I am now once again, officially allowed to stay in the country.
up at 5:30 am, get to the T station about seven or so, hit our stop just after eight… NO taxis to be found. Walk to gas station, end up phoning cab and waiting anxiously to be found. Taxi shows up after much fretting and takes us to government building on the edge of nowhere, Pittsburgh. Seriously. I could pitch a tent and declare myself a soverign nation without anyone noticing.
get into interview, hit snag – my passport has expired. BUT, as I explain, I was told by the INS on the phone that this was fine and not going to affect my case.
now, I told you that story to tell you this one.
see, in Canada passports aren’t renewable. They EXPIRE, like a Dead Parrot. Cease to be. Become UN-passports, as it were. AND they doubled the price to get a passport, pushing it up over a hundred bucks. AND for me to get a NEW passport while here, I’d have to messenger original documents like, say… my birth certificate and some goodies like that to Canada and hope for the best.
Oh, I SO don’t think so.
thus, the problem.
No problem, happy INS guy says – we’ll give you a card with your pic on it. He’s actually been to Canada and has Tim Horton coffee tins on his desk. I like him. Of course, he says, fondling the two “official” photos I had to get for the meeting – you’ll need to get two more pics. The post office can do it, just go up to the main street and go right.
okay… I’m fine. At least until he asks the Wookie and I “So, what do the two of you do together?”
oh, SO not going there. Leather and bondage may not exactly be what the man wants to hear, ya know?
“Oh, we play games together. A lot.”
He creates little wee card for me to keep and takes nice laminated old one away. We scamper out the door and ask the nice security officer where the post office is.
“Oh, go up to Carson here and it’s just past 18th street.”
We are at 30th Street. And no, we’re not talking Munchkin blocks.
luckily, a bus comes along as we’re about to start the trek from hell. Luckily, the post office does do photos and we get them done (again) and we get out to catch another bus back. Luckily the bus “only” drops us off at 26th Street, since it doesn’t “go” that way. Lord knows where it goes, but not there.
we finally deliver the two new photos to the secretary and by this time, I’m freaking out. I’m hot, sweaty, nervous and exhausted, grumpy, dehydrated and beyond bitchiness. Which is impressive for me, really. Lord knows the Wookie deserves a Purple Heart for putting up with me.
I INSIST we grab a cab and we’re off to “shopping” in downtown Pittsburgh. I find a TON of old Battletech gaming stuff in Phantom of The Attic and get nauseous. Now I’m sitting on the steps swilling the last of my water; chomping on stale granola bars and wondering if this is my nerves or what. Wookie realises it’s just my system cracking up and gets me a Snapple; then we get on bus and get HUGE bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Capers are odd. Tomato soup as well; full up again. He leaves me at Barnes & Noble while he goes to other store for quick lookie. We get back on T, back to car, drive home and now me collapsing lump.
tomorrow – BACK to writing that ten page writing excerpt for that writing contest for Wizards of the Coast!
did I mention I’m now allowed to stay?