Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I arrive at the DMV about 11:30 and was pleased to see the parking lot half empty. The line to get a number to wait in line was much longer than it's ever been. ugh. I got to the front and the "Sorting Hat" lady remembered me. Hmmm....wonder why?
I ask if maybe I can check to see if the letter is there before I sit and wait in line, she says sure, just go to window 11 and ask them to look. So I do. The guy goes into the back and I can see him standing by the fax machine going through pile after pile of faxes. Not turning up mine. Finally, after about 10 mins he comes back. My letter is not there. I'm pissed. Again I say a few explitives under my breath and storm out.
I get home and call the Land of Morons, I mean GMAC. The gal there, Mona Lisa (yes, I'm serious) says that the letter was faxed on 7-25, Fri. I gave her a big piece of my mind explaining how this really isn't my problem, they are the ones who messed up and not really understanding why I have to spend this much of my time dealing with their mistake. She offers no apologies. She does however say that she will put in another request for a letter and fax it to the DMV, it should be there in 24-48 hours. AGHHHH!!!!!
I decided to call the DMV to see if maybe there was a "recieved on Fri" file that the guy didn't look in since I told him it would have Mon or Tues. I get the central, call center, but the gal who answered the phone called the Woodbridge DMV then took my number for them to call me back. I was skeptical that I'd get called back, but I did....
About 20 mins after I'd called the phone rang. It was the Woodbridge DMV. No my letter was def not there. However, if I had the original lien relase letter she might be able accept that (I think at this point I was talking to a big wig at the DMV). She said I could come down with the letter and bypass the line and ask for her and she'd see what she could do. She did question GMACs answer of 24-48 hours for a letter if the letter had in fact been sent on 7-25, but there's not much I could do about it.
I high-tail it over there and track down this "Miss Chestnut". She looks at my letters - I now have 2 letters from GMAC indicating that my lien has been paid off. She accepts the one that they randomly mailed me last week because it had a signature on it in blue ink which made her certain it was an orginal. She signs off and instructs the man at the window to take care of me! :) *
He takes my DL and checks the form I filled out, matches up the vin #, collects $10 from me and hands me the title to my car! :) YIPPPEEEE!!!!! I thank them both profusely and escape from the DMV. With any luck it will be at least 6 years before I have to go back!
Now I just have to locate my grandmas car title which has been sitting here for 2 years because I'm supposed to put it in the safe deposit box and I was waiting till I had my title, and get them both safely to the safe deposit box!
*When the customer service guy came over and Miss Chestnut told him that she'd signed off on the transcation, he muttered something like "Why did you do that?" and she muttered back "because I did" I'm guessing that they were trying to get rid of me. hmmm....maybe repeatedly coming into the DMV then storming out with a slew of explitives is the way to solve a problem?
One of Evan's many faces of joy and excitment! :) I love the tongue!
Alex going down the big pink slide! I love the too big sunglasses!
Brenna with Evan getting ready to go down one of the little slides.
Drew with Evan, also getting ready to go down the slide.
Alex, totally zonked out when we got home.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
About this holiday:
July 27th commemorates the exciting "Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day". Plant owners the world over proudly stroll their plants through the streets, exchanging hellos, plant-care tips and general merriment. It is believed that by "Strolling the plants" you enable them to know their environment, bringing on wellness.
All of my house plants are too big to take for a walk anywhere, so they are going for a virtual walk, right into all your living rooms!!!! :)
This is a 33 year old Norfolk Pine. My dad purchased it for my mom the day I was born. It's about 7 feet talk and occupies it's own corner of the living room. Recenly, my mom and I repotted it, a huge undertaking. It has survived a move from Alexandria, VA to North Tarrytown NY in 1979, then a move from North Tarrytown, NY to Cincinnati OH in 1987, then a move from Cincinnati here in 2004.
This is the "little" Norfolk pine. I use that term very loosely. As you can see it's taller than the chair. When we moved from Alexandria to NY in 1979 my mom was afraid that the original Norfolk Pine would die, so she bought another one and planted it with the original. When I got the plants in 2004 I decided that the little one was likely choking out the original one so, after 25 years of co-habitation, I got the "extra" pine it's own pot. Seemed to do good things for both plants - both plants had a growth spurt and looked healthier. However, I now had 2 huge plants in my living room.
This is Audrey. As in Little Shop of Horrors. Feed me Seymour. Audrey is split leaf - she might have a more scientific name, but we know her as "the split leaf". Audrey is family heriloom. I'm not exactly sure how far back the split leaf goes in our family, but this particular ones history is easy to trace. My grandparents had a giant split leaf plant, prob about the size of this one, and my grandmother drug it outside for the summer. It was very happy outside and it doubled in size in a short amount of time. It was now too big to get it into the house! So my grandmother cut part of it off. My grandfather wouldn't allow her to throw the cutting away so she planted it - which of course meant that she now had 2!!!! She gave the cutting to my parents soon after we moved to Cincinnati and now that cutting takes up more space in my living room that some of the furniture! I actually really like Audrey - she's an active plant, very frequently I'll look over there's another giant leaf unfolding! She doesn't need much water and a yearly feeding of miracle grow keeps her happy!
The neat thing about the split leaf is that when it grows a new shoot from the stem you can cut it off and stick it in water for a month or so and when it grows a root plant it in a pot and guess what? You've got another ginornmous plant on the way!
I once sent a cutting home to California with my aunt. We wrapped the stem in a wet paper towel and put it in a ziploc baggie and she carried it home on the plane. Her cutting grew a root and she planted it and it's well on it's way to being huge! She recently moved back to the East Coast and the plant survived just fine. It recently unfurled another leaf!
When my cousin got married I gave her a cutting, that I'd planted, and called it "her branch of the family tree'!
Soon after I got Audrey, my grandmother, who had moved to Florida and then back to VA and somehow her split leaf has vanished, asked for a cutting, so I grew her a plant. She has taken very good care of her plant and it's probably about 1/4 the size of mine. Recently she moved to an independent living facility in Williamsburg and she can't keep the plant (barely enough room for her in her tiny apartment!). The plant now lives at my parents house in Williamsburg, where it gets bright sunlight most of the day and it's quite happy. The downside to this is that my parents have retired as gypsies and they live in their motorhome 8-10 months out of the year! My grandmother doesn't have a car. This means that once a month or so someone has to go and water the plant. The upside to this is that if someone drives to Williamsburg to water the plant we'll likely stop in to see my grandma - the family plant, keeping the family together!
Did you take your houseplants for a walk today?
Saturday, July 26, 2008
See here post on this here.
We weren't sure what we were in for as neither of us had ever heard of the show. Susan had found an article on google about the show (it's linked on her blog)and basically it was based on The Life of Brian the way Spamalot is based on The Quest for the Holy Grail.
Not The Messiah is quite the production! It features the NSO, however the music is anything but classical! The composer described the music as like listening to an iPod suffle where you can listen to a bit of a rock and roll piece followed by some jazz and then a bit of classical, etc. That was an apt description of the format! Very unique!
They had the orchestra, a chorus behind them and then the 5 soloists/actors in front - there were minimal props and special effects - although the singing sheep, bagpipers and leaf blower (not sure of that...other than just to be different) were priceless! The 5 solosits all had "parts" although they all played multiple roles, making it hard to follow in places.
The other interesting thing was the audience. Not sure what I was expecting but it seems like a stage performance of a Monty Python movie would draw a younger, less refined crowd, although Susan and I were sitting in the pavilion, the ex-nerds who could recite the entire movie were probably sitting out on the lawn having a grand ol' time!
The other funny thing about the evening....Susan had gotten her ticket before I did, she mentioned it at book club and I really wanted to come so I bought a ticket the week before - we had both clicked "best available" and we ended up 2 rows apart in the same seat #! We were in the 4th and 6th row - it was a little close for me, although it was a treat to be that close to Eric Idle. It looked like the show was almost completely sold out! There were 2 seats near me that were empty and there were some people who left at intermission.
Last night I dug out my old VHS of The Life of Brian and popped it in as I was doing some chores! Hysterical! I hadn't watched it in years - prob not since High School or maybe College - yet it was still just as funny! It made the performance the evening before even funnier! I think it helped seeing the movie after so that I could focus on the performance and appreciate the show for what it was not try to make it more like Life of Brian (if that makes any sense at all!)
It appeared that the show had limited performances in the states - just 3 I think. If it ever comes near you, go see it!!!!!
Books are scarce in the world. They are illegal in some provinces. They are not easily replaced if not impossible to replace if lost in many if not most circumstances. If you can replace a book or buy one it is usually through the black market at astronomical costs that you cannot afford. Yet you have been able to maintain one of the best collections in the world. If your entire library was about to burn up (think of the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 invading your home) and you could only have one* book to take with you other than the bible, what would that be and why?
Answer the question. Offer one quote that resonates with you. Tag five people whose response is of genuine interest to you and inform him or her that they have been tagged. Cheers!
*And it cannot be an entire series of something, that’s cheating.
I have entirely too many books, although there is truly no such thing! I have 5 floor to celing bookcases in my 3rd bedroom filled with books. They are mostly kids book that I have for my classroom and I couldn't possibly even begin to pick just 1 to save - they all serve different purposes!
I would pick one from my "to be read" piled for sure because I'm not a huge fan of re-reading books (children's books are the exception, "adult" books I like to read once and move on...too many books, too little time, to re-read) - that lends the question do I grab the library book since it's not mine and I should return it?
THe rules say that "my" library is going to burn up - a library book isn't actually mine so the 4 library books I have should be safe....therefore I'm going to take "The Time Traveler's Wife" for 2 simple reasons: 1)I haven't read it yet and 2) it's long so it will be keep me busy until I can buy more books!
Now to tag: Susan (of course!), Elizabeth, Liz, Judy, and anyone else who wants to respond! :)
I can take criticism, and realize some memories of me might not be the nicest. Sometimes the truth hurts. Hopefully one or two people have a fond memory of me.
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It’s actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I’ll assume you’re playing the game and I’ll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don’t want to play on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, I’ll leave my memory of you in my comments.
So there you go. What do you remember about me (whether in real life or on-line since many people reading this live exclusively in my computer)?
Friday, July 25, 2008
GMAC sent me the lien release letter and a title. The title was to someone else’s car. Some Cadillac in New York. I called GMAC and they basically said “oh. Oops. Take your lien release letter to your DMV and they will give you a new title.”
A trip to the DMV, ugh. I put the paperwork on the table in the kitchen to deal with later and promptly forgot all about it. The stuff would surface every now and then, but usually on a Sun or another day that I couldn’t deal with it. That’s how 2 and half years later I’m just now dealing with this.
I found the papers Wednesday evening as I was cleaning off the table in the kitchen. It was about 4:00 so I decided to high-tail it to the DMV right then and get it taken care of. I feeling so good because I was finally dealing with this and was making a list of other “old problems” and “old projects” that I could take care of in the coming weeks.
I get to the DMV and find that now you have to wait in line in order to earn the privilege of waiting in line! I guess it’s kinda like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter! So the Sorting Hat lady tells me that I must have a lien release letter that is addressed to The Woodbridge DMV, the letter I had was addressed to me. She gives me the form and instructs me to call them now and get them to fax the letter in the next 15 mins. She gives me a number and calls the next person.
I reach for my cell phone and realize that I have not battery left. I have to go out to the car in order to call so I can hook up to my charger. I call the number on the letter and enter my account number. My account cannot be accessed so they transferred me to a customer service representative. She asks for my account number, which again, she cannot find. I explain the situation she then accesses me by using my name and address. I explain that I need a the lien release faxed to the Woodbridge DMV, now, in the next 5 mins. She says that it will take 24-48 hours. Yikes.
At this point I decide that it would be better for them to fax the letter to me, that way I can have it and get it to the DMV myself. I didn’t want the letter to get lost at the DMV or something. I tell the gal the number and she repeats back to me that the letter needs to go to Melissa (my last name), I said “No, it must be addressed to the Woodbridge DMV, NOT me.” I repeated this 4 times and again before I hung up. She assured me that the letter would be addressed to the DMV.
I headed home satisfied that I’d made headway on the problem and that I would get it solved on Friday.
This afternoon about 2:00 the phone rang. It was the fax! I waited by the fax machine as the paper came out. The letter that I’d explicitly asked to be addressed to the Woodbridge, DMV, was addressed to me!!!!!! AGGHHHHH!!!!!
What’s an intelligent rule following gal supposed to do? Doctor the letter of course. I went to the computer and typed “Dear Woodbridge Department of Motor Vehicles:”, changed the font color to a dark grey so it will match the faded, old toner text color of the fax, made a copy of the fax, taped the new salutation over the old one and made another copy. The hardest part was erasing the line that kept showing up making it obvious that I’d doctored the letter. I didn’t have any white out, so I tried white acrylic paint, too thin. Finally I smoothed the tape enough that there wasn’t a line. I had my letter and I headed off confidently to the DMV.
I walked in and stood in line for the Sorting Hat lady. When it was my turn I showed the lady the documents and explained how the gal Wed night had instructed me to get a letter addressed to the Woodbridge DMV. She approved of my documents and gave me a number. I went to sit and wait my turn.
As I sat down I noticed a spot of white paint on my right thumb from where I’d tried to use acrylic paint as white out and started to panic a bit – they’d see it and know what I’d done! Despite the fact that no white paint was actually used in the doctoring of the letter. I would make a crappy criminal. I picked the paint off. I waited about 45 mins in the crowded lobby, reading my book club book and witnessed a very large African-American woman plead at the top of her lungs with her screaming toddle to “Sit yer ass down!” Colorful afternoon at the Woodbridge DMV.
When my number was called I marched myself up to the window. The gal at the window looked like a cartoon character. She was a shortish, roundish African-American lady with huge 1980’s saucer like plastic tortoise shell glasses (think Sally Jessie Raphael, only not in red), blond fake hair and purple lipstick on her nearly circular plump lips.
I showed her my paperwork. She then says “Is the lien release in the back?” Motioning to a back room. I said, very proud of my forethought here, “Nope, it’s right here! See, it’s even address to you, like the gal said.” Little Miss Big Glasses Purple Lips says, “The letter must be faxed to us.” I explained my thinking and she says “Why is the fax number stapled to the form?” I explained everything that had happened and she said “The lien release must be faxed here.”
It was at this point that I lost it. I almost all out yelled at the poor lady. I angrily explained that I’d been wasted 45 mins waiting, that the other lady should have told me about the rule of faxed letters only. I was so angry. She probably gets yelled at like this all day, she just repeated her line and I gathered up all my papers and stormed out of the DMV.
So I get home, call GMAC again and ask for the letter. This time the letter is going to be faxed to the DMV. It will be there in 24 – 48 hours. I suppose I need to wait until at least Wed to go over and try again. Third time better be a charm or I’m writing my own damn Title for the car.
Moral of the story: I will never, under any circumstance, no matter what the incentive, finance a car again. Cash only.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
"How come there are no hurricanes named Abdul or Mohammed? The people that name these hurricanes are discriminating against the Muslims!!!!!!!! Come on, fair is fair, let's get some Muslim names in there - after all - hurricanes cause destruction."
Good Question...Hurricane Dolly seems so namby-pamby....why don't we have a Hurricane Saddam??? That would be so un-pc!!!!
Friday, July 04, 2008
The first 4th I can remember was when I was about 5 or 6. We were living in North Tarrytown, NY and our neighborhood held a neighborhood parade and picnic. I remember decorating my bike (still with training wheels) with red, white and blue streamer and getting to ride it on Belwood Ave – the main road into our neighborhood that ordinarily we were not allowed to ride on because it was too busy! After the parade we had a picnic at a big field – there were games and prizes, even a band! It was at this event that I learned that I did not like grilled hot dogs. They tasted like they had been burned! To this day I’m still very picky about the cooking of my hot dogs.
The first memory I have of fireworks was at my grandparents house in Kentucky – I was probably 7 or 8. They had a house on the Barren River Lake near Scottsville, KY. Every summer we went down there and some years we went for the 4th. My grandfather had 2 aluminum Grumman canoes and we used them to paddle our way across the lake to the Lodge to watch the fireworks on the big lawn. I wasn’t a huge fan of the fireworks because they made loud noises that reminded me of thunder and I was not a fan of thunder back then. After the fireworks were over we had to paddle back across the lake to my grandparents dock. It was now dark and there were lots of pontoon boats around and I believe there was lighting and some distant thunder. I just remember sitting in the middle of the boat hiding under a towel.
When I was in college I worked at Camp Joy and inevitably the 4th occurred when we had kids at camp. We took the kids into Wilmington to see the fireworks. We were able to go to a building that was part of Wilmington College’s agricultural dept. We weren’t able to use the building but they had a big yard and a great view of the fireworks, plus we had the place to ourselves and didn’t have to worry about our kids getting lost or disrupting others. We of course got there early and had a few hours to kill before the show so we’d brought all kinds of games and sporting equipment as well as snacks and sodas for a special treat. All day we’d been dodging thunderstorms, and we debated not even taking the kids because of the threat of more storms. It was getting dark and we were gathering the kids for the fireworks. I had all of my 7 & 8 year little girls gathered on a blanket ready when I heard a very loud “freight train-ish” sound coming from behind me. I panicked and told all my girls to get down – which they all did. All of my kids (about 14 or so) were laying face down in the grass when I glanced behind me to see a giant 747 jet just clearing the trees behind me – it had just taken off from the DHL shipping hub just 5 miles from where we were! The camp director saw the whole thing and nearly wet his pants laughing at me.
After college I moved to Oklahoma. We had the best 4th of July’s in OK! One year we had a picnic at one of the church members house followed by homemade lemon ice cream in the parking lot of the Lloyd Noble Center waiting for the fireworks. On the way home I mentioned that I’d never played with sparkers. The other folks I was with found that hard to believe and decided that we needed to remedy this, so we went to a nearby fireworks stand to get some and they got a little overzealous and bought a lot. We headed back to set them off. At this point I must mention that the 4 people I was with were all members of the governering body of our church and served in major leadership roles – all four were also middle aged, with children. In addition OK was experiencing the hottest, driest summer on record, a record that might still stand today. Fires of any kids were strictly prohibited and would likely spread like ummm….wildfire. In addition fireworks were forbidden within the City of Norman (we’d driven just outside city limits to buy them). Add to this the fact that the people’s house we were going to was in a new subdivision – one where all the houses are very close together and one where neighbors would call the cops on other neighbors, esp when they launch illegal fireworks after midnight and run the risk of setting everything on fire. This is quite possibly the most illegal thing I have ever participated in. We did however launch all the fireworks and lite all the sparkers, and we didn’t catch anything on fire and no one called the cops!
My parents moved into their house in Williamsburg just before the 4th of July and we spent the whole day unpacking boxes, not even really aware that it was a holiday. About 8:30 we went out for ice cream at Brusters. While we were sitting outside eating our ice cream we saw the fireworks near Colonial Williamsburg (this is prob “their” holiday since the town was settled during the Revolutionary War) so we hopped in the car and drove over there. We found a parking spot on the street where we could see and finished our ice cream. When the show was over, my dad simply started the car and we drove home – no traffic because all the other folks were still making their way to their cars!
I did a similar “drive by” with the fireworks two years ago when I was in Jackson, WY on the 4th. I’d just finished up with a 7 day hiking trip in Yellowstone and Grand Teton NPs with Backroads and wasn’t flying out until the next day. After I’d gotten checked into my room I’d walked into Jackson and had pizza at Mountain High Pizza Pie – a local joint that was simply bustling with tourists and locals. The tables were long picnic tables that sat 10-12 – I found one that was empty but eventually I ended up sharing it. A nice family came over, a man and a wife and their two little girls. I had a lovely conversation with the man and walked away feeling like I’d made some new friends! After dinner I walked back to my hotel and got myself some homemade chocolate chip cookies (this hotel made them every night for the guests!) and headed upstairs to cross stitch. The nice thing about being in Wyoming is that they are on mountain time and all the late night sitcom re-runs are on during prime time! About 10:00 (gets dark a lot later out there) the fireworks got started. I was able to walk to the parking lot of my hotel, in pjs no less, watch the show and walk back to my room!
Wow I have drizzled on and on…..
What are other folks 4th of July memories?
Happy 4th Everyone! :)
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
As I was driving over there this evening I was recalling all the fun stuff I did at the library as child/pre-teen. I lived in a small suburb of NYC and I loved our library. The Warner Library was a cool place! First of all it's an old stone building that just smells like a library - a mix of dusty books, clod tile floors, high ceilings and old furniture. Many of the rooms were oddly shaped with intricate narrow halls and staircases winding through the stacks of books. The main door, that I think was merely decoration had these awesome intricate carvings. When we'd go my mom would browse the tall metal stacks of "grown up" books and I'd head down to the children's section. It was one of the only places I was allowed to venture on my own. I would head down the big stairs to the lower level and check out all the books. I knew exactly where all my favorite authors were and I would often go right to the Beverly Clearly books and pick one to read for the thousandth time. One of my favorite things was the giant baseball mitt "chair". It was huge! You could fit maybe 4 kids in it. I recently saw an identical one on an episode of King of Queens! I distinctly remember getting my 1st library card - you had to be able to write your own name and just as soon as I could do it, I got my very own library card!
The library wasn't just for books, we did all kinds of other things there too. Saturday afternoons they would show Disney movies on the big reel-to-reel projector way up on the 3rd floor where people usually didn't get to go, this was in the days before VCRs so seeing a movie for a 2nd time or not in the theater was a treat (funny because now seeing a movie in the theater is a treat!). I remember watching Bambi and Snow White here. It was especially cool because parents didn't have to stay, it was one place where we kids could just hang out. I also saw Slim Goodbody there - anyone remember him? When I was about 10 they started having craft classes. I learned how to cross stitch, my "craft of choice" to this day, at the Warner Library. Only fitting that I should find comraderie at my local library today.
Only, for now, I didn't find much in the way of comradrie! I got to the library early to check out some books and pick up some holds. I couldn't find the Needlework Group so I had to ask. The nice librarian opened the room and explained that likely I'd be the only one, seems the group is very "spotty" in the summer. So rather than get comfy with my stitching I pulled out a book I'd just checked out to read until someone came or until no one came.
I was about to give up and go home when a nice lady showed up. She was knitter and needed help with a project. She too had never come to the group. We had a very nice chat - she's a high school counselor and likes crafts so we instantly hit it off.
We chatted for awhile and then her cell phone rang. It was her sister so she answered it and proceeded to have a long conversation about her grandma's house and the roof caving in and so on and so on. I'm just sitting there. We hadn't pulled out our stitching and I'd tucked my book back into my bag. I was just sitting there. What is the protocol for that situation? I mean there was nothing holding me there - we were two strangers making small talk, yet getting up and leaving didn't seem right, esp since she was sitting between me and the door and I had this big bag of books to hoist up on my shoulder. I waited it out and then we chatted for a few mins more before we both got up and left.
We both agreed to come in Aug, so here's hoping there will be a bigger group then. If not, oh well, I tried! :)