Finally a Texan

The Texas State Fair’s gone. Went twice, had a blast, still feel like I missed a bunch of stuff. Next year, I’m taking a much more scientific approach. Charts. Diagrams. Points of attack. Lists of food vendors. Nap time. Motorized scooter. Can’t wait! Only 363 more days.

Went back to Nashville last weekend for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The Ta-Ta Sisterhood rode again, for the fourth year in a row. This year we were 39 members strong, and raised more than $3,200 for the cause. We were once again the cutest team by far, with black baseball shirts with pink sleeves and our logo in pink on the back. We also were the slowest team, having been passed close to the end by a team of 3-year-olds, an old guy using a walker, a guy who forgot about the race and started three hours after us, and Snappy the Snail. I hear they’re going to officially rename it the Komen Mosey next year because of us.

Next year, we’re going to do the Dallas race, too. Our new neighbor here in Carrollton walks it every year, and this year she and her 8-year-old grandson wore my bracelet. Sweet.

As expected, I’m really missing Tennessee’s autumn colors. The trees had just started to turn last weekend, hills full of brilliant reds and golds. I saw brilliant reds and golds when I got back home to Dallas that Monday, too, but it was just a Carl’s Jr. sign.

There is one tree in our neighborhood that I’m hopeful about, though. It’s a small maple of some sort, with 17 leaves that are beginning to look kind of a dusty brown. I’m hoping that it’s gathering its energy to send beautiful red-and-gold cells shooting right into all 17 of those little leaves. The rest of the trees are either evergreens or have gone straight from poofy green to crispy, dry brown, skipping all colors in-between and not passing “Go” or collecting $200.

I’ve been known to box up splashy Tennessee leaves and mail them to friends in small, brown desert outposts, like L.A. This year, someone’s going to have to send me some.

Have fallen more than a bit in love with another local restaurant, Babe’s. Oh, man. Incredible stuff, although not on anyone’s 10 Healthiest Restaurants list. Fun, loud, great mashed potatoes and corn. And homemade chocolate pie with 3-inch meringue just like my Great-Aunt Bee used to make. A friend at work hosted her parents last weekend, and said they wanted to go back to Babe’s the minute they stepped off the plane from the Great White North. I get it. I really get it.

Still want to hit Cuzco, and a bunch of other places that are pouring in via the electronic blogosphere suggestion box. Keep ’em coming!

Finally ended up buying the new dryer, after bouncing back and forth between Home Depot, Lowe’s and Great Indoors, playing each other off of each other and threatening the sales guys with voodoo dolls I picked up on my last trip home to the bayou. By the time they got through offering deals, we got the new appliances and they threw in $400 cash, a new Scrabble game, home-baked cookies and the salesguy’s teenage son to mow our yard for two months. Now we have a dryer that’s not burning big holes in my underwear anymore. Yay. It’s the little things in life that matter.

The big news: I have at last become an official Texan! Yes, I finally got around to changing my car tag over, a mere seven months after I moved. This was necessitated by the small fact that my lovely Tennessee plate was, alas, expiring. I’ve been willing to risk being caught by Dallas police for not switching my tag, but thought it was pushing my luck to have not only a Tennessee tag, but an old one. I hated to give it up, though — it was Tennessee’s first Komen tag, which I helped get 1,000 people to order so the state would make them. I’ve got it on my garage wall, though, with my old Wisconsin, California, Texas, Maryland, West Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana plates. This is my version of my resume, tracking where I’ve lived in past years.

Anyway, I had gotten a little brochure in the mail from the lovely state of Texas, which suddenly realized we had bought a house here. It was a pretty neat flyer, explaining how to “become a Texan,” and sweetly saying that if you didn’t perform all of these tasks within 30 days, you would be covered in honey and staked to a pile of cactus for three days. They’d keelhaul you, if there was enough water in the state to float a ship.

So, basically, you have to get your car inspected and emissions-tested, go to the tax assessor’s office and give them your last three paychecks, show proof of insurance and offer up your firstborn. This will get you Texas license plates, which must be affixed to both the front and rear of our vehicle. (Note: the license-plate people really don’t give a rat’s patootie if you think it ruins the looks of your car’s front bumper.)

Then you move on to your driver’s license. If you can find the office, that is. I finally discovered it after two hours, 18 questions to strangers and an appeal to NASA to share its eastern-sky satellites. It’s tucked away in an older strip-mall shopping center, surrounded by Asian grocery stores and restaurants which don’t even have English translations on their signs. (I love the diversity of Dallas, seriously. It’s cool.)

Because my driver’s license wasn’t yet expired, I only had to pass an eye test. Oh, and I had to take my actual Social Security card, fill out a three-page form that asks a lot of personal medical questions, give them a fingerprint and show all of my car-registration paperwork. For real? All that for a driver’s license? I didn’t have to go through that much stuff to get my passport, my advanced physics/math degrees from MIT or an entire map of my genetic code. (OK, I don’t really have the MIT degrees.)

I handed over my Tennessee license and then passed the eye test, although I’m still not sure that the line actually did spell “M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E.” I proceeded to the end of the line, proudly waiting for my shiny new Official Texan license, warm off of the laminating machine … only to be handed an 8.5-x-11 piece of paper. My information’s typed on it, with a small color photo. The license has to be mailed to me. Hmmm… I’m used to getting it handed to me, but I figure, hey, Texas is really big, so they must need extra time. No worries.

That was in mid-September, more than four weeks ago. I’m still carrying around the little dog-eared piece of paper, folded and stuck into my wallet. It wasn’t a big deal, until I tried to fly with it as my official ID last weekend. At the airport, the TSA wasn’t impressed with my flimsy little piece of paper that looks as if my 8-year-old goddaughter made it at home on her Hello Kitty laptop. They also don’t have very good senses of humor, it seems.

Luckily, I still had my Tennessee handgun carry permit, which looks just like my driver’s license and even shares the same number. Unfortunately, it expired in September. Luckily again, I found the one TSA employee with a small bit of empathy. She added up my Texas piece o’ paper and my expired-but-official Tennessee permit, and decided that two halves do make up a whole. So she let me on the plane. Otherwise, you’d have heard on CNN about a small, cranky woman dressed mostly in pink going whack-job on a poor beleaguered TSA agent.

Sure hope I get my license soon — we have another trip coming up. Surely our Great State of Texas can get my little plastic card in the mail. I’m ready to become an Official Texan. Ready for the spurs, the 10-gallon hat, the pet armadillo. And besides, it’ll match my new license plates.

About wordsmith1313

Now: Somewhat retired, although I don't do it very well. Formerly senior director of Communications and Marketing for the Dallas Zoo. Journalist. EMT. Writer. Breast cancer survivor. I love to travel, and will always return from a trip with a new friend or two. Those fortuitous meetings bring velvet to the rough edges of life.
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2 Responses to Finally a Texan

  1. Wanda says:

    Mmmm! Babes was one of the reasons we decided to move to Texas in the first place. Another great place to eat is Pho Bistro on the corner of Frankford and Old Denton. Totally different and much healthier than Babes.

    We lived right near the Asian market you are referring to. If you haven’t gone into Super H Mart yet, you need to. Yogurtland and Mozart Bakery are also must sees in that area.

  2. bartoo4 says:

    Paper work paper work. It’s always the paperwork that will get you. I’m glad they let you on the plane before you grabbed a cocktail and took the inflatable slide out of the airport. Then again, I’m not surprised. You are so cute and convincingly sincere. If only they knew. 🙂 Photos from Komen are awesome,as always. Way to go on the total!

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