Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sydney is Licensed…

…not licensed to actually do anything, but among all the things that needed to be done for the move north, getting a license for Sydney was not high on the list. I was, however, instructed by the bossy man at the dog run that she had to be licensed to use the facility. Doing it online turned out to be more difficult than I initially thought, so I went to the local contract post office/title /fed ex/dog, boating, fishin’, huntin’ license/lotto ticket office. It’s quite informal, as you can imagine, and the man behind the counter seems to know everyone who comes in and why they are there. I was unfamiliar with the concept of a post office that really isn’t a post office but was excited that it was so convenient. And, when I had to fed ex overnight new time sheets to work, that is where I went. I was told to wait for the person that does that kind of thing. (Obviously there is a division of labor based on specialty.) She was having family issues so had to make some phone calls that might take a while, I was told! While I waited, I asked if the nice man behind the counter knew where I could get a license for my dog. “Right here,” he replied.

So, I began the process of answering his questions — I was not allowed to fill out the form myself — about Sydney’s color, breed (brown), etc. Then I asked “how much?” “Six dollars,” he said, “unless you’re a senior citizen.” When I said I certainly was a senior citizen, I was told I just saved $1 of the $6 fee! Done! I walked out with the tag to put on Sydney’s collar, did that, and then forgot about it . . . until last week.

My cousin, Jill, was visiting from Tallahassee and looked at the third tag on Sydney’s collar. She asked me how the person issuing the license knew that Sydney was a senior citizen. What? It seems that the tag has the designation “senior citizen” right on it because I got the $1 discount. Sydney was offended, of course, since in dog years she’s not really a senior yet!

Proving Citizenship

Whether we realize it or not, when we get a driver’s license or voter registration card, we are proving our citizenship to the state officials who govern such things. At my age, you’d think this would be an easy task — I’ve had driver’s licenses in two states, have travelled overseas so have had passports, and have never missed voting in an election since age 18. Here’s what happened to me.

Checking things off on my various lists, I knew it was important to get a driver’s license, register the car, and get my car insurance transferred from Florida to Pennsylvania. I happily gathered all the documents that the Pennsylvania website said I needed to confirm my identification, put them all in a folder, and headed into the nearby town of Milford. This took organization because the driver’s license office is only open on Thursdays for 6 hours! I stood in line for about an hour when the person heading the office worked his way along the line asking people what they needed and checking that they had the appropriate documentation. This is also the place where the state issues photo id’s to those not eligible or not wanting a driver’s license. He approached me and I wished him a good morning. He looked at my folder filled with documents and declared that my birth certificate was not “official.” I replied that this is what I have used my whole life and that I had a license and registration from Florida, to which he replied, “This is not Florida.” Hmmmm. I knew then that I was in trouble since I was well aware that I was no longer in Florida! Furious, I drove home and looked for my passport which is among the missing from the move, but took my old passport with me as proof. Again, I stood in line, waited and again was told that the documents were not valid.

As I approached my car to go home and drink heavily, I realized that getting a passport was my only option to prove that I am, indeed, a citizen of the United States (the person in front of me getting a photo id so he could work construction, by the way, bragged that he was a felon!). I went into the Milford Post Office where the young woman at the counter told me, “You need Bill.” Bill is the “passport guy,” and he had some very strong words for the manager of the driver’s license office, and immediately agreed to help me. I Went across the street to the car registration office which takes the passport photos (don’t smile whatever you do!). I filled out the passport application, although all I had was one from 1973 (that elicited A LOT of comments from Bill about my appearance), and Bill wrote a lot of notes to some nameless faceless person in Harrisburg on the application. I paid extra to expedite the process and left encouraged that all would be well. And it was. Less than 10 days later, I received my passport in the mail (at the mailroom of course).

So…I headed down to Milford on the first Thursday after receiving my passport to get my license. Again, I stood on line and the same man came to inspect my documents. Unfortunately, he said, I had two different addresses on my proof of insurance (see the last post!), so I explained how it all works at Hemlock Farms. He was “very familiar with communities like this,” he said and I was off again this time to the insurance agent’s office (which thankfully is in Milford) to get a statement with only one address on it! The women there had the same words for the man at the license office as did Bill!! Finally, back on line again, and he let me pass. Got the license and my voter registration card at the same desk/same line. Somehow I felt like I was victorious over the forces of evil, but all I did was transfer my driver’s license from Florida to Pennsylvania.

Moving to Hemlock

Moving is NOT an adventure — it’s a months-long process that has more twists and turns than I could ever have anticipated. First, it needs to be said that Hemlock Farms (where I now live) is a community of over 4000 homes that is definitely not the last stop before drinking the hemlock-laced beverage like Socrates did. It was a tree farm before homes were built here starting in the early 1960s. Now that we have that over with, back to moving. Second, being a list-maker, moving required multiple lists and, whether you keep lists on paper or on your electronic device, it is vital for keeping track of the things you leave behind and the things you are moving toward. Think of all the people who need to be notified. I added the stress of selling my home and retiring from two jobs. Those required their own lists!

Since Hemlock is a community of many vacation homes and part-time residents, there is no street mail delivery so I have two addresses — can you see where this is going? One is the physical address and the other is the mailing address for the mailroom. Unbelievably, there are different addresses for mail and for packages since the zip code — 18428 — includes two towns, Hawley and Lords Valley (not “the” Lord, but Levi Lord — another story entirely)! If you want mail, send to Lords Valley, if packages are being delivered (sometimes to the house and sometimes to the mail room), you want Hawley! And, the mail room is only open for 2 hours each day for package pick-up. Because of this ill thought out system, changing one’s address becomes quite the exercise.

Happily, I got most things changed little by little and waited for things to be forwarded from my old address. Of course, this didn’t happen at all, so I was innocently thinking that I was brilliant and organized and that everything was covered. Thanks to the young woman who bought my house, a rather large package of mail arrived one day, including important documents like the tax bill(!) that had not been forwarded by the US Postal Service. They did, however, manage to reroute all junk mail and Tuesday Morning ads!

The one thing left to do, once I figured out the system, was to get a Pennsylvania driver’s license and voter registration card. I suppose you think my next post will be about the hassle of standing in line or dealing with bureaucrats (maybe a bit), but it’s more about having to prove to the state that I am a citizen of the United States and that I am deserving of a photo id. All this was required before I could register my car. And people asked me what I was doing with “all my free time!”

Reflections on a trip to the dump

Just back from the Refuse and Recycling Center — the dump — and reflecting on my new life. Friends and acquaintances used words like “new normal,” “adventure,” “life change,” and “freedom” when I made the decision to start a new life in the Poconos, retire from my long-time job in Florida, leave teaching at a local college, sell my house, and leave family and friends. All at once. I thought at first that perhaps I was a bit crazy but there is a method to the madness. I’m from the north and, after 37 years in Tallahassee (which is really the deep south), I wanted to come back. Besides, I was always considered a Yankee and never quite fit in. And, most importantly, I have two children who live in the area. So here I am in the woods, in a house that had to be gutted, retired after working since I’m 14, and wondering what’s next.

The move itself was an adventure that’s for sure and it needs to be said that my newly-renovated home in the woods has a steep curving driveway that influences everything from deliveries to renovations to shopping. Many days, while trying to find structure where there is none, I thought that writing about some of my encounters with local people and issues, about how the day fills up in spite of not working, and about living in a totally new environment might be fun and therapeutic at the same time. I’m a city girl after all and dealing with things like going to the dump is not typical for me. At the moment I’m looking at a yard covered in leaves and wondering if I have to get rid of them before it snows! That’s the kind of thing I think about these days.

Stories will follow on trying to get the State of Pennsylvania to accept my citizenship so I could get a license and voter’s registration card, dealing with the “two week” rule which seems to cover all services (remember The Money Pit?), getting used to the New Yawk accent again, and meeting new people and making connections with old friends!