Oh, what a day!
This morning, my husband and I went into town so that he could transfer his driver’s license, which was required in order to transfer our vehicle’s insurance and registration, to this province.
To recap some of the issues we’ve had so far;
I could not transfer my driver’s license because my married name did not match my birth certificate. I also had to prove I actually lived where I lived with a street address, instead of just a box number or the service location that is on our utility bills, when we live in an area that has no streets. Everyone now has drive way markers so the police, fire or ambulance can find people who live in the sticks like we do, but isn’t on any of our utility bills, because we don’t get mail delivery. I got the physical location address by basically going to the bank and saying “hey, this is where we live, can you give me something with that on it?” And the bank did, which was accepted. For my name, I had to pay to get my marriage certificate. I had to get it to get my health care card, too.
So I finally got my temporary paper license, with my new license soon to come. However, in order to transfer our vehicle, I needed to get it safetied, which I couldn’t do until the end of April, which then required some costly work done (which is why I waited until pay came in). Safety in hand, I went to transfer the vehicle, but my husband is co-owner with me, so he had to be there. So that had to wait until after Easter.
My husband hasn’t transferred his driver’s license yet, simply because he’s been in too much pain to make the trip into town for something he doesn’t really use.
He was still in a lot of pain, but this morning, we went into town, anyways, making sure he had his birth certificate, his new health care card (with our box number on it) and a utility bill with our physical address on it (our internet bill, which we could put the physical address on, ourselves, then print out).
He couldn’t get his license.
His ID doesn’t match his birth certificate.
His birth certificate has his full name – his given name, two middle names, and his surname. In Acadian tradition, he has gone by his second name all his life. This became a slight issue when he was in the military, where they ended up simply reversing his first and second names on their documentation.
Everything has been with this second name.
Except, it turns out, the license he used to have in this province, when we lived here up until 2004. That one had only his first name; no initials.
Meanwhile, his current driver’s license has his second name, with the initial of his first name, like it was when he was in the military.
But his health care card?
After they required he resend a copy of his birth certificate in a more legible form, they chose to simply drop his first name. It has his second name and the middle initial. So even the ID he does have, doesn’t match his current driver’s license.
The woman at the counter phoned the public insurance company about it.
According to them, he can’t get a license with his first name, as was on his old license, because none of his documentation has that name. But he can’t use the name he actually uses, even though that name is also on his birth certificate, because it’s his second name, not his first name.
They say he has to get a legal name change.
Un. Be. Lievable!
Just to get his driver’s license. Which would also be the only photo ID he would have. Even if he let his driver’s license lapse and just wanted a photo ID, it has the same requirements. He wouldn’t be able to get that, either, because they won’t accept the name he has been using HIS ENTIRE LIFE.
This is even worse than my having to prove I’m married to get my driver’s license transferred!!
In the end, he had to sign a gifting form (using the name he always uses), which allowed them to use only my name in transferring the vehicle insurance and registration (the insurance just has the name he uses and his surname, no initials, while the registration has his name with the initial of his first name, as it is on his license).
So I was able to get that done, at least, and the new license plates.
But my husband can’t even prove he is who he is, to the satisfaction of the public insurance company.
It took so long to the the van transferred that my husband had to leave and sit at a coffee shop, because the chairs were too uncomfortable for his back.
This is getting beyond ridiculous.
Oh, and we couldn’t even get a new disabled parking permit. In our previous province, he only needed a prescription from the doctor, and it was done at the same place we registered our vehicle at. Not here. The woman who helped us went online, found and printed off an application form for us, which we’ll have to mail in to a completely different organization.
The woman behind the counter was so apologetic, but there is nothing she could do.
In conversation, she had mentioned that it’s been like this since 9/11, but also there is the problem of identity theft. Which I can understand, but in trying to improve security and combat identify theft, there is no room for common sense. And it’s the front line staff like her that has to deal with frustrated customers like us.
But… when it comes to the van, it was finally done! At least at their end.
Once at home, I called our insurance company to cancel our vehicle insurance tomorrow, giving us a bit of time to get the new plates on. I could have had it cancelled beginning today, but I couldn’t put the plates on yet. Because our previous province only required one plate in the back, there were no screws to attach the front plate – or even holes to screw into. So I would need to go back into town and try and find the right kind of screws for this. Odd that, with all the stuff around this place, including a wide range of screws, I’d have to do that. I suppose I could have gone to one of the cars lying around and see if any of them had screws, but I really didn’t feel up to tromping through the snow to do it, or hunting through sheds.
Interestingly, since ending this insurance meant I no longer have the car/home insurance bundle, my monthly content insurance payments will be going down, instead of up, as I expected it to – as did the agent I spoke to. Also, there was no cancellation fee.
Not that I’m complaining!
The next call was to the company we registered the van with.
Turns out, that one requires a letter that explains why we were cancelling it, among other details, including what we planned to do with our plate. It’s a veteran’s plate, so we’ll be keeping that for posterity.
That done, it was time to go back into town. Aside from hoping the hardware store would have the right screws, I needed to stop at the pharmacy. My younger daughter came along, so we could play some Pokemon Go.
Did I mention it was a chilly day today?
As we were driving in, I noticed the van wasn’t heating up. I’d sort of noticed that earlier, but hadn’t actually needed to turn up the heat, so I didn’t think much of it.
We parked at the pharmacy and took advantage of the location to walk a block and do a raid and get some achievements in the game. This close to the lake, the breeze was freezing, so we were glad it was an easy fight, and we could rush back to the pharmacy and take care of things there.
Then it was back to the van, and we were going to do a bit more game playing before hitting the hardware store.
As we drove to our usual park, I tried to turn the heat on.
It was blowing cold air.
What’s going on?
We parked the van, and I decided to leave it running as we played the game.
I also fiddled with the heat settings. It was still blowing cold, so I shut the fan off completely.
Then I watched as the temperature gauge began surging up. And up. And… the engine is overheating? How? It hasn’t been on long enough to overheat!
I shut it off.
We caught a few Pokemon, then I started the engine to move to the other end of the parking lot, where more Pokemon would be.
Before I even got to the other end, the temperature gauge screamed up to overheat, warning lights started turning on, and my onboard computer started telling me the engine was overheating, and it was shutting off the A/C to protect the engine.
The A/C wasn’t on.
I shut off the engine and popped the hood.
The engine was cold. There was no sign of anything untoward.
I started the engine.
It did it again.
I shut it off and called the garage, describing what happened.
Sounds like the thermostat. They could look at it for me, but they did have two appointments coming in. I told him I could be there within 10 minutes.
I started the engine.
The gauge was fine. In the middle, where it should be.
I start driving.
It goes up to about 3/4s, then drops down to below half. Then it settled.
Also, we had heat again.
What the heck?
I get to the garage and discuss it for a bit. Sounds like the thermostat got stuck, then unstuck. It might not happen again. They wouldn’t be able to do anything about it until tomorrow, anyhow. We’re driving to the city tomorrow. Should I be worried? Keep and eye on it; if it starts to go up, pull over and give it time to cool again. We talk some more, then my daughter and I start to head out. Before we do, I remember to ask about screws for the license plate. Would they have any?
Yes, they did. And the mechanic was even willing to put them on for me, but I didn’t have them with me. So they just have me the screws. 🙂 I asked, and it turns out a hardware store likely would not have had them. So there’s one positive, at least!
As we are leaving their parking lot, the temperature gauge starts going up. We have no heat again.
By the time I drove the quarter mile to the highway, it was high enough for a warning light, so I pulled over and shut off the engine.
I called the garage again and told him what was happening. We talked for a bit, but he was with a customer, so he asked if he could call back.
So my daughter and I wait. I start the engine. Still doing it. I shut it off.
I then figure, since I’m already so close, I’ll just drive over and talk to the guy in person.
Of course, once I was driving, the phone rang. My daughter answered. He told her that they could fit me in after an oil change they were doing. She told him we were already pulling into their parking lot!
So we go in and I talked to him again. They have a thermostat in stock and they’ll fit me in. We talk about what it might be if changing the thermostat isn’t enough. Then my daughter and I wait. And wait.
At one point, a mechanic comes by on his break and he comments on our need for a thermostat. We talk for a bit, and I tell him what the vehicle was doing. After his break, he comes for the keys and takes the van in.
It ends up taking an hour to replace the thermostat – a job I later learn is listed as a 2.4 hour task. After it’s changed, they start it up and rev the engine for a few minutes to test it out.
While this was happening, I started chatting with one of the mechanics behind the counter. He started asking how things were doing for us, and so on. I suddenly realize.
I recognize him. He grew up on the farm bordering ours. In fact, we’re distantly related. The other mechanic I’d seen before the weekend that recognized me is also a distant cousin. That’s two relatives, in one garage!
After that, the mechanic that worked on the van comes to me. It’s done and working, but there’s a leak.
I tell him I’m aware of the leak. Start talking about the power steering.
No, it turns out. Not that one; he’d noted that one in the safety papers. He brought me over to show me.
There’s a pipe where coolant is leaking, right at the join.
I knew there was a leak in that location; there was a stain on the underside of the hood above it, but I had never seen the leak itself. There were never any puddles or signs when I looked at it. I just assumed it was from the power steering leak. However, as he’d had to rev the engine for as long as he did, the engine was warm and the pressure was high, and now we could see the leak.
I had also been low on coolant, which he’d topped up for me. This leak would be why I was low on coolant.
The possible solution; replace the pipe. They’ve have to order one in, unless they could find a used one that was in good shape. Or he could try a couple of other things that we discussed.
How worried should I be about it?
I got instructions on keeping an eye on the coolant levels in the overflow reservoir. What to watch out for. What to do, until I could get it fixed.
I bought a gallon of coolant to keep in the van.
The thermostat itself was really cheap. The gallon of coolant cost way more. The highest cost was the labour, of course.
I also got a quote for the other work. If they use a new part, it’ll cost another $200 +
In just the past 7 days, we’ve dropped over $1000 on the van. Money from the moving company to replace the power pole they broke, once the ground thaws. Money we’ll have to replace as soon as we can.
When we got the van home, I parked close to the house and got the license plates on – the front bumper didn’t have holes, but it did have marks for them. After moving the van to the garage, I popped the hood.
No sign of the coolant leak; any liquid had already dried, but the level in the overflow reservoir was down. The question is; is it down because of the leak, or down because the engine was now cold? Or both?
I topped it up, anyways, just a bit.
Tomorrow, we go to the city for our monthly bulk shopping. This is going to be the real test for the leak.
What a day.