This won’t be a side-splitting post because my brain is fried after spending hours driving around Central New York trying to get my fire engine registered.
First, I had to drive nearly two hours to retrieve new paperwork from the Village I was purchasing the fire truck from. Paperwork that I wasn’t even aware I needed just 24 hours earlier. I then had to take that paperwork back to the DMV to finalize the registration. At which time I was turned away again and told to return with yet another signature.
Knowing I’d be imprisoned if I drove all the way back to Perry and then all the way back to my local DMV only to have them send me back to the Village for yet another “whoops, you also need this” form, I decided to visit the DMV located near the Fire House where my truck was being garaged.
It was here that the Warsaw DMV office took mercy on me. Unlike yesterday’s experience which inspired a scathingly sarcastic post on the DMV’s ineptitude, I was in and out of the Warsaw office within ten minutes. And there was laughter throughout the process. Laughter I tell you!
When my number was called, I approached the counter with great apprehension. I was already resigned to the assumption that I didn’t have everything I needed because my local DMV was certain that I had everything I needed. They had already steered me wrong twice so their confidence made me predictably nervous when I handed over my documents.
She fiddled around with the papers while performing the DMV’s proverbial “How Can I Reject This” routine and then excused herself to speak with a supervisor. I thought I was screwed. Again.
When the supervisor accompanied her back to the counter I figured it was just to witness me getting the boot. Instead, she explained that the system wasn’t allowing her to process my registration because I was missing some sort of notarized letter from the Village. Yet another piece of the puzzle that my hometown DMV failed to tell me about.
But rather than snidely pushing the paperwork back into my lap, the supervisor showed her how to circumvent the requirement. Moments later, as she continued to peck away on her keyboard, she reached down into what must be a rarely ventured area at my local DMV office, and set my impending license plates on the counter.
I couldn’t help but smile because I knew I was in the home stretch.
Between my experiences over the last two days and the stories you shared after yesterday’s post, I think I’ve found the DMV loophole…small towns. The smaller the town, the less likely it is that the DMV employees have had their patience raked to the nubs by other customers. They simply haven’t had enough interactions to become bitter yet. A threshold that metro-area employees generally achieve by their second day.
Still, even though I have license plates in hand, I have to repeat the 4-hour excursion again tomorrow. But this time, it’s not for a lesson in frustration. It’s to pick up my fire engine!
The Village of Perry has been gracious enough to allow me to speak to the Fire House historian so that I can learn more about the history of their department and the action Engine 1 has seen. They’re also bringing in the retired Fire Chief who drove this truck for years so that he can teach me about the apparatus, drive with me, and answer any questions I might have.
The firemen are thrilled that we’ll be using Engine 1 for fundraising, parades, and area events. They remarked that too many old fire trucks are simply sold as scrap metal or stored in garages collecting dust. The official who spearheaded the sale was actually the Village’s Mayor when they acquired the truck back in 1984 so he’s especially happy to see that it will have life outside their station.
Tomorrow I’ll be bringing Engine 1 home and I couldn’t be more excited. As many of you know, I have lots of plans for this fire engine. While I love the mystique of owning a fire truck, I can’t wait to share this with the community, to raise funds for area organizations, and to make it a beacon when joining parades or entertaining children.
Speaking of entertaining children, I hired an illustrator to take the photos of Engine 1 and create a cartoon image that I can use on my upcoming website, t-shirts, and other materials. While it’s only the start of what I hope to see for the Engine 1 brand, I think it’s an amazing first step.
Check this out…
I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve in anticipation of tomorrow’s big day. It’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait to get Engine 1 home. Even more so, I can’t wait to make Engine 1 a community fixture. I think it’ll be a welcomed addition. And a heck of a lot of fun to drive.