Just looking at the title of the blog, you would know I don’t make a lot of bones about being a gay architect. Especially the gay part. I’m out to clients, contractors, vendors, etc. And no apologies.
However, once in a while I think to myself: “Too gay?”
I had a moment early this morning during a site visit. The weather was a balmy 25 degrees, and in my own defense, I was in a heavy denim coat with a sweater underneath. Clothing I was sure would be warm enough.
Except I was wrong. Because 25 degrees is 25 degrees.
My client shows up dressed much more appropriately, but he likes to be outside and knows what to do for this type of weather. I, on the other hand, consider staying at the Radisson camping.
And then the moment comes when he tells me I really need a hat because you lose most of your heat out of the top of your head.
For the last five years, we’ve been heading to Key West the week after Christmas to spend some time in the sun, wind down the year, and get ready for the next.
Isn’t that something old people do?
Not that I would call us snowbirds as we’re only there for a week. And this was the first year where it was significantly colder in Texas than in Florida.
But this was the first year we were asked by everyone if our trip was still on. “Is Key West okay?”
After the hurricane, we watched like so many others to see what had happened in the Keys. What you saw of course was the devastation in Marathon.
Not that Key West didn’t have some issues. Trees down. Power out. Minor flooding.
Yet by the time we arrived (and even before), the cruise ships were dropping off hordes of people to wander Duval Street. Which means hearing an amazing array of languages passing you by as people headed to the Southernmost Point.
We did notice some shops and galleries from the past had gone away. And some new ones taking up residence. Another candy shop opened on Duval. Disastrous for those of us with a sweet tooth. (Good news for my dentist!)
And the hurricane certainly didn’t affect Christmas or New Year’s at all. La te da Guest House had the full-on Christmas display going, as did a lot of the houses around the island.
And the big red pump was ready to drop Sushi on New Year’s Eve like clockwork.
So the snowbirds were able to do the usual. Eat, drink, and sleep. Then rinse and repeat.
And of course, make our reservations for next year.
I would like to say I was graceful. Or that I looked like I was carrying out something slapstick from Three Stooges. Except I can’t.
After 20 years on the job and countless site visits, I finally had my first work injury Thanksgiving week. And it was about as ridiculous as you would expect it to be.
Walking across a floor comprised mostly of joists, I stepped off. Not intentionally. As I quickly discovered, the end of the board someone had laid down as a path didn’t quite reach the next joist.
No blood lost or stitches required. No feet dangling through sheetrock ceiling. Only the job super there to see it.
Trying to figure out how to get my foot off the board – now sticking up in the air – without having the end swing back up and hit me in the nether regions. Trying to gracefully extricate myself from the crawlspace. And did I mention that the job super was there to see it?
Mind you, I did end up with quite the bruised shin. Or at least kind of a bruised shin. While I was expecting my lower left leg to be black and blue, all I got was a little discoloration and swelling. Here I was feeling so butch with my work injury and that’s the best I could do?
Not that it didn’t hurt and is only now feeling close to healed. And not that I’m not grateful that it wasn’t something far worse. (On one high rise project we had to take the stairs up while they held the elevator for a framer who shot a nail into his kneecap.)
I just expected to be the one more bruised. Not my ego.
For anyone who has figured out how to blog weekly, much less daily, then kudos to you! And can you tell me how to do it?
For the past few months I’ve been telling myself I needed to write a post. Write a post. WRITE A POST!
But that didn’t really work. With all the other normal architect things happening (construction , documents for another client, and trying to work out an addition on a site with an angled property line) I found myself pushing off any writing. Besides, I was frantically prepping to speak in Virginia. Wasn’t that enough writing?
Which means here we are in December with me finally taking a breath to think about what to write. And what not to write. I even had an incident the week of Thanksgiving that I thought would make a great post.
So I would say hang on to your hats, but I don’t know many people who wear hats anymore. Hang on to your man-bun perhaps?
The Big Gay Architect is off to the races. And this time he’ll try not to wait so long between posts!
Everyone has a sacred space. Or at least I like to think they do. Whether that’s the home they grew up in. Or their church. Or perhaps the place they met their spouse.
I had never thought about what that might be for me until this past Labor Day. And I never imagined in a million years that place would be a bar.
At the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Ann in New Orleans is a bar appropriately titled Bourbon Pub and Parade. Since 2001, any time we visited NOLA this was our home. No matter the event, if you wanted to find us, you need only look to the outside corner facing Bourbon, and we’d be there. Holding court with our favorite bartender. Occasionally tipping a go-go boy. And generally having a great time catching up on the past year’s events.
Never would I have thought of that corner of Bourbon Pub as our sacred place. Until now.
When we arrived for Southern Decadence this year, we were met with the news that our bartender had retired. The woman who we only saw once a year – yet could put our drinks in front of us without asking – was no more. And somewhere in that moment, the light went out.
Don’t get me wrong. We still had a wonderful time at Decadence. We saw old friends and made new ones. Tried out some new places – both food and drinks. And helped the group we attend with, the Decadent Ducks, and the fabulous Candy Samples raise almost $16,000 for Food for Friends.
However, as we walked through the Pub, you could feel the magic was gone. No one looked familiar. Our corner of the bar seemed dim. The space in some ways almost felt haunted.
New Orleans will always be our second home. Over the years we have developed a fondness for the city and the people, and the friends who visit every year.
Except returning next year will be a little bittersweet.
My husband was kind enough (or mean enough, depending on your perspective) to point out something the other day that I had not considered when we moved into our house 16 years ago.
We have in that time watched our street slowly turn over from original owners to a much younger generation. In 2001, we bought our home from the original owner. Next door to us was the state judge who was the original owner of his home. And up and down the street were older couples and individuals who had moved into the neighborhood in the sixties and simply never left.
However, we’ve noticed lately that the demographic is changing. And the street is really turning. The judge is no longer next door. (We are assuming he’s at the bar he purchased in Cancun.) He was replaced by a young police officer and his wife, a nurse. This year they were replaced with a couple of young attorneys.
And just up the street from us, the original Gladys Kravitz of the neighborhood was moved out after suffering for the last few years from Alzheimer’s. We endured through the traffic last weekend as the estate sale brought in people from all over to sift through her belongings.
Which leaves only a few elderly couples.
At which point, James was nice enough to point out that perhaps wewere becoming the old people on the street.
Not that I feel old. (Although James will be the first to point out to you and everyone else that he’s four years younger than I am.) But still, he had a point. We are becoming the older generation on our block.
Not that we’re alone. Trey and Wanetta up the street have one son in college and another ready to graduate high school – kids I can remember being incredibly tiny when we moved in. And the couple three doors down from us with a son and daughter who are high school aged.
I suppose at some point we will become that nice old gay couple in the neighborhood. Which beats me standing on the porch and screaming at kids to get off my lawn.
Still – maybe it’s time to start thinking of moving to a slightly older community. Somewhere we can be in our fifties and still be the new “kids” on the block.
I would call last week the gayest week I’ve had in a while. Which is saying something given that we spend a week in New Orleans every year at Southern Decadence (look it up!).
However, last week found me (and by extension James) in Las Vegas for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) International Business and Leadership Conference. I was one – one – of 1,200 LGBT business owners attending seminars, plenary luncheons, and receptions as well as meeting with supplier diversity reps from NGLCC sponsors like American Airlines.
But because that wasn’t gay enough, on the last day of the conference, we went to see Cher.
Yes. That Cher.
And the show was fabulous. Not “he-looks-fabulous” fabulous. But FABULOUS! With all the glitter and sprinkles you could possibly imagine.
We weren’t sure what to expect, since this was our first time to see Cher in concert. (For our friends, the 4th time.) As it turned out, the show was everything we could imagine. Costume changes. Dance numbers. Acrobats. You name it.
Cher herself was amazing. And not the “Wow! She gets around really well for someone who is 70” kind of amazing. I would have been happy to have that energy and stamina in my 30s!
One of the more interesting parts of the evening, though, came pre-show, when we looked around the arena and realized the median age was somewhere between fifty and fifty-five. In addition, the crowd was as much hetero as it was homo.
So while we were having a pretty gay time, turns out the straight fans were too.
Now we’ll see if we can’t top that when we land in New Orleans in a few weeks!