2006-11-12 - 9:13 a.m.
Weather yesterday: overcast
This morning I woke up and walked over to the revised tarp assembly (picture to come) on the porch - it is still holding through this bout of rain. And it makes me think that our landlord would be a cool guy to go camping with. Wow, is that tarp pitched up there.
Last week we received our applications for permanent residence back, with the warm sensation that we have been given the approval to apply. Yes, we have entered yet another bizarre residence application ritual, that feels vaguely like a treasure hunt, gathering information about ourselves...but I'll get to that in a minute.
K and I filed our residence paperwork with the university back in mid June. As a research chair I am eligible for a special nomination program that is supposed to speed up the otherwise 2 -year process of getting permanent residence. From the get-go I've been urged by the university to file this paperwork as quickly as possible, so that a university official could review it and submit it on our behalf. This is supposed to speed up the whole process so that it takes six months.
Our uni official - let's call her 'Honey' for the sake of this discussion - is an extremely sweet person. And extremely ineffectual. Honey sat on the paperwork for 4 months before verifying that we did, indeed, fill out the .pdf forms correctly. (because, you know, neither K nor I have ANY experience with governmental forms..). Once she finally submitted the thing, the provincial government, on the other hand, turned the application around and got back to us in less than two weeks. So we are left wondering if the 4 months of the university sitting on the paperwork is or is not included in the estimate of 6 months...
But here's the kicker (or one of the kickers): This set of paperwork was just the "trial run." I guess it really WAS a test to see if we could actually fill out .pdf forms, because the provincial representative - let's call her Apu - informed us that we now need to fill out the forms 'for real' and resubmit them to her office.
So...here's the next kicker. Honey - remember our ineffectual uni official? - sent in our paperwork using our old, NY address, after WE had explicitly discussed this with her, and even PROVIDED the correct addresses. So for some reason the Canadian government now thinks that we still live in New York. They sent all of the 'real' application forms to our former NY landlords and think that we should do all of our in-person interviews through BUFFALO. Hello. So we are left wondering, really, what the intermediate university step actually was supposed to do...apart from supplying the necessary confusion and time delay that MUST be part of ANY residence application, apparently.
Indeed the 'real' application has arrived (thanks to our NY landlords who mailed it off right away in an envelope that cost 90 cents - or so they told us) And indeed, the 'real' application is a bit more involved. We have to retrieve personal photos, for example. Not a problem, really. But we also have to get police reports from every country in which we have lived for the past 10 years. Between K and myself, this is no small number of countries....
I'm going after Sweden, Germany, and the US. K has an easier job, because he's just done this for his US application, and AHA! therefore already HAS a packet of police reports from Germany, USA, and Switzerland...
K gave me my mission - if I chose to accept it - which was to figure out how the hell to get all of these criminal background checks on myself. So this is the treasure hunt part! On Friday afternoon - while our landlords were scuffling about the roof building Tarp Version 1.1.03 - I was doing a major internet surf on how to find my criminal records.
And, not surprisingly, the internet prevailed. I found the address and phone number of the FBI where I called and got a recorded message telling me exactly how to do this. (and boy, it really would have been in keeping with the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE theme of this story if the recorded message had ended with - 'this message will self destruct in ten seconds.' - sigh.)
So I went to the FBI webpage and downloaded their special FBI forms, including a special fingerprinting card. To get my special FBI approved criminal record in 8-10 weeks, I need to mail them a credit card number, and a full set of my fingerprints. So that they can put them through the FBI fingerprint database like they do on all those crime shows, I guess.
Isn't that cool? I'm gonna be in the FBI fingerprint database...well, technically, I already should be because I was already fingerprinted back in 1986 when I took a summer job as a psychology technician at a state-run mental health institute. But somehow I'm guessing that those never made it into the database, so this will be my virgin inception into a life documented by the FBI...
So....does anybody out there know where to go to get yourself fingerprinted?? Right. At the Vancouver Police Station, for a fee of $30. I mean, I COULD have gone out and committed a crime in front of a cop and then gotten myself arrested and fingerprinted so that I could then stand in front of the judge and say, Your Hono(u)r, I committed this crime so that I wouldn't have to pay the $30....but this does seem a little bit perverse, and perhaps more expensive in the long run.
So I went online in an attempt to find the nearest police department where fingerprinting is done. Instead K and I both found the crime statistics for our neighborhood. Yow. A tiny little reminder to keep our door locked at night.
But that aside. K finally wound up calling our local community office who gave us what we now call the "Canadian answer." That is, the person was lovely, friendly, helpful, and informative - and took 3-5 times longer than it would take a normal New Yorker to provide the same information. But we had our information, and so we got right into the car and drove over to Vancouver Police Headquarters to get me fingerprinted.
In fact, it appears that this is why EVERYONE goes to the Vancouver Police Headquarters - the fingerprinting dude was the busiest guy there. In fact, there was nothing else going on there BUT fingerprinting. Maybe they bring the criminals in the BACK door where we the fingerprintees can't see them.
So now I am equipped with a full set of fingerprints - heck I got a duplicate set in case I ever need them again (?). And we are one step closer to submitting the 'real' application.
By the way, it's still raining.
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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29