Tag Archives: Government

If Disney Characters Worked at the DMV

21 Jun

I recently received a letter from my friendly Department of Motor Vehicles.

“We’re contacting you in regards to your driver’s license which expires in the year 2030. In Arizona we issue 30 year licenses because our state government is a little crazy (Gov. Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for example). Still, we understand that you’ve had a stressful few years and perhaps you look a little different from when you first moved to this beautiful state. Therefore, we kindly request that you present yourself, along with your check for $12, to your local DMV to obtain a new photo.”

Are you kidding me? Don’t they realize that I look exactly the same as I did back in 2000 (perhaps even a little better)? So, in order to continue to drive legally, I reported to the DMV.

You know it’s a bad sign when you pull into the parking lot of the DMV and there’s not a parking space to be found. After circling multiple times, I finally grabbed an open space and, with a growing sense of dread, headed into the unremarkable, brick building.

As I entered I heard numbers being called.

“B129. E011, G726”

It felt like I was in a giant BINGO game. I headed over to the picture taking area, where I was promptly told I had to go back to the long line near the entrance in order to receive my ‘paperwork.’ What ‘paperwork?’ I have the letter that says what I need.

“F541, G727, C232”

Understanding that, just like the security line at the airport, this is one of those times that you simply say, “Yes Ma’am,” I headed over to the dreaded line. This line had about thirty people standing in it, all looking stone-faced as if they just stepped out of the latest zombie movie. I stood there and waited. . . and waited.

“E012, D592”

Finally, I reached the front of the line where I was handed a form to complete and a number. I was told to wait for my number to be called and then I could go get my picture taken. As I sat down I asked others how long they had been waiting. With a smirk they replied, “Over an hour.” Oh joy!

I completed my form and waited. I sat there thinking about the Skype chat I just had with a former Disney co-worker prior to my trip to the DMV. Perhaps it was that conversation, or the incessant number calling, or the odorous gentleman sitting next to me (Dude, I’ll hold your spot. Go home and take a shower!) but I somehow found myself escaping into a daydream. And as the numbers grew more and more faint. . .

“B130, C233, F092”

I daydreamed that Disney Characters had taken over the DMV.

DMV for PowerPoint

As I drive my beautiful car ‘Lightening McQueen’ into the parking lot of the building marked, ‘Motor Vehicle Department – The Happiest Place on Earth,’ I see various people dressed in turquoise pointing me (using two fingers, of course) through the parking lot. I am directed to an empty space about a mile from the building’s entrance where I park and am immediately collected by a long tram. I sit and am told to keep my hands inside and remember where I parked (uh, isn’t that why I have that emergency alarm on my key FOB? So I don’t have to remember). I am instructed to wait for the vehicle to come to a complete stop before exiting and to enjoy my day at the DMV.

“Wait, my day?” I ask the driver. “But I only need a photo.”

“Aahhh yes. You should plan on spending the day as we want you to get your money’s worth.”

I walk through the entrance to the tune of “Be Our Guest” and, in an attempt not to wait in the ridiculously long line at the front, I find a window with nobody waiting. I approach the employee, who seems to have the power to read minds as he corrects me to tell me he is a Cast Member (perhaps he’s a Genie). I ask if I can get a Fast-Pass to go directly to the photo line.

His response, “That is one wish I cannot grant.”

I do the walk of shame over to the never-ending main information line and wait. . . and wait (some things never changes). When I finally reach the front there is a boy working the desk. Well, I think he’s a boy. He looks young but a little wooden. I tell him I just need a new photo for my license. He hand me a form to complete and a number. As he tells me the wait shouldn’t be very long I swear I see his nose grow longer.

I sit down and complete my form. Once I’m finished, I take the opportunity to people watch. I see a man step up to a window where the beautiful, yet over-dressed, blonde behind the desk immediately slams down her closed sign exclaiming, “It’s 12 o’clock! I must go!” And mumbles something about a pumpkin and mice.

Clock strikes 12

There is a really short Grumpy guy working the next window. And next to him is a really beautiful lady that says she’s much too sleepy to work and needs to go take a long nap. At the end of the counter is a tall guy with a Goofy grin on his face.

All of them are supervised by a scowling lady walking behind them and looking over their shoulders. When she starts screaming at one cast member who must have a skin condition as he has spots all over him, he seems frightened and apologetically responds, “I’m sorry Miss DeVille.”

 DMV Ticket Finally, I hear, “A044.”

Cartoonish birds and butterflies start to circle me and I hear the song, ‘Whistle a Happy Tune’ as I skip up to the photo window (yes skip, I’m beginning to enjoy my fantasy). I’m greeted by, what seems to be another boy, this time wearing a funny green hat. His name-badge says Peter. He seems to have a tiny ball of light moving around him that he talks to. Perhaps he’s schizophrenic. He asks what he can help with and I tell him I need a new driver’s license photo as, apparently, the DMV thinks I might look a little older than I did in the previous one.

He leans in a gives me his wise advice, “Never grow-up!” Peter Pan

“I’m doing my best!” I explain.

He instructs me to stand in front of the green screen while he takes my picture. I imagine all kinds of background inserted on the green screen in my photo. He then tells me to think of a happy thought, smile and snaps the photo. Finally I’m told to go to “the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.”

“What? I’ll be here all night ‘til tomorrow morning?”

“Just take a seat,” he says.

I sit. Eventually, I hear, “A044.”

When I step up to the window I encounter a beautiful red-head who is wearing a dress that is much too tight. She hands me my new driver’s license while asking if I need anything else. When I mention that the service here is pretty bad, she tells me that it’s not so, it’s just drawn that way. Uh, ok.

At long last, new driver’s license in hand, I head to the door while whistling a happy tune. As I leave there’s a giant mouse standing there waving and shouting, “See ya real soon!” Uh, I really hope not.

Mickey Mouse

“A044. Last call for A044.”

I’m shaken out of my daydream, so I stand up and yell, “BINGO!”

I look around at everyone staring at me, put my head down, get my picture taken and take a seat to wait some more.

Perhaps if Disney owned the DMV it would be a bit more fun. But then again, a driver’s license would cost more than a car.

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Yes Virginia, There is a Mortgage Modification

17 Nov

In honor of the beginning of the holiday season, and recognizing what I believe is possibly a miracle – my achieving an actual permanent mortgage modification – I have structured this post in the vein of the letter to the editor of the New York Sun and the answer, which appeared in the publication on September 21, 1897 – otherwise known as, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” With a nod to Francis P. Church, no copyright infringement is intended.

Dear Editor: I am 45 years old.

Some of my little friends say there is no Mortgage Modification.

The Government said, “If we give the banks the money, it will be so.”

Please tell me the truth; is there a Mortgage Modification?

Virginia

Home Owner

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they can see in the paperwork FedExed to them. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by the bankers’ little minds. All minds, whether they be politicians’ or bankers’, are little. In this great universe of ours, it may seem as if a mortgage holder is a mere insect, an ant in his power and importance, as compared with the wealthy and powerful banks around him. But tenacity can make one capable of grasping the elusive modification.

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Clause

The original clipping

Yes Virginia, there is a Mortgage Modification. It exists as certainly as faith, persistence and chutzpah exist, and you know that they abound and give you power and strength. Alas! How dreary home ownership could be these days if there were no possibility of Mortgage Modification. It would be as dreary as if there were no homes. There would be no American dream of home ownership, no kitchen tables for families to gather around, no backyards for children to play in, no warm fireplaces to make tolerable the winter. The eternal light with which homeowners these days keep hope would be extinguished.

Not believe in Mortgage Modification! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might sit on hold on the phone all day, but even if you never got to speak with the same person twice, or they once again, lost your paperwork, what would that prove? Very few people actually receive a modification, but that is no sign that it does not exist. The most real things in the world are those which you believe in and work hard for. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unimaginable in the world.

Only faith, persistence, tenacity, belief, whining, threats, applications, letters to the Attorney General, media coverage and accepting help can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it real? Ah, Virginia, in this moment there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Mortgage Modification! Thank God! It’s achievable and it’s achievable for you. Thirty years from now, it will continue to make glad the heart of a homeowner.

I’m from the Government and I’m Here to Help

10 Sep

Today’s entry is dedicated to my friend Shannon, who reminded me what it means to be fearless.

 

As this blog is about reinventing myself, it’s time for the cold, hard truth. Sometimes you have to take a step back, to move forward (heck, sometimes you even have to do a kick-ball-change). So this week, I danced with DES.

I won’t go into the looooonnngg story that got me here but, suffice to say, I encompass all that’s wrong with the economy. Last week my housing counselor (yeh, that’s right) told me to apply for the dreaded food stamps. Really? But I’m a middle class, Jewish girl from the suburbs of Detroit. After much consideration – and a few tears – I finally accepted the fact that well, I need help. And it’s time to call in those favors (read: taxes paid) I’ve done for the government.

You should know that, aside from my current financial problems, I have another big problem. Accepting help. Really, I have counseled drug addicted friends to accept help. I have tried to convince financially challenged family members to accept help. I’ve even gotten the warm-fuzzies quite often from doing charitable work. Yet me? Accept help? I admit it, I have trouble with that. Yeh, I know. It surprised the hell out of me!

So last Friday I called the DES (food stamp people) to be sure I was applying to the correct office. The phone rang. It rang 47 times. Hhhmmmm, do you think they know it’s me? I decided to just download the forms and say a prayer (although if those prayers had worked, I wouldn’t be applying for food stamps now, would I?). I spent 2 hours collecting my financial information and filling out their forms. Are you applying for food stamps? Check. Do you want health assistance? Sure. Electric company discount? Phoenix in the summer – uh-huh! Day care assistance? Well, I do like to color.

Two hours later, forms complete, I faxed. Or tried. And tried, and tried. A busy little fax machine on their end. Must be a lot of people getting good at accepting help. Finally, at about 9:00pm, success! It said it went through but, even if I am able to overcome my resistance to accepting help, I still have some issues with trust. So, on Tuesday, I called.

“Didja get it?” I asked.

“Uh, I don’t know,” he replied.

“Well I faxed it to the Guadalupe location on Friday.”

“Oh, as soon as they send it to us we’ll start processing it.”

“Isn’t this the Guadalupe location I’m calling?”

“Yes, that’s us.”

“But you said as soon as they send it to us we’ll process it.”

“Yes, that’s correct,” he replied.

“So, who are they?” I asked.

“The location that you faxed it to.” (What is this, an Abbott and Costello routine?)

“That’s you”

“OK”

Hhhmmmm, “So what should I do next?” I asked.

“Call back if you don’t hear from us in a week (this guy has a job and I don’t?)

I called today and, you guessed it. I spent the last two hours filling out the same forms that they said they didn’t receive (although she mentioned that someone else had called and told them they faxed their forms the same day I did and they hadn’t been entered into the system either). This time I was actually able to locate a website (conveniently called something other than DES, food stamps or anything remotely similar to Help Me) to apply on-line.

What I discovered? I am not asking for anything for free. Getting these food stamps might just become my new job.

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