Back from the Brink
Where iz ur cat be at?

Parenthood = Redefining Hell on a Daily Basis

Today we went to the MVA to register our cars and (finally) get our new driver's licenses. We took Noah with us.


Dear Nice Lady Who Let Noah Play With Your Shiny Nice Pen,

I love you. May that simple act of kindness be rewarded with decades of flawless skin and a good seven or eight hot young cabana boys.


PS Although perhaps you only needed to say the thing about Noah not looking a thing like Jason one time, and maybe not so loud.


Dear Mystery Person Who Spilled Froot Loops All Over the Floor In the Waiting Area,

I hate you. I know I should probably have empathy for what was most likely a desperate situation, but that's just bad parenting karma there, man. May the next dozen public restroom floors you encounter be littered with crushed-up Oreos.



Dear Lady In That Line Over There,

You are in the wrong line. You want that line, over there. No, the line past that one. Yes. But only if you have the right form filled out. Oh no, that is the wrong form. Take a number from that window; they will give you the right form. THEN you get in that line over there. Yeah. But get out of the line you're in know. I'm pretty sure that's where you register as a sex offender.

Trust Me, I've Been Here All Day

Dear Jason,

That is so great that you found a wireless Internet signal to use! That is fantastic! I'm so happy for you and your little laptop and oh my god if you do not step away from your email and help me corral our child I will run you over with our newly tagged and titled car in the parking lot and that cop over there would LET ME because I think the sound of Noah's screaming is causing feedback on his walkie-talkie.

Death Is Not An Option and Neither Are Floor Froot Loops

Dear Tropicana 5% Fruit Juice Beverage-Like Product From the Vending Machine,

When will my son's eyeballs go back to normal?

Just Wondering,
A Concerned Parent


Dear State That I Now Live In,

I am not a terrorist, despite looking like one on my license photo. I was just kind of...wound a little tight by the time it was my turn.

Now Serving Number 321

PS The GIANT CRAB floating next to my head isn't helping things either, you know. Why not just Photoshop a checkered bib and a shaker of Old Bay onto everybody's photo while you're at it?

PPS Dude. Crabs are delicious. I would like to go eat some right now.



A crab?

Would that make you crabby?

Be glad you don't live in Minnesota.

I have a LOON growing out of my forehead on my license.

You know what that means....


That's where I spent my lunch hour today, but in NY. It was a scary experience. I think I might need large quanties of alcohol tonight.


Hey, at least you have your whole face on your driver's license, right?

When I turned 16 I shoved my still-warm license into my wallet where a quarter pressed up against it and smudged my picture so that half of my face was melted off. Yeaaaaah ... that was always fun to show off.

(And no, it never occurred to me to "lose" my license and get a new one. I'm special in a half-faced sort of way).


I feel your pain...I was right there with you a year ago!


Amy-I know we live in the same state now. Which MVA did you spend the morning in? If it's the one I think it is, the one by Costco, I am so, so sorry for you. That totally sucks.

Maybe next time you can just go to the mva express?


Best. Post. Ever.

Well, pretty close.


Been there, done that, got the baaaad photo


The Maryland MVA is no fun even WITHOUT children. Believe me: After several aborted attempts due to a mixup with my title and the bank and whatnot, the day before my Florida tags expired I finally managed to get MD tags. But not until 6 hours had passed, I had torn around looking for someone who would redo my expired inspection, resorted to tears to get the place to take me, I'd failed that inspection, I'd given the place $300 to do work on my car LATER, and I'd given the MVA almost $300 in fees.

And you know what? I was thrilled when I left, because I had dodged having to pay them like $1000 in fees, instead.



So have you ever laughed, snorted, and coughed all at the same time? No? Really?? Well, the trick would be to read this post, feel simultaneous hysteria and empathetic recognition, and have the flu.

The feeling you experience is a combination of cheery release and intense sinus agony.

Every Motor Vehicles building should be required to include a Jungle Gym and a Starbucks. If we look hard enough, I'm sure we can find that exact stipulation in the Geneva Convention. Or we can write it in with the purple crayon in the bottom of our purses and hope that nobody notices.


Bwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaa hahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Freakin' funny dude!

Daily Tragedies

Haaaa! And *this* is why I have yet to obtain a California license. Two years later. Please don't tell them.

Glad you survived the trip, even if Jason didn't.


I live in SmallTown. I think maybe ONCE I had to stand in line behind someone at the DMV. The clerk is still a crankypants though, why is that? Must be part of the job requirement regardless of population. Also one time I had a job interview at 1pm. At 12:50 my out-of-town BF asked, "Shouldn't you be leaving??". I told him no because I didn't want to be too early. (I got the job) Glad you survived your day with humor intact, for our sakes.

pistol pete

You've really got this whole observation/commentary thing down. Good writing.

You do seem a little uptight, though. I recommend you take two pills (of any kind, really), and visit "Necessary Therapy" ASAP.

{Note - yes, that was a shameless plug.}


Oh gahhhh... I think visits to the DMV should be declared unconstitutional. Eighth Amendment and all that.

I'm so sorry. The crab? It sounds most horrendous. We used to get a lovely Honest Abe hologram in my state. My license photo is to me what a Crucifix is to a vampire. So, I refuse to look and see if that's still the case.


so do we get to SEE this picture? And is your hair still PINK in the picture? that would be so great.....


Ahhh...the DMV. And the Ever Helpful Hubby. Good Times. (I think I'm the only person still saying 'hubby' by the way. Sad.)My best license photo EVER was taken by a crabby DMV'er and is due to expire in September. I hate to give it up as photos are not my strong suit. Dare I go back and see if she's still working there? 'Cause she's probably crabbier than ever by now. I bet your pic is cute, even with a crab on it, Amy. You're Noah's mom after all.


It has, admittedly, been a really long time since I've had my photo taken at the DMV, but there isn't a state-mascot in our pictures in CA, unless things have changed since I was last in there (end of the Ice Age, perhaps, or hunting/gathering being pushed out by supermarkets). Maybe there is. Maybe it's a redwood, or a poppy, or a silicone breast implant. Whatever.

Samantha Jo Campen

I concur. Best. Post. Ever.

And you went a lot easier on Jason than I would have if he were my husband. Good for you!

Katerkins von Tabletop

Mmmm... Cabana boys... Mmmm.

Hilarious post. Thanks!



But yeah, that crab is obnoxious. I liked the old licenses better.


oh, and Amy, Bethesda crab shack. Best crabs ever.


This makes me very, um, excited for my upcoming move to Maryland. THANKS!


I'll bet a great deal of serial killers' stories began with, "It all started at the MVA. ..."


This post is why I've never legally changed to my married name..except switch out the MVA for the SS office. Suckage!


Too funny, I wanna see the pic!


I love your letters. You totally need a "Dear Amy" column. Except maybe "Love, Amy".

Now, I must re-read that because it was the best!!


welcome to the state!!!! Our MVA blows donkey balls (all of them, from the DC-ish area to the sticks up north - believe me, I've tried many, many, many of them). find the nearest MVA express and make BFFs with one of the people who work there. That's really your only hope, this state kinda sucks (reallyreallyhard) like that.

BUT!!!!!Crab season is fast approaching - hooray!


welcome to the state!!!! Our MVA blows donkey balls (all of them, from the DC-ish area to the sticks up north - believe me, I've tried many, many, many of them). find the nearest MVA express and make BFFs with one of the people who work there. That's really your only hope, this state kinda sucks (reallyreallyhard) like that.

BUT!!!!!Crab season is fast approaching - hooray!


Sounds like a sucky day - at least your faithful readers can benefit from your great sense of humor! The glass is half full and it is going to spill any minute.....


If you did go to the one by the Costco- I am so sorry. There's a new one, by the Trader Joe's, and the MVA lady hands out beanie babies to all the little ones. I'm sorry for everything I ever said against beanie babies, because they have now saved my life. The picture I got at that one was so bad, though, that my own mother gasped in shock. That picture makes the crab look good.


It's been a long time since I had to take my girls with me to the MVA, but back then I was young and hot and I couldn't take a bad picture no matter what!

My most recent license picture was taken when my good friend was dying of ovarian cancer and I could hardly stay awake while waiting for my number to be called.

I should probably have it re-done, but it expires in two years and I don't often have to show it to anyone.

Your trip to the MVA made me laugh and remember that I had better times there before my most recent visit.



That kind of freaked me out when we moved here. And my sister didn't understand it when we explained it over the phone... I guess it didn't help that my husband told her that the MVA actually superimposes a Maryland driver's face over the crab's body.

Also, my husband's license picture is just of his head, while mine features my whole upper body. I think this is because the MVA lady liked the Hawai'ian shirt that I thought it would be funny to wear. (I figured I'd throw a little color into the hideousness that is a license photo.)


P.S. I forgot about this until now, but my husband thinks that it's funny that my license, in displaying the name of our city and the initials of our county, says "Columbia HO."

Yeah, he's a gem.


Woo! Maryland. Hope you went to the White Oak location, it's usually much less crowded. Although last time we were there (a Friday afternoon) it was packed AND two people got *escorted* out for raising ruckus. That was fun.


After that last paragraph I think that everyone on here will agree when I say WE MUST SEE YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE PHOTO ASAP TO DECIDED FOR OURSELVES...Right everyone!


I spent the entire afternoon at the DMV (same thing) getting my oldest a learner's permit.

And you think you have problems? Ha! Ha! My baby is on the road! LOOK OUT, EVERYONE


Awwwww! No photo at the end. And I was being all good and not scrolling ahead because I just knew it was worth the wait....but....wait! No photo!

And then there's this: "Isabel took all the photos for the day and I will have those soon..."



BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Everything about that post was hilarious, but especially the part about the 5% juice beverage. Have Noah's eyes stopped spinning from the sugar rush yet?

And speaking of crab, I've only been to MD once, but you HAVE to go to G & M Crab Cakes Express, the address is 800 N Hammonds Ferry Rd. TRUST me. I know Jason is a foodie and all, but TRUST ME.
Linthicum Hts.


Oops, that Linthicum Hts. line should have been after the street address. Stupid copy/pasting.

laughing mommy

This sounds like my last trip to the DMV with my two daughters (age 4 and 1). Good times.


OMG. I so feel your pain. We are travelling to Mexico on short notice and all 3 of us need rush passports. I have done my share of standing in line at goverment offices with a toddler in tow the last week. We were all born in different counties, so I have been to 3, yes 3, county recorders in the last week to get birth certificates. Next up. . . the Los Angeles passport agency office! Good times. I apologize in advance to all the poor souls who will have to endure the screaming banchee I call my offspring. Suddenly the vacation doesn't seem to be worth it.


Too funny!


Awesome post.

This is my first comment, long-time lurker. Have been getting through all the archives over the past few weeks, and I agree, one of the best posts ever. (Yes I do have an essay due. No, it has nothing to do with babies, poop, vomit, blogs. Why do you ask?)

Keep up the great writing Amalah.


Wow - sounds like you had a GREAT day! ;)

I think it's an underlying rule that our license photos have to look like crap - I had a bout of vertigo when mine was taken and my eyes are all glossy and I look i'm in happy la la land..


Please, really: tell us if your hair was pink in the photo? Please show and tell.


I once went to the VA DMV and the guy took my picture 3 times until we got a good one. Very nice right? Then he asked me to go to church with him ... Um? ... Wah??... And so comforting to know that he had my home address and bad pictures of me! (I've often wondered if that approach ever actually worked for him)


HAAAAA YES!! I have totally been "Trust me, I've been here all day" before. Loved it.

By the way, next time you're in NYC, you need to check out Spring Awakening. I just saw it last night and it's like, the new and better Rent. And I know you're a closet musical theater geek like me, so I just thought I'd let you know (and no, they're not paying me, it's just addictive, comma, the end.)


A crab? Really? Why would someone do that? Seriously, when would that seem like the appropriate thing to do? License pictures are bad enough without a giant crab on the scene.


Welcome to MD! Been there, done that, and I've lived here my whole life. I personally like the MVA express office in Gaithersburg - its in the walnut hill shopping center on 355 and I've never waited more than 10 minutes for anything there. The main Gburg office, though? Shudder. Once lost two days of my life there dealing with a problem with old tags off an old car. Horrid.


For my last license (at age 30, uck) I went to the nice express MVA office IN A MD SHOPPING CENTER in Baltimore County just north of the city. It was SO loverly.
So, they closed it. Damn the MVA.

Fairly Odd Mother

Love this post. And, what is with the crab? Will every state now have their best known food product in the photos?

Flo-Queen of the Bad Mommies

Being that I ALSO have a big crab on my license, um, THANK YOU! Although on MY license, a bib might be an improvement.

And I feel you on the froot loop spiller. I am a weak parent. I probably would have given up trying to stop my children after, oh, the third attempt.

Lisa M

Take heart: I look like Jabba the Hut in my dmv pic. It's so bad, I'm keeping it just to make the cops laugh the next time they pull me over. I don't know what happened, but I have at least 4 chins and squinty eyes...


Can't tell you how many times I've threatened to take My Better Half's laptop and run it over. LOL. Most recently when my five year old was reciting a poem she had learned for a school play and he was checking his e-mail. Wireless connections are evil.


When Bossy hands someone her Driver's License as a photo I.D., Bossy has to pinch her face into a smirk and grab her hair into a haphazard ponytail or she won't be recognized.


Love, love, love your posts! We're getting ready to have a baby, hopefully within the next year. When I come to your page, I am constantly laughing my ass right off. Thanks so much!

PS - We had our first crabs of the year Thursday night. They were wonderful!

Sending you good wishes from the Eastern Shore...

creative-type dad

I really want to see that license photo now.
I don't think I've ever seen a license photo that made somebody NOT look like a terrorist or drug addict.


Laughing like crazy here... I agree with another poster who said best post ever - or at least top 5!


what a great sense of humor and writing style you have!


That reminds me that I have to go to the DMV on Tuesday to renew my license. I hate waiting in line.

the reluctant ADDult

What a fun-filled family outing! And you got photos, too. How special.

I hate going to the DMV. I think they give special tests for potential employees, and whoever takes the longest to complete the test gets the job.

Oh, and they have to be slow, too.

Congrats on getting it done, and by the hardest, or so it would seem.


I can't stop laughing! That was FAB!


Ahhh, welcome to Maryland, Amalah... Welcome to Maryland.


I've found going to the Hagerstown branch to be much easier! I've always been plagued with horrendous MVA lines because my birthday is the last day of the month, but when I went in July to renew my license I was in and out with a new driver's license in 20 minutes!!!! That was the best birthday present ever!

Just be thankful your not in NC. You get your driver's license in one building and drive to the other end of town to get your tags & such! But here was the best part, I went to go get my license and the guy said I needed to have my car tagged in NC first. So I go to get my tags and the lady there tells me that they don't give tags without a NC license! I don't know how I did it without yelling, but I was able to convince her to give me tags. Now I just need to get my license. What sucks is the licensing guy here is a mean redneck that automatically hates you and wants to fail you because your not from NC... so I think I'm driving 45 minutes to Asheville to get my license. Oh and from what I can tell the license test is going to be a pain, I have to take a written test and a seperate sign test (WTF?).


I feel your pain. When I went to transfer the title of our car from my dad's name to mine and Hubby's right after we got married, I had to go to the Metropolitan Grove full service location, it couldn't be done at an express. After waiting for five years and going from line to line as instructed, I was informed that the gift letter saying that Dad Maidenname was giving the car to Karen Maidenname Married Name and Hubby Married Name could not be accepted. You see, I had a marriage license to prove that Hubby Marriedname was Dad Maidenname's son in law, but no documentation to prove that Karen Marriedname was the daughter (not some other relative sharing a name) of Dad Maidenname.

Express offices are the bomb, though. If you can go during non-peak hours, you can get stuff done in no time at all, often with no lines whatsoever. It's dreamy.


Woot! How excited am I that you live in my state?!?(or am I just pathetic and have no life of my own? - either way...) I am still crab-free(that sounds gross) until my license renewal in September. Unfortunately, in my picture I look like I have a mullet. The crab will be a big improvement.


At least you didn't tell anyone that they had an "ugly heart." Not that that's ever happened to anyone I know. I mean, maybe a friend.

'Crabs' will always be nothing but a venereal disease to me. But then again, until they come up with a cure, I don't have much of a choice.


Dude crabs ARE delicious. I ate one this weekend.


Right after we got married, we lived in Indiana for 4 years. We could NOT find out where to get our cars registered... Looking in the phone book: Motor Vehicles? Automotive? Car? Drivers?

no no no and no.

It's the License Branch.


dear amy,

why did you move to the wrong side of the tracks? didn't you know that now no self-respecting virginian will read your blog? because it's really important that we maintain this super serious my-state-is-awesomer-than-yours thing, even though we are both kinda lame.


Amy M

Mmmm... crabs.

I'm glad I don't have a cow or a barn in my driver's license photo! Maybe a badger . . . Yay Wisconsin!

It's bad enough that I'm wearing a turtleneck sweater the same color as my hair & I have a floating head.


You could have the Statue of Liberty popping out of your head! Nah, you're right... crabs are worse.

I'm appalled that Tropicana makes a product with only 5% Fruit Juice! Appalled!

That is all.


I am a little embarrassed to tell you about the pretty rainbow on my Hawai`i license. At least there's not a cartoon humuhumunukunukuapua`a swimming around my head.

But I am wondering: do y'all have height and weight on YOUR licenses? and how, ehhhm, ACCURATE is the figure for weight?

Mine, for example? Is off. Has been off for some years now. (sob)

Every time I have to renew the damn thing, I tremble in fear that they will reject the Slightly Underinflated Number I've given them and drag me off to some room with a Giant Scale That Talks and force me to stand on it as they record the Correct Number.

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