2013 in my Books

My friend, Kelly, posted to FB recently that she read 69 books in 2013.  That’s a LOT of books to my mind, but the question sort of piqued my curiosity about how much reading I did this year.  On one hand, I read a fair amount, but on the other I feel like I have not been reading nearly as much as I did in previous years.

Lo and behold, after counting the books I actually read in 2013, I only completed 21 books. That’s not as low as I thought it would be, but it’s still not as high as it probably has been in past years.

The reason this number surprises me is because I read most of those books within a week’s time or less. (My concentrated reading rate averages about 50 pages an hour of standard text.)  So, 21 books indicates that I really didn’t spend all THAT much time reading.

Anyway since the list is so short, here it is with some notes on each.

Lord of the White Hell Book One (The Cadeleonian Series)
Lord of the White Hell Book Two (The Cadeleonian Series)
by Ginn Hale

I love Ginn Hale’s writing and I’m actually surprised that I still haven’t gotten around to getting her Rifter series.  Lord of the White Hell is a pair of books that I found to be superduper fun.  Both books are very easy reads and, honestly, they should just be put together into a single volume, but I understand how these things happen and so I’m counting them as separate books.

The Alchemist – 10th Anniversary Edition
by Paul Coelho

I can’t remember if I read this in 2013 or at the end of 2012. I posted about it on Facebook, but FB doesn’t have a good way for me to search my posts, so I can’t verify it. I’m counting it in 2013 because I just want to make sure everyone knows I hate this book. It’s so stupid I struggle to find a place to begin criticizing it. But that’s not what this post is about.  I just want to say that for a book that gets so much attention it is amazingly vapid.

Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo Saga)
First Shift – Legacy (Part 6 of the Silo Series) (Wool)
by Hugh Howey

I guess to be consistent I should count this as six separate books. *sigh*  I really enjoyed Wool 1 – 5. The first installment is really more of a short story but the novel gets more developed as you go.  I found the premises and environment of the books to be really thought provoking.  I love the heroine of the last books.

But First Shift was a let down to me. It’s a prequel to the first five books and changes the style and approach.  I could have gone without it.

Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files
by Jim Butcher

The Dresden Files is a really fun series of books that I started reading several years ago and this is the latest installment.  It was not a let down except that — as usual — I read it in a couple of days and was left waiting until the next book comes out.  For those unfamiliar, it’s a fantasy series that follows the adventures of a wizard/ private investigator written in a style reminiscent of noir and Daschel Hammet. It’s full of humor and exciting things.

Consider Phlebas (Culture)
by Iain M Banks

This is one of those artsy sci-fi books.  It’s expansive, complex, mysterious, weird, and a lot of other things that make for a sci-fi book that critics would love to talk about.  It was also pretty slow and boring to me. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s worth reading if you’re like me and interested in getting a better understanding of the sci-fi/fantasy genre of books.  This is one of those books at the “top” in terms of literary value in the genre, I think.

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
by Gary Chapman

I picked up this book after it was recommended at ATLOScon and was not disappointed.  I found it to be incredibly helpful both in terms of understanding what I can do to help build, advance, and strengthen my relationship with the BF, but also the things I didn’t know I was looking for from him as well.

Cassandra Clare: The Mortal Instrument Series (3 books): City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments)
by Cassandra Clare

Yeah. I like to read young adult fiction from time to time.  Cassandra Clare turned up in my Amazon recommendations and then there was a movie made from the first book in this series.  This is not as painfully silly as the Twilight saga, but it’s still pretty lame.

I will say that I found the universe of the book to be pretty interesting.  There are vampires and elves and stuff, but they’re threaded into a pseudo-Christian mythos in a way that I haven’t seen elsewhere.  Unfortunately, the focus of the books is less the magic and universe than it is the emotional confusion, romantic interests, and action sequences involving the narrator of the book. (I haven’t mentioned it in a while, so I will say again: I do not prefer first-person perspectives in novels.)

I find myself getting increasingly frustrated and offended with female main characters who are less competent, smart, emotionally stable, etc. than male characters. Is this really how we think our young females are or should be?  I feel insulted by the suggestion.

The Richest Man in Babylon
by George S Clason

Pro: Great book for young adults in order to begin teaching them responsible financial habits.  It’s short, clear, and interesting to read.  Con: It’s WILDLY repetitious.

Blue Moon (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)
Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)
Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)
by Laurell K Hamilton

I started reading the Anita Blake series because I read somewhere that Jim Butcher said he was inspired to write the Dresden series by Hamilton’s work on Anita Blake.

I can’t say I’m a big fan even though I’ve now read something like 12 or 13 of these books.  They’re like potato chips, though. They’re light, easy and quick to read. It’s hard to read just one at a time.  But they’re also without a lot of “nutritional” value.

I’m giving up on the series after these three books because it’s just getting to be too porny.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with the level of eroticism in the books. They aren’t overly graphic, but there’s a weird obsession with S&M and other forms of kink.  Weird because kink is portrayed in such a simple-minded way — as if Hamilton isn’t actually interested in those sorts of sexual expressions but imagines this is how it is.  I don’t know, but I am not impressed or interested in all that.  On the up side at least she isn’t like Anne Rice with all the graphic depictions of bodily fluids and whatnot.

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Rise Headless and Ride (Jason Crane)
by Richard Gleaves

Full disclosure: I know Richard Gleaves from real life.  But this book was SO MUCH FUN.  It’s young adult fiction in the fantasy vein. And I just could not get enough of it.  I loved it so much that I bought a signed copy for one of my friends’ daughters.

Animal Farm: A Fairy Story
by George Orwell

The only reason I read this was because I wanted to read 1984 but the copy I bought started with Animal Farm, so I decided to read Animal Farm first.  It’s a famous book. I don’t really have anything to add to the volumes of discourse that already exist on this.

The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos)
by Dan Simmons

I read Hyperion a few years ago and really enjoyed it and this is the sequel. Unfortunately, where I found Hyperion to be fascinating due to Simmons’ ability to control and modulate his writing style — owing to the Canterbury Tales-style format he adopted — while still staying within the universe of his story, The Fall of Hyperion is more of a straight-forward sci-fi opera.  Nevertheless, this book is still one of those “high art” sci fi novels and is a solid read if you like the genre.

We the Animals: A novel
by Justin Torres

Ugh. This book is just… ugh.  As you can probably tell from the list above, I tend to read sci-fi and fantasy. I do also enjoy history and some non-fiction.  I rarely EVER get into modern art-lit and this is that.

The book is very short and it’s mostly composed of short vignettes about the lives of three young boys. As far as I can tell, the stories aren’t directly connected to one another and then, suddenly, in the final chapter of the book the narrator is a teenager and has sex with a random man in a bus stop.  This book doesn’t actually have a story to it in sense that the events are causally connected to one another, so the plot of the book is, at best, ambiguous.

I am sure that if I put my mind to it I could pull out some sort of literary commentary on the book, but I hate this kind of book.

I realized that another one of the reasons this list isn’t longer is because I have a lot of books that I started and just haven’t finished for one reason or another. I have a really hard time giving up on a book, so if I start reading a book that doesn’t grab me I will usually just read a little on it here and there until it’s done.  I also have a bad habit of reading multiple books at once and so I have a handful going all at once.

Here’s a list of the books I have in progress at the moment:

  • Anathem by Neal Stephenson
  • Crimson by Cosmo Fischer
  • “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard Feynman
  • Tasteful Nudes: …and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation by Dave Hill
  • Pomodoro Technique Illustrated (Pragmatic Life) by Staffan Noteberg
  • Agile Excellence for Product Managers: A Guide to Creating Winning Products with Agile Development Team by Greg Cohen
  • Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century’s Biggest Bestsellers by James Hall
  • The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth by Joseph Turow
  • Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler

Looking at that “in progress” list, I think I need to spend a little time finishing some of these and cleaning out my library.

My 2014 Theme: Good Habits

2014 is going to be one of those “building” years where the BF and I spend a lot of time working on laying the groundwork for things to come.

We’re going to be moving again.  We’re not leaving Florida just yet, but his office was relocated a little while ago and so we’re planning on moving to cut down on his >1 hour commute and get into a neighborhood we like a bit better.

We’re going to achieve a few of our larger financial goals of paying off some debts, building up some savings, etc.

And we’re planning on doing a little bit of travel this year although we already know we’re going to have to skip a few trips we were hoping to make in order to do some of the other things we want to do.

BUT!  The point of this post is to announce my theme for 2014.

For those unfamiliar, I’m not a big fan of resolutions the way they’re usually done because they’re usually just a list of goals or aspirational statements that don’t amount to much. I also don’t care for the notion of suddenly trying to become resolved to do something. I mean, if you’re resolved to do it, why not just go ahead and do it at the time you make up your mind? Why wait until the end of the year.

So, what I like to do is to pick a theme or an area of focus for the year. That way I can just do whatever I want and write it off as being part of my theme. GUARANTEED SUCCESS! Just kidding. (Not really.)

So, here is my theme for 2014: GOOD HABITS!

WOOOO!!! YAAAYYYY!!!

The inspiration for this theme is this article here: Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead. (If you talk to the BF, though, he will say I stole the idea from him, but that is vicious propaganda.)

To wit, I am going to try to establish a regular schedule for some of the habits I want to build such as:

  • Going to the gym: This isn’t too hard since my Crossfit classes happen at set times. I just have to actually go to them. 
  • Industry research: I keep tabs on my industry in a pretty haphazard way, which often leads me to miss important things. So, I’ve decided to set aside some time each day to review industry news and whatnot. OK. Maybe you don’t care about that, but it’s a big change for me.  As a subset of this, I do want to get back into work-related blogging.
  • Adopt a writing schedule: I keep fiddling around writing a book, but I keep making the mistake of trying to keep all my ideas in my head. I want to try to get into the habit of actually, you know, writing.
  • Walk the dog: This is not a euphemism, but it is totally the BF’s idea.  Our little lady is kind of a chunky lady and we need to get her working on her fitness as well.

There might be some other habits I try to work into my life, but for now I want to start with these because I think they’re relatively easy to start, maintain, and expand as needed.

So, there you go! 2014: the year of building good habits!

Looking back on 2013

This morning, I asked the BF what his goals/resolutions/whatever for 2013 are and I realized that I never actually chose a theme for 2013. 2012 was “adventure,” though, and it seems like that theme continued… although not in the way I would have wanted/predicted.

Looking back on 2013, here are some things that happened.

MOVING
I haven’t been good about blogging, so I don’t remember how much I wrote about this, but last year before Christmas my apartment flooded thanks to a broken hot water line in the wall.  That meant that my mom and I moved to a new apartment at New Year’s.

And then in July, the BF and I moved in together… as part of the process of moving from Nashville, TN to Miami, FL.

Moving has never been fun for me. It’s always hard work. It’s always expensive. It’s always stressful, annoying, frustrating, etc.  But I was very happy to have a lot of help from the BF during both processes, but especially in the move to Miami.  Not only did he help me keep my sanity, he helped me make careful, financially responsible decisions.

TRAVEL
I did a LOT of traveling in 2013, although most of it was for work.  In fact, I achieved frequent flyer status for the first time in my life.  On a fun note, the realization that I had earned status came one morning when I was running late for a flight to California and the security lady waved me into the priority access lane. It was thanks to my priority access status that I made my flight that morning.

But the BF and I made two big trips this year. First, we went to the Dominican Republic for a friend’s wedding.  Then, we made a trip to Puerto Rico for our anniversary.  Both trips were amazing and wonderful adventures for different reasons.

ADVENTURES!
I did have lots of adventures this year, too. My birthday contained several: I got to pet a hippo at the zoo, we went deep sea fishing, we went on an airboat ride.  It was so much fun! But we did also get our open water diving certification.  That was cool and I’m hoping we get to do some diving in 2014.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Moving down to Miami took the BF and I farther away from a lot of our friends and family.  Granted, 2012/2013 had me a LOT closer to my family than I’ve been in several years…

My mom had her double lung transplant in October 2012.  Her recovery was incredible to watch and I was glad to be able to watch most of it. Congratulations to her, by the way, for making it through her first year with flying colors!

I did get to meet some of the BF’s friends this year. And I got to spend the Christmas holiday with L’Italiana again this year.

SUMMARY
2013 was a weird year. It was a pretty even mix of good and… not-so-good things. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were a lot of things that angered, frustrated, and disappointed me this year. A lot. Many lots.

But as we count down the hours until it’s over, I would call 2013 a good year over all. I have to attribute the positive balance largely to the BF sharing in all the craziness with me.

Miami Traffic Rule of Halves and Corollary of Quarters

NEWS, folks. I have news.  Science News.  I have recently developed a hypothesis regarding Miami traffic.

Before I explain my new science idea, you should know that Miami traffic is terrible. No, it didn’t make the list of worst commute cities. That’s probably because the madness that causes bad traffic here is pretty much a constant.

So, here’s my hypothesis:  The reason the traffic is so bad is because given a certain traffic situation, fully half of the divers in Miami are making the wrong decision. The Corollary of Quarters is that the wrongness of their decisions is further divided into halves where one quarter of the bad-decisions are made to one extreme of wrongness and the other quarter goes in the direction of the other extreme.

Here are some observed examples:

Speed limit

Half of the drivers observe the speed limit within +/- 10mph.  25% drive >15mph below the limit and 25% drive >15mph above.

Turn Signals

Half (actually that might be overstating things) of the people use their turn signals properly or at least to an extent demanded by necessity.  25% of the people don’t use signals at all. And at any given time I believe 25% of Miami drivers leave their turn signals on constantly.

Stop Signs

Half of the drivers observe stop sign rules. 25% of the drivers think the person to the right — or anyone else who cares to assert that they should go first — goes first.  The other 25% regards stop signs as too pedestrian for them. (See what I did there?)

Merging

Half of the drivers here merge into traffic normally.  25% of the people merge only very haltingly and in a way that is dangerous and distracting to other drivers.  And 25% of the other drivers who are in the merging lanes are there just to get ahead of everyone else and intend to cut someone off to do it.

Traffic Lights

Half of the drivers in Miami stop when the light turns red.  25% of the drivers in Miami will scoot through the intersection if the light turned red on the car just ahead of them.  And the other 25% are running a red light right now having seen three or more cars ahead of them also run the light.

The Left Lane

This one is actually a surprising exception because 50% of the drivers have no idea that the left lane is for faster traffic/passing.  25% of the people, though, do know that, but do not care.  (Interestingly, this group is often composed mostly of the 25% who drive >15mph under the speed limit.) And 25% of drivers foolishly think the left lane will be available to them for those times when they want to pass.

Further study is requires, so if you want to support science you can send me some money. I’m not saying I plan on doing a real science study, but I will accept money and I am pro-science.

The Terrorists Are Using Peanuts and Winning

I don’t know how I missed this, but back in 2008 Yankee Stadium had “Mustache Day.” The first 20,000 fans got replicas of Jason Giambi’s mustache to wear.

And earlier this year the Dodgers dubbed one of their game nights “LGBT night” which they intend to do annually. No word on whether attendees had to prove that they’re gay to attend or if they were permitted to pretend to be gay for all the special treatment that comes with being fabulous.

I also haven’t heard whether attendees to Jewish Heritage Night at Dodgers Stadium had to drop trou to get in. (Note: LGBT night and Jewish Heritage Night are not the same event.) But the Cardinals also have a Jewish night at their stadium. I’m sure there are others doing that.

And did you know that the Red Sox had “Changing Diabetes Night” at their stadium?  Everyone in attendance had to stare at signs that forced them to think about the proper diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. THROUGH THE WHOLE GAME.

These things aren’t always for a single night. Gillette Stadium doesn’t allow smoking AT ALL. That’s probably because some weaklings got cancer or something.

Oh, and you don’t have to look hard if you want to attend a sporting event at a stadium on a “cancer awareness night” like the one the Baltimore Ravens have.

No one with half a brain for business could possibly conceive of a reason why any stadium would do these things. They’re silly and impose totally unreasonable restrictions on the rest of us. (I CAN’T GROW A PROPER MUSTACHE OF MY OWN, YANKEES! THANKS FOR POINTING THAT OUT. AGAIN.)

One thing is clear: Terrorists are ruining everything.

There’s no possible other explanation for this rash of special nights and changes in policy at stadiums. (I almost pointed out handicap access at stadiums, but we all know that was imposed by Muslim Dictators in Washington. No business would voluntarily accommodate handicapped people on their own.)

All of these things are designed simply to inconvenience and reduce the amount of unfettered joy the rest of us can have.  If you don’t understand this, then you are probably in a permanent vegetative state brought on by voting for a Kenyan-born Muslim. Whatever the case, you clearly do not understand the current socioeconomicmilitarxenoracigendermetaphysic conditions of our society.

 

What Diana Ross Doesn’t Tell You

Even though US society has come a long way in how gay people are treated, the process of coming out is still frequently a complicated, emotional, and lengthy process.

I came out in college and just the first step, the step of coming to face the simple fact that I am gay, took me several years beginning in high school and finally coming to a point my sophomore year in college. Even just admitting to myself that I am sexually attracted to other men required nearly a year of therapy. And even then I started out saying I was bisexual because I still held out “hope” that I would marry a woman.

My struggle with coming out to myself meant dealing with how I saw myself in society, in my family, in my future, in my future career, etc. I had to consider what it meant for my sense of my own masculinity and my identity. I was a Christian at the time and I had to think about what it would mean for my faith. I had to wonder if I would ever feel safe in a crowd because headlines of gay people being killed by random strangers were and still are all too common.

Fear. Guilt. Confusion.

It was tough.

It was an emotional and sometimes painful process. And I hadn’t even reached a point where I thought I could tell anyone else.

When I did eventually start telling my friends, I swore each one to secrecy. I was afraid of what people would say if I weren’t there to talk it through with them and put their — and my — worries to rest.

It took a while, but I did finally get to a point where I didn’t mind if my friends told other people that I’m gay. These days I just assume everyone knows I’m gay, but back then I was actually afraid of going to a gay pride parade lest I be spotted in the b-roll of news footage of the event!

If you’ve never had to go through the process of coming out it’s probably difficult to really grasp the scope and complexity of this extremely emotional process. This is why I frequently tell people that when someone comes out to someone else it’s less about the person being told than the person doing the telling. It’s a process, a journey.

I was fortunate to have a number of respectful, supportive, and trustworthy friends around me. I think a lot of them already knew I was gay before I did, but they never pushed me about it. They let me come out to them in my own time and in my own way. And when I did tell them I knew I could trust them not to treat the “revelation” as a bit of gossip to be bandied about.

Unfortunately, my BF has not been as fortunate.

His process of coming out didn’t really start until a few years ago. And when we started dating he wasn’t out to any of his friends or family.

That’s been a real struggle for me because I’ve been out for so long and I frequently blog, tweet, and Facebook about the details of my life. I don’t keep it a secret and it’s often easy for me to forget those feelings of fear and doubt that I had while coming out. I’m just so happy to be with him and proud of him. I love him and I want to tell everyone in the world how wonderful it is being with him! But I do try to be patient, supportive, and understanding.

And I regret that this means I’ve really overstepped the bounds of his comfort sometimes in talking about him in public. It breaks my heart to know that I’ve been the cause of some amount of fear and angst because I’ve been too open about our relationship.

But he’s come a long way and I’m also very happy to have been with him through the process, which is still ongoing.

As far as he’s been able to tell me, most of my BF’s friends to whom he’s come out have been very supportive and nice about it. Obviously, I can’t know what they think privately or if they’ve treated him poorly behind closed doors. But overall and by all appearances he’s been well-supported.

Except for one person.

It’s hard for me not to call this woman nasty names because her complete lack of sensitivity and basic courtesy has not only been hurtful to my BF, but she has been using my postings to social media and my blogs to conduct a campaign that is explicitly dedicated to outing him to his friends — and she doesn’t give a damn how he feels about that.

And she has the audacity (or self delusion) to say she treats him this way because she wants to be his friend.

Before I made my Facebook profile private, she snooped my pictures and posts looking for references to my BF and events that she could line up with facts about his life, looking for proof of our relationship. She’s been following my Twitter posts, which is why I had to make my Twitter and Instagram accounts private this morning.

And I believe she will read this post, so I hope she’s reading carefully.

To that woman:

Lady, your behavior is not that of a friend. You have been rude, insensitive, and disrespectful. You have treated this sensitive and important part of his life has grist for rumor and gossip.

I am told you lack the social and self awareness to comprehend the wrong you’ve done, but you owe him an apology.

At one point early in our relationship when she suspected that I was his new relationship, she sent him a text message asking him rather brusquely if he was gay. At the time, I tried to be supportive but wrote off the tone deafness of text as simple immaturity or perhaps drunkenness.

Pro tip: If you want someone to disclose sensitive information, don’t confront them via text. See also: only assholes break up via text message.

But it didn’t end there. My BF is at a wedding of his friends this weekend and one of them told him that this woman had made it her “number one goal” to out him at this wedding. That’s a direct quote from one of the many friends to whom she’s taken her amassed evidence of our relationship. Apparently, she likes to go through the pictures I post online in hopes of catching a glimpse of the BF’s hands, legs, or clothes and then take them to their mutual friends so as to advance her position as town gossip.

I realize that — if she is reading this — when she realizes this post is about her she is likely to get angry. And I also understand from my BF that she seems to honestly believe she’s done nothing wrong here, so it’s likely that this will fall on deaf ears.

But my goal in writing this is to explain to people at large — and her in particular — that coming out is a non-trivial process and friends should be respectful and supportive of their friends who are going through this journey. It’s not something you can speed along except by being kind, thoughtful, and patient while letting your friend work through it on their own. If they haven’t come out to you yet, just wait quietly for the time to come.

Problems I’ve Had with Xfinity Since Moving to Miami

  • Was quoted one price for monthly service; actual rate turned out to be $30 a month more.
  • Service was not set up correctly. eg, although we have a DVR, DVR was not activated on my account.
  • I didn’t change ANY of my service from Nashville, so it should have been a straight transfer, but that’s not how they work. I had to get a whole new account. They even sent me a “sorry to see you go” letter!
  • We’ve had at least two outages in the last three weeks.
  • Xfinity requires installation of some app on my computer in order to access my internet connection.
  • Said app adds bookmarks and heavens know what else.
  • It took no fewer than four phone calls to get them to understand that my legal name is “Givens Peden” and not “Peden Given.”
  • It took no fewer than six phone calls to get the pricing problem resolved to my satisfaction.
  • The On Demand button doesn’t work on our remote due to some lack of system integration at Xfinity. We have to go to channel 1 to get On Demand.
  • Because I had a new account, I was assigned a new username. That username was one I only just memorized: pedengiven7288. Or was it 7244? Or 7822?  Now I can’t remember. What I do remember is that I was NOT allowed to use my old username: SupaTrey, which I use everywhere.
  • Instead, I had to make no fewer than three phone calls to get my old username transferred to my new account.
  • Even though it is a brand new account, one of the methods customer service repeatedly used to validate my identity was by asking me the amount of my last payment. Another thing they like to ask is if I know my account number — although it’s a new account and I’ve not received a single piece of mail — electronic or otherwise — with an account number on it.

I could keep listing all the minor and major frustrations I’ve had with Xfinity since moving to Miami, but for my own sanity, I need to stop.

Government Mechanics

Democrats: Government is the best mechanism for ensuring the physical wellness of the population.

Republicans: Government is the best mechanism for ensuring the moral wellness of the population.

Libertarians: Government is the worst mechanism.

Florida Timing and Dependencies

I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve been preoccupied with doing all sorts of things out in the real world.  What I would like to talk about today is the fact that the BF and I have moved to (mostly) sunny Miami, Florida and the mess that has been our experience trying to get one simple thing. Can you guess what it is?

Do I want to talk about how the BF sprained his ankle almost immediately upon entering the state of Florida? No. Because that is a problem easily addressed.

Do I want to talk about how the brake system in the Uhaul went haywire two hours from Miami forcing us to reschedule movers and all sorts of madness? No. Because that stress is behind me.

Do I want to talk about how my work schedule has me traveling more than 50% of the time right now and so pretty much as soon as we unloaded the truck I had to hop on a plane? No. Because that’s life and I won’t have to travel like this for much longer.

I want to talk about the process of parking decals.

The community in which we are renting an apartment requires parking decals on all resident vehicles. If you don’t have a decal, then you have to go to the security guard every day and get a parking pass, which expires at midnight every day. And, yes, we’ve pondered the possibility that our cars will get towed at 1 am on any given night. That’s just a risk we have to take. But every day we have to go to the security guard until we get decals.

In order to get parking decals you have to fill out a little form documenting our vehicle registration and submit a copy of your drivers license which shows your address at the community.  This means we had to get Florida drivers licenses and, since we’re at it, we need Florida tags as well.

In order to get a Florida drivers license when you’re moving from out of state, you have to produce proof of ID (Drivers license is NOT accepted.), proof of your social security number, and two proofs of your residence.

One easy way to prove you live somewhere is to produce some mail from an approved entity — banks and governments, basically — that was sent to you at that address.

Unfortunately, two things interfered with our getting mail for the first week and a half that we were here.  First, our landlord told us the wrong mailbox, so our key would not work to see if we had mail.  We found the right one by simply trying to unlock all of the mailboxes.  Second, our mail carrier deemed our unit to be vacant and in spite of receiving mail forwarding instructions to accept mail as well as mail forwarded to our unit, he simply sent all of our mail back without delivering it.  We solve this by sitting around all day one Saturday watching for him to come to deliver the mail and telling him we are real people who would like to receive mail.

By the way, the state of Florida requires you to get Florida tags within 10 days of starting work in the state.  They allow you 30 days to get your license, but you have to have your license to get your tags, so for us the 30 day limit is moot.

Once we were able to gather appropriate documentation of our residency (Thankfully, they accepted documentation from electronic sources such as our auto insurance.) we were able to head over to the DMV to get our drivers licenses.  Amazingly, that took us less than an hour!

The tags are a different story.  In order to get tags in Florida, you have to first go to the tag office with your title or the contact information of your loan holder. Since we’re both still paying on our cars, the tag office has to contact our bank and request the title. The bank has to send the title back to the DMV where they digitize the title and alert us that they are now ready to receive our application for new tags.

Our loan holder, Bank of America, takes five business days to complete title requests. At the end of the five days, they overnight the title to the requesting agency.  I don’t know how long it takes the DMV to digitize a title, but I assume it will take at least a day.  That means I can go BACK to the tag office a day later to get tags. I estimate that although the state requires tags within 10 days, it’s not possible to get tags in less than 8 days — unless you can start the registration process before moving, which we could not for a number of reasons.

And every day we go to the security guard for a new parking pass.

I have no idea how long it will take us to get decals for our cars once we submit the form with our registration information and copies of licenses. I think they mail it to us.  One hopes the mailman will continue delivering mail to us.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Fact about My Childhood

Back in the 80’s, when I was a youngster, there used to be these commercials on television for mixed-artist, compilation albums.  You know, they’re the ones that have the “top hits” from a lot of different bands. Think K-Tel Records. Although, I think it was a different company.

Well, there was one commercial that bragged about its inclusion of a song by the band Nine-Inch Nails.  Now, I knew of that band, but because I consistently mis-heard the voice over on the commercial and thought there was another band featured on the record and it wasn’t until I read the track list that I realized the actual name of the band they were saying.

In my mind, they were bragging about a song by the “Nay-nay Chanelles.”

True story.

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