Things are a-movin’

I’m becoming a real local. Scary! We have a post mostly about cars.  I’m so excited that I have to get this post out there 😀

So I have become Coloradoan, I even have the license to prove it (almost). Here is the step by step guide to getting a license in Colorado, albeit complicated by not ever held a driving license in Canada or the USA:

  • Step one: book an appointment online to do the testing and get license.
  • Step two: arrive and get told that you didn’t book for the driving test (despite it being called drive test), this required because you’ve never held a license in the USA or Canada.
  • Step three: throw all your paperwork at the people in the licensing place, you know all the papers that people ask for every darned day.
  • Step four: do the written test. Though by written we mean on a fancy touch screen. Make sure you get a maximum of five questions wrong, smash it by only getting one wrong (how many feet does a sedan at 55m/hr need to stop? It’s 200ft, don’t go conservative).
  • Step five: return to the desk, get those papers out again. Get told that an offer letter doesn’t count as proof of working location. Bugger.
  • Step six: Call Michael asking for another memo, this one proving work address. Get lost trying to find the Office Depot so you can print said letter.
  • Step seven: return to the license place to be told the only way to do that today is to go next door, pay $65, and do the test with an instructor. Oh, and they don’t do walk-ins until after eleven am. Exchange a fingerprint and photo for a local permit piece of paper (valid for thirty days).
  • Step eight: head next door to see when they can get me driving. Turns out the answer is 1145, but come about 1115 and we may fit you in earlier.
  • Step nine: how to kill about an hour? Yelp a cafe. The girls at the Festive Cup are super friendly, great place, go to it if you’re in the area!
  • Step ten: waste the next half hour calling car insurance companies so you can buy a car. Thanks VicRoads for sending me a letter about how great I am at driving, if you’re ever thinking of living in the USA make sure you get the full driving record from VicRoads (or similar), mine noticeably reduced the insurance premiums.
  • Step eleven: return to the driving school. Read the ‘things you must do’, scan, indicate, stay in your lane (no really? How about the locals do that? Indicators seem optional here).
  • Step twelve: go for a twelve minute drive with Tasha. It felt like less than twelve minutes, maybe I was having too much fun. On the way back into the office I got a you’re a very very good driver. Yep, two very’s.

So now I am becoming more and more assimilated. Look at that. In a few weeks they’ll send me a card and I can quit carrying around my passport. That will be nice.

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This is the Festive Cup. Nothing looking front but really good inside.  Sweet ladies working there.  Couches and tables to choose from for seating options.  I would happily sit here of a weekend and have a big coffee and relax for a while.  Pity its so (relatively) far from home.

While I was playing the waiting game for a drive I also called the car insurance chickens. They set me up for $1300 for six months. I’m not kidding, its madness. But with my lack of any sort of history they are more horrid. Maybe in six months I’ll be better able to shop around and get something less insane, but it won’t be much better, Mark tells me $2500 a year is normal. Thank you Geico for making the process nice and simple (on the phone not online). Plus I like their mascot, just look at him!
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Car News: And now there is something super big. I bought a car. Truly, a car. It is red! And all wheel drive, Impreza. I was super tempted by the WRX but I’ll think about it in a couple of years when my local credentials are better for both loans and insurances. Don was funny, he of course wants to sell me the more expensive car, but he was saying he’d give it to me well under cost if he owned the place. His point of view was that I’d sell more for him *shrug*.  I’m not sure I have that kind of sales ability – Ben would.  Okay, back to chronological.

I headed in to see Don at Subaru on Wednesday evening.  Between he and Scott they made my evening of paperwork so much more interesting than the drudgery it could have been.  Don is always good fun and a riot.  I did have to get all grammatical on them, they both have a horrid tendency of saying ‘VIN number’, now I realise that is what is printed into the plate (in Australia it is at least, I should check here), but there is too much redundancy in that for me.  ‘vehicle identification number number’….you know me.  Ugh.

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I’ve then had some minor stresses about getting cash moved. When USForex says 48 hours they mean 72 hours. I initially struggled with getting signed up, they did not believe that I live in Denver, they had to send a letter with a special code to my house. They also wouldn’t accept me signing up with my Australian credentials (ozforex) because they could see I was accessing the site from the USA. Madness. Eventually I got that all sorted out and I managed to set up a transfer. The next hurdle, ING of course needed to send me a text with an authorisation code before they’ll pay the foreign exchange people…I’m sure you realise how painful that was. They do not send texts to international phones and my Aussie SIM card is somewhere between LAX and Melbourne with Hamish (maybe its made it to Oz by now, not sure). Ugh. A long Skype call to ING got the payment made on Tuesday evening. By Thursday midday the forex site still listed my payment as pending. Ugh. Finally on Thursday afternoon someone said that they’d received the funds. Yay! Then it whisked it’s way into my US account on Thursday night and I saw it there about 0900 Friday.  I immediately coordinated with the car rentals to return the Beast and Don to go see him again.

The midday timeframe was much less effort than expected.  I was expecting all sorts of pain at every step, so was pleasantly surprised when I left work about 1230 and got back about 1400.  I headed to the bank and got a couple of bank cheques then took the Beast home.  Being a rental place I totally expected fuss and bother ‘this is dirty, that is not right’ whatever.  Nope, none of that.  I’d forgotten to write down the mileage so the bloke headed out and got that, checked it looked okay, took my cheque, and off I went.  In hindsight I have a second key for the car in my ‘bottom’ drawer…must remember to drop that in some time.  So the Beast headed home and I went for a stroll down to Subaru.  It is a stunning day today, blue sky, sunshine, a little cool breeze, about 10 degrees (celcius).  Just right.

I got there and Don did a wonderful job of looking after me again.  He also named my car, the Red Rocket.  I like it.  I suspect it is very fitting.  I of course haven’t tried to prove it (or otherwise) yet.  I don’t plan to really – me being a Nanna driver and all (well, a more cautious driver than my Nanna in truth! Kudos Gran :))  It wa such a simple process.  I handed Scott my cheque and Don chatted briefly while the gents out the back finished washing her, then he handed over the keys.  Seriously it was that easy.  We popped over and met the servicing guys and sales guys.  Then Don also showed me the medium version of how she works – fuel, program the phone to it, how to get into the bonnet, etc.  Then I was on my way.  Silly short drive all the way to the office.  Ugh – got to pay the bills.  On the plus side, I didn’t hit any kangaroos.

Oh, before I leave car news, amusing (to me) story.  Don called on Monday to check in with me and we made the Wednesday afternoon appointment.  Half an hour later Jim, Jim of the constant annoying phone calls, called me.  The conversation went along the lines of:

Jim: Hi Its Jim from Autonation Subaru

Me: Hi Jim.  Yes, I have an appointment to see Don Wednesday.  Yes I plan to attend.  Yes Don is doing an awesome job.

Jim: [insert stunned silence here]

Sure, its his job, but honestly if I didn’t enjoy dealing with Don I’d have likely considered another Subaru dealer.  This is a strange program to me.  Very American.  Like the wait staff that appear every three seconds.  You’ll get my tips if you leave me in peace m’dear.  Not many understand that.  I guess I’ll have to adjust, but it is simply so different to the exceptionally slow service you get in Perth.

So everyone meet the Red Rocket.  In the work car park.  She sparkles!

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Work news: The rest of the week wasn’t particularly interesting. We had a presentation about that HPP I mentioned previously. I’ve noticed a lot of female names on the list, which is quite exciting after my previous rant. It will be interesting when we get to the workshops and I can actually see the proportions.  I have had an awful lot of work to do this week, I suspect Mark was holding out on me at some stage and just threw it all at once.  Its Friday evening and I’m only just now working through the emails from Tuesday that I’d marked as ‘needs review but not right now’.  Phew.  Maybe a couple of hours on the weekend so I can start the week nice and clean.  I don’t like working the weekend, but my preference is certainly for starting the week with a more clean slate.

Container News: I haven’t been able to keep up with the container. I guess it is somewhere between Japan and LA and I’ll catch up with it when it gets closer to the coastline. I did get an email from Kym at Kent who said it is on track to arrive in LA on February 4th. I can’t wait for my bed to arrive. I keep rolling out of bed and its really difficult to stand up.

And guess what?!?!  Because I’ve had such a fun car second half of the week, and an overwhelming response to the poll I put up Tuesday, I’m going to send this out into the ether.  With no guidance from you I’ll just post willy nilly whenever it seems like I have something interesting.

Oh, and best of luck to Ally and the gang up at Port Hedland dealing with Cyclone Stan (now that sounds like a name to be afraid of).

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