Sunday, August 25, 2019

Papers, Please

There are many things I am thankful for right now:  beautiful weather.  The hills to be found right outside our front door that are still very much a novelty to me.  These children of ours who have amusing conversations such as this:

"I love dictionaries."

"I don't like dictionaries; dictionaries are mean.  They're always telling you how you're wrong."

I won't tell you which child uttered which sentence to protect the identities of the innocent, but if you know our offspring at all, you can probably make a not-so-wild guess.  The orator of that second statement was also offended when Derek and I laughed wildly at how injured they evidently feel by dictionaries in general.

You know what I don't care for?  Official documents.  I'm getting pretty dang sick of being told that a Kansas birth certificate/ Oklahoma marriage license/Iowa immunization record/WHATEVER isn't the right kind or isn't official enough (wish I was making that up) to get us little things like driver's licenses or school enrollment.  I've learned this much about myself, though:  There are many professions I've looked at and thought, "Sure, I could do that," but those that involve cutting through bureaucracy and red tape and paperwork for paperwork's sake?  No.  Not in this lifetime, nor in a million that follow.  I was ready to scream after being bounced from one DMV supervisor to another so they could inspect the aforementioned OK marriage license to see if it really really truly proved I was married.  I didn't, obviously, because hi, I wouldn't last five seconds in jail, but I did go so far as to arrange my facial expression into one of long-suffering forbearance laced with mild irritation.  TAKE THAT, STATE OF CONNECTICUT.

I don't really understand why most of these things are a problem in the first place.  All of these documents are from the same country, aren't they?  And aren't they just pieces of paper, anyway?  Maybe that's my problem- I don't put a lot of value in a piece of paper.  It reminds me second grade Adelaide who nearly fell to pieces trying to figure out why everyone put so much stock in American currency when it was all just special paper, and shouldn't money have actual worth?  I spent a good month warning people not to get sucked into any conversation with her that started with the question, "Do you know what pennies are actually made of?"  Emails with her teachers have always been fun.
Adelaide explaining the social construct that is modern currency.

The only time this ever touches me professionally is when someone wants a new library card and I have to ask them for ID.  Most of the time they have it ready and on their person, but when they don't, or it's not a library-sanctioned form of identification or personal mail, it's so hard for me not to shrug my shoulders and say, "Whatever, it's fine."  And yes, I know ID is required to protect the library from theft and blah blah blah.  Please don't bother engaging me in a conversation about this, because I know the arguments for and against- I just don't care.  It's the wonderful and terrible thing about those of us whose attitude toward official documentation is "I'm sure it's fine" and "Good faith efforts are good enough for me."  Please also note that this is yet another way that I am Derek's polar opposite.  Whee!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Things, They Have Happened!

Many things have happened!  Our children are registered for school!  I have a job!  We took a trip to the DMV and it wasn't as heinous as I had feared!

First:  school.  It took an inordinate amount of paperwork to get these chitlins registered.  I learned the difference between a state-issued and hospital-issued birth certificate and that not every state gives you both, much to the confusion of this school district. When I got to talk to real live human beings, they were very gracious, but there were multiple times I found myself growling at this very Chromebook, "Look, I didn't intentionally birth three children in three different states, it just happened that way, okay?"  But finally, here we are, with a transportation schedule and everything.  Although that little thing provoked more questions than it answered; the middle school apparently releases before 3 p.m. while the boys' elementary school begins after 8 a.m., both of which are departures from what our kids have experienced in their previous schools.  I have quested through the bowels of the district's website and learned nothing about the schools' apparent staggered schedule, which leads me to believe I am supposed to gain this information in another way- swimming in the creek by town hall, maybe, or putting on a red coat and flapping around the yard.  Whoops, I left out a pertinent detail that will allow you to get that previous joke:  our high school's mascot?  The Redcoats.  No, we don't understand how this came to be, because one would think that an area of the country that was the site of so much of the Revolutionary War would swing the other way.  Why not the Minutemen?  Or the Patriots?  Or the Colonists? 

Second:  I have a job!  In a library!  The job is part-time, the library is huge.  I'm two whole days in, but all the other staff have been incredibly nice so far, so it's shaping up to be a good thing.  I'm hesitant to say more at this point, so I'll leave it at this for now:  working at a large library is different than working at a small library, but also the same.  I hope you feel enlightened.

Third:  the DMV.  The last time we lived here, our visits to the DMV were like every horrible movie scene set in a DMV you've ever witnessed.  The long waits, the public languishing in uncomfortable chairs as they mentally willed employees who had lost the will to live to call their number.

Our recent visit was very different.  Yes, it was busy, but there were still far fewer people than in my memory, due, I believe, to a magical invention called the internet.  Why go to the second circle of hell when you can now get half that stuff done online?  I also have to wonder if perhaps I'm just more patient, though; the last time we were there I was newly married and childless.  This time I was happy to wait as long as it took:  just me, Derek, a book, and no children needing anything from me.  It was like a vacation!  With all that and air conditioning, they're lucky I left when our task was complete.

All that being said, we still haven't gotten our CT driver's licenses, and I know that will be the lengthier visit.  I admit I'm a little concerned, because I understand you are no longer allowed to smile in the charming photo shown on licenses.  I feel nervous laughter bubbling up my throat just thinking about it.  There is no way I'll have anything other than a bizarre grin-suppressing, squinched look about my face simply because I know I'm not allowed to smile. 

P.S.  I went and looked on the school's website one more time because I was uncomfortable claiming I'd been in the bowels of the site when I'd likely only been in the stomach or duodenum at the lowest.  I found the staggered start and release times for the kids' schools.  Thanks, conscience!