Friday, August 27, 2004

How I Broke the Law

Generally, I consider myself a law-abiding citizen. And that's a pretty important thing, being married to a law enforcement officer. But today I made an important discovery. I've been breaking the law... for 6 weeks!

Mind you, it was not my fault or intention by any means. And in all fairness, I discovered the problem personally and immediately corrected it, even though it should have been discovered by someone (or several someones) other than myself. The problem: I've been driving with an expired license.

I had good intentions. Last month, when my license was going to expire, and I didn't receive my automatic renewal notice in the mail, I called the DMV like a good citizen and told them I needed to get my license extended. They said it wasn't an automatic renewal because 3 years prior I applied for a motorcycle permit and, never following through with getting a motorcycle license, apparently I screwed up my whole record at the DMV. They don't know what to do with you if you don't complete something you've started, so I had to start from scratch to get my Class C.

I studied my little handbook, I made an appointment, and then I went to the DMV... good little citizen, I told myself. I got to the DMV, the lines were fast (yes, really!), I took the eye test, signed my name, and they told me to go to the picture line. There were about 8 people ahead of me. The guy at the counter was experienced and fast. Take paperwork, stamp it, enter something, "stand there", snap photo, sign, hand it back, "thank you." Next person, repeat. He had a rythym and was zipping through the line. This is great, I thought. I might not even be late for work. I step up to the counter, he greets me with a smile and says "good morning", takes my paperwork, and says he will be stepping away and some other lady will be taking over for him. Argh. Enter "new lady", a young person who apparently has never done this job before in her life. She takes my picture, it prints out a temporary copy, she puts it down on the counter in front of her, starts filling something out, then keeps looking at the screen wondering "what did I do?" "how come...?" She stands there for about 5 minutes, then goes away to get someone. It turns out she's looking for the photo printout that she had put down on her counter in front of her in the first place. "Oh, here it is!" She hands it to me and says I'll be getting my license in the mail in a couple of weeks. I asked, "Aren't I supposed to take some kind of test?" She answers "No, you're all set. Here's your receipt." So I leave, happy not to have to take the written test.

Flash forward 6 weeks. Past the trip to Sacramento where they almost don't let me board because my license is expired, but allow me to continue because I flash my (apparently useless and fake) "temporary license" to airport security. That sure makes me feel safe looking back.

But yesterday I'm thinking it's been a really long time since I should have gotten my new license. And I'm pretty sick of that wad of paper temp. license in my wallet. So I call the DMV. It is then they tell me that they are not sending my license because I have not yet completed the test, according to their records. I told them the stupid (er, um, "new") lady at the counter told me this was unneccessary. They tell me she was wrong. I need to go back into the DMV to straighten it out.

Today I go to the DMV. No appointment... I must say the 1 plus in hiring all these new people is the lines are MUCH better than they used to be. And I explain my situation and say I have this temp. license (which I show them) but they haven't sent my new license. At which point they explain to me that what I am carrying is merely a receipt and not a temporary license. I am currently unlicensed and I need to take this written test. Now, I have forgotten what I read in the manual from 6 weeks ago, but I'm game. I take the test, the procter is amazed at how quickly I finish, I tell him to hold his amazement until it's graded, and he says the smart ones always go fast. OK, points for compliments welcome. I pass the test, have to go back to the line (which is much longer now), and they hand me another piece of paper which they assure me is the temp. license (but which does NOT have a photo of me on it, like the other paper, and which they cannot assure me will allow me on a plane should I need it), and inform me that I should be getting my "real" license in the mail in another 4-6 weeks. Oh, joy. Another 6 weeks of wallet paper wad. I'm just really happy I wasn't pulled over and I caught the problem on my own. Shame on me, breaking the law like that!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Friday Makes the Weekend

It has taken a while since my last post. But knowing how many read it, I don't feel so bad. Even if I did feel bad, which is a waste of energy for a blog, I have a decent excuse.

Ever since my "bad weekend," things kept getting worse and worse. Among many things was the quick death of my new laptop. You remember the laptop, right? The technological device I was sick about purchasing in the first place because they cost too much and things always go wrong with them? Anyway, to make a long story short, the computer is now in a FedEx package on its way to the computer fixer-uppers. It should return about 2 weeks from now, set back to factory specifications with none of my stuff on it. I have been without a functioning computer at work for almost 2 weeks, or at least when I can't use the desktop that I have there. I now, finally, have a loaner computer, which does not have a CD burner, wireless internet access, or Windows XP... and I am sad. But I am better than I was 2 weeks ago, and that is a good thing.

Part of the help in feeling better I must attribute to a change in Fridays. Normally, Fridays end with a horrible drive in traffic (OK, OK, so that's every day, day or night) culminating in a collapse onto the bed that would rival any Olympic gold-medal dive. I'm tired, I'm crabby, and I sleep. The rest of the weekend seems to just follow sleep (er, step). Late rise Saturday, few hours of sunlight, and attempt #2 to break the world record collapsing performance on Saturday night. Then we start all over again on Sunday, only to have the weekend end on Monday morning with the rude sound of an alarm clock.

But for the past two Fridays, I have made an attempt to be social. A week ago Friday, Tracy & I went to Diane's house for a "Happy Hour" and Olympic Opening Ceremonies viewing party. Then we hustled over to Travis & Susie's for a hot tub and some stimulating conversation. This great start to the weekend just made even the most frustrating things seem a little easier (including the drive to the computer people). The weekend really seemed to stretch. I felt like I had three days off instead of two.

Last Friday, we did it again. This time we went to Joyce's for some dinner and movie-viewing. It was an excellent segue into the baby shower and zoo weekend. (Side note: overcast, cool days in summer are a great time to see the animals! I saw my first joey out of the pouch, a wolf and a few coyotes up close and personal, an active fossa, several baby markhors, and a family of ducks. Good zoo day... of course, I forgot the camera! Anyway, back to the story.) Again, I felt like the weekend was much longer... in the good way! Now I've decided that even if tired, I must make a conscientious effort to try and do something, SOMETHING (preferably with friends and out of our current dwelling) on Friday nights to stretch my weekends. Otherwise life just keeps going by way too fast with nothing, no memories, to show for it.

Monday, August 02, 2004


Answers to previous post questions:

-Are Adria and Natalie going to make it to week 5 in the Big Brother house?! Yes, oh yes!!

- Is waterless cookware worth the extra big $$$? Still don't know, but if anyone has a comment, I'd really like to know.

- Will I ever master the 4-ball juggle? Still to be determined.

- Is that Melissa Etheridge autograph I got for my birthday real? Yes, oh yes!!! Yippee!!!

- Will DC ever get moving and have Tracy just finish the process already!? Maybe... Tracy's there now. Keep your fingers crossed!

- Do my friends really have to move to Canada before we hear from DC? Hopefully not.

- Do I really have to fly to Sacramento the same weekend as the huge work party I've been waiting my whole career for takes place? Umm, yes. Though I'm seriously debating going out of town this weekend anyway.

- Will my editor ever finish outputting the tape so I can go home already and finish with this pathetic blog? Yes, if "ever" means 9:40pm (note the time of the post was about 3 hours earlier). Sigh.

- Is blogging always this hard? Not always.

Bad Weekend

I want one of those little icons that livejournal has to show you my mood. Currently: grumpy and tired.

After a weekend that STARTED with a trip to the dentist resulting in a drilling job that was so perfectly done it just barely prevented needing a crown, it is safe to say that this was not my best weekend recently.

After the trip to the dentist, what should have turned into a lovely weekend alone with Tracy while the folks were away turned into a weekend I'd rather forget.

After the dentist, I went to work and wound up working to 10:30 at night. Not the worst in my career, but I was tired and Tracy was visiting me at work and she had to get up early, as did I. And it was just poor timing for a visit on a very rare late night.

After Friday, (how many paragraphs do you think I can start with "after"?), I had to get a plumber that would come on the weekend to unclog the kitchen sink and not rape me (figuratively or literally) . Turned out to be an easy and minor job, and he declared it so in a short amount of time. Except that while snaking the sink he happened to bust through the thin pipe causing water damage to everything under the sink, which he hadn't bothered to remove before the operation and didn't happen to notice until the operation was done. That left me paying for a replacement pipe and an afternoon of cleaning fun.

After the plumber, I ran a bunch of errands on Saturday, taking advantage of my early rise. I was admiring how much I was finally accomplishing, and relishing the fact that Tracy was called back to DC (with little notice) for final processing. Indeed, relishing the fact that we were finally catching up, making progress, tying up the loose ends and beginning to leave those old problems behind. I was going to make her dinner and rent a movie she wanted to see because she needed a good rest. She was working like crazy, getting no sleep, and now had to catch a plane Monday morning. Except, I got a phone call. Her car is broken down. Won't get out of park. I need to pick her up.

After I pick her up... 75 miles away... we have to figure out how to get her car back. 75 miles in a REAL city might be about an hour, but in my case, it's the 405, and she's waiting almost 3 hours (no joke!) before I get to her. Of course, doesn't hurt that a concert is blocking all the streets in the area that night. When I tell the policeman I'm picking up an employee, he suggests it's a pretty bad night to pick for doing that. Go figure, I picked this night to have the car break down. And speaking of the car, we can't tow it... we don't have that kind of coverage. And if a friend's friend ever suggests you can increase AAA at the last minute to take advantage of a long tow, they're lying. 7 day waiting period. She could move it onto the fairground lot... if the fair didn't happen to be in progress. No, she has to leave it on the street.

After Saturday, she takes an extra car to work and we figure she'll tow it after work into the fair property. But she calls me Sunday and says her co-workers removed a fuse and now it can get out of park... i.e. it works. So now she's stuck down there with 2 cars. So, I drive down 75 miles with a friend and, since it is the fair, we decide to have some fun. Our friend hasn't been before. We stay a little after Tracy gets off work, because after the 2+ hour drive (again!... it's slightly better on Sunday than Saturday) we don't want to rush right back. But Tracy hasn't slept, has important testing, and has to catch a plane in the morning. So we call it a day. Of couse, when we get back to her car, it won't even turn over anymore. So, we're about to jump it when she finally realized she needs to put the fuse in to start the car. But when she puts the fuse back in, she can no longer get it out of park. So, while the car is running, she yanks the fuse, and we're back in business.

After the car starts to drive, our friend takes off and we enter the freeway. But her car won't shift into gear, an electrical warning light as well as a transmission light are now on, and we're crawling. So we pull off. We realize my brother lives close, so we dump the car at his place, knowing it will probably have to stay a week until the AAA extension takes effect and because the same day she returns, I am leaving town, so we're a bit shorthanded to take care of this mess. Plus my brother doesn't have an extra parking space, so we park on the street, call the police to say it will be there a while, leave a note, and finally hit the road in the car she originally took to work at 6am.

After we get home, well after midnight, we are too tired to pack, too tired to do anything. So we both collapse. She gets up late the next morning, then begins to pack and, once we arrive, the airport is as packed as I've ever seen it minus a weather delay. But I see her off and am only an hour late to work.

The worst part: The car is still 80 miles away (it's farther now, as we backtracked to my brother), we still don't have a tow, we still don't know what's wrong with it or how much it will cost, and we won't be in town together at the same time on a non-work day for at least 2 weeks to take care of it! Sigh. I don't need another weekend like this!!