Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Status Report: Project Unpack All The Sheeeeit

Ok, so I completely BITE as a blogger lately. What can I say? Moving house is kicking my ASS.

The good news is that I have more than half of it all unpacked and put to rights and even pictures on some of the walls!

And my dad kindly brought over a twenty foot ladder to try and clear the bird nest from the dryer vent. My vent was entirely blocked to the point that three cycles would not dry a dish towel. And that meant trips to the laundromat, which was kind of a scary experience and NOT cheap, either. Good news! The dryer was not blocked by a nest.

Bad news! It was blocked by SEVEN nests. Seven bird nests. Every year that grackle would build a new nest, just shoving the old one further back. I cannot understand how the previous tenant didn't burn the house down.

And oh! Have we had entertainment at the many discoveries, such as all the broken glass around the house. This was confusing to me until I noticed the dents in the siding.... right above the piles of glass.

Oh. Apparently the household children amused themselves by throwing drinking glasses against the side of the house a la Callahan's Crosstime Saloon... only, you know... outside.

We're still waiting on the replacement oven, which had to be ordered.

Jacob thinks the new house is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous and can now crawl at lightning speed and is mastering cruising.

I'm low on sleep, sore & zombie-like but nearly finished. Back soon, I promise.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Why Courteous Driving Can Be its Own Reward

So I'm driving to work yesterday morning... the route I take could still be considered semi-rural for a portion of it, and with all the construction in the area (that never changes), there are a good number of dump trucks. And where there's construction, there are also porta-potties. And porta-potties do not empty themselves, knowwhatImeanVern?

So. I'm cruising along in my now-running-like-its-supposed-to Camry and there's these two trucks, a dump truck and a sort-of-tanker-like truck with a hose on it. In some circles, this would be known as a "Honeydipper". The dump truck is following the other, and they are in the right lane. I'm getting to the point where I, too, want to be in the right lane since my exit is coming up soon.

Ah! Both trucks signal to move to the left lane. When they move over, I happily move into the right lane. Now there is a smallish grey car behind the dump truck and it isn't thrilled to be there, and it puts on the right turn signal, indicating a desire to join me in the right lane.

I am positioned in such a way that I need to either speed the heck up so he can fall in behind me, or slow down and make a space for him to get in front of me. I'm feeling courteous, so I slow, and indicate that he can get in front of me. And he does. And he starts to accelerate.

And the trucks hit a bump.

And the hose on the tanker flaps a bit...

And there was apparently some residual content from its last um... pick up... that remained in the hose.

And it splashed.

And because I was a courteous driver and allowed the grey car to enter the lane ahead of me, I was not the car that was basically shat upon.

Now, it wasn't much - maybe a gallon or so - but when you are on the way to work on a fine spring day, any amount of random shit hitting your windshield has got to be a bummer.

But oh! 'Twas not ME heading for the car wash that fine morning. Perhaps the 4 leafed clovers came through.

So your lesson today, folks, is to also extend courtesy to your fellow drivers because you never know what kind of shit you might avoid as a result.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Some days are just a waste of makeup

Except that I hadn't bothered with makeup. And maybe that was the problem.

It all started on Monday afternoon when the teenager & I stopped at the new house to pick up some of his stuff to take back over to his dad's. We get back in the car, I turn the key and.... nothing. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. We pop the hood and stare in dismay at the most corroded-looking car battery EVAH. I am telling you that my car battery looked like it had LEPROSY. And mind you, this is only a three-year-old car.

Conveniently enough, my husband pulled in about two minutes later and the guys commence with the car talk and the cleaning of batteries and the debate over the best way to jump start a car.

But then we find that my jumper cables are missing. So Husband heads out to buy new ones while the teenager & I cool our heels.

After a delay, we get the car started and I head across town to drop my son off. As we are pulling into the parking space, the car dies. My son looks at me in alarm.
"Did you just turn the car off??"
"Look, how many old cars have I driven in my life? You do NOT kill the engine if your battery's run down. That was not me."
"oh... crap!"
"No kidding."

So now I have to get a jump start from my ex-husband. Who was kind enough to actually do it and not give me too much flak.

At this point, I'm suspecting that it wasn't the battery but the alternator. Well, I don't even make it back home. I don't even make it a mile... the car chooses once again to die just as I enter an extremely busy intersection and my bladder and I have a brief struggle for supremacy as we remember that when one's engine cuts out, one also loses power to vital functions such as STEERING. I convince the bladder that if it, too, mutinies on me in the next thirty seconds, I will fail to remember that it is considered useful if not actually vital and tear it from my gut and fling it into traffic at the same time I attempt to overpower the steering through manual force and desperation.

Well, I got the car to the side of the road, with dry undies to boot. And I call my husband and then I call Geico and demand the roadside assistance I have been paying for and I have that sucker TOWED.

So. This brings us to Tuesday, when Enterprise picks me up to take me to their office to rent one of their snappy little cars so that I can actually go to work.

And we get to the office and the woman says to me "Ma'am, did you know that your driver's license is expired?"

And I blanch because I have been having some neurological issues since January and I forget things... sometimes important things.... and this is one of them.

So they offer to drive me to the DMV to renew my license and then I can call them back and I can rent a snappy little car and I can go to work.

It being rush hour in the DC area, it takes us a half hour to get to the DMV and there is - of course - a lengthy line. But I am pleased with myself because I have everything I need with me to renew the license... I have a shiny new utility bill with the new address on it, I have my proof of insurance with the new address on it, I have my secondary identification, I am ready to rock and roll.

I finally get to the front of the line to get my number to wait in line for actual service and the woman says to me "We need your birth certificate. We need PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE. We can't give you a license."

Never mind that I have had a driver's license in Virginia since 1982. If it expires, you cannot get it renewed without your birth certificate to prove that you do have legal presence and are not going to hijack a plane and fly it into the Pentagon.... (9/11 prompted this change as some of the Virginia hijackers managed to con their way into getting driver's licenses which allowed them to be able to enroll in the flight school)

Ok, I understand this requirement. But my birth certificate is lost... gone, poof. And getting a copy from NY is neither easy nor cheap. And forget about quick! It will take about two weeks, and that's the expedited way....

The clerk helpfully points out that if I GO to an office of public records, I can get a copy for 12 dollars and it will be much faster. I just looked at her. Because of course driving all the way to New York State is an option, especially with an expired license. This is the Virginia DMV, at your service.

Eventually I made it to work and back and $150 later my car is working just fine. As for the rest of it, well... don't ask, don't tell and its costing me $70 to get that stupid certificate sent to me. It better be printed on some fine handmade paper for this.

And the final touch? As I was standing outside the DMV, calling my mother for a ride, I happened to look down and see a patch of clover. In this patch of clover, I counted eight 4-leafed clovers. That's just rude.