A day and a half

You’d think, with a new home just yearning for cleaning and new coats of paint, that that would have occupied our time today.

Not so, if you are Frank and me.

The plan for today was to head sometime this morning to the DMV to get our NY state licenses and to register our cars and get NY license plates.  Generally this is a chore that could have waited a couple weeks but our NJ licenses had just expired and Frank’s car registration had also expired at the same time.  We figured it would eat up a couple hours, minimum, but that it shouldn’t kill the whole day.

Only, we got a bit of a late start, so with eating breakfast and doing some random little things, we didn’t leave to go to the DMV until about 11:00 a.m.  Well, at least we’d beat the lunch crowd…

Only, we didn’t count on having to rescue a couple of dogs.  We were driving down a busy road and came upon a Bassett hound meandering on the shoulder.  Knowing this dog shouldn’t be here, we pulled over and I got a look at the dog’s tag, and also discovered that he had a partner in crime who was currently ransacking someone’s garbage.  They were relatively clean dogs, and it didn’t seem like they’d been neglected or out on their own for very long.  One of their tags had a street address which we discovered, thanks to our handy dandy GPS device, was a few blocks away from where we were, but the other side of the busy road we were traveling on.  The dogs were both sweet as pie, so despite eye rolls from Frank (who is — I shall spin it nicely — more practical than me regarding such matters as stray dogs and wounded kittens) we herded them both into our minivan, and drove them home.  Only the owners weren’t home, and there was nowhere to safely leave the dogs.  I wasn’t going to just let them loose.  We tried calling the phone number on their tags and it went to voice mail — only the voice mail was full so we couldn’t even leave a message.

A bit later and we were in the parking lot of the SPCA.  Since no good deed goes unpunished, I was holding both dogs, found myself standing off balance for a split-second, at which time both dogs decided to make a bee-line for the same imaginary awesome spot they just had to get to NOW.  I ended up dragging both knees across the asphalt of the parking lot.  So I have my first matching pair of skinned knees since I was about eleven.  (Well, there was the nasty rugburn I got on both knees when I was like 18 (I’ll let you use your imagination for the ‘how’ on that one)… but rugburn doesn’t leave you to pull bits of gravel out of your wounds.)

We got the dogs inside as I bled from both knees, to find out that these dogs’ owners regularly let them roam free, and they are regulars at the shelter.   The workers knew the dogs by name and had their home number, work numbers, and cell numbers all handy.

I was so livid.  These were sweet, gentle dogs and they both had great personalities.  And I pondered aloud to Frank that if I saw these dogs loose again, I might be inclined to ‘lose’ their collars and turn them in at a shelter in the next county, with the instructions to call me if they weren’t claimed in whatever time period you have to allot for a dog to get claimed.  He was actually inclined to agree with me, as he was quite enamored with the golden retriever.

Let me tell you — if you have a Bassett Hound named Bentley and a Golden named Oliver, you better start treating them better.  They are great dogs and do not deserve an untimely death at the hands of the next Toyota Land Cruiser to speed by.  I know from talking to your neighbors you have a son and I’m sure he would be heartbroken to lose his dogs forever to such a fate.  I’m not quite sure why you felt inclined to get two big dogs when you have hardly any backyard at all, but obviously the practical matters of home upkeep are a bit overwhelming for you so dog ownership perhaps is not your cup of tea, either.

So all that, and we hadn’t even been to the DMV yet.

FIVE HOURS LATER — we finally had my license done and car registered.  Frank’s stuff is another story entirely.  Against the actual guidelines the DMV has in place, the competent staff therein put his full middle name on his license, thus rendering the name on his new license a non-perfect-name-match from him title and his insurance card.  So the DMV then started insisting that Frank had to get a new insurance card printed with his exactly-matching-his-new-license name.  Only, because our insurance company apparently follows DMV guidelines better than the DMV, their computers will not let them physically create insurance cards with his name as the DMV put it on his license.  So, not only would they not let him register his car, his license has to be fixed, too.  Thus, the saga that was our day-from-DMV-hell is not even over yet.  We have to go back to the insurance office tomorrow, and they are going to call the DMV and talk to the head-idiot over there and try to help us get this all straightened out.

Now the incompetence and screw-ups are one thing.  Be polite, say you’re sorry (even if you don’t mean it).  I understand, you work at the DMV which probably means you’re never going to become an astronaut or sports legend or MC Hammer groupie like you dreamed of as a kid.  But for Pete’s sake, DMV people… would it kill you to maybe drop the holier-than-thou, condescending attitudes and maybe just do your shit jobs with just a little bit of pride and efficiency!??

I know it’s stereotypical to deride the DMV… but honestly before today I’d never had a ‘bad’ DMV experience.  Living in Buffalo, NY, then Albany, NY, then in NJ for 8 years, I’ve had my fair share of waiting in line and killing the time and messing up a form and having to fill it out again.  The waiting is par for the course, the cryptic regulations (especially now, thank you Homeland Security!) are not unexpected.  I have never, though, EVER dealt with a more negative, smarmy, self-righteous, unhelpful group of people than I encountered at this DMV office.  Still now, hours later, I am appalled and have a certain amount of empathy for violent postal workers.  Despite everything that was screwy with our documentation, despite the goofs on both sides of the formica counter, had the people ‘helping’ us not been so power-trippy and rude and just downright nasty, I could let it go.  But here I am, reliving it and getting incredibly pissed that I have to go back and endure it again tomorrow.

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