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And the Soul is now a Maryland resident.

March 29, 2012, 11:06 PM

At last – my new car is now all registered where it lives. No more temporary tags. No more temporary parking pass. No more Virginia inspection sticker. Take a look at this:

It’s officially a Maryland resident now. Compare to these photos with the temporary Virginia tags and the Virginia inspection sticker. Now I’m official. $1,214.14 later, the tax is paid, the title is on its way to me, and the Sable’s old plates are now transferred to the Soul.

And then going to the MVA was somewhat painful, as expected, but not for the reasons I would have thought. First of all, I brought a friend with me to keep me company. My friend is absolutely a saint for coming along with me, because the MVA is definitely not a place that one would go to for fun. First of all, there’s the line to get in line. Then after you get your number, there’s the paperwork. One must fill out the title and registration application, since Maryland wants to know everything in order to properly title your car. You need all the insurance information. Then all the lien information. Then they all want to know what I did with the Sable, because I had these disembodied license plates in my possession. I think I had to answer that last question no less than four times. It certainly pays to have a smartphone in these cases, because I was able to go on the Internet and look up some of the information that I needed on my phone.

When they called my number, C46, to come up, I decided to have a little fun with it. I think it always reminds me of The Price is Right. They call your number, and then they just need to say, “Come on down!” Nonetheless, considering the window was right in front of me, I did hum a few bars of the “Come On Down” music as I was going up to the counter. The woman that was helping me was amused by it, but it is an apt comparison. I should go all the way next time I go and wear a price tag nametag with my name handwritten on it.

Then at the window, the woman behind the counter and I discovered that the dealer made a mistake: they forgot to sign a copy of something or other, and so they couldn’t complete the process just yet. Well, crap. So I had to call the dealer and get them to fax the form in question to the MVA office in Gaithersburg where I was. While they did that, I was in the “supervisor queue”. Once the fax was there, I went back in the main queue, and waited some more. This time, however, I had no idea where I was in the queue, since I was being called out of order. It felt like eternity, though, because I had no way of telling when my number was going to come up. And with that going on, you can’t even so much as go to the bathroom for fear that your number will come up and you’ll miss it while you’re in there doing your business.

The second visit to the counter worked out, though. I got everything done that needed to be done, and after being put through the wringer with the paperwork, MVA extracted my $1,214.14 for taxes and title fees. By the way, paying that much money with a debit card in one blow like that made me feel a little weak in the knees. I had amassed a bit of money for just such an occasion, and spending that much money all at once had a weird effect on me that I wasn’t quite expecting. It’s not like an unexpected large payment, because I knew what I was going to be paying, and it wasn’t a how-am-I-going-to-pay-for-this feeling (since I was basically paying cash), but it was more of an I-can’t-believe-I-just-dropped-this-much-money-at-once feeling. Weird.

Then after dropping my friend back off at her house, I went home to change the plates and scrape off the inspection sticker. Realize that I will never have to get the Soul inspected while it’s under my ownership in Maryland. You don’t have to get the safety inspection done on new cars (because they’re new and presumably up to snuff), and then Maryland is otherwise an inspect-once-and-done state. Thus your Maryland license plate is your proof of inspection, because you can’t register in Maryland until you pass inspection (or buy a new car). Then Virginia has that middle-of-the-windshield sticker. I wasted no time at all getting rid of that thing.

And finally, MVA will be mailing me my title. Why they can’t just give it to me on the spot is beyond me. But unlike Virginia, Maryland gives the owner the title for financed cars. Virginia gives the title to the lienholder and I don’t get anything. In Maryland, I get the title and the lienholder gets a certificate of lien, which they send back to you once the loan is paid off.

Web site: All sorts of Maryland license plate styles

Song: Come on down!

Quote: And if you're wondering about the plates, yes - I got rid of my "SCHMNWB" license plates. A custom plate message costs $50 a year in Maryland, and so rather than pay that fee, I replaced them in February with "Treasure the Chesapeake" tags with a generic number on them. I got the "Treasure the Chesapeake" design because the blue would look good on both the Sable and on the then-upcoming green Soul. Plus for all the anti-war stuff I've done over the years, I really didn't want to commemorate a war on my car's license plate (the current standard Maryland plate is about the War of 1812).

Categories: Kia Soul