Back in Colombia, we got the news that our tenants had bought a house and would be moving out on September 1. It took all of about 5 minutes to dismiss the idea of moving back into our old house and back to the cubicle. Luckily, through word of mouth we were able to find new tenants within a week without either of us (me or the new tenant) actually being in California.
Last week we made an efficient trip back to California. We did some maintenance on our old house and met the new tenants. Jason worked, we ate lots of sushi and ice cream, and most importantly, we spent every opportunity we could meeting up with some old friends and meeting some new ones.
It was fantastic to see everyone. And as if to reaffirm our decision to avoid real life while we can, we found more of our friends over-stressed, over-scheduled, getting sued (!), and even battling some major health issues. It seems to be going around. I guess it’s mostly our advancing age, but this year seems to have taken it’s toll on too many of the people we love. Scary stuff. We wish them luck, recovery and health in the immediate future.
Speaking of valuing every moment – Bode and I spent a shaky four hours at the Dept of Motor Vehicles. Years ago, we’d removed the month and year stickers from Red Beard’s expired plates, and we were told that it now wasn’t possible to re-register the expired classic blue plates. But, a couple of weeks ago I made a call to confirm, and was told to send in $14 for the suspension fine, and $72 for the new stickers. On the form we filled out to accompany this, we used Jason’s Texas ID (which we got last year knowing our CA driver’s licenses were about to expire) and had to write in a note that it was from Texas.
We were pretty sure this wasn’t going to work, but I thought it might be worth heading to the DMV to find out if there was anything more I could do… including renewing my CA driver’s license. The thing is, when we got the TX licenses, we had to prove residency, which was fairly easy considering we had changed our mailing address to Texas. And, although we own a house in California, we didn’t have any documents that would prove we live there, because well, we don’t live there.
There were no appointments available at any DMV in Northern California for three weeks, so I loaded up with snacks and books, Bode and I headed to Pleasanton and arrived as they opened. We weren’t the first ones. It took 45 minutes just to get a number. Bode killed it reading Call of the Wild for an hour and a half before standing up, stretching and asking to play games on my phone. The young man next to me, reading some Star Wars novel commented to him that he liked his shirt. Then he says, ‘I noticed you’re reading Call of the Wild, my great, great uncle wrote it.” So, we met Joe London. Bode moved next to him and they talked for the next hour. Only in California.
At about the three and half hour mark, it was finally my turn. With a quick computer check on our vehicle, the kind employee told me the stickers had been issued and we would receive them within the month. No further information or payment necessary. It was all just too easy – no extra fees for reinstatement of expired plates like we had been told previously. We don’t want to jinx it, so our fingers are crossed until they arrive.
I decided to try my luck at renewing my CA license anyway, since it would be nice if one of us had a license from the state our vehicle was registered in. I told them it was expired and I didn’t have it, could I renew? A few clickity-clacks later, and I was asked if I had surrendered it. Well, yes, in Texas where I had gotten a license while visiting since my California license was expired. Same address? Yes. OK, $32 USD. Line up for a photo and a test.
Test, what?!!! I sweated that one out, wishing I’d been studying all that time I was sitting on my butt. In the end, I skated by and should have a new DL being sent to our new tenant’s place in a few weeks.
Of course, our successful trip was still a bit short. So, I’m trying to convince Jason to get to work on Red Beard so we can road trip back to California later this year.