Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And let me just say this...

My day started off with cr@p X 2 diapers.  Our little guy woke up at even more dark o-clock than he usually does.  I played dead for as long as I could and then got up and whoa!  Mega filled, stinky diaper.  And then another one an hour later.  When I changed the second one, I decided to get him dressed.  I sat on our bed and noticed something wet...yes, our dreadful cat peed on our bed.  I had heard him scratching around his litter box earlier in the morning and knew this was a possibility.  We clean his box every day but occasionally he has an angry fit and pees on our bed.  Yes, it's as gross as it sounds.  So I stripped the bed and started washing the mattress cover, fitted sheet, top sheet, quilt and quilt cover...all done one at a time in our little washer.  Fortunately the woman who watches our little guy while I am working did most of it for me...or I would have come home late this afternoon to yucky cat pee sheets.
I taught this morning and that was fun.  The students that I have are cute and now that they are relaxing, I am getting a better grasp of their English level.  For the sixth and seventh graders, we are reading The Phantom Tollbooth aloud- super fun book but challenging for them to understand.
Anyway, this afternoon Elisabeth and I had to go to the Consulate to turn in her paperwork for a new passport.  Hers expires next Spring but she needs a different visa when she turns 18 in October.  Passports usually have to have a year left before expiration before a visa can be given so she needs a new one.  Plus when we left San Francisco, the airline ticket agent looked at her passport and asked who it belonged to.  That might me a sign that she looks different now than when she was thirteen.
So we taxied up to the American Consulate.  Paul and I were there once before to get some documents notarized and I was prepared to sit a while.  We crossed the blocked off road to get into the Consulate and showed our passport and appointment slip.  We then got the golden ticket to enter the building, gave up our backback and purses but took in money, passports, paperwork and two books to read -Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry for me and Crazy Love by Francis Chan for Elisabeth.
When we got to the office, we went to the window, she went over the paperwork and then we paid $135.00 for the passport.  That is not the expedited fee. Then we were told to go and sit and wait.  I wondered what we were waiting for.  So we waited and waited and waited.  My hopes for going to the foreign grocery store with Elisabeth were dashed after the first hour.  After an hour and a half, a guy who was ahead of us was called up.  He was there to get extra pages put in his passport.  He came back from being called up looking disgusted.  Apparently he was told that the pages weren't in yet and they were confirming that's what he wanted.  Um, yes since that's what he told them when he came in and paid the $82.00 for extra pages. After two hours, we were called up.  The nice man said "Oh, so you need a new passport?"  Um....as we said two hours ago and paid for....YES! Then we were sent to another window and told  "Okay, we'll e-mail you in about two weeks and you can make another appointment to pick it up."  Really, another appointment?  You actually can have it couriered to you but we couldn't do that.  Elisabeth is traveling next week and needs her passport to check into a motel.  By agreeing to come back and get it, she could keep her passport.  If we had it mailed, she couldn't keep her passport.  We'll have to turn in her passport when we go back to pick up her new passport.  I hope that when "we" have to go back, "we" doesn't include me.
Really, Consulate.  You can do better than that.  Don't make people sit for hours for that kind of thing.  Get more people, open more windows, develop a better system. Do something.
Anyway, it was bad taxi time when we got out (bad taxi time is shift change and taxi's don't want to stop).  After throwing ourselves in front of a taxi, we had a very nice taxi driver who got us home quickly and alive.  Rush hour traffic in a big city in China is not for the fearful.
Have I mentioned that after 7 weeks apart, two weeks together, and then 3 weeks apart, Paul is coming home on Thursday.  I wonder if I will recognize him.


prechrswife said...

Wow, that makes me exhausted just reading it!

Amelia said...

What a lovely day! I think I'd get rid of thee cat! Actually I'd get rid of the consulate if I could! :)

Lillie's Mom said...

Beauracracy in any form is frustrating. This sounds a tiny bit like our process of obtaining permission from the US gov't to bring home a child from China. And the time we spent dealing with the consulate in Guangzhou. (lots and lots of waiting!) And the flight home- homeland security was not a pleasurable experience in NJ. And the process we've gone through since bringing her home- including the IRS audit we are currently undergoing because we claimed the adoption tax credit we qualify for. *sigh* Sadly this nonsense has been the biggest surprise to me in our entire 4 yr long adoption story. I can imagine where you are it is this type of ridiculousness times a thousand!

Wishing your husband Godspeed and safe travels. Hope as well that the little man's tummy is feeling better and that your daughter's passport renewal goes smoothly. :0)

Sally-Girl! said...

I am tired just reading your post! Sorry for all that, but boy can I relate. BTDT and I know it is ten times harder in China!!