Unfinished Business

I’d applied for Clean Air Decals for the EV-6 in late August, as soon as I had my ham radio license plates officially transferred to the car. I didn’t expect to get the decals quickly, but I did hope they’d be in my hands soon after we got home from Europe. I was surprised when the envelope the DMV sent me a few days ago didn’t have the decals; instead, it contained my application and check and a note saying they couldn’t process my application because “Car Title Surrendered 9/1 – AZ”.

I used the DMV’s online chat to talk with an agent who told me I could bring the title to DMV or AAA to “update its status”. Needless to say, I chose AAA – who couldn’t figure out what to do, so they sent me to the DMV.

I picked a good day to go to the DMV; there were hardly any lines. I was at a window in under ten minutes, and explained the situation to the agent. She looked some things up on her computer and brought me to another agent, Meeta, who she said could actually fix the problem. I explained the situation to Meeta, who spent more time in communion with her computer and said that it appeared that when my old car was sold by Carvana, somehow the title for the new car got into the process (I guess because both cars had the same license plate number, my ham call) and was cancelled. But she could fix it.

More typing, and then she told me to go out to my car and drive it over to the “Verification Lane” so they could officially verify that the car had the proper VIN for the title that I was holding in my hand. That took a few minutes; at one point, the verifier apologized because, even though the car was electric, he had to look under the hood to check that there were no smog problems.

There were no smog problems and all of the VIN labels were correct, so he handed me a “Verification of Vehicle” form and cautioned me not to sign it or it would become void. I took the form back to Meeta and watched her type for a few minutes. She said all that remained was for her to call DMV Central in Sacramento and have them uncancel the title.

Meeta called Sacramento and spoke with someone who put her on hold. I could hear the hold music from her phone as she waited for an answer. Ten minutes later, the call dropped. She called back and kept holding (she processed quite a few driver’s licenses while she was on hold – I was impressed!), and eventually got through to someone. A bit more conversation, and then she hung up the phone and told me that Sacramento was going to call her when everything was set. She told me that I didn’t need to wait around any longer and promised to call me by the end of the day with the results. I was a little hesitant to leave, but I’d already spent two hours at the DMV; I went home to wait.

Half an hour later, Meeta called to tell me that all was well and that I could resubmit the application for the decals.

I guess I’ll find out if everything is really in order in another couple of months.

Thanks, Valley Health Care!

Diane and I thought it’d be a good idea to get the new Covid vaccinations as soon as we could after coming home from Europe. There are signs at Safeway, CVS, and the like admonishing people to get their Covid shots, so I thought it’d be easy to get an appointment.


I tried Safeway – nothing. CVS? Apparently only four stores in the area offer appointments, and none of them had two available on the same day. No luck at Rite-Aid, Stanford Health, or Sutter Health either. But Santa Clara County came through at SCC Free Vax, and soon enough we had two appointments booked at the brand new Valley Health Care Lundy location.

We got there soon after lunch – we were the only people in the waiting area. It took about 45 minutes from walking in to being vaccinated; that’s faster than CVS and the environment was a lot more pleasant!


I haven’t posted anything for a few days because I’ve been trying to catch up with mundane life – tonight’s unexpected project was trying to figure out why our dishes were dirty after we washed them in the dishwasher; the immediate cause is that the detergent dispenser didn’t open when it should, so now I have to figure out what is causing that problem and how to fix it.

Apple announced this year’s new iPhones and Watches while we were in Europe, and I was interested in doing some upgrading when we got home. My watch is four years old and its battery doesn’t always make it through the day, so there was no question that I was going to upgrade it quickly. I was also very interested in moving to an iPhone 15 to get USB-C connectivity instead of Lightning, though that wasn’t as urgent. The Apple website showed good availability on watches and very poor availability on phones (2-4 week delivery time), so when I visited the local Apple Store, I expected to walk out with a new watch on my wrist and a new phone on order.

I started by looking at the phone – the 15 Pro and the 15 Pro Max, to be specific. I was very interested in the 5x optical zoom on the Pro Max, but the phone is huge! The 15 Pro was the right size (I had a 13 Pro already) and I liked the blue titanium color. I asked the salesperson how long it would take to get a blue titanium 15 Pro with 256GB, expecting to hear “weeks”; the answer was “we have exactly one in stock – do you want it?”

I did. It took a while to figure out the best way to buy it. T-Mobile offers “up to $1000 in bill credits” if you trade an old phone, but it would have required moving to their most expensive plan, which would have cost an additional $1200 over two years – not a win. So I bought the phone without T-Mobile’s “subsidy” and traded in my 13 Pro – done!

I was sorry that I had to replace my phone case; I was using one I’d picked up in Cape Town on our African trip last year, but it doesn’t fit the new phone.

By the time we’d finished with the phone, I wanted to go home and have dinner, so I haven’t bought a watch yet. I did make the mistake of looking at the Ultra 2, which is very tempting – more to come!

And we’re back!

We had to be out of our room by 8:30am so that the crew could ready the ship for the next group of passengers. We went to the lounge and I played a round of Oh Hell, then Diane and I took a quick walk around Centraal Station and over to the Damrak.

Our van arrived about 10:30 and took us directly to Schiphol Airport for our 2:50pm flight. I expected to spend most of the time waiting in a nice comfortable airline lounge, but when we checked in, United told us that their “normal” lounge was being renovated so we should go to Cafe Flor where there’d be food, drink, and chairs.

Apparently United doesn’t have its own lounge at Schiphol, so they (and a bunch of other airlines) use a company called “Aspire” which operates lounges. And Aspire is renovating their lounge, so they’ve temporarily taken over the spot which used to be Cafe Flor.

They should aspire to do better. There was food (sliced pressed chicken) and drinks (Romanian wine) and not enough chairs – no power, though, and you had to go out in the terminal if you needed the bathroom. We left after a few minutes, visited duty-free to pick up some limoncello, stopped at the airport branch of the Rijksmuseum, and headed over to the gate. There wasn’t any food or drink provided there, but the chairs were much more comfortable and there was power.

The trip home was uneventful and we managed to stay up long enough to watch the first half of tonight’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The rest will have to wait.

Amsterdam all day

Amsterdam is our final port of call for this trip; we reached it this morning just before breakfast, docking just west of Centraal Station.

Our morning excursion took us to the Rijksmuseum, always a highlight of our Amsterdam visits.

The museum was designed by Pierre Cuypers – you can see him peeking around the corner of the top floor if you look carefully.

Every year, the Rijksmuseum has an outdoor exhibition; this year’s exhibition features [Richard Long]9https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/whats-on/exhibitions/richard-long). It’s not all outside – here’s his “Black White Blue Purple Circle”, which is in the entry hall.

Our guide, Shirley, took us through a few of the key works in the museum, explaining them and putting them into context. We spent most of the time in the Gallery of Honour. We were not alone, though; we were in prime visitor territory, and it was hard to get a good look, let alone a good photo, of most of the works.

Rembrandt’s The Night Watch is the first painting you see when you enter the Gallery of Honour. It’s in a huge glass case because it’s being restored (I was afraid it was for protection), so I couldn’t get a decent picture of it.

I was lucky enough to have a few seconds with a clear view of Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and Rembrandt’s first Self Portrait.

I could have spent the entire day in the Rijksmuseum, but we only had a bit under two hours allocated; then it was time for a canal boat tour. We sampled all of the canals before the boat took us back to the ship. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Diane and I went out for a walk after lunch. We’ve always stayed at the Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel, so we walked over there to see how the neighborhood was doing. I was happy to see a lot of familiar restaurants and shops; the hotel was being renovated, so we didn’t linger. Instead, we walked over to Damrak and then back to Central Station.

Tonight was the final dinner of the cruise, and we wanted a picture with our friends Brenda, Bob, David, and Wendy. We crashed the table that was reserved for Bea Tollman, Uniworld’s owner; after we’d been eating her chicken soup and salad dressing all week, it wouldn’t have been right to exclude her!