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Engine 1 is Coming Home

Engine 1 is Coming Home!

by Greg on September 9, 2011

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.

I asked for a photo of her handing me the plates but she was camera-shy.
She did allow me to capture her hand though.

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…

The Engine 1 photo he was provided.

The end result.

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.


meredith September 9, 2011 at 2:10 am

Congratulations to your mission accomplished! Kids are going to love the presence of your fire engine at parades, fund raisers, etc…
ps DMV lady does have a nice manicure

meg September 9, 2011 at 4:59 am

Oh, I love a post like this, full of “warm fuzzies”. True, maybe not full of the funny, but a great read nonetheless. So happy that you got your plates, and Engine 1 is on the way home!

Melinda September 9, 2011 at 5:53 am

I’m so excited for you. What a fun experience it’s going to be to learn to drive it from the retired driver!! Love the cartoon!!

valmg @ Mom Knows It All September 9, 2011 at 6:21 am

First of all, glad to see you got the plates are are bringing Engine 1 home.
Hope you enjoy your time learning about her today.
Don’t know f you’re a Doors fan but I “Come on baby light my fire” could make an amusing ringtone.
The illustrator did an amazing job, that looks like something you’d see on kids tv.
Congrats Greg!

valmg @ Mom Knows It All September 9, 2011 at 6:23 am

Oh and one more thing. If you go back to that DMV another day I wonder if the lady will still be working there, or if she’ll have been let go because she was nice…..

Kate @ The Shopping Mama September 9, 2011 at 7:44 am

Congratulations! I LOVE the cartoon – it’s perfect. Can’t wait to read about the adventures of Engine 1.

MB September 9, 2011 at 7:55 am

The timing couldn’t be more perfect! We all need a reason to smile this weekend and shining the light on a bright red firetruck is just the ticket. Would it be awful if the guys at the fire house took a Sharpie to the truck and signed it? Have so much fun bringing it home!

Melody September 9, 2011 at 8:30 am

I’m pretty sure that if my daughter knew someone who owned a firetruck, she would either a) beg for one of our own or b) attempt to move in with them (or possibly in to actual said firetruck). I’m betting you’ll be pretty popular with the neighborhood kids (and be asked for a lot of rides)!

awesomesauciness September 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

I can only assume you will soon be dying Dory’s coat white and then hand-painting little black spots on her.


And, I would soooo buy those t-shirts for my grandsons. They are all fascinated by fire engines. I mean, aren’t most boys?

awesomesauciness September 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

…and, while I’m at it…

I’d love one of those t-shirts, too.

Because, you know…umm…firemen.


Nicol September 9, 2011 at 8:41 am

Every Christmas Eve, Santa Clause drives around the neighborhood on top of a firetruck throwing candy. He drives to EVERY SINGLE house in our smallish community. Takes about half a day, but the kids sit outside and listen for HOURS seeing if he is getting closer. Santa burns some fuel, but he is a hit with the kids.

Cheryl September 9, 2011 at 10:50 am

Lucky you – everything worked out and your truck is coming home!! I love the illustration – is there a children’s book in there somewhere, I wonder?

Andrew Reese September 9, 2011 at 11:11 am

Long time coming? Like a month?

Debbie McK September 9, 2011 at 11:42 am

I think your firetruck needs a name, like Theodore the Tugboat and The Little Engine That Could (which is sort of a name). Freddy comes to mind, but too obvious, I think. Fabio the Firetruck? Fergus?

Mommica September 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

She is probably well aware that if you post a picture of a *useful* DMV employee, everyone and their neighbor is going to come looking for her. Not shyness so much as self-preservation.

Beth September 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Woohoo! Please do get Mrs. Telling Dad to video tape you pulling in with the truck so we can all see it!

Nicole September 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Congratulations!!!!!!!! She is a beauty!

LeeAnn September 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Meeting with the historian will be so cool; I hope you will tell us about it. And congrats on one more step towards your dream.

RobMonroe September 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I’m giddy on your behalf, and I will never see it in person! Congrats, man!

Lauren September 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm

The cartoon truck needs a name – you know, like Beyonce or Copernicus!

karen September 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I would be so excited and happy to write a children’s book for you with your fire engine as the main character. What is his name going to be?

Audra September 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I feel compelled to say “CONGRATULATIONS!” because surviving any trip to the DMV (let alone two or three) with your sanity and general good will towards human kind still intact is worthy of praise! Looking very forward to future posts about Engine 1’s endeavours!

Stefany T September 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm

That is great news Greg!!!! I didn’t even think of that but YES, smaller towns are much easier to deal with when it comes to the DMV. 🙂

Karen D September 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I can’t wait to come and visit Seneca Falls and cheer on Fire Engine #1! Great cartoon image BTW!

Deborah September 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm

This pleases me. 🙂
She must be from Indiana. 🙂

hogsatemysister September 10, 2011 at 12:29 am

I am way envious. My dad was a fire marshal, so I got to ride on my share of firetrucks. And being a reporter, I had to jack with city officials a lot. That part I do NOT envy. Enjoy your truck. Make Massive WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

(That would be a siren. )

Some Stranger September 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm


I shared this via email to a mechanic buddy in San Antone I used to work with. Turns out he’s looking at a surplussed yellow pumper that’s ex-runway emergencies. Needs a bit of polish but it looks like he might get it for 6k or so. His wife seems like she might go along since he sold some of the motorcycles. Reckon if he takes her on a cruise or something it’ll help “even things out”? She’s the one who married him and knew what she was getting into 😉 He had two motorcycles in pieces scattered through all the rooms of his house when he proposed way back when.

Have fun! Did you get permission to hook it to a hydrant and run the cannon for a special occasion, maybe, or just going to have to fill up the tank from your own tap? Takes a while to run that many gallons out of a household line.

Becky September 12, 2011 at 7:15 am

Congratulations on making it through all the hoops! You are correct about small town DMVs. I have lived in several cities, in different states, and always had problems or felt like I was imposing for (politely) trying to get my needs met. That all changed when I moved to the small town where I live now. Our little DMV is amazing, so much that people drive out of their way to go there. Even when I didn’t pay attention to their instructions (I have the attention span of a toddler) about rules/paperwork for my transition into a new state, they were patient and kind to me. Who knew THAT was possible?!?

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