Monday, July 31, 2017

I Want Change !

Some would call it   *** "cutting off your nose to spite your face". Perhaps that's the case. I did act out of anger and a degree of frustration. I'm a Scorpio after all, and I have a short fuse when, in my perception, I've been wronged. What 's happened you ask?  Well,  I have decided never to set foot downtown again, and not only have I let some of the businesses, the chamber of commerce, and the by-law enforcement office know, but I'm planning to write a letter to the newspaper. After all, why go only half way?
                     (Note to self - Look into changing name after all this. Good thing I have options...three                         other seasons and a spouse's name.)

Without going into great detail, here are the facts as I see them.

Ok, so maybe I was two minutes late for a parking meter, into which I had inserted $1.10 for 70ish minutes. However, there are several extenuating circumstances. For one thing, I'm asthmatic, have been housebound, and despite my excitement at getting out, was moving slowly. Secondly, I was having coffee with a friend. It has to cool off before drinking after all. Idle chatter will produce this desired result. Finally, on my way out of the coffee shop, I had to pant and trudge my way across the street in multi vehicle traffic, a detour as it were, to take the following photo before returning to my car. Is it my fault the town has placed these visible distractions everywhere? Should I be punished for that?
There are those who ask, "Did you see the meter reader?"

Of course not. I wasn't looking for a meter reader. I was looking at a giant polar bear with a piano keyboard across its abdomen, a log stump in front, and a chain connecting him to a park bench. To that I say, "Abuse. Free the animals!"

I got into my car and was half way home before a saw a small receipt under my windshield wiper...a receipt no less. As if I'd already paid. Of course I had no idea what it really was until I pulled over, my interest piqued. I lifted it gingerly out of its hiding spot between the wiper and the crack that accumulates layers of ice and snow in the winter.

"What? How dare they?" I yelled at absolutely nobody. "$20.00? $20.00? For what?"

I noted the time on the ticket 11:47 a.m. It was now 11:49 and I was half way home. How was this even possible? I had put enough money in the meter to last until 11:45 I thought. When the meters were first installed, the newspaper reported the following.

"Those who put $1 into the meter will receive 60 minutes plus an additional 15 minutes at the end of their paid time."  Northumberland News Feb. 6, 2015
Nope. Didn't happen. I was now expected to pay $21.10 for an hour and ten minutes of parking. At least I should get back my original meter donation don't you think? Besides, what about all the times I overpaid and left large amounts of time on the meter? Do I get change? Do I get credit?

The way I see it is that the meter reader was at the infamous meter #59 a minute or two before the time ended and rubbed his/her hands together in glee. The receipt maker was programmed and ready to print. With one fell swoop, his/her hourly wage would be covered and the town would have a profit of six or seven dollars.  
I won't go into detail about my tirade after I returned to the town hall over this outrage. However, I did threaten to come back and picket the building with a huge sign. I told them I'd have to sit outside with a hat and beg for pennies because I am a senior on pension. I wheezed as I spoke and flailed my arms around, needlessly elevating my blood pressure. My performance was oscar worthy. All the while, the clerk nodded. I could see his wheels turning..."another crazy old lady."  
I have since thought it over. As I understood it, the original town plan for the meters was to recoup funds so that the park and beach could be cleaned up after "tourists" came and made a mess. Why then, are citizens of the town, who already pay exorbitant taxes being punished? I parked at a meter because the closest free lot was full and I couldn't walk and breathe at the same time. It was a weekday morning. I paid. Why do we even have functional meters on weekdays?  They aren't anything special like these beauties either...just the old, gray, manual, corroding kind.        

Shouldn't the meters be reserved for weekends when visitors park everywhere and sully our pristine park, sand, and water? Besides, why is this town so technologically challenged that they don't have the phone app to view and add time to a meter?
It's been a summer of air quality captivity for me. I think I've had too much time on my hands. Besides that, I think I'm becoming agoraphobic, but that's a topic for another blog. 
 So? What do you think? Once I'm done my letter writing campaign, should I run for town council? I just might...after I change my name that is.         
 ***"Cutting off the nose to spite the face" is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem: "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face" is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one's anger.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Saga of Motor Vehicle Licensing

Nothing is ever easy is it? Everyone suggested my daughter acquire Georgia license plates on her car in order to be less conspicuous in her new circumstance. It seemed like a tedious process, but doable.

She got a drivers' permit first to make certain that everything would be copacetic. A quick written test gave her a learner's, even though she already had an Ontario permanent license. Her "road test" and I use the term lightly, came a few weeks later. It consisted of driving around some pylons in a parking lot, because if any attempts were made for a real road test in her current city, the examiner would be out all day with one testee. (Yes, that's the correct term. I checked, then laughed). She would then earn her driver's license which sported her face beside a giant peach.

Next, she sought information on how to get a license plate. Apparently, only one on the back of the vehicle is necessary. It was a several step process requiring many days of driving to different locations.  First, she needed to visit a Cobb County tag office where they told her that she needed to deal with several other issues first. Much like here, an emissions test was biggie although there was payment required. Next, she had to visit  a police station to have her Hyundai checked...for what? Undetermined. I shudder to think as I wonder whether they routinely look in people's trunks. Finally, she went back to the tag office. It was then that the other shoe dropped and everything almost came to a grinding halt.

"You need to go to customs", she was told. she needed to pay duty on a seven year old car. Seven percent of market value was considerably less than an auto purchase would have been. At this point, and well into her birth month, (the definitive deadline for all things legal), she found out she couldn't get plates. You require either a permanent resident status or a green card she was informed.

Panic ensued. She sent us all her info, emissions test, driver's licenses, U.S. car insurance info and more. After a trip to Service Canada and innumerable phone calls with "busier than usual wait times", I found out that we could renew her Ontario plates for six months only. All it required was a letter of explanation, all the aforementioned documents, a credit card number, and a fax machine. Then the sticker would be mailed within twenty days. Oh...and the renewal date would forever after no longer be her birthday. The car would have to come back within six months for the emissions test (Georgia test no good here), and sticker renewal. Phew...dodged another bullet. Or did we?

Tomorrow, is the twenty day deadline. Next week, her birthday month ends. As of today, the issues were not yet resolved. You can't get provincial license plate renewal without Canadian insurance. You can't get Canadian car insurance if you're living abroad.

My daughter is somewhat of a genius. With genius comes a degree of deviousness. She clearly takes after her mother. Until such time as this problem is resolved, she will remove the rear license plate and replace it with the front one. It has no date sticker. She doesn't require the front plate in Georgia.

Hopefully, all will be taken care of sooner rather than later and we can all carry on without any further stress.