In which I could really use a personal assistant.

Every once in a while — well, more frequently lately, due to the increased paperwork that comes with a baby and a house — someone makes me feel like a derelict for not being able to manage the myriad processes of certification that are part of moving to a new home, especially from abroad, or just keeping up one's membership in society. For example, I have been trying for nine months to complete our application for permanent residence, but at every turn I discover a new piece of documentation that we don't have, and then another piece expires while I'm getting the new one, and then they change the application from paper to online, and then our address changes and everything has to be redone from the start. I recognize that managing this kind of stuff is a skill, and that D and I both lack this skill. But even when I manage to get all the pieces aligned, through a concentrated exertion of effort, it remains Kafkaesque. The office where I processed this set of forms a year ago now tells me, as I try to renew them, that it is impossible that I processed these forms in this place a year ago, because these forms must be processed in another place. But it is not impossible! It happened! I go to the other place, where they ask me why I have filled out this form and not another form. But this is the form that was sent to me! With explicit and somewhat scary instructions to Fill Out THIS Form! Also, they do not know why I bothered to come to this location, when I could have gone to another location. But the other location sent me here, I say. No, that is impossible, they tell me. It is not impossible! It just happened! Usually, someone huffs at us for a while, then tells us to go get something faxed and come back again later.

The endless pressure of being only halfway done with these things, plus the added indignity of being constantly reprimanded for not intuiting how the system works, has been turning me and D into anxious, unpleasant people, so I'm trying to write it out so I can just be on the record with my complaint and not let it become a worm in my character.

Also, I'm writing this from the third hour, second queue, second location of trying to renew my health card, with husband and baby in tow, on a day when husband and I are both supposed to be working, and this is unquestionably the simplest bureaucratic operation on our list.

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6 thoughts on “In which I could really use a personal assistant.

  1. Do you know that Gillian Welch is going to be in Buffalo sometime soon?

    I’m sorry, it seems bureaucracy is bureaucracy no matter what country. Or perhaps that should be spelled bureacraZy.

  2. Gaaahhh, one place saying one thing versus the other place saying the complete opposite, bane of my life (happened to me earlier this summer; a mistake that cost me entry into Canada for a while). As much as Canadian immigration systems and other bureaucracies attempt to “centralize” the incompetence of higher-ups to make sure the staff army is on the same page is always appalling. Sorry to hear you’re stuck in line on a work day =(

  3. The Bright Side

    Your baby is beautiful and looks very smart. Your dog loves your baby and that is wonderful. Your cat may have bladder issues, but she is sort of cute. Your husband looks happier than I think I’ve ever seen him, and you…well, motherhood has treated you well…you look gorgeous.

    I remember when my son was a new baby and my daughter was still in diapers and my son breastfed a lot and my daughter only at night. I felt like I was a milk cow and then I had to file insurance papers for my son’s birth…for some reason, in those days, your baby wasn’t automatically added to your insurance, so you had to take birthcertificates and notarized papers to the insurance representative and after about ten trips to try and get the right paper and the right thing to the right person (with both kids in tow), I finally lost it and looked into the eyes of the insurance man and said, I don’t give a flying fuck if this is not what you need…it is what the last person said and I am not going back and getting another thing. If this doesn’t work, then don’t pay the damned bill…I’m leaving now.
    They paid my son’s hospital bill. Sometimes you just have to be a little crazy; although, I don’t think I would say flying fuck. Sometimes that is a little too much.

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