Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Tremendous Shift

The next thing I knew, Cortez was grabbing my shoulders.
-- Kelly Armstrong, Dime Store Magic

I have made a tremendous shift, and I don't know when it will feel like home. As I was at a rest stop at the highest point of Interstate 80, high up in the rocky mountains of Wyoming, the moment of crossing a tremendous hurdle was made absolutely physical to me.

Two time zones separate me now from my support group and friends in Kentucky, one from my family and friends in Texas. In the last week and a half, I have been starting over.

Last week, I arrived at my apartment; I had two to select from, preferring the upstairs apartment with balconies front and back. The lawns are well kept, I got my furniture on the same day and I found myself making multiple runs to the store to get everything I need.

I live right across the street from a Target. From the store, the mountain range is absolutely beautiful. The road that separates the apartment from Target is on the same side as my bedroom and the traffic is quite noisy. Yet, somehow, I do get to sleep.

Sunday morning, I explored Salt Lake City Unitarian Church. I had some culture shock as I walked in and sat through the morning service. The greeter introduced herself after I had signed in and was preparing my own badge, there was no Adult Round Table, no Story for All Ages and no sharing of Joys and Concerns. As I listened from my pew near the back, I noticed that the minister performed the entire service solo. It was after the service, however, that everyone seemed to warm up around cups of coffee and ministry tables during the coffee hour.

Monday morning, I started crying, because I put the wrong address into the GPS of AT&T Navigator on my cell phone. It was rapdily approaching 9 AM, the time I was supposed to start work and I was utterly lost. The number 411 gave me was not answered, I tried several gas stations and finally it dawned on me that I had my supervisor's number in my call history--he had called me Saturday as I was driving cross country. With his help I eventually made it in.

I met my supervisor downstairs, he showed me my new cubicle and we went downstairs to find out when the next employee orientation was; it was 15 minutes in progress, already. So as I was filling out my paperwork, making a mess with a blueberry muffin, one of the Human Resources representatives came over to snap my badge picture in my red gold and black blouse. When I saw how well that turned out, I made a vow to scan it and use it as my new profile. During the orientation, I was pleased to see that sexual orientation and gender identity have been added to the company's list of protected categories, even though they don't appear on the application. I also found out that if I know any other Java developers, they will pay an $8000 referral for anyone that I recommend that lasts 6 months or longer.

It took about a week, but my computer has been set up, I am back at work with my first task, and we are overcoming the last "new employee" hurdles so that I can start developing. I have already jumped in with some intellectual discussion with my team members and am starting to get really involved.

I had to break stealth with human resources to try to find out whether or not the medical plan will cover sexual reassignment surgery. The exclusions were deliberately vague, and in the end, I received the following confirmation from SelectHealth:

Unfortunately, Sophie is correct, SelectHealth does not provide  coverage for this type of procedure.  The member would have the opportunity to
appeal and we can certainly provide information with regard to that process.

With regard to which plan would be most advantageous for the member - I don't fee comfortable making a recomendation, although, if they have truly confirmed that IRS guidelines allow the HSA funds to be used for the procedure they would at least benefit from the tax savings. 

It looks like I am still going to be faced with the same fight.

I have almost finished putting everything away, I finally got decent internet service the day before yesterday (my first attempt with Clear was a mistake), got to know a couple of my neighbors and got the address of the other Unitarian community and their directions today. The Interweave group (for LGBT concerns) of the church appears to be having a Potluck tomorrow at 5 PM, and, even though I am not in a state to bring something to the potluck, contacted the organizers, leaving them my number to call back.

I noticed there is some local Transgender support here in Salt Lake City, via a few web searches, and my next priority after establishing a church home is to get involved with them again.

Last Saturday, I discovered an open mic event at the coffee shop down the street and relatively cute guy by the name of Owen introduced himself as I was leaving, saying he was a talent scout in search of poets for open mic events.

I had already made up my mind I was returning.

Hugs and God Bless,


  1. I'm glad that you are settling in. I didn't know that you programmed in Java, that's what my son learned in H.S. (& he's not working now) You should go to the potluck and just bring a jug of tea or some pie from the grocery store!
    (the name is a handle for Geneva from 1st U)

  2. I'm plesed it's started so well for you. The view of the mountains looks spectacular...


  3. I stopped at that very rest stop a couple of Septembers ago! Say hi to the high Wasatch for me! & Good luck in your new home.