Tuesday, February 22, 2011


My driver's license and my debit card went missing, probably with the help of a certain spritely four-year-old. I spent a week looking and agonizing, knowing it was surely in the house or the car. Finally, we called the bank and they deactivated our current debit cards, promising to send new ones in seven-to-ten days. Thankfully, Theo thought to get us ATM cards when he went in to withdraw some cash.

On Friday afternoon, we went to the DMV. I have aged significantly enough since my last photo that it was time to renew anyway. I stood in line for a half hour and moved one space. Then it was closing time and they "would be happy to put me on a no-wait list for Tuesday morning". (Monday was President's Day.) I was also informed I probably wouldn't be cited for not having it with me but the decision is left to the officer's discretion.

Tuesday morning, I decided to visit the express DMV rather than take my chances with the "no-wait list". I knew I would need to park on the street so I grabbed a handful of quarters, my brood and my checkbook. I detest parallel parking but I hate standing in line for hours with three children more. We circled the courthouse and found a convenient spot requiring us to cross no more than two streets.

I wrapped Cote up nicely. I lent John my jacket since he forgot his. I helped Hannah get out of her carseat and don her hot pink butterfly wings to go with her blue and white dress and turquoise tights.

We entered the courthouse to find they required airport-style security screening. The two guards were very friendly and allowed me to keep wearing the baby and Hannah to keep wearing her wings. As I walked into the room for license renewals, I noticed four stations of smiling employees, ready to serve. The nice lady at station 1 invited me over. She began to work on my form. I told her how nice this was and that we'd been to the one on Bonny Oaks Drive on Friday. She gave me a sympathetic nod, knowing the full ramifications of that remark.

I asked to borrow a pen so that I might go ahead and fill out the check. **Blink, Pause** "We can't take checks," she said. "We aren't actually the department of safety. We can take cash, debit or credit cards."

Now it was my turn to blink. Seriously? No checks?! It's the county court clerk's office. There was a big sign saying to make checks payable to Bill Knowles, County Court Clerk. But there is no sense in arguing. This is why they won't let you take guns into the courthouse, I suppose. "Um, okay. Well, I guess we'll be back."

Crossed two streets. Removed Wings. Removed baby. Strapped in baby. Strapped in preschooler. Forfeited the meter money Drove to the bank where I had to wait until someone left so I could park and use the walk-up ATM. Drove back to the courthouse. Circled. Found new tighter space in which to parallel park. Unstrapped baby, wrapped her up. Unstrapped Hannah, replaced wings. Crossed one street. Entered building.

Wow, the guards remembered us. I suppose we were quite the spectacle. I was with a school-aged child during school hours. I had a baby strapped to me. And Hannah, well, was quite the riot of colors, frills and flamboyance.

Finally, the photo and the renewal went off without a hitch. And I guess we got a little more exercise than we had planned. The whole ordeal probably took less time than the "no-wait list" at Bonny Oaks. And now I have a new driver's license with a baby's head poised just below camera and the opportunity to practice coolness under pressure. I might just borrow those hot pink wings for myself.