Jeremy’s fabulous room…

Back in the spring I painted my bedroom and blithely announced that Jeremy’s room would be next. I figured we’d be painting zir room within the month but every time it was cleaned zie’d trash it within days. Plus I’d bring up painting and Jeremy would insist zir room was just fine the way it was and zie certainly didn’t need paint. Just buy zir a video game instead. Like zie needs any more.

I thought about how nervous I’d been when I first started painting. I was terrified I’d made a horrible mistake and I’d end up hating my room. The reverse was true. I settled down to tell Jeremy just that and promised it would be the same for zir. The next day we found purple floral sheers on clearance at Giant Tiger, which Jeremy loved, and then zie was tentatively on board.

We bought Palace Purple paint then settled into painting. Or more honestly, I settled into painting while Jeremy drew happy faces on the wall.

happy face

Jeremy was disappointed because I apparently took a picture of zir worst happy face.

After reminding zir a few times to focus and actually paint, I went into the kitchen to make dinner then came back to discover zie’d painted about three quarters of the room. I was right *jots this down in my calendar* Jeremy saw zir favourite colour and suddenly painting seemed a whole lot more important. I went to work the next day and came home to discover zie’d bought a new can of paint and was busily painting the final corners.

“Take a look around Mom. Can you see any spots I missed?” Jeremy asked as soon as I walked in the door. I peered inside with my work shoes still on.

“The trim there,” I said pointing at a pale spot on the wall, “and that corner there. Otherwise it looks good!” Zie quickly hurried to paint those last two spots.

We got all zir furniture back in place that night, which is good because zie was diagnosed with bronchitis the next day. Talk about timing! At least Jeremy could collapse into bed with all zir stuffed animals and not trip on paint supplies on zir way. The hardest part for me was I wasn’t there. Zie called me on my break to say zie really wasn’t feeling well and thought it would be good to see the doctor. I suggested which walk in clinic to visit then went back on the floor and waited for zir call. Jeremy’s both trans and autistic, I did not wait well, but the doctor was amazing and zie came home with a prescription for antibiotics (and had those filled too by the time I got home).

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in Canada. It’s a harvest festival loosely based on a minor religious celebration in England. I don’t know what it’s like there but here it’s a time for family feasts and going for walks to look at the autumn splendour. My parents came over for dinner and a short walk through the nearby park, short because my Dad hasn’t fully recovered from February. Then my Dad and Jeremy hung up zir new floral curtains.

installing the curtain rod

Everyone was suitably impressed that Jeremy’s drill has a built in light.

And, with that, Jeremy’s room was done. Well, done until zir next big project at least. This is zir room before…

before

The pictures were hung primarily to hide the holes left by the previous tenant, who had mounted some pretty heavy electronics. The blinds were from the previous tenant too.

And this is Jeremy’s room now…

the finished room

The paint’s not perfect and at some point zie’ll have to touch up the heater but it looks good and zie loves it. Jeremy picked it all out, from the paint colour to the wall art to the stuffed animals. This room is zirs…

candles2

… and it looks fabulous!

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The shopping blues…

“Mom, I can’t find a clean shirt to wear,” Jeremy said ten minutes before we needed to leave for the bus.

I got rid of all my larger shirts a month ago but that didn’t stop me from frantically pawing through my shirt drawer and closet just in case I missed something, anything. I hadn’t.

Jeremy liked my black velour holiday shirt with glitter across the front but it was too small. It was also a little over dressed for Wal-Mart but if pjs are appropriate than fancy attire should be too. Jeremy finally declared my very last t-shirt to be “okay”. Zie also took my sweater, one I’d long outgrown but loved too much to give away.

Jeremy expressing zir

Jeremy expressing zir “inner cat lady”.

Both Jeremy and I approach clothes shopping with a sense of despair coupled by a frantic desire to flee, which is why we both need new shirts badly. It’s not that either of us hate clothes particularly, we simply hate what’s out there. Why on earth would a t-shirt need pleats on the back? Or a stripe of completely different fabric along the bottom (but just on the front)? Or an entire front panel that’s a different material? Rips up the side? Ties *and* rips up the side? See through material? Jeremy abandoned me halfway through the shirt section with a promise zie’d meet me at the dressing room if I found anything. Zir “if” sounded dubious. I didn’t blame zir.

I eventually found four shirts for me to try and three shirts for Jeremy before calling zir out of the electronic department. Zie dismissed all three as being too tight and too weird; I had similar complaints. Zie finished first and raced back to the electronic department, asking me to meet zir there.

The sales associate looked up from Jeremy’s pile of shirts as I walked over with mine. She leaned close, obviously concerned.

“Did you know all these shirts are from the ladies department?” she whispered.

I leaned close as well. “Yes, I know,” I whispered back. Then I walked away and collected Jeremy for grocery shopping.

I tried not to glare at the old man blatantly staring at Jeremy when I found zir by the cellphones, although, to be honest, he was so focused on Jeremy I don’t think he’d have noticed if I even stuck my tongue out at him.

I vented to Jeremy about shirts on our way home.

“All I want is a plain, simple t-shirt with maybe a picture or a saying on it. Preferably Doctor Who. That’s it!” I exclaimed. Jeremy nodded.

“All I want is a shirt that’s not too tight and pants that have pockets. Oh and both have to be purple.”

After our last round of shopping I’m thinking we might as well ask for the moon.

Excitement over electronics…

If there’s one thing Jeremy loves, it’s electronics. If something involves wires and circuits, it’s amazing. Beyond amazing… it’s the best thing ever. If you add solar panels, lights, or sound you can watch Jeremy soar to the stratosphere with excitement.

The two of us went for a walk on Friday night. We were in the middle of our local green space, talking about camping, when I suddenly realized our camping spot at Unicamp might not have electricity. We’ve never camped without electricity before. We camp in my parents’ tent trailer which has built in fans, ceiling lights, a sink, and a tiny electric fridge plus I bring a toaster so I can make english muffins for breakfast. Most importantly, we can plug in our phone chargers. You know… really roughing it. We’re going camping for a week this July. I’m lucky if my phone lasts for six hours. I can take pictures on my real camera but can’t exactly send L 50 odd smoke signals a day.

“Jeremy? Where did we see that solar panel charger?” I asked idly. I should have known better because there’s nothing idle about Jeremy and electronics. But I knew we’d seen one recently and for a reasonable price too.

“Oh! At that new discount store! We should go there tonight and pick one up!” If zie could have opened a portal right there to the mall zie would have.

“It’s probably going to be too late tonight,” I pointed out. “I’m pretty sure the store closes at 8pm and it’s 7 o’clock now.”

Jeremy nodded and we walked a bit further down the trail. Suddenly zie let out a moan and staggered a little.

“What’s wrong?” I blurted, automatically checking for blood and/or dismemberment. I always go right to the worst case scenario. Everything looked okay but Jeremy had complained of a stomach ache before eating. Zie’d been fine ever since and did say it was probably from hunger. Maybe it had come back?

“These sandals are giving me a blister.” Zie slipped zir foot out of one shoe and showed me a blister. It looked fairly old and I thought it was from zir last pair, the ones we’d thrown out a week earlier, but it wasn’t like I’d sat there counting them and marking their locations.

“We can go home,” I pointed out, trying not to look longingly at the trail ahead. We’d only just started our walk and it was gorgeous out.

“It’s okay,” zie replied, “I can go a bit further.” Jeremy’s tone made it sound like zie was dragging zirself across the finish line by zir fingernails.

“There’s a short cut just up ahead,” I reminded zir. Jeremy perked right up.

walking

We walked slowly toward home, stopping so I could take pictures of the trilliums and Jeremy could drive zir newest remote control car. It wasn’t until we were back on the sidewalk and zir car battery died that zie remembered the solar panel charger.

“We need to go to that store,” zie said urgently.

I slid my phone out and shook my head. “There’s only 20 minutes left until the store closes and we’re at least 15 minutes from home. We can go tomorrow after work.”

“I might not make it but I have to try.” Jeremy’s voice was firm and zie started walking even faster. Zie’s almost a foot taller than me, there was no way I was going to keep up.

“If you’re going to leave me behind, could you at least give me back my apartment keys?”

Jeremy rummaged through zir bag then handed them to me before running off. I watched zir sprint away without even a suggestion of a limp then shook my head and continued home.

Jeremy called as soon as I walked in the door to let me know they no longer had the solar panel charger and was going to check out Value Village just in case. It wasn’t a surprise when zie called back less than five minutes later.

“Mom, guess what I found at Value Village???”

“A puppy?” I had to guess something. Jeremy expects an answer even if there’s no way I could know. One thing I knew for sure was zie hadn’t found a charger there.

“No,” zir voice dripped with scorn. “I found a broadband radio!!!”

This was presumably the best thing in the world although I had no idea why.

“O-kayy? And this is good because?”

Mo-om… it means I can listen to both AM and FM radio and it has a CD drive and it has a USB port so I can plug in my MP3 player or my phone and it has a light!!!! I can add it to my kitchen!!!”

The light was the best part. Jeremy has been planning zir own kitchen for about three years now. Zie has plans to someday build a counter in zir room for a tassimo, some sort of tiny sink, and a bar fridge. The plans get more elaborate by the day although nothing’s been placed on paper yet.

“I can attach it underneath the counter instead of adding pot lights and I can play music there! And the best part is it’s only $8 and they’re usually a hundred dollars so I’m saving $92!!! And I’ve been wanting it forever!!!”

Which makes forever a lot shorter than I thought considering I’d never heard zir mention one before.

“You have no money so you’re not spending anything,” I pointed out.

“Okay, you’re saving $92.”

Technically I wasn’t saving anything because I’d never had any plans to buy a broadband radio. I was spending $8. But it wasn’t worth telling this to Jeremy.

“What happened to yesterday when I bought you that pair of purple headphones because yours broke and you kept borrowing mine? You said you wouldn’t ask me for anything all week.”

Jeremy was nearly in tears. “I know Mom and I’m sorry. It’s just stuff goes so fast here and I might not get another chance to get one of these again. Please!!! I’ve wanted one forever and we might never see one at this price again!”

I gave one of those full lung sighs. “Okay, fine,” I said reluctantly.

“Oh yay!!!! Thanks Mom, you’re the best! And I promise I won’t ask for anything else for the rest of this month!!!!!”

Sunday we went out to buy some more paint for my bedroom and took a walk through Marshalls, one of Jeremy’s favourite stores.

“Oh wow Mom look!!! They have a bluetooth keyboard for phones and tablets and it’s purple!!!! I’ve been wanting one of these forever!!!!!”

“You promised you wouldn’t ask me for anything else this month,” I reminded zir and got a sheepish smile.

“I know,” zie said ruefully. “I’m just not good at stuff like that.”

Jeremy might have no concept of forever but at least zie knows zir limitations.

Now Jeremy’s cleaning zir room after telling me zie’s going for “style over functionality”. I’m scared to look. Zie says it’ll be fabulous.

Jeremy’s tree…

I almost forgot to add a picture of Jeremy’s tree. I had to go back and buy a new topper because the star zie originally picked out didn’t work when we plugged it in the second time. It was working when we bought it. Luckily Dollarama also had a topper with “rainbow lights”…

purple tree

They don’t show up as much in the picture but zie has four sparkly chandeliers on the tree and a bunch of purple butterflies. Also, we really need to paint zir room. Maybe this spring…

The happy stuff…

Emma called me a week or so ago, she sounded bewildered and happy. Karen ran into her at a local store one rainy evening then drove her home.

“Does that mean I’m no longer disowned?” she asked then promptly followed that up with, “I don’t think I’m disowned anymore. She added me back on Facebook too.”

I agreed that sounded likely. We come from a family who react first and think later. Just because Karen was furious in August didn’t mean she was angry in November.

Then I got a call from my Mom. She wanted to know if I got the previous day’s newspaper. I don’t subscribe to the local paper so hadn’t.

“There’s an article about a transgender student in it. I meant to cut it out for you but forgot and put it in the garage. Just give me a minute…”

I waited while she headed for the garage and dug through their recycling bin (their cordless phones have amazing range). She finally found the paper and hurried back inside to read it to me. The student discussed bullying at his previous school then went on to talk about how great his new school was.

“Why are you trying to get Jeremy into [school]?”

“The class is small and it was recommended as a good fit,” I replied.

“I just wondered because the school this boy’s raving about is the school you’re trying to get Jeremy in,” she replied. Pages rustled in the background. “And did you know the school board is having a meeting on December 11th with transgender parents and parents raising transgender students?”

I did but hadn’t mentioned it to her, figuring she wouldn’t be interested; which was a mistake on my part. I don’t know what impressed me more. That my Mom read through a huge article on transgender students in the local paper because her grandchild’s trans, that the school I’m trying to get Jeremy in is considered good for trans students, or that my Mom made a point of sharing an upcoming LGBTQ event she figured I’d be interested in. I think it’s a three way tie.

Thursday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance and both Jeremy and I had the day off. I spent the afternoon dying zir hair purple…

ponytail

Emma gave Jeremy this lovely crushed velvet purple ponytail holder.

That evening Emma came over with a new bracelet for Jeremy…

bracelets

Then we went out for dinner at an Indian restaurant. The food was amazing but we should have gone to the local Coffee Culture for sandwiches instead as we were already rushed for time. It didn’t help that I thought I knew where we were going but we got there to find an empty sidewalk and the wrong street sign. I quickly logged onto Facebook for the address then to Google Maps. Luckily we were only three blocks away from the right address. Unluckily we were already 20 minutes late.

The first and second people we saw were members of my congregation, they’d set up a button making booth. The kids and I stood and listened to the speaker for a few minutes then there was a ten minute break. We hurried to find seats then wandered around the displays. Once again I asked people if there was a local group for trans youths and, once again, I found nothing. The break ended and I hurried back to my seat alone. The kids never came back. Instead they, along with our minister’s son, spent the rest of the time making buttons…

pins

Emma made the “Shut Up! I’m AWESOME” button for Jeremy.

Jeremy made two more buttons for me, coloured almost completely green. I have them on my jacket. One of my coworkers asked me if zie could make one for her too. Unfortunately that will have to wait until the next time we’re at a button making booth.

Afterwards I talked to one lady about Bill C-279 then she started talking to one of the PFLAG representatives. I asked the rep the same question I’d been asking all evening and she asked how old Jeremy is. I told her 17 years old and was told that was the perfect age, that quite a few youths attend their PFLAG meetings then break off into their own group… and that about 3/4’s of them identify as trans. The next meeting is this coming Thursday. Hopefully it goes well.

I posted earlier about a coworker of mine who’s been struggling with cancer. The lack of support for her bothered me and I asked my manager if I could start up a fundraiser. Despite working at a very small store, my coworkers have donated $300 and more said they plan to donate next week. This is going to be such a good surprise for her. I hope this brightens her Christmas a bit.

Jeremy had Youth Group on Friday through our UU congregation. There were going to be new kids attending and the youth leader called Jeremy to ask how zie’d like to handle pronouns. Zie decided on having everyone in the group introduce themselves and state their preferred pronouns then offered to go near the beginning, that way if any new kids were shy they wouldn’t be first and put on the spot. It ended up being moot because no new kids showed up but it was great that the youth leader called ahead of time.

And, finally, I talked to my minister today. I volunteered to do a talk on transgender issues back in the early fall because I was tired of people misgendering Jeremy and figured our welcoming congregation needed some education to be more welcoming. The minister thought it was a great idea and we set a date for the beginning of January. I was nervous for several reasons. One because I’m not good at public speaking (hopefully no one in the room will actually be expecting eye contact) and two because I’m not trans. I can give my experience at being Jeremy’s mother but can’t say what it’s like to be trans. I asked the minister how long I was expected to talk and was told for five minutes. She’s invited not one but three transgender people in to talk about their experiences. All three were at the Transgender Day of Remembrance and two are experienced public speakers (the third is a teenager). I am so happy! I wanted our congregation to get an idea of what it’s like to be transgender and what they can do to be supportive and it sounds like this is going to happen. I can’t wait for this service now.

The tree Jeremy made at Youth Group - the top is vivid purple.

The tree Jeremy made at Youth Group – the top is vivid purple.

 

The insomnia continues…

I had choir practice last night, which didn’t finish until 9pm. Which was fine except I needed to be up at 4:45am. I got home, read a couple of quick posts on Facebook, and headed off to bed.

Then I got out of bed to get my cat away from the closet doors… twice. She likes finding dark corners to pee. I’ve got Christmas presents at the back of my closet.

Then Jeremy came in to tell me zie couldn’t sleep because zir heart was pounding too much to sleep. This was around 1am. Back to school anxiety had settled in.

I woke shortly after 3am to use the washroom. I was just drifting back to sleep when I realized it was very quiet. That was when Jeremy started yelling for a light because it was really dark… way too dark and zie couldn’t find the emergency light in the living room. I crawled out of bed and handed zir mine. I was in the process of turning on my cellphone so I could set an alarm for work when the power came back on. Jeremy immediately followed. Zie excitedly explained that all the lights went out, even the ones behind our building. There are flood lights on the building behind ours… which means our apartment is never dark. Except for last night. Jeremy informed me zie was not going to sleep at all. This wasn’t a surprise.

I was dozing off again when Jeremy came back nearly in tears. Zie’d made a mug of tea in zir Tassimo and had forgotten it. Somehow the tea ended up spilling all over zir netbook. I thought back to that brief power failure. Jeremy had said something about the power light being off. I told zir to take the battery out and leave the netbook propped up for 24 hours so it could dry. Zie came back in 10 minutes later and stuck the netbook under my nose so I could smell how burnt it smelled. That was not a hopeful smell.

Twenty minutes later I turned off my alarm clock and got out of bed. It was set to go off in five minutes anyways.

Five hours into my shift, my manager asked if I wanted to go home early. Oh yes!!! I’ve taken an hour and a half long nap and am finally awake and 99% sure I’ve got legs. Or it might be I have legs and am 99% sure I’m awake. At least I don’t have to walk anywhere yet…

We’re going to an Evening of Hope tonight, which is a local event against homophobia and transphobia. Our UU congregation has a button making machine so we’ll be helping people make buttons. Now I just need to find something purple to wear. I’m assuming the purple circles under my eyes don’t count.

Ironically I think Jeremy’s more awake than I am.