Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Sense of Accomplishment (Finally!!)

Today was a lesson in perseverance at the local yokel DMV, but we emerged victorious! Jonathan has an official NY license and the Audi is sporting super cool orange/blue NY plates. I won't say that it was easy, nor was it a pleasant experience. The license went smoothly, but when we attempted to register the car we realized that both of our names are on the title and it appeared that my wallet had been left behind at the farm so I didn't have any ID on me. Good news is that the farm is five minutes from the DMV and the nice lady at the DMV said, "No problem, just get your 6 points of ID Michele and come on back." Easy peasy. We blazed back to the DMV, stood in line (again) and proceeded to get angry, shrew lady at the DMV. She went over my documents like I was some kind of convict. Then she looked me in the eye and said, "Your insurance card doesn't have either of your middle initials on it. You need to change this before you can get the car registered." I wanted to slap her. I got huffy, haughty and hot under the collar. Jonathan grabbed my arm nervously, then steered me out of the DMV very carefully. Yosemite Sam was here again. After some deep breaths, I called the insurance company, went through a series of prompts and left a voice mail for my insurance lady to please fax another card with the two freaking middle initials next to our names. We decided to have iced coffees at the local cafe while we waited and I splurged on a giant chocolate brownie, too. Chocolate has a way of lowering my blood pressure (at least that's what I tell myself) and it was so good. One more call to my insurance lady, between bites of chocolate lusciousness and she magically picked up and assured me that she'd faxed the document to the DMV. Back we went for attempt number three of the day. This time we got another DMV lady, aka the Dimwit. She had to go over my ID's again, point by point, look at Jonathan's ID's, etc. While this was going on, Jonathan started giggling uncontrollably at the absurdity of our situation, which made me giggle, too. Not to mention that the radio in the DMV was playing Mr. Roboto. WTF? We were like two giddy idiots lost in fits of laughter at the very serious DMV of Millbrook. No one else in the lobby was amused and Dimwit looked at us curiously, but bless her empty head, she continued on with her job. She then handed us the beautiful orange and blue plates and we were free! Goodbye Whitey! Hello Black Audi, how I missed your smooth transmission and exceptional power, not to mention a/c, leather seats, lack of gross odor, power windows and locks!! Ahh, it was a blessed moment for the Edel couple. Free at last, free at last, thank you so much Whitey, but you suck ass!! I still need to transfer my license from CT to NY, but I think I'm going to take a few days off from the DMV. A little distance from that place will be a good thing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

One down, two to go

Wednesday of last week was our first opportunity to address the "issues" that were preventing us from becoming legal drivers in NY state. I started off by getting our car insurance company to email me a new insurance card. That was easy. Then I called Audi Financial Services and asked them to send me the documents DMV required for registering the car. Also, easy though I haven't received them yet (which means we're still stuck driving Whitey).
My next step was to call the Copake Town Offices and make sure that we weren't going to drive all the way there for no reason. I got a nice woman on the phone and I explained a bit of the situation. "Last name is Edel" I said to her. "Oh yes, Jonathan" she replied. When I asked her what the suspension was actually for she paused. "It appears that it's for a seat belt violation from 1991" she said in a serious tone. 1991!!! I assured her that we'd be down later to clear up Jonathan's criminal driving record post haste.
Off we went, blazing down the road on a steamy hot summer day, in Whitey. Me behind the wheel, of course and Jonathan chatting happily as he changed radio stations every mile, or so. This time we took the back roads to Copake which made the drive far more pleasant. Once there it was an easy $50 fine and voila, Jonathan was granted legal driving privileges in NY again. After 19 years of being a wanted man I asked him if he felt exonerated from his criminal past. He thought it was funny till I dangled the lone silver key for Whitey in front of his nose. "Looks like your driving home, Babe" I said with a smile.
To be continued...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Love NY?

Since Jonathan and I moved to NY state back in May, we've been talking about switching our drivers licenses and registering our car in NY. Lots and lots of talking about it, but very little actual movement toward getting it done. Last week while driving to a very large horse show in Saugerties, NY I was pulled over by a cop, because I was talking on the cell. I'd been talking on the cell the entire way to the horse show, but of course I got pinched just as I pulled into the parking lot of the horse show. I was mortified. Jonathan was pissed. Then came the bad news. Not only was I getting a ticket for talking on the phone while driving, but our CT registration had expired. The cop informed us that he wouldn't impound our car (gee, thanks), but we needed to drive the Audi straight home and get it registered with NY tags a.s.a.p. Once we were released from the cop's stern gaze, I endured several minutes of "I told you not to talk on the phone" speeches from Jonathan. Then I expertly tried to switch the blame to him for the registration being partially his responsibility (we all know I was reaching here. He's incapable of doing such a task). We ended the conversation with an impasse of "Whatever" to each other and moved on. The good news is that we have a second car to drive thanks to my brother-in-law, Geordie, who didn't want to keep his car in NYC so it lives with us. The bad news is that the car is a white, beat up Chevy Malibu that has a curious odor and by curious I mean unpleasant. It also has no air conditioner and it tends to overheat so sometimes you must drive it with the heat on low (a real treat when its 90 degrees outside). We call the car Whitey and though we're grateful to have it, we both hate it. Besides being hot and smelly, it's just plain uncool.
I picked Monday as the day the we'd go to the DMV and get our driving selves legal in NY. We assembled as many documents as we could think of to prove we were who we said, fired up Whitey and we were off to be responsible adults, doing a responsible errand, albeit a few weeks late to be truly deemed responsible.
Nothing went according to plan at the DMV. Not one thing. Jonathan's name came up as suspended in NY state for a year and half old, unpaid speeding ticket that we'd sent in, but never got an amount to pay. I'll get back to that in a minute. I didn't have a social security card so I was turned down for a NY license. I've made it 41 years without a s.s. card, but now I have to drive to Poughkeepsie and get one. Strike two. When we showed the DMV lady our documents to register the Audi, she informed us that we had to have a letter from the lien holder which okayed our choice to register the car in NY, oh and an insurance card that was less than 45 days old. Strike three. I now had more phone calls to make and I had to drive to Poo-town in all of my free time to get a s.s. card. Remember Yosemite Sam? The angry mustachioed little gunslinger from Looney Tunes who spewed expletives in a non sensical stream of gibberish? I turned into him for a minute while we were leaving the DMV and walking across the 100 degree parking lot toward Whitey.
"I can't f'ing believe this!!" I finally shouted, nearly vibrating with frustration.
"Guess what?" Jonathan said to me with a grin. "Legally I can't drive in NY, so you are now my official driver!"
I sank into the stained driver's seat of Whitey and rested my head on the steering wheel. A trickle of sweat weaved its way down my back, I took a deep breath and resigned myself to just focus on one thing at a time. We decided our first mission would be to head to the courthouse in Copake which wasn't where Jonathan got his ticket, but that was where the DMV said we had to go to pay it. To get to Copake it was about a 45 minute drive past dilapidated dairy farms, crumbling silos and muddy pens of depressed black and white cows. Whitey blended in quite nicely in this atmosphere and Jonathan amused himself by playing sports radio channels the entire drive. I ground my teeth, sweated and concentrated on the road. After a stressful, brief moment of getting lost finally we found the Copake town offices. I slid Whitey into a parking slot, we gathered up the necessary paperwork and walked our bedraggled, wilting bodies up to the front door. Jonathan gave the door a yank, only to discover that it was locked. My eyes immediately flickered to the hours posted on the door. Closed at 3 p.m. It was 3:10. We'd driven 45 minutes one way, in Whitey, on a 100 degree day, past farm after farm that reeked of rotting sileage and cow shit to miss the damn closing time by ten minutes. At this point, I couldn't even speak. Jonathan kept giggling, but he knew to avoid solid eye contact with me. In silent fury, I crawled back into the sweat soaked driver's seat and revved the engine. This whole day had been spent spinning in circles. The absurdity of it all began to take effect on me and instead of turning back into Yosemite Sam, I began to laugh. Jonathan soon joined me and we laughed like hysterical maniacs on our way back home to Millbrook. It was a situation that only the two of us could conjure up. We seem to be specialists at turning simple errands into complex, Rubik's cube-esque feats.

Today is a new day. I have a list of chores and errands to accomplish and with any luck by the end of the day, we'll be one step closer to being legal residents of the state of New York.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dental work is no laughing matter

Last week I made the decision that my ever crumbling teeth needed some professional attention. I've had loads of dental work in my lifetime. Way more than any mortal should be subjected to and now some of the older fillings are beginning to break down leaving me with no choice but to head back to the dentist and sign my bank account over to him.

I decided to try a new dentist for this round of drilling, filling, crowning and canaling. His first name is Zhi, which I have no idea how to pronounce, but of course I call him Dr. Chaeng. He is very clean, very professional and I have a feeling he's the best dentist I've ever gone to, yet. I had that epiphany while he was bent over my face on Thurs., patiently excavating a giant amount of decay in my lower back molar. Nothing hurt, not even the double round of novacaine shots that he administered. I was braced for pain, even holding my breath, but it never came. I mean, it wasn't pleasant, but when is cracking your mouth open as wide as possible and having a stranger lean about 6 inches from your face as he grinds down your teeth with teensy power tool, continually repeating, "Just raise your hand if anything hurts" ever a pleasant experience? I had told him I would probably scream in lieu of raising my hand. My joke cracking nature didn't really go over well in this dentist's presence. Apparently,Dr. Chaeng doesn't appreciate humor. He didn't smile when I said that, instead he impassively replied, "No screaming". Like I would really scream?? Okay, check the sarcasm at the door next time, I told myself. And there will be a next time. Big root canal date with Chaengie on Thurs. I will do my best to be a model patient from now on, no quips, no flippant comments. I will just lay there, supine, dutifully staring at the white ceiling while Dr. No-Jokie reconstructs my chewing apparatus and takes all of my savings in the process. I guess if writing the check and not cracking jokes is the most painful part of my dental experience I shouldn't really complain. But I probably will.