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2008-04-20 - 7:55 a.m.

..theory vs practice, or just dial *1...

As much as I hate to move on from the brag photos...(in fact, I have to look at them just one more time...there.). We had another full day yesterday, just after the snow melted and the sun came out and the temperatures went WAY up.

We decided that the people who would REALLY know if Susi and I will be allowed on the plane in June are the people who will be making that decision. So we drove to the airport and just used the US Customs and Immigration courtesy phone (It's black). We barged past the "US PASSENGERS ONLY" sign and walked right up to the US border greeters (okay, the guards stationed outside duty free in charge of making sure that you actually have a ticket, passport, and customs declaration forms). And we asked to talk to a US immigration officer. They ushered us over to the Black Phone and we dialed *1 to get the USA.

Isn't that cool? You can just dial *1 and the USA answers. Wonder if it works from home....

Just tried it. Nope. In fact I think I've accidentally activated some Telus phone feature that will cost me an additional $8/month...

Anyway, I got a very different response from the lady at the border. She was rather blase and said something like, "yeah, I'd let ya in." I was the one who had to suggest the notarized letter from my spouse..and she said, "yeah, that would be a good idea." huh. Just hoping that they didn't connect me to the caterer or the janitor or something.

So then K decided we should go talk to the Canadians. We walked over to Canadian Border Services....which was closed on Saturday. So we stood around looking stupid for a few minutes until a guy in a "Canadian Border Patrol" uniform just happened to walk past us carrying his lunch in a brown paper bag from Burger King. (at least, I think it was his lunch. Maybe he likes, you know, just to carry around Burger King bags.) And we then asked if he would let me and Susi BACK into the country. He made a couple of suggestions, smiled, and basically said, "no worries." (an oft-heard expression in Funcouver, perhaps also British Cannabis, maybe even all over Canada. Definitely oft-repeated by Australians - I like it. I like the concept of going through life with "no worries.")

Now this is apparently the difference between Theory (that is, State Department clerks) and Practice (Border Patrol dudes). K hypothesizes that the dudes at the State Department are used to ONLY dealing with the worst case problem scenarios - so it looks like people like us are rejected all the time for not fitting into a nice neat little immigration box. In Practice, the border dudes see this stuff all the time and they've figured out how to apply the law in a practical manner. I think it is more complicated than that, because we've also been held up by the Border dudes.

One thing we've also learned is that airport dudes are more lenient than land border dudes! K and I did this same thing in NY many years ago when the whole K-1 visa fiasco started. We had a case that didn't match the books. All of our conversations with the State Department did nothing but send us into a tizzy of contradiction and confusion.

We went circling around the bowels of JFK until we found two US Border Patrol dudes on a lunch break eating some version of Thai peanut noodles out of a plastic take-away container (don't know why I still remember that detail..). We explained the K-1 visa situation - in two part harmony - and they shrugged their shoulders and said, "yeah, we'd let you in." (which was in stark contrast to what we experienced on the land border).

So, now with data from the airport, I think that the odds have shifted in our favor for getting both me and Susi out of Canada, into the US, and then BACK to Canada without being arrested for child abduction. We'll see...

So what else? We deposited our stroller at the shop to be fixed. Yes. sadly, our super duper Zooper stroller BROKE last week. Does not bode well for future stroller activities. It is not a major break, but the thing is still under warranty and so we decided to take it in. Good news: the Russian stroller repair guy said that he's never seen this type of damage to a stroller. I think this is good news because it means that the damage was a fluke and not a systematic problem with our model. We were even given a nice replacement Italian model for the week, from our nice friendly Russian stroller repair guy. (I may not have mentioned that I have a bit of a stroller problem...Months of stroller research - to identify THE best stroller for us - have left me a bit ... altered. I'm like a 15-year-old boy with cars. I identify the models as they stroll past.)

Anyway - there was more to the day (wanted to comment on how much the CBC radio special on TV theme songs REALLY cheered me up), but Susi calls.

Have a great Sunday, y'all.

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