The Ongoing Saga of Air Force Family's Move (Soon to be a Rock Opera)


Only once in our entire military life have we had to get non-California license plates - and that was because we bought a car in Texas.  I've had the same driver's license picture for about 10 years, also a California thing.

But now we need to get car registrations and licenses at our new place of residence.  I had no idea what I was getting into when I left the house this morning.

First, have you ever been to a Virginia DMV?  Oh.  My.  God.  The line for the waiting number ALONE was out the door, and I ended up standing next to a woman screaming about Lyndon LaRouche.  After about 45 minutes of not moving, I remembered that we could register our cars at the County Treasurer's Office!  Wow!  I figured that nothing could be worse than the purgatory awaiting me at the DMV, ran as quickly as I could away from the PAC woman (is it just me, or are there PAC people everywhere near DC?), packed my kids back into the car, and ended up at the Treasurer's Office.

I walked in to a blissfully empty room with plush chairs and soft music playing.  It even smelled good, like fresh paper.  The smiling (smiling!) woman at one of the cubicles called me over and asked me what I needed.  I told her I needed to register my cars, because I was almost at the deadline and I didn't want a late fee.

She told me that she needed to see my driver's license, which I handed over.

"This is not a Virginia Driver's License."

"No, it's not.  We're military."

"Your husband doesn't have a Virginia Driver's License."

"No, he doesn't.  We're military."

"Well, then we have a problem.  He has to sign this form."

"Oh, no problem, " say I brightly.  "I have a [cha-ching sound effect] POWER OF ATTORNEY!"

The woman at the office looked at me like my IQ was somewhere south of 20.  "We can't honor that."

WHAT?  WHAT?  The same attitude that got me kicked off Montel immediately rose to the surface. 

"Oh, you don't understand.  You HAVE to honor this.  See right here?  It's a FULL AND DURABLE Power of Attorney.  Maybe you could get your supervisor.  I'll wait for you right here."

After a brief discussion I was informed that it wasn't the Power of Attorney that was the issue, it was the fact that AirForceGuy's Driver's License wasn't from Virginia.  We could register the car without him, but only at a DMV.  And I would have to bring two forms of his ID, his social security card, our firstborn child, and an offering of an unblemished steer for sacrifice.  And, why no dear!  There was no way to waive late fees!  So sorry!

By this time it was too late to go back to the DMV (and who on earth would want to).  But our day was not over yet.  The kids and I still had to go the Post Office.  At that point I figured that my day would only be complete if after the Post Office I went to go get a new ID card.

I've always thought that it would behoove the federal government to have military and civil servants who have to move often in the course of their federal service to have special federal plates and driver's licenses that were transferable everywhere they went.  I know, I know, that would cause a significant drop in revenue for the States where there are significant numbers of federal employees - but I'm sure something could be worked out for them, like we do with the schools. 

What really scares me about that idea, though, is that then we'd have an ID card office AND a DMV on base!  And sometime, I might have to go to both of them. 

It's enough to make me reach for medication.

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