Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Meltdowns and other family fun!

Have you ever seen a 4 or 6 year old just completely melt down? We'll let me tell you, it's not pretty. Not pretty at all.

Incident #1. The day before Christmas Eve, I mention to my sister that Mom will really be upset if we don't go to some sort of church service on Christmas Eve. My sister agrees and we decide to go to the children's service at the lutheran church where my niece goes to pre-school. Well my nephew (CR) heard the news and just lost it.

"I don't want to go to church."

Over and over and over again. No amount of reasoning or discussion was possible. And of course my Mom is not too thrilled that this is his reaction to going to Christmas Eve service. I swear it was almost like he had been forced to go to church ever day for the past year where they burned him with a hot poker. It was just insane. He finally got so worked up that he couldn't stop crying and my sister physically took him upstairs for a time out. When he was gone, the silence was deafening. Of course, I had to be the smart ass, "So I think CR doesn't want to go to church." I got "the look" from Mom.

Incident #2. Christmas Day. My niece (CD) has gotten this toy called a balloon rocket. It's basically this hand pump that is used to pump up really long balloons and then you release them into the air and they basically shoot around like rockets. Very low tech, but cool. So after we had opened all of the gifts, we headed to the local playground so CD and CR could play with their gifts. And we had picked up another little girl (M) who was a friend of CD as well. We get to the playground and we start playing with the balloon rocket. Now CD is only 4 and still hasn't quite captured some of the nuances of sharing. What that means is that you need to take turns with M and CR using the balloon rocket. Well it was the favorite toy of the moment so it just couldn't not be shared and CD started to get upset when her older brother took the balloon rocket. She freaked, grabbed it back, and started shrieking: MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!


It was just awful. And of course, how appropriate on Christmas Day. She kept shrieking and eventually got herself so worked up that she couldn't stop crying either. It was just brutal to watch, to experience. I really don't see how my sister deals with it.

As for the other family fun? Dad was awkward at first, and then loosen up a bit. Atleast I think so. He wouldn't take a hug when I first arrived, I got the handshake. But I sort of forced a hug on him when I left.

Enroute to the playground before the horrible balloon rocket incident, my B-n-L asked me if my Dad got me anything for Christmas. And actually he didn't. But I shouldn't feel too special, he didn't get my B-n-L anything either. And I don't think that really means anything. He got my Mom and my sister a cheesey gift (gift giving is not really his thing) and he really is self centered, so he may not have even consciously realized it. And that's okay. He would have probably gotten me cheesey gift and then I would have to figure out what to do with it! ; )

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

We've made the cookies for Santa and are about to put oats out for Santa's reindeers! Needless to say I'm having a great time in LA with my niece and nephew and I'm so looking forward to tomorrow morning. They are at that age now where they "get" Christmas, where they still believe in Santa Claus, where there is still magic and hope in this world. It really is so wonderful.

In this time of year, may we all take a moment to be thankful for all the blessings in this life. May we give our thoughts and prayers to those who are living in fear, poverty, or hunger where ever they are in the world. May there be peace, even if it's just for one day, around the world.

"And to all of us: may we give, and recieve, love in greater measure than any of us can now imagine." - John Hazlehurst from the Colorado Springs Independent.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

BrokeBack Mountain

Well I saw Brokeback Mountain, not once, but twice last weekend. It really is a great movie and I've been thinking about it alot.

Sometimes I'll see or read something and it will resonate with me. I'll be able to see a parallel in my life that is being shown on the screen or described in a book. It's obvious not exactly the same, but similar in some shape or fashion.

Heather Ledger's character Ennis is the one that made me think. It may seem odd, but in my mind I was thinking about the similarities between life in a small town in Wyoming in the 1960s and life in the military. Even today, but especially almost 20 years or so ago when I was just starting out in the Navy, the thought of living my own life, with another guy, just didn't seem real. When you've seen guys pulled off the ship in less than 2 hours to ensure *their* safety, you realize that just minding your own business isn't enough. The military community is small. People talk. It's not like the word isn't going to get out at some point. And while you may or may not be subject to physical harm, say goodbye to any career you might want to have. That's Ennis' world.

So you adapt, withdraw, hide. Maybe date a girl. Not out of any real desire or love, but for convenience. And how easy could that diversion become a permanent reality if kids get involved? It's easy to see how Ennis, or anyone, could get trapped in that situation. And then what do you do? Deny yourself and live a lie, go through the motions, survive?

One of the things the movie did was make me appreciate being out now. Sure I was a late bloomer, but I can't even imagine what I would be like, how unhappy I would be, or how dead I would feel inside, if I were still in the closet. Still denying who I was and denying myself the opportunity to be happy, to be loved.

It's been interesting reading some of the various blogs about the movie. And Andrew Sullivan, as usual, is very eloquent:

"Heath Ledger was magnificent in his indirection - this was a rare movie in which the anguish of the outwardly conforming, "straight-acting" gay man was exposed in all its raw pain. Three scenes remain in my mind. There's a shot after the two men leave each other for the first time when Ennis [Ledger] stays upright and walks nonchalantly as his lover drives away. But then, as soon as his beloved is out of sight, he collapses in emotional pain, punching a wall in agony, even then having to deflect the suspicion of a stranger. The moment when they reunite - its passion, its need, its depth - ravishes with insight into what love truly is. Then there's the scene when Ennis' wife finally confronts him - and you can see the damage done to so many lives by the powerful, suffocating evil of homophobia. So many lives. Sometimes I start to imagine how much accumulated human pain has been inflicted for so many centuries on so many gay hearts and souls, and then I stop. It's too much. We are slowly healing; but some wounds will never heal; and they are inscribed on the souls of millions in the past - the ones who persecuted, the ones who suffered, the ones who never let themselves be loved - or saw it briefly once, feared it and lived their lives in the lengthening shadow of their regrets."

I'm lucky that I've never been persecuted, or suffered. But sometimes I wonder if I'm one of those who never let themselves be loved.


I swear I'm a relatively rational person. I usually am pretty calm about things. But refinancing my condo has just pushed me to the edge and it's taken ALL of my strength not to completely f&^king snap.

So in November I get a call from the guy I did my mortgage with. He's moved to a new company and wants to know if I want to refinance. I did one of the monthly MTA ARMS when I bought my condo and while I could be going the interest only route, I've been paying the 30 year payment option. But the interest rates on the MTA has been going up and up, so I figured it was time to lock into a interest rate and my mortgage guy (MG) suggested a 5 year ARM. I told him to work up the paperwork and let me see what it looked like.

So I get the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and I look it over. I am not an expert on this and I pretty much look at the fees which aren't too excessive and I see on the bottom line that I'll get around $1000 back at the settlement. So that's sweet. So we move forward with the loan, get the condo appraised, etc. The settlement is set for the 9th of December.

That morning I get a call from my MG. He's seen the HUD-1 (the official paperwork) and it's a bit different from the GFE. So he faxes it to me. A bit different? Instead of getting around $1k at the settlement, I need to bring $5600 to the table. WTF?!?! So I call him and I'm just freaking out. He explains to me that there are two problems. One is that my December mortgage payment didn't clear my old mortgage company, and two, he forgot to add the interest for the new loan, and the pre-paid taxes for the new mortgage company to pay my taxes with. So I'm freaking out and I decide to push the settlement to the 16th. That will give my December mortgage check time to process and then that will reduce the amount I owe. Since my MG messed up the GFE big time, he's going to give me a lenders credit, and then roll what's left into the loan.

Despite that my check was mailed on the 28th of November, it never makes it to my mortgage company. So I cancel that check and I express mail a new one to them. It arrives on the 15th. So I go to the new settlement on the 16th and I look at the new HUD-1 and now I owe $2600 and some change. Hello, could someone give me a heads up on this. The Lawyer-Lackey (LL) explains to me what is happening and that while someone at the company may have signed for reciept fo the mortgage check, it hasn't been processed yet, so the loan payoff amount doesn't show that payment. Okay, this is why I had postponed the settlement the first time and my MG either didn't know this or didn't tell me. So here I am sitting at the table in the Title company and I am NOT happy. Believe it or now, at Christmas time I don't really have $2600 just laying around. So the LL tries to calm me down and explains that while I'm going to settle today, they wait three days to process the loan. There's some law where you get the "right of refusal" to basically change your mind. So my "right of refusal" expires at midnight on the 20th and until then they will check with the mortgage company and once the check gets processed, they will update the HUD-1. I'm fuming mad, but I finally relent. I sign all the paperwork and leave.

On the 19th, I get an email from my mortgage company saying they've recieved the check. Duh! But I figure this means it's been processed. So on the 20th, I get an email from my MG. He says that the title company has updated the HUD-1 and the final number is $916. So I get $916 back? Nope, I need to pay $916! And that's when the I lose it. Okay, when my mortgage payment hadn't made it to the mortgage company, I owed $2600. Now when my $2500 mortgage payment DID make it to the mortgage company, I owe an additional $916. So to recap: before I owed $2600. Now I owed $3400 ($2500+916). WTF!?!?!? And I am LIVID. And I can't get ahold my my MG or the LL to find out what the hell is going on and I'm just like f&%k it. I'll cancel the loan. So send the sh!ttiest email to my MG saying that this is all f$%ked up and I'm heading home to get my "right of refusal" paperwork so I can send it in my midnight.

But my MG calls and talks me off the ledge. Apparently the HUD-1 was incorrect (and at this point I'm not surprised). My mortgage payment went mostly to interest, so while I paid $2500, the pay off amount only went down by around a $1000. And I still need to pay interest on the money I am borrowing for the rest of December, so in fact I do owe money, but it's only $600. ONLY! So I told him I would think about it some more.

So I think about the pretty decent interest rate I'm getting and decide to just go through with it. This is like a bad dream and I just want it over at this point. So I don't fill out the paperwork. But I guess I do need to write the Title company a check.

So today I call the Title company to let them know that I'll be there later in the afternoon with a check and just want to confirm the amount. And then just as LL's form monkey hangs up on me she mentioned, "Oh, it needs to be a certified check." WHAT? Great. I am SO glad I planned a trip to my bank today to stand in line to get a certified check.

So finally I made it to the Title Company and the LL is not really sorry at all, it's more like, well these things happen and you should know about it. Hello, I don't do settlements every day. I would expect that the HUD-1 would be correct for all the little fees I'm paying. And how hard is it to COMMUNICATE this information to me.

Yes I know this process sucks. But be honest with me. Tell me up front that it's going to suck. That it's going to cost $4000 to refinance. But don't tell me it's going to be wine and roses and I'm getting $1000 back and then two weeks later it's not really wine, it's koolaid, and it's not really $1000 back, it's actually paying money. And then two weeks later, oh it's kool aid, but it's rotten kool aid and not only am I paying money, but my loan amount has also increased and my monthly payments are going to be more than what you said.

Needless to say, I'm never using MG again or going back to LL. They suck.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Age Inappropriate Clothing

Saturday I broke down and hit the mall. Pentagon City Mall. And it was a serious search and destroy mission. The only Christmas shopping I had done so far was for my niece and nephew and that was via So I needed to get gifts for the rest of my family. I found some serious princess parking (like 2 spaces from the door), which is good because I didn't want to wear my coat into the mall. I was sure it was going to be packed & hot and I didn't want to be lugging my coat around. I ended up in Macy's where they had some pretty good sales and I got something for almost everyone.

When my sister was in town, we talked about my brother in law (b-n-l). He's a stay at home dad and while I love him, he's a bit odd. He's probably pushing 45 and has taken to growing his hair out a bit. My sister told me that his favorite clothes are what teenagers or early 20-somethings wear in LA. So, I said, "Oh, you mean like age inappropriate clothing?" She said exactly and I joked, "Are you sure he's not gay?" Gay men are all about age inappropriate clothing.

So while I was wandering around Macy's I found this section that was definitely targeting the young urban male section and got my b-n-l a sweat top with Italy on the back (the type I've seen at EVERY gay bar I've been to in the past 2 months) and then a vintage T-shirt that my sister will hate.

So speaking of age inappropriate clothing, I decided to punish myself and go into the Abercrombie and Fitch store and I'm greeted by this:Hello? Do I need this?. Do you need to just hit me in the head? I get it. I'm not young, or buff, and needless to say not the target demographic, but really. Sadly A&F is the uniform du juer among the gay society in DC. So not to have any A&F is truely not acceptable. So I wandered amongst the muscle tees, the faded and ripped jeans, the wrinkled dress shirts and despite the fact there was nothing there for me, I was just jamming to the music. A&F does play very loud music, and it's usually a good mix. So I went up to the lithe, 19th year old sales girl and asked her where they got their music from? I was thinking that maybe they had a CD for sale or something. She said no, they didn't sell it, but she recommended that I look on the internet becuase she thinks they publish the song lists there. So when I got home, I googled and not only did I find some interesting links, I found this: A&F Radio. I'm jamming to it now. ; )

One day when I have a 30 inch waist, 4% body fat, and figure out how to reverse the aging process, I'm going to go into A&F and buy something. But since I don't look like this:
I think I'm going to wait a bit.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It's a Game!

So I've been doing the online personals things for awhile. I'm not really into the whole bar scene. I don't cruise at the gym. And when I'm at work, I'm working. So it's just hard for me to meet decent guys.

So I've been on and it's been rather hit or miss for me. I have met some good guys, some of them I'm still friends with, and then there have been the not so good guys. My favorite is the guy who casually mentions on our first date that he's a felon. Check please!

So I decided to make a game of it. Literally. I like movies, so I listed ten movie quotes and then who ever got them all correct would win a date with me. I figured it would be something fun and different. Here's what it said:

"It’s just seems like this dating thing is a game anyways, so let’s “play name that movie.” The person with the highest score wins a date:

1. “I hate this city. Everyone's better looking than me.”
2. “You're a handsome devil. What's your name?”
3. “Oh my god, Eli was stalking you? That is so romantic.”
4. “Sometimes it all still feels like a mass of dots. But more and more these days, I feel like we're all connected. And it's beautiful... and funny... and good.”
5. “I can't believe this. They fucking forgot my birthday.”
6. “Have you ever experimented with heterosexuality?” “What? You mean sleep with a straight guy? What for?”
7. “Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”
8. “It's only love. What's everyone so scared of?”
9. “Can't fall in love? But a life without love, that's terrible.”
10. “Principles only mean something when you stick to them when its inconvenient.”

Now, I'm not sure if I intimidated everyone, or if everyone looked at my list of movie quotes and figured I was some sort of drama queen or psycho. But after three weeks (and over 150 views) no one even replied to my profile. So what does that mean?

And that's a rhetorical question. I'm not sure I want to know the answer.

Monday, December 12, 2005

If Today Is Your Birthday . . .

You don't have to strive so much this year. The magic is in how well you accept yourself. Because you turn your gentleness toward yourself, you are able to do much more, much more happily. A move in January puts you in opportunity's path. Take a financial risk in June. Your connection with Libra and Taurus people is heart fortifying. Your lucky numbers are: 9, 47, 15, 38 and 2.

To be honest with you, I'm not a big horoscope fan, but this does appeal to me on a couple of different levels. Does this mean that I'll be able to recognize that I'm pushing myself to hard and not beat myself up if I try to relax a little bit? And it will be magic if I make some real improvements in accepting myself. But here's hoping. I'm not planning a move in Janauary, but that probably doesn't mean a physical move. And while I'm not really familiar with any Tauruses (tuauri?), Mom is a Libra.

Speaking of the family, my sister flew into town yesterday for a meeting this morning. Yep a five hour flight from LA to DC for a 4 hour meeting. And she flew back this afternoon. I picked her up at Dulles and after she checked into her hotel, we wandered around Gtown and did some window shopping and then grabbed a bite. It was good to just talk with her and find out how things are going in her life. It's weird what a great relationship we have now. As adults. As opposed to when we were younger. We weren't at each other throats, but it just seems like we get along better and relate to each other better now.

And I'm definitely making progress on the Dad front. He sent me a very touching birthday card and inside he added a couple of things. He wanted to know that he was concerned about my "lifestyle" becuase it puts me at risk. Of gay bashing. Which is true, but wasn't the first thing I thought of when he wrote that. But it's just nice to confirm that he loves and cares about me. And today I got an email from my Dad. Directly. To only me! He was asking about my sister's visit and what her plans are for next year. So I think we are making progress. Which is great cause was starting to get worried about Christmas in LA.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Vodka is not my friend

Despite the flailex with my refinancing (more on that later) I did manage to escape work early and then got to work prepping for the party. Clean the condo, hang some Christmas lights, hit Whole Foods and did some serious damage, came back and started cooking. My timing worked out pretty well as I finished up everything around 645 so I had time to grab a shower before my first guests arrived. Of course, that's when it dawns on me that my beverage selection was not going to cut it. So once J arrived, I bolted over to the liquor stores and picked up a couple of things.

It was a small intimate crowd but we had fun. Eating, talking, and drinking. Lots of drinking. Before going over to Pallette for Thanksgiving dinner, we discovered a nice smooth little twist to a Sea Breeze. Grey Goose L-orange and cranberry juice. It kind of had a holiday flavor. So we started with that. Well, I actually started with a red bull and vodka since I hadn't managed to get my disco nap in. So needless to say, the vodka was flowing. And flowing. Between 8 people, we managed to polish off 2.5 bottles of vodka. So it was not pretty. And I really don't remember how much I had I just remember thinking that my glass was never empty.

Which can only explain why I ended up Cobalt with E dancing. That part gets a little fuzzy. I think I had switched to water at that point, but I was pretty hammered. But we had fun dancing and I think the music was good. Not really sure. And while Cobalt wasn't as packed as Apex probably was, it was a hell of a lot closer to my place when I finally decided that I need to go home. And I needed to go home RIGHT THEN!

Getting out into the cold air helped a bit, but I was still a hurting puppy that night. And when I woke up on Saturday, the first thing I did was congratulate myself on having the foresight to cancel my trainer that morning. I was in no shape to work out at all. In fact, making the periodic trips to the fridge for liquids and to the bathroom, was the only exercise I could handle. I just laid in bed waiting to feel better. And waiting and waiting and waiting. It truely is amazing what crappy TV is on these days.

Around 5PM I started to feel a bit more normal. So I cleaned up the mess in the house and then got ready for the company holiday party.

As I drove to the party E called to ask how I was feeling. Apparently he had suffered as much as I did from the previous night. He joked about going to the White Party at Nation, but we both agreed that was so not going to happen.

The party was fun. I think it's good to see people outside of work. I'm usually so in the zone during the day that I barely have time for the niceties, so it was good to be able to just hang out and chat.

During the cocktail hour, some of the young guns talked about going out to Georgetown after the party. At my first company party I had gotten hammered and had joined them in Georgetown. It was fun. But as is typical with me, I'm having a great time and it's all good. And then there's that one drink that's the tipping point. And when that happens, I have to leave RIGHT THEN. And after some awful shot, I decided that was it, walked out of the bar and got a cab home. And then suffered the whole next day. And after my little vodka episode last night, I wasn't sure going to Georgetown was a good idea. So as the party was breaking up a bit, I silently slipped out of the hotel. I'm sure I'll catch some crap about it. But atleast I feel human right now.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Love Your Hair. Hope you Win!

After escaping work I made it home and then walked into Dupont. I decided I wanted to get a haircut before my little soiree tomorrow night, so I thought I would try a different place. The barber shop I had been going to, while cheap, was not good. So it was time for someplace new.

My hair is a challenge. I've got three cowlicks. So my hair grows weird. And I tend to keep my hair short, which makes it even more unmanageable. I have to use a lot of hair product for it to do anything remotely normal.

I've always had short hair. With my Dad in the army, I always had the buzzcut. When I rebelled at the age of 12 or 13, I was allowed to let it grow out a bit. Never over my ears, or down to my eyes in front. And of course nothing even remotely touching my shoulders. Yikes, I would have looked like a hippy.

Of course then I went to the Naval Academy and then into the Navy so long hair was never an option. And now, long hair sounds interesting, but not practical. Long hair is not professional at all. Unless you are some hippy washed out super geek. Which I am not. And in the gay world, long hair is particularly taboo. I'm attracted to guys with short hair, so I tend to keep my hair short as well. It's all very odd.

But after the holidays I may try to grow it out for a couple of months. If I can do it and not go all Tom Hanks in Castaway. We'll see. Something different atleast.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Crew Club

No. It’s not a sporting club. It’s an adult, on-site, entertainment club for men. Or, in common terminology, a bath house. Hidden behind a dirty, dingy little façade on one of DC’s main thoroughfares is an honest to goodness sex club. Though I wouldn’t really count on the honest or goodness there.

Of course, I’ve never been in there. Not that I haven’t ever stepped into such an establishment, but I’ve never been in the Crew Club. Someone once explained it to me this way: “You don’t piss in your own sandbox.” And of course, even if you have your favorite room there, you never, ever, admit it.

But seriously, I’ve never been inside. But I see the advertisements for it in the Washington Blade all the time. It’s always some picture of a hot shirtless guy who just wants some fun. Yeah, I’m sure all of the clientele are 22 year old jocks/nymphos. But hey, you need to market to your audience and so that works. It does catch my eye.

For a while, they were promoting the fact that there was a gym on site. I’m sure it’s like a crappy hotel gym with a couple of dumbbells, maybe a stair-master, or a stationary bike. But think about it for awhile, you’re in a sex club. Do you really want to sit on that bike seat? And really, if you’re seriously interested in working out, do you really think a sex club is the right place? On the other hand, I guess you could ask all of those hot shirtless jock/nymphos who are just wandering around for some lifting techniques. Yeah, that’s it.

The new advertisement angle that the Crew Club is using to get customer is the fact it now has Wi-Fi!! Yep, wireless connectivity is now available at the Crew Club. Okay, I have to ask. WTF? Wireless connectivity at a sex club? Am I missing something?

Are you going to go online to ManHunt or M4M and cruise for sex while you are AT a sex club? How lazy are you? Get you ass out of the little cubicle and just wander around! Be social for a change!

Or, is this for your mid-day customer who had to leave the office to “take a meeting” downtown. So there he is working on some marketing spreadsheets while some other guy is giving him a blow job? He’s got one hand on the key board of his laptop and the other on the back of the guy's head pushing it down while saying, “Oh that’s it, YEAH, that’s IT, oh YEAH, oh YEAH, that’s IT, oh YESSS!!!!! I’ve finished my quarterly sale report!!!! Fuck YEAH!!!”