Sometimes important things can sneak up on me. Things like the fact that my Washington tabs expired yesterday and I hadn't begun to research how to go about registering the vehicle here.
Quickly, well quickly for someone who waited until the very last minute to begin action on this item, I contacted the county tax assessor's office, they handle vehicle titles and registrations, and I actually talked to a person, a woman who was incredibly helpful! She informed me that I needed a vehicle inspection, an emissions test, cash to cover the $90 "New Resident Tax" and other licensing fees; she even gave me the exact total I'd need to bring. Then she offered the address of an office thirty minutes closer to home that wasn't listed on the website.
Let's pause and appreciate this for a moment: a person answered the phone, had answers to questions I didn't even know to ask, and was pleasant!
Things are different here.
In Washington, emissions tests are required to register a vehicle, although general vehicle inspections are not. The state operates the stations where the tests are performed and they are mostly hard to find and far away, minimally staffed- resulting in long waits, and they seem to randomly close just to annoy citizens (who may have perhaps procrastinated...I admit to a pattern).
In Texas, private businesses are certified to perform both inspections. A garage near-by got me in immediately. The waiting area, while decidedly not cozy, was decorated with a neon Heineken sign in the shape of the state of Texas. Twenty minutes later the inspection was complete, the service rep cheerfully congratulated me for passing, stapled all of the paperwork together for me, made sure I knew what I needed to take with me to the license office and asked if I needed directions!
Again, a pause to appreciate that I'm a total of thirty minutes into what I expected to be a five hour ordeal and I'm halfway done and smiling.
Now the real test approaches, finding the actual license office and getting through the line on the last day of the month at 2:00 in the afternoon of the Thursday before a holiday weekend in a state where July Fourth is serious business.
And, it was easy! Really. Remember the nice lady on the phone at the county office. She gave me entirely accurate information, allowing a pleasant conversation between me and the clerk assisting me. Kimmie even had me smiling as I handed over the hunk of cash-money needed to finalize the process. Plus there was the bonus of walking out the door with my new plates, which I learned, from Kimmie, in Texas are actually made by inmates - and that when she first started working at this office one of the prisons went into lock-down and lots of agencies were scrambling trying to find plates. I walked out the door before 3:00 with the task complete and a bit giddy.
Our car is now tricked out with Texas plates, which leads me to the second part of this post's title and the reason there's a cookbook in the photo. Mr. Tex-Eck has Monday off for the holiday so we're planning a bit of an excursion as part of the three day weekend. The plan is to drive up through McKinney, a neighboring town with historic neighborhoods, a popular farmers market, pumpkin farms (not open yet) and vineyards. We're looking at it as a chance to see more of Texas than the pavement and suburban terrain of Richardson in a day trip. And perhaps we'll have the opportunity to procure some local ingredients for "Beautiful" Texas vittles in Sweet Husband's newest cookbook.
Thanks for reading and a happy holiday weekend to you! What are your plans for the 4th? Do you have any other suggestions for day trips around the Dallas area? (This time we're mostly car bound due to recent extraction of stitches from Tex-Ecks foot; he'll have to post about that one!)