Thursday, January 19

Roombust II

The wrong part arrived. We dutifully ignored it.

The right part arrived. It didn't work.

Gee, couldn't see that one coming.

Tuesday, January 17

DMV, Harbingers of Doom

Okay, so in Maryland it's MVA. I refuse to capitulate. And however you abbreviate it, DMV be damned.

My father gifted us a vehicle. He sent us the title, we filled out the appropriate form, I had the car inspected. Dotted i's, crossed t's, stood in line at the DMV with the omnipresent toddler. When I reached the Document Inspection booth, the nice lady looked over everything I had, then informed me that Maryland does not recognize out-of-state gifts. The registration fee is 5% of the sale price of the car; if the car is gifted, not sold, 5% of the Blue Book value of the car is due. In this case, that's $500. Um, no.

Went home, called Dad requesting notarized bill of sale selling us the car for the princely sum of $1 (and the intention of paying the 5% registration fee in pennies.) One of my sisters became very sick, and during her hospitalization other things understandably fell by the wayside. Several weeks later, the bill of sale arrived, my dad's signature notarized.

Hopped in the car, stood in the 45-minute-long line. Document Inspector Lady #2 reviewed my documents, approved them, and had me stand in yet another line. When I reached the head of that line, the employee examined the bill of sale and informed me that my husband and I also needed to sign the document and have it notarized. (Now, if I am presenting the bill of sale as authentic on my behalf, and it's notarized by the seller, why the hell must I sign it too? Smile and nod.) It would've been nice if Lady #2 had picked up on this minor detail, before sending me to stand in another line. And it would be nice if I were the type of person who could order a burger without some major snafu (like getting chicken nuggets and a drive-thru order-taker arguing with me about what I had ordered. I digress.) As is painfully clear at this point in my life, I am not that type of person. And now I have plans to pay the 5-cent registration fee with my credit card, thus costing them a transaction fee in excess of $1. Mwahahaha.

I go home. Hubby and I rustle up a notary. I return to the DMV today, where I stand in another 45 minute line. Document Lady #3 examines my documents . . . and points to the White-Out on the title. I wrote the zip code in the wrong box, I inform her, and whited it out. White-Out constitutes alteration of the title, she informs me, and voids it. I will need to order a new title from the People's Republic of California.

My jaw drops. Several thoughts are spinning in my head, and the first one that comes out is, "It's just correction tape. It can be scratched right off."

Oh no, she tells me. That's alteration of the document, and it's already null and void.

"Even if it comes right off?" I ask. "What if I take the title, scratch it off, and come back through this line?"

I have offended the morality of the DMV, apparently. No, I can't do that. She would still know. I roll my eyes. "What's your day off?" I ask. She is most decidedly unamused.

The second document inspector at the booth overhears and joins the fun. "You can take it up with the governor," she snaps.

My jaw drops lower. "Excuse me," I say. "I'm not trying to be smarmy. I am frustrated, at this point, because I have now been here several times, and none of the previous three individuals who have checked my documents ever pointed this out. If this were the first time anybody checked and told me this, it would be understandable. But now I have to come back a fourth time-- each time somebody notices something new with the papers and sends me on a fool's errand."

"Quit hollering at me," she says. My jaw goes lower, at this point rivaling a python unhingeing its jaw to enjoy a tasty giraffe. "Ma'am, I'm not hollering, I'm not even raising my voice!" (It was true. I swear.) She waves her hand at me in an unspoken whatever.

"Look, I'm asking you to understand my frustration with your fellow employees, who have now cost me at least 3 extra trips here with a toddler."

"I'm not going to speculate on what may have happened in the past," she responds irritably. So much for any iota of sympathy.

"Fine. I'll just come back a fourth time. Have a wonderful day." I take back my documents and step aside to make room for the next person. As I'm putting away my license, the first lady says, "Let me see your title again."

Thinking maybe she is going to cut me some slack, I hand it back to her, then turn to put my wallet away. She hands me the title again, wordlessly, and I realize I'm S.O.L. I scoop up the kid and head to the car. (On the way out, I am accosted by some individuals with a petition for a certain political cause. So NOT in the mood. I inform them I am on The Other Side and head to my car.)

Once the kid is buckled in, I reach for the title. May as well see just how cleanly that White-Out tape scratches off, just in case I can actually avoid the bureaucratic nightmare that ordering a replacement title from California entails. (I had to order a copy of my birth certificate awhile back-- and that was excruciating enough!)

That's when I realize what the employee had done when she asked to see the title "again." She had circled the "altered" portions in thick red marker, making it impossible even to attempt removal of the White-Out. $*%&!

Saturday, January 14


For Christmas, we received a Roomba-- ya know, the robot vacuum cleaner. Woohoo! We packed it up from our California Christmas and brought it back to our Maryland electrical outlet. Where it stubbornly blinked red and refused to accept a charge.

I called the manufacturer's number and they said this was a known issue; they would ship us a part that would arrive in 7-10 days.


Today, more than 2 weeks having gone by, hubby called them again. He was informed that the part had been on backorder, but had indeed shipped, and would be arriving this week.


Ten minutes later, the phone rang again. It was Bobby from iRobot again, calling to inform us that after some additional research, he discovered that iRobot had ordered and shipped us the wrong part, and warned us not to install it, as it would damage the Roomba. He placed the correct part on order, and I figure that will be arriving sometime before next Memorial Day. At which point it will probably blow up our Roomba.

Tuesday, January 10

Can I shoot telemarketers for sport?

Today, the phone rang. Caller ID informed me it was a particular telemarketer soliciting funds for some fundraiser.

The first time they called, they asked for Miss Campbell. When I informed the caller he had the wrong number, he told me it was a general call soliciting donations. I let him talk for about 15 seconds, politely interrupted, and informed him I was not able to contribute.

The second time, I told them no, and please remove my number from the list.

Third through fifth times, I was more irate, said "REMOVE ME FROM THE LIST" and hung up.

Today, someone once again asked for Miss Campbell. I informed him there was no Miss Campbell here, and for the SIXTH time, remove my name from the list!

"You just said you're not Miss Campbell, so your name's not ON my list," he retorted.

OOOOOH. I hate telemarketers. I hate cheeky ones even more.

"Then take my NUMBER or whatever-the-hell-you-have off the $*%&! list," I snapped.

He was still talking when I hung up the phone. Days like this I really wish I had a "regular" phone. Clicking "off" on a cordless doesn't carry with it the satisfaction that slamming the receiver down does!

I'll let you know next time they call.