#29 getting my bleeping virginia driver's license

a little background: i grew up in southern california. i lived there for almost 27 years and was spoiled by the near perfect weather, my family living close by, a job working with people i loved (hi anita, drake, and lindsey!), my pastor who was one of the most gifted Biblical interpreters i'd ever met (holler, dave!), the beach which was a bike ride away (what up, bike gang!), in-n-out and rubio's at my fingertips (hola, fernando, manager at rubio's!), and disneyland just a 20 minute drive away (hey, mickey!).

and then we moved to virginia.

most of the time i am perfectly fine being here. i got an amazing dog out of the deal, and i've made some really good friends. my husband is here and so are my sister and my tiffany. i have a job. i love my church, and the beach isn't horribly far away. i still have chick fil-a. and busch gardens is only 40 minutes away. (that last sentence was a joke. making any comparison between disneyland and busch gardens is absolutely ridiculous. there is no comparison. and while we're on the subject of west vs. east coasts, there is also no comparison between disneyland and disney world. disney world is stupid and came second, thus making it a mere copy of the original.)

sometimes, though, i battle homesickness. and it tends to creep up when virginians are being particularly dumb. there is no better example of this than my experience attempting to get my virginia driver's license.

i tried to get my new license last year. it's all a bit fuzzy now, but i made two trips to get my car registration transferred to virginia, and then i made another two trips to attempt to get my license, but each time they turned me away because i didn't have the right documents. because they kept telling me different documents. after my fourth trip to the dmv last year, i threw a complete tantrum in my car. i screamed and pounded on the steering wheel and cried and shouted "i HATE virginia!" and meant it. i decided not to go back.

look, i didn't want a virginia driver's license in the first place. i wanted to keep my california license. i wanted the security of knowing that at least retailers would know where i'm from. i wanted the joy of seeing surprise on their little virginian faces when they gazed on such a foreign form of identification. i wanted them to keep asking "why on earth would you move here from there?!" while they searched for my birthdate. but alas, my license expired way back in march. it was time.

hence, nearly a year after the original debacle, i had to give it another go. i gathered all my documents and courage and brought extras just in case (documents, not courage). for proof of residence, i brought a utility bill, just like the dmv website suggested. when i arrived at the dmv, i opened the bill, and it turned out to be an unexpected past due notice. that was strange, but it had my name, address, amount that needed to be paid, and it was from the utility company, so i figured it would still work. i was so naive back then.

another tantrum passed (my hand hurt an entire hour afterward from pounding on the radio), and i decided to bring jeff back with me for my sixth time to the dmv. he brought a utility bill with his name on it, and we brought our marriage certificate to prove that we are together. we were both so naive back then. apparently the state of virginia thinks that jeff and i might be married but not live together. apparently we might have constructed this elaborate ruse so i could get a stupid virginia driver's license. this time, i openly wept in the dmv. i actually said, "sir, i am a very sane person and you are taking that from me!" to the manager. embarrassing. 

a week later, i finally figured out the magic formula: 1 prior driver's license + 1 current passport + 1 marriage certificate showing change of name + 1 copy of my lease + 1 letter written on letterhead from the apartment leasing manager stating that jeff and i do, in fact live in virginia. ridiculous.

i entered the dmv, shaking from the fear of what i might do to myself or the minions there if i failed again. i nervously submitted my documents to the lady at the first desk. and she accepted them! it was quite anticlimactic. i had hoped for streamers or something.

as i waited for them to call my number, i texted jeff: "i passed level one of the dmv game! now waiting for level two. fingers crossed." in my head, i was mario. my number was called, and when i reached the window - no joke - the woman's name tag read "b. bowser." i almost laughed at her, but i didn't want to make any sudden movements lest she decide to revoke my driving privileges. i solemnly completed some more paperwork, took my picture, paid her, and left feeling great.

i was also left with this stunning visual of my happy and colorful life in california:
versus my serious and gray life in virginia:
please note that there seems to be some kind of schmutz on my face too. wow.

in conclusion, seventh time's a charm?


  1. The nightmares of DMV should be made into a tv show as no one makes it out without a story (or 7!)

  2. wow. what a saga. kudos for your perseverance. [insert massive amounts of streamers and even fireworks shooting off to celebrate your achievement]

  3. So, the sanity that was taken from you... is ALL of it back? The administration of the VA DMV should have to read your blog.

  4. i agree with daddy, it should be mandatory that the VA DMV read your blog and appropriately comment... wouldn't that be interesting?? btw love the new gray photo, goodness, haven't they even advanced to color in VA? i'm just sayin'.... ttyl xoxo