Friday miscellany: Surviving PennDOT (and late day interviews)

Life maintenance tasks wait for no one. Well, they can wait for a while, but eventually they must be reckoned with. Previous October events have included getting two children’s passports renewed and filing my taxes.

This week I needed to take my car in for its 75,000-mile service. Various lights had been blinking for a while but there hadn’t been a good time to bring it in. I also needed to renew my drivers license, which can often be done online, but not if you need to get a Real ID, which I figured I should do before the May deadline (even if this deadline does keep getting pushed forward). Traveling with my passport all the time seems like it might be complicated.

I thought I would batch things — efficiency! — and use the PennDOT center right across the street from the Acura dealership. So I dropped my car on Monday morning and headed over there with all my documents, so I could be there right when they opened…and I got turned down fast. Despite PennDOT’s website claiming you could get a Real ID at lots of the service centers (they’d just mail it to you, rather than issue it over the counter) that turned out not to be true. So they told me I’d have to go to an official Real ID service center.

(Sadly, since I’d figured the morning with a wait time at the PennDOT center, my husband couldn’t come pick me up for a bit…I started walking home and made it over a mile…so at least I got my “move by 3 p.m.” rule done.)

I had a window on Thursday, so I drove to the Real ID center in King of Prussia, and found a line out the door. The security guard I started talking to (because I was stuck in line…) said it was often that bad, though the line got shorter while I was there, so I guess I chose the absolute wrong time. In any case, once I got to the window after they called my ticket it was quick enough (55 minutes after I got there) and I now have a shiny new Real ID — with my 2018 picture, which they let me keep! — that is valid until 2026. But I realized, as I saw several groups of two there at the center…that I will be back with my teenager in a few months. Oh, wow.

(He will be driving my 11-year-old car, which is why it’s important to keep it in good working order!)

Bonus life maintenance tasks: Four out of five children chose Halloween costumes, and those four have all shown up. The 2-year-old elected to be Mike from Monsters Inc because he really wanted the one-eye costume and it is the cutest thing ever.

And four out of five kids (a different four) got their flu shots last night! My husband and I had been trying to find a window for this (the weekend schedule is now a multi-page document so I wasn’t sure a weekend slot was happening…) He got appointments at a local clinic yesterday evening. The teenager had his math tutoring so he was exempt, and I had choir, but everyone else is done. Next up: making appointments for everyone’s well-child checks. Well, and the holidays. But I’m not thinking about that yet.

In other news: I continue to do lots of interviews for Tranquility by Tuesday. Sometimes I do well. Sometimes, maybe less so. Yesterday, I did a 5 p.m. interview — at which point I am not always at my best — and despite the host having been lovely enough to have me on that particular show before, I forgot that he asks a lightning round of questions including “favorite quote” and others. My brain went completely blank and I could not think of a quote in the entire universe of quotes. Sigh. I can just hope there’s lots of editing…

I wanted to reshare a few recent podcast appearances! Here’s the episode of Hustle and Grace where I talk about TBT.

I was on David Lancefield’s Lancefield on the Line. I was also a guest on the Mi-Fit podcast.

You can check out my conversation with Ashley Stahl. And, of course…Happier! That show just celebrated its 400th episode this week, so congrats to Gretchen and Elizabeth!

Do you listen to the Before Breakfast podcast? This week I was talking about how to “Feed Your Mind” and “Keep Your Legos” — both featuring advice from the lovely Mary Laura Philpott. I also talked about how you can “Prepare for a Grief Anniversary.

I’ll be releasing the third TBT In Real Life video this weekend, so come visit the blog tomorrow for a link to that!

Photo: Another from last week’s big adventure in upstate New York

10 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Surviving PennDOT (and late day interviews)

  1. The best thing to come out of the pandemic in New York is that you MUST make an appointment at the DMV to do anything. I got my RealID last fall in about 20 minutes. I can only hope this continues to be the case…

    1. @Gillian – we do not seem to be on an appointment system here, unfortunately. Just first come first serve. And it was fine once I was in, but they only had one person checking people in, so if 20 people happen to show up at the same time…you’ve got a wait.

  2. Same thing here in Canada – to go to the DMV required an appointment due to the pandemic. It’s now a flexible option (you can show up without an appointment, but if you prebook you’re guaranteed a time) and this has made wait times so much shorter. I hope they keep this option moving forward as it makes it so much easier to budget time with relative accuracy.

    Wow – lots of life maintenance on your end this week. My husband and I had a window of time earlier today where both kids were at a birthday party and batched a whole bunch of errands. It feels great to tick off a series of to-do’s in quick succession.

    1. @Elisabeth – yep, I think not knowing how long it would take was the worst part. Once I was in, my ticket said precisely how many people were in front of me, and I was served quickly. It just took a while to get to that stage because they were checking people in one by one to get tickets. So that became the choke point…

  3. Get kids passports and renew mine are on my list right now, last week I had to go in and get a new drivers licence too. The life admin never ends, does it.
    And I feel for you with the mind blank in response to the quote question, I bet you could think of a million later. When that kind of thing happens to me, I always remind myself by speaking in public I’m being the “man in the arena”, having the courage to do interviews etc rather than avoiding them, and that makes me feel better. 🙂

    1. @Sophie – yep, we’re in the arena… getting dusty and such. I know they can edit but then I had another interview the next day where my 2-year-old barged in and…I’m feeling a wee bit less than professional!

  4. Oh, that’s too funny about the quote thing!! I could see that happening to me. Makes me think of this time in 8th grade when I had prepared a book report presentation (that required us to use a direct quote from the book in our speech), and in my notes I had written “add quote here” with the intent of going back and cutting and pasting the actual quote in later. Well, during my prep, I forgot- so there I was standing in front of the whole class when I got to the part to read my “quote from the book”….. and it wasn’t there. (My sticky note saying “add quote here” was there, though….😆). I remember hemming and hawing and sort of paraphrasing the quote I was going to use. Didn’t cut it for my teacher and I definitely lost some points on the presentation grade!! haha! Funny how I remember this all these years later….

    1. @Grateful Kae- I love it – “add quote here.” I think I have put something like “pithy observation here” or something and it has remained in a draft for…a while…

  5. I feel like all of us have had a moment (or two or three) like that, where our mind just goes blank at an inopportune time. I certainly couldn’t think of a favorite quote that fast!

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