Hacking through red tape

I’m so tangled in red tape I can hardly move.

After the wedding, I changed my name on all vital documents except for one: my car registration. I’m not sure how this slipped through the cracks but I didn’t deem it too important, even when I renewed my tabs. Online renewal removes the possibility for awkward questioning by city clerks (and my tabs were expired anyway). Little did I know how this would come back to bite me.

We’ve moved into a neighborhood where most of the street parking requires a zone permit unless you want to park blocks away or risk a ticket (and you WILL be ticketed). The requirement for a permit is simple enough: a copy of your car registration and a copy of a document proving you live in your specific neighborhood zone, i.e. a lease agreement or an electric bill. Fair enough. One problem: the last name on your car registration must match the last name on your other document. My names don’t match.

So change your registration, Heather. I’M TRYING. My car is a leased car, which has made this process all the more difficult. My first rational thought is to go to the Department of Licensing. Makes sense, right? I checked their Web site and learned that if you are leasing a car, you must change your name with the lienholder of the vehicle. I switch course and contact my lienholder. They change my name in their system and tell me they will send me a copy of the registration in the mail, as they cannot fax it. Great, I say.

Three weeks go by and I have received nothing. Meanwhile, we’ve moved and received our first ticket. I call back my lienholder and explain the situation. Now they tell me that they cannot send a car registration as only the Department of Licensing has those. Cool. Maybe you shouldn’t have misinformed me three weeks ago? They say I need a power of attorney form to take to the DOL office, and can then change my name. Great, I say. They tell me they are faxing the form and I should get it within the hour, for sure by the next day. In the meantime, I call the DOL to make sure this form is what I need to change my name.

“Oh you don’t even need that form!” is her pert reply. “You just need to come into an office with your marriage license and current ID, and a copy of something that shows you changed your name with the lienholder.”

“Ok…” I say. “Maybe your Web site should be a little more specific as to your instructions for lessees.”

“It is a bit confusing,” she says. To say the least.

I never got the fax from my lienholder, but I went into a DOL office today with all the documents they told me to bring. I was promptly informed that I needed the actual title of the car. But I don’t HAVE the title because I don’t own the car! Well, the clerk says, your lienholder needs to give it to you so you can bring it in and change your name. The clerk suggested sending in my mismatched documents to the zone permit office anyway. “They should be able to put two and two together,” she said. To which I reply in my head, I’m not too sure of that, YOUR office doesn’t seem to be doing too good of a job.

By now I’m near tears at this whole debacle. All I need is a blasted parking pass. I called back my lienholder, and they told me they wouldn’t send me the title. We went back and forth, and the customer service representative finally agreed to put me on hold and see if they had it in their office. She came back a few minutes later and told me that she found it; would I like it faxed or mailed? Who says I can’t get things done? The fax is due to arrive in my office today or Monday. The saga continues.

Pictures of the apartment

As promised a month ago: pictures of the apartment! It hasn't been fully decorated yet... we're still trying to figure out what to put in the built-in shelving above the fireplace so it doesn't look like a shrine to the Seymours or a resting place for our diplomas. I love our big picture windows.

When you enter our apartment, you're greeted by this little bar. I'm a drop-and-go kind of girl, so it's a daily struggle to keep the clutter off the counter. A radiator sits underneath the bar, and sometimes Mark and I just stand at the bar, drink our wine and talk. The radiators are great because they give off so much heat, but they do tend to remind me of the dorms (Hill Hall anyone?)

This is one of the bathrooms. The clawfoot tub is to the right; I couldn't really get it in the shot.

This is the other bathroom, which is equipped with slow-to-action fluorescent lights. A friend summed it up: "Was it my imagination or did it get brighter in there the longer the light was on?"

I just realized that the flash lit up our street signs... the one on the left says Edgar Street and the one on the right says Eastlake Avenue. And they were procured legally.

Here's our kitchen. It lacks a central light minus the ones over the stove, so I think we're going to put in track lighting above the cabinets.

Our dining room, complete with area rug.

This is the office nook that we try to tell everyone about but can't really explain. It really is an office in a closet. You could close the doors and no one would know. There's even a window in it, which you can't see in this shot.

Our credenza separates the living room area from the dining area.

The hallway leading back to our room and the spare bedroom ("Spare Oom").

If you come stay with us, here's your room!

This bedroom does double duty as our TV room.

Just card me already

Awkward yet potentially flattering moment of the day:

Me: Do you have anything in the way of a nice classy black dress?
Nordstrom lady: Oh, are you looking for something for Homecoming?


This morning started like any other morning. I went into the bathroom to get ready for the day, opened the window, and that’s where the morning took a turn. In flew a yellow-striped nightmare. The bee flew straight toward the light fixture and attempted to sting it before settling contentedly on the bulb, staring at me all the while (jerk). Neither of us moved for a few minutes so I armed myself with a towel (maybe I could whip the bee to the floor?) and continued drying my hair. I got through the hairstyling and had started on the makeup when the bee went berserk again, which is when I finally shouted for Mark. I can’t handle this much stress at 6:45 a.m.! He disposed of it and the day returned briefly to normalcy.

Until I got outside. I walked the half-block to where I had parked the car yesterday afternoon and was baffled by an empty space. I racked my brain. I was most likely confused and had probably forgotten I’d parked somewhere else, right? But that couldn’t be right, because I was positive I had parked RIGHT HERE. I remember because there was a traffic jam on the street yesterday. The two-way street is only wide enough for one lane of cars, so when a face-off occurs, the car without the right-of-way must pull into a driveway or parallel park in order to let the other car pass. Someone failed to yield yesterday so there was a four-car back-up on each road leading up to the intersection, creating complete gridlock. A woman got out of her minivan to direct traffic, and once I finally got out of the intersection, I immediately pulled into an adjacent empty spot. I know exactly where I parked because I was on the phone with my mom, telling her I’d never seen this type of gridlock before. Back to this morning: I’m standing where I thought I parked, and it dawns on me that perhaps I inadvertently pulled into the “no parking” section of curb. Now I’m thinking my car must have been towed and I’m going through a mental checklist: call in late to work, figure out who towed my car, and ask Mark if he can take me to get it. Mark. Wait a second. Mark took MY car last night to run an errand. He obviously re-parked it and failed to tell me where. I had just pulled out my phone to call him when it rang, with Mark on the other line. “Hey, I just remembered I forgot to tell you where I reparked the car…”

Thank goodness it’s Friday.

Why I need my Thursday nights back

My church normally schedules its membership series on Sunday afternoons, but this month they’re trying something new and have scheduled them on Thursday nights. Though I do like the change, I’m looking forward to October being over for one reason and one reason only.

I don’t think Hulu posts the most recent episode until late Thursday night or Friday morning, so I can’t join in my office’s discussion of what happened the night before on “The Office.” I know it’s a selfish reason, but still.

One year

Mark and I get to celebrate our first ever one-year wedding anniversary on Sunday. I know everyone says this, but I can’t believe a year has passed already. Yet it feels like plenty has happened since we celebrated with everyone and took off for Belize. A new small group formed out of our old group, and it has been amazing to see our friend’s lives changing as they experience God’s faithfulness. The change in small groups and the passage of time have brought a change in our friends group too. Friends have moved away from Seattle and new ones have arrived. We’ve traded our first apartment together for another one, although we still have the keys to the old place (and just last night rescued Mark’s bike from the walkway where we left it). We have more bills (hello Netflix) but have thankfully kept our jobs. Maybe I CAN believe a year has gone by. And I hear it just goes by faster the longer you live…

Kickboxing my way to the top

Just call me Chuck Norris.

Last Monday I accompanied a friend to a kickboxing class and learned the proper technique of a roundhouse kick. I can’t kick face-level, but I could probably reach your ribs. There’s something so stress-relieving about putting on boxing gloves and pummeling a bag. I felt like I was learning fight choreography a la Matt Damon in the Bourne series. Kick-jab-jab-roundhouse-elbow-palm-knee in the groin!

I attended a second class on Saturday (at my regular gym this time), but this class was more focused on cardio rather than actual technique. We could only air jab, despite the available punching bags on the sidelines of the room. I was disappointed by the lack of a physical subject to punch, but the instructor kept us on our toes the entire hour. You could never stand still – you shuffled from side to side, did jumping jacks, lunges and leaps, all the while upper-cutting and jabbing.

Kickboxing is an excellent full-body workout that keeps your heart rate up and teaches you a side hook. I recommend it to everyone!

Leavenworth Oktoberfest

Hundreds of people descended upon Leavenworth this weekend to take part in their annual Oktoberfest. What better place to celebrate than a tiny Bavarian town in the middle of nowhere? I stayed with Paul and Della in Wenatchee and met up with some of my friends Saturday afternoon to see what Oktoberfest was about. Turned out it really was all about the beer, with some hyper-vigilant cops thrown into the mix.

The atmosphere was much like what I would expect to see at a frat party: raucous laughing, a tower built entirely of empty beer cups, and plenty of people making fools of themselves. Toss in some live polka music and you’ve got yourself Oktoberfest! I particularly loved the band that headlined Saturday night in the party tent – polka versions of the Beatles and John Denver and multiple renditions of the chicken dance and a German drinking song that everyone seemed to know the lyrics to except us. Plenty of guys sported lederhosen (think Kurt from The Sound of Music) and everywhere you turned you ran into a girl in a little German dress (think St. Pauli beer).

Philip bought us toy laser guns that vendors were selling within the Oktoberfest boundaries, and we ran around for a while shooting each other and seeing if we could aim at certain targets with the laser (no people, save for an old college friend we ran into). Later that night, we were surprised by police officers who escorted two of our group out of the tent and proceeded to angrily lecture them on their use of the toy guns. I thought we were surely getting kicked out of the event, and we rounded up the rest of the group to join the other two (safety in numbers). They didn’t eject us, but they were angry and continued to harass us the rest of the night with dirty looks and flashlight pointing. At this point, I would like to interject. Really?! Officers, did you really have to haul out two friends to lecture them about toy guns? Let’s think about this. We probably had the LEAST to drink out of the hundreds of people there, and you’re picking on the ones with the lasers. There are guys clutching their beer steins and falling over themselves and you think we're a problem? I would say we're the least of your worries tonight. At least we are going to get in the car sober and not pose a threat to the rest of society. Speaking of driving sober, I'd also like to say a big thank you to the three police cars we saw pulling over likely drunk drivers after we left Leavenworth. We cheered when we saw those flashing lights. But next time officers, let's not take the lasers so seriously. Leavenworth is not an airport and we are not terrorists.

I mean come on, do we look like terrorists? Honestly.