Thursday, April 22, 2004

Please come prepared to today's entry with your number 2 pencils sharpened, and your calculators on your desk.

At the end of last September I made the difficult decision to move back to my hometown. It meant leaving a career that I (mostly) love, and a work partner that I adore, and going into the relative unknown as far as employment - not something I'm overly comfortable with. Of course, there were a lot of things about that job that were easy to leave - management was beyond abusive, the money was horrendous, and most importantly, GB was home. I got to leave with my head held high, claiming that my evacuation wasn't disgust with the environment, but that I was getting married (it wasn't the main reason I said "yes" to GB, but it sure was a nice thing to come home to.) And on my last day on the air, listeners called in crying that I was leaving (and I didn't even say HA! to management who gave me all that grief while I worked there) and I cried at leaving my partner.

Once we were done with the show, I figured I'd do something unemotional and mindless to help sooth my emotions. I decided to re-register my car in Maryland. This is my first brand new car, and also the first four-door/stick-shift Toyota Echo in Maryland. I love this car, and his name is Norman, after the baby cow in City Slickers. But when I saw I decided to register him, I should say rather, I decided to try. When I called the number to do this mundane chore, I was told that I had an insurance violation, with fines totalling $4500.00. ahem. $4500??????

After a very frightening 9 hour drive back to Maryland, convinced I'd get pulled over and left by the side of the road with my three cats while my car was towed away and sold at auction, and a very frustrating 6 months trying to find help for the problem (which I didn't think was at all reasonable, but just try saying that to the government!) I discovered, almost on accident, that the law had been misquoted to me. Not only was I not guilty of the law they quoted to me - it didn't even exist - and fixing their records of my alleged fine would be as simply as a fax from my insurance agent. In the meantime, I could use GB's humongous gas guzzling SUV, since he has a company vehicle for work.

Since the registration fee for 2 years is $81 in MD, once I left things in my insurance company's hands, I decided to finish things up when my tax refunds came back. I then I got a notice that the whopping $41.00 I was to receive for my state income tax refund would be garnished. Because of money I owed the state. No further explanation. So I went online to attempt to register my car again, thinking that my insurance should have cleared up the money I owed, and wondering what I would be told when I got the "please call this toll free number message". But I didn't. I was asked to enter my credit card number, was charged $24.50 and given a print out of a temporary registration.

Running tally: $4500.00 imaginary fine, minus $41.00 tax refund, minus $24.50 for temporary registration.... carry the one... nope still not adding up.

But it gets better.

After sitting in the bitter cold not being driven all winter, we decided to take my adorable, much loved, and even more-so missed Norman to the shop for a check up. In the meantime, the temporary registration expired. People were telling me to call them and ask for another one, but I had this fear in the back of my head that they'd look into the computer and say "oh, sorry, we misplaced a decimal point and you shouldn't have gotten a temporary registration at all." (I know that would have been inaccurate, but forgive me if my faith in the system was wavering a smidge after six months of walking past my sweet car and not being able to drive it!!!) I then got another notice from the state, this one saying that they had mischarged me (gasp!) and I needed to send them another $16 before the registration would be valid.... I did that immediately.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then!!!! The check cleared.

And then I waited some more.

And more.

And more.

And last night. The very glorious April 21st. My registration card and sticker came in the mail. I got to drive Norman into work this morning. It took $14 to fill up his little gas tank. I didn't need to step on the running board to get into him, and I could see things on all four sides. Pushing the gas pedal was effective and quiet - not like a plane rushing past. And he's sitting quietly out in my work parking lot. I know, because I've been outside to check on him about four times in the past three hours. He's fine. *BIG SIGH*

Okay, so that's $4500.00 fine... erased? $41 taxes, plus $24.50, plus $16...

My car's registration.


Thoughts for the Day:

E. B. White - “Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.”

Steven Wright - “When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving.”

Unknown - “Giving power and money to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”


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Marriage is love.