Working Vacation

Yesterday’s success story was finally getting my husband to join me in being an official resident of the state of Florida.  He has a driver’s license and both cars now have Florida plates.  So long, New Jersey.

Florida does not have a plate for the front of the car, so Bill said he’d look around and find me something.  The front grill looks very bare.

He suggested something glittery that said “Michelle.”  Can you imagine?

Several weeks ago I was eyeing the camo steering wheels covers at a local store.  I have nothing against camo steering wheel covers, but they are definitely not my husband’s style.  I thought it would make a funny practical joke.  He caught me looking and threatened to pimp my ride with Betty Boop paraphernalia.  I decided the laughs weren’t worth the expense.


Speaking of practical jokes, several weeks ago, Fritz took an empty beer bottle, filled it with water and hammered the cap back on.  He put it in the fridge hours before Bill came home.  I didn’t see him, and didn’t notice anything suspicious when he loitered in the kitchen that evening when Bill came home from work.

It was a well played joke.

It doesn’t bode well for our future if we don’t sharpen our wits.


In order to register the cars in Florida, we had to drive the cars to Florida.  We went to Fernandina Beach, which isn’t too far away.  And there’s a beach.  Bill left an hour before me to take care of his license first.

I was almost to Florida when my car started shimmying very very badly.  I pulled over and expected to see a flat tire, but they all looked fine.  As I sat and texted my husband, who was 25 minutes away, a police officer pulled over to see what was wrong.  He looked at my tires as well, but suggested the problem could be internal.

“You wouldn’t know it until it blew out.”


We agreed I needed to keep it slow (55 mph in a 70 zone), and he left.  After I got back on the road, Bill called and said perhaps the lug nuts were loose.  Since I was near an exit, I took it and checked those.  They seemed fine.  He texted that I should find a service place, but I saw only gas stations at that exit.  I decided to get back on the highway and limp the ten miles or so to the exit closest to Bill and deal with it then.

On the curve to the entrance ramp, the left rear tire blew.

I am very grateful that it was there and at that low speed then at highway speeds with traffic.  One’s car does fishtail when something like that happens.

Safely to the side of the ramp, I called AAA and they promised to send someone to put on the spare tire as soon as possible.  I appraised Bill of the situation and he said he would be over as soon as his license was done.

I thought about changing the tire myself.  I have changed tires before.  Not on this car.  Not in a while.  The last time I started to change a tire, somebody pulled over to help.  It was in my neighborhood, and I knew him.  I wasn’t sure I wanted a random stranger’s help in this situation.  The biggest reason I decided not to do it was that it was the left rear tire, only a few feet away from the edge of the ramp.  I really didn’t want my little kids witnessing mommy being dragged off by a tractor trailer.

So I waited and when the pickup truck showed up, the person who got out to change my tire was…

…a girl.

I texted my sister that fact and she texted back: “Are you sexist?”

“No,” I responded, “just embarrassed.”

I helped by keeping an eye on traffic.  And I’m glad I didn’t have to kneel down in the gravel in my nylon board shorts.  She was wearing jeans which are much better suited for that sort of work.


The rest of the day was calmer.  After the clerk checked my VIN and mileage, I headed to the beach.  We sat and waited a bit for a thunderstorm to pass and then spent a few hours watching the fish jump out of the water. 

This may be our last summer here, so we’re enjoying the ocean as much as possible while we can.

4 thoughts on “Working Vacation

  1. We LOVE Fernandina Beach! Spent a week there in April courtesy of Warrior Vacations – thanks to you!!

  2. really dumb question…don't you live in Georgia?

  3. Yes, but only for 8 more months or so. Those in the military can establish residency in any state and keep that residency as they move. This is good for a wide variety of reasons – primarily because those of us who move frequently (as we do) would have to pay registration/title/licensing fees more often than the typical citizen. I established residency in Florida years ago…my parents live in Florida, so it makes sense as we continue to have ties to that area even when we move. My husband has been a NJ resident and our cars were in his name and registered in NJ. He was eager to get rid of that state because it is difficult/impossible to own a gun as a NJ resident, even if you live in another state, even if you are military. Another advantage of FL is no state income tax.

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