Welcome to the wilds! New Jersey for me was like crossing the border into Tijuana. Sure, the new lifestyle was crazy, but no one would ever admit to living there. When my husband’s job was relocated here in August 2010, we both were frightened. Now we’re learning about life, love, and marriage in this strange new culture. Feel free to tag along for the adventure.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It’s Official

Friday, my husband and I became residents of the garden state, complete with licenses, registration, and car titles. It’s comforting to know that no matter where you go in the United States, Motor Vehicle Administration Offices never change. You write, sign, and send an array of pointless documents, wait in endless lines, and are greeted by state representatives who care more about their breaks than service. Granted I will say in the wilds, I met one or two representatives who smiled and tried to aid in the daunting process. 

Today, however,  is a negative NJ moment, because I am dealing with its bureaucracy. I am not saying the employees are incompetent. I am merely stating that budget cuts have caused a state of ineptitude. My two major goals today were to schedule car inspections and contact NJ Department of Education.  Both of which sound simple, but through my very frustrating experiences are quite disheartening. 

There is only one state inspection station in the county wilds where I live. It’s about a thirty minute drive and you are required to make an appointment before driving there. However, the location’s phone number is neither listed on the website nor is it in the yellow pages. SO, I decided I would go the private inspection route. I called the first number on the list, and a gentleman answered admitting that inspections do not cost any money if you go directly to the state location. I appreciated his honesty and while he could give me the address, he also knew nothing of the elusive phone number. 

I have thus scribbled down the directions, plan to dress in heels, and drive down to the office with my most innocent, wide-eyed plea, “Could you please just inspect my vehicle now and I’ll schedule the second one with you for a later date?”

Some people master the art of seduction. That’s not me! In fact, my husband calls it the art of pathetic. It’s not the most revered talent in the world, but generally it gets me what I want. I have had employees and patrons offer to carry boxes, picture frames, etc. to my car. Deliveries usually bring, set-up, and check products before leaving. And most of the time, I can get the last dentist or doctor’s appointment without too much trouble. I never thought much of it; until my family pointed out that most people don’t get those things.

Unfortunately, my pathetic arts don’t work with bureaucracy. I am as frustrated and annoyed as the overworked, underpaid worker on the other end of the line. After waiting on hold for 40-45 minutes with the Department of Education, I have learned how to mask irritation, but not always get what I want. The reason for this is because the customer service representatives have no control over my license or certification. In fact, the cycle of calling, complaining, and waiting has continued since June. Today I jogged while on hold and the representative answered and suggested I fax another letter to my examiner who has to issue it.

I wish him no misfortune. I merely hope that the day there is something important that he needs, he is treated with the same respect that he has given me.  

Okay…enough complaining. I am attaching a few pictures below. Hopefully, you enjoy them. They are of the beautiful New Jersey Wilds in fall. It nearly makes the blood and bruises from mountain biking worth it.


  1. Don't hate on the state workers!

    Plus you know that if you had returned to Pennsylvania, I could take care of all of that stuff with minimal hassle.

  2. Dice you are absolutely right!!! I apologize for making such a generalization. I know quite a few phenomenal government employees...yourself included.

    I merely mentioned those who personified a poor stereotype, but let it be known I'm not "hating on" state employees. In fact, I am positive (like in most careers) those who are apathetic and/or incompetent are among the minority.

    Thanks for calling me out on such an oversight and have a Happy Halloween!!!