I got my plate!!!!:
Street legal at last!!! At least I hope so.
I got the title in the mail yesterday and took it to the Tax Assessor this afternoon. I lined up my paperwork and explained my history only to get the gimlet eye of the admin. She says 'We'll see how far we can get through this today.' Gulp.
As she proceeds through the system she gets increasingly frustrated. Eventually she shows me the screen and tells me that she keeps getting the message "Registration cannot be purchased in advance." Apparently the system had decided that I was already registered. I confessed that this wasn't the case (imagining getting pulled over by a police officer, plate gets called in, hilarity and legal action ensues,) and got her to verify on her screens that I had never paid for the registration or plates.
By this time she has TXDOT on the phone and a couple of shoulder surfers from the office looking on. They are debating what to do. The consensus emerges that she should just give me the plate and I should leave. Somehow this feels like the seemingly simple compromise in the first chapters of a novel that will result in a crisis in the final chapters, but what can I do?
I took the plate, grabbed my (supposedly okay) title, said 'Thanks!' and left.
Now I just need to get it fixed so that it doesn't jump out of drive and into pump accidentally. But now I can go get gas!