So I wasn't paying attention and my driver's license expired on my birthday last month. I realized this while I was out of town in NY and could do nothing about it. Good thing I had decided not to get a rental car at the airport, because that wouldn't have worked. Being out of town, I had to wait to get things fixed, which left this big old stress hanging over my head. My husband Matt was going to be out of town for longer than I was (he just got back last Friday) so I couldn't avoid driving very much - it's pretty scary driving with an expired license. I was so afraid of getting pulled over. On top of not having a current license, I went to base for a doctor's appointment and they wouldn't let me on because the inspection on my car had expired 2 weeks before (DAYS!). So I had to park about a half a mile away from base and walk to the hospital. I was so mad! Mad at the security guard and mad at my car that we've only owned a few months as it continues to cause me grief. (My friend came up with a great name for it - the Craptima! - It's a Kia optima. Sorry if the nickname offends anyone, but it's very fitting for my car) I got the inspection taken care of the next day. And waited until Matt got back last Friday, to go the Driver's License office. (Another thing that's more complicated than it needs to be here in Texas - To get your car registered: That's through the department of transportation and you go and get your registration done at the County Tax office. There's one place to wait in line. Then Driver's licenses: Those are through the department of public safety and you take care of your driver's licensing needs through the driver's licensing offices. No DMV here.Of course the offices are sos busy that no matter what time of day you try to call, the line is always busy - no way to ask questions before taking the plunge and wasting away in line at the office)
We went to the driver's license office pretty much right away when Matt got back in town on Friday. Big mistake trying to go on a Friday afternoon, the last weekend of summer break. The line was out the door of the building with about 30 people on the sidewalk waiting just to get inside the building. We decided to wait until this morning (Tuesday morning) to go back. Matt said that the line we saw was just to get a number and then wait even more til that number was called. I've been feeling sick lately, so that was not going to happen. We hoped that since school started yesterday and people SHOULD be a work, Tuesday morning should be a lot less crazy. It was. I waited on line (just inside the entrance to the building).
When I got up to the information desk, they asked for my paperwork to make sure I had everything I needed before I waited longer. The only thing I didn't have was proof of registration, but I wrote everything from the registration sticker on my car down on a piece of paper. (I looked everywhere for the registration receipt. - Stupid car! We found the registration for my poor Sonata we no longer have and for MAtt's tercel that we've had forever! But no registration for the Kia, even though we had that sheet most recently) So, the guy at the info desk gave me a pass and sent my to the County tax office to get proof of registration. Luckily the line there wasn't crazy at all and I was inside that building for about 5 minutes. Too bad the drive was 10 minutes away from the driver's license office. Added a half hour onto the whole process. I got all my paperwork filled out on the drive at least.
It felt good to walk back into the license office and skip the line and go right up to the info desk. They put me on the short line since I had to make the extra trip. So I only waited 20 minutes behind 1 person, instead of who knows how long behind everyone else. Now, with an expired license, I have to take the written and driving tests. Because, you know, in the past 30 days of having an expired license my skills have gone down the drain and I've forgotten everything. I don't get it. Just make me pay a fine and check my driving record. I'm proud to say I passed the vision test with flying colors, only got 2 wrong out of 23 on the written (One of the questions I got wrong was what was the maximum fine for a person over 21 caught DUI - I wasn't sure, guessed $200, but it was $2000. That question is meaningless to me b/c I've never had a drink in my life and don't plan on starting. I guess it should be good that I don't know b/c that means I've never been fined for a DUI).
Next was the driver's test. A lady older than me, but not super old, was in the car in front of me waiting for her road test. The examiner was getting in the passenger side and the lady began to move the car before the examiner was in - the car door was still open. Needless to say, she didn't make it out of the parking lot before the examiner got out of the car and came back to the building. I felt bad for the lady (she apparently needs to practice), but at least my turn came sooner. I was very careful to not start driving until the examiner was in the car and seatbelted in with the door closed and she told me to start driving. Gold star for me! I passed no problem, even did well with my parallel parking, thank you very much. But, when someone is observing and grading every move you make as a driver, I think I didn't drive as well as I usually do b/c I wasn't driving naturally. I was overthinking every move. Either way, I passed with lots of room to spare. I'm 29 and I am still capable of driving a car - yay for me. I'm just glad this whole experience is done and I can drive legally again! Overall, the whole trip from leaving my home until we pulled back in the driveway (including the extra trip to the county tax office) was 3 hours. Not too bad considering.