Here's the annoying story: D's and my major project for today was to get her car right with the law by getting the registration renewed and the inspection done so that all of its stickers were up to date. She went online last night, thinking she could take care of the registration online, but the system was getting updated until 3:00 a.m., so, brave soul that she is, she set an alarm and got up at 3:00 a.m. to take care of the registration, since the system had told her that it would take a few hours for the payment to get processed. Then, this morning when she called in, it turned out that the registration was not in fact renewed because of some parking ticket one of us got in 2010 in a suburb of Adventure City. How our registration got renewed in previous years is a mystery. It took three phone calls for her to get that ticket paid, at which point the registration was in fact renewed ... but we still had to drive into downtown Adventure City to go to the AAA office there and get our license plate sticker and the official form so that we could then get the car inspected. It's impossible to park in that area, of course, so D. dropped me off and then double-parked with the motor running while I went in.
And then the AAA folks told me that the DMV computer system had just gone down statewide not 15 minutes before, and it wasn't at all clear when it would be up again. So we went out for a burger at a good downtown spot we almost never go to (see above re: impossibility of parking, but we had plenty of time to look for a spot), and after our leisurely lunch we called in and learned that the system had just come back up. After that, it was all pretty smooth -- I got the paperwork and the sticker, we drove home, and the car passed inspection handily. So we're finally legit, but wow, it took hours! So that's the annoying story, but at least it has a happy ending.
Here's the sweet story: I had a really long phone conversation with my dad tonight -- one of the longest we've had in years. Among other things, he told me about his cousin's memorial service, which I didn't go to because I couldn't afford the plane ticket (and it worked out just as well, since I was sick as a dog with a monster summer cold those few days). Apparently her husband, 89 years old and in ailing health, was in fine fettle and gave a long discourse on the true meaning of the Communist Party in their local context -- classic for him.
Anyway, my dad and I wound up telling stories about that branch of the family, and he told me a lovely story about his cousin's mother -- a woman who scared the heck out of my brother and me when we were little kids. Her husband, my dad's cousin's father, died in his 40s, and she had to start working to support herself and her teenaged daughter. She took the test to get her license as a public school teacher ... and failed it. She then spent several months studying hard, took the test again, and passed it. She became a home ec teacher, and within five years had written a home ec textbook that went through many, many editions. After a long career as a teacher, she gave herself an exravagant retirement gift: a cruise in the South Pacific. And on that cruise, she met a man, and they fell in love, and they got married just a few months later. Can we give a rousing cheer for a widow and widower in their late 60s falling in love on a cruise? How sweet is that?!
The funny thing is that my dad told me that his aunt became a completely different person after this late-life wedding. He and all of his cousins had been scared of her when they were young, but after getting married in her 60s, she became warm and lovely and full of joie de vivre. But of course my brother and I were scared of her when we were young, which means that the warm, lovely, full of joie de vivre woman must have indeed been a terror before then! I have much fonder memories of her husband, who was like another grandpa to us, than I do of her, since she was a scarier version of our paternal grandmother, who was herself pretty scary. But I'm totally loving this story and this new view of her; she went on that cruise when I was about a year old, and I am enjoying thinking of her falling in love on that cruise.
So those are today's stories.