How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Other than the dreaded five paragraph theme that high school teachers are so fond of, (they used to say writing that way would prepare one for college, only to get to college and be told to forget all about that) the other dreaded writing assignment was the one we all imaginatively titled, How I Spent My Summer Vacation. I dreaded it mainly because I hadn’t done much of anything all summer, as my family couldn’t afford to go anywhere. How boring and short the essay would have been if I had actually told the truth? “This summer, the family spent two months begging my father to turn on the AC. Then, I went to every yard sale within a five-mile radius with my mother, hoping no one I knew would see me. Then, I stayed up late watching TV because that was the only time my dad relinquished control of it. By the way, Joan Rivers is a great replacement host, I don’t care what anyone says.” Not super exciting, right? Well, since it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, I thought I’d write an update as to what’s been happening the last few months.

Since the last post, where I mentioned I had traveled to Oklahoma in April, I took another short trip, this time to Chicago. Since I live in Illinois, Chicago is only a three-hour train ride for me, so no arduous journey for me. However, I was meeting a friend there who was coming in from Arizona who had never been to the city before. For him, it was a much longer trip, made longer by numerous delays. So Amtrak. Since we were only going to stay the weekend, I had tried to plan the most concise experience for him as I could, making sure to include as much of the things he wanted to do as I could, while making sure to add a couple things I wanted to share with him of my favorite places. There was definitely wiggle room in this itinerary, as I’ve learned that when traveling it doesn’t pay to be so set on a schedule going exactly according to plan. You will just be disappointed and probably out some money. Well, staying true to form, his train didn’t get into Union Station until four hours after it was scheduled to, thus making me have to shift that evening’s planned activity to a different day, and wing it. I took him to Giordano’s for deep dish, then we went to our hotel, where I had already checked in. We capped off the evening by walking over to Buckingham Fountain, which was directly across from our hotel, to see the light display at the fountain and enjoy the party atmosphere of the people congregated around it. Because of his train delay, we ended up staying an extra day in the city to make sure we were able to get to as many things as we could. His train home was even more delayed, however, at least he didn’t travel the following week, for it was the very same train that he took home that derailed a week later in Missouri.

The week after that trip something more personal happened in my life: I had an appointment with my endo for my first T shot. After my experiences during the trip to Oklahoma, which I chronicled in a previous post, I decided it was time to take that step. I started noticing changes right away, including the voice drop, the hair on the chest, the hunger, and the excess sweating, which leads to the boy funk. There are other things, but I won’t list them all. Pro tip for anyone considering T: add more protein to your diet, that will stop your body from feeling like it’s starving even after it just ate. Also, you’re going to have to shower more. That’s the only way to combat the boy funk. And be prepared for the amount of sweat your body will produce. It might surprise you. In the past, even when exercising, I didn’t sweat that much. Now, buckets. As a consequence, drinking more water is essential to avoid dehydration. Honestly, I fucking hate water. I drink it grudgingly, and not enough. I know this. But since starting T, I’m drinking it more. I sometimes think me wanting to start T was just my body staging a coup as a last-ditch effort to try anything to get me to drink more water. Well, it worked.

The other personal thing that happened was that in July I went to court and was granted a legal name change. Now, I am officially Samuel McAuliff. That was just the beginning of a long, hellish bout of admin that I had to take care of, including numerous phone calls, emails, snail mails, finding a notary, copying documents, and changing my personal info with every online service I have given my name to. It’s been nearly six weeks since I became legal, and I am almost done with this process. The only things left on the list are: birth certificate, passport, and getting new copies of my college degrees. All that aside, (and trust me, all of that was a lot), nothing can prepare you for the joy you feel when your new bank card comes in the mail, or customer service calls you by your new name, even if they grossly mispronounce it, or to be called Mr. for the very first time. There is now an M on my state ID, which, oddly, was the easiest bit. All I had to do was fill out a piece of paper at the DMV saying I wanted to make this change, and it was done. If only all of it could have been that easy. Pro tip for anyone thinking of changing your name: you will have to let the credit bureaus know personally about your name change. Otherwise, if you try to get a new bank account or credit card during this process (as I did) you will be flagged for identity theft, and you’ll have to go in person to prove you are who you say you are. Because even though the Social Security Administration has been updated (this is your first stop after court), the credit bureaus are the last to know. Save yourself some time and call them. They will tell you what you need to do. This will involve more snail mail.

The other big thing I’ve done this summer, besides work my day job, is finish a novel. I just sent it to a publisher yesterday, so it might be a few months before I hear back as to whether or not they will publish it. I won’t say too much about it now, other than it was inspired by my recent top surgery. If the book gets picked up (fingers crossed) I will definitely be posting more about it.

Well, it looks like I’ve met the requirements for my five paragraph theme, so I should be ending this here. This summer I had a very, very, very, very, very good time.

The End