Thursday, November 19, 2009

Morgan + DMV + Me

The last two posts were incredibly timely considering what I found when I came home today. Paul and I were gone for maybe two hours this morning, and Morgan was waiting for me when I walked inside. She ate our mail. Not just any mail... the mail that contained my drivers license! Thankfully, the only piece of the mess that could be salvaged was my license itself. Had she caused a 7th trip to the DOL, she would be in the dog house. Literally.

Thanks, Morgan, for inspiring another blog post!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The DMV & Me

The DMV and I got extremely familiar over the past couple of weeks. And, I found out that I've been calling it the wrong thing - in Washington, it's actually the Department of Licensing.

Before my first visit to the ODL, I checked their websites to see what was required for obtaining a Washington license/name change. Naturally, nothing was listed, so I called. 1-3 attempts: busy signal. 4th attempt: recording. We decided to risk it, so I brought what I thought I needed and Paul and I went anyway.

Thus continues the story of the DMV drearies:
Visit #1, Thursday: Picked out a "drivers license outfit", curled my hair, pulled a number, got called up the counter, displayed my Oregon license and marriage certificate and was told I needed more proof of identification.

*in between visits, we went to the bank to add me to Paul's account. We ended up opening a new checking account to earn a little interest, and our teller assured us Paul's debit card would still work and she didn't need to change anything.*

Visit #2, Saturday: Picked out a second "drivers license outfit", curled my hair, brought passport, marriage license, Oregon license, took a number, sat for a bit, and then realized we didn't have any cash or checks on us and they don't accept credit cards. (Who doesn't accept plastic these days?!) Went to our bank's drive-through ATM, and it wouldn't accept Paul's card. I didn't have mine yet, because it was being sent in the mail. Couldn't go back to the ODL.

Visit #3, Tuesday: Picked out third "drivers license outfit", curled my hair, brought passport, marriage license, Oregon license, and met Paul at the ODL. He had pulled out some cash earlier in the day before work, but had transferred vehicles to haul some stuff to the dump. We took a number, got called to the counter. "You have the cash, right?" I asked sarcastically, already frustrated that this was attempt numero tres. Paul checked his wallet. "Uhhhhhhh......" blank stare from me. "...It's in the other car." blank stare #2 from me. He apologized and laughed out of disbelief. I didn't think it was so funny and I'm sorry to say I didn't show him much grace in the moment.

Visit #4, Tuesday of the following week: I recycled my first "driver's license outfit", curled my hair, and Paul met me at the ODL. This time, we had cash, my passport, Oregon license, marriage license. Took a number, sat for about 10 minutes, then noticed a sign that read "Our computers are down, we apologize for the inconvenience." Some people behind us muttered some choice words about how long they'd been waiting. One lady stormed out the door. We decided to try it anyway. When our number was called, we approached the counter. Paul signed something to prove that I live at his address, and then he had to leave for a meeting. I stayed up at the counter while the nice ODL man typed reviewed my documents and attempted several times to type my information into the computer. When he got to my marriage license, he told me I didn't have the one that had been signed by the County Auditor and that I needed that before he could continue. He asked if I could come come back later that afternoon after I had obtained the correct copy. I took a deep breath and walked to my car, while realizing that Paul had left with our cash and I wouldn't have been able to pay, anyway. I called the county office and they confirmed that they had a signed copy of my marriage license on file, and that if I paid $3 they would give me a copy. I grabbed my checkbook, visited the county office, paid my dues, and went back to the ODL.

Visit #5, still Tuesday: I didn't bother to take a number, because the nice ODL man waved me right up to the counter. I showed him my passport, Oregon license, the correct copy of my marriage certificate, and my cash. He started typing again, and said with a sigh: "Can you come back Thursday? Our computers are still down and we're closed tomorrow for Veteran's Day." I had to laugh.

Visit #6, Friday: I recycled my 2nd "drivers license outfit", curled my hair, and Paul agreed to spend his day off with me on my 6th visit to the ODL, and it's a good thing he did, because the nice ODL man couldn't find the form he had previously signed, verifying my proof of residence. Paul signed. I displayed my passport, Oregon license, marriage license, and my cash. The nice ODL man typed. He took my cash. He typed some more, then asked me to take a seat. The camera lady called me up, I took a brief look in the mirror to fluff my curls, and flashed my pearly whites. Flash. Voila.

"You should receive your Washington License in the mail in a few weeks. Here is your temporary license to use in the meantime. Welcome to Washington!"

Hooray! They even punched a hole in my Oregon license and let me keep it.

So, here I am.
Elizabeth Caitlin Bricknell.
Born in Washington, married in Washington, living in Washington, driving in Washington.

Now it's time to change my Social Security card, passport, savings accounts, credit cards, school loans, etc. But, I think I'll wait a little bit and revel in my sweet, ODL victory!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Morgan & Me

This post has been in the works for quite some time as Morgan, "our" big, friendly black lab/retriever mix keeps giving me things to write about. I'm sure you're familiar with the movie "Marley & Me" by now...

#1: The Futon. Upon arriving home from our honeymoon, I was initially very excited to see Morgan. She had really missed us! I gave her some love until Paul said "umm... El.... Morgan has been on your futon." I looked over and the futon, which is normally a mossy green color, was covered (and I mean covered) in black dog hair. It was so bad, in fact, that when I removed the futon cover from the futon, her hair had gone through the cover to the mattress itself. "Welcome home," I muttered.

#2: The Lip Gloss. Then, there was the time where Paul and I opened all our wedding gifts. We left a giant stack of gifts in our living room because we weren't quite sure where to put everything. Someone gave me a very thoughtful "wife gift" full of goodies including some yummy lip gloss. Apparently Morgan though it was yummy, too, because I found her smacking her lips. She had punctured a hole in the tube and was enjoying it a little too much.

#3: The Taco: I was sitting on the couch eating a homemade soft taco, when Paul came home for lunch. I got up to let him in the front door, leaving half of the uneaten taco on my plate on the coffee table. I fixed Paul his lunch and returned to the coffee table to finish eating mine while he ate his. Well, my taco had disappeared, and Morgan was just sitting there, looking at me.

#4: The Cookie. I made some chocolate chip cookies with our new Kitchen Aid and set them on the coffee table for our guests while we watched "The Office." Everyone was gathered around, so Morgan didn't dare steal any. Well, as soon as the last guest got up and stood by the front door, Morgan made a stab for the plate of cookies and had just gotten one in her mouth when we caught her.

#5: The Gas. I am thankful scents do not travel through the internet because Morgan has terrible gas problems and I think you might pass out. I was telling my parents that Morgan has a gas issue, and they said "oh, our dog does too." But I said "Dad, we can actually hear it when Morgan toots." to which my dad replied: "oh. uhhh.... " Exactly.

When Paul gets home from work, he'll often giver her a good rub. Sometimes he squeezes her belly a little too hard and ppffffffffffffff - Morgan farts.... LOUDLY. Louder and longer than any human being I have experienced. (If you haven't ever read "Walter, the Farting Dog" you really need to look it up at Border's or your nearest bookstore. It's a legit book in the kids section.) I am wrinkling my nose right now because "it" just happened while I'm writing this. We have begun slipping Beano in her food and are hoping this will improve.

#6. The Breath. Morgan smells bad from both ends which is unfortunate considering she's a mouth breather. Tonight, we left Morgan in the car for an extended period of time while we were visiting some friends. When we got back in the car, it smelled like dog breath and had to roll down the windows even though it was cold. We bought her some doggie toothpaste called "Kissable" and some breath freshening tablets. We both agree that her breath has improved and Paul is the token tooth brusher.

#7. The Slobber. Sometimes, I'll look over at Morgan, and slobber will ooze out of her mouth and drop onto the floor. Tonight, she made her way into the front seat of the car while we were running an errand (buying her dog food, actually) and when I got in the driver's seat, and put my hands on the wheel, I immediately said "Ew. This is covered in slobber." Gross.

#8: Obeying. Morgan doesn't listen to me the way she listens to Paul. When I tell her it's time to go outside, she goes the opposite way and crawls under the table. Sometimes I take advantage of this when I want her to stop breathing in my face. Paul thinks it's mean; I think it's great that she stopped breathing on me.

I'm sure there will be a "Morgan & Me: Part 2" in the future, but that's all I can think of for now. She really is a nice dog and aside from her quirks, a great companion. At least she keeps us laughing, and she's stopped drinking out of the toilet!

Here are the 2 of us with "Stinky" in July 2008.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Taco Soup & Peanut Butter Cookie recipe

I cooked up a feast last week for our "San Francisco planning meeting" and the soup and cookies were a hit!

Crockpot Taco Soup:
Place the following ingredients in a crockpot, in this order:
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 large can diced tomatoes (entire contents)
1 can diced tomatoes w/ green chiles (entire contents)
2 cans corn (entire contents)
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Stir together, and simmer on high for 8-10 hours or on low for 4-5 hours. Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

* I stretched the recipe by doubling the meat, adding another packet of seasoning, and some water.

Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies:
This recipe is worth a million bucks! The lady who invented it won 1 million dollars in the Pillsbury Recipe Bake-Off contest. They have a cream peanut butter center and are soooo tasty!

Mix together in small bowl:
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Set aside.

In a separate bowl, blend:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Form mixture into 24 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.

Slice 1 roll (16.5 oz) of Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough into 12 circles. Cut each circle in 1/2 to make 24 cookie dough pieces. Flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls. Roll each covered ball in peanut/sugar mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased, large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with non-stick spray; press into remaining peanut mixture and then flatten each ball to 1/2-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies, gently press into dough.

Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

* I couldn't find refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough, so I used sugar cookie dough instead and it was great!