Wednesday, April 30, 2014

He's On The Road

Today is Nick's first day of student driving.  Wednesday's are a late start day for school so they have become the perfect day for his driving lessons.  

Our state requires students to have 2 hours with a professional instructor before they can be taught by their own parents, and the instructor must give them a total of six hours of instruction, so he will have two additional early Wednesday mornings with her. 

The nice thing is that she picks him up right at the house and drops him off as well and he will still have about 15 minutes to finish getting ready for school by preparing his lunch - yeah, that's now his responsibility :).

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Blooms From the Wet Land

I'll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves.  I sure enjoyed seeing all of these blooms, and even more of which I didn't take photos of.  All are from my parents yards.

Crocus 02/09/2014

Strawberry blossoms, and uh, weeds too.
These are commonly known as Wild Flags (a wild iris).  I understand my mom dug up some bulbs from the ranch where I grew up.  I remember finding them as a child and being amazed by them. They only reach about 6"- 8" high and they didn't open up well with the cold overcast days before wilting completely.




These blooms photos are not in chronological order, the tulips came in way after all the rest, and the crocus were back in the early part of February.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

DMV Adventures

As I mentioned in my last post, Nick and I had some adventures at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) in order for him to try for his drivers learning permit.

While I was away up north, he took an online course which gave him the wisdom, and a certificate-of-sorts to go to DMV to take the test to get his permit.  Might I add at this point that this is handled so much differently than when I was his age.  Way back in the near-dinosaur era, I got a rule book from the DMV, studied it, took a test and got my permit, then took driver's training in school, then wasn't allowed to get my driver's license until after I turned 18 (and that was because my parents wouldn't let me!).  

Marty bowed out of this activity of acquiring the permit by saying he didn't have time.  Attempt #1 came the day after I returned from up north and I picked Nick up at school at 2:30 - they were on a testing schedule so was a half hour earlier than normal - and proceeded to the DMV which is only about 5 minutes from the school.  It's a very old DMV.  It has not kept up with the population growth in our valley in some ways, one of which is parking space - it is very limited.  I gave up after circling the parking lot for 10 minutes and told Nick we'd try the next day.  

The next day came.  DMV opens at 8:00.  I told this to Nick.  He was still sleeping at 8:45.  We did not get there until after 9:00.  It is also only about a 10-minute drive from home.  We discovered we did not have his birth certificate with us on attempt #2.  Why did I not know this was needed?  Maybe because I was still trying to decompress from my time away?  We went home, got the birth certificate, went back to DMV for attempt #3.  We did not have to wait too long to get a parking space...and it was in the shade.  We went in, stood in long line, get to counter and find out their computers are down!!! Why not have someone at the door stating such before we go in and wait?  We went home.  I later took Nick to school and did not intend to make attempt #4 that day, but by the time he was out of school at 3:00 I'd decided to go ahead and see if the computers were again working.  They were.  But the line was OUT THE DOOR!  We STOOD in that line, only to receive a number and be told to sit and wait.  

And WAIT we did!  Until nearly 4:30, which is the cut off time for taking tests, but we were called to window 8 and finished some paperwork details and paid by credit card oh wait, what? you don't TAKE CREDIT CARDS?  Are you kidding me? No way, you take cash, debit card or CHECKS?  Why would you take checks and not credit cards.  Where was my check book you ask?  Why, it was home on the desk because I had been updating our financial program.  You need $33 you say?  Hmmm, how many ones do I have...oh, wait,  light bulb in the brain...I had a $50 bill stashed (yeah, that was my QUILTING mad money!).  Whew, well at least we didn't have to start thinking about attempt #5!  So Nick gets sent off in one direction to take his test and you guessed it, I got to go sit and wait some more.

After what seemed an incredibly long time, but was really only about 30 minutes - and now it's time for closing - I got up and walked in the direction Nick had gone to see him standing in another line to get his test graded.  I went and stood with him.  The clerk starts checking his test, red mark there, another here, and another, and oh please, after all this DO NOT FAIL this test.  Oh praise God! He only missed 7 and could miss as many as 8 and still pass.  The clerk works through the rest of the paperwork and puts a 1/2-sheet of paper in front of Nick to review for errors and what do you mean he's female?  He is NOT!  And I ought to know, I was right there when he was born!  And of course the first clerk at window 8 is gone, they can't find the original form that was filled out but could start to re-do all the paperwork to fix his gender, but it took three clerks working on it to do it and another 1/2 hour of our time.  I was never so glad to get away from that DMV, and yes, we were the last customers out, but thankfully do not need to repeat the process.  I am so very happy Nick passed the test on his first go round.

Now, the next step is to have him do "professional" driver's training, 6 hours total, but after the first 2 hours, his permit will be 'official' and the instructor signs it and it is valid then for him to drive with us in the car.  His first behind the wheel lesson will be at 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Stay off the streets on Wednesday, Nick's coming through, hehe.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Home Again

I arrived home again on Tuesday evening after a 14 hour 5 minute drive from the wet land, which was indeed wet as I left.  In fact, I even hit some snow flurries along my drive as I hit the summit of the Siskiyou range.  It was an uneventful drive otherwise, thankfully, and reaching home was a relief from the tedium of a long boring drive south beyond the central part of the state.

Since Tuesday, I've been unpacking, doing laundry, re-acclimating myself to my own home, updating our own financial records, and cleaning house.  Yes indeed, house cleaning!  It has largely waited for me for the five weeks I was gone on this last trip.  Of course, not much was done during the first five weeks I was gone nor the one week I'd been home in between either, so you can imagine how much there is to do.

During the past five weeks up in the wet land, I have enjoyed the continuing spring blooms and greening up of trees that displayed beautiful arrays of flowers and of course the rains, funny how I forgot how hard it rained up there, but then I really don't remember it ever raining that hard there.  My dad assured me it did, but then his memory isn't superb these days.  I was also able to get his financials in order along with getting him to take care of addressing his need to assign someone to be his power of attorney in general, as well as update his advanced directive and his will - all done!  He, and I, can now relax for the most part. 

One brother stepped up to the plate and took over paying Dad's water & light bill...of course, it was largely because said brother needed a utility bill with his own name on it in order to get per diem payments when he's on far away job sites which, I understand, can be as much as a couple thousand dollars per month, so it's clearly to his benefit and a small cost to him to take over the payment.  And it obviously will help my dad.  My sister stepped in and added a cell phone to her plan so that he can have a phone on him when he goes out for his early morning two-mile walks.  Hopefully he'll truly be able to use it, he's not very tech-savvy.

I'm looking to be at home for at least four to six weeks.  After being largely absent from the blogosphere for three months, getting back to it may be a slow and intermittent process.  My dad's health and abilities is not ideal so the future is a day-by-day thing where I can't make any long-term plans or goal-setting other than in what will likely be 4-6 week increments for the time being and going back and forth on that 890 mile each way drive.

In other news, Marty had taken a temp job for low pay after completing his month-long training in February.  The job began two days after I went back up north.  While I was still up north again, and while still working at the low-paying job,  he'd been having some interviews with a company only a couple of blocks from where he used to work prior to his August lay-off.  They have given him an offer and he is in the processes with having given his sample for drug-testing and filling out an additional application for the parent company and getting a back-ground check.  There should be no issues on any count there, so could be starting a new job within the next few weeks.  This is good news from a financial standpoint, but I'd been trying my best to encourage Marty and Nick about a move to the northern wet land.

And Nick?  Well, his best news is that he now has his driver's permit.  Of course, technically, it isn't valid until he's had his first two hours of "professional" driver's training, which will be on Wednesday, and then he can drive with us.  He will also still need a total of six hours of "pro" instruction.
I will explain in another post about our adventures in his acquiring his permit...I will only say, our local DMV is not on my happy list!
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