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Oy, what a day!

July 24, 2013 - Karin Elton
My daughter received her driver’s license finally, but we had to jump over many hurdles to get it. Her twin sister received her license last week and it had been smooth sailing.

What caused the bumps in the road was that Vanessa forgot her white card which lets the examiner know that she has completed driver’s education. I don’t know why that is needed if you have your driver’s permit.

Anyway, yesterday, after picking up Vanessa from work at Subway, we drove to the driver’s license bureau. We had an appointment at 2 p.m. She asked me what she needed for the road test. (Yes, that is something we should have discussed earlier, but I thought she knew.) I said, "Do you have your white card?" She frantically looked through her purse for her white card. We had extra time to look because we had to wait for the world's longest train to amble by. Vanessa realized she must not have transferred her white card from her previous purse to her new purse. “This is the worst day of my life,” she declared.

We got to the license bureau at 2:10 p.m. and I was ready to make a new appointment for her, but the clerk said Vanessa could take the road test and then find the white card. Vanessa and I looked at each other and smiled. I couldn’t believe that a bureaucracy could bend like that.

Vanessa took the test and passed despite bombing the parallel parking test. We hadn’t got around to practicing that much. I had practiced with the other daughter and she had done well.

She was happy to have passed but we weren't in the clear yet; we had to get that white card. Instead of driving to Lynd to maybe find the card, we thought we would go straight to Marshall Community Services and ask for a copy. The regular person who sits at the front desk wasn’t there and someone else helped us. He said that we had to ask the driving instructor for another white card. He called Mr. Irsfeld and left a message.

Disappointed, Vanessa and I decided to head home to Lynd to look for the card. On Country Club Drive near Highway 7, the car sputtered to a halt. I said, “we’re out of gas!” (The gas indicator is broken on the '01 vehicle.) Vanessa was ready to blow a gasket. She pushed the car to the side of the road and I got out to see if there was a gas can. To my surprise, there was not only a gas container, but it was full of gas.

I prepared to pour gas in the tank but the spout was strange. I couldn’t make it attach to the can. A young man in a forklift happened by and asked if we needed help. I handed him the can and told him I didn’t know how it worked. He struggled with it as well and then read the instructions on the container. He finally was able to get a few drops into the tank. (More than a few had spilled because of the fancy spout.) He eyed Vanessa and said, “didn’t you used to work at Culver’s?” She said she did. He said he had worked there for awhile. After thanking him profusely and handing him wet wipes for his gas hands, we sped on to Cattoor’s. (On West Main Street, we had to drive through a construction area, local traffic only, so we had to dodge bulldozers on our way — adding to the fun afternoon.)

Meanwhile, Vanessa got a call from Mr. Irsfeld saying Community Services had extra white cards. While I was getting gas, I had her call MCS (I knew the number by heart because we work with them a lot at the paper) and tell them we were on our way to pick one up.

We once again made our way to City Hall. I was dragging myself up the stairs by this time because I hadn’t eaten all day and was running out of fuel myself. The clerk, the regular one this time, had the card all made out and all I had to do was sign it. While I was doing that, Vanessa got a call from Hy-Vee asking if she wanted to interview for a job. She told them thank you, but she had gotten a job elsewhere.

By this time it was about 4 p.m. and we then drove back to the driver’s bureau with no train blocking our way this time. We cooled our heels there for awhile waiting for the driving instructor to come back from a road test. He came back and then told the teen-ager’s mother what she did wrong so they could work on that for the next time. He then was able to accept Vanessa’s white card and sign off on her road test so we could go to the government center second floor to get her driver’s license. It wasn’t too long of a wait there and she was able to brush her hair out of her Subway ponytail so she could look pretty for her driver’s photo.

We got back in the car and I noted it was 4:29 p.m. We got her license taken care of minutes before closing. Whew!

“Thanks, Mom! This is the best day!” Vanessa said. Then she dropped me off at work so I could do the Markets/Finance page for today’s paper.

The newly-minted driver then happily drove back to Subway — by herself — to get us a much-needed sandwich.


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