The Coming Storm

<%image(20051024-sunrise crop.jpg|360|82|sunrise)%> Today began with a stunning view of the sunrise hitting red mountain behind our house. We have been enveloped in cloud cover for so long that I have literally forgotten what it looks like to have sun hitting the trees around us. The only bright spots have been fleeting and the only consolation from all of the clouds has been some scarce snow above 2800 feet (approx.), which gives the mountains a really pretty look. But today was not one for enjoying nature. Today was for errands and preparation for winter.

<%image(20051024-sunrise 2.jpg|240|157|redmt)%> With a snow storm possibility for this Wednesday, I wanted to get some snow tires on my car and finally register it in Vermont, as well as procuring a Vermont license. And when you’re out in the country like we are, a trip into town becomes a major run around to hit all of the major places: Aldi, Home Depot, the auto parts shops, etc.

The VT Trans. office was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I’m used to long lines of 20-30 people, a sitting area with several TVs, long links of matching (and relatively comfy) seats filled to capacity, and a polished but used look. This office was fairly . . . dumpy. A poor excuse for a carpet had a mixed bag of folding and cushion chairs that you may find at the town dump. You wrote all of your paper work on a high table that shook vigorously, and, best of all, there was no line. I picked a number and walked up to the counter, that was in better shape than the waiting area.

Considering that the DMV is the place for catastrophe’s, you find out your car is listed as stolen, you don’t have the paper work necessary, you need someone’s signature who is on the other side of the world, they don’t like your ID, you can’t prove your residency, etc., things went alright. I just had to run and get cash since I forgot my check book. No other important documents were missing or brought under close scrutiny. The part that I really hate is the picture for my license. This has always been a laughable catastrophe for me. I cannot smile on command. I always produce a constipated-looking grimmace with clenched teeth. School IDs were always bad, looking very little like me. My drivers license in Jersey worked out because underage drivers had their profile taken (which could quickly be sent to the jail for when they book you I suppose!).

<%image(20051024-me vt L.jpg|266|194|me vt)%> But Pennsylvania was the worst. “Growling” is all that I can say. I was happy to hand over the growler and get a new picture. Of course I fought off the growl look, tried to think of something funny, saw the flash and heard the grumpy DMV lady snicker. She barked out, “It looks like you’re in pain!” I’m glad I at least got her to lighten up a little. Yes, there is that look on pain on my face, my teeth are clenched, but you can tell that there was effort put into this one. I was really trying to smile and I think it shows. The sinister growl is no where in sight and for that simple truth, I am content.

The other projects for today were getting prepared for winter. This brought on a serious period of wandering in the promisedland of Home Depot. It’s one thing to be in Wal-Mart and to tell yourself not to buy things because you’re just consuming out of greed and wasting money on things you don’t need. But at Home Depot you feel the creative juices begin to flow, you see a better home, a better life, and suddenly you feel that you could create the most beautiful shelf, floor, wall, whatever. So you wander some more, dream a lot, and tell yourself that the prices are reasonable, passively watching as item after item glides gently into your cart.

You know what it’s like to have a full cart from food shopping, and you’re no where near the half way point. Yes, you have been restrained. You have behaved, and you may even buy a fancy energy conservation light bulb as a reward. But they you check out and your bill soars to $170 and you stare in disbelief. How did this happen??? The rollers were just $2.99, the weather stipping was $4.99, the nails were $1.99, the screws were $4.95, the cement was $3.18, and then you add on 10 more items and realize that you bought about 6 of each one, and then simple multiplication solves the rest.

While I did not spend quite that much today, I finally figured out why a “10 minute trip” into Home Depot becomes a solid hour. The creativity flows and the possibilities become endless. These are very good things and I am all in favor of making homes nicer, more energy efficient, etc. But couple creativity with the old nemesis of consumerism and you have a deadly combination. )%>