Thursday, June 9, 2011
Hot Summer Something or other
Those chiller degrees lingered about like Old Man Winter couldn't force himself to completely let go. We shivered and shook through those April showers, which were often April downpours, and then through the May showers cause the rain kept coming, and the temperatures weren't rising.
Then they gave a bit of tease and we thought maybe we would get a spring this year. Yeah, sure, it zipped right to July and August, figuratively speaking, before it got to June. They said we were in a cold spell. Temp was only 86 outside at 7:00 that night. Going up to 97 or 98 these next two days. Where am I? Arizona?
Good think I get my walks in early or I'd burn my shoes off.
So this month isn't what we'd like, especially with Little Man dying last week followed by the air conditioner stopping conditioning. Yes, came home last weekend and we are greeted by my son at the door, never a good sign, saying the air conditioner is making an odd noise.
Squeal, squeak, squeal, then the noise stopped for a while, then off and on dimly. Still, I had the yearly maintenance scheduled to come on June 6 and it was still pumping out cool. Except they had cancelled that appointment and moved it to the 14th. They do this all the time, schedule my maintenance, then call and postpone it. Once or twice maybe, emergencies come up. But this has been every time, twice a year, these last couple years. Maybe I could overlook it, but I'm paying for this service, I paid for the annual contract. They got their money, they didn't postpone that did they, but come to service, to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, "They know how to make the appointment; they just don't know how to keep the appointment."
Then when the air died, I reacted too quickly. I called it in. I made an appointment to have a service tech come to check it out. Earliest he could come, June 6. Hey, wasn't that supposed to be my maintenance date before? And now it will be $79 dollars just to come diagnose the problem and who knows what to fix it.
So I cooled off, even though the air wasn't working, and I called them and cancelled the service call. Ah Ha! I get to cancel an appointment for once. It was silly, the maintenance guy is scheduled on the 14th. I can wait; we can survive that extra week, and that call won't cost me anything for them to come. And if they decide what is wrong will cost me, I may turn them down. I had window air conditioners down in storage. I've put them in our rooms. It's feels better in here than what the central air worked and probably won't cost me as much to run. I can live without central air and this bloated vendor.
And if they claim what is wrong will effect my heat come winter, well, ho ho, I have a maintenance contract elsewhere on the heater that will fix it for nothing. I had called that place, but I never took a contract on the cooling system, but this breakdown may actually be in the heater.
But anyway, here we go again. Little man dies, air conditioner shut down and a couple weeks ago the garbage disposal died. Last night the Little Woman and I are coming home and grrrrrrind, grrrrrind, grrrrrind! Yes, my car brakes start grinding. Oh well, I hope that's all. I've had this car over seven years, over 77,000 miles and you know what? I don't think I ever had new brakes installed. Still, it's another expense, but I've been expecting the brakes to wear out for a while now.
Speaking of our motor vehicles, I had to visit my friendly DMV yesterday. What an ordeal that was. I had to go and renew my driver licenses. We have to do that every five years in this state. Not much to it, you say. You go in, they test your eyesight and issue a new card. Yeah, right, simple.
First of all, I was concerned about my eyesight. I haven't worn glasses for years now, not since the cataract surgeries, but I knew my distance vision had slipped a notch. Last month I went to the eye doctor and got an exam and now have new glasses. Good thing as it were. I tried the eye test without the glasses and couldn't read the line, so now I have that restriction on my card, "Must wear corrective lens".
But that's no big deal. It is the new Federal Driver License requirements that bug me. You see, driving has always been a state determined affair, but now the Federal Government has to get involved. If you don't get a Federally approved driver's license, then you can't even take domestic flights let alone get a passport. You won't be allowed to enter Federal Buildings, either, which I don't know if also includes Post Offices.
To get a license here now this is what you need to provide (originals, not copies): your old license if renewing, your social security card, your birth certificate and two pieces of mail addressed to your name in your current address and delivered by the U. S. Postal Service within the last two weeks. You also have to bring proof of every time you ever had your name changed, if you ever have.
Not so bad for me, a male who was born with this moniker, but harder for my wife and other married women. I'm concerned because proof of her name change can be our marriage license, but after 50 years I have no idea where that is. I think about some women I know who have married multiple times and after the divorces changed their names back. They have to provide proof for every single time they changed that name one way or another. Good luck, ladies.
There is irony in having to have pieces of mail. It can't be something delivered by FedEx or UPS or Online. It has to be delivered by U. S. Mail. Problem is every kind of bill or statement I use to get by U. S. mail, the company has encouraged "Going Green" and not receiving a paper statement or bill. Most of my stuff is that way. You can bring junk mail, finally a use for it. Most of my junk mail goes from mailbox to trash can. (Sorry, mailbox to recycle bin, cause we do that recycle stuff now because once again the government has to butt into our lives.) But you have to be certain whatever junk mail you bring has a date on it somewhere or it doesn't count. I took four pieces of mail with me, which turned out to be smart, because one of the first two pieces I presented wasn't accepted — no date.
So I get to the DMV and the main parking lot is full. I park in the secondary lot and walk back to the building. The temperature is now up to like 98 degrees. It ain't real cool inside the building either and it is full of people, so it only gets hotter. I check in at the reception desk, am given a number and told to stand in a line nearby.
This line gets you to the person checking that you have the correct handful of credentials. A lot of people were turned away. I had everything. I was told to get in one of the two lines by the windows to the front. They were two fairly long lines leading toward two booths on the side wall stationed by two clerks. There was a board on the wall saying how many people were there for varies services. It said, "Driver License Renewals - 72: 50 minute wait." Sorta like going on a ride at Walt Disney World. Let me tell you right up front, 50 minute wait — double that and you are nearer to the truth.
I pick the second line from the window. Both lines are pretty even at this point. I have number 222 and the booth in front of this line has a 220 something number over it and the other has a 210 something number, so I think all 220 somethings get in this line. Number had nothing to do with it. You just shuffled along in line until your turn.
Booths didn't have a lot to do with it either. I'm in line and the guy my line seems to go toward finishes with a person, then gets up and leaves. His fifteen minute break, I guess, because he was gone that long. Now there is just the woman in the other booth taking people. It looks to be one from column A and then one from column B. Every person who wins a moment in the sun is there more than a moment. It seems each person takes 15 minutes. I think, we will be here to midnight.
Time goes by so slowly and time can do so much, and the guy comes back from break. Hooray, maybe we'll speed up.
The lady now goes on break.
Fifteen minutes later, she comes back. Finally, two clerks. The guy handles two more people and what? He gets up. He leaves. He's done. He's through for the day. Are you kidding me?
And the lady now stops processing to confer with her supervisor or something.
When she resumes processing, somehow the line nearest the window, column A, has dwindled to one person. The lady clerk now stands up and yells there has to be two lines. She starts telling every other person in column B to duck under the rope into column A. Mass confusion reins. People are asking, "What? What she say? Do what? I didn't hear here. Etceteras, etceteras, etceteras." Some do duck, some don't. I don't, but people from far behind me in column B rush forward into column A and I lose one spot in line in all the shuffle.
Now there is more confusion up front, more conferences, I am standing there thinking, "And some people actually want the government to run their health care!"
There is a young fellow ahead of me. He has been growing more and more anxious. We have been waiting a long time by now. I tell him, "By the time you get up there, you'll have grey hair like me."
People around us laugh.
He looks horrified. "No, I won't," he says, "I'm only 22."
"You won't be by the time you get up there," I say.
He is really getting nervous. Turns out he has a bus to catch in about a half hour. He yells out at the clerk, "Hey, let's speed it up up there!" I expect big heavy security guards to flock upon us and haul him away as a terrorist.
We have finally come to the point it is his turn. He leaps in joy — literally. He does a little dance up to the counter. Even the clerk laughs. He is so happy. He is being processed. But then at the end the clerk asks for payment and he has no money on him. He says this is his first time doing this, he didn't know it cost anything. He has to leave empty handed. I feel bad for him.
Now I wait while the next person in column A goes up. The second person in that line asks me, "Say, weren't you ahead of her."
"Yes," I explain, "but I lost my spot when they did that line switch thing. But it's okay. What's one more person at this point?"
The woman likes my attitude.
My turn comes, and other than being unable to see anything in the machine without glasses, I pass and have my photo snapped and am given my receipt and sent off to another room to collect my license. The clerk was very pleasant to me, let me add. But oh what a confusing, long and hot ordeal getting to see her face to face.
I'm glad I don't have to do this again for another five years.