Thursday, January 10, 2008

department of licensing hijinks - plus some other stuff

Today I went to the Department of Licensing to renew my driver’s license. It was all it was cracked up to be, let me tell you. I got to people watch! For over an hour! While I listened to a bunch of tired and unhappy-looking folks answer (and ask) some of the most inane questions known to man! I watched the lady at the information desk answer the same question 20 times in a row (I counted) - and in case you want to know her answer: for license renewal, please press the #2 green button on the number machine behind this wall. My favorite part was when they were only 4 numbers away from calling my own (#48) and magically ALL OF THE WINDOW WORKERS DISAPPEARED. It was as if they didn’t think a staggered schedule would make ANY sense at all. Why NOT go to lunch all at the same time? And then conduct a very interesting social experiment to see how long a large room full of hapless jacketed and coughing folks will sit quietly and wait for their number to be called (the number slip that is being clutched in a death-like grip) – called from NO ONE because NO ONE IS AT THE COUNTER.

So I survived that. I had the best intentions to do this deed at least a month ago (they allow you to renew up to 90 days prior to expiration in the state of Washington – a little known fact that I learned from reading the website, aren’t you glad I shared?). I had meant to do this a month ago because at least then I wouldn’t have been quite as puffy as I am now. There is a teeny bit of the puffy pregnancy cheeks going on here at The Creamery – and now those puffy cheeks are stuck on my license for the next five years. Or until post-pregnancy vanity wins out.

My refrigerator incident STILL has Chip cracking up – along with a good majority of family and friends who have also now heard the story. It turns out that there are a lot of hilarious pregnancy gaffs like mine – and I’ve heard quite a few in the past couple of days. One of my favorites is my sister’s, from when she was pregnant with #2. Her little girl D (2 years old) was in the bathtub and my sis just sort of fell in. Here she was, very pregnant and also trying to not squish her 2-year-old, all the while also attempting to NOT DROWN as she somehow wedged herself over onto her back, pushing D back and up onto the back lip of the tub – as a naked and wet D is yelling at the top of her toddler lungs CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP MY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Classic.

Swistle's post about baby registries and gifts has me thinking. In case you don't read her post - she's not saying that registries are bad in any way. She just notes that she hates it when people complain or actually say it's rude NOT to buy something off the registry, which I totally agree with. I can't imagine actually thinking that it's rude that someone didn't give me what I told them to. A gift, afterall, is a very personal choice.

The whole gift registry thing never entered into my consciousness until Chip and I got married – and even then, we’d both been on our own for quite some time, so the items on the registry were awesome and fun, but they weren’t things that our house was going to be DEPENDANT ON, if you know what I mean. We already owned a toaster (okay - I owned a toaster, Chip was proud that he had reached his advanced late-twenties and could still fit everything he OWNED in the back of his Jeep). So even though we had the basics for running a house together, I’m still incredibly grateful for the folks that did give from our registry because they gave us exactly the items we wanted and could use, which worked out wonderfully for us. Also, gift cards? THE BEST GIFT EVER.

The baby registry, however, is something much more monumental and necessary, given our status as New Parents. Until very recently, Chip thought a Boppy was either the mallet in that Wack-a-Mole game (which we had the joy to play over Christmas and it was a BLAST), or just a funny word – not something that was the saving grace of just about every mother we know. We don’t have a swing. Or a bouncy seat. Or a baby monitor. Or (insert whatever baby item you deem to be absolutely necessary how-can-you-possibly-live-without-it). We’re doing our best to amass the must-have items in these weeks leading up to Bean's arrival (things like the car seat, diapers, a crib), and we’re attempting to not break the bank while doing so. The registry is like this haven for me – a place to list items that we might not get around to because of time or finances, items that I know will make Life With Baby that much more manageable. It’s this golden realm that I can visit with thoughts of maybe, hopefully, what if. I was very careful when I chose items for the registry. I didn't want to pick what I considered to be outrageous things - in price or necessity. I tried to put items in there in a wide range of cost, because it's possible that a few folks may feel inclined to go in on a gift together, or, in the case of my boss who is not monetarily challenged in ANY WAY WHATSOEVER I can hope he'll feel the warmth in his heart to gift something to his wonderful and long-suffering assistant. He randomly throws mints at me, for crying out loud. The least I can do is hope for a generous baby gift. (ha ha - I KID! ... sort of) With that being said, there were a few things that I just couldn't NOT put in there - like the BABYLEGS - things that really are bordering on superfluous and we're going to be buying a crib mattress before we buy little baby leg warmers, but MAN ARE THOSE THINGS ADORABLE OR WHAT. I fully understand and expect that I'm going to be judged based on the items in Bean's registry. (If I could only be a fly on the wall to hear what people say when they see the many versions of BabyLegs - who does this lady think her kid is going to be? She's strangely addicted to STRIPES.) All this to say that I certainly wouldn’t EVER think that someone is being boring, uncreative, or thoughtless because they bought a baby gift that we need and want – an item we’ve listed in the registry.

Reading the comments of Swistle's post, I'm not in any way surprised that so many people say they hate shopping off a registry. I’ve been one of those people. It seemed… impersonal. (Which, in retrospect, is a somewhat crazy thought – it’s the most personal thing in the world! It was created by the people who NEED THE STUFF!) I’m not trying to poo-poo anyone who is anti-registry; I’m just saying that I see an entirely new side of this gift gig now. A gift will always be just that: something that you’re given that you should be grateful for. It’s a thought. It’s a symbol. It’s a nicety that is never required. It’s something that someone is doing to express their feelings for the recipient – it is, by its very nature, a very personal choice. So far Bean has received some of the most wonderful and thoughtful gifts from incredibly kind and gracious friends and relatives. We wouldn’t exchange these items for the world. No matter what.

Dude - I just wrote 156,978 paragraphs about REGISTERING FOR BABY STUFF. I must be stopped.


Artemisia said...

When I lived in northern VA/DC, I had to take an entire day off of work, and arrive to stand in line OUTSIDE at 6:00 A.M., to renew my license. I made it home by 3:30 p.m. Score! The picture? Mortifying.

But at least no one there had the NERVE to take a GROUP BREAK.


When I see people register for really expensive versions of gravy boats and such on their wedding registry, I try to remind myself that perhaps they don't speak to their rich relatives who would be likely to buy such a gift, or that ALL of their friends might be going in on this ONE gift. I skirt the edges of judging, is what I am saying.

Babylegs? Holy buckets those are cute!

Whimsy said...


That is CRAZY about the VA/DC licensing thing. I do think I went on a good day, because I've waited a lot longer on previous visits. The group break thing was NEW, as they have never done this before. And I seriously think they were standing in the back, watching us hapless sheep on a video monitor, making bets as to who would crack first: the twitching pregnant girl? the extraordinarily burly woman with the keys jangling on her belt? the russian guy wearing the beret?

Also, the registry judging just HAS to be normal. I just don't know if it's possible NOT to think things when you're looking at someone's wish list. It's sort of this fantastic glimpse inside a person, no? Besides, it's hard for me to imagine that anyone goes in there and is all "la la la - I think it's perfectly sane that they registered for three different types of car seats!"

Tessie said...

Well, this is not SPECIFIC enough for me, I want to KNOW what exactly is on your registry!

Other than the Babylegs, which are so, so awesome.

rudecactus said...

Ahhh registering for baby gifts. I recall that being kinda fun.

Happy Delurking Day (only slightly late)

stacie d said...

My thoughts on registries are as follows (as if anyone cares):

-It's a way to make sure you don't get someone an item they already have, or that someone else already bought. I like knowing my Boppy won't be the 4th one opened at the shower.
-I usually will buy a main gift off the registry then personalize it. Like I got my friend Genie a Diaper Genie (naturally) but added a couple onesies & books along with it.

So where are you registered? :)

nutmeg said...

Okay, Faulkner, I'm in love: you refer to your fetus as BEAN! My first was and still is my Bean. As for all the stuff, with each kid I wanted less of it. Aside from a good sling and a boob, I only tripped on the rest. Luckily for me I haven't tripped on the boob as of yet. I did love my Boppy though - best thing since kiss-proof lipstick!

Whimsy said...

Ha ha ha! Nutmeg called me FAULKNER. That is seriously my favorite thing of the day.

I love the fact that Bean has other Beans in the world... we've got EVERYONE calling her Bean now, so the poor thing is going to be 30 years old and people will be calling her Bean. I'm not sure if I care.

For Nutmeg: Boob and sling, eh? I don't think I put any of the chest region on the registry. I might have to revise the list...

For Stacie: we're registered at Target & Babies R Us. They seemed like the most basic and complete places to go.

For Tessie: um, I started a post about what's on our registry, but I chickened out. It just seems too weird! Maybe I'll post my List of Baby Must Have Items instead and you can extrapolate what I'd have on my registry based on that.

Swistle said...

I am such a nosy nosykins, I LOVVVVE registries. I like to see EVERYTHING they want. Also, I get overwhelmed by too many possibilities, so I like the way a registry narrows things down. Also-also, I am anxiety-prone, and I worry that the recipient won't like my gift, so registries provide me with some relief.

So I was glad to see you got the gist of my nub, or whatever it is I mean here---that I think registries are GOOD, and that only the "non-registry = rude" thing is wrong. Some of the comments I got indicated to me that I had not been sufficiently clear on my views, which can, um, happen.

tearese said...

No one payed any attention to the baby registry when we had Elora; my experience is most people like to buy you clothes.
For a wedding_ I think the registry is a good thing, and it annoys me that people are annoyed at the registry. It makes more sense to me to buy a five dollar thing off someones registry ('Cause obviously they want it) than to waste $40 dollars on something they may already have or may hate. Just my two cents.
We still have to get our licenses and our car renewal in our new state...which, we better get on that because our tabs expire next month. Unfortunately, we have to do some car repairs to register here. Dang it.

ailene said...

If I get a registry note with a baby shower invitation, I'll sometimes go look at the registry to see what sorts of things the baby and parents need! It's nice to look at registries when I'm purchasing for someone, because then I don't get them something that they won't really use! I don't know what's already been given to them prior to the baby shower, or what special things have already been selected by themselves! The gift card idea is great. With so many pregnant people in the ward coming up, I think I might go the gift card route, along with the traditional bottle of sparkling cider that everyone expects from me... :)

The question is... how much is a good amount for a gift card? I mean, I would like to be generous if possible... but with a lot of friends, I also don't want to clean out my checking account... I REALLY don't want to seem cheap... sooo... maybe I should just go with the gift instead? Then they don't know how much it really cost... and then they won't think of me as being cheap?

The thing about gift cards is if someone gets a bunch of them... or if there is a big ticket item that they have to save up to get... then the gift cards can go towards that big ticket item...

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm....