Even Closings Have An End

Just a quick update on things.  The closing for our house in Alabama was on Monday, so in a sense, we are finally homeless!  Good thing we have had Dad to put us up for the past four months.  Our closing for our ‘to be’ house in Mukwonago is on December 16 – two weeks away.  There has been a lot of hair pulling and frustration throughout this process (mainly working with our lender), but as Jack put it (Jet’s host family), ‘even closings have an end’.  He couldn’t have put it any better.  In the past week we have had the radon tests done (came back good), the appraisal done (came back good), and found someone (Met Life) that gave us the best deal on home + auto insurance.  We will be back at the ‘to be’ house on Sunday to look at the furniture that they are willing to sell us, so hopefully that goes well.

Ben had a blast at the Sesame Street Live event at Bradley Center with Jet on Saturday, though Ben seems to be becoming more of a handful every day.  But Ben is also at an age in which he is in awe and wonder at every new thing he finds out about Christmas.  His new favorite Christmas song is the old Buck Owens song, “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy“.  Ben also watched “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” for the first time last night on TV.  After it was over, I asked Ben what his favorite part was.  To my surprise, he said “the monster!”  After we first saw the “bumble’s” feet (I am sure you have seen it on TV many times before), Ben would keep asking me when the monster would be back.  I remembered doing the same thing when I was a kid so that I would know when to turn my head away (I did the same thing when I went to see “E.T.” for the first time).  But for Ben, it was the exact opposite.  He would ask me to rewind the show so that he could see the monster again.  I guess Ben is more daring than me, which if you think about it, probably says more about me than it does about Ben. 

In two weeks at Ben’s ‘school’ (daycare), conferences are scheduled with parents.  In addition, there will be a pot-luck event where the children will sing Christmas and other songs.  I will also be coming into Ben’s class to share Oplatky with Ben’s classmates.  I will tell the children the story of Christmas Even in Slovakia and show them how to break the Oplatky with their friends and eat it with honey.  It should be a lot of fun and is something that I am really looking forward to.  As you might imagine, I already did get the Oplatky in the mail last week.  Since we usually have a bit of Oplatky left over every year, I though bringing some in to Ben’s class would be a good idea.  We will see.  On Saturday morning, Dad will take Ben to have breakfast with Santa at Saint Margaret Mary’s and then we are planning on spending some time in Mukwonago for their holiday parade and (perhaps) to take a horse carriage ride, among other things.

I did have my court date for the ticket I got back in October.  The time was scheduled at 6:00pm at the Wauwatosa court house just off of 76th and North Avenue.  Everyone that did not have a parking ticket to dispute had to sign-in outside the courtroom and wait for a brief meeting with the assistant city attorney.  There were about 10 people ahead of me, so after about 15 minutes, my name was called and I met with the attorney in a room adjacent to the courtroom.  I was in and out in about 30 seconds.  The attorney asked me if I either wanted to contest the ticket (‘not guilty’) or get a point taken off the ticket (‘no contest’).  I favored the latter, so the attorney circled that option with his recommendation (reduced from a 3 point to a 2 point infraction, ‘impeding traffic’ or ‘driving too slow’) and told me to wait in the courtroom until my name was called by the judge.  In the courtroom, there were about 60-70 people waiting for their names to be called, most were males under the age of 25 by my guess.  Very few dressed up for their appearance and only a few appeared to show the judge any respect when they were called up to meet with the judge face-to-face.  Although the judge spoke in a low tone of voice with the individual there were a few times when the judge got very testy.  He scolded one white male of about 20 years old with a shaved head, “What do you think I am, stupid? Do you think you can pull one over me?”  I then heard the judge talk about the distances between streets (e.g., “4000 block, 4100 block, 4200 block …”), which led to me believe that the kid was trying to make things up about where his incident took place.  After about 30 minutes of waiting, my name was called.  A few steps before I got to the judge, he told me “How do you do?” and within 30 seconds, it was all done.  The judge asked how I pled (‘no contest’) and sent me on my way with a smile.  I suspect I got some of the best treatment of the evening, either because I didn’t have a complicated case or because I was the only one besides the judge wearing a tie.  I paid the fine ($88.80 – Wauwatosa doesn’t reduce fines, only points) to the court clerk, who was sitting about 10 yards away to the right of the judge, and I was on my way.  A pleasant ending to an experience that I am glad is over.

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