The annual inspection for the Jeep runs out in a few days, so like everyone else, we left it for the end of the month. There’s no advantage in doing it early unless you think you have problems that need fixing.
Today being the 25th of October, Garry hauled himself out of bed. He didn’t even stop for coffee. Just put on his rain gear (yes, it is still raining and will be tomorrow too) and went to get the car inspected. I got a call from my son telling me that the inspector (my son is also an inspector) had found “Unidentified problems with registration” and could not inspect the car.
We paid the Excise Tax. That’s the usual problem. Half the time, they don’t send you the bill or they send it a month after it was due with an added fee for not paying it on time. Occasionally, they do send it and if you don’t forget to pay it, it’s all good. I was pretty sure — as sure as I am of anything these days — I had paid the excise tax. I vaguely remembered feeding it into the electronic hopper at the bank. I know I renewed my license this year because I had to physically go to an office so they could take my picture and make sure I’m not too demented to drive legally.
The test for dementia (I’m wandering here, sorry) boils down to checking three boxes. One says “No, really, I’m not demented” Another asks if you can see. A third … what was that third one? Never mind. They check your vision by waving a huge, brightly colored flag in front of you. If you can’t see that, you probably need a dog more than you need a car.
“That was not much of a test,” I said.
“That’s all we are allowed to do,” he said.
I got my new license and the picture isn’t nearly as hideous as it could have been, though it is bad enough.
We also had to cancel the old registration on the yellow car, which we sold last April (I think). Meanwhile, I never got paperwork indicating that the Jeep needed new registration. Although they don’t send anything to remind you about renewing your license (Massachusetts is too poor to afford a postcard), they do usually send you paperwork about registration.
Mine (apparently) didn’t arrive. That is not unusual because they have some kind of mailing issue at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Ask anyone. When your paperwork shows up as expected, that is cause for celebration. But of course, I didn’t get the paperwork so I didn’t know I was supposed to renew it. And I didn’t. Apparently. Because I couldn’t find any evidence in my bank account that I’d paid it and they’re pretty good about this stuff.
So the “unidentified problem” turned out to be that the car’s registration ran out in September and now, it’s late in October. Fortunately, the RMV let me renew it online. The printer wasn’t out of ink, so I could print a piece of paper that says “This is your registration ID until we get around to sending you the real one in … a week? Maybe two? But we’ll send it. Eventually.”
Registry of Motor Vehicles Registration Renewal XXXXXXXXX
The requested Registration Renewal for XXXXXX has been successfully processed on 10/25/2017 at 11:57 AM in the Amount of $60.00.
Your registration certificate and decal will be mailed to you. If your old registration has expired, your vehicle cannot be operated legally until you receive your new registration certificate, unless you print and carry this e-mail in the vehicle. M.G.L. c.90 s.11 allows the Registrar to issue a receipt for the fees paid, which may be carried in lieu of the registration certificate for up to 60 days. A printed copy of this e-mail shall be deemed a receipt for the fees for the purposes of M.G.L. c.90 s.11. If you do not receive your registration certificate and decal within 30 days of the renewal, or you have questions, please contact the Telephone Center at 857-368-8000 (from the 339/617/781/857 area codes) or 800-858-3926 (from all other MA area codes) from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday – Friday, except holidays.
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The feedback link was broken for feedback about the RMV and we’ve had an E-ZPass for a long time. So I didn’t tell them what I think of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Probably just as well. If you don’t have anything nice to say, shut up and drink your coffee.
Identity having been fully restored, Garry took a huge cup of coffee and a book and went back to get the car inspected. It was just another day in our lives.
Crisis. Confusion. Clarification. Payment.
At least I didn’t have to try to actually talk to someone there. The “waiting” time on the phone for the RMV is in excess of an hour. I don’t know if the battery on the phone would last that long.