*Disclaimer- this turned out to be way longer than I intended… sorry for the novel today!
A few weeks ago, my friend, A Soldier’s Wife posted an article that another MilWife had written about voting. I was relaying the article to The Husband that night when I started to ask questions about where we would go to vote this year. In North Carolina, we voted at the City Library about 1/2 mile from the house. I remember walking there the morning of the last election, loving the brisk walk in the cool North Carolina November. I relayed my fears to The Husband, “You don’t think they’ll forget about us do you? We live on a brand new street and we haven’t gotten anything in the mail telling us where to go.” His reply, ever so calm was, of course they won’t forget. If we don’t get anything mailed to us soon, we’ll call and find out.” Oh. Okay. I guess I never thought about that… occasionally I will blow small problems into huge issues.
The thoughts niggled in my mind… I felt like we should have gotten something by this point. VOTE HERE never came. In the middle of the night last Monday I awoke in a cold sweat at 2:37. I haven’t registered to vote in Kansas! As a military wife, I find it completely unnecessary to get a new drivers license in each state we live. I know, I know… probably not the right thing to do. After The Husband grabbed my pony tail and yanked me back down to bed I calmed down a bit, I woke (at 6:00) with a resolution. Call the DMV. Simple.
The DMV said, “Of course you can still register to vote. Do you have a KS Drivers License?” I replied. “No. What do I need to do to get it?” The nice man asked, “Have you ever had a KS DL?” No. “Are you married?” Yes. “Okay, we need your old drivers license from North Carolina, an original birth certificate, your original marriage license and mail with your name and address on it.” Oh. Okay. Simple. I called my dad. “Daaaaaddy?” “What?” he curtly replied, knowing that when I call him “daddy” something bad is about to happen. “Do you have my original birth certificate?” “Oh. No bonkin, I gave that to you years ago.” Shiiiiiiiit.
The Husband and I are extremely organized. We have to be. First of all, we move every 3-4 years, second… the military is really good about wanting documents at the drop of the hat. We keep everything in our safe, so at lunch I ran home and tore open the safe. Inside I found our will, trust, power of attorney, living will, four social security cards (two in my maiden name, two in my married name… didn’t even know that was possible) diplomas, The Husband’s birth certificate (thank you Jesus!), The Husband’s social security card, his PIF (for those non-military out there, that’s the Personal Information File… you have to take it when you leave). Then I found the bottom of the safe. Crap, crap, crap. No birth certificate, original or otherwise.
I called the cool guy at the DMV again. “Dude. I have looked everywhere. No birth certificate. I do, however, have four social security cards… I have a military ID… please tell me that something else will work.” He oozed empathy, “I’m sorry ma’am. We have to have the birth certificate.” Well crap on a biscuit.
“Daaaaady” I called again. “Oh, Lord. What now?” he asked. “Dad, can you please, please pretty please look in the safe one last time to see if you have my birth certificate?” “Oh, sure. I’ll call you in a couple hours. I have some errands I need to finish” he tells me.” “Sweet! Oh, and daddy?” I asked. “(insert the f-word here) what now?” he replied (really, he wasn’t upset… he can just be cantankerous at times). “I’ll make you cheese and onion enchiladas if you find my birth certificate.” I offered. “Oh… I’m on it. No worries.”
While I waited on my dad I called the Vital Records office in Missouri just in case. For a mere $24.95 and a major credit card… I can be born again in a little over 10 days. (Thank God it doesn’t take that long for our Savior, right?) My dad calls back a few very long hours later. “Hey bonkin, if you send me a print of your heel, I’ll match it to this little piece of paper here and see if it matches up.” he jokes. “YOU FOUND IT!” I screamed. “Yeah. I’ll give it to your mother… you can pick it up this weekend when you’re in The City.” Thank you Jesus!
I snatched the birth certificate from my mom’s glove box when The Husband and I were in The City for the two-year old’s birthday party this past weekend. The DMV is open Tuesday through Friday, 7:30 to 5:30. I made my way over there on Wednesday, with a file folder containing my entire identity… my social security card, my NC DL, my marriage certificate, my birth certificate and mail in my name. A sign on the door announces cash or check only. I’m a no-cash kinda gal. Hmm… this means I will have to figure out how to use an ATM. (The Husband gives me cash, as I am terrified of the metal teller). I glance at my watch. 5:15. Crap. I hop in the car, zoom out of the parking lot, spot an ATM, pull my car up to it and promptly smack my car door into the concrete. Whoops. That’ll make The Husband happy. I grab cash, run back to the DMV. 5:18. Sweet.
A nice woman says, “Can I help you?” I walk up, hand her my folder of identity and say, “I need to get my drivers license.” “Okay.” She replies. I answer the obligatory questions… Are you a convict? Are you on drugs? She then asks, “Do you want to register to vote?” I reply, “Yes. That’s the only reason I’m here today.” She then asked, “Do you want to declare a particular party?” “Republican.” I proudly state. “Why?” she asks in one of those tones that drips with pity. “Because I’m a Military Wife. It’s my husband’s job to help defend the freedoms of this country. I believe John McCain will keep the fight off our soil and in the lands of those that want to kill us. I believe that John McCain is concerned about the people and not pursuing his popularity. He fights for what he believes in. He listens to the men and women of this country. I believe in him.” She looks at me like she’s heard something for the first time. Her entire demeanor has changed. She says, “I’ve been undecided until now. Thank you.” Oh. Happy dance.
She ushers me over to the picture wall. I lay my folder down on the community counter-top while she hands me change, I give the most unattractive smile of my life. Snap. Done. She hands me a piece of paper with my picture on it (eww) along with my address, DOB and a new number. She cuts my NC DL in half, and keeps the part with the number. I grab my handbag and walk out the door. Good day. I registered. I helped someone make a very important decision. Sweet. I hopped on the highway to head home and drop my bracelet off at the jeweler. (Incidentally, the same day I broke the bracelet that The Husband gave me seven years ago. I haven’t taken it off my wrist for seven years. I’ll get it back (hopefully) on Monday.) As I pull into the toll booth to pay my fare, I have a niggling in my mind. Something is missing. I glance at the passenger seat. My handbag is there. Whew. Cell phone and wallet are in the bag. Whew again. Oh shit. Where is my identity folder?!??!?!?!
That’s right. I left it at the DMV. I hand forty cents to the toll booth operator. “Do you happen to have the number to the DMV?” I practically cry. “Oh, no honey, but I have a phone book. You want that?” he asks. “Please. Thank you. I’ll bring it right back.” I pull to the side and glance down in my lap. A phone book. I come from the generation of yellowpages.com… I don’t know how to use a phone book. I simply rip the coupons out of the one we get at the house and display in on my desk as if I’m an upstanding citizen and use my phone book regularly. I look under D’s. Nothing. I look in the yellow paper part. Nothing. Finally, I find government listings. Department of Motor Vehicles. I glance at my phone. Five Thirty Three. I called anyway. The cool dude answers! “Is this Cat?” as he answers the phone?” “Huh? I was just there getting a new drivers license and I left my entire identity on the counter!” I practically scream. “It’s okay. I’ve got it right here. You commin back tonight hun?”
I told him I’d pick it up the next day. “Thank you so much!” I tell him. I dropped my bracelet at the jewelers and went home to make the only thing that can comfort me when I loose my identity. Pasta… but an Operation Be Hot Again friendly pasta.
Thank you, Brat and ASW for inadvertently reminding me to vote before it was too late.
Vegetable Stuffed Shells
A Cat’s Pajamas Original
1 package jumbo shells
1 box frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 c fresh broccoli florets
1 c carrots (about 4 carrots or 1 c baby carrots)
1 1/2 lb 2% milkfat cottage cheese
Salt & Pepper, to taste
About 1 T crushed red pepper flakes
Handful freshly chopped basil (or about 2 T dried)
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 c marinara sauce (I make my old standard)
2 c 2% milkfat Italian cheese blend
Par-boil the pasta for about 4 minutes. The shells should not be cooked all the way through, just cooked enough that you can mess with them a bit. Remove to a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper or foil.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
I use a food processor to process the broccoli, carrots, onion and garlic. Occasionally, I’ll add the cottage cheese in the processor if I need to trick someone into thinking they aren’t eating healthy. So. In the food processor, do one vegetable at a time. Add broccoli, pulse until the broccoli is chopped very fine… about pea sized. Repeat with carrots, then onions and garlic. Combine the vegetables and cottage cheese in a large bowl. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Add basil at this point if you are so inclined.
Pour about 1/4″ marinara into a large baking dish (my shells never fit into one baking dish so I can’t give you a good estimate of cuppage here). Stuff the shells using a teaspoon until the filling is overflowing from the pot. Arrange the stuffed shells in the baking dish in a single layer. Top with Italian Cheese blend, cover with foil, bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand a few minutes so they don’t loose shape. Enjoy!
*Operation Be Hot Again update: This morning I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out what to wear today when I snatched a pair of pants off the back of the laundry room door thinking, The last time I wore these pants I looked like a stuffed sausage. I ironed them anyway and decided that I would have to deal with it. Guess what! They fit… and they’re even a little loose!!!!! Go Cat, Go Cat, Go, Go, Go Cat!
Mosey on over this weekend and you can take a power walk with me. I have pictures of my beautiful walk!