Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Two Rocky Experiences

As said below, we have settled in here in Denver with few major problems. It's a little warmer than I hoped, but all-in-all it's what I expected.

The experience at the Drivers License Office was about what I expected too, and that's not good. We started with an hour and a half wait. Ugh. Not horrible compared to our experiences in other states, but nonetheless not fun when you are 6 1/2 months pregnant and the building isn't air conditioned. There was only one person doing line #1, which I think was for everyone who didn't need to take a driving test to get their license. I always hate when there's just one person, because you know that 25% of the people in line have some "issue" that will need to be taken care of so that the line movement just comes to a halt. And when that ONE special person had to go to the bathroom? Well, we all waited.

But that wasn't the best part. I went first and had no trouble. My husband was behind me. When the guy pulled up my hubby's record he told him that Alabama had placed a block on his drivers license. Huh? My husband? The one time preacher, now professor? From Texas and Maryland, but never even lived in Alabama? I was standing there when my husband asked "are you sure?" for the millionth time and the worker informed him that it was the exact same name and birthdate. We were given a number to call with the Alabama DOT. So now, we had to deal with TWO state bureaucracies in one day. Seriously folks.

So of course, poor hubby had a tough time getting through to the people in Alabama. It didn't help that when he finally talked to a real person she told him to call a number that didn't even work. Finally, after about an hour my husband got through to someone that informed him that yes, he lived at so-and-so lane and he had an outstanding something-or-other. NOT.GOOD. Of course the first thing that comes to our mind is identity theft. So he was transferred to someone else within the Alabama system that was supposed to be able to help. Boy did she. If by help you mean that she pointed out that the person in question had a different middle name and date of birth. Sure the first and last names were the same and the birth months and years, but there is some crucial info out of whack here people. My husband doesn't have a name that is all that common. You would expect that this kind of thing happens to John Smiths all the time and that the bureaucrats would know to look at all the relevant information.

So back up to the drivers license office he went, where he was spared the burden of another hour and a half wait and instead was sent straight to the front of the line. A different person was working and when he pulled up the record -- I kid you not -- asked my husband if he had ever worked in Alabama. This time my hubby insisted they look at ALL the information before being refused a license. Sheesh.

We did do the emissions tests today without any trouble but we have put off the car registration until we get our nerve back up.

Now, for our other experience. The Barnes and Noble on Colorado Blvd. Don't do it on a Friday night. Good grief, it was like a frat mixer in that place. My husband and I are big bookstore people. That's what we do on Friday nights for -gasp- FUN. A little coffee, a little browsing, and an occassional purchase. Now, don't worry Mr. Lady, we are well aware of The Tattered Cover and its glory. But it isn't very close, so we thought we'd try the local Barnes and Noble. I have never seen so many people hanging out. That isn't particularly B&N's fault. What I fault them for is their lack of accomodating that many people. Because the Starbucks is separate from the bookstore, you can't go in there unless you have purchased the books you have in your hand. If you're just thumbing through them you are banished to one very small section of the bookstore. It was quite some time before a chair even opened up, and even when it did, it felt kind of like I was in Time Out. There just weren't many comfortable places to hang out in the store.

So boo on them (though I did finally find a Peter Rabbit baby memory book!). Looks like we'll be making the trek to Tattered Cover for our coffee and book fix (not that we'll be doing much of that in a few months anyway).

Okay, I recognize that again maybe this post isn't so interesting to non-Denverites. Don't worry though; I've been reading Jonathan Kozol so I'll have plenty more education related food for thought soon.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Knock Knock

It sounds like a bad joke -- how do you get a history professor, a pregnant woman, and a cat who hates cars halfway across the country?

But there's no punch line. We did it. And all in all, it wasn't too bad.

We are in Colorado now. My husband, parents, and cat arrived a week ago Thursday. They drove a 22ft Penske towing one car and our other 4-door Honda out here in about 2 1/2 days. Me? It took me about 3 1/2 hours. I flew out on Friday because pregnant women aren't supposed to sit in the car for more than a few hours at a time. Really dodged a bullet eh?

First impressions? Our home is what would be called "charming" or "cozy" in a newspaper ad. I mean that it is smaller than anyplace we've lived, but very cute. The outside could use some work, but as renters, we're reluctant to do things that cost much money. We do have a basement though! People that grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast don't get to experience these, so this is a first. I love it! The basement is as large as the rest of the place and I have quickly learned that having a basement means you get to keep lots of crap but not worry about where it will go or if you want it on display. Very nice.

My other impression is that it is a little warmer than I would like. The days we were actually moving in there were record or near-record highs. Of course us Texas girls are used to just cranking up the AC. No central AC here though. Just a window unit that makes lots of noise. But still, we've discovered it works pretty well when you get desperate.

That's the basic summary. Next up: an evaluation of the Colorado DMV and the local Barnes and Noble.