Raise your hand if you are a procrastinator.

Oh, good.

Come sit by me.

It’s not like I set out to procrastinate. It’s not like I wake up in the morning and think I’m going to be late and put myself behind and show up to a meeting in flip flops that I found in the car and hair in a messy bun held up by a pen and lot of luck.

Procrastinating is never my intention. It’s never my goal. It’s never where I plan on going.

But somehow? Somewhere? Between thinking I have an extra five minutes to whiten my teeth and underestimating the traffic and wanting to wait just one more minute to see who got voted off Project Runway?

I’m always a project day late and a dollar short.

Truth?

I’m actually really good at procrastinating. Most of the time it works out. Most of the time I get the project finished just under the wire. Most of the time I have a really good apology. Most of the time I just tell a really good story and most of the world smiles and pats me on the head and generally understands.

But last month?

It happened.

I couldn’t apologize or fix it or figure out a way to make it work.

Last month?

All good procrastinating things finally came to an end.

March 23.

That’s the date that it said on my license that it was about to expire.

Out of date.

Finished.

Done.

Don’t think I didn’t know. I did. I’d planned on getting it renewed. I’d looked at my license. I knew the date. I’d actually put it on five different calendars and told the twins and my mom to remind me. And all that reminding worked. On March 21 I made my way to our local DMV.

Yes.

March 21 is when I finally showed up.

Because the best inspiration is a deadline.

Now I don’t know about your DMV. Maybe it’s fast. Maybe you get in and out and wave and don’t even have time to finish the cookie you brought along for a snack. But here? In Texas? You enter the DMV and come out ten years later.

I knew this. I understood. I’ve been going to the DMV since I was 16 years old and so I planned ahead. I read up online and figured out the encyclopedia of documents to bring and I put them all in a folder. I brought a book. I brought my ipad. I even brought snacks for the day.

And then?

I arrived early and took my number and sat down to wait and hours and hours and hours later they called my name.

I skipped up to the counter and plopped down my document encyclopedia and smiled my winningest smile over the counter. I was here. I was ready. I had every single thing that I needed to make this journey a success.

Slowly the agent poured over my documents.

Proof of residency. Check. 

Registration. Check.

Social security card. Check.

Insurance. Check.

Marriage certificate. Check.

Old driver’s license. Check.

Birth certificate. Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeccccccch. Wait a minute? WHAT?

I needed an actual original copy of the birth certificate? Not a copy? Oh nooooooo. But I didn’t have that I told her. I had been on this earth for a long time and I wasn’t sure what had ever happened to the original.

Panicked, I called my husband. I called my mother. I begged. I pleaded. I asked nicely.

None of that mattered.

The buck stopped there.

No birth certificate. No license.

Okay, I thought. I got this. I’ll just get a new license.

What happens if my license expires I asked?

She looked at me sadly and said the words that made my entire world spin off its procrastinating orbit.

I had to RETAKE THE WRITTEN TEST.

WHAT?

And?

In super fun news?

I had to take the DRIVING TEST AGAIN. You know. The test where you have to sit in a car with an instructor and know every single driving rule on the planet and attempt to PARALLEL PARK. A skill I haven’t really ever learned in 25 years.

Seriously.

It took 9 days to get my new birth certificate in the mail.

It took another five hours of waiting in line at the DMV with my encyclopedia and my new birth certificate for the opportunity to take the written exam.

It took 10 minutes for me to pass with a score of 98 and get my learner’s permit where I could drive in the car with a licensed driver 21 years or older.

It took 5 days to schedule my driving test at the same school my sixteen-year-old twins are taking their driving classes.

It took 30 minutes for me to pass the test except for the part I got counted off for not parallel parking correctly.

It took another five hours of waiting in line at the DMV with my encyclopedia and my new birth certificate and my learner’s permit and my passing score on my driving test.

But finally.

At long last.

After hours and hours of studying and waiting and learning and the twins helping me study for the tests and two weeks and 4 days of my husband driving me around.

I GOT MY NEW LICENSE.

The moral of the story?

Procrastination is not your friend.

Especially when your birth certificate has been copied more times than this project on Pinterest.

I’m turning over a new leaf.

I’m starting early and planning ahead and making a calendar and checking it twice.

I’m going to be on time now.

I promise.

Right after I finish the next episode of Project Runway. 🙂

PS If you are in a project mood, I used these scrabble letters to make this fun project.

Comments

  1. Image for Jessica Lardinais Jessica Lardinais

    That is ridiculous bureaucracy. Total nonsense!!! Ugh. What an ordeal. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. But, you always do with a big smile!

  2. Image for David David

    I'll come sit next to you in just a minute.....ok, I may be late..... Ugh! What a nightmarish story! I'm so sorry but I so understand too! I seem to spend my life just managing to put out the fire that is directly in front of me and that's it. No planning, no calendar, no finishing ahead of time. However, I join you in your vow! I'm on board! Sign me up for the calendar! I think my passport is about to expire. (also, congrats on your scores. I worry that if I had to retake any of that they'd ban me from the road)

  3. Image for Deb Deb

    Girl, I drove an hour away from my local DMV just so I wouldn’t have to parallel park! Still can’t parallel park worth a hoot which is embarrassing because in Chicago, street parking is fierce! I’m the one who pulls in and pulls out fifteen times and I’m still poking into the street or 5 miles from the curb. Traffic is piling up, people are honking their horns and cursing....which is why they invented buses and the elevated trains, I’m sure! It was worse when we had a stick shift. I burned out the clutch twice! We no longer have a stick shift and I make my husband park the car.

  4. Image for Andrea Meeks Andrea Meeks

    I just love you .... and your intriguing, funny, real, relatable, personable, honest stories!! They make me happy. ;)

  5. Image for Tracy Tracy

    You poor dear! Thats a terrible experience. Thank you for letting us procrastinators know exactly what can happen.

  6. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, friend!! I can’t even imagine!! A WRITTEN test?!! AND the DRIVING test?!!! I can’t even! While you have that birth certificate located—go ahead and get your passport! Seriously. Now. Before that original birth certificate gets lost. Because that procrastination might be just as bad. Telling you this from a friend.😉 P.S. this might be worth a celebration for you!! Just like when your littles got their licenses! An excuse for a party.😁

  7. Image for Kathy M. Kathy M.

    What is all this the DMV is doing to make our lives more difficult? Who has all that documentation especially if you have lived in this earth for more than 70 yrs. We finally sent for our marriage license after years of not knowing we didn't have one. Lol. I think procrastinating is a legitimate talent of the most creative people. My gardening column is always done at the last minute yet it does get done every month. After all these years I have finally realized things will get done and if not the world will keep on spinning. You go girl and I will see you at the next procrastinators anonymous meeting. Might be a little late but I will be there,😊😊

  8. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    Wow!! My dear, you have been blessed with patience!!!! In Canada, you go to any insurance company with your renewal form if this is the year to renew your picture, done 10 minutes. If you don,'t require a new photo I just pay online. I"m not bragging because we are notorious for making simple things difficult. I'll just chalk this up as a fluke...LOL

  9. Image for Jillian Jillian

    Groan. The DMV, one of Satan's finer works. Well, you made it at least. We all live in horror of the dreaded actual driving test. It's a fine idea to have a friend with one of those tiny little shoe style cars who will loan it to you for the test. We should all send you flowers.

    1. Image for Kris Kris

      Jillian's comment was a laugh out loud moment for me. I went to the dreaded DMV last month. I could have renewed online, but to be REAL ID compliant, it had to be done in person. Wondering if that was part of the red tape you were involved in, KariAnne. I triple-checked all the things I had to bring (including a birth certificate and marriage certificate, all properly notarized--and I was paranoid enough to bring my social security card as well). Apparently the department of Homeland Security won't let you fly after a certain date without it on an official ID card. I haven't flown in years, however ... if you get the REAL ID (at least in Michigan) within the renewal time frame, it's free. If you decide afterwards to get it, you have to pay a fee. So I sucked it up and gathered documents and entered the Evil Dominion. On the bright side, I *think* my ID photo turned out ok--and it's all about that, isn't it????

        1. Image for AnnTN AnnTN

          It's to be able to get the REAL ID compliant license. You have to have a REAL ID compliant ID in order to fly in the U.S. beginning in 2020. It's not just MI. I've been gathering documents in order for my husband and I to get our REAL ID compliant licenses. In Tennessee (where I live) our new license will have a gold start on it proving that it's REAL ID compliant.

  10. Image for Shirley Shirley

    Ohhhh, this is rich and such a vivid description of the DMV (they all have the same playbook, no matter the area). I'm definitely taking notes as this is the year to renew my license. Thank you for teaching me this valuable lesson! 😊😉😘

  11. Image for Denise V Cox Denise V Cox

    OMG!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Well, I had to renew mine this January. As M.. A.. N.. Y.. times as I reread online what I needed to take with me, I still didn't take my Soc. Sec. card. And then, when I got into the car to go back home to get my social card, I realized I didn't have the proper registration card (which I easily rectified). However, I am fortunate that I live only minutes from the MVA and that here on the Eastern Shore of MD the lines aren't that " fierce".. 😉😊.. I am so sorry that you had such a time. But as usual, you handle your dilemmas with infinite grace!!! 😘🤗

  12. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    I’m dying right now!!! Sorry to laugh, but I’m commiserating 😂. I’ve not had that happen yet but a lot of near misses. Whew!!! Guess your story is a wake up call for us fellow procrastinators. ME included!! I’ve really tried not to let my three kids in on this dirty secret do mine. So far, so good 😊 Thank you for being real 🥰

  13. Image for Shannon Shannon

    I . Cannot. Stop. Laughing !!!! You literally made my day!!!!!! I was at the DMV ON Friday- the day before my license expired!!!! I procrastinated because, well.... I was getting my hair done on Friday!!! We need to look good, right?!!! I was there for over 3 hours and at least a half hour was at the window!!! For some unknown reason I put my birth certificate into my folder that morning... WHEW.... they asked me for it even though it was not listed on the pages of instructions I had printed out!!!! So... after reading your story I will never ever wait until the last minute again!!!! Gosh I love a good story! LOL

  14. Image for Laura Dennis Laura Dennis

    Oh my! You crack me up!! If it makes you feel better, when we needed to renew 2 of our kids' passports, it took 3 trips to the post office and about 15 hours in line before we finally had all of the right documents and brought Brent with us because apparently you cannot renew a passport for a minor without both parents present or some sort of affidavit. I have a cousin who works for the State Department. I fussed and fussed about it to him. He said he was "really sorry." No help at all!!

  15. Image for Bonnie Schulte Bonnie Schulte

    Holy, holy Cow...Our DMV is pretty much the same, always have to wait, even when there is no line, Who knows why??.. I am so sorry for what you had to endure. It really is scary, when you don't have the information needed. I am going to check what I need RIGHT now, will be going in next year to renew mine, after 8 years. I bet it is "worse" now, than it was back then,with the wait, and always seems the person behind the counter is NOT a pleasant person..Again, who knows why? If we as American citizens are required to show all this information, I wonder how the illegal gets a license, those that have already gotten theirs in some states???

  16. Image for Gayle Gayle

    We always find a small town that isn't busy that can issue our new license. I hate wasting time in line! My heart goes out to you!

  17. Image for Jenn Jenn

    The comments on here are so fun!! We all love to relate to the misery of others! I think wasted time is the thing that gets me all fired up more than anything else...DMV, online technical support, password resetting....all of it!! I'm getting all hot and itchy just thinking about it! Thanks for sharing this hilarious and maddening story! God has just given you a new way to relate to your teenage daughters! Have a great day!

  18. Image for Peg Peg

    That's just awful! I believe in Massachusetts they let you renew even if you miss the expiration date, within reason. Glad you're legal once again!! xoxo

  19. Image for Marty Marty

    Oh good grief. That sounds unreal. I need to get mine renewed in August, so this is a test I am sure. I need to find my Birth Certificate too.

  20. Image for Deb in Oklahoma Deb in Oklahoma

    Wait a sec...you have to show all those documents just to RENEW your license? Dang, what a hassle. I just had to take my old (expiring) license, fill out a form, and get a new pic, and I was done. Took all of 15 minutes. And it was just a few days before the old one expired. But I'm up north in Oklahoma, so maybe we like to keep it simple. Oh, that Texas DMV and their crazy rules.

  21. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    There are LOTS of things I cannot do, but I'm a PRO at parallel parking and backing a boat/trailer! I drove a Delta 88 Oldsmobile Station Wagon (a/k/a the War Wagon) in high school - yeah, I was pretty cool - and had to parallel park it in the senior parking lot (which had teenie-weenie spaces), so I got really good at it. My job at the lake every summer growing up was to go get the War Wagon and back the trailer into the water so dad could load the boat. I think this is one of the reasons my husband kept dating me - my parking/backing skills! :-) PS - Not a good idea to let the passport expire, either.

  22. Image for Donna Gaddis Donna Gaddis

    So very sorry that all this craziness happened to you...yes, I'll sit with you any time and anywhere...but give me a minute,..I need to sort one more load of laundry before I head your way!

  23. Image for Brenda Brenda

    I had the same problem with my birth certificate! Why I asked do I need that when I've had a drivers license for this state already. So I contacted the state of my birth and ordered a $50.00 birth certificate, Which shockingly arrived on time. And my shiny new birth certificate.......Is a picture of a page in a book ( curve of the page and everything! ) with lovely scroll work around the picture. Really?!?

  24. Image for Sharon Smith Sharon Smith

    Oh Karianne, in another life we must have been sisters. I practically rolled on the floor laughing at this. After my husband passed last year (and you helped me by sending your book), I moved from MA to NH. In MA, I would go to AAA and renew and it was fine. But NH meant everything new but if it included parallel parking, I think I might have moved back to MA and kept my license! New registration, new license. So I boldly went to the RMV. I thought I had everything I needed after reading on line what I should do. But they wanted to give me the new license that can be used like a passport and I was missing something. So home I went and retrieved everything they told me. I went back to the RMV (same day) and oops, they had forgotten to mention one other thing. At this point, I said just give me the regular old license and I'll come back when it expires for the new one. I was not going to make another trip even if it meant that I passed a mall with stores in it crying out to me. Nope, not gonna happen. But on the plus side, they took a picture of me for my license that was one of the best photos of me ever. Finding some Joy in the day!

  25. Image for TERESA GONZALES TERESA GONZALES

    What a nightmare!!! My husband had one of those days yesterday. Trying to help out my mom (we pay for her car, car insurance and registration) he went to AAA to get the new registration. After being in line about 10 minutes he remembered he had to pay with cash or check (he had neither on him). He went to the bank and got some cash. He went back to AAA and stood in line for 20 minutes when the lady behind the counter told him he needed a copy of the insurance policy before he could get the tags. He came 30 minutes back to the house to get a copy of the insurance. He went back to AAA, stood in line for another 20 minutes and they said it would be difficult to get the tags as the car storage location did not match our address. He must have had the most pitiful look on his face as the lady took pity on him (20 minutes later she figured out how she could do it on her computer)....he finally got the registration and tags. Sometimes it is not procrastination........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Image for Michele Michele

    All that and we still have a country full of illegal non-tax paying aliens driving around sure as ya please. Life just doesn't make sense to me sometimes. I cringed so much for you - what a crock o' hogwash to go through all that, holy moley. Big congrats!

  27. Image for Alice Genzlinger Alice Genzlinger

    I’m laughing so hard I can hardly type B E C A U S E I forgot til the very last second to get mine renewed and we were leaving the country the next day. Bless your heart!

  28. Image for Lynne Lynne

    And also ...never, ever let your passport expire! . It takes forever to get a new one. I then discovered that our marriage certificate from way back in 1971 is no longer valid. A new marriage certificate has to be issued and the old one is just a memento or piece of paper to file away with your trinkets that you can't part with. Lynne

  29. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Bless you, sweet girl!! I've mainly gone through document crises with my daughters, one of whom lives in Brooklyn, NY, and the other of whom went to college 3 hours away. It never failed that they would leave something at home, completely lose something (like their birth certificate), and it was "mom to the rescue." Come to think of it, you shoulda calle ME! LOLOL!

  30. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    This is one of your funniest posts yet ~ I’ve shed many tears of pure laughter! I am definitely in the “Procrastinaters’ Club.” Many years ago, a dear friend gave me a Procrastinator’s Calendar for my birthday. You filled in all the months and dates as they suited your current situation! Says something about “her reputation precedes her!” doesn’t it!?! I had a license renewal crisis, too, this February, needing to have a current drivers license to fly. My problem revolved around my contact lenses ~ being a mono wearer who can’t see far away very well with only the one. Thank God my DPS person was kind and sympathetic, and gave me “credit” for having identified several lines before I had to go home to put a second lens in!!! They even gave me a pass to not have to wait for hours a second time! But the kicker? At the airport, my TSA agent says: “Oh, we honor an expired license for a year, hon!” Not to worry! Keep the amazing stories coming, ka!

  31. Image for Jan Jan

    Not to stir up trouble, but...I renewed my license yesterday in Fredericksburg, Texas and when the asked for a birth certificate or passport, I replied that I didn’t have either. I had my current license and had updated the SS number several years ago. My problem was the vision test!

  32. Image for Jane Jane

    Sweet girl, this just made my day! (Sorry it was many not-fun days for you.) I can only imagine what your kids and their friends were saying. You always make me laugh out loud. Wishing you could head up to the PNW next week to make me laugh after surgery! BTW, I have heard that procrastinators are optimists~we think we can accomplish just one more thing... Ha!

  33. Image for Sue Sue

    Ok, I certainly feel for you but I near died laughing reading this. I even called my husband in to reread it to him. This is one of the funniest things you've ever written. You are a comedy genius and I can't believe you had to go through all of that. Funny now but you must have been so frustrated.

  34. Image for Terry Terry

    Lot easier in Canada - bring your license, proof of ownership and insurance card. I've never stood in line for longer than 10 minutes. Pay, get my stickers and I'm out of there. A little more time if you have to get a new pic but that's only every 5 years. I love how you can turn the event around and make it funny!

  35. Image for Becky Becky

    My goodness. MI must not have all that garbage! We have it easy! I even live in the town with the BEST Secretary Of State office in the state. They train all the other offices because they are SO FAST... until now. Everyone has found our secret, and now There Is A Line. They are still really fast, but when you have 60 people in front of you... and 3 behind the counter... It used to be that you counted on less then 1/2 hour, now you need to prepare for 2-3. UGH! AND last time I had to renew in person (take a new picture, you know?), I was in the middle of a TERRIBLE reaction to a new and unknown allergy. My symptom was massively swollen, red, burning, peeling lips... yeah. My whole face is swollen and neon red in my picture. It turned out that I have a new bee-products (think the beeswax in lip balms) allergy. I. Hate. That. Picture. I need to just go replace my license, but that hours-long-wait... Who has time!?

  36. Image for Mary S Mary S

    Oh my gosh!! I thought Missouri was bad. This is excessive and unnecessary. To me it justifies the existence of a buracacy. Sounds like a way to torture the taxpayer. Hope that license is good for 10 years! Ha!!

  37. Image for Kelly Kelly

    Here in GA, after you bring all that stuff in to get your license, you get a gold star on the license. You don't have to bring all that stuff in again......until they change the rules again.

  38. Image for Doris Doris

    Oh my! I remember back in 2001 trying to get my first passport. I took all required documents but was advised I had a "hospital live birth certificate" not a state issued birth certificate! So how did I ever get along in life for 45 years with only a hospital certificate???? Needless to say a trip across town to the Dept. of Health and waiting in line I got that required birth certificate!

  39. Image for maureen maureen

    I am so sorry you had to go through all of that! In Michigan you can go online to the Secretary of State and make an online appointment so there is no waiting. I am so thankful for that option! On the other hand it probably wouldn't hurt to take the written exam and driving test every so often anyways!

  40. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I laughed and cried, lol!! Sounds like Oregon but not quite so many documents. So glad you have your license. You can work on the procrastination later lol.

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