being straight, and how difficult and isolating it is for gay etc. youth (or adults for that matter) to come out to their families, so I do get it.

I just wish I didn’t have to.

The whole Pride thing is supposed to be somewhat family-friendly, with parade participants handing out candy and stickers and balloons and Mardi Gras beads to the kiddos, but there is one large reason why I don’t want to take the kids to Pride.   And that would be the scantily-clad folk, of all persuasions, and the minority-sexual-proclivities type groups who march in the parade.

I just don’t want to try to explain to my 8-year-old what BDSM is, or why some people are into leather.  There was a guy marching in one of the leather-enthusiasts groups in black leather underwear wearing a mask that covered his entire head, and his bare back was red with welts from being slapped with leather implements by others in the group. There was another fellow similarly clad suspended from a — well, let’s just call it a “specialty recreational swing,” on a trailer pulled behind a vehicle in (if I recall correctly) the same group.  There was a woman standing near him and he was rocking in place such that it simulated (very superficially) a sexual act.  This is not something I think is terrifically appropriate for children to see.  Speaking just for my child, she’s wicked smart and doesn’t miss much.  I think that this kind of knowledge is burdensome for children.  If she’s too young to really understand what sex is all about, she’s much too young to see this.

I just don’t think this highly sexualized stuff belongs in a parade in public spaces.  Sometimes that makes me feel prudish, but I have always felt this way watching Gay Pride parades, which I started doing long before I had a child.  I thought the entire point of Pride activities was to support and educate — and I suppose the argument can be made that these groups are trying to educate — but I am not sure that this venue is appropriate for this.  None of it interests me in the slightest but I know that there are people of all orientations who find it compelling, I don’t judge and all that — but does it belong in the Gay Pride parade?

I managed not to get too sunburned although I can’t say the same for The Lovely Rhonda.  I did offer the sunscreen to her but she declined.  Next year I’m just going to spray her like a protester.  IT’S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

This is about as political as I get.

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So a while back, Rep. Maureen Walsh (Rep., Walla Walla, WA) spoke very eloquently about why she supports gay marriage.  I watched the video and was moved to drop her a quick note, as I am sure that she would be getting plenty of unpleasant correspondence from certain members of her constituency.  And others.

I neither required nor expected a reply.  I just wanted to let her know how much I appreciated what she said, and the courage it took to say it.

Here’s what I said:

SUBJECT:  Thank you so much
MESSAGE:

Dear Rep. Walsh,

I just wanted to drop you a line about your statements at the gay marriage vote yesterday.  Don’t worry, this isn’t hate mail.

I’m a lesbian, I’ve been out for twenty years (so I guess it’s not a phase).  I live in (the city I live in).  I have a partner who I want very much to make my wife.  We’ve been together for going on four years, and I cannot imagine my life without her.  She is my best friend and the Alpha to my Omega.  We understand each other in ways that I never imagined possible.  We’re ridiculously happy.

We signed up for the “Merry Maids franchise” a couple of years ago, and it was less than satisfying.  We found that we could register by mail or in person.  So much for separate but equal.  Can straight folk get married by filing out a form and mailing it with a check?  Sure it’s convenient, but it doesn’t exactly feel like a momentous, life-changing event to drop an envelope into a mailbox.

We drove to the office in Olympia where it could be done in person.  While we were there, I found, we could also renew a business license.  This isn’t exactly the soul of romance, is it?

Moving on to the other benefits of marriage…  the domestic partnership affords a few of these, but to gain others we have to engage a lawyer and shell out thousands of dollars, and frankly some just cannot be had, for instance on the federal level, survivor benefits and so forth.  We are both nurses, and I would love to get a federal job, but too many benefits cannot be extended to my family (we have three young children between us) for me to consider this.

But to me it’s not about those issues.  It’s about the fact that because one of us lacks a certain anatomical feature, we are told that our relationship is less than normal and not on par with that of a heterosexual couple.  Any two straight folk can get married for any reason they like, financial, sexual, just for kicks.  But we can’t get married for the noblest of reasons.

I know that you know all this, I’m just venting.  All this railing against the system can be a bit wearying.

I wanted to let you know that I found your comments to be touching, very much addressing the heart of the issue, and despite your disclaimer, so eloquent.  I thank you for your support and I want you to know that for every hater who makes hurtful comments to you about your vote and your statement, there are a thousand grateful gays and lesbians who thank God for you today.

Sincerely,
(Me)

Today, I got a reply.  It was brief, but I still appreciated it.  Here it is:

Thank you Debra – You vent beautifully!  Maureen

I don’t want to post a link that might break, but I’m sure that the video will be around for a long while.  You can reach it by googling Rep. Maureen Walsh.

Oh, and the “Merry Maids franchise” refers to a comment she made in her statement, about how much she dislikes the term “domestic partner.”  She said it sounded like a Merry Maids franchise.  For this I love her.

Don’t Poke the Homophobe!

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So I sent our little friend from the previous post a little love note in the form of a personal message on FB.

Me:  I hardly think the “serving overseas” trump card is relevant here. It doesn’t make you any less bigoted. And yes, denying equal rights to people based on their sexual orientation pretty much fits the definition of bigoted.

Bigoted Homophobe:  Since your too ignorant to notice that that was my son who said that and not me, please feel free not to comment on any of my posts. My family has strong religious beliefs, how does that make us bigots? The problem with all who feel that lifestyle is okay fail to recognize that others have a right to disagree, you can believe what you want and your considered “tolerant” but god forbid anyone disagree or they are ignorant or a bigot, we fight for your right to live how you feel, you call us bigots because we have our own convictions, so who is tolerant certainly not the liberal gay community

Me:  Fine, we agree to disagree. The difference is that nobody’s trying to deny you civil rights. Not to worry, since you’re unfriended, I can’t see any more of your posts in my feed and I certainly won’t go looking for them.

Excuse me for not noticing that it was your son’s comment and not yours; an oversight hardly makes me ignorant. Believing that this is a “lifestyle” — that’s actually pretty ignorant.

Enjoy your beliefs. I guess we’ll see who’s right when we meet our Maker. I’m pretty sure my Maker didn’t make me as I am, capable of this kind of love, only to punish me for it later. So I guess, Thank God your Maker isn’t my Maker.

BH:  In case you haven’t noticed Christians are being denied their first amendment rights everyday

Me:  Gosh, I’m a Christian too. Which first amendment rights are you referring to? The ones where we have the right to shove our religious beliefs down everybody’s throats? That’s not a right.

BH:  No the one where I am entitled to speak freely that I feel according to the bible homosexuality is a son and not have those proclamations be considered hate speech

Sin

You’re a Christian, ever read Romans 1

Me:  Oh please. When we get to the point of quoting scripture at each other I’m done. You can use scripture to back up just about any viewpoint you want. You can preach to each other in your homes and churches anything you want, you just can’t spew it to people who don’t want to hear it, and that includes a lot more people than you’d think. Good day to you.

BHEvery view point except that the gay lifestyle is sanctioned by God,

Scripture by the way is the foundation to Christian life

Me:  And only your interpretation is valid, I’m sure. Like I’ve never heard this before. Goodbye.

BHWhen you have a masters degree in biblical literature, maybe I’ll weigh you interpretation equal to mine

Me:  From a conservative university, I’m sure. No thanks.

As a parting shot, I linked the infamous Letter to Dr. Laura. 

I SAID GOOD DAY!

Dear Homophobe,

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So I have a few friends on FB who are actually people I went to high school with and haven’t seen since then.  Some of them seem like people I’d actually hang out with, others not so much, but in general it’s nice to keep in touch and have a little window into what goes on in their worlds.

In general.

On Monday, Gov. Gregoire signed a bill in the state of Washington allowing same sex couples to marry.  You can imagine how someone like me might feel about this.  Because, as either of you might be aware, I am in fact a lesbian.  So this means that The Lovely Rhonda and I could conceivably get legally married, provided the poor law isn’t referendumed to death.  (Is “referendumed” a word?  It is now!)  We’ll know in a few months.

Today a guy I went to high school with who professes himself a Christian just posted:

Washington must be so proud, so glad I don’t live there anymore

He then commented on his own post,

I still love it up there! Even though most people up there reject GOD… let them have their homosexual marriage. It means absolutely nothing to me except that the door is being knocked on 🙂

I’m not sure why he felt the need to declare that “most people up there reject GOD,” since as near as I can tell a whole bunch of us are actually Christians, or if you want to expand your definition of GOD a bit, are fairly devout worshippers of some kind of deity.  Evidently not his particular one, though, hence the exclusion.

So anyway I could not let this pass, so I made some kind of comment to the contrary, mentioning words that I felt were somewhat fitting such as “bigoted” and “homophobe,” and saying something along the lines of “it’s too bad you feel the need to spread hate instead of love.”

Then, of course, I had to unfriend him.  As the sole proprieter of my page, I get to limit the amount of homophobic bullshit that I am forced to view there.

His reply was as one might predict, defensive.  It’s fine, he has the right to his views, certainly.  But what capped it was this line:  But go ahead and call me whatever you want.  Just know that this “bigot,” as you claim, is overseas protecting your right to do so.

I hardly think that serving overseas has jack to do with any of this.  My issue isn’t about free speech.  It’s about being a second class citizen because of who I love.  If you’re going to defend anything, why don’t you defend the right of any couple of legal age to get married under the law and leave your conservative religious views about how marriage is a “sacred bond between a man and a woman” out of the transaction?  None of that shit is relevant to me and my family.

Serving overseas is a tremendous sacrifice and all that, I don’t make light of it and I support all you guys, but don’t pull the military service trump card to out-holy this issue.  I don’t care if you’re in Afghanistan or working at a gas station.   Military service isn’t making you less of a jackass regarding this.

Ending 2011 the right way

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So yesterday I meant to go to the gym, I did, but we got caught up in the momentum of deep cleaning the jungles our children call bedrooms.  And then it was late and I was tired.

Today I continued a little in the cleaning vein, and then I went to the gym.  I vowed to go, and I went.  So yay me!

When I got there, I found Helga sharpening his horns over in a corner.  He lays in wait for unsuspecting victims clients on his days off.  Such dedication.

Pretty soon he moseyed over my way on his scaly little legs.  They carpet these places to cut down the noise of claws clicking on the floor.  I was on the DeathMaster, slogging my way through the customary twenty minutes of level 2.

“Vhat do you haff it set to?” he grunted.  I told him.  He looked deeply unimpressed.  I informed him that I was feeling sluggish.

“Vell, if zat is ze best you can do,” he frowned at me, and returned to his horn-sharpening disappointedly.

Naturally, my pride dictated that I had to turn it up to level 3 and punch in another ten minutes.

A DROP OF SWEAT FELL FROM MY TEMPLE TO THE TREAD OF THE DEATHMASTER.

When you sweat profusely, a demon gets one step closer to returning to whatever circle of Hell it came from trainer gets a warm fuzzy feeling.  Like an angel getting its wings.

Take that, Helga!