Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Maryland Driver’s License Bureau, or Adventures in Becoming a Legal Resident of Maryland

Okay, I have been in Maryland a total of five weeks now—not all in one stretch because of having to take the two and a half weeks to go up and be with Dad when Mom passed. I love my new home, so green and hilly, and the people are (mostly) friendly. In many ways, it reminds me of Connecticut, where I hope to retire one day. Becoming a legal resident of this state is easier said than done, however, and not an inexpensive prospect at all.

First, there was the extra charge on the rental application for my out-of-state license. Naturally, I would not have been able to get the license without the proof of residency first, so there was no way around that.

Then, there was the state inspection for my car, which cost more due to somebody messing up on one of the nuts on one of my tires in Florida. At the shop that my son worked at, but it wasn’t him—he was hanging out with us in the office at the time. Mind, despite the extra expense, the car still didn’t pass because the Florida-legal tint was still too dark for the state of Maryland. So, now I have to go pay to get the tint removed and get the car re-inspected. Re-inspection, however, is free, thank Goddess.

Last Saturday, I tried to call to get the tint removed, but the place I called was closed, and it’s the only one within twenty miles. There are disadvantages to living out in the country. I also was planning on going to get my license that day, but in order to exchange your out of state license for a new Maryland one, you have to make an appointment. Fine, I run through the checklist of required documents and make my appointment. I text my boss to tell her I’ll be late and why—no problem.

Monday comes, I drive the 30 miles to the closest driver’s licensing bureau that services new licenses. I get there and inquire about where to check in. The clerk looks at my New Hampshire birth certificate, which resembles a credit card rather than being the flimsy piece of paper most states issue, and remarks about how cool it is. Once again, I am proud of my birth state, having the foresight to issue such an intelligent manner of proving my birth. I sit and wait my turn.

Moments later, I am called up, right on time for my appointment, and feeling very happy with the whole thing. Beautiful location, with a farm and mountain view; beautiful, bright, big office, with plenty of clerks to handle the human traffic. Things are good. This clerk, however, is confused by my birth certificate. He consults his boss, who says it is unacceptable. When he informs me of this, I ask him to call his boss over.

I explain to the boss that this birth certificate IS what I was issued. It has gotten me five driver’s licenses in four states (twice in Florida), a marriage license, and a military I.D. She tells me that it is not a birth certificate, because birth certificates do not look like credit cards. I tell her that I am well aware of what most states issue as birth certificates, as I have paper copies for my sons’ certificates, from Texas and Florida. She is perplexed, but goes to consult HER boss. It seems like the higher up the food chain you go, the less creative they get. Welcome to bureaucracy. Unfortunately, they set their hooves in like mules and I am forced to call New Hampshire and get a paper copy. They were at least kind enough to give me the contact phone number.

So, I get back to my apartment and call New Hampshire. They were very understanding, and even suggested that someone could come to pick up the certificate if anyone was in the state that was a close relative. I thank them and call my dad, who was visiting his brother in Hampton, New Hampshire at the time. Dad says he’ll drive to Exeter and get the certificate. He over-nighted it and the next day, I had a paper copy in my hot little hands.

This morning, I went in and handed them my paper copy, but of course letting them know that I only had to come back because of their ridiculous bureaucracy in the first place. Because I have a big mouth sometimes, especially when I know that I am in the right. They chuckled and sent me to the right booth. Five minutes and $72 later, I had my new license. Next week, I should finally be all set with the car, but with me, you never know what’s going to happen to make something “easy” take far longer than it should.

Oh, and I still have close to four thousand words to go to finish Camp NaNoWriMo. By tomorrow. Working tonight until 5:00. Then I have to cook supper, then drive 25 minutes to drop off hubby’s car at the shop and bring him back. And leave early in the morning to drive him the 30+ minutes to work and return so I can get to work on time. Ish. Yikes! I do hope Miss Muse will wait patiently until we get back this evening, then hug attack me.

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