Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Allison Pittman and the Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day

...actually, it stretched over several days. But anyway--so, at least a month ago I got my notice to renew my driver's license, and I spent all of the intervening time reminding myself to do so. In Texas we can renew on line, just a matter of logging in. No lines, no hassle, no problem. So, of course, I didn't do it. Instead, I was at the DMV first thing on expiration day, standing in line, only to find that I had a flag up, and I needed to present my social security card.

Now, the average adult can probably either whip open their wallet, or open a drawer, and find that little blue card instantly. Not so, me. No clue. Don't even remember the last time I saw the thing. Like, in years. So a great part of the day is spent turning the house over and over and over.

Part II--After a weekend of driving across two states on an expired license, I go to the social security office to get a new card. Armed with a tax return, marriage certificate, said license, teacher certificate everything but a birth certificate (ironically, my SSC is tucked away with it...somewhere), my number is called. I present my information, but nothing there will give me a card. A print-out that yes, I am who I say I am, but no card. Apparently I needed a secondary form of ID to prove I am who I say I am. Something with a picture and date of birth. Or DOB and SSN. She hands me a list--but nothing.

INTERMISSION--Trip to DMV with print out from SSO, but no-go. They need a card. Hysterical phone call to husband. He's very sweet and understanding, given that I'm in this mess because I never got a new SSC with my married name.

Part III--Hubby has broken through my hysteria to direct me to our life insurance policy. There you go! My name, SSN, DOB. Back to the SSO, wait for my number, get the same sweet woman. I show her the policy and say, "If this doesn't work, my husband's going to be cashing this in today." She laughs, and gives me a new letter that more specifically identifies me as saying I am who I say I am. Back to DMV to try again. Nope. No card, no license.

SUMMARY--100 miles driven, 51/2 hours wasted, no food consumed, potty-bread postponed from office to office.

EPILOGUE--After succumbing to a tension headache-induced nap, I woke up to a family wanting, of all things, dinner. From behind the ice-pack, I beckoned to my youngest child, please, please...go see if there's a frozen pizza in the freezer. There was; it was the best spot in my day. Later, as we gathered around this feast, heads bowed to bless it, the Lord gave this to me: I thanked Him for loving me enough to provide this meal at the end of an awful day, but then I realized this awful day was due to my negligence. It was I who hand't played by the rules of our government. Rules meant to keep people like me safe. If nothing else, it means I'm driving very, very carefully!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to (and for, and with) Me!!

It has been an unusual birthday. Private and inauspicious. I'm turning a boring number (I prefer odd, prime numbers--this year I'm 44: even and repetitious), and I actually never gave it much thought. Except to request a very specific gift. A stapler. Last year's unfortunate choice of dinner in quite possibly the worst Italian restaurant outside of a hospital setting meant that I didn't have too far to reach to make this year better. And, as I find myself alone in a LaQuinta hotel in north Texas, some might think that I've got another loser year on my hands. But anybody who thinks that doesn't know me--not really.

To catch you up: I made a commitment months ago to speak with an ACFW chapter in Shreveport, Louisiana. Yes, at the time I committed I knew it would mean driving up on my birthday. And, honestly, my first thought was--"Yippee! Now I don't have the pressure of planning what "to do" on my birthday." Because, if you know me, you know that parties, celebrations, special occasions--not really my thing. They bring the same kind of nerve-wracking pressure of ordering at Luby's (something else I avoid).

But, that doesn't mean I don't love my friends--my family--all the special people in my life. So, as I drove the 500 or so miles, I had my trusty BlackBerry in its cubby in the dash, and every 10 miles or so, I'd hear the distinctive chime of a FaceBook update. A posting on my wall...and I knew each posting was a birthday wish. (I assumed...for safety reasons I didn't confirm until later!) It was like having everyone right along with me, and I said a little "Thank You" to the Lord each time, because He's blessed me with so many wonderful people. Because, if you know me, you know I might not be overtly social, but I'm a lover of people! (and...of FaceBook)

Driving all those miles gave me the longest uninterrupted reading time I've had in months. I listened to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood... which I have wanted to read forever, but have never gotten around to. If you know me, you know I love true crime (murder, mayhem, I.D. TV), and this book is mesmerizing. And beautifully written. Listened to exactly 1/2 on the way up, will listen to 1/2 on the way home. One book in 2 days. That only happens when I drive!

I'm enjoying a free night's lodging thanks to points accumulated in the LaQuinta rewards program (and if you know me, you know there's nothing more relaxing than a hotel room to myself!); I had a BLT for dinner (and iykm, you know that is traditional birthday fare); and the BLT came from a Waffle House (and iykm, you know that I have always wanted to eat at a Waffle House).

Tomorrow I'll spend a few hours hanging out with writers--my FAVORITE genre of person, and then a long, lovely ride home. But, for now, I'm watching Dateline NBC, fixing to read every posting on my page (might not respond to all--there's a ton!!), and watch last week's episode of Huge on Hulu. It's not the birthday everybody would want, but I realize it's a birthdy meticulously planned by Somebody who knows me. And for that--and for the blessings of the year--I am truly, blissfully happy.

Oh, and tomorrow I'll come home to a chocolate turtle cheesecake prepared by my son. So, that's cool, too.