Monday, December 1, 2008

The DMV and other names for Satan

Well It's December 1st and I guess it's winter now. We got a few inches of snow and a lot of drifting and blowing. It's days like this where I appreciate commuting at 6:30am instead of 8-8:30am. At least it's not too busy on the roads.

What a weird busy week. It was weird because it seems like I was gone from work for so long. I took Wednesday off in addition to Thanksgiving and the day after. A nice break but I know I will be even antsier this week and not interested in working. We leave for San Diego 6:00 am Sunday morning and now with winter arriving today it is none to soon to be in San Diego for a week.

Last Wednesday I tackled the DMV. My longtime nemesis. However much to my dismay, my plan for laying siege to the DMV by sitting in the lobby for hours waiting my turn was thwarted at every turn. My mission was to restore Zach's drivers license and clear up the snafu regarding my own license. But my plan started to fail right when I walked in the door. I got my number right away and started to fill out the required forms and was called to the window before I could even finish filling them out. What kind of treachery was this? Certainly some form of missing documentation would send me back to a lobby fox hole. "Okay Zach's licenses is restored. I see yours was restored but they failed to remove the FPF code blah blah blah...let me do that for you. Oh I noticed they have the wrong SSN on your license. I probably should ask to see your card but I'll just trust you and fix that too. That's it everything is good. Thank you very much" Yes evil I tell you...words of satan. Certainly the photo machine or license printer will fail and I will sit waiting for it. Alas I was handed my new license within 3 minutes. The whole experience lasted 18 minutes. Perhaps a driver's ed test student would pile into my car as I left the parking, I escaped unharmed. I am still one gets a DMV experience like that and walks away with their soul.

Next on the list..The quest for customer service at Target. Kt bought a new camera from Target just before Caitlin's wedding and within 6 weeks it stopped functioning. I went back to Target with no receipt or box but just a register, date, and time of day to lookup the sale. By harassing the electronics manager, who fortunately was available instead of skippy the wonder clerk who was trying to be helpful ...but wasn't, I was able to secure an exchange. Based on the new prices though, I was able to upgrade Kt from an 8 megapixel to a 10 megapixel. Because most any teenager needs to have a camera that can take high def pictures at 12x14 inches. I suppose they could then print posters of themselves standing in front of the bathroom mirror giving a peace sign or sticking their tongues out or maybe both.

I somehow managed to walk out with a nice camera for myself and a really cheap video camera as well. Funny how that happens. I also believe I accidentally kept the broken camera of Kt's. I believe that was supposed to stay behind but she didn't ask for it. So when I got home I realized that the issue with Kt's old camera seemed to be power related. I used the charger to try and charge it but it wouldn't take a charge. I put the battery in the new camera and it wouldn't charge in it either. The new camera ceased to work when I switched the old battery into it as well. When I used the new battery in both of them, they worked just fine. So I bought a new battery for Kt's old camera and voila we have a working camera. This is now Karen's camera. I will not even detail my quest for a battery. It's enough to say that if you need a weird battery just start at Batteries Plus. Don't try 3 other places first just hoping you'll avoid the drive out to Batteries Plus.

So I mentioned that I might have just purchased a camera for myself. We really haven't had a camera in many years. We had a cheap digital camera but it didn't take the best pictures and it sucked the batteries down so fast it was hardly worth using simply because there was no room for the pack mule we needed to carry batteries for us. I got a Kodak 10 megapixel camera with a 10x Zoom lens. This is all very strategic as I intend to zoom in on Zach while he is in formation or during his moto run or at graduation. It has a gabillion much so that I did something extraordinary...I read the manual. It does night vision pics and low light and just lots of things. I took pictures of Ike's head and I could zoom inside his nose and nearly see his brain. I was very happy...BUT

Evil Evil Kodak. They don't sell that camera with a rechargeable battery. It comes with a lithium battery that based on all the gear movement, zooming, and autofocus within this larger camera depletes rather quickly....and this after having already dismissed the pack mule as unnecessary. These batteries are $8 a piece. I bet you any money the DMV is behind this. So my quest for the rechargeable battery and charger commenced. So remember what I said about going straight to Batteries Plus to find your weird batteries? Disregard that...when you need an ion lithium battery charger and rechargeable battery. Go back to that 1st place you went to 5 blocks from your house to get that kind of specialty product. Thank God gas prices are down because no one accounts for the gas prices in their battery costs.

I think there is some irony that the very cheap video camera came with a battery recharger and rechargeable battery. A little bit of ingenuity thought up by some worker in china who makes 50 cents an hour no doubt. and the the whole video cam cost 50% of the camera. Actually I'm sure Kodak thought of this using the Printer sales methodology which states, "sell the printers cheap and gouge them on the ink cartridges." but they just are going for a corner on the ion lithium battery market.

So that pretty much covered Wednesday.

Thursday we went to K's parents for Thanksgiving. We picked up my Mom on the way and brought her too. It was an excellent meal and afterwards we played Wii for awhile. If you want high definition pictures of this, I got em. Even my mom took some turns playing M&M Kart. I was almost as surprised as the first time I heard my Mom swear... which did not scar me at all that fine spring day of May 16th, 1981 at 5:33pm in the kitchen of the house in Lake Mills. We left Karen at her parents to help out baking more cookies and HAHAHA they made her do her homework. We picked up Ike's friend Nick on the way home to stay overnight.

Black Friday began before I went to bed on Thursday. I stayed awake Thursday night to make sure Kt got up for work at 3:30am at JCP. I decided that black Friday I would stay home and avoid all travel. I know that Black Friday is a creation of the DMV and I do not want to push my luck. Instead I slept until 11:30 and woke up minutes before Kt got home from work. HAHAHAHA that felt good. She did not share my amusement. I then cleaned the house up a bit because Kt was having over the next boyfriend prospect. I wanted to make sure the interview went smoothly. So EZ, as I call him so creatively as those are his initials, so far seems like a good catch. He is polite, pleases and thank yous, looks you in the eye, and is not afraid to interact. He did call me Mr. Niedfeldt though and that always freaks me out. Mr. Niedfeldt was my father. He actually likes chapel at school. Goes to church. Is on the honor role with a 3.8, is 1st team all conference line backer, can break small children in half with his bare hands, and has a firm hand shake. He actually went out and played Frisbee in the park with Kt, went for a walk, and actually was willing to not just veg on a couch at out house. I'm scared that he's so nice and good and such that someone as wild as Kt might be too much for him. Well apparently word has spread via the football team network from the football banquet this weekend that he is now going out with Kt. This is unusual because normally this type of information travels fastest through the OMG network (This is the network where teenage girls transmit information faster than the speed of sound to large numbers of other teenage girls by starting conversations with "OMG, can you believe what so and so....."). Kt is still awaiting the formal request for long-term wooing privileges, but they do seem imminent. She is going to make sure this relationship starts out on the right foot. Something about not clubbing the boys over the head and dragging them off.

I found EZ's presence very useful in removing the remnants of the Big screen TV. Its sort of nice having the strongest Wisco student in the house to help lift out the heavy base of the old TV. I had bashed apart the TV console with my 40lb drive shaft from my original 1972 Toyota corolla. That bar has been the greatest tool ever. What duct tape can put together this bar can rip apart. Plus even the strongest kid at wisco who could crush me, had a chance to see what a 500lb TV looks like after being bashed by a large iron pole...particularly if you mention that this is what the last boy who didn't take care of Kt looked like after offending me and my 1972 drive shaft.

Did I mention the quest for the fuses? No of course not. Well in starting the cleaning of the basement on Friday night, I noticed that in a hole in the wall was stuffed the CD jacket of my "Best of the GoGo's" album. I pulled it out to discover it was covering a broken outlet. Who would think to use a paper CD jacket to cover a broken electrical fire causing outlet? I think the better way to start a house fire would be to use an album cover of a band I can't stand like Led Zepplin or Sting...but not the GoGo's...jeez. Upon wiggling the outlet to assess its brokenness, it promptly shorted and blew a fuse....or so I thought. I ran to Menard's just before closing and bought a replacement fuse for the apparent affected circuit as it was written in pencil on the fuse box 58 years ago. I got back to discover that my fuse box had inserts for "safety" and I now had the wrong type of fuse....alas it was too late to go back to Menards. I did manage to get the fuse insert out and try my new fuse...still nothing. I guess I go to Menards in the morning and get the proper fuses AND a new insert. Around 2am I notice that the house is getting frosty. So it turns out that the circuit I blew was the very common living room lamp, Kt's bedroom, the stove, 4 outlets in the basement and furnace circuit. I put an extra blanket on Kt and on my bed and laced my blankets with catnip to assure an adequate covering of cats.

Saturday morning I got to Menard's early and I decided to buy every fuse I could need to replace the whole deal. I also got a new insert for the touchy socket I had tried to fix the night before. When I got home I discovered that my electrical system was probably designed by the DMV. Every new electrical requirement added to the house in 60 years got a new electrical box holding exactly one circuit breaker. So inserting the fuses in all of the 7 electrical boxes was much like unlocking the sequence of a full stargate in my basement. It turns out that 3 fuses had blown and their unique combination is what made everything wacky. After nearly electrocuting myself twice getting the new insert into the socket it didn't fit right and didn't make an electrical connection. I ripped it out again and after getting most everything but Kt's room back power wise, I decided to just put in the fuse I had bought the night before. Voila! it worked. I was the fuse master and I have the electrical burns to prove it. I did replace the outlet, but I am still deciding which CD jacket to use as an outlet cover. I'm thinking my "Wham's Greatest Hit" cover. BTW there is a functioning stargate in my basement now. I'm submitting my electrical system to Nicolas cage to be considered in the next series "National Treasure: The Basement of secrets"

So I spent the rest of Saturday cleaning up the basement and building a small 5 foot wall to section off my office from the rest of the basement. I took out Zach's dresser of electronic components and put it in the garage. There is a lot more open space down there now. It's almost pleasant to sit in now. I got my sound system restored and found that I could blast Xmas music to cover an almost two block radius. Very cool to be able to do yet things rattle off the tables and walls in the house so its probably not good to do that often. With great power comes great responsibility.

Saturday night I ate dinner with the McCorkel's, who are Ricky's parents. That is Zach's best friend with whom he is in the same platoon at Boot Camp. We compared child war stories. It was nice that there were no surprises. I was waiting for..."Yeah I remember when Zach blew up our gazebo..." or something like that. Took an hour to get a large pizza at a new restaurant in Muskego..not cool...we wanted free beer to make up for our pain and suffering. There was no free beer.

Sunday was a "fun" day. Church was awesome. for me personally it was one of the best services we have ever had. Mostly because of the sermon but all around just a good service. Ike was too chicken to ask for the phone number of a cute girl at church. She has only been coming to church for a year and half now. So I went up and got it for him. He ended up talking to her all day long. After church, I came home...I was supposed to have not procrastinated and should have started my 10 page paper for class before this. That apparently did not happen and I had indeed procrastinated. Sooo of course the minute I got home I started right in on killing the fruit flys once and for all.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. They were still everywhere and PETA approved humanitarian trapping of fruit flys in the oven and baking them just was not enough. I found just the right type of raid for flying insects. It was a nice fogging mist and I blasted them all. Within 1 minute I had hundreds of fruit fly carcasses all over. There was a rogue here and there but I will get them in their due time. Basically it took care of the problem. Chemical warfare is where its at. Threat eliminated. I have no doubt they were from the DMV.

Now that I could study in the peace of a fruit fly free home, I got right on that paper. well and started laundry, cleaned the floors, and the cleaned the kitchen from the toxic cloud I had created there. Now, back to that paper. well except I needed to go get Karen from Delafield and then make dinner. Okay...the paper...I cranked it out and submitted it at 12:51am...9 minutes to spare oooo yeah. I also did two postings in those 9 minutes to cap off a perfect week of discussions as well. JIT education...that's me..Master of Fuses and Masters of Science.

So now the long week of work before we leave for San Diego. Can't wait for it to be done. at least there are some basketball games to see to help pass the time. Zach starts the crucible in about 15 hours. Then its 54 hours with 4 hours sleep and 2 rations of food. I will guess that the entire time what will get Zach through the entire ordeal is the warrior's breakfast at the end of the Crucible. Zach will be home on the 13th and doesn't return to San Diego until Jan 19th. He will be working as a recruiter's assistant during that time.

okay that's it...just watch out for the DMV.

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