At about ten thirty, this mild Friday morning, after having a cup of shredded wheat cereal with milk, I left the house for Automotive Store and Service Center where we purchased all of our three cars (same popular brand name). Since it's the month to have a new state inspection decal for our van, I've thought of having it done today, if it's possible. But, of course, there's always the possibility that it may not be done. That's why I said that at the outset. Anyway, thanks to God! Yes, they took ours, even if I just walked in or didn't have a prior appointment. I just told them that I can just wait, in stead of leaving our van there.
After giving my car key, I did hang in the lounge area where 5-6 people sat quietly beside those wooden round tables, their eyes fixed on the flat TV screen a few feet away and mounted on the wall. Except for an elderly couple, each table was occupied by a customer waiting for his/her car done. As I've said, almost all were focused on the TV, on CNN, broadcasting the latest world news.
Th is is my plan for our van today: After the state inspection (getting a new state inspection decal), I'd go to the nearest military base to obtain/procure a new DOD (Department of Defense) or military decal because the current one we have is worn out. You can barely read the DOD numbers and where the decal was issued. The current one doesn't expire 'til next month, March. So, I better take care of this now that I'm out of the house anyway.
It's already 11:25 a.m. While I've been waiting still in the service center's lounge, with a book on hand, I noticed that the TV channel was switched (automatically?) to a TV game show, The Price is Right, hosted by Drew Carey. During the station identification, I learned that the game show is broadcasted on a local CBS-affiliate TV station WTKR in Norfolk. Watching the game show on and off (because I've just started scribbling this note on a coupon bond that was inserted in my book), I was anxious to see the audience and guests sort of having fun. Lots of clapping hands, laughter, and smiles were exhibited.
Past twelve noon when our van was done. I didn't pay anything because that's included in the package deal when we bought our van three years ago---free state inspection for the life of the car.
From the Automotive Store and Service Center, I drove all the way to the nearest military installation. That means, to NMCP where I've worked for eleven years, and retired from there, seven years ago. Reaching the main gate of NMCP, I showed my military I.D. card to one of the sentries or base security police. Then, I told him my intention. He said that the security office there doesn't issue decals anymore since last month. I was baffled or aghast. Yes, I could hardly believe what he revealed to me. (I haven't been to this naval medical center for months for follow up check up.) Well, I was instructed to go to NOB (Norfolk Naval Base). "That seemed a bit far for me to drive" I said to myself. Unconvinced, once in the NMCP compound, I proceeded to the main general parking garage where the security office is located. There, I learned that it was true---DOD/base decals no longer are issued there. One of the active duty personnel asked me if I live (close) around the area. I said yes. He told me, then, to go to the Naval Shipyard, about 5 minutes drive from there. Good, I uttered, because that's close to where I shop/buy my groceries at the NEX/Commissary.
Going around the area, where I was told to go, back and forth (because I missed the turn), finally I arrived at the place. Manned by civilian employees, the security office was a bit crowded. The line was long. Naturally, all of us have to wait for our turn. Even if you're almost there next in line to be called, you get bumped when a uniformed military personnel shows up. They have that line privilege, you know. That's okay by me. I understand the rationale behind it. So they can go back to their workplace once they're done there, especially when they were only excused or permitted a couple of hours to have their business taken care of. Plus, that's one of the morale boosters for our active duty personnel, in my view.
My, my, my, when it was my turn to be served/serviced, I couldn't find one of the important requirements needed before I'd be issued new decals---the vehicle registration papers! I thought I have it together with the vehicle's papers, car repair maintenance papers, etc. I have had the one last year, 2011. Usually, we register each of our vehicles for two years at DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle). What a waste of time or how I wasted my time today. I just couldn't find that missing papers! I know, we may have misplaced it somewhere at home. (At that time I was feeling so uncomfortable (especially having stood in line for how many minutes, my lower back has been killing me with pain!) Plus, I felt hungry and was getting tired standing in front of the woman employee (probably in her late forties or mid fifties) in window 5. Before I left the office, I asked her about their office hours, and if they're open Saturday which she said they are not. On my way to the parking lot, I kept thinking where was our van's registration card. Our vehicle tag/plates says that our vehicle registration is not renewable 'til next March 2013.
On my way home, I thought that if we couldn't find that registration card at home, in our drawer where we have stored some papers, my wife and I would just go to DMV tomorrow, Saturday, to request a copy of it. Already hungry and feeling kinda weak, I was! You know what, folks? I dropped by at Totoy's and ordered three (different menu) orders food to go. Arriving home, I had a feast! (One thing, though, with buying cooked food in a restaurant, i.e, Chinese, Filipino, Italian, etc. The food is either salty, too salty or just in between, good or well done.) Anyway, I left some, more than enough for my wife's dinner.
Well, folks, this is all for now. Thanks for your time with me. Until next time around. Have a wonderful (three-day, holiday) weekend! I didn't realize 'til this moment that Monday is a federal holiday; it's Presidents' Day in the U.S. of A! Happy Presidents' Day, everyone! Enjoy and have fun. But be safe! Ciao!-chris .a.quilpa, 17February2012