Thursday, September 24, 2009

Officially required to own a cowboy hat

That’s right, bitches: I’m a Texas resident.

I’d like to thank the Internet, my San Antonio map, the slew of government offices I had to visit over the past few months and Gloria, the nicest government employee I’ve ever met at the Bexar County Tax Office. I couldn’t have done it without you, boo!

Here, you have to EARN the right to become a Texan. They don’t make it easy. And it’s EXPENSIVE. I have a feeling this is their way of weeding out the bad apples. Sort of a survival of the fittest for new residents. Don’t have a permenant residence? Have a clunker for a car? Can’t come up with the money? WE DON’T WANT YOU IN OUR STATE.

My first insight into this was when I took Jerry (My Jetta) in for a recall.

Maintenance guy: “Your car hasn’t had an inspection yet.”

Me: “Huh? Like an emissions test? Does it need one? It’s, like a year old.”

Apparently in Texas “All Texas registered vehicles are required to receive an annual inspection. All inspections include a comprehensive safety inspection; however, some vehicles are required to have an emissions test in addition to the safety inspection.”

Cost: $15

Then, you have to register your car in Texas…and you have to do this BEFORE you get your license. I don’t know why. Someone higher up just deemed it so. And to do this, you have to go to the county tax office in your county. I live in the biggest damn county in San Antonio and there’s only one office – downtown. The Husband and I ventured here on Tuesday during torrential downpour rain. Guess what? No line! Yay! Ball in our court!

But I have a lease, which makes registering my car harder than the LSAT. A tube of whiteout later, we came up with the correct info on the correct forms

Cost to register car and buy plates: $195!

And they expire every year! “But next time it will just be $70,” Gloria assured me. JUST!? Oh, and you have to pay by check or cash. Who uses checks anymore?

Now, onto my license. This time, I was PREPARED. I had every piece of information sensitive document I had in tow. Birth Certificate, marriage license, social security card, all in a manila envelope. I was an identity thief’s wet dream.

The people at the Texas Dept. of Public Safety do NOT take identity theft jokes lightly, by the way.

After an hour in line I took the vision test (with my glasses for the First. Time. Ever. Sad.) and I was booked – I’m not kidding. I was finger printed and everything. To make it easier when I am arrested for smuggling illegal immigrants I guess? (I say this because I loved the play-on-words posted “Texas Hold ‘em” meaning they’ll take (hold?) your license if you smuggle drugs or people over the border. Something tells me that’s not all they’d do, but whatever.)

I smiled pretty for the camera (though she took the picture as soon as I STOPPED smiling, of course) I was handed a slip of paper. Oh yea, I won’t get my actual license for two weeks. Not a big deal for me because I have a fancy military ID but the woman next to me pitched a FIT. “How will I buy my smokes with this piece of crap?!”

Cost for license: $24

Total cost of becoming a Texan: $234 + mental anguish.

I’m off to shop a new hat!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Afternoon Delight

Sunday, The Husband and I had grand plans to float the Guadalupe since A. it was 90 degrees in September and we’re Ohioans. B. it only requires a tube and a beer and we are low maintenance.

Guess what? Texans ALSO believe Labor Day weekend is the end of summer. When we floated back in July, it was a hot, packed mess of people and tubes and way too many cowboy hats for my taste. Sunday there was … well, I think I saw one person meandering downstream.

People … in OHIO summer activities end because it is, indeed, too cold for summer activities. It was partly cloudy and 90 degrees on Sunday – a perfect summerlike day.

Or perhaps they were all home watching football?

So we took our cooler and flip flops to Jacob’s Creek park at Canyon Lake where we sponged music off of the picnickers on the next table over and drank beer and watched the water. It’s really a beautiful area and, if we were prepared, we would have totally set up shop there for the day. Unfortunately, The Husband gets cranky when hungry and goldfish crackers were not satiating, so we left after an hour.

My question is … what the hell do South Texans DO in the fall? There are no leaves to rake, it’s too hot for corn mazes and hot cider and high school football is on Fridays (It’s SO Friday Night Lights down here). Please advise.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Taking care of business

We rent our house in San Antonio. So, when something breaks, we call a landlord to fix it.

Seems simple, right?

Except our technical “landlords” live in Oklahoma, the property manager reminds me of Wilford Brimley with a sugar low and, because the house is new, the homebuilder has to determine if the “Thing That Breaks” is covered under warranty. And if it is…THEY hire a contractor to fix it.

Got that?

The breaker to our office is on the fritz. It keeps tripping, making it nearly impossible for me to create witty and eloquent blog entries for my loyal fan base. It needs to be fixed, pronto. Here is how the events have unfolded, thus far:

1. The husband calls the property manager.
2. The property manager calls the homeowner.
3. The Homeowner calls the builder.
4. The property manager calls me, because I am home.
5. He tells me he is calling the builder.
6. The builder calls me.
7. The builder comes over, determines it’s under warranty, calls a contractor.
8. The contractor calls me to set up an appointment, even though I am in the same room with the builder who is on the phone with the contractor.
9. The contractor comes over Monday. Seemingly fixes the issue.
10. Breaker still trips.
11. Builder calls me to check on the progress. I tell him it’s still broken.
12. He tells me to call the contractor directly.
13. I call The husband to bring him back to speed.
14. I call the contractor, make another appointment
15. The builder calls to ensure the problem is in the process of being fixed.
16. I am now waiting for the contractor to come during his ├╝ber-convenient time-frame of 1:00 pm to whenever-the-hell-he-feels-like-showing-up.

Your move, contractor. Your move.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to School

I had my first class on Saturday! I am taking a certification course at UTSA to become a paralegal because, let’s face it, magazine publishing isn’t exactly a growing job market these days. So in one year, instead of being an editor’s bitch, I get to be a lawyer’s bitch – and get paid more to do so.

I don’t want to get too specific on the people I met at my class in case I facebook friend them at some point ... but there are a few characters that I just have to mention:

The “OMG you are so funny!” girl. This chick laughed – obnoxiously – at everything our professor (a practicing attorney) had to say. Everything. While the prof is a cool chick…um, I think she was even a little rattled at her new No. 1 Fan.

The “back when” woman. There’s probably one in every class like this … the woman who hasn’t stepped foot on a college campus since “they had card catalogs! Imagine that!” Yes, yes, and you had to visit the professors personally instead of e-mail and you walked five miles to class – each way – in drifts of snow. And she kept commenting that she was the mother hen and the oldest person in the class....which she's not...but she may have thought that because the 55-year-old-mother-of-two next to me was on her Blackberry the whole time. Every “new” technology we were introduced to in orientation (which simply included our professor’s e-mail address and the Web CT site) garnered an “ooh” and “ahhh” from this woman. I wanted to ...ahh.. punch her in the face.

The Re Re. There was just no other word for her. The rules (which we were e-mailed – ohhh! ahh!– to us a week ago) are pretty strict for class with promptness and attendance being the major factor in your grades. Even if ALL you had to do was breathe and sit in class, you’d come away with at least a low C. So what does this girl do? Comes in 40 minutes late. Then 10 minutes late after the lunch break.

Then, there were the comments. We had to introduce ourselves and explain why we were pursuing this career. Her answer? “I’ve been in a lot of legal trouble in the past so I thought it’d be good to know what they were sayin’ to me.” This is what we call “too much sharing” in kindergarten. Lady, no one is asking you to say “I used to dream of being a paralegal as a child.” Just say it’s a…um, lifestyle change…and be done with it.

My other favorite question was “Hey are you guys (meaning my prof, a lawyer) ever gonna write laws so lie people understand them?” Yes, she said lie people…because it’s the past tense of “laypeople” in her head, perhaps? I don’t know. This girl is going to keep me entertained all year – I can feel it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When it rains...it pours

It rained today! And yesterday!

People, like everything in Texas, the rain is also bigger.

All summer whenever I’d pass a retention pond or dry river beds or attempted to kayak in the puddle that was the Guadalupe I remember thinking it would take a few hurricanes to generate enough H20 to fill those babies back up.

Well, apparently it just takes one low pressure system over the Mexican mountains.

Monsoon like rain has been pounding San Antonio for like two days straight. Yesterday I thought it was the end of the freakin’ world it was raining so hard. And driving anywhere required me to remember what my driver’s ed teacher said about hydroplaning more than once. (Did anyone pay attention during that segment? I didn’t think so. The only thing I remember is to turn my headlights on low during fog. Guess what? Cars made today have daytime running lights that you can’t really do anything about so that little lesson is all for naught.)

Anyway…

I know, it’s great considering the area hasn’t seen significant rain in six months. But this type of weather is exactly what I DON’T miss about Ohio. Sun? Come back soon, 'kay?

Speaking of Ohio, my trip back home was great – I crammed everything I wanted to do in three days, including making an ass out of myself at my friend’s wedding and successfully drinking most of the wine at the bar. And slurring. And possibly Elaine-dancing to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” – Wha? Who does that? This girl.

Ever fly hung over? Yeah, I don’t think my seatmates were too pleased to see me grabbing for that barf bag.