Yeah so we caved, kinda of sorta. We had been talking about it for a while. It’s a bit of a selfish conversation born out of our pending sadness. Nothing lasts forever. The conversations got more serious, more detailed. Plans were hatched, lists made. Then, finally, after months of bullying and harassment by unnamed people (Amy & Rachel), we caved in and did it.
In the immortal words of DJ Khaled, and another one. No not the dirty copier machine you mutts. The dog. We got another dog. Adopted another rescue I should say. Orville to be precise. A 3-month-old Retriever/Springer Spaniel/Terrier mix. We think. Hard to tell with these rescues who just get abandoned on the side of a road or tossed over a fence at an animal shelter.
He may grow to be a killer, but hey at least he’s cute as a button now. And he rings the bells hanging from the front door when he wants to go out. That gives the cute impression that he is house broken, until you realize he’s peed and crapped himself all the way to said bells. What are you gonna do? Make the kids clean it up that’s what. Who says it’s a sad day when your toddlers grow up?
So now we have Milo and Orville. Solid names all the way around. No cute pic of the two of them sitting with-in close enough proximity to each other if that tells you anything about how Milo is adjusting to his new kid brother. Milo is happiest when Orville is in his crate.
The crate has been the clear marker the two dogs are different. Milo spent 38 minutes in his crate and has slept on the bed ever since. Orville naps in his and since the half of the family with no spine is in Europe, I’ve been crating that little prick every night. Guess who’s sleeping like a baby this week and last? No not the dog. Well maybe he is who knows. He’s downstairs in his crate. Me. I’m sleeping like a baby, a stone, a dead man and what have you.
The dog makes not one peep. When I come down to spring him for the day, he’s lying there staring through the bars waiting for his meal period like a convict resigned to his incarceration, waiting for yard time. So, in that respect he’s been much easier as a puppy than Milo was. We just don’t remember what a pain in the tuckus Milo was when he was a puppy because it seems like he grew into a member of the family so quickly. That could not be furthest from the truth. We have all hardwood floors because of Milo.
Thanks to those hardwood floors, Orville clean-up is so much easier. In Orville’s defense he is getting better. He’s still a puppy.
And if he keeps to his lights out by 10p prison sleep schedule, he may eve get to stay.
You read that right. The DMV as in the Division of Motor Vehicles. Your PTSD acting up yet? Well take your meds and strap in. I know what y’all are thinking and this isn’t that. This is an actual ode to the oldest of government professions, an agency dedicated to the systematic pissing off of the greatest number of the populace in a given eight-hour workday.
Without sarcasm, snark, condescension or tongue in cheek; with malice toward none, I will attempt to relay to you dear reader, in a non-ironical way, why on this particular day the DMV should be lauded, heaped with praise even. Yeah, I said heaped.
The story begins on a rare cool day in Knoxville, September-ish, year of our Lord 2021. My license plate was expiring Oct 31. Now in Tennessee we have, as I’m sure other states do, an on-line system that allows you to renew your plates with the click of a mouse and a surrender of $30 American for the plate and $35 American for the Queen’s share.
Basically for a few clicks and $65 clams you’re done, and you never had to do your hair or see/deal with people. Your sticker and new registration arrive promptly 14 business days later. Honestly, it’s pretty awesome.
However, on this particular day the system spit back, Plates cannot be renewed 90 days from expiration. Of course, that’s weird because I hadn’t paid it yet and was well within the 90 days. So, I wait till October, same deal. Tried again in November, same same and if we’re being honest, I completely forgot about it after that.
Flash to May of 2022 and Tracy’s van comes up for renewal but Tennesse is changing plates. That means no on-line magic. Have to go into the DMV to get the new plates, which FYI are much nicer looking in my opinion. Anyway, I thought since hers were up I’d try my plates again. Same message from the web site.
Now I know I have not paid for my registration for the new year, so I’ve gone nine months on what I guess are illegal plates? My laziness to this point has kept me from going to the DMV to get this fixed and I’ve been skirting the law for a while. My 4:30am work schedule and working from home two days out of four has helped greatly in this regard.
I have no choice now. Got to make the pilgrimage to get the new plates for Tracy. When I say pilgrimage think going to Mecca but not as fun. The problem: May was quickly coming to a close and half the family is preparing to go to Europe for ten days. Plus there are a bunch of other poor excuses as to why I did not get to the DMV until the day Tracy and Frank were leaving for London. Oh and I had a window of two hours before I’d have to bail out to get home in time to take them to the airport shuttle leaving from the school.
Yeah man I was putting a lot of faith in the agency where red tape is actually manufactured. Especially in light of my last trip there over a decade ago. You can read that here if you like: What’s in a name?
Really, I was counting on the joint being covered up to make it a non-issue. Then I hit the Brewster’s Ice Cream place and be home in plenty of time to take them to the shuttle and I’d deal with the plates another day. Easy. Hell, any more days and I’d come around for renewal on my plates again, having gone a whole year without paying. Felt a little like Jesse James. A little.
Sadly, there was a parking space. Just one. So I decided to at least give it a try. Half way to the building I come face to face with one of Knoxville’s finest. Big smile and a hello and a question as to where I was going. Since I didn’t know where the place was located in the sprawling facility it was a pleasant surprise to be told where the door was and how to get into the DMV office from there. She was incredibly helpful and we’re off to a good start.
Then I step in and it’s wall to wall. I mean literally wall to wall. After a minute I realize I have to take a number. The “Now Serving” sign was not obvious for obvious reasons. When I found the sign, I had 24 they were serving 92, I was immediately crest fallen until I remembered the ice cream I was now going to get. But yeah it was so busy the sign had not even rolled over yet. I was half expecting it to jump several numbers ahead because surely these government drones just keep forgetting to advance the sign.
93! PLEASE COME TO WINDOW 4! Damn it!
It was at this point my body language, if not my actual language, betrayed me. The nice officer I met on the sidewalk was now standing next to me. She came over to tell me it moves fast and if I don’t have to be anywhere for the next 30 minutes, I should be fine. Again, she was very helpful and reassuring as the 30 minutes would work great, but no way I’m buying that timeline.
I mean there is no way they are moving fast enough to clear out all thes…. 94! 94 TO WINDOW 1 PLEASE!
Well holy hell they are moving pretty qui… 95! 95 TO WINDOW 2!
No freaking way. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a Moses at the burning bush type revelation but man it’s getting close. Now I’m looking at my watch doing the math. So, let’s see, if they call my number by 1pm I should be good, 1:15 at the latest and I can still make it home, grab them up and get them to the shuttle. But I still don’t see how it’s… 96! 96 TO WINDOW 4 PLEASE. 97! 97 TO WINDOW 1.
A few things to note. Window 4 is a rock star and who is the lazy bastard at Widow 3? That cat needs to find a new gear. Turns out, obviously to everyone but me, the room is full of people getting new plates since Tennesse canceled the current version. Apparently, that’s not a very intricate procedure.
And as astounding as it seems, not 21 minutes later I’m tripping the light fantastic to Window… you guessed it, Window 3. My man is getting some positive reinforcement from me and maybe a bit of a pep talk to get him back in the game. Gladys at Window 4 is flat out smoking his hind parts.
First, I have to take care of Tracy’s plate in case my nine months as an outlaw comes to light and things go sideways. I’m not the healthiest person walking the earth but in this joint I’m pretty sure if I have to flee, I’m making it out. Turned out to be a non-issue.
My man James of Window 3 was all over it. When I explained my story, he said, Yeah, it shouldn’t do that. Not a font of knowledge I grant you, but straight to the point. James is winning me over. So I asked how do I fix it. Again James dropped a pearl amongst swine. I’ll just renew your plate right now.
Yeah, sounds about right. No fine, no surcharge. Just the standard fee as if I was paying on time. You know why? Cause it shouldn’t do that, as James said earlier. And just like that, in less than seven minutes I walked out with two new plates and registration cards.
When I stepped in the joint, I had number 24 and they were on number 92. In less than 30 minutes I was walking out of there. I had to take a moment and pause just to try to comprehend what happened. Was I in some parallel universe? Had I died and this was my heaven? Nope. I simply walked into a place where the people were professional, polite, helpful, and very good at their jobs.
The DMV: come for the snazzy new plates, leave faster than you could have ever imagined.
So we’ve entered a phase. It might be our first one come to think of it. I’m not sure what to name it, or if it even has a name. I do know I need to be recording Frank every second of the day right now. Some of the stuff coming out of his mouth is just unbelievable.
He’s been making a lot of declarations about what he will and will no longer be doing. Hard to explain so here’s the first example.
When we go to The Kroger, the bakery usually has a bin of free cookies out. Our routine is simple, we go for the cookies when we start our final run on the back wall in the dairy section. That takes us past the eggs, butter, cheese and sends us right into the meats and then the bakery. The on to the hippie section (read: organic) for the milk and veggies and then to the check out. By then he’s done the cookie and he gets to work putting the cart stuff on the belt.
So the other day we roll up on paper towel aisle, our last dry goods stop before we bank hard right to dairy, and I realize he has not mentioned the cookies once. Normally he’ll make my ears bleed about how close we’re getting to the cookies. A little running commentary about our cookie proximity that would make a normal man throw himself into on coming traffic. But I’ve become more powerful since Anne Marie has made the scene, so I can repel his annoying. But the silence, the silence about the cookie is now front and center in my head. If Obi Wan Kenobi were here he’d call me a weak minded fool. What’s his angle? Is he gonna work me for ice cream instead? This boy plottin on me somehow someway.
We get to the bakery and the moment of truth has arrived. I reach for his allotment and out it comes. “I will not be having Kroger cookies anymore.” Uh wut? ” I don’t need them daddy.” No one needs cookies Frank. Cookies are never about need. Cookies, much like the pumpkin spice doughnuts that come out at Thanksgiving, are all about want. “Well I don’t want it daddy.” Well OK then Frank, but I’m having one.
The problem was I had already picked up two. Then I remembered the hobos grab three or four and sometime drop one back in. So I dropped one back in the bin. Problem solved. Tip for you Kroger shoppers, never take the weekend cookies. Only the weekday cookies are generally untouched. You’re welcome.
About a day later the big enchilada dropped.
I was summoned to the bedroom where my oldest child was sitting in a very serious manner with a very serious look on his face. His mother had a rye smile. I was entering a mine field of which there would be no safe passage. Well no point in tap dancing. Let’s get to it. “What’s up Frank?”
“I don’t want to be called Frank anymore.”
Oh shit. My first thought was he’s on some kind of cosmic self awareness journey. He’s been acting strange. He’s on some minimalist bent. No cookies at The Kroger, wouldn’t pick any toys from the toy store after a bit of a harrowing doc appointment because he said “I don’t need it.” and now a name change. My hope was we wouldn’t have to call him moon unit or just some sort of crazy symbol. Then I thought maybe he wants to go by Oso or Lambie or Rocket or Deputy Peck or some other character from Disney Jr.
“I want to be called Francis.”
Turned five – went bonkers. Note the minimalist cake.
Well that is his legal name. The first born male in an Italian family is named for his grandfather. My grandfather’s name was James so my oldest brother’s name is James. My dad’s name is Francis and goes by Frank, so my son’s name is Francis and we call him Frank. This wold not be a big shift to call him Francis. Or so I thought.
I tried it out a few times. It felt weird. Now I’m thinking he’ll get over it before bedtime so just go with it. “OK Frank, it’s your name and you…” “It’s Francis.” “What?” “It’s Francis daddy, you called me Frank.” “Sorry bud OK, Francis. Like I said, it’s your name and you have the right to be called by your name. Francis it is!”
He seemed happy.
Mrs Frank’s Place on the other hand…
There is a reason we call him Frank. Tracy doesn’t like the name Francis very much. It happens to be my name and I go by that. I’m not Frank or Franny or Michael, my middle name, I have always gone by Francis. So while Tracy was assaulting my entire heritage, Frank or Francis, was happy with his name change. No idea what’s spawning all this but we were both hoping he’d get over it after a few minutes.
Took two days. He corrected us every time we called him Frank for the next two days. Then it went the way of the Dodo.
He’s back to Frank. For now.
If you see him in the next few months and he’s wearing Jedi robes and goes by the name Knarf O’dranil, remember you’ve been warned.