New Thing #220: New License Plates

New_PlateI love license plates. When I was a kid I kept a pad and pencil in the backseat and wrote down license plate numbers.

I think that was because when I was a kid we had a license plate that spelled BEE, and I thought it was cool that plates could have words in them.

Or it was because I was weird.

I probably still am weird - but license plates are kind of thrilling to me.

So when I get new ones - it's a very big deal.

This week, I got a new license plate number.

The process - what a headache. Let me go through that quickly with you. In June 2010 we leased a Toyota Venza. We really liked the car, and decided pretty early on we would probably buy it. Three years later, the lease was up and we began the process of buying the car. It involved a lot of misinformation from the dealership where we bought the car, and a lot of FedEx-ing back and forth paperwork with a loan company to get papers notarized and signed and such.

The last step (so it seems) was a trip to the RMV for new registration. I waited at the RMV for 2 hours on Monday (only to find out there was an error and I had to go back on Tuesday, but I will not get into that here), and was surprised when I was given new license plates along with everything else. (Lessons learned: Do NOT use Ira Toyota in Milford. They're terrible. And the RMV is the worst-run organization in the history of the world. Except, maybe, for Ira Toyota in Milford.)

So, I was left to put my new license plates on the car. Simple enough, right? Well, you know me and tools...

I unscrewed the front license plate no problem. Replaced it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, as my daughters have taken to saying. But now I was getting cocky. I moved around to the back of the car and the screws looked different - more plastic-like. The screw resisted my turn a I turned harder. Snap.

"That was weird," I thought. So I moved to the other screw. I turned. And twisted. And turned. Snap. Broke 'em both. The license plate came off, but now I was left with two headless screws protruding from the back of my car. I wracked my brain. I had no idea what to do. So I called my dad.No_Plate

He suggested I remove the inside back panel and see if I could get at the screws from the inside. I did. I couldn't. There's like a sleeve around the screw. It's the strangest thing. (Look at that picture to the right. This is the exterior view of the screws, obviously. And that's masking tape surrounding the spot where the screws were protruding. If that doesn't say something weird's afoot, I don't know what does.)

Anyway, I decided I would try to cap the headless screws with a bolt cover. Which would work great, except that when I ran to Home Depot just before closing, I got the size too small. So, that is how, at 6 in the morning on Tuesday I became one of the first Home Depot customers after being one of the last the previous night, and then finished off completing the most convoluted license plate attachment in history. (My neighbors must just set up at their windows and laugh at me. I'm certain of it. Usually I do things I might screw up inside the privacy of my own home...but a. I didn't think I'd screw this one up, and b. I had no choice but to do it in plain sight in the driveway.)

The license plate itself? Well, I already told you - the letters and numbers are important to me. And that was the only thing about the Venza that disappointed me - I didn't love its license plate.

It had a hard act to follow - my previous car, and license plate - a Corolla - had a repeating number followed by YE. So I could actually say it. Two six two six YE. So great.

Since I leased the new car, I had to get rid of that one and replace it with the non-memorable one...which is now retired. (I'm not going to go printing all of my license plate numbers here - you know, in case it leads to a stolen identity or something.)

I am proud to say that, from the category of "Every cloud has a silver lining", this license plate is the silver lining of this whole ordeal. The number is the same as my New York City Junior High School, and then the letters practically spell "Venza" - VZ - and then there's a repeated number to cap it off.

It's a great license plate number.

Trust me. I'm an expert.