Sunday, July 15, 2007

My DMV experience from Sept 2003

We moved to California in 2003 and that meant getting our vehicles all registered and legal with our new residency. In my attempts to accomplish this goal, I learned a lot, made several mistakes, and had quite an adventure. All this blogging about my mini-van made me think this story that I wrote and posted at the time on my family forum would fit right here. Here it is, Copied and Pasted for you blog style.

Day I - Sept 14, 2003
It was 8:30 am and I grabbed the vehicle titles and the checkbook and ran to the DMV office to run in and get new license plates. I had other errands to run too, and thought I'd be back home in an hour or so, since I had only a couple of stops to make. Since it was early and not too hot yet, I let Sandy come along.

I got to the DMV office just before 9:00 and had to wonder why there were so dang many cars there! I couldn't find a place to park. I did get lucky and found a shady spot within a block of the DMV building. I got up to the building and had to wait in line just to get in the door! Once I got in, I had to take a number. The numbers are given out in sets of six or seven, so your number starts with a letter. I was B116. Also was given some paperwork to fill out.

The B window was serving number B036. Hmmmm....

I looked around this overcrowed place at all the people. There were rows of hard plastic chairs, but it was shoulder to shoulder standing room only. Everyone must come early, bet it's not so busy later in the day. I noticed they were giving driving tests over on the other side of the building, that must be why it's so busy. I'll bet they only do that once a week or something, that must explain the mass quantity of people. (I learned later that it's just always like that - always!). Being at the DMV kind of felt like being at a Greyhound bus station. These are the people I share the road with? Egads!

A little after 10:00, I remembered that the dog is sitting in the truck. Whooops, almost forgot! They were now helping B058. I had plenty of time to run her home. So, I did. More cars were circling around the building looking for parking spaces.

Around 12:30, I went back to the DMV. I figured they must have closed over the noon hour so the workers could have lunch. (They don't) I'll get there before 1:00 and get a nice parking spot and a hard plastic chair. Didn't.

They were on B086. Well, I have time to run the truck through the VIN inspection line before I get my turn at the window. I almost forgot that the lady told me I have to do that when she gave me my number.

Walked a block, got the truck and drove up to the VIN inspector's line. Waited. Waited. Waited. Blonde mini-skirt inspector comes over and checks out the truck. She says "wow, that's an old truck" and "sure got a lot of miles" and "take the license plates off and hand them over". And I said "got a screwdriver?" She says "no". So, she said I could turn the plates in when I go inside after I run home and get a screwdriver. I checked, they are now on B093. It's 1:30 in the afternoon. I didn't run home, my number should be soon.

I had to find a parking space again. After circling a few times, I got lucky and got a space. Again, within a block. Not bad. I'm wondering now why the cars in the parking lot of the building never seem to move. Must be the DMV workers. Get back in, they are on B108. Yippee! My turn soon!

About 2:15 they called "Serving B116 at window 12". Felt like I just won the lottery! I got to window 12, and this guy who may or may not have had a toupee says "yeah?" And I said "I need California license plates for my vehicles" He says "You been smogged?" I said "what?" "Smogged" I raised my eyebrows, thinking, oh yeah.... emission tests. He turns to another lady who is just standing around back behind all the window clerks and he says to her "you want this one? I don't think she's been smogged and it's my breaktime". She says "you finish it and then I'll cover for you" they discuss his breaktime for a bit, then he gets up and leaves. She sighs. She says "you been smogged yet?" I said "I drove through some" heh heh. Didn't lighten her up any. She said "why is this title on red paper?" I told her, it's a Salvage title. She kind of groaned. She said "Come back when you've been smogged". I said "what exactly do you mean when you say that?". She said "Go to a mechanic and get a smog test done". oh. ok. And why did I only have one vehicle inspection form? Well, I only had the truck inspected since that is what I drove today. She said I had to have the other vehicle run through the inspection line. Why didn't I do that already? I told her "I only drove one vehicle". Well, I couldn't get plates for the van because it hadn't been inspected by Barbie outside. She starts typing in her computer again. How much did I pay for the truck? I said " I dunno, we've owned it for years and years, and it isn't worth anywhere near what it was worth then, we've nearly driven the life out of it". She said "doesn't matter, I need to know what you paid for it when you bought it and then I'll decide how much it's worth." Told her I didn't know. I'd find out and get smogged and I'll be right back. So, I left.

Went home. It was after 3:00 and Lexie would be home from school soon. I'll get smogged tomorrow.

DMV Day II - the morning.

So, it was Thursday now, and I thought I'd better get to the DMV early so that I could get a good number and not have to wait all day. Good plan.

I took the van today. Needed a VIN inspection on it too. The truck went through the DMV VIN inspection yesterday, so I should be able to get the van done, turn in the paperwork I had on the truck too, and come home with license plates!

I got to the DMV nice and early. Almost 9:00 am. Same as the day before. I got an awesome parking spot too! And, I got lucky and got number B043. Wow!!! They were on B016, so I had time to run the van around and get the VIN inspector to look it over.

Once again, the VIN inspector looked a lot like a Barbie doll. Today, more cleavage than was really necessary. She looked it over and signed my license plate application form and then I was out looking for a place to park again. Not so lucky now, the area was filling up. Parked a half a block away and went in to wait.

Now that it was 9:45 am, I was getting impatient. After all, I did get a better number than yesterday. Well, that's when I noticed, they weren't calling any B numbers. But, the last B number was in the thirties, I should stay in case the B windows open up again and my number gets called. A035, G016, D012, J011, C063, A036, and on it went until about 10:30. B037. Yes! The B people are back!!!

I got my number called at 11:00. Woo Hoo! I'm gonna get these license plates and get home before lunchtime! Here we go!

So, I give the lady at the window my two license plate applications, my two VIN inspection papers, and my two titles. And I say "I need license plates". She says "You been smogged?". Dang it. I totally forgot! "No". And she says "You gotta get smogged" and then she says "Why is this title on red paper?" I tell her it's a salvage title, the van was wrecked when we bought it, it's all fixed up. She says "you gotta prove that it is roadworthy, it has to be reinstated as a legal vehicle to be on the road". I said "oh, it's fixed, you can't even tell it was wrecked" She says "I am not allowed to just believe you, you have to get a brake and light certificate on this vehicle. And, you have to get a weight certificate on your truck". So, I now need 2 smog tests, 1 weight certificate, 1 brake certificate, and 1 light certificate. Long list. I say "Where can I get all this done?" She says "oh, anywhere, all the mechanics do it. Hmmm ok.

So, now it's 11:30 and since I've only had some coffee so far today, I figured I go home and do my smog, brake & light tests this afternoon. Guess it will be a longer day than I thought it would.

DMV Day II - Quest for the license plates continued
Since I had the presence of mind to get a new number before I left this morning - I figured after my smog, brake & light tests I could get those license plates! Got number B116. Geez, I've got plenty of time!

I only have the van today, usually Keith takes the van because he has to commute on the freeway and the van drives and brakes so much better. So, just today with the van. Gotta get this crap done and get some California license plates on this baby. I ran home and called a couple of places to get prices. Holy cow! Smog tests are anywhere from $50 - $70, and I only found one place that said they do brake & light tests, but the guy who can do them is on vacation. That is a $100 package deal.

I had to call Keith's buddy, Mike. He lives in Temecula, helped us move in and gives us all the good shopping and driving advise. So I get Mike on his cell and say "This is Mary" and he says "Who?" He didn't remember me! I say "Keiths wife". Oh yeah. Hehehehe. Sure enough, he knows where I can get smogged for $35.

I went there, the guy says he can do the smog test, but not the brake and lights. And, he couldn't do the smog test for 3 or 4 hours, he was backed up. I decided not to wait that long, and I need the B&L test too, so I drove around going to all these repair shops. I finally found ONE shop that will do the B&L. The lady at the desk says, Smog test is $65 and B&L test is $170. :shock: ouch. I'm going to just give up! It was already past 2:00 in the afternoon.

I went back to the DMV. Dang it! I missed my turn! Had to get a new number. I went back to the "Start Here" line. Told the lady, I had number B116, but I missed my turn. She gave me A096. Cool, the A line is on A088.

Didn't have to wait long, but I did have to sit by a guy who had a really bratty 3-year old. Why do people bring active 3 year-olds to the DMV, geez, you have to sit here for hours. I can't think of any 3 year-old who would be able to stand it. In fact, I can't stand sitting here for hours either. So, I take my place in the hard plastic chair between the guy with the brat and another guy who smells like he's been working on the farm, and he's got an amateur tattoo of a naked lady on his arm. Thank goodness I got a chair. (I think.)

"A096 at Window 8". Again, I feel like I just won a big prize! I fight off the urge to yell BINGO! It's 3:20pm now. I get to the window (sure hope this lady speaks English better than the last one) and tell her that I need license plates, I understand that I only have 20 days from the day I move here to get them, but I tell her that I had trouble getting in for the smog, brake & light tests today. And, the only place I could find that does the B&L - the guy who does it is on vacation. So, could I please have some extra time to get these tests done? My 20 days is up tomorrow. She says the penalty for driving around with out of state plates after 20 days is definitley something I should avoid. I told her that I drove around and called around and only found the one place that does the B&L. (I didn't tell her about the $170 place). She said "Here's a list of places that do the B&L". And she hands me this handy-dandy list! Geez, this would have helped earlier!!! She said "not all the workers here are as helpful as they should be, we're supposed to just run people through as fast as we can, so a lot of people don't get the information they need." But, she doesn't care if she works slower, she'd rather be helpful. Yippeeee!!! I got the best lady at the DMV!!!!

Then, she said "Why do you have a salvage vehicle anyway?" So, I tell her the deal on the van. Then, she says "And you have a truck?" Yes. "Did you get it weighed?" No. So I point out that the weight is listed on the title. She says "We aren't supposed to use that, but I'll just enter it in and you can forget about getting the weight certificate" Yay!!! She says "That'll save you $50 and it'll be the same weight anyway, I don't know why we need to weigh these little pick-ups". So, she says "You can pay for your plates now, and I'll give you temporary permits for both vehicles, but you have to get your smog tests and your B&L test done before you get your license plates. I'll give you till November 1st to get it done, that should give you enough time." I love this lady!!! I fork over $199.00 and get my temporary permits. She says "You are getting these for pretty cheap, an average license plate is around $300, and you just got two for $199". She says some people don't think of this when they buy a car and get some fancy expensive thing.

She says "You know how the fees break down for the license plates?" I said "Well, no" She says "I'm explaining it to everyone because people think that they are going to triple the car license prices, and that's not really how it is" she goes on and on about the breakdown of each tax, there are several line items that make up your license plate fee and only one of those line items will triple. For us, it means an extra $7 on the truck and an extra $23 on the van. But, we won't have to pay our first time Californian fees, so our plates will be cheaper next time anyway. I got better information from this lady than from any of the gubernatorial candidates! She says "Well, if they come through my line, I'll explain it to them too" LOL! I really do love this lady! I tell her "You are the best DMV window! I hope I get Window #8 next time too!" I told her I'd been here for 2 solid days.

She tells me, make an appointment so you don't have to wait very long. She says the lines move by letter, then by number. A means appointment, they get priority. B - registration without an appointment, C - driving test without an appointment, D- I don't remember what D was, no E line, F , G, H, they were all something too, J - Handicapped. They go to the wheelchair accessible windows. She said the B line takes the longest because registering vehicles is everyone's least favorite thing to do, and those people don't have an appointment, so they are the lowest priority. I say "Oh".

Now, it's almost 4:00pm. I'm so happy - I got temporary permits and I didn't have to give up my SD plates yet! I'm going home - it's been another long day at the California DMV.

Here it is... October 12th.... and we are still driving around with South Dakota plates and using our South Dakota drivers licenses. We are waiting to get the vehicles in for smog tests and the brake & light test, and we need our birth certificates to get drivers licenses! Had to order those. So, we are still South Dakotans!

Smog, Brake & Light Tests - Oct. 20
Oh, this was a fun day. After getting everyone off to school, I went to one of the three places in Temecula/Murrieta for a State Certified Brake & Light test on the van. This is required for the van because it has a salvage title, and I must prove to the DMV Gods that the van is roadworthy and not a big pile of crumpled metal on wheels. So, off to get the brakes and lights looked over.

I took it to Rancho Smog in Temecula. Nice guy works there named Mike. He says "Have a seat, we'll call you when it's ready." So, I sit down on the vinyl couch and look at old magazines. I figure, it's 9:00am now & I'm the first one here. All they have to do is check the brakes and lights- I wonder if I'll have time to read a whole magazine? Mike says this is gonna cost me $100 for the brake test, $50 for the lights, and $50 for the smog. Plus certificates.

A few more people came in and sat in the waiting area too. After an hour or two, they left. Their cars were done!!!! Grrrr!!! I sat there thinking "It should be done any minute now".

Around 11:20 Smiling Mike came to me and said "Mrs. Schumacher, you might want to come back and take a look at this". Oh geez. I went to the back ! My van was up in the air, no wheels, pieces and parts everywhere! Gawd! I thought they were just going to test the brakes and lights! Mike says "We have to pull all the wheels off to inspect the brakes. Your front brakes need new pads and your back brakes will not pass the inspection - they leak and they need new parts. The drums have a huge crease in them and You need new ". Oh. Geez. Keith is gonna crap! Mike, while smiling, says they can just put it all back together and do nothing, then we won't pass the test until we get it fixed either here or somewhere else, or they can fix it, or they can fix part of it, so what do I want to do? It's gonna only cost me another $350 to get the brakes fixed. Not fixing them would cost me again for another brake test when I get them fixed somewhere else and then bring it back for another inspection. Cha-Ching! Either way, it's gonna cost more than we anticipated.

Yesterday, Keith gave me instructions not to let them do anything, just inspect and get the hell outa there. So, I didn't know what to do now. I'm not gonna pass the brake test! Had to call Keith. Of course, I interrupted him during the middle of one of his classes, and he says "you can't call me during class - I'll call you at noon". I tell Mike that I don't know what my husband wants, he'll call me back later, and we can explain this to him and find out. So, it's back to the couch for me till Keith calls back.

Then, the guys in the back of Rancho Smog started to go out for lunch. One by one, they left. Mike smiled at every one of them and said "see ya after lunch!" I sit there.

Keith called. I tried to tell him everything, but ended up just giving the cell phone to Mike and let him and Keith discuss this "Man to Man". Then, Keith talks to me again, we're getting the back brakes fixed, replaced, or whatever, and Keith will put new front brake pads on at home. Even though he just did that 6 months ago! Apparently, our back brakes haven't been working, so the front brakes were doing everything, and now the 3 year life of the brake pads has been used up in 6 months. So, let him fix it and pay the man. And, Keith promises to do the front brake pads himself, very soon. Mike says it will pass brake inspection by doing it this way, so, ok this is the way we go.

So, then at 12:30, I decided, I'm sick of sitting on this couch and I wouldn't mind getting some lunch too. My appointment with the Cal State dude is at 1:00. I asked Mike if I could get my stuff out of my van. Then, I walked. Got a fruit smoothie right near the Cal State office. It wasn't very far to walk, and after sitting quietly all morning, I would have been happy to walk ten miles.
Went to my appointment at the Cal State office - that sucked. I was there for about a half an hour talking with someone who couldn't answer any of my questions. Anyway, that's another story. At least I had time to waste today. Walked back to Rancho Smog. Now, it's 1:30.

They are almost done. The van was getting new back brakes, and no new front pads. It passed the brake test. Light test went well. I don't know what they did for that, but I didn't want to know either. It passed. Who cares how they do that. I'm sure they just turn the lights on and walk around the van saying "yup, yup, yup, yup". Now, the van was in the Smog Bay. Should only be another 30 minutes or so. Yay!

Around 2:25. (that was a long half hour!).. Mike says it's done! So, I go to pay the man. Stupid Wells Fargo Card wouldn't work. Again, this is another story of how Wells Fargo ATM cards only work as Credit cards here because it is a South Dakota account number, which is one of three states that do not work in Cali as debit cards. However, there are a lot of places that only do debit and not credit. Guess what. Rancho Smog is one of them. My card says "Denied. Code 605" Ugh. So, I have to write a check and assure Mike that the money is good. Does he believe me? I dunno. I pay him $550 for today's torture. All this takes us a good 20 minutes because Mike feels the need to explain the mechanicky stuff to me again. Again, I do not understand the language, and more than that, I really don't care. I take my receipt and my keys and get the hell outa there.

I've been there at Rancho Smog on the vinyl couch from 9:00 am to 2:55 pm. Except for the one hour that I walked to the Cal State office. I just spent another 6 hours trying to get closer to obtaining license plates. At least the testing is done on the van, we are getting closer to getting those California license plates!

Let's see... my running total of hours on this quest for California license plates has run up to 19 hours so far.

Smog Test for Truck - Nov 19

After the lengthy day at Rancho Smog, I wasn't in any big hurry to spend another day sitting in a mechanic's waiting area with the truck. But, it had to be done, and I'm the one who gets the joy of doing it. So, on Nov. 19th, I finally said to myself ugh. Better just go do it. I had premium gas in the truck and I ran the truck pretty good before I took it in. I really hope this old piece of crap truck passes the smog test!

I took a book.

This time, I went to Murrieta Smog Only. The only thing we need on the truck is a smog test, so this sounded like a good place. And, it's right next door to a fabric store!

I got there in the morning, about 10:00am. Just in case it takes all day. I'm learning to plan ahead for the waiting process now. I went in, notice the stack of tattered magazines in the waiting area and groan to myself. I really don't want to sit there all day.

I ask the guy if he can do a smog test on my pick-up, he asks me all the usual questions, make, model, year, miles, he says sure. It will take about 30 - 40 minutes. I smile, cuz I know that he really means it'll take most of the day. So, I said ok. Gave him the keys and went next door to the fabric store.

I spent 30-40 minutes in there just looking and looking and looking. Dreaming and gazing at the fabrics and looked at lots of design magazines. These were upholstery and drapery fabrics and most of them were around $40 a yard. Give or take a few dollars. When I felt the danger of my credit card trying to jump outa my purse and get some new drapery fabric to make some beautiful curtains I figured I'd go to the Smog place and read my book till they were done with the truck.

I went back and read two chapters and then the guy came out and said it was done and it passed! I'll bet I had the biggest surprise look on my face! So, I paid the guy and he gave me my receipt and said he sent the DMV my smog results electronically. Cool! This place cost me $50 plus $8.25 for the certificate. (which was electronic). Used my Wells Fargo card. That worked too! It was not even noon yet! Wow!!!

21 hours in the quest for new plates.

DMV Thursday, Nov 20

I got all my tests done on both vehicles! Today, I'm coming home with license plates!

I went to the DMV again today. It's been a while. Got there and waited for what must be the standard minimum waiting time 2 hours. Went up to the window and gave the lady all my papers and she says "Your husband needs to sign here. Next!" Dammit.

23 hours in the quest for new plates.

DMV Friday, Nov 21.

Today, the DMV is a lot busier. Good thing I am in the habit of getting there early. Ugh, did I say I have a DMV habit?

Again, waited a couple of hours. Got to the window and she takes the paperwork on the Truck first. Gives me a piece of paper and I give her the van paperwork. She says "this is a wrecked vehicle?" yes. "You need a brake & light certificate". I say what the guy told me at the fixing place. They sent it to the DMV electronically. She says, no, they can't do that. They can only do that for smog tests, not B&L. I should have two slips of paper. The actual certificates. Dammit.

I got another number and went to Rancho Smog. Talked to Mike again. He remembered me. I'm the one with the salvage van that was repaired nicely. Whoever did it did a great job except the back brakes he had to replace. Yah, he did remember me, but of course he did, I was there all freaking day! Mike said they can't just give me copies. I'll have to pay $8.25 for each certificate to be written again. Grrr. I told him I'd go home and look for them. He showed me what they should look like.

26 hours.

DMV Monday. Nov. 24

9:00 am. Back to Rancho Smog. I tell the guy "I can't find the brake and light certificates. I must have pitched them. Because I understood that he was sending it electronically, so I didn't really need the paperwork, and I've cleaned up and tossed stuff since then. He says, ok. He'll write up new ones. I remembered that my stupid Wells Fargo card wouldn't work at their place, so I brought cash today. Mike goes through his certificate book, which was all neat and orderly, and he couldn't find my certificate copies. He needed to look at his copy to rewrite everything. So, another guy looks, they both look. He says do you remember what exactly I gave you? I say no. I was there for hours and hours, I just grabbed the receipt and left. I threw it on the floor in the van. I cleaned out the van since then and threw out all sorts of stuff, but I don't remember those from the cleaning either. I have no idea. Just write new ones. He says, "I didn't give you any certificates!" And, he remembered my van, he remembered me, and he has no copies, so, I guess I didn't loose them! Yay! He writes me two certificates and I didn't have to pay.

9:40 am. Went to the DMV. Waited for a good long time. Got called to window number 4. Wondered where that really good lady went. She prolly got fired for being such a good window lady. She told people about how the taxes worked and stuff. Anyway, this lady took my paperwork, then I asked "Will my plates be sequential since I'm licensing two vehicles?" "No Ma'am". I think I must not have been clear, I ask again. "Can I get my license numbers to be something easy to remember, like one number right after the other, or a number that repeats itself, or my house number or something?" The DMV lady gives me a look. She says "You can order personalized plates, but you gotta do that before you come and git 'em and it costs extra" So, I think, hmmm, she doesn't get it. I'm just asking her to pull out two really cool numbers out of her inventory nothing personalized. So, I try again. It became apparent by the glare in her eyes and the tone of her answers, I think she got sick of me asking for sequential plates, I only asked 3 times! She finally said "M'am, you get what you get, you don't have to keep axe-in me, you aren't getting sequential plates".

This lady gave me my slip of paper for the van. Then, I had to go and wait in line at window number 9. Only two people in front of me, so it didn't take long at all. (not long in DMV time, which I have learned is much slower than real time). Then, I asked this lady for sequential plates. Again, got the big burley NO. This time, I only asked once. This DMV lady didn't look like she was as jolly as the last one. So, I tell her, hey, the other lady took my titles, I need titles. She says they'll get mailed to me in 30 days. Ok. But, I did have one more question...

I asked her what the deal is with the plates she gave me, they start with different numbers. She gives me this "what the hell are you talking about look". I say, does the first number represent where you live? Cuz these are different. She's confused. I try again. These don't start the same "Does the license plate number in any way reflect the county where I live? Like a lot of states, the first number or first two numbers represent the county". She says "we don't do that". She did say that the plate with one letter is for the truck, the plate with three letters is for the car. Oh. So, there is some meaning to the random numbering. She looked really freaked out that I even asked.

I walked out of the DMV carrying California license plates! Yippee!!!! SUCCESS!!!

When I got home at 1:30 pm, I emailed Keith at his school and told him of my success today. I got plates! He replies "Are they sequential?"

How long does it take to go to the DMV and get California license plates? My experience adds up to 31 hours. Compare this to the 5 minutes it took me to get license plates at the South Dakota Hughes County courthouse several years ago. Hmmmm.

DMV Random Comments, Questions and Observations

* Why is the DMV office located out around nothing else. You have to wait and wait and wait, there's no shopping, fast food, gas station, or park anywhere nearby. That would be helpful!!!

* Why isn't my driver's license good enough ID to get a new drivers license? It's good ID everywhere else! I have to come up with a birth certificate? That's better ID?

* Why don't they put in a tv? News, weather, anything!

* Can I get sequentially numbered license plates? Why?

*Why do people have tattoos of people who have no tattoos? Seriously, I saw a lot of tattoos while doing my time at the DMV, and I noticed a lot of tattoos are of people. Usually, it's a man's arm with a woman tattoo. But, the people tattoos do not have tattoos. Isn't that weird?

* Why do all these people smell so bad???

* Why would you bring your toddlers and preschoolers to sit with you for hours at the DMV? Why???

* A drop in daycare service located right next to the DMV might be a really good business idea.

* Naaaa. I don't think I have to go to the ladies room THAT badly! I'll wait a few more hours. Next time, less coffee before coming here!!!

* Can I get license plates that are numbered one right after the other? Please? Yes, I know I already asked this, but I thought I'd try again.

* No, I didn't bring both my vehicles with me today. I only drove ONE. I answered that question almost every time I went there.

* There sure are a lot of really old people who drive. Look at 'em all!

* No, I did not loose my license plates, and they were not stolen. Yes, I still need license plates. I just moved here. (Nobody ever asked if I just moved here, they just asked if my plates were lost or stolen). Wonder what happens more frequently, lost plates, stolen plates, or I just moved here and need plates, hmm.

* Why do the workers at the DMV (except the Vin Inspector) look like they lift weights. A lot.

* Can I have sequentially numbered plates? It would just be kinda cool. No? ok.

One more DMV adventure
April 8, 2004

This morning I went to the DMV to get my California Driver's License. Yeah, I know, I should have done this earlier. I did find out that California requires new residents to get their driver's license within 10 days of moving here. LOL - I didn't even come close to that!

This morning started off kind of early, I had an appointment for the truck to get a new water pump at a place right across from the DMV, so I took the truck to George's Auto. Got the truck there at 7:15, I noticed that there was already a line forming outside the DMV. George and I talked about the truck, got it all checked in, and all that, then I headed across the street. It's 7:30 am now, and the line at the DMV goes from the front door, all across the front of the building, and I took the last place at the end of the side of the building. More people came along and the line went across the little parking lot to the sidewalk on the street.

Doors opened at 8:00, and we all filed in and got numbers. After a while, it was my turn. I gave the lady the form I'd filled out for a license and gave her my certified Wyoming Birth Certificate - a valueable document for getting a license here - and my South Dakota drivers license where I look like I have jaundice. Really, my SD license I have a yellow face. Then, I had to read off letters from a chart hanging on the ceiling. I passed the eye exam!

This lady types all my information in and runs my social security number to see if I'm really me. I am. She instructs me to go stand on the red carpet. I waited in line on the red carpet for another lady - she took my thumbprint, then took my picture - holy cow that flash is bright! Then she hands me the written test and says to take the test in this little room full of people and bring it back when I'm done. Ok. But I can't see. That flash was so bright!

I looked at the test. Spots! Holy cow! It took me a minute. Some of the questions were really silly - I hope nobody ever flunks this test! The only questions I got wrong were about U-turns and pulling a trailer, merging into the freeway in the fog.... things I don't do anyway. There weren't any questions about what the curb colors are - Eddy told me to know those for sure. I did get the question right about how to drive around a trolly. They definately drive different in California - I don't remember any trolly questions on the South Dakota test.

After the lady graded my test - I did just fine - She printed out a sheet of paper and told me that this will be my license until one is mailed to me. I said thanks and turned to leave - took a quick peek at my piece of paper and then I turned back to her and asked "Can I have my married name on my drivers license instead of my maiden name" She didn't answer me and I said "I've been using the name Schumacher for 15 years, can I use it on my drivers license too?" She reaches out for my paper, I gave it to her and she said "Isn't your name Mary Turney?"... Well, it was... but I'd rather use my married name so that my drivers license matches my credit cards, and my vehicle registration and insurance, and everything else. She grunted a bit and scowled, but she says ok, we have to start over.

Didn't really have to start all over, but the lady had to type it all in again, and she had trouble since she was now trying to have two people with the same SSN get a driver's license, so she fiddled around trying to fix it. I had to do my thumbprint again and take my picture again - my hair was still not behaving, so I guess it didn't make any difference to get a second chance at getting a decent photo. Oh well. Blinded again. Geez.

I got a new piece of paper with my "new" name on it. Then, she gave me my test to keep and my old SD driver's license - which now has a hole in it, but I get to keep that too. I left the DMV at 9:30am. Not bad. Only two hours.

Sometime soon, if our mailman actually delivers our mail to our mailbox instead of the neighbor's, I'll get my California driver's license! Cheesy

My adventures at the DMV are finally over! (I hope!)


B. Fred said...

I loved this story when I read it the first time. You can feel the frustration, agravation and I love the way that you manage to make fun of the whole sorry affair.

Rayne said...

Oh, lord! What a nightmare! A good friend of mine lives in Calif. She moved there from Wa. and had to go through the same thing you did. It took her three separate trips and she ended up with a horrible respitory infection. We lived in SD for three years and I loved it! The DMV man helped me cheat on my driving test because I had no clue on what to do with farm tractors on the road. I was amazed they were even allowed to drive on the road. He was behind the counter singing the correct answers for me. It was so funny. I still don't know what to do when there is a tractor on the road except for get out of the way.