Archive for January, 2010

Rude awakening

Interesting morning. Victor, my electrician, was supposed to show up at 8 this morning to finish installing lights, plugs etc. in the garage and moving a plug in my kitchen. We were still in bed when he arrived at 7! We had to rush around, move stuff out of the garage so he could have access.

Then, kind man that he is, he and his helper moved our very heavy sleeper sofa into the house for us. We got it halfway in, and discovered it didn’t fit through the doorway. ==:o But we took the legs off and got it in.

It is now on its back in the middle of the living room. We put the feet back on but that is as far as we got. I so need to get rid of some furniture!

All of our furniture is too big for this house.

Today I do one final proofread on my book, then it’s bye-bye! Deadline is tomorrow and I will squeak in under the wire.


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Since Rob and I were woefully late in acquiring California drivers licenses and license plates, we decided it was time. We actually made an appointment at the DMV. Sounds reasonable.

We show up at our apponted time with wads of documentation in hand–proof of insurance, smog test etc. The line of people going out the door was intimidating, but because we had an appointment, we got to stand in the “short line” and we were up to the window in only a few minutes. So far, this is a breeze!

Then the first roadblock: We must have either a birth certificate or passport to get a drivers license. And we must have our smog test “verified.” So we drive back home. We find birth certificates. We return and drive around to the back of the building, as instructed, to get our smog test verified. (I still have no idea what this means; some guy checked our VIN and looked under the hood.)

Then we couldn’t find a place to park; another fifteen minutes wasted as we wait for this very slow woman to get into her car and relinquish her spot.

The “short line” is longer, but still not too bad. Rob’s documentation is approved, and he is sent through the door to the next stage in the process. I, however, still do not have proper identification. It seems a birth certificate isn’t good enough, because it doesn’t have my married name. Now they say I need a passport or a marriage license showing the name change. But they let me proceed to the next step, which is a huge room crammed with people where they call numbers.

Our numbers were called after maybe ten minutes. We answer questions, sign things, wrote checks. We have our pictures and thumbprints taken. Then another door. We have to take a written driving test! We both opted to skip reading the book and just take the test, and we both passed, but I barely did. Trick questions. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I go home to get my passport (this involved a frantic search) and made my third and final trip to the DMV, where the “short line” was now pretty darn long, and the room where you had to wait for your number to be called was total bedlam. I had #G146; they were on G98. And that doesn’t include all the numbers starting with other letters getting called. It was close to a two-hour wait.

They took my pciture and thumbprint again, then I returned to the window, and they FINALLY issued me a temporary permit.

So at last, we and our car are legal in California.

P.S. There was a blind man in the waiting room. This struck me as odd. A blind man is getting his drivers license? But then I realized he might just be getting a legal photo I.D., or he might be registering a car that some other person drives. So not that odd.

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Most of the patches we’ve done for our old plaster walls have involved drywall, tape, and joint compound. But a few places were particularly tricky (uneven surfaces, etc.) so today I did some plastering. I found a one-step product that is quick drying. It’s an absolute mess to mix, though. My first attempt came out pretty well. I will have to do one more layer (despite this product’s claim that you can do it all in one pass). I’ll take a picture after I work on it some more.

Then I tried removing ceramic tile from the kitchen. This is an odious task. A few popped right off, but most are stuck to the concrete base with kryptonite or something. The tile shatters rather than pop off, and I’ve ended up basically chiseling the tile off. I am about to call it quits and have the kitchen demolition guy take it out.

Nice dinner tonight of hummus, french bread, green beans and rocky road ice cream. Tomorrow I think I will finish my book (enough that I can let Rob read it). Then one more pass before I turn it in (assuming Rob doesn’t discover something disastrously wrong with it).

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Landscaping Intervention

My sisters-in-law, Marion and Amelia, should have their own show on HGTV.  I asked them for a little landscaping advice, you know, for the future, when I get around to doing my yard.  Instead, they whisked me off to Home Depot and helped me pick out some stuff, then we came home and planted it all.

In one afternoon!

They planted hibiscus, geraniums, calla lilies, day lily bulbs, and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t even remember.  I wanted stuff that was drought tolerant, stuff that would grow easily, low maintenance, etc. etc.  We also planted some wildflowers and some herbs (seeds).  It was dark when they finished, so I don’t know how it all turned out, but it was looking good.

Afterward, Rob and I fixed a pasta dinner for them.  (A third sister was there, too, and she drove us to the Home Depot and let us put steer manure in her car, so I guess she gets credit for helping too.)  We had wine and ice cream, and it was just a lovely meal.  I didn’t burn anything, for once.  I like my new oven very much.

Yes, these are the same two sisters who just got back from Laos. They are crazy but they do know plants.

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Goodies from Laos

Two of my sisters-in-law just returned from a trip to Laos.  Since they were flying into LAX, they’re staying over for a couple of days.

I guess the shopping was pretty incredible, because they brought back lots of goodies.  Rob got three T-shirts and I got two silk scarves (Check out this website to see the company that sells them: http://www.mulberries.org/whoweare.htm).  The photos they took were amazing.

Apparently the only bad thing about the trip was the fact that the Lao people eat just about anything–mice, bats, songbirds, swallows, dogs, turtles–and sell them in the market.  I know this is simply a cultural difference and not “wrong” per se but Marion is such an animal lover it was hard for her.  She bought a little bird from the market and set it free.

I am hoping I can get some photos e-mailed to me to share.  One in particular had everyone laughing.  It was of a sign in the marketplace, in English:  “Good Food and Good Testes.”  I have no idea what they really meant.

Tomorrow everyone is coming here for a spaghetti dinner.  The house is still a disaster area; we haven’t really gone to much trouble to arrange furniture or unpack because we are still refinishing floors and whatnot.  We’re going to have to do some work tomorrow to get ready!

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This is my first imported blog, BTW. Bear with me. Blog is under construction.

It is pouring rain again. This is my first winter in Southern California, and people are telling me that this weather is not as peculiar as I thought. It’s El Nino.

I’m also drowning in appliances. Dishwasher and microwave/range hood arrived today. Neither are installed and won’t be for a while. For now, the dishwasher box serves as new counter space. Yay!

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