Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gum, Germs, and the Rising Costs of Tag Registration

So, it's been a madhouse around here since school started. The twins are in 6th grade and getting organized with their band practice, volleyball practice, robotics meetings, along with getting Toni started on math *ugh*, again and signing her up for soccer (hopefully), and then my research into my book, writing blog posts has been kinda put on the back burner.

Then to add insult to injury, not even a week and a half into school starting, the kids start getting sick.

Doesn't the schools disinfect the classroom from last years germs? I think not cause one by one, the kids have been coming home with sniffles. Nadia is a perpetual running faucet in the nose department. If it flies among the air we breathe, she sneezes at it. She has already missed a day of school with a non-stopping cough and feeling like she'd rather dump her head in the gutter than wear it on her shoulder.

This is not before Toni came home with a fever. She had no other symptoms other than a stuffy nose that last about 2 hours, but her fever ran for three days - then she was fine. Then Nia came home after her 1st day of Pre-K with a 103 degree fever. She's okay now, but had no other symptoms other than a stuffy nose that lasted for about.... 2 hours, and a short episode with the dreaded diarrhea. And thank you God that she didn't have another episode of THAT like she did HERE! That is one day I do not want to revisit again.

So I've been flurrying around now for over a week taking care of this sick child or that sick child, AND keeping them organized with their studies and extracurricular activities AND monitoring the fever that my husband also got for two days (did I neglect to mention that?). Now it's just time to sit back and wait for the next kid to go down and repeat this process over and over for the next few weeks.

I hate it when school starts!

I'm doing this now while function with only one car cause the hubs decided it was a good idea to WAIT until the LAST freaking day/minute to get our other car registered for new tags, but then he wanted ME to fix it because HE thought it okay to wait till my physic ability kicked in for which it would go "DING" as to remind me that my husbands car needed new tags- which it didn't. So I get stuck with the 900 ba-zillion phone calls regarding re-titling the car in Florida so that I would have to deal with it, and not he.

Sound confusing - oh it is baby!

It's that freaking male chromosome gone awry again. Hey geneticists! - STOP figuring out how women can choose between having a boy or girl and start fixing that fucking male chromosome that makes men do stupid shit the way they do! We women have an excuse - it's called PMS! But men need a chromosomal fix that only you can provide. World peace and sanity depend on it - so let's get hopping up there in your fancy-smancy genetics lab. Okay? Okay, then!

Just a suggestion.

And do I dare mention that I've been trying to write this post for three days now while trying to assist my husband in fixing his "little over a year old" Dell computer whose hard drive has completely crashed beyond recognition and we had to buy a new hard drive and spend gobs of money updating all the drivers only to find out now that he needs a new sound card BUT cannot figure out where it is in his computer.

THEN he thinks it's a good idea to update the drivers on the laptop that doesn't NEED any driver updates, and now it won't even get on the internet, work, run, do one damn thing, period! Did I mention that this is the computer my kids use to play silly computer games on so I can get a moments peace while paying bills, cleaning, doing laundry, etc., so if it does get a virus we don't lose anything important? Thanks Dad! This is why I bought a Mac; so I wouldn't have to deal with stupid issues one always faces when using a Windows-based computer just over a year after they've bought it!

Sound insane - oh hell yes it is!!

**sound of me flipping through the yellow pages looking for a divorce lawyer**

So... So..... So...... you notice that most of these post begin with So? It's my way of verbally showing my pathetic *sighs* through this whole pitiful ordeal I'm having.


I called the tag office and she informs me that I have that Friday and the following Monday to take advantage of lowered prices to register, do a title app, and get a new sticker for our car before the prices go up on Tuesday. When I ask her what the new prices will be, she breaks it down for me and I drop the iPhone, fall over, then hang my tongue on the floor as I discover that there is more than double difference in what I can pay on Monday, and what I'll most likely be paying since the hubs has given me last minute warning on this issue!

**sound of me now flipping through the yellow pages for a loan shark**

I finally get the hubs to get all his paperwork together and rearrange his schedule so that we can go down in the morning to get the tags because I gotta have a car when he goes out of town on Thursday. Granted, he is doing this while under the influence of a fever so I have to give him a lot of kudos for doing so. We have missed the "Blue Light Special" on Florida's tag prices, so I'm bracing myself for the high cost of driving a car now.

**it's a 1980's - insert finger and gag moment**

We set off on Tuesday morning after dropping Nia off at her first day of school after tears, pictures, and fanfair. There we sit in the DMV office after ripping off a wait-your-turn number like 946 or something. An hour later they call us and we present all the paperwork to get a new tag and sticker.

"I'm sorry, but we don't do that at this office.", the desk clerk informs us.

"But your sign on the door says 'Vehicle Registration'.", I reply with a tad bit of frustration in my voice after sitting in a smelly waiting room full of hot, sweaty people awaiting their own decade-long turns.

"That's just for online services. For people who have already pre-registered online and already have Florida tags.", she responds.

Well what the hell would I be doing in the office in the first place if I could do this online? Oh yeah, we're registering an out-of-state car, that's why.

After getting directions to the tag registration office, we realize that it's out of our way do to the amount of errands we have to do cause we idiotic parents decided to do them all on the same day that we have ALL the kids nestled in their classrooms. We then proceed to the Social Security department cause I need documents for my book.

MY GOD! I didn't know that everyone in Pensacola decided to visit the SS department all on one day! There were actually people sitting on the floor waiting for their 1578th number to be called. We look, then turn around and walk out hoping that the next time we schedule this errand it can be on like, CHRISTMAS so that NO ONE will be there.

On the way home, the hubs comes up with the brilliant idea of buying Nia some gum at the health food store since we are all paranoid and shit about the chemicals in candy these days and we reeeally try to stick to as much organic food as possible; even if it means foregoing the light bill. So we stand in Everman's Grocery Store debating which one we should get her. The hubs is opting for cinnamon, but I know that she prefers bubble gum. I cannot believe I am having an argument over what freaking gum to buy a four year old child. The hubs is acting like a four year old child - then I remember that he still has that fever. So we "compromise"; two of the cinnamon and two of the bubble gum. At least she'll have a choice, but probably will devour all four packages before the sun sets on the salt water horizon at our house. Because that's what four year olds do.. right?

Now, getting the tags to the BMW has been set back to the next day, but not before picking up Nia with that 103 degree temperature! On Tuesday, Nia stays home, but we still have to get the tags. After all the other kids have left for school, we pack up Nia in the car and drive to the real tag office cause both us have to go since both of our names are on the title which makes it so incredibly inconvenient I can't even describe in words.

**sound of my kicking foot into trash can as I walk to the car**

Luckily, no one is there - YEAH!! The hubs goes in first as I carry the poor sick baby in my arms. As soon as I walk in, the hubs announces that we can't get the tags... AGAIN! Now let me be clear about this; before we started this whole tag business, I made sure to call the tag office person and ask her exactly what I needed to bring in, and was there a kitchen sink on the list of items we needed. There was the usual title, insurance, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah; but there was absolutely NO mentioning of us having to bring the CAR in as well. But that is exactly what the desk clerk informs us that we need - the freaking car that's causing all these problems in the first place.

I made a point of telling this to the desk clerk in the most sarcastic tone I had while carrying a sick child and making a remark like "this is what my tax dollars go to pay for... incompetence!" Okay, I was nasty, but my hubs has a fever, my daughter has a fever, and this should NOT be taking two days to accomplish.

Little did I know it would take longer.

So we make sure we ask about everything we are suppose to bring in, and like making sure we got an affidavit in case we got pulled over for something like.... EXPIRED TAGS! The hubs has decided that he is gonna go home and get the car and get this done today regardless of how he feels cause he's just like that, okay. Finally, a fire has been put under his butt, and in his whole physical being, and procrastination has left the building even though it's like, a few weeks late!

The kids have early release on Wednesday, so the hubs is gonna take Julian with him. Translation: play time for the boys. Okay, WHAT-ever; just get the tags in the process please. He and Julian leave and I expect them back in about an hour. Oh no, it is still not that easy. I get a phone call instead in about an hour with my husband cussing words I haven't heard since the whole lost car keys and migraine episode. He tells me that everything was a done deal until it came time to pay; they didn't take credit cards, only cash and checks, and since the hubs and I have lost/misplaced/thrown away the PIN to the debit side of our bank card, it has to be a check.

This means the hubs has to come ALL the way back home, get the checkbook, then go ALL the way back with the car before they'll fork over this shit and let us get back on with our lives with our car. I compromise with the suffering soul and tell I'll meet him halfway at Wal-Mart's. So I pack up my still sick Nia, along with the other girls, and head on down the road. But not before I get two blocks down the road and realize.....


Turn around, go back to the house, go in, get the checkbook, get in the car; then Nadia looks IN the checkbook and says "Mom, there are no checks in here.". I look and she is right; there are no checks since I wrote the last one for band uniforms. So (there's that word again), I head back in and grab a new book of checks, get back in the car and fling those suckers in the floorboard, mumble a few obscene words under my breath while driving off to meet my husband.

I arrive only to find that neither the hubs or my son are anywhere near his car. I call and find that they are on a shopping expedition in Wal-Marts. "Why?", I ask. "Because Julian's backpack ripped and he needs a new one.", the hubs tells me.

Now this is the brand new backpack that I just bought him two weeks prior for him to use for school. I swear if Wal-Mart's doesn't stop importing this cheap Chinese junk, I'll..... I'll..... I'll....., oh hell, can't I just concentrate on the tags already.

I ask the hubs how much to write the check for. I should have braced myself with an anvil or something because I nearly fell out of the car - with door closed - when he told me that it was $407.25! "Why is it so much!", I half yell on the phone. "Cause I paid for two years.", he replies proudly. I'm thinking as he's yacking that just a few weeks ago, this would have only costed about $190, but NoooOOOOoooo! We gotta pay top dollar just like the folks in California now cause the hubs likes to procrastinate. It's his favorite hobby these days: "Why do today what you can put off till next month, or year, or decade - or why do it at all!"

He finally exits the store, takes the check, and I drive home with Nia and Toni now conked out in the back seats. Nadia is like fingernails down a chalkboard all the way home as she constantly whines how this whole episode has completely ruined her afternoon. When I asked her what she had planned for the afternoon, she promptly replies "Nothing!".

**sound of me chewing on the steering wheel**

I put both of my girls to bed for a nap when we get home and wait for the hubs and Julian to arrive soon thereafter. But no, as I said, it was a chance to steal some boy time and they arrive some 4 hours later after driving around looking for a plate holder for the new tag (WTF???), and then taking a "little" dip in the ocean on the way home.

So after two days, four separate trips to the tag office, two stinky and smelly government offices, two sick children and one sick husband, a fight over gum choices for a four year old, and a busted backpack later, we got our new tags. The hubs felt the need to "fit in" conservatively (politically that is), so (there's that word again), he decided to get one of those license plate frames where you put your own saying in it. He now proudly displays, "FREEDOM - IT ISN'T FREE", as he passes someone on the freeway while doing 80 in his archaic BMW.

Welllll...... isn't THAT special! I could have told him that already and saved him that $12.95 plus tax on the crappy license plate holder thingy.

And then to add insult to injury, I just found out that ALL my favorite organic food companies were bought out by major corps like Colgate, Kraft, Dean Foods, Coca-Cola, Heinz, Kellogg's, Smuckers, and Dannon. Even the freaking organic, nutrasweet-free, chemical-free, preservative and additive free gum that I look all over for for Nia while she was sick, just so she could be happy about something is now own by some profit-hog, could-care-less-about-the-environment-or-your-health corporation!

Is nothing sacred anymore?

But what I really want to know beyond all of this is, is HOW Ellen Degeneres became a judge on American Idol?! Can someone explain this to me please?


Draft Queen said...

Oh my this post makes me tired FOR you. Poor mama taking care of all these sick people!

As for the tags, what a debacle. Would it kill you to find out that here in MA most insurance companies will do that for you? Cuz, they do.

Tara R. said...

Yowzah! What a crazy few days! You need a vacation.