Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Blast From the Past

One good thing about moving is that it gives you a chance to get rid of all the junk and do some serious cleaning. I shudder to think of how much garbage we would live with if we had not moved these last few times. The clutter would be insurmountable! As it is, my dear husband is one of those people who just can't throw anything away. He has papers from elementary school stashed away somewhere I am sure. Be careful what you write to him or send him, it will live forever. Most times this drives me batty as I try to rid our environment of the papers he has collected only to be busted with a plead to "please don't throw that away, I want to keep it." Aargh!

Last week, I bought a new desk for our study, a real grown up (not one salvaged from the office for $25) beautiful wood desk. It was TJ's weekend "job" to GET ORGANIZED! Please.... He was like a kid with a new toy. Yipee! If I had only known all he needed was a desk. Papers were filed, bills paid, and some papers even got thrown away. And then just when I thought he was turning over a new leaf he came across something that will only justify him never throwing anything away for as long as we both shall live. It was my write-up of our first trip to Europe with our 4 kids. Attached to it was Kelly's handwritten (in her best 7 year old printing) journal of the trip as well. The kid was a writer from early on!

A few priceless entries from the journals are:

Rachel took a shower and came out. Kelly commented that Rachel had not been in there very long. Rachel told her she had showered, shaved and washed her hair, what else was there? Kelly thought about it and replied, "Well, you didn't sing."
Later, Kelly took her shower and everyone was listening for the singing but there was none. She was still in there for quite a while. Rachel said, "Kelly, you didn't sing." Kelly said, "I know, I did the hokey pokey." Showers are one of Kelly's life's pleasures.
Still laughing out loud at that one!

All through Paris Kelly kept asking why there were so many naked women in France. Referring to the many sculptures and paintings we saw in the museums. Then she asked where were the naked men? I told her they were all in Italy. So when we went to Italy she found out that was right. The sculpture of David in Florence was all the proof she needed. Stunning.

Unpacking boxes has been a little bit like Christmas in May. You never know what you might find. Sometimes you just might find a buried treasure!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Third Time is a Charm

In an uncharacteristic effort to get everything in order I went to get my Texas drivers license last week. This only reminded me why I always put off doing things like this, i.e. having a Texas plate on my car for the 2 years I lived in Canada. I'll run you through the process so you can have full appreciation.

First time - drive out to the DMV in Richmond, TX, a good 20-25 minute drive from home, because there is never a line at that one and I can just breeze through. I walked into the building to at least 60 people standing in 2 lines. OK, maybe the line for renewals and transfers will be faster. As I listened to and chatted with the people around me I heard that the person about 10 people in front of me had been there 2 1/2 hours! The person in another line, at about my place, had also been there 2 hours! "See ya!" I left and decided to meet my friend for lunch. A much better way to kill 2 hours don't you agree?

Still, day one, my friend told me about another DMV office that might have less traffic. OK, I'm game, after all...I did my hair, wore a nice shirt and had make-up on in anticipation of the "photo".

Second time- drive to the other office, only 15 minutes from the other direction. Yes, Houston is big. Walk in to the building to very short lines! Whoo hoo, success! I explain my situation, returning from Canada, lived here before we moved. I am still in the system! I am within the expiration period of my old license! "Here, fill out this short form and have a seat and we will call your number." I turn the corner to see 50 people holding numbers, crud! I wait patiently and it only took about 20 minutes (wish I had my book with me)to be called to window 12. Hang in there, it is getting good now.

Window 12 lady- "So you are moving back from Canada?"
Me- "Yes, but we lived here before and I am still in the system and within my expiration period."
#12- "Are you Canadian?"
Me- "No, if you look at my information it says American citizen."
#12- "Oh, but did you immigrate back?"
Me- "?" "We were there on a temporary work permit, there was no immigrating."
#12- " I think you need to redo everything, you need to fill out this form,the long form, did you bring your passport?"
Me - " No" (I carried that thing with me everywhere in Canada, just in case, go figure I need it now!) while I'm at it I am thinking, TJ told me he just walked in, gave them his Ontario license and got his Texas license, he said it took 15 minutes. What is happening???? Did they see me coming????

#12 to #11- "She is moving back from Canada, doesn't she need to fill this out (Long form )and bring her passport, birth certificate, Social Security card, first born......before we can process this?"
#11- "Yes"
So....I get the long form and the list of things I need to bring back.
Me- "Can I get a fast forward pass when I come back so I don't have to stand in line again?" What the heck it couldn't hurt to ask, right?
#12- "Here (writing something on the form), I am working all week, just skip the line and come to me."

I left and went shopping. Something I am getting very good at.

Third Time-
Go back to the 15 minutes away DMV armed with every form of documentation I can find and the long form completed and go to the front desk ( I thought I might just try to avoid #12 on the off chance that she was clueless). The angel from heaven behind the desk looks at everything and checks me in the computer and says....."Oh, you are still in the system and within your expiration period, you need this form...." and hands me none other than the short form! At which point my head spun around and flew off my neck.

In the nicest way possible I explained my last visit here to the angel from heaven and she made sure that all I needed was the short form, no passport, first born, or birth certificate. She apologized for the run around I was given and sent me directly to the processing at #5! Do everything, take the dreaded picture and then.....wait. Computers are down! Oh yes, a statewide computer failure. I can't make up stuff this good! The fellow asks if I want to wait or just come back. hahaha! I am staying if it takes all night, I am not leaving without a Texas drivers license. A mere 5 minutes later I walked out with my paper Texas drivers license and it even had a good picture. The third time is a charm.

I can't help but think though that it only took TJ 5 trips to the Ontario license place to get his Ontario plates, at my rate of 3 times for his 1, it would have taken me 15 tries to get Ontario plates for my car. Thus, totally justifying keeping the Texas plates.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Car Shopping

We went car looking on Saturday. It was the annual Art Car Parade in Houston. What a fun day! There was something for everyone and a great day outside. At the end of the day TJ and I decided we would have gotten at least 4 tickets if we had been in Toronto. We parked in a very "creative" parking spot which would have resulted in at least 2 or 3 tickets upon our return to our vehicle. Then add the public beer drinking and that could have been another one or two. It was nice to have our little tailgate party with assorted food and drink and watch the parade go by. Friends, food and entertainment just going by us! It is a tough life....!

Dan Akroyd, your grand marshall

For the Americans, a little patriotism

There is even a Green Party in Texas!

For those folks in Louisiana, crawfish and fish car!

Gotta love this one!

The mirror ball award!

A close up of one of the cars! Lots of detail!

Sledding, Texas style!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Swimming stars

Today as I went on my run/walk I had a few random thoughts. Here is how it went....
-it's nice out today, glad the humidity is not too high
-guess I'll walk for a while and then start running, the yards are all so pretty today.
-oh, look at those flowers, if I were in charge they would get "yard of the month", their flowers are sooo nice!

-start running NOW!
-I hope this is doing more good than harm, not sure how much my knees can take and for how long, but it sure does feel good to run!
-what do you think Lady Gaga was singing about in this song...maybe I have no business having it on my ipod...but I like the music, it's good to run/walk to..
-these houses are soo big, I can't believe we live here, these houses would have cost 2 1/2 times as much in Toronto, so decadent...
-I wonder if the people who live here appreciate what they have? Or do they just take it for granted? Remember to never take this for granted!

One of my favorite outdoor spots to have lunch!

-I feel like Elly Mae Clampet,living among swimming pools and movie stars! Everything is so new and beautiful!
-It sure is nice today,I'm glad I did this, and the last part of April and the beginning of May could be the best time in has been absolutely lovely outside, enjoy it while you can!

One of my favorite places to shop after lunch!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's a Dog's Life

Sadie's new backyard.

I think our dog is depressed or maybe just getting a little crazier. In our new house the backyard is, how can I say it....very small. Nonexistent? A patio? Someone who hates mowing's nirvana? Our dog's worst dream come true? Sadie lives and breathes to run and chase squirrels and birds. There is very little running to be done in this backyard. She spends most of the day drooling on the blinds in the den looking out the window at the greenspace ouside the fence and wishing she could just get through that iron fence. We have a dog door in this house too, something I have always wished for! But, what is the use if there is nowhere to go outside the dog door? So sad for Sadie. Guiltily I have been taking her for more walks than usual. One of us is losing weight....and it's not me. Sigh. I even took her to the lovely and large dog park. I thought this would let her get some of her yaya's out....not so much. You can bring a dog to the dog park but you can't make her run and folic freely.

Sadie's Toronto backyard.

This is the backyard that Sadie spent countless hours, rain, shine, sleet and snow, patroling every inch of it for squirrels and birds. She spent hours on that deck just watching everything that moved. The backdoor was open and shut tens of times a day letting her in and out, oh for a dog door in that house!

Heaven on earth for Sadie at the shore

Finally, this is where Sadie gets to spend her summers. No fences and no boundries. She can run to her heart's delight, and she does. The only time she lies down is when she has spent all her energy running. And now for a little ranting on my part. It sure was nice to be able to put the kennel into the car and get here in 16 hours. I have been trying to figure out how we are all going to get to the shore this summer. All meaning, me, TJ and Sadie. The first 2 are easy. Sadie is becoming an issue. Some airlines won't fly dogs from Houston from May-Sept. Great....what do we do now? One airline will fly them but only on flights with pressurized, temp. controlled cargo areas (a good thing), but starting in June, the flights to our desired destination use small pressurized cargo space for Sadie. What??? I can't leave her down here in the sweltering heat alone or at a kennel for 2 months! I am getting a little frustrated right now. There has got to be a way to get her there without me having to, don't even say it...don't think it...., drive all the way up there from Houston. NOOOO! Still searching flights for the dog.

One happy dog! How can you say "no" to this?
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