I hope you all had a nice Labor Day weekend. It is past time for a Blond Girl update. I'll try to keep it quick, but it's been 4 weeks since my last update and I have a few pieces of major news. To avoid "favoritism", I'll give them to you in chronological order:
1. On August 12, I answered an ad, went for a visit and came back to Mom's house with... a cute little orange tabby kitten named Jack! We have known for awhile now that our cat, Gus, really needs a friend. The fact that he literally jumps up walls may have contributed to our decision. Champs is happy with us having another cat, but didn't want to deal with a kitten, Gus, and Sweet Girl's school schedule, so Jack is staying here with me until I go home for good in November. Until then, he's a little stowaway here at Mom's apartment. Mom's dog, Lucy, and Jack get along pretty well now, but you can be sure there were a few fireworks when the animals first met! Jack looks a lot like Gus, but with a white belly and legs, and with little mustache lines on his nose. He's pretty darn cute!
2. On August 17, Sweet Girl and I flew home to Illinois. I enjoyed a very busy weekend at home, getting our wardrobes switched from summer to winter and enjoying some time with Champs. We tried out a new restaurant, The Flat Top Grill. It was really nice – and a bit pricey. Like all good weekends, it ended too soon and I had to head home on Monday the 20th. The day was much like my mood – bleak and rainy! Even so, I got back to Minnesota safely and Sweet Girl got back into Illinois life with daycare and her friends. She started second grade on Friday the 23 rd – a date that seems early and foreign to most Minnesotans who are used to school starting after Labor Day. So far school seems to be going well for our little second grader. When I get home, I'm looking forward to setting up a desk area by my work desk so that she can do her homework after school while I finish up work.
3. I had a four-day weekend this last week; Friday was off for our entire class and then Monday, of course, was the Labor Day holiday. I really wanted to go home, but Champs and I decided that it would be better for me to stay in Minnesota and not spend 20 hours driving over the weekend and more than a hundred dollars on gas. As it turns out, I may as well have gone home. On Friday morning I had a two hour dental appointment during which I got a cavity filled and had a temporary crown put in. I'll get the permanent crown in two more weeks. On Saturday morning I went to go have breakfast with Geekwif and our friend Curly Girl (who was in town for the weekend). On the way there, I was tooling down the highway and suddenly realized I'd missed my exit. I was pretty much alone on the highway with no other traffic nearby to match and had my mind on other things and, you guessed it... I flew right past a state trooper. He hit his lights and I pulled over, gave him my license and registration, explained why and for how long I am in town and waited for the ticket - or, hopefully - warning to come. I knew I wasn't going that much over the speed limit.
Well, I waited and waited and it took more than 10 minutes. Just when I was beginning to wonder if he was ever going to come back, a tow truck pulled up in front of my car and backed up, boxing me in! I was in shock! I knew that I hadn't done anything to deserve an arrest or tow, but I had no idea what was going on. The trooper finally came over my car and asked me when I had moved to Illinois. I explained that I moved on August 13, 2006. "Well", he asked me, "are you aware that your MN driver's license has been canceled?" I just looked at him, bewildered. "Well, yes, sir" I explained, "I had to surrender it in Illinois when I got my license there." He then told me to get in the back of the patrol car (on the traffic side, I might add; he had his uniforms hanging up on the safe side) and showed me on the computer that my license had been canceled on October 30 because I didn't have a physician's statement on record for my diabetes. I explained to him that I had received the form to complete, but since it was due after my move date, I simply informed IL DOT of my diabetes and they said they would communicate with MN DOT. I went on to explain that my license was canceled after we moved and after I had gotten an IL license and that neither Minnesota nor Illinois had informed me that I had any requirement to complete in Minnesota. Unfortunately, the officer was unmoved by my plight and obvious distress over the situation. He wrote me a $175.00 ticket for driving with a canceled license (never mind the fact that I am legal to drive in the other 49 states) and had my car towed away. I had to pay $158.32 to pay for the tow, Geekwif and Curly Girl had to come to my rescue and drive my car back to Mom's for me, and to add insult to injury, instead of the nice cafe where we’d planned to meet for breakfast, we had to eat at Denny's. Yuck!
I spent both breaks and my lunch hour yesterday working on having my driving privileges reinstated so that I can drive again and then have the proof of the administrative error that I will need to fight the citation down at city hall. I had to write a letter explaining that I am no longer a MN resident and I wasn't at the time my license was canceled. After that, I called the citation office to request a hearing. I asked the citation clerk today if, once the city dropped the citation, they would reimburse me for the tow. He explained that I will have to figure out which state is at fault, get written proof of the error, take the offending state to small claims court to sue them and then pay the court costs. In other words, NO. So now, I can't drive and I have no extra spending money because I had to pay off the Guido who towed my car. Needless to say, I was completely blindsided by all of this. Thank God for Champs and his calmness; his understanding of the situation made it so much easier to handle! Like I said earlier, I wish I had gone home for the weekend. I could have helped my sister-in-law, Princsiss and her family move into their new home and I wouldn't have added to the state trooper's fund raising efforts!
4. Saturday wasn't completely awful, though. Later in the day, a wonderful thing occurred: I became a great-aunt. My niece, Ami (who lives in Phoenix), gave birth to an 8 lb, 1 oz baby boy named Adam Michael. He was 20 1/2 inches long and is a big baby. He's just a cutie pie with long fingers, big cheeks and lots of dark hair. My mom is flying out to Phoenix tomorrow to stay with my sister and help Ami get used to mommihood. She'll be there until Mid-October and I will have her place to myself and the cat. My brother Pat will be watching Lucy. I wish I could go with Mom to Phoenix for a couple of days to meet him, but I'm sure she'll come home with photos and stories galore.
5. Labor Day was very nice; I went to a thrift store sale and got a lot of great deals for next to nothing - a good thing considering the money I had to pay the towing company to get the zoom-zoom care out of hock. Later in the day, Mom and I went to my brother Pat's house for a barbecue cookout. It was nice to spend time with all of my family - except my niece Caitlin, who had just moved out to the University of Minnesota campus and was getting settled in.
6. One last piece of news and then I'll wrap this up. Although Mom will be out of the state for the next 5 weeks, she is also moving out of her second floor, one bedroom apartment into a first floor, two bedroom apartment. Since she can't be in two places at one time, my brother's will move her stuff and I will be getting her settled. She's got it good... she's moving, but doesn't have to move! Watch for more of an update on this later.
Well, that's about all the news I have for now. Other than missing Champs and Sweet Girl like crazy and still trying to learn all the intricacies of my job, I'm just living life. Feel free to drop me a hello note if you want. By my best calculations, I expect that my training will take around 25 - 31 weeks. I'm not even halfway there yet, and I am already beyond homesick. Any news or happy thoughts are always welcome!
So for now, Blond Girl signing off... Hugs to you all!