Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Family Christmas

I got to spend Christmas with most of my family this year....

Always a risky business when you are a busy midwife.  Last year, the timing didn't go so well.

This year, all but one of my December clients had already delivered and I just had one due Dec 21st.  We decided to schedule our family dinner on December 23.  I tried to plan for the "what ifs" by purchasing an already baked spiral sliced ham and I had both daughters plan to bring a side dish and a dessert.  That way, even if I wasn't there to cook or serve, no one would starve at least.

But the phone didn't ring and dinner and our gift exchange went on without a hitch.  YAY!

Ham, broccoli, brown rice, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato muffins, cream corn, pumpkin pie, apple pie, poke cake and pound cake.  I don't think anyone went away hungry.

I got to enjoy watching the grandchildren open and play with the toys I had picked out for them each.  Daughters, son in laws and son all got to open gifts too.

Lots of joy all around!

The stocking were hung.....OK, on a bookshelf.  We don't have a  chimney.

Table set in anticipation of our gang

Three of the guys, enjoying the evening.

Kate and her new dollhouse

Daughter Erin and her family

Noah digging through his stocking

Olivia

Lucy and Kate making a joyful noise

No tree this year, unless you count this mylar monstrosity! 
We hardly EVER get all of us together for a picture!  Our family, sans spouses and grandchildren.



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bureaucratic nightmares

So three years ago, before we moved to Atlanta, I was up here visiting with our daughters and staying with Erin in Decatur.  I had been downtown to her office and was headed back to her home.  Erin had written down instructions to get to her house and I had my trusty GPS.  I was on Freedom PARKWAY but between being unfamiliar with the area, and trying to decipher the written instructions and the GPS instructions, I was very distracted and also realized I should have been in the right hand lane but couldn't change lanes due to the flow of traffic.  Also, everyone was throwing on brakes because there was a traffic "sting" going on and one of the officers motioned me to move over to the emergency lane.

Apparently, I was traveling in a 35MPH area and I was going 47.  (Who would have thought on a street called Freedom Parkway?)  My hubby had also forgotten to put our most current insurance card in my car which meant I did not have my current proof of insurance.  So, we paid the speeding fine and our insurance company provided the current proof of insurance.  Case closed.  Right?

Wrong.

THREE YEARS later, I got a notice from the DMV that my license would be suspended this coming Friday if I did not resolve the issue of the ticket for driving without insurance.

So we contacted the insurance company and got paperwork to prove we had coverage during that period of time and I had to show up at traffic court on Tuesday.  I arrive at 7 AM and found a two hour parking spot on the street right across from the courthouse.  Score!  I put in the parking space number in the machine and charged my debit card for two hours of parking ($4) and went to stand in line to see the clerk.  Heavy security and I read a sign about things like mace being confiscated and remember that I have both pepper spray and hollow point bullets in my pocketbook.  Back to the car to unload my dangerous weapons and back inside again.  Make it through security and up to a window and the clerk assigns me to courtroom 6D.  I head upstairs and wait 35 more minutes for that courtroom to open and head in.  Listen to instructions, get my piece of paper to decide if I am pleading innocent, guilty or NOLO.  I have no idea which one to choose.  Yes, I didn't have the proof on me at the time, but I DID have insurance.  Dilemma.

I finally get my turn to appear before the judge and he looks on his little computer screen and says I was assigned to courtroom 6C, not D and rudely sends me on my way.   I scurry off to C and find they are already in full swing.  I sit for 5 hours until after lunch, listening to everything from DUI and reckless driving convictions to absolute silence, to the judge talking to the bailiff about a laundry discussion he has been having with his wife.  Oh joy.  Finally after almost everyone else has cleared the courtroom, the DA asks why I'm there and I show him my papers.  He looks me up in the computer.  They have no record of my paying the speeding fine or providing proof of insurance.  We paid by money order and Tom did not keep the receipt.  He decides I have an honest face and he wipes the board clean and stands up for me in front of the judge.  The judge sends me back downstairs to the clerk to get a release letter so I can take it to the DMV.

In the mean time, around 9 AM I realized my car has been parked in the two hour zone long enough I'm going to be out of time and I ask the bailiff if I can leave and go put more money in the machine.  He says yes, so I run back down and across the street to find a ticket already on my windshield.  I grab it and when I went to renew the funds I realize that I input the wrong parking space number the first time (hey, it was dark people!) so that was probably why I got a ticket.  New two hours paid for and I run back upstairs.  When I'm back in the courtroom I started thinking about the fact that it was a two hour limit and I might be ticketed again for staying longer than two hours.  I wonder if they might even tow my car away.  That would be such a great ending to an already poopy day.

So I call my hubby and he ran into the courtroom and got my keys with the intent of moving my car to one of the all day parking garages downtown.  I have a keyless entry system so didn't need my keys back.  When he went downstairs he talked to a lady at the window who deals with parking tickets and she told him I couldn't be ticketed twice for the same violation and just to leave my car right where it was and for me to bring her my ticket when I departed and she would take care of it.

Best thing I had heard all day.  I brought her my receipts and she wrote off my ticket.  :)

So I head to the DMV.  There is a line wrapped around the inside of the building with about 40 people in it.  There are two waiting rooms full of people who have already been through the line and are waiting their turn to be seen.  This does not bode well.  I waited for TWO SOLID HOURS before finally being called up to a window.  When I handed her my paperwork, she told me they only gave me a release on the speeding ticket but NOT the one I really needed for the proof of insurance charge.

Seriously?

A full day down the drain.  I missed three postpartum momma visits and a dentist appointment.  Very late afternoon I still tried to get at least two of them knocked out.

I didn't get home until after 11 PM that night.

So yesterday, I called the clerk back and she printed out the RIGHT paperwork and Tom picked it up.

So today is round two with the DMV.

Wish me luck.