Long story unshort: I got a speeding ticket back in May, and opted to take a defensive driving course to dismiss it, and because the ticket was issued near Austin, the court that I had to deal with was in Austin.
Tuesday morning (yesterday), I woke up a few hours earlier than usual, so I could get to Austin in a timely fashion to deal with government agencies that close promptly at 5:00. Mom said the drains were clogged, so I couldn't take a shower or go to the bathroom. I got in my car, went to Super Target and used the bathroom there, then bought a bottle of water and a bag of ice to put in my travel cooler so I'd have cold water to drink.
Then I left Houston and drove to Austin, taking I-10 to TX-71 (US-290 is a more direct route but I REFUSE to take it because that's the road I GOT the speeding ticket on in the FIRST place!)
Stopped at Highland Mall in Austin for lunch. Then headed over to the Department of Public Safety (which is nicely only a few blocks from Highland Mall) to get a copy of my driving record. I'd been a bit worried about this, which the next two paragraphs will explain why:
The deadline for getting all this stuff done was Dec. 18 (today). But through a series of circumstances mostly beyond my control (and by that I mean, uh... I kept forgetting), I ended up not taking the driving test until last week. It's a take-home video course in six sections; after each section, I called the company on a push-button phone and took a multiple-choice test. I passed the test on Wednesday with 90%, but I had to wait until the certificate of course completion was mailed to me, and since I'd opted for two-day delivery, it didn't arrive until Monday. (Two business days after processing.)
Then I needed a copy of my driving record, which the evil yellow paper from the court said would take 3 or 4 weeks to get. AIEEE!!! But the traffic school video company offered express delivery on that as well, which would take... 7 or 8 days. Cutting it real close. 7 days would be the last day possible to get this done, 8 would be one day too late. But THEN! Later on! I finally figured out that these long drawn-out periods of time assume that you're having the driving record MAILED to you. If I drove over to Austin to get it in person, there'd be NO delay!
So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, at the DPS office in Austin. I went in, got a number, sat down, waited a few minutes for them to call my number, went up to the desk, and then you know how long it took to get my driving record?
A few seconds. All the lady had to do was print it out!
So then I drove over to the court building, gave the lady my evil yellow sheet of paper, my traffic course certificate, and my driving record, and a few minutes later she gave me a not-evil yellow sheet saying "KT has successfully completed a driving course so the court feels justice has been served and the charge against him is summarily dismissed, etc." Yaay!
So then I was free! But kinda frazzled, from having to wake up early, drive hundreds of miles, then deal with all this stuff. So I went back to Highland Mall, tried unsuccessfully to nap in my car, then went in, called up Mintaka youngvanwinkle, and asked if he'd like to pop over and hang out, maybe get some dinner.
So he came over, we hung out, maybe got some dinner. We got some Chinese food in the food court (a much more fun kind of court than the other one I was at today!), then browsed one of his favorite stores, Suncoast Video.
After we said g'bye, I got back in my car to drive back to Houston. By now, the sun was down... and unfortunately I was still a bit drowsy from having gotten up too early. And what with nightfall, and the fact that I was having trouble keeping my windshield from getting fogged, I really didn't want to drive all that distance. By this time I'd reached Bastrop, so I pulled off the highway to check out lodging possibilities. There was a Comfort Inn, but they had a sign on the door saying "NO VACANCIES". Just down the road was Bastrop Inn, and they had vacancies, so I got a room for the night.
I took a shower, I went out and got some more food from Whataburger, I read the Animerica magazine I'd gotten at Suncoast video (specifically the article about "Spirited Away"), and I went to sleep.
This morning, I woke up around 10:00, got dressed, checked out, bought some more ice and water at HEB, got lunch at Schlotzsky's, and hit the road once again!
Near Katy, TX, I felt like stopping at Katy Mills Mall, so I did. Walked all the way around, ate some fries, browsed a few stores.
Finally I hopped in my car and drove the rest of the way to Houston. Now I'm back! Didja miss me?