Monday, February 28, 2011

Is Driving Really Worth All of This?

There were a few reasons why I was looking forward to this last birthday. One of them, believe it or not, was because it was time to renew my drivers license. I had renewed it online last time. This time I had to go in. No big deal. I hated the picture anyway. I had no idea what was in store for me when I got to the DPS office on Tuesday morning.

There's one five minutes from my house. When I drove up and got in line this was what was in store for me:

Happy birthday to ME! A line out the door at least 30 deep, OUTSIDE. There was a DPS employee at the door taking charge of how many people were coming in each time she opened the door. Once you got inside there were MORE people ahead of you. After I had been waiting an hour in line in the cold an employee came outside to explain why we were waiting so long. One of the reasons being that "half of the employees go to lunch at noon then the other half go to lunch at one". I started to laugh. If I didn't laugh about it I would just get mad. The DPS employee saw me laugh and she said something of the fact that they have to have lunch. 

I would never deny anyone their lunch break. Obviously no one in line in front of me was denied their lunch break to renew their license. But what the government run DPS office needs to learn is that you don't let HALF of your staff go to lunch at one time. If this were a real business it would have gone out of business a long time ago. 

Another reason they only let a certain number of people inside was because their space was limited. They had to avoid overcrowding because of the fire marshal. The waiting area was pretty small. If anyone dare got out of their seat to stretch their legs they were reprimanded. I know the fire marshal has certain rules about how many people can occupy a space, but I didn't know that the people had to be sitting. Since this was a government run office it would be too much to ask that they take advantage of the empty grocery store building across the street so people wouldn't have to be waiting forever in the elements. 

The office did offer extended hours. On Mondays. Do you know how many holidays are on Mondays? We had just had one the day before I went. 

They did explain that the backup could be because one of the offices in Dallas had to close because of some burst pipes over the winter we had just had. The office had flooded and they had to fix everything. 

It didn't help that the woman also explained that this particular office was the number two busiest office in Texas. I could have gone to Love Field, gotten on a flight and flown down the Austin to get my license renewed before being helped at this office. 

After waiting one hour outside in the freezing cold, I was allowed inside. Hallelujah! I thought it was downhill from there. But alas, after waiting another two hours I had to leave. It was about time to get the girls from school and I hadn't had lunch yet. And I was starving. Of course the employees can go to lunch but people who are coming in to spend half of their day waiting aren't allowed to bring in food or drink. I get to look forward to waiting another day.

I made my second attempt on Thursday. I even went to a different office. We had a little bit of rain that day and I was hoping that there wouldn't be many people out for that reason. I was wrong. My wait out side wasn't as long as the previous attempt, but it was still a beat down. Umbrella overhead. In the rain*. 

Once I finally got inside, I got my number. I only had to wait two hours this time. I was in and out in two and a half hours. Thirty minutes shaved off of the first attempt. I was thankful that I had my smart phone to listen to the radio. I was thankful for other people who were in the same boat as me. People who were on the second or third attempt to get their business taken care of. I was thankful that I don't have to do this again for another several years. Gotta love those government run offices. 

*Don't ya know because of the weather,  I might go back at another time to get another picture done because of what the weather did to my hair. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Turkey Lurkey

It's been two months since my last pedicure. I'm not complaining. I'm just giving you a timeline so you can understand that I was a little excited. My toenails were feeling a little naked and neglected. I had my iPhone ready to go with my favorite talk radio guy on WBAP. My talk radio app is ready to go because the place I go to, the people speak very little English*. I'm prepared to sit there in peace because what's the point of trying to carry on a very fragmented conversation?

I pile myself into the chair and get my earbuds ready. Then comes the question from the pedicurist, "How did you sleep last night?". I was a little taken aback. This is usually a question that my husband asks me. And only my husband. HUH? I'm not even sure that any of my closest girlfriends have ever asked me that.

He** goes on to say that he didn't sleep well. Do I apologize? Do I express some concern? He goes on to tell me that he hasn't slept well for days. At this point I pray that he's not going to fall asleep with those cuticle nippers in his hand and cause major blood flow. He asks me if I've ever had that problem. "Oh sure", I tell him. But, for none of the same reasons he has that problem.

How do you say to an Asian guy who understands very little English that the reasons I had trouble sleeping were (1) when I was 8 months pregnant. I couldn't roll over let alone get out of bed by myself and (2) Peri-Menopause. Giving birth helped my pregnancy sleep problems. Only for a couple of hours at a time though. Hormones fixed my lack of sleep during the on set of Peri-Menopause. He will have to endure neither of those.

Since I couldn't suggest either of those as solutions for him, all I could think to do was suggest that he eat turkey before bed. It has L-Triptophan in it that's a natural sleep aid. It's relaxing. I'm not sure why the word "turkey" was so hard to understand. He asked me if it was a medicine. I told him no, that all you had to do was go to the lunch meat section of the grocery store. He still didn't get it. Then I said, "Oscar Mayer". I'm still not sure he got it. Then thoughts of Googling Adam Sandler's Thanksgiving song popped in my head, but the thought quickly passed.

Then, my pedicure was over. I was a little relieved.

*I tried a SPA in the west part of the city that I live. Even they didn't speak English. Who speaks English anymore when it comes to manicurists/pedicurists?
**Yes, he. The person doing my pedicure was a man.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Dreaded Death of the Cell Phone Battery

Haven't we all seen in the most cheese ball of horror movies where the nitwit girl (insert either sex here) is running from the crazed villain and she remembers she has a cell phone. They pull out the phone and then of course in the most predictable way, the cell phone loses any charge whatsoever as soon as the phone makes its way out of whatever hole it came out of.

I had one of those moments. On Presidents Day I took my kids to Chuck E Cheese after I made a trip to the gym. It was a fairly early hour of the day and nobody would be there. You see, the city I live in didn't take advantage of this day to use as a makeup day. Which they should have. That's another blog.

Time passes while at Chuck's, the girls are playing nicely and having some fun. I'm reading on my smart phone. After a couple of hours the tickets are piling up and the tokens are running out. That's not the only thing running out.

Cue music from Jaws here. Duh dumb.......duh dumb.....

The battery level of my phone is in the red. There's a kid in a giant rat costume coming toward me. I panic. I want to pretend that I'm reading on my phone. But I can't.

Cue music from Psycho here. Violins screeching their highest notes that would make your spine hurt.

That kid in a rat costume made it's target. I'm a goner. I have no phone to escape to. But, I gather the girls and make it out alive. But, I go straight home and plug in my phone.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentines Day and TV

Valentines day around my house is sort of an afterthought. It falls between my Hubby's birthday and my own, plus our youngest daughter's birthday is in the mix as well. I'm not complaining. Hubby shows me he loves me everyday.

My guilty pleasure is tv. Add on top of that, Valentines day themed tv shows. I love them. I hate them also. Love was everywhere we turned this last week on television. We saw everything from romantic, candlelit, overpriced dinners to hysterical role playing in hotel rooms.

Don't forget the gifts. There were balloon bouquets, Harley Davidson motorcycles and pricey diamond necklaces and earrings. These gifts were exchanged by what seems like such 'normal' people. People that would possibly be in the same social and financial stratus that Hubby and I would be in. Apparently they're in the next one up.

At the end of one episode that we watched, this one couple had dinner at a bar/restaurant that was closed to everyone else but the two of them. There were mylar decorations and crystal looking drops hanging from thne ceiling. Of course some indy recording artist comes out from behind the curtain to serenade the couple. Yep! This is Valentines day according to Hollywood.

If only! Then I said something to Hubby and realized that I probably just made him feel so small. I had compared what was happening on tv, the epitome of escape to my real life, one of a kind, true love.

It was fun to run away for a little while and laugh and say out loud, "Awww" at the lovey dovey, squishy moments scripted on tv. But, any day of the week I'll take my real life Hubby and his sincere love notes above just about anything over priced that doesn't mean a thing.

Valentines day is what we make it. I don't have to have some artist serenading me to make it a great and worthy Valentines. Although, if he were to try diamonds some year, I probably wouldn't pass them up! It doesn't have to be February 14th each year. It can be any day I want it to be in my heart.

I'll leave the gifted Harley Davidson motorcycles and screwed up hotel rooms with silly role playing to the actors. It does make for some laugh out loud moments!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Little Valentines

Happy Valentines Day! 

I have to say I am one lucky lady to spend it with my wonderful husband and our two very sweet kids! They mean everything to me. When one of my kids is hurt that hurts me. I struggled with something recently. It came down to pure thoughtlessness. 

My oldest went over to play at a friends house. When it came time for me or Hubby to go pick her up she called and asked if she could spend the night. Absolutely! She was having a good time and we were thrilled! Then the dad of the family where my oldest was staying the night went to go get milkshakes. For the family. With four kids of their own but one was at a friends house. They didn't get one for my oldest. Who was their guest. 

They enjoyed milkshakes in front of my daughter and didn't offer to get her one or even share. Of course we didn't find out until our oldest came home the next morning. I was floored. I was upset. I was pissed. My oldest was a guest in their home. They treated her like dirt. My oldest wouldn't hurt anyone. We've never done that to friends of our kids. 

Let me just say that at first my oldest was going to stay until a certain time. Maybe the thoughtless father had believed that my oldest would be gone by the time he got back, but when the decision was made that she was staying the night, there is such a thing as cellphones. 

Do I just stew in my pissed off-ness? Do I get my oldest a milkshake the next time she's invited over and let her eat it in front of them the next time around? Just move on as if nothing happened? 

We tried to explain that some people are just thoughtless and that we have to move on. It's so much easier to tell that to someone than to follow through with it. We tried to make other moments in the weekend a little more special to her. I think we tried to have those special times with her for us as well. To help her know that we love her and that what happened shouldn't.