8:53 am ET

I’m already tired of shoveling the front deck and it hasn’t slowed down at all yet.  Thank goodness we have a little tractor for the driveway.

12:40 pm ET
10:10 PM ET

Congratulations Josh!

Josh bought a house.  The closing took place early this afternoon. He is the proud new owner of a very nice little Cap Code style home.  We’re so happy for him!

This afternoon and earlier this evening, Cheatos, Gershwin and I helped him move the majority of his stuff out of our house, and into his.  There are only a couple of car loads left for tomorrow, and we’ll be finished.  It’s going to take him some time and a few major purchases before he’s completely settled in.

But, beginning this evening, we’re down to only two boys living at home.   This is indeed a new and very strange feeling.  However, until Josh gets a washer and dryer, I know I can count on seeing him at least once a week.  😀

9:44 pm ET

By the time my youngest son was born 19-1/2 years ago, applications for social security cards for newborns were automatically submitted to the Social Security Adminstration based on information provided by the hospital.  It is the exact same information the hospital also provides to the state to issue a valid birth certificate.  The child’s birth certificate arrived with all information correct.  His social security card arrived about a week later.  It had one very important typo.  The name Dylan had been transformed to Vylan.  Not one person at the Social Security Administration questioned such a name or thought to double-check the information provided by the hospital?

Naturally, I made a trip to our local social security office, baby in my arms, to have the card corrected only to discover this was not a simple matter.  There was a short form.  Expected.  No problem.  The problem was I needed to prove who I was and also prove who my baby was.  I needed to provide two forms of ID for each of us.  While my driver’s license was acceptable, my original state-issued birth certificate I’d taken along was not.  No lie.  My son’s valid birth certificate was acceptable, but I didn’t have another form of ID for him.  Information acceptable as proof, such as a driver’s license, passport, or school records, is not documentation a less than year old baby has.  They would, however, accept a doctor or hospital bill.   The document stupidity, together with the one and a  half hours I’d already spent in the SSA offices were all the deterrent I needed to procrastinate.

Eventually it was time for Dylan to enter kindergarten.  I held my breath, provided the private school with his correct name and the social security number we’d been issued.  No problems.  When he moved from grade school to a public middle school, I  held my breath again.  No problems.  When I took him to the DMV to apply for his learner’s permit, I thought surely they would question the information.  No problems.  Likewise when he passed his drivers’ test and was issued his restricted license.  Later, having graduated high school, he applied for college.  Once again, no problem.  Then he applied for a job on campus.  Surely, I thought, this social security name discrepancy would finally become an issue.  Nope.  No problem.

Dylan has been aware of all of this for years.  At various times, usually one of the above “hold your breath” moments, we’d talk about it.  It’s even become somewhat of a family joke.   Along the way it began to appear the error was, well, simply not a problem.  After all, he’d been added to our health insurance policy, hospitalized for a tonsillectomy, gone through both private and public schools, issued two drivers’ licenses, added to our car insurance, attends a public university, and has a part-time job with taxes being withheld from his paychecks.  We simply stopped thinking about it.

As is the case with almost everything in life, things come back to bite you when you least expect it.  After much procrastination, Dylan decided to bite the bullet, spend time at the DMV, and get his unrestricted drivers’ license.  Much to his chagrin, they would not issue it based on a “red flag” from the Social Security Administration computers.  After 19-1/2 years the SSA had finally discovered the discrepancy.  Who said the federal government isn’t efficient?

The DMV gave him a form to take to the SSA office to inquire into the problem.  Of course, we already knew.  I offered to go along but immediately realized that wasn’t a good idea.  The probability of losing my cool is always high where the likelihood of government ineptness is involved.  Besides, the kid is incredibly personable, incredibly sweet, and incredibly good-looking. He would do just fine on his own.  (Yeah, yeah.  I’m prejudiced, but I dare anyone to tell me I’m wrong.)   Anyway, it was the only good call I’ve made in this whole fiasco, and one that saved me from eternal guilt.  Half an hour after walking through the door of the local SSA offices Dylan had the problem resolved.  New card on the way.  By tomorrow the SSA computers will reflect the change and he can return to the DMV to get an unrestricted license.  The only proof and ID he provided was to

  • show them the erroneous SS card and point out the typo [which I also did just a few months after he was born],
  • show them his original birth certificate [which I had also shown them, and which is still not accepted as valid ID according to the newest form, although they do accept it as proof of age], and
  • show them his current drivers’ license [which the DMV won’t reissue based on a SSA red flag that didn’t exist when the original license was issued but should have].

What perplexes me is how his erroneous SS card, his birth certificate, and a (technically invalid) drivers’ license can get the job done when two valid birth certificates (mine and his), my drivers’ license, my SS card, and his erroneous SS card couldn’t. The kid has good karma.  It might also have helped that the SSA employee who assisted him was young and female.  🙂

3:20 pm ET

Veterans Day 2009


And, on their first Veterans Day back home, I’d especially like to thank all the members of 4/3 203rd CORPS ETT.


12:01 AM ET

Project Valour-IT: Help For Our Heroes

2nd place winner

3rd place winner

If you haven’t yet made a donation to this year’s Soldiers’ Angels Valour-IT Fundraiser, there are still two days left.  Please donate. Every little bit helps a hero.

(Psssstttt.  The Marines are stomping Army this year.  You gonna let that stand?  Donate!)

Oh, okay.  I don’t care which team you donate through.  Just DONATE!

10:39 PM ET