Come Mr. Tally Man

Remember the certified letter I stayed home waiting for? Well, it never did show up on Thursday. Didn’t come on Friday or Saturday, either. Monday? Holiday. Tuesday? Nope. Today? Ha. Never mind that I signed up for a redelivery and received acknowledgement that it would arrive September 3rd. So, I finally dragged myself to the post office, where I fortunately did not have to stand in a long line. Actually, I was in and out of there in about three minutes, which has to be some kind of record.

And, yeah. They had my certified letter. I’d insert an eye roll emoji here if I knew how.

As suspected, the certified letter contained the title and registration paperwork I needed for my Hyundai, so I ambled on over to the treasurer’s office next (my favorite form of walking—a nice, leisurely, stop-and-smell-the-roses pace), where my luck did not hold because the line stretched all the way to the door. 30 minutes later I was at the front of the queue and got everything squared away. I was not expecting to pay $961, though!! When the clerk gave me the total, I actually thought I’d misunderstood her. It was crowded and noisy in there, after all. But I asked her to repeat the amount and, sure as shit, I’d heard her correctly. Adding insult to injury? The “convenience” of paying by credit card added another $24, bringing my total to a whopping $985. What was I supposed to use, a check?! I’m pretty sure I have a checkbook buried in a drawer at home somewhere, but it’s certainly not something I carry around with me. What is this, 1988? Maybe I should mosey on over to the video store next and rent Beetlejuice on VHS. I write maybe two checks a year, and have been using the same stack of checks since 2016. The address isn’t just out of state, it’s like four residences old. In any case, that heart attack-inducing total was the result of a little thing called a motor vehicle excise tax, which in South Dakota amounts to 4% of the purchase price of a new vehicle.


I probably should have read the fine print, huh? All I knew was, when we registered our existing vehicles in South Dakota, it cost next to nothin’. Because you aren’t given the option of declining to pay the MVET (“sorry guys, money’s a little tight so I’m a-gonna have to take a hard pass on that”), I had no choice but to fork it over. I went ahead and ordered my personalized license plates while I was at it, because when you’re stuck paying close to a grand, what’s another $25, right?

Remind me to hang onto this car for a long, long time.

The storm that blew through Monday night lived up to its hype. After dropping over an inch of rain during the day, we woke up Tuesday morning to a chilly 32º and this:

Rapid City set records for earliest freeze, earliest snowfall, and most precipitation for the date. Granted, it amounted to less than an inch and was all melted by afternoon, and it’ll be back in the 80s next week, but still. We’ve had our heat on and it’s been weird bundling up to go outside. I even got to try out the heated seats in my Kona (looove). Some places in the Black Hills received over a foot of snow! Needless to say, after the low this morning dropped into the 20s, I’m pretty sure our garden is done.

I love the way the seasons appear to be duking it out here. The tree says it’s autumn but the ground screams winter. Meanwhile, the good ol’ calendar is like, “Hold up. It’s still summer.

Honestly, I think seasons are no more than a suggestion here in South Dakota. What will be, will be, regardless of the date.

31 thoughts on “Come Mr. Tally Man

  1. I love that shot of the yellow tree and the snow.

    Meanwhile, the only thing falling from the sky here is ash. It’s finally cool enough to open the windows, which I did…and now my house is covered in ASH.


  2. I would normally consider those pictures pretty, but given the date, I consider them an insult to everything I hold dear.

    Here in MN, all those car fees you paid would have been wrapped up in the total amount you pay when you are at the dealership. It’s painful then, but now I can see that it’s less painful having them all wrapped up together with the price of the car.

    Yesterday I spent all day waiting for a delivery I had to sign for. The UPS site said I could discover my package’s delivery window if I would sign up for UPS My Choice. At first, I refused (No. More. Passwords!) but I really wanted to go into work for at least a half day if I could, so I caved, only to find out the window was a bay window: 8am – 9pm, so really no window at all. Deceitful bastards! Anyway, my package came at 3:30, so I could have gone in for most of the day, had I known. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I assumed the cost was wrapped up in the purchase price. Surprise, surprise! But as Tara pointed out, at least I don’t have to pay interest on it this way. Nice silver lining there, I suppose.

      “Bay window” indeed! Glad it finally showed up for you, at least.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That final pic is gorgeous. But snow In a September? No thank you. As for the tax, Maine is the same. As much as I love buying a new car, registering it for the first few years makes me physically ill.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG, Mark, $985.00?!?!?!?! That’s insane! I’ve bought used cars before, but I don’t ever remember paying that much. And don’t you LOVE how companies charge you an extra fee for using a credit card? My apartment building has a “pay your rent online” feature on their website that invites the tenants the luxury of paying their rent online instead of mailing it in. However, do you know what they charge for that “luxury?” $39.00. No way! I’ll write a check and mail it in for FREE, thank you very much!

    In AWE at the snowfall you got already, considering that your temps. have been so high for the past several weeks.

    Sure hope we get snow here too!

    Enjoy, my friend. I’m very envious! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I did a blog about “convenience fees”, if you recall. I bet if you looked hard enough, you might have seen a sign that said “cash not accepted”, and/or “checks not accepted”. I know you are a Democrat, and I respect that difference, but after this, do you really think we can trust the Post Office with 250 million possible vote by mail ballots?


    1. Absolutely! Most states are pushing for those ballots to be sent in as early as possible. I’ve always voted by mail…in California, Oregon, and Washington. And here this summer. As long as Trump doesn’t try to completely defund and shut down the USPS before then.


      1. Bad choice of words. Trump has never said he wanted to defund the PO. He just did not want to approve a stimulus bill that gave them AN EXTRA $3 billion. Extra. As in more than they are budgeted for. The only use of the word defund is from the left…and that is in reference to the police.


  6. Well, I feel vindicated about my last comment on the USPS! Lol! Good grief.

    Our state, local, and other BS registration fee taxes are added on to the Sales price negotiated with the dealership, so there’s no surprise at the end. You just bend over and pay the added 8% extra above the sale price.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel we are speaking more than one language and none I am familiar with: defund, hijacking, etc. are we talking about conspiracy theory for fiction pieces ready to sell? We must deal with reality.

    Tomorrow is Monday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I got the idea from a three-part expose in the local newspaper in Portland way back in the late ’90s. They followed these groups and mentioned how it was fortunate that nobody had gotten killed in any of their attacks. That made me wonder, what if there were a group so emboldened by the cause they considered human lives collateral damage? And the rest is history.

      Liked by 2 people

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