Friday, November 18, 2011

Homecoming Part I

15 November, Tuesday

Coming home from Greece we had the best trip ever. We had no bad weather, no long lines, no missed connections, no delays, no baggage, no circuitous routes, and overall it was very nearly an ideal trip.

Demetrios has the feeling something is wrong. Our toolbox is not in its place, but I think maybe we just failed to put it away or something. The sheer curtains are all open, and he thinks he drew them all before we left. One cabinet door is open, but I said there was an earthquake, after all, while we were gone.

The main problem I see is spiders! It happens every year; they take over in our absence. You have to go through the whole house with a broom in front of you, so it catches the cobwebs instead of your face or hair getting them all.

We dragged ourselves to a grocery store to buy some things for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.
Too tired to bother with anything else now; time to tumble into bed.

16 November, Wednesday

Demetrios was right after all. Someone has been in this house. Our brand new DVR is missing, the one that actually belongs to Verizon. The front and back doors both open and close with difficulty, as if someone had forced them and now they don’t work as well as they should.

We’ve looked around and so far haven’t found anything else missing. Our TV is too old and too heavy to steal; it isn’t even a flat-screen. Ditto our stereo equipment, which consists of a turntable (yes!) and tuner and speakers. Our microwave oven is so old nobody would want it. Oh, and there were no power tools in our toolbox. We are not handy people, and we only have a very few basics.

Verizon says they’ll ship us a new DVR, but if the other isn’t found, it’ll cost us $300.

We think we know who took it, but there’s no point in saying who, in case we’re wrong.

Never mind; all this was the least of our problems today!

The biggest problem was what we found as we settled down to peruse our six months’ worth of mail. Ninety percent of it is junk, of course. (Demetrios once made the mistake of giving $5 to every charity that asked, naively supposing maybe this would satisfy them, get them off his back. He never dreamed the reverse would happen.) But in with that junk was a letter from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. It demanded proof that my automobile was insured as of September 28. I must reply by November 10 or my driver’s license would be suspended, my vehicle’s registration would be cancelled, plates invalidated, I would forfeit the right to a hearing or appeal, and would have to pay $645 and provide proof of residency in order to reinstate any of the above.

A telephone call to the DMV provided no satisfaction. Okay, off to the DMV in person, armed with the appropriate insurance policy, to clear up this mistake and explain we were out of the country. Had to go in Demetrios’ car since my plates were invalid.

Oops. His car wouldn’t start. Should we go in mine after all, taking the chance? Oops, no, the rearview mirror has fallen off – again. For the third time. (The earthquake shook it loose, or Pep Boys doesn’t know how to re-attach a mirror??)

Okay, drive my car across the edge of the flower bed to bring it near enough to his car to jump-start it. That worked and only harmed a few plants.

So we get to the DMV and things go from bad to worse, because it turns out all the same issues pertain also to Demetrios’ driver’s license and plates and car registration and fine and so forth. This, although we never received any notification or correspondence concerning it.

We dealt with two clerks, the first of whom told us things that made no sense and were completely contradicted by the second clerk, who explained that (a) the first clerk was NOT the supervisor, as she had claimed to be and (b) these letters demanding proof of insurance are sent out at random. Can you believe that? In this computer age, the Department of Motor Vehicles has no better way of knowing whether a car is insured? I think it is sheer harassment; that’s the only explanation I can find that makes any sense, and it makes very little.

The second clerk is also the one who informed us that Demetrios was in the same situation as I; the first clerk never bothered to mention that little twist.

In the end, we got the two $500 fines waived, but still had to pay $145 each to reinstate our driving privileges and vehicle registration and all. Demetrios, however, had to get a brand new license, new photograph and all; his current one is permanently suspended, AND the suspension goes on his record. He also had to make a trip all the way home to get his passport, which was accepted as proof of residency. ???? The DMV has been corresponding with us annually for nearly 21 years now, and receiving checks with our home address on them, and they didn’t know we were residents????

It’s small but heaped-up injustices like this that make one begin to doubt the legitimacy of ones government.

All this took us until after 5:00.

At six o’clock, in the dark and in the rain, we set out to meet Nick and Sharyn, to drive together to the other side of town, where Nick had arranged a little get-together at the newest Greek restaurant, owned by a friend of ours. Ahhh! To reconnect with friends! Balm for the weary soul.

Except that on our way to Nick and Sharyn’s house in Demetrios’ car, our headlights failed. We limped along, using the brights, which however only worked as long as you kept holding the switch with one hand.

I didn’t even have a chance to call Kelly, my oldest granddaughter, on this, her 10th birthday. Happy birthday, sweetie! I love you.


elizabeth said...

Oh dear, sorry for the trials, glad that it is not worse but how stressful for you both!

DebD said...

I had to deal with our DMV a few weeks ago. I understand your frustration. I can't imagine why people want the gov't to run our healthcare. It's insane.

DebD said...

Oh, and welcome home.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

I'm so glad that you got home safely, but what a sad homecoming with the break-in and all that hassle and expense over the driving licences.....
Sending hugs and best wishes that things improve dramatically !