I love the DMV…

I love the DMV…

…said no one ever. **WARNING: I plan on ranting about the horrible inefficiency of the DMV for the next whole paragraph, so skip below if you prefer not to read my whining.** Seriously, I think the DMV workers like to make a game out of your visit. The game is called “How many lines can we make you stand in and how long can we keep you here wasting your time?” And let me tell you, the people at the DMV office out here are really good at this game. I went to the DMV yesterday to get my new driver’s license. When I got there at 8 am when they opened, the line was outside and wrapped so far around the building I was actually standing behind the building. And I thought Well, maybe this isn’t as bad as it looks. Never mind the fact that the parking lot was so full I was parked a block down on the street. I was trying to stay optimistic. And I figured I would use the time to review some of the California driving handbook (because, you know, I had to take a written test to get my license). The line outside actually moved pretty quickly…within about 25 minutes I was inside the building. When I got inside it took another 10 minutes just to get my number at the counter. G052. When I started filling out my application they were at G026. Oh and they also had letters A, B, C, F, and J. So I spent another 40 or 45 minutes sitting there watching all the people, waiting for the TV screen accompanied by the computer-generated lady’s voice “Now serving G052 at Window 15.” I finally got to the counter and after the surly lady harrumphed about my Georgia marriage license (like it wasn’t real or acceptable proof of my marriage) she finally processed my application. And now I’m thinking Okay, I’ll take my test, pass, and then they’ll take my picture, give me my license and I’ll finally be out of here. The surly lady tells me to go to Line C. Well Line C was pretty long. And for what was that line? To get your picture taken and give your signature for your card. Once I made it through that line (15 more minutes), I was then sent to another line to be given my written test. After waiting in that line for a few minutes, I then got my test. You know what? It was kind of tricky! And I was that schmuck who sat and read (partly skimmed) the stupid DMV handbook and took practice tests multiple times to study and get ready. But I still found myself second-guessing my answers and worrying that I wouldn’t pass (you can only miss 6 out of 36 questions if you area  first-time resident, which seems like a lot, but it is still a little nerve-wracking). Also as a side note, did you know in California it is illegal to smoke if a minor is in the car…even if it is your own child. Who monitors that, first of all, and secondly, why does the government get to tell you what you are allowed to do in your private property? But I digress. So once you finish your test, you have to stand in ANOTHER LINE to have your test graded. Also, we are in the 21st century…shouldn’t the DMV offices have the tests on the computer so it can be graded instantly and make the process more efficient? When I got my license when I was 16 in Ohio, I had a computer to take my test. Geeesh. Okay, so the worst part about standing in this line is that you watch the people in front of you get their tests graded. If you pass, you get to hold on to your test and you get sent to…wait for it…you guessed it….another LINE. If you don’t pass though, they take your test from you and you still have to wait in line. But then everyone knows you didn’t pass. I did not want to be that person. So I got to the front of that line (another 15ish minutes) and another surly DMV worker took my test and graded it. I missed 3, so I was thrilled! Such a relief that I didn’t have to go through anymore hassle of lines and test-taking and all that. So I was waiting in line for, presumably, my license and this Asian lady behind me taps me on the shoulder. I noticed she did not have her test. She asked if I passed and I told her I had. She asked me how many questions I missed I told her 3 and she got a wide-eyed look and asked “only 3?” incredulously…I’m guessing she may have missed a lot more than the allowed 6. And then I felt bad for her, but not that bad because at that point I was ready to just get out of there. So about 3 people before I got to the counter, they moved all of us in the line to Line D. Seriously? Another line? That already had 4 people in line? UGH. I waited another 10 or 15 minutes and got to the counter and you know what? I didn’t even get my license! In Ohio and SC when I got my license, they print your card and hand it to you. Oh no, not here. Here, they punch a whole in your current license and hand you a piece of paper that says interim driver’s license. It was a pretty disappointing denouement to the whole morning. A crappy piece of paper. But, the good news is that I don’t have to go back to the DMV anytime soon. Thank goodness! You know what else bothers me about that whole process? Why do they take your picture and all that before you take your test? If you fail, you wasted an extra 20 minutes in a line to get your picture taken for nothing. Who designed this process? Does that make sense to anybody?

Last week we celebrated the 4th with Derrick’s boss and his family and friends. It was 7 Venezuelans and 4 Americans. Needless to say, it was a little bit different from what I’m used to, but the food was AMAZING! We had steak and grilled sausages and grilled chicken and ribs, along with baked beans and mac and cheese (courtesy of the Americans) and these amazing cornmeal and pepper things that I don’t even know exactly what they were but they were DELICIOUS!!! I brought red (pink) white and blue cupcakes for dessert:

Strawberry cupcakes with vanilla frosting and blue sprinkles...patriotic, right?
Strawberry cupcakes with vanilla frosting and blue sprinkles…patriotic, right?

Once it got dark, we drove up into the hills (we were in El Cerrito) a few minutes from the house and watched fireworks over the bay. We saw the fireworks in San Francisco, in San Marin, and partially in Berkeley. It was so crazy because we were so far away from any of them that we saw them long before we heard them. It was definitely a different kind of fireworks experience compared to what I watched growing up, but it was awesome that there we were on the hillside in El Cerrito watching fireworks all across the bay. All in all, a pretty good Independence Day.

We haven’t been up to much else lately. Derrick had to work most of Saturday because they had a client coming in this week at work and they needed to finish getting stuff done before he got there. So I didn’t do much either. And since Derrick worked Saturday, we had a lazy Sunday at the apartment (after church and the gym). I got a library card yesterday now that I have a California license. Which will come in handy since I still have copious amounts of free time to read at the apartment day after day.

And that’s about all I have to share with y’all. Missing all our friends and family! Hope y’all had a great 4th of July and are enjoying the summer!

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