Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Picture or it didn't happen: Rachel's driving test and Benjamin's first temple trip

This afternoon, Andrew took Rachel out to get do her driving test. Scheduling driving tests out here can be a little tricky (specifically for those not from around here, I suppose). First of all, when you go to select a location they have every location drop down in one menu, so you'd better pretty good at Georgia geography and know what locations are nearby. In Utah, for contrast, you choose first your region and then you choose precisely which location you'd like. It really narrows down how many addresses you need to look up to see where in the world state the place is. 

Also, things tend to fill up quickly. 

When I went through the process on Utah's website, I could still snag an appointment for tomorrow morning...if I wanted to...which I don't.

Rachel tested at Lawrenceville and I just checked and the next available appointment is April 10 (and there is only one slot available that day). That's more than a month away! 

And that's why Rachel had her learner's permit for 13 months before testing instead of the minimum 12 (and 1 day). 

I imagine testing is quite a bit different than it was back in the day (I don't know because the number of driving tests I've taken is zero). I believe the test administrator used to get in the vehicle with you. 

They don't do that here (at least not anymore; I hear it changed with COVID and it looks like it's a change that is sticking around).

Instead Andrew had to sit in the car with his phone on speakerphone, and there was a camera on the dash and in the back (or something). The administrator was watching from inside the DMV or DDS or whatever—while also doing administrative tasks at her desk—and telling Rachel to perform various tasks.

She started with parking and Rachel completely panicked (which I don't blame her) because not only was it parking (bad enough, right?), she was immediately asked to reverse into a designated parking stall. Some say this method is safer. Others think backup cameras eliminate this argument and drivers should just "pull straight into the space like geometry demands." 

I understand that either way you'll end up backing your car at some point (unless you look for a rocket spot (known to most as a pull-through spot (and certainly not a technique without controversy))), but I'd rather back out to a wide open space than into a narrowly-defined area.

That being said, I told Andrew that we should probably practice that skill with Miriam. 

Though I don't even know why that was on the test because that skill is not on the list of skills as far as I can see.

Anyway, Rachel failed "backing into a parking spot" and also parallel parking, which she was asked to do right on the heels of failing to back into a parking spot. 

I'm sure she would have eventually gotten into the spot, but she was flustered when she was asked to back into a spot—"complete this skill using no more than two moves," the administrator said, like this is chess or something—and so she started backing in and then decided her angle wasn't right so pulled out and then started going back in, but it was too late because she'd already failed. 

Same story for parallel parking.

"You need to calm down, sweetie," the administrator reminded her (that's how clearly flustered Rachel was; Andrew wasn't allowed to say anything or move his arms or anything, so he was just sitting there, holding his phone and feeling sorry for her).

Yesterday when she was practicing parallel parking with Grandpa, the delivery man (whose way she was blocking) gave her a standing ovation and praised her parking skills. And I had neighbours texting me to say they saw her parallel parking and that she was doing great

But she failed parallel parking, too. 

Let's see...what else did she tell me. 

Oh, she "disrespected a stop sign," though she's not really sure how or when. And they also had points taken off because they were told to park in a certain parking spot while the administrator finished scoring, so they did. But then they got out of the vehicle to stretch (stand on the sidewalk, whatever)...and the administrator took points off Rachel's score because that wasn't an official parking they were breaking the rules by exiting the vehicle. 


Rachel was sure she had failed because the administrator dove right into all this information before telling Rachel her score. "You really need to work on your parking skills. You failed parallel parking, you failed backing into a parking stall, you disrespected a stop sign," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

"And you passed with 82%," the lady finished. 

So, Rachel is now an officially licensed driver. 

We have no picture to mark this occasion.


To celebrate getting her license, Andrew was supposed to sit in the back seat on the way home from the DDS, but they were so flustered from the exam that they forgot. 

This evening, though, when they went to the temple, Andrew made Rachel drive. He sat in the back with Benjamin and Miriam sat in the front. 

It was Benjamin's first time attending the temple. He was very excited—so excited that he remembered last night that he'd have to wash his Sunday clothes to wear again on Tuesday. So he put in a load of laundry and followed through with it all the way to folding and putting it away. 

He got dressed quickly—even tied his own tie—and was right ready to go. 

He had a wonderful time, as did Andrew and the girls. Everyone enjoyed milk and cookies afterwards. Andrew said there were about 30 people there (which is a hugely impressive number for our ward).

I had asked Andrew to take a picture of the kids at the temple...but it was raining cats and dogs, so...

We have no picture to mark this occasion. 


  1. Wow. I really think that here or in Alberta, Rachel's results would have not resulted in a license. I am super happy that she has a license and can learn to park later, though! I still dislike parking, especially in my new car. I would rather not have a backup camera, but have my old car's sightlines.

    1. Well, she CAN park, just not in two moves. Hahaha!

    2. And, like I said, I don't know why they asked her to back into a stall because that's not on the list! "Backing" is (going straight for 50 feet), but not "pull two parking spots ahead and then reverse into a parking stall". So...I don't know where that came from. It was a surprise! :)

  2. Here in Utah, you still have an employee in the vehicle with you. Eloise just got her license yesterday. The one thing I do like about the way that they do it here, is you have one driving test included in your driver's education that is administired by your course instructor. If you pass all you have to do is show up to the DMV and pay your fee. If you don't pass, which happened to Elosie, you have to schedule an appointment at the DMV to take the test.

    I wish we were scheduling her at wherever you were looking as the appointments in our area were all a month out.

    1. Interesting. I just looked on the DMV website. I could still get an appointment tomorrow at the DMV in Orem if I wanted to, though there is much more availability next week.

    2. But I just checked Tooele (I'm not exactly sure where you guys are at) and there isn't any appointment until MAY!! I don't know if it works the way it does in Georgia (we can go to any DDS that we want to) or whether you have to go to your assigned DMV...

    3. And a hearty congratulations to Eloise!! :D

    4. We're up in Davis County, and yes, you can schedule at any office.