29 March 2013

Settling In Part 2

Snow globe representing Virginia.
(Courtesy of Cassy W. Philipson)
Welcome back. This move-to-Wisconsin-and-settle-in stuff is getting serious. Our house in Northern Virginia is no longer ours. Houses aren’t supposed to sell that fast. It was winter.

Don’t misunderstand. It’s not like I haven’t been…well, settling in. I know it’s more than a fantasy visit to a snow globe.

Official Settling-In Actions

I traded my Virginia driver’s license for a paper that’s supposed to serve as a license until Wisconsin finds a machine that can produce something more plastic like. My Virginia license was good for 10 years. The Wisconsin paper is good for 3 years, which is either a boast about the relative privilege of driving in the state or recognition that paper won’t last as long as plastic.

Not to belabor the differences but, unlike Wisconsin, Virginia is too genteel to include the license holder’s weight on the license. Virginia didn’t even include my hair color. That might just be Virginia’s prediction that I soon won’t have any hair.

The Wisconsin license trade-in process was so pleasurable we returned the following week to confess that we were not only planning to drive but that we had cars. We were thrilled to be assisted during part of the car re-titling process by the same woman--a single mother of six!--who came to know us during our earlier tête-à-tête. (It was somewhat embarrassing the way she elbowed other staff aside to be with us.)

Our urgency to obtain drivers licenses was to facilitate opening a local credit union account. Residing at your father-in-law’s address with nothing in your name but forwarded mail hampers your ability to prove you actually live in the state much less within a credit union’s community. Fortunately, we had the right forwarded mail to sway the mother of six.

Querying local credit unions by phone, I sought to confirm they had ATMs that would disperse from and also accept deposits for our Virginia credit union. The first credit union responder chuckled, That’s not how ATMs work. You cannot use an ATM to make a deposit to another credit union. So much for Misinformation Central. 

Unofficial Settling-In Actions 

Snow globe representing Wisconsin.
(Courtesy of Cassy W. Philipson)
After years and years of cleaning full-fledged houses, I am jubilant to be back in an apartment. As the always well-dressed, immaculately coiffed homemakers in the black and white TV commercials used to say, What will I ever do with all the spare time?

Do you remember me writing about the cellphone that resided in my car’s glove compartment (see Technology Update )? We’re foregoing a landline, so now I keep the cellphone in my pocket. And it’s turned on--I think.

Living on the farm requires that we drive farther than I’ve ever driven to shop for food in the U.S. The selection is similar, of course, though having only 2 competing supermarkets at a distance can’t compare with having 5 or 6 competing markets close by. (I almost gave up on tofu.)

Since our apartment hadn’t really been used for 10 years, we decided to have the well water tested. Results thus far are acceptable, though we’re waiting on arsenic. (This may yet be categorized under Plumbing Curse.)

Wrap Up

As you can tell, I’m trying. I even started looking at volunteering opportunities. Before moving here, I was supporting three programs. The volunteers I worked with were inspiring, and the kids I helped under one program were super. There don’t appear to be comparable programs nearby, but there’ll be something. If you’re not volunteering, why not try it? Thanks for stopping by.

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