Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Ending the year on a rather bizarre note...

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 just can't go crawl into a corner and die a quiet death, can it? I'm pleased to say that nothing bad happened. It was all just rather ... odd.

This morning I was slapped in the face by a whiteboard. Try to organize one bit of my life, and this is what happens.

Perhaps I should explain, no? I have a small whiteboard in the bathroom. I use it to keep track of things like med reminders and when I last swapped out my contact lenses. I have the 30-day lenses, and if I don't write down the date, I'll forget to swap them out. Why yes, I am blonde. ;-) Seriously, when the lenses are comfortable, I tend to forget I'm at the 30-day point. Says something about the lenses, eh? Anyway, the danged whiteboard got caught up in the breeze from my hair dryer, came off the wall, and hit me. Oh, I'm okay. I wasn't happy at the time, though.

We had lunch in McKinney and then the three of us went to the Social Security office for replacement cards. (I think mine got thrown out with a wallet years and years ago.) We were there for about an hour, which wasn't too bad. This was my tax dollars at work - in a fairly efficient manner. We checked in at a touchscreen display which presented a menu of options. Did we need a new card, did we need to apply for benefits, did we have an appointment, and so on? Touch the screen, and the little printer spits out a number. They call a number and tell you what window to approach. It sounds cold, but it really wasn't so bad - except for the crowds. A lot of people had the same idea to visit during the holiday, apparently. They have 20 or so windows, not all of which are open at once, but they did a pretty decent job of getting people served without it feeling like a total cattle call.

Our number came up, and we went to the window. The clerk looked over the paperwork and asked for our driver's licenses to verify our identities.

"Yours is expired," he said.

"Uh, no, it expires in September of 2010...oh, no." Yep, I've been going on an expired license and the state never sent me a reminder. Good thing my passport hadn't expired. That was sufficient ID. The process was fast and efficient. The clerk was kind enough to hand us all a temporary proof of Social Security number because I had to hotfoot to the DPS - and now the state requires a Social Security number to go with each license. Paul's is up for renewal soon (which prompted this whole quest), so he drove me over to the local office.

The line was out the door. This place is crowded at the best of times, but after having spent an hour standing at the Social Security office, we weren't keen to queue up with another crowd. Hey, our fellow citizens at the Social Security office were polite. A mom even took her fussy kid out of the room! We didn't dare push our luck with another crowd.

We went grocery shopping  in hopes of avoiding another crowd tomorrow, then I came home and fired up the computer. I'd remembered seeing on the DPS site that it's possible to renew online if one qualifies. License current or expired for less than two years: check. Social Security number: check. (WARNING! If we don't have your number on file, you must renew in person. Eeep.) Charge card for the fees: check. Click OK and fill out the form.....

And I qualified. I printed out a receipt that will also serve as a temporary permit. Watch out, world! I can drive! (Legally, at least.) This means they had my number on file after all.

In the years since I lost my Social Security card, I've created a secure spot for all of our ID-related stuff. Yes, another small part of my life that's organized. Once the replacement card arrives, I'll add it to the secure stash. And probably get a paper cut in the process.

Tags: Life

Filed under: Life            


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