Hello and happy May to ya. Tomorrow is International Tequila Shot Day.. are you ready?
This report is a bit later than usual, but I’ll blame that on our busy weekend. There was soccer and a PTA auction and a trip to Seattle for lunch with other queer moms and their kids. And then the work week started…
Date Night at the Grade School
My wife and I were really looking forward to the PTA Auction for our grade school. Not only is it a chance to hang out with some our good friends, we were doing it sans kidlets. That’s right, it counted as a Date Night. Since our normal babysitters (aka, other parents) were either attending the auction or busy elsewhere, we turned to one of our best friends, who is also the girls’ secular godmother.
Prior to the auction, we attended a social gathering at the home of a good friend featuring alcoholic beverages and munchies. Since the auction was being held at the school, the strongest beverages we’d be allowed there were the free espresso drinks. As the host is also the PTA president, I wouldn’t put it past her to realize that getting us all liquored up before the bidding started was a sound fundraising strategy. I had a couple of beers but my wife, who prefers bourbon, went without (though people tried to ply her with drinks the entire time). The thing is, my wife does not need alcohol to get into the spending mood and neither do I. In the silent auction portion, we won some and lost some. We had a lot of fun during the live auction. Everyone gets competitive, in a fun way, and there’s lots of cheering when the bidding gets fierce. We’re all in it to raise money for our kids, so sometimes winning the item is secondary to driving the price up.
The group of parents who organize the auction are very imaginative. We’ve got the silent auction items, live auction and what they call ‘bidding frenzy’ items. These are gift certificates donated by restaurants and businesses around town. They have a set price and the objective is to be the first person to raise your paddle when the item is called. It’s definitely a frenzy and requires 2-3 spotters around the room, to accurately catch the winner. They do it midway through, probably to jack up our adrenaline and competitiveness, and it works. The other thing they do is something called Dessert Dash. Each table puts together a bid. The highest bid gets first choice from the dessert table in back. I convinced the couples at my table to pitch in $30 a piece ($120 total) and we were the winning bid. Another feature of the auction is contributing to the project fund. The auctioneer describes that year’s project and starts at some dollar level, collecting paddle numbers and then continuing down until we’re at the $25 contribution level. Last year we raised funds for Computers on Wheels (COWS), a portable computer lab that can be brought into each classroom as needed. This year we contributed to improved projection equipment for the cafeteria/gym/activity area as well as projection equipment for the library.
Along with all the items and services donated by individuals and businesses, are projects completed by each of the grade school classes. The class project bidding can get very fierce and the emcees egg us all on. First they find out who in the room has a child in the class, then threaten to tell the teacher and child if that parent doesn’t bid. It’s all in jest, but it does get us fired up. The class projects are always fun and creative but the fourth grade projects really pushed it to another level this year. Each class produced a coffee table book, featuring a two-page spread for each student. Each kid was asked a question, and that question and their answer appears on one page. On the facing page is picture of that child, graphically altered to look as though it were in a graphic novel. These books were so cool, we knew the bidding would be fierce, and of course we wanted one. Here’s the catch: one of the other parents in our class is the woman who’s husband just committed suicide and we all feel a bit protective of her and her daughter. My wife and I were sitting next to her and some other parents in our class and we decided not to bid against her. We did put a bug in the organizer’s ear that it would be cool if more books could be made available, and that some of us would be willing to match the auction price for them.
And that’s what happened. She and another mom got into a fierce bidding battle that took the price up to around $700 (the other mom later said if she realized who she was bidding against, she’d have stopped, she thought she was bidding against us). At that point the auction group had a quick pow-wow. They said that since the books were reproducible (unlike the other projects) , they were going to offer a special deal, if the duo involved in bidding didn’t mind. They’d drop the price down to $300 a piece and allow both bidders, and anyone else, to purchase a book at that price. At that, we raised our paddle. Win, win, win.
In the end, the school was the big winner. I don’t know yet how much we raised Saturday night, but I’m pretty sure we did a good job. Because of the way they structure the various types of bidding, everyone attending could get in on it at some level of contribution. It’s a great community building event as well as a chance for us parents to socialize. Some of us are feeling a bit sad about the fact that our kids will only be there another year. Middle school is a very different environment and we’ll miss the close community we’ve formed with the families, teachers and staff at our school. We’d like to stay close with these parents, partly because we like them and partly so we can keep track of what our kids are up to as the years go by. Socializing outside of school is an important part of keeping those connections alive and we’ll do our part by hosting gatherings at our house. We’re fortunate to be in such a good school district and to be a part of this grade school community. Another motive for my wife and I, in keeping in touch with people and helping fundraise for the school, is that our Little Bit will be there in about 4 years. Anything we contribute now will benefit her then.
The seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago have germinated and sweet little plants are showing their heads. The bush beans my daughter and I planted a week ago are still a no show, but I expect to see them within the week as well. Visions of yummy salad and snacks are dancing in my head.
Because this weekend was so busy, I didn’t get any additional work done outside, but next weekend looks good for garden and yard work.
Soccer: triumphs, defeats and injuries
My daughter and I both had games this Saturday. Her team won handily and she was very excited when she told me about the goal she almost scored. My team was defeated but the game was very competitive and exciting. I had quite a few dramatic saves, beating my knees up a bit as I hit the hardened mud in front of the goal. That pain was eclipsed in the waning moments of the game, when I blocked a shot at point blank range and viciously jammed my left thumb. I went down clutching my hand and went out a few moments later when I realized it was going to be while before I could use that hand to block shots properly. I got some ice and cheered my team on and then made my way home on my bike. Untying and tying shoes is a bit tricky when you only have one working thumb, so I opted to keep my cleats on until I got home. That was a bad choice, unfortunately.
Once I got to my driveway – my cement driveway – I realized that squeezing on the breaks with both hands was not going to be easy and neither was getting my feet out of the toe cages on my pedals. I got the right foot out, but that’s not the way I fell. CRASH!! Down I went on my left knee, grating it like cheese. There were no witnesses to that bit of gracefulness, as my family was still at my daughter’s game. I got my bike into the garage and unloaded, limping up the stairs out of the basement. Several damp paper towels later, my knee wasn’t running red anymore, but looked like badly done hamburger. Cleaning and patching had to wait until I finished feeding myself. My daughter was super impressed by my various injuries, while my wife gave me an amused smile. At this point, she knows I’m not going to act like a grown up some of the time, but she did make sure I was taking anti-inflammatories and using ice on my thumb. Oh, and her second concern, after making sure I hadn’t broken it? She was worried I wouldn’t be able to change diapers. No such luck as my diaper changing skills were undamaged, though I was a bit slower and with Little Bit trying to crawl away, that can be a quite a handicap. I’ve also found that things like buttons and snaps are a bit difficult to manage with one thumb out of commission.
My thumb is doing better and I’m sure I’ll be fit for the field by this weekend. My knee has scabbed up in an ugly way, but at least it doesn’t hurt.
A reader named Theresa who blogs at SakeOfSanity.com, asked in a comment:
I was just curious as to the ElderSpawn. Whos child is she, biologically speaking? Did you give birth or Mrs Kyle? Im curious as to your life if there was a “before” Kyle time frame? I really hope I didnt butcher that, lol.
Life before you knew you were Kyle, what was it? Who were you? What kind of woman were you before you “became” a man? I say that layden with respect.
Great questions, Theresa. I’ve probably addressed each of these at some point on this blog, but I’ll restate them here for the benefit of you and others who may be new to Butchtastic. The ElderSpawn is my biological child. My wife and I have always wanted children and our deal was that it would be ‘age before beauty’ (she’s 6 years my junior). We’d planned for a 2-3 year gap between children. And when it was my wife’s turn, and we tried for years and years. At one point we started looking into adoption, even attending some informational sessions. However, my wife really wanted to experience pregnancy and have a biological baby of her own, though, so we agreed to try some more. The result is our Little Bit, 10 years younger than her older sister. My wife had a pretty good pregnancy and was a champ in delivery. She’d be happy to try for more, but I’m at the age where I’ll already be nearing retirement age when Little Bit graduates from high school. We’ve agreed to hold with the family we have and we’re very happy.
Answering the rest of your questions is a lot less simple. The person you know as Kyle had his start when I was in high school but didn’t really get a life, so to speak, until recently. When I started this blog, I was in the midst of a butch renaissance, of sorts. I had waffled between the male and female aspects of myself through my 20s and 30s, fully exploring my queer female side in the process. I thought of myself as a dyke and a soft butch. Going into my 40s, I was very comfortable with my female side but my male side had gone largely unexplored. I started my blog, in part, as a way to talk about this exploration. I drew on my earlier butch experiences and gave Kyle a place to live online. Little by little, Kyle has gotten a larger share of my physical life as well.
I would not say that I’ve become a man, but more that I’ve embraced the man and woman who both have a share in who I am. I am not ‘either/or’, but rather an interesting combination of two identities: Kyle and Casey.
So, one way to answer your question is that I am for the most part the same woman I was, that is butch, dyke and queer, and I’m also more of a man than I have ever been. Clear as mud? Feel free to ask follow-on questions. I’ll do my best to answer them.
Bicycle Commuter Contest
Every year since a long ways back, we’ve had a Bicycle Commuter Contest during May, which is also National Bike Month. I’ve been participating almost since the beginning, minus a couple of years when I worked in Tacoma, and have quite a pile of souvenir t-shirts to show for it. I’ll be riding as much as I can for the month of May. Normally, we don’t get adverse weather during May, but today there was a stiff headwind from the north. I really hope the weather improves, otherwise it’s gonna be a long month.
That’s it for this week. Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo and don’t forget Mother’s Day is coming up.
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