Thursday, January 03, 2013

The DMV

Back during our Christmas vacation I ended up with my Maw-in-law's car. It's a newish Buick Century Custom with every luxury you can imagine, in a sort of golden-beige color with only 20K miles on it. Looks and runs like a brand spanking new car. Remember that old joke about a car owned by a little old lady that only drove it to church? This is that car.

My Maw-in-law isn't totally happy about giving up the car. She's 89 now, has some dementia as well as the advancing cancer. The family was after me to take the car or sell it. Maw-in-law was threatening to drive occasionally so removing the car would solve that problem immediately. She doesn't need it as the community she lives in transports the residents to different places as needed and the Bro-in-Law and his wife live five minutes away and take her around San Antonio as needed.

Yesterday I took the title made out to me and Jim to the Virginia DMV in my town. I don't know if yesterday was some sort of silly deadline or what, but half the town was in the small DMV building, literally there were about 150 people ahead of me waiting to be waited on. I got there around 1 pm and was still there at 3 pm, not much closer to being waited on when the entire computer system for DVM went out on the Richmond end. We were told that we could wait if we wanted but they couldn't guarantee the system would come back up. I waited about 30 more minutes before finally giving up and coming home. Two and a half hours wasted I could have been using for something else.

Today I went back, car title and file holding every document pertaining to the car firmly clutched in my hot little hands. Not much of a crowd, I actually found an empty chair to sit in and guzzle my Starbucks mucho-mucho grande with extra caffeine while waiting. The caffeine had barely started to buzz around my brain and wake me up when I was up at the counter with my stack of paperwork and state of Louisiana title signing the car over. By this point I'd been at the DMV maybe a half hour.

But...once the DMV officer started looking at the title and the paperwork from Louisiana he had to go consult a supervisor, who had to consult a big book and then call DMV in Louisiana. Then they told me because the laws of Louisiana are based on Napoleonic Code I would have to get either a copy of the probate of my Paw-in-law's will or a statement showing there was no probate from the state. Turns out Maw-in-law tried to take Paw-in-law's name off the title after his death because they were both listed on it. She sent a copy of his death certificate to Louisiana DMV with a letter and payment to re-register the car and they sent her back a letter stating that she had to appear at the DMV office with the death certificate AND the probate to make the change. She didn't do it, but she did squirrel all that correspondence away in the file I had with me, right down to the death certificate.

You should see the things saved in that file! Thank you note from the salesman, letters from the dealership trying to rope her in to look at and buy a new car. All sorts of things that indicate that she's not been mentally 'right' for quite some time now.

So now I have to chase down a document that may or may not exist in a state over a thousand miles away. I suspect I'll be taking a trip soon.

By the time I got out of DMV again, still without a Virginia title or plates for the car, I'd spent nearly the same amount of time I'd already wasted the day before. Five hours burned up chasing that darn new registration! Jim wonders how I fritter my time away while he's working.. this is it, baby... doing impossible tasks very slowly not laying in bed watching soaps and eating bon-bons. I wish.

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