Following up on my quest for legality...
I called TXDOT to let them know that the Tax Assessor wasn't going to give me my plates because the title was incorrectly flagged as 'Exempt'. It was a classic moment. The TXDOT lady told me that all I needed to do was get the registration and plates and bring them to the TXDOT office and they could fix it up. Hmmm, laugh or cry? The Tax Assessor says that all I have to do is get the title fixed and they'll give me the registration and plates.
I laughed. This disturbed the TXDOT lady for a moment until I was able to get a breath and explain the irony. She softened a bit from her official demeanor and asked if she could call me back after looking into this.
I got a call back 2 hours later asking for Oscar (my name is Tim.) I asked what number they were trying to call (I like to be helpful with wrong number callers, it can happen to anyone,) and the called paused and said "Do you own a firetruck?" I recognized the TXDOT lady's voice and acknowledged my luck in owning a firetruck. She went on to explain that everything would be fixed in 24 hours. The title, weeks overdue, had actually been put in limbo because of the 'exempt' thing. I never would have gotten it without calling.
So theoretically I'm closer, incrementally closer. A comedy of disposable income.