So,if you are an out of state resident moving into the beautiful and sunny state of California then you have to take your written driver’s test in order to secure a drivers license. Do you remember that sixteen year old feeling of passing a test to driving freedom? I remember that I passed my written with flying colors and failed the driver portion of the test twice. Darn, that parallel parking and pesky turn signals!
Enough reminiscing, let’s get back to this fun adventure with my first visit to the DMV. I filled out paperwork noting my “ideal” weight because I was certain by the end of the summer I would attain it. It was like setting a goal for myself. I mean, I am going to have this license for the next four years so I thought it best to inspire myself to action. After roughly an hour wait, my number was spoken by a computer generated voice to input the information and pay then I was sent over to get my picture taken. I started to get a little nervous about taking a test. The last time I took a test would have to be in college which was quite awhile ago. I wondered if I had studied enough or not. I mean, who wants to fail?
I take a deep breath and head up to the test area. I asked the DMV employee if my daughter could sit next to me in one of the cubicles because I brought her Leapster with headphones so she would sit quietly while I took the test. The employee looked at me and said she would have to ask. She asked a supervisor and came back. She said, “I am sorry, but no one can be in the testing area with you. You will have to come back and take the test another time.”
I know my daughter is super smart, but her knowledge about California state driving laws are minimal. Red means stop. Green means go. Yellow means drive really fast. Actually, be prepared to stop.
On my way out the door amid my frustration I opened up my paperwork to look at the picture. It looked like I had two chins. Then I scanned down at my weight. It was not “ideal” at all. It was not “real”. It was a number that I ran away from a few short years ago. I got in the car and immediately called my mom to find out if they had secret scales under the mats that you stood on. She laughed and said no. I raced home to weigh myself.
Now, wait a minute.
Just for your information. I don’t like scales. I abhor them. I don’t weigh myself. But today I weighed myself just to be sure. The DMV employee added 18 pounds to my weight. I was MORTIFIED!
Okay, after the emotion wore off and my husband and mom convinced me that I could change the weight and take a new picture. I was coming back down to earth even reasoning that the employee may have keyed in the wrong number by accident and I should have put the real number down. Sigh!
We decided to take the test down near my parents after the fourth of July. My second visit to the DMV resulted in a weight change, new picture and….
I passed the test. I missed four and the good news is that you can miss a total of six! Just in case you were wondering, it is illegal for you to smoke in your car if you have a minor under the age of 18 riding with you. Parker and I both missed that question and three others. Isn’t that romantic?
Well, we thought we were done however in order to get your California plates you need to have your pink slip, registration, insurance, surrender your Washington plates and identification. We had to leave and go get the pink slip which I had happened to bring to my parents. Now, I am on my third visit to the DMV on the same day to finish the plate process.
I have to get plates for my car. Please mark this as my fourth and hopefully final visit.
This is an image forever burned in my memory. I waited about an hour. I brought in all the necessary paperwork and they visually verified my car. They asked me to surrender my Washington plates. So, I went out into the parking lot and I easily removed the back plate. Then I moved to taking off the front plate. But I couldn’t get it off. I flagged down a lovely gentleman in the parking lot and he tried with all his might to get the plate off the car and was unable to take it off. To be honest, I broke down in tears at that point. I did not want to make another trip to the DMV.
After a quick pep talk with my husband, I went inside to see if they would process me in spite of my plate problem and they said “YES!” The DMV employee was getting me all set and I asked, “Can I keep the back plate from Washington and change the plates out later with the help of my husband?” They replied, “No, you have to surrender your plate right now.” “So, I will have to drive with a Washington plate on the front and a California plate on the back?” The employee shrugged their shoulders like it was my problem.
I was under the impression that the DMV was all about safety and traffic rules, but apparently it is not their problem to force you to be ILLEGAL. I was not sure what to do except to drive very little. I pulled out of the DMV with my front plate in the northwest and my back plate in the sunshine state and a police officer passed me and flipped around behind me.
The good news is that he did not pull me over. My husband came home that night to wrench the plate off and after four good attempts and one injury the plate did not come off. The next morning, I went to a French-Italian mechanic with curly hair named Lucky. His assistant ripped the plate off and the rusted bolt broke off into the fender. He had to drill new holes to put on the plate.
It is a miracle! We are official California residents.