The Keeper Of The Gate

August 25, 2009 at 1:51 AM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
(You have to start at the bottom, of all the stuff posted today, and work your way up.  Otherwise you’re reading them out of order.  Kind of like watching Return of The Jedi before watching A New Hope.  You want it to make sense, right?)
  This time, I returned with reinforcements.  This time, I was ready.  This time, I had a plan.
  I stopped by the license office on the way home from work today.  I believe I had everything:
 
  Paid personal property tax receipt
  proof of insurance (current and new one)
  emissions inspection
  safety inspection
  the check
  the all-important-fucking-title

  I had my ID, and I had my debit card, because they now accept them.  I darken their door about ten till three on a sunny Monday afternoon.  And I’m there about an hour.
  Really, only about an half an hour was the waiting in line part.  I grab a number, and I am 921.  Yay.  They are on 879.  This may or may not be better than Saturday, but I’m a little fuzzy on the math.
  But this time it does go faster.  If you are there, you better shoot up out of your chair and yell, "Sir, yes sir!" or your ass will be passed up.  I get up to the nice lady and tell her my sad story of not paying my taxes for 14 months.
  She shrugged it off, "Eh, that’s not so bad."
  While I sat there waiting for my turn, I had sorted all of my papers into the ones I needed for this (see list above) and others, like the car loan docs.  I was able to hand her a neatly assembled packet.  Check, check, and check–wait a minute.
  She looked at the check and smiled.  "Is that going to be okay?" I asked.  It was made out to the "DMV" instead of the "DOR."
  "I’m sure it is, but I’ll ask someone."
  She continued processing my what-have-you, and when a boss-type person came by she inquired, and it was approved.  We were heading down the home stretch.
  A hurdle–not a problem, but a hurdle.  I will only explain this for three reasons.  I’m going to start with reason 2 if that’s okay with you:
  2.  Next year in July I might need to reference this.
  1.  This is an example of bureaucracy and how it works.
  3.  I lost my train of thought but it was something funny.

  Here in the Great State of Missourah we have some rules.  I’m also in the Still Great But Slightly Lesser County of St Louis, not to be confused with the City of St Louis, which is not actually in a county but a City Unto Itself, although that is neither here nor there.
  When you purchase a vehicle you have to produce the aforementioned documents.  In order to produce those, you also have to do whatever is required to get that done–pay taxes, get inspections, lie through your teeth, or whatever.  You also need the title, which I have newly learned. 
  Now your inspections are valid for 60 days, and that’s the time which you have to get the vehicle licensed.  When you buy it, you can sometimes get temp tags, which are good for thirty days, and that’s the actual time you have to get the vehicle licensed.  By the way, consider all of these items as taxes:  The inspections are taxes, the personal property tax is a tax, and then the big one, the sales tax–that’s a tax.  The license and all the fees associated are all taxes.
  You only have to get an emissions inspection in a few counties–St Louis City, St Louis County, St Charles County, and maybe one of those Podunk counties over by Kansas City, but I don’t really give a shit about them.  Do I live there?  No, I don’t.
  The Powers That Be decided to lend a helping hand to all us peoples, and so you can get you tags every two years if’n you so desire.  Well, actually, it depends on the year of the car.  Let’s use the example of my car:  The Mercedes is a 99.  I got it last year, in 08.  In 08, I can’t get two-year plates, I can only get one-year.  But if I had purchased in an odd year (matching the vehicle’s odd year), then I can get two-year plates.  Or just one year, if I love the place so much I want to come back every year.
  So the quandary is, I bought it in an even year, and now it’s an odd year.  It’s 14 months late, so even if I got last year’s one-year plates, I’m still late on this year’s plates.  How the hell much is this going to cost me?
  Oh, I did mention that if you’re late, you can’t write a check.  But my check is okay, it’s cashier’s check.  But I’m still going to have to pay over and above it.  The question is, how much?
  Well, no matter how late you are, interest and penalties top out at 200 bucks, so I have that going for me, which is nice.  As my new bestest buddie Debra works away at the keyboard, and then has to start all over because I want it mailed to my current address and not the one on all the paperwork, she tells me how it is.  This is how it is:  The farthest she can go is July of 2010.  Sounds futuristic, doesn’t it?  Eleven months.  That means in 2010, I can only get one year plates, but then in 2011 if I’m still alive and still have this car and still live in Missouri and cars aren’t illegal, I can get 2 year plates.
  The good news is, I won’t have to get new inspections, because these are good for two years.  Thank the body politic for the small bones they throw us.
  She pulls out brand-spankin-new plates for me, lays them in front of me to tease me with them, and then gets the stickers.  I’m practically salivating at this point.  I swear she could have been hot and topless and I wouldn’t have taken my eyes off the tags.  We finally–finally–finish, and I am walking away.  I felt like I should let out a whoop or a rebel yell or something.  The theme to Rocky was playing in my head.  I floated out to the car.  I can’t believe it!  Finally!
  It was only half a mile or so to my house.  Once I get there, I can put on the–
  I got pulled over on the way home.
  Haha.  Just kidding.  But that would have been Alanis Morrissette on steroids, wouldn’t it?  Aaaahh.  I got home and I put the new plates on.  Accomplishment.
  So, this is what I have accomplished this year, of the major financial things on my list:
  Re-financed the house
  Took care of all the past due personal property and real estate taxes
  Paid off my credit card
  Got my car legal
And now there are two things left:
  Get the insurance money from my dad’s life insurance policy
  File my last three years’ tax returns.

  It’s always something, isn’t it?

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