Location: Oregon, United States

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Red Tape Days, Part II

Okay, the good news from yesterday's entry was that I DID make it home on time for the kids. Miracles do happen.

Now, for the continuation of the saga:

As I mentioned, I could not get my license plates for the car because I needed to have an emissions test done. I had half expected this, so wasn't too frustrated. Besides, who knows how long it would have taken if I WAS ready? I wonder how many steps are involved in getting new plates? I might still be there.

So I figure it's new day, and I will attack it with gusto. I go to the testing station, have a nice chat about the 10,000 lakes with the attendent that tells you which bay to drive up to, then sit in the car to wait my turn. I am confident that this is going to go smoothly because the car is in good shape and I take care of it.

It is my turn, and the guy tells me to get out of the car and wait in the waiting room. After less than 5 minutes, he comes in and tells me the car failed the test because the engine light is on and that means it's a code 90145 or something and that means there's a problem with the emissions. That light has been on for 5 years. I told him I think it is on because of some fluke because I've had it checked and no one ever comes up with anything. He acts like I'm a dolt for ignoring THE LIGHT because OBVIOUSLY it's a code 90145 and you would be remiss to just let that go. Okay, fine. Now I get to find a repair shop to fix whatever it is that may or may not be there. Wonder how much that will cost?

I go to a bookstore to purchase a gift for Paul's nephew. The clerk points me to the section I need and makes a suggestion. It is Precious Moments. If you know me at all you will realize that this was a huge mistake. I smile and laugh and say, "I'm really sorry, but I hate Precious Moments" and the guy gets all hurt on me and says, "Well, I didn't know that when I showed it to you." Now I feel really bad for hurting the guy's feelings when he was just trying to help. Crimony. I ask a few more questions and he is able to direct me to what I am looking for, which I hope makes him feel better.

Next item on the agenda: Well, since I won't be going to the DMV, I might as well go get my debit card at the bank. Paul's company had some representatives from their local branch come to his office and assist the transferred employees in setting up new accounts. All I need to do is go in to any Bank of America, show proof of identity and give them the account number, and get the card. At least that's what I've been told. By Paul. Is anyone else seeing a theme here? I can't find the papers because of his filing system, it is his nephew, it is his bank... hey, come to think of it, the whole reason I'm HERE is because of HIM! So you can guess that the process wasn't as smooth as I'd been told. And it took the staff about a half an hour to figure that out. I need to come again in person with him and then I can get the card. Maybe I don't want the card anyway. Nyah!

I get home and Paul calls to tell me his car was overheating all the way to work and he thinks the fan is broken. That car never should have come here in the first place. He thinks he can make it home and I call a neighbor that indicated they have a shop up the road. Maybe that guy can fix my car's emissions, too.

I decide that maybe today isn't the best day to try to get a license for the dog. It just doesn't feel like a good idea. I call to find out what I will need to have with me in order to get the license so I can start the grueling process of collecting all the data.

I've had it, so I decide to blog it. The site is down. Okay, really, this is ridiculous.

I go to fix dinner. Paul calls again to figure out how he is going to get to work in the morning. I tell him he can have my car because I'm able to go without it. He puts me on hold so he can talk to his coworkers about it. What is there to talk about? I just said you can have my car! I hang up on him because I'm stuck to the phone on the wall (I have only been able to find one of our cordless phones and the battery is low) and I'm trying to make dinner. He calls back to say goodbye. I put everything down that I'm doing so I can pick up the phone and say goodbye back. What a nice guy.

Okay, this is not really red tape, but it is a continuation of the rant. Hopefully after this entry, the ranting will be OVER!

This morning, I get a call from William's case manager re: his work in 5th and 6th hour. William has been saying that "his contract is up" on June 8th, when school ends in Minnesota. He is only half-kidding and it appears that he is shutting down prematurely at school. The phone call comes right before William is to leave for the bus. He loses his place in the process and misses the bus. Generally not a big deal until I realize I have the un-car as a vehicle. I figure it is not too far and we can make it.

I start the car and it revs to the point of no return. I figure at this rate, the car will overheat in two blocks and that won't be so bad. Paul has not mentioned the revving lately. I turn off the car, go in the house to get my cell phone because I feel like I may be needing it, come back outside and look under the hood at the fan. Seems to be moving okay, but I don't see the belt. Of course, cars aren't really my thing, so what do I know? I try to start it again. It calms down a bit and we leave. The car revs the entire way as though it would like to be doing 85 or maybe 105 in a 40 mph zone. I ride the brake and try not to use the clutch too much because that makes it worse. And I try not to let it jump into gear and hit the person in front of me. I'm sure everyone is looking at us and thinking I don't know how to drive a stick. Humbling. I feel like I'm on the Rez and everyone else is in the 'burbs. At least we aren't stuck in reverse.

I also wonder if this is what Paul does every day on the way to work. He would, you know. And then he would think it was cool because he drove that car until it officially died right there underneath him. Or cool because no one else would ever drive this heap to work, especially not to a job at the corporate office of a bank. Or funny somehow, I can't even imagine.

I make it to the school and back, leave Paul an email telling him to kill the beast and ranting at him for continuing to drive it this long. I had no idea how bad it was. He calls back laughing. See? I told you he would think it was funny! I still don't get it.


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