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Bills comma bills

So most of my tax refund is gone in a way I didn't really plan. But things still worked out rather nicely, considering.

Since this is a huge election year, I was planning to get my stuff together in January. I still hadn't gotten around to replacing my out-of-state driver's license with a local one, and with all the Republican voter ID stuff going on around the country, I was afraid it'd be enough to turn me away when I went in to vote. I seriously considered joining the NRA as a backup. My late father appeared to have gotten a lifetime subscription to National Rifleman so I wondered if bringing an issue of that would've sufficed...

But then I had to pick up Lulu and plans kind of got thrown for a loop for a while, and the driver's license thing slipped my mind. And then I got pulled over!

It was the day after my birthday and I was feeling pretty good, with the tax refund finally coming in and all. I was heading out somewhere to do some shopping and I got pulled over. Seems like they checked my out-of-state plates and saw that they were expired... as well as being out-of-state. Also, when they asked for my insurance, I fumbled around for a bit and had trouble finding it at first. I explained it WAS current but that I was having trouble finding it, and the police officer said, "Well, just show me the most recent one you can find and I will check on it for you."

That seemed way too nice and convenient so that should've been a red flag right there. But I believed her, and when she returned to the police car, I kept looking for my current insurance card and found it. Then the officer returned with a citation for not updating my driver's license in 30 days (not for expired registration? Okay...) and another for not having any insurance at all. When I showed her I DID have my insurance on me, she just said, "Well, in that case it's for... not showing it to me in a timely manner. How about that?"

She did say I could go to the court and show my insurance and try to reduce the fine, but cautioned "that it probably wouldn't work", which she repeated. She really seemed to be discouraging me from challenging it.

Of course, when I got home and read the citations, I found that I could VERY EASILY have the ENTIRE FINE dismissed if I just showed that my insurance was good at the time of the citation. And since the other citation was for "not updating DL in 30 days", it said I could get THAT dismissed as well (for a small fee) if I showed an updated driver's license. So I seem to have lucked out on that?

Anyway, a huge chunk of cash went to updating the car registration... Not for late fees or anything, but just for having an out-of-state car (it's a tax which they instead call a "tax fee" so that they can technically claim it's not a tax). But at least it was done in 5 minutes. Getting my new driver's license was PURE HELL. It only cost $25 but took three grueling hours. Normally I'm okay with long boring waits but this was killing me somehow.

We had to wait outside in the 20 degree F weather because the place was so small that the fire marshall required them to have no more than 50 people inside at a time. You got a number when you got in, and they were in different groups depending on what you needed to have done... My number was 318, while people getting new licenses had numbers in the 30s, for example. Some people had numbers in the 40s, some in the 800s, 900s, etc. So it was sometimes hard to tell when you'd be next, because they'd call 805... 806... 908... 32... 44... 909... 807... 312...

Anyway, it seemed like I was coming up soon. This ONE window was handling the 300s and it seemed I was next. Counter 4 handled numbers 315... then 316... then 317... And I thought, YES, I'm next! But as she finished with 317, I saw her organize her drawer... pick up her things... AND LEAVE FOR HER LUNCH BREAK

I was going crazy. For the next full hour, NOBODY called another 300 number. She was late getting back from her hour-long lunch break. And just as she was inching slowly towards her counter... Somebody else finally called 318. So, somehow the only two people qualified to do 300-type tasks were both on break at the exact same time. Yay

Anyway, that's all done now. I would've gotten the citations dismissed but they weren't in the computer system yet so tomorrow morning may be the earliest I can take care of them. Here's hoping I get away with just paying a $20 fine!!

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