Saturday, June 25, 2011

Have you noticed the price of gas?

We're having one of those stay-home vacations.  I refuse to use that dorky made-up word to refer to it.  You can't make me.  Just stop trying.

Anyway. We're doing it. Dog surgery plus my dental work plus car accident equals no expendable money for going to the mountains as we'd planned. Poop.

But so far, I'm digging this staying home business.  No lugging of dozens of toys for Hannah to occupy herself. No mid-afternoon "no you can't watch any more television today" whining festivals. No dog boarding, thank goodness. And so far: no cooking. Although I love cooking, I don't love the clean up as much, and I'm happy to eat out any chance I get.

Today we went to the library, the serendipitous craft festival downtown, and then came home for a nap (me and Dave) and solitary play time (Hannah). Hannah really needs some private time everyday to keep from being a complete whiny beast.  Today I'm pretty sure she was playing Dominic, as in the children's novel by William Steig.  She was tramping around the back yard in her sun hat and backpack, examining things through the otoscope she took out of her doctor's kit, and collecting things to put in her back pack. Every now and then I'd see her refer to a small, cloth-bound novel she pulled out of her back pack. Now that I think of it, she could have been playing Magic Tree House.  I try not to ask questions; it makes her self-conscious, and she stops.

This is just the first day.  Tonight we're planning to go to a baseball game, and we have one day trip planned for each day next week. I fully intend to honor Happy Hour as often as possible. We'll go to the beach, if I can work it in.  And, although I'll take a break to see clients on Monday, I'm looking forward to the rest of my home-bound vacation much more than I expected.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One of those days

So I had one.  I started the day by interviewing a guy so stoned on pain meds he couldn't remember what he was rifling through his files to find after he sat down in my office.  The real kicker: I hadn't asked him for anything.  He just kept turning pages back and forth while he vamped for time. Later I talked with a guy who kept referring to himself using the royal pronoun.  It's really not a good sign when an unaccompanied man keeps talking about things he needs in terms of "we." For my final time slot, I found myself in a co-worker's office invoking the Almighty to send me a no-show.  And I was NOT making jokes.

I finally left work, and had time for a pedicure, since my daughter's summer camp outing wasn't expected to return until 4:15.  Sadly, this did not really improve my mood.  We came home and I found myself so painfully short of patience that I just let Hannah watch Pinky Dinky Doo until her Dad came home. Finally, my dear, dear husband fed me dinner, for which I was not particularly hungry, and suddenly I was a human again.  It then occurred to me I had eaten a fast-food breakfast sandwich and a falafel patty today. Oh, and 2 miniature Snickers Bars.  Turns out all this time I was just food-deprived.

Or maybe it was the wine. And that commercial with Aretha Franklin is a lie.  Don't believe the hype.  If you find yourself acting like a diva, what you need is spaghetti and meat balls.  And did I mention the wine?

Friday, June 10, 2011

An Open Letter to the Gift-Buying World

Dear Everyone,

Please, please stop buying Hannah things from which she can remove the clothes.  I know it's potentially stifling to her creativity, but I just can't take it anymore. In the past 48 hours I've picked up a pair of pants pants and two winged tunics from Pixie Hollow dolls, the weird rubberized dress from a tiny Snow White figurine, the skirt from a Build-a-Bear that WILL NOT stop falling off, and innumerable tiny shoes.  Those stinkin' Barbie stilettos are killing me.  If I step on one more it's sure to draw blood.

Pretty please?  I'll be your best friend...


Monday, June 6, 2011

But can I be prosecuted?

I was just reading a friend's blog post about the hassle he went through getting his lapsed Japanese Driver's License renewed.  Expensive, painful, embarrassing and infuriating sums up the 3- or 4-post saga.  Funny and pathetic sums up the posts.  So it worked out for me, anyway.

It got me thinking about the need to renew my own Florida Driver's License next year.  I've been thinking about it for over a year now.  I expect parts of it to be a similar to my friend's overseas experience, only it will be conducted entirely in my first language.  I'll endeavor not to lapse into my second language, which is a rather florid Sailor, bordering on Pirate, but I can't make any promises.

Florida has recently transitioned its Driver Licenses to REAL ID compliance.  This means you have to have multiple documents verifying your home address and citizenship, and a fist full of cash.

Proof of citizenship.  I have a birth certificate, which is good.  Because my passport expired in 1997.  I have a professional license, automobile registration, mortgage documents, voter registration card and W-2 forms.  All terrific.  Except for one tiny thing: my name is different on each one of these stupid documents.

When I got married I was 22.  I kept my maiden name.  Becuase it was a cool name, true, and because I was an intelligent, educated woman and I and was not going to define myself by....
I'm already bored with the explanation.  But you get the picture. Mostly it was because I was 22.

When I got pregnant 10 years later, I started wondering what to do about names.  I finally decided I would change over to my married name so that we would all have the same last name.  I was, at that point, 32, and no longer worried about whether I was being repressed or subjugated by a male-dominated society.  Mostly I was pregnant and I wanted a snack.  Only people who got between me and food were considered repressive at that point.

So I went down to the DMV with my marriage certificate, which was always on hand. By this time I'd been working as a mental health and substance abuse counselor for several years, and had built up a little bit of a reputation. My licenses were under my maiden name, and I didn't want to give up that name-recognition.  It's a cool name, did I mention?  So I put both my last names on my Driver License.  No change of number, since the first digit is your last initial.  Just a new picture of me 8 months pregnant.  That was lovely.

After the baby was born I got around to hauling my less-massive body down to the Social Security Office. This is where it all goes to hell.  They told me that both names didn't fit in the last-name field on their computer system.  Really?  There's no one in the United States with a 14-letter last name?  That can't be true.  But they wouldn't let me do it, so I had them use my maiden name as my middle name, and off I went.  Later I realized that now my Driver License and my Social Security Card don't match.  And my professional licenses were only under my maiden name.  Holy crap.  Does this make me a criminal of some sort?  I think I have aliases.

The professional licenses were easily enough sorted with a letter of request to change my name.  That was a bit of a surprise, given the body-cavity-quality background checking they did to grant them in the first place.  But people with non-complicated name changes have told stories of 3-trip run-arounds with the DMV, so I'm really dreading this.  I should probably take a week off work to set it all up.  There may be spot-lit interrogations involved.