Friday, September 23, 2011

A good hair day completely wasted...

A few days ago Hans and I went to get our new driver's licenses and Florida tags for our vehicles.

Three hours later we emerged with no licenses, only one new license plate, and nearly five hundred dollars poorer.

So how does something like this happen?

Even though we tried to be good citizens and went online to research what would be necessary to get everything done, it was a total waste of time and the fact that the government is involved is all the explanation I need.

We drove separately (Hans from work and me from home) walked in with our passports, PA driver's licenses, and smiles on our stupid naive faces.

We weren't there but a few minutes when we shot out the door, ran to our vehicles and sped back to the boat in order to dig up all the other documents that we apparently needed but were not listed on their web site. I dug through my files to see if I could find anything with my new address on it (and I needed at least two), and my social security card (I also took my birth certificate 'just in case', and of course they didn't want it). Since I'm a pack rat and keep most correspondence I was lucky enough to find two letters with my new address. Hans very nearly didn't as he saves nothing. But he did have a copy of our marina lease and a letter from his new bank.

We waved good bye to a very bewildered Wilbur who thought he was going with us, and zipped back to the center, only now in one car.

I was surprised that they let us go in together but I figure that's just because torturing two people at a time is more fun than one.

I barely passed my eye exam because my left contact is purposely weak (for reading) and my right contact is strong (for distance). Even after explaining this (very nicely and with a big smile I might add!), the employee , who shall be known as The Girl who Lost her Smile (I'm sure the government would be very proud of her) suspiciously asked me if I suffered from mono-vision. I wisely bit my tongue and didn't reply, "No, I'm just a blonde." because for some reason I didn't think it would go over very well.

She adjusted the machine, I passed, and then their link to the Social Security site went down. And just like that the whole world ground to a halt.

So this is what I want to know.

If my passport is good enough to get me through any airport in the world, why isn't it (along with my existing driver's license and two documents with my new address) good enough for me to get a new driver's license. Why is a simple piece of cardboard with nine numbers on it so stinking important. And before you all get in my grille about this, let's face it, if I had a fake passport and driver's license don't you think I'd already have a handle on a fake social security card?

Well, jeepers we said, until the Social Security site comes back up why don't we get those pesky license plates taken care of.

"Did you bring both vehicles?"


"We can't issue new tags unless the vehicle is here."

Oh no!! No! Noooooooo!

We explained that we'd originally shown up with both vehicles but since we had to go back to the boat for documents we had no idea were originally needed, we felt it only reasonable that we return in just one car, and why the hell hadn't someone told us this!!!!!!!???????? When Hans asked if he could just do this by mail the clerk in the next cubicle snorted with laughter, and the Girl who Lost her Smile didn't even look up, kept stapling things, and said, "No."

By now Hans (who thought he was taking an hour or so off from his new job but now realized he'd been given a life sentence), had his head in his hands and said, "Okay then, get the car taken care of now and we'll worry about the SUV later."

"Can I bring the SUV in by myself?" I asked hopefully (and again with a huge smile) in an effort to keep Hans from taking any more time away from work.

"Only if he gives you power of attorney," replied The Girl who Lost her Smile as she shuffled through a mountain of paperwork, and let me tell you there is no comedian in the world who can outdo this lady with a deadpan delivery.

After a lot of clacking away at her keyboard we were finally presented with a lovely tin plate artistically adorned with oranges that probably cost all of twenty bucks, and she announced, "That'll be four hundred and eighty three dollars."

I thought Hans was going to have a stroke and by now no one was smiling.

You see, here in Florida, new registrations and plates are quite costly (oh yeah, and your car insurance rates double also).

After forking over his credit card (and let me tell you as a direct result of living in Florida, that baby is smoking!), letting everyone know that he'd never heard of anything so ludicrous, so stupid, and as far as he was concerned this was highway robbery, Hans asked if it would be okay if we sat in the waiting room just in case the Social Security web site came back to life before five PM.

We did.

And it didn't.

At ten minutes to five, The Girl who Lost her Smile called us back, once again gathered up all of our paperwork and clacked away some more at her computer. Then without a word she abandoned ship and left us to fend for ourselves.

I knew by then that we were going to leave without new licenses as it was now five o'clock and the government does not work overtime. Period.

Our girl finally came back and this time she had her supervisor with her. A great big supervisor who kindly apologized to us for the inconvenience and wouldn't we love to come back another time for round two? For some reason The Girl Who Lost her Smile hid behind him.

So now our car gets to sashay around with some over priced bling on her rear end and I wasted a perfectly good hair day for nothing!

All we could do was laugh, and here Hans and I drown our sorrows with a couple of Wilbur Wow Wows.

I dread having to go through that nightmare again.
And believe it or not, getting a library card is just as difficult and I still don't have one!


  1. I swear the DMV intentionally tells you only a few of the things you'll need so you'll get out of their face and come back another day! I'll never understand this ... it seems to happen everywhere. It's a conspiracy! LOL!

  2. Oh my gosh! Five hundred dollars just to get new drivers' licenses and license plates? That's ridiculous! And you showed such beautiful restraint.... I think I would have jumped over the counter and pummeled "The Girl Who Lost Her Smile"!!! And I have never heard of having to have your car present when you get your tags... what is the purpose of that? They don't put them on for you, so why do they need to have the car there? I might have had to have more than a couple of "Wilbur Wow Wows"!



  3. So many today do not want to pay taxes. Of any kind. Democrats say, "I don't want to pay for that tank", and republicans say, "I don't want to pay for that school". Both are needed. The governments are responding to that demand with "user" type fees instead. Toll roads, property taxes on vehicles, higher fees for services provided by government entities such as park entrance fees and camping fees and your DMV fees are examples. Florida has no state income tax. Where did you think they were going to get the money to run the DMV? Imagine the poor soul who does not have the kind of money you do being presented with a bill of that amount.

  4. Annonymous, what kind of money do you think we have? We live on a boat that depreciates every year, and we own no other property. My incredibly rotten health insurance runs me about $300 a month (which is draining any and all savings I've made over the past 30 YEARS!) and basically covers nothing, and the only reason I have it is because I fear becoming a debt to society.
    Frankly, I'm leaning toward just dropping it and saying the hell with it!
    Our vehicles are respectively 16 and 12 years old. The blue book value on each are nil. So why the hell should we pay fees that are more than 1/3 of the value of the vehicle?
    I've paid my way all my life! I worked two jobs at a time while supporting myself and three kids (with no child support) for more than ten years and the fact that my back never stops aching is a testament to that.
    I may choose to present a lighter side to life but you don't know me and I don't pretend to know you!

  5. First, sorry if I offended. Second, sorry for not signing that post as I usually do but you probably knew it was me anyway.

    The kind of money I think you have is the kind of money that allows you to take the months off that you have for cruising. You yourself have said you were shocked my the amounts you are spending on cruising. Most could not dream of buying your boat let alone cruising for months at a time. While you live on a boat without owning property, that is recent. Just a few months ago, you owned two houses (at least one). Somebody has got some money.

    The reason you should pay those fees on your vehicle has nothing to do with the vehicle itself. It has to do with the road on which it drives and the salary of the delightful(!) people who run your DMV. Someone has to pay and since they have no state income tax they have less places to get funding from. That leaves you.

    My comment that you have money is based on your profile and blog entries. While that doesn't give me a full picture, you should not be too surprised when people draw some conclusions about you.

    Also, I made no comment to suggest that you both do not deserve your money. I understand your (Laura's) background and my understanding is that Hans is well educated and his education allows him to command a higher that usual salary. There's no judgment there so I don't understand what seems like defensivness.


  6. Way to post anonymously, that's real brave of you, troll. It cost us about the same when we moved to Maryland. After inspection, taxes, and registration, we paid almost $1000 for both cars. And also made two trips to the DMV. I get that state employees are mostly ruled by regulation and policy and dwindling budgets, but a little customer service wouldn't kill them.

  7. Respects to Laura for doing it "alone"...raised two fine young men (with no child support) myself for over 17years...and I didn't do it on the Government's dime either...I WORKED!!! And going down to get the necessities (car documented) to continue working should NOT rob us AGAIN of our hard earned money...I pay taxes in my state AND the DMV is STILL robbery and red tape (btw...they sent my plates to an address I lived at over 10 years ago and I had to have them RE-issued...yes another DMV trip to get this done)!!! The government causes it's own over-spending and wants US to foot the bill for ALL of their spending mistakes!!!
    Ok...done with my rant... your blog
    Smiles...Doll (& Capt'n too)

  8. I just don't get all this anger. I made two points. The goverment needs money to function. I followed that up by saying that there are many for whom the fees you describe would be a major hardship. Why is this heresy? This is starting to remind me of "Fortunate Son" from Creedence Clearwater.