10 October 2004

A licence to drive

We have just completed an incredible journey within Georgia bureaucracy. Lana finally got her local license.
As we couldn't make appointments we had to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles office and try our luck. The Blue Ridge DMV office is smaller than a parking space with a desk for two officers and their computers, a smaller side desk with two computers for conducting the written tests, and room for about 6 people to wait.
Upon arriving you stand in a line to get a number in order to be called. Then you go outside (in the open) to wait for the number to appear on the display.
We tried first on a Saturday, but there were about 100 people waiting to take tests or handle DMV business and we decided we weren't going to get through.
We tried again the following Monday, but they had the day off because Columbus day was the previous Saturday so they had Monday off too.
We finally tried a third time and got through. After handing over Lana's Australian licence, she took the written tests and passed. Then the officer checked our paperwork and asked for a Social Security number. We gave her our Income Tax Return number but that wasn't good enough. We explained that Lana couldn't get a Social Security number because of our Visa restrictions. The officer told us we could not get a license without a letter from Social Security that we couldn't get a number. In the meantime Lana was now a learner and couldn't drive unaccompanied. Aaargh!
We went to the nearest Social Scurity office and wated our turn. About 2 hours later we got to the correct officer who told she did not know what we were talkling about. I ruffled amongst my documents and showed her the Internet information page which mentioned the form. She looked up the form on her computer and said, "Oh." With the right form we returned to the DMV office.
Now the paperwork went to the next stage and we were told Lana needed a driving test but there were no appointments for today. We could wait hoping for a cancellation, or we could come back later. We decided to wait.
About an hour later someone failed the car safety inspection so we had the chance. Lana passed and we finally got the licence. Only $15, but total time away from home was 8 hours. (not counting the previous two attempts)

1 October 2004

Academic Software

We discovered a new software company Creation Engine which offers lots of software at education prices. They need proof of academic status, which includes homeschoolers. A letter concerning our status was enough.
So we purchased Quark Xpress, a professional desk top publishing software David used previously when he wrote his books and games. $195 vs RRP of $945. This is so that not only David learns the package, but also Ariel and Eric will learn too.


David has just read two interesting business books:
“Death by Meeting” and “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, both by Patrick Lencioni.
These are fascinating books discussing practical ways to make meetings worthwhile and getting teams to operate effectively.
They discuss the issues through the use of a story which reveals the main points in a non textbook way.