February 2014

After giving away an entire truck’s worth of furniture and household junk to the Salvation Army, we had a realtor come and give us advice on putting the house on the market. Her (unofficial) valuation came in MUCH lower than we were thinking. It was no where close to what we paid for the house originally plus the improvements we have put into the house. It turns out there are more rooms to paint and money to be spent getting the house ready for that low,low price.

We went to Florida to visit Jeff’s parents.  We also hoped to become Florida residents as it is known as a state friendly to those on the move. After a month of scrambling (on Jeff’s part) to get a street address established in Naples and have some documents sent there to prove residency, we went to get our licenses and registrations.

The DMV personnel were quirky, to put it mildly. When I approached the window and put every form of ID I own on the counter, the gentleman muttered, “Do you have your license out? Nooooo you don’t.”  Ok then.

He continued his deadpan/comedy routine, and then made fun of me when I didn’t understand him.  Out of the blue, he asked me if governor Christie really blocked that bridge.  I wasn’t sure if getting my license depended on my answer or not.  At least they let you smile for the picture in Florida!

Jeff’s experience was similar (must be an office norm for behavior), with the added comedy of having a random person walk right in front of the camera just as the picture was snapped! Overall, it was pretty easy to get a Florida driver’s license.

We stopped by our “street address” on Yawl road after many jokes about where y’all live now. It was a small, mail boxes-type place where the owner eventually appeared out of the back room. When we explained who we were, he recognized our names and walked around to the lobby where a large metal box of small mailboxes was sitting, unsecured, on a table. “Yes,” he said, “we’ve been meaning to attach that to the wall for a while.”  He then pulled the whole front of it open without a key and searched around, finally finding our car insurance documents! Hmmm.

In Florida, you get your car registrations at the tax collector’s office, not the DMV (that’s only for licensing and humiliation).

We walked into the tiny office in city hall and attempted to register both Priuses, the truck and RV. Except for a significant hit to the wallet the Priuses were no problem. The truck and trailer, however, were actually registered 5 1/2 months ago in NJ. The young woman working there was even more deadpan than the DMV folks. She informed us that in Florida, if you register a vehicle less than 6 months from when you bought it you have to pay sales tax – again – unless you can show proof of having paid it in another state. We missed it by 2 weeks, and had no time to get the rest of the documentation before we had to return to NJ.

We had a very nice time with Jim and Aline. Jim made a joke about our new lifestyle using a derogatory term which spawned nicknames for Jeff and me: Ritz and Saltine.

Use your imagination….you’ll figure it out 🙂

Meanwhile, back in the northeast, snowstorm after snowstorm had been battering our area. Fortunately, we were able to get home from Florida in between two of them with no trouble. After deciding to get a cover for Monty (the Montana) and park it in the driveway for the winter, it needed some warranty service. We also decided to give each other ‘slider awnings’ for Christmas, which prevents us from having to climb up on to the roof before leaving each campground to sweep leaves and such off the top of the slide-outs.  Those were being installed too. But one of the main fixes was the rear square hitch receiver which failed to support our bikes and rack on our trip to Delaware (see October, 2013).

Our main concern was that the hitch be fixed so it can be used like the original paperwork said it could. The company, however, seemed intent on getting picture after picture of the bikes, rack, etc. so they can get the hitch manufacturer to replace the one bike tire that was bent and prove that the failure wasn’t our fault. This resulted in Monty being outside at the dealer all winter, in all the weather, without the cover. The cover is taking up our entire garage. I hope it’s done by June when we’re leaving.

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