Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Sunday, September 30, 2012

more waiting

Well it turns out Judith was right. She is an Internet friend who is also waiting for immigration to the US, and she told me - what - a year ago? - that we can't count on anything because this whole thing is not real until I have the document in my hand that says I can enter the United States.

You know me. I am different. I am special. So, my ego has been continually getting slapped in the face for that run of pride and here I am, still waiting.

It was a year ago yesterday that we were rejected at the border. When we started the entire process over again we sure didn't think it would take a year or more. In fact, in November of last year, it even looked hopeful that I'd be there by Christmas. How naive we were.

It keeps on happening where we think we are almost there and then they add a few more months and another list of things they want us to do. No one can really understand this, because it doesn't seem like this should be such a complicated process. I keep hearing questions like "what do they think people who are waiting for immigration are doing while they are waiting?" but the truth is that we are not special. The United States lets in one million immigrants a year, I read (not sure if that was one million people going through the same route I am or if it's entering as illegal and going that route).

I keep getting asked if it wouldn't have been easier if we had lied and said we were just going on vacation and then applied from within? Yes, yes it would. But Dan and I were determined to do everything the right way in line with what the government has decreed the correct routes are. And we are being penalized for it. This is not sending a good message to new or potential immigrants.

So Dan spoke to the people yesterday about the whole 20 days thing. We have submitted all our documents electronically, but it went to the National Visa Center, and they have to verify that everything is there before they will release it to the Consulate in Montreal. That could take up to 20 days. Luckily they work a six-day week so it will hopefully be only three weeks instead of four, but perhaps less. Dan also asked about the 83 days thing (in the summer when I checked it was something like 47). It's because a number of the staff are on holidays right now so they are running low on agents to process these files. So there we are. If I get my interview before Christmas, then I will be very happy. If I don't though, it sounds like they shut down the office for a few weeks around the holidays - which means further delays - and it will mean traveling in the dead of winter.

Now as it is coming up on eight months since I last saw Dan, he is going to come visit me. Tomorrow he'll have a meeting with the powers that be to discuss when and how long he can be away for. I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to know that I will at least see him even if I can't go back with him just yet.

This whole debacle has really made clear that our marriage is solid and it is an amazing thing to know that we can depend on each other. I also have to remember that we will be together again one day, someday I will get my husband back. The husband of a woman I know came down suddenly with dementia last year and was recently hospitalized, the health care professionals are talking about putting him in a care facility because he is more than she can handle in his declining state. She will never get her husband back, so I am reminded how lucky I am that I will.

I am also reminded that, if I have a few more months in Victoria than I was originally expecting, then I have to think about what to do with my time until I can go. There has been talk in the family of spending Christmas in Las Vegas. That plan assumed that I would already be in the States and not prevented from entering as it stands right now. I hate to be the thing that gets in the way of a fun family holiday season, so who knows what we'll end up doing. Maybe sometime in the next, say, 20 days or so we will have a better sense of where I'll be, which will also indicate where Dan will be, and we can go from there. As you know, I *love* Christmas with Dan's family so it would be nice to be with them, but there are no guarantees. But I can spend the next two and a half months thinking about what to do for gifts...

Friday, September 28, 2012

well, maybe January

I could really use some good news friends. Seriously.

Today we got the email that said "thank you for submitting all your documents electronically, we'll let you know in the next 20 business days if it's all in order".

So that sucked. We thought we were ready to schedule.

Then I logged in to try scheduling anyway, since we are extremely certain they have every document they want.

The next available appointment is in 83 days.

Words cannot describe how we are feeling just now. We thought we were within a month of seeing each other.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

still waiting

Maybe tomorrow's "tomorrow" will be the right tomorrow.

There was the submitting of documents to the National Visa Center and then the waiting for them to check and see that we had everything they wanted. That took longer than expected (why are we surprised?)

So, with any luck, I will be awakened tomorrow morning by the sound and vibration of my phone, which sleeps next to me, indicating a text message from Dan saying he has talked to the NVC and here is my date and it will be something like November 4th. Or maybe it will be sooner. At any rate, I hope that we are not 12 hours away from an actual date.

Anyway, I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, last night I had dinner with some friends I hadn't seen in several months. It was so nice to be around people who share my interests, who can get equally indignant about grammatical errors, and who are always happy to see me when I come. I keep hearing from many people "I hope I don't see you again" or "I'll be happy to see you leave, but in a good way".

More on the events as they happen...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

on the edge of a go date

My criminal record check from Japan, the last document I have been waiting for, arrived today. We have only to submit them electronically (Dan will do tomorrow) and then it looks like we can schedule my interview with the consulate in Montreal. THIS COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN TOMORROW. So I'm a little excited. The knowledge of the date of my interview will trigger a cascade of other actions:

- I book my flight to Montreal
- I make an appointment with an immigration doctor in Vancouver
- I inform my brother-in-law in Montreal the dates of my stay
- I inform my friends in Vancouver the dates of my stay
- I tell the Internet
- I make a dozen phone calls informing friends and family of my happy news
- I kiss my kitty
- I make arrangements with the person who will be taking over my smartphone contract (now with only seven months left, hurray!)
- I celebrate with alcohol and family
- I decide what my travel knitting will be
- etc., etc.

(not in this order)

When my document showed up at the Vancouver consulate on Tuesday, I could not sleep at all on Tuesday  night, I was so excited. I sure hope I can sleep tonight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One step closer

Yesterday was the two-month mark since I had applied for my Police Certificate from the Japanese Consulate in Vancouver. They said "two months", and I have for the past several weeks been carrying around an Expresspost envelope with another Expresspost envelope inside so that I would be ready to send it off at any moment, and they could send me my document quickly without me having to go to Vancouver to pick it up.

I phoned yesterday to see what was happening. They said they were working on the July 12 applications (mine was the 17th), and the fellow told me mine should be ready "this week or next". So that was encouraging. Then, this morning, I received the email. My document had arrived!

I finished my coffee and cake and went straight for the post office, sent off my return envelope. Thinking, thinking okay so I could have this back as soon as Thursday, I will scan it and send it to Dan and he will submit it to the US Consulate in Montreal. It's the last document we need.

We are told, then, the next step is that once we have completed the checklist of documents to be assembled, they will let me know when my interview in Montreal will be. I don't know how much time there is in between the completing of the checklist and the notification, but here's hoping it's less than a week. Here's hoping there are no further things I need to do. Here's hoping I can proceed without obstacle.

When I have my interview date, I need to arrange for the medical appointment in Vancouver with an immigration doctor. When we know my interview date is, Dan will book his flight. Guys, I might actually be traveling in October. It's still possible. My interview date could be anywhere between two and seven weeks away.

Tonight Dan and I were on the phone, talking about what route we might take, looking to see what cities in the east have Ikea, since we will need to buy a bed before landing in Kinston. Dan has been sleeping on a foamie for almost a year and a half, I have been sleeping on the guest beds of whoever I have been staying with. It will be nice to have our own bed again!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The day I should have stayed in bed

No really.

Yesterday morning I woke up thinking that I wasn't rested well enough, I  had been working so hard and I was really tired. I thought I should maybe just cancel my trip up to Duncan to spend the day at Providence Farm and rest up. I started my day feeling a bit grumpy and emotional, which I know I can attribute, at least partially, to PMS.

But as I'm only going to the farm one day a week now, I felt obliged to go and that I would really miss it if I didn't go. I wasn't at all excited about the thing I was going to be knitting that day - someone had requested a neck warmer that basically fit the description of the Bandana Cowl. The yarn the woman had chosen was a boucle yarn in browns and blacks. Boucle. Browns and blacks. UGH. I hate boucle and I will go to great lengths to avoid knitting black. Further, the person wanted it to be quite small so some significant modifications needed to be made to the pattern (requiring counting, maths and other mental acrobatics). By the end of the day it was WAY too big and I wasn't happy with it. I decided to call it a day early, put the thing down, and come back to it next week when I'm not grumpy (I have since decided to rip the thing out and reknit it, which I am confident I can do in a day).

Also, while I was knitting this ugly thing, I felt the beginnings of what I thought was a cold. I had the all over body aches and the pain when swallowing. Great. A cold. I'll head over to London Drugs after and get some Hot Lemon Relief. 

So, grumpy, I left early. I was driving down the gravel driveway on the way to the road and saw a number of people standing around looking at a man, face down in the gravel and seemingly unconscious, having had a seizure and fallen off his bike. There was an elderly woman in the Corolla in front of me, and instead of getting out of her car, she just shouted "tell him to move his bike!" which went ignored by those with more compassion for the man bleeding profusely from his face. I got out right away, with the scene from Wednesday fresh in my mind. One man told me that the cyclist had had a seizure and fallen off his bike and the he (the only witness) had to go. Then he was off. The woman who had called the ambulance on her cell phone handed her phone to me and asked me to talk to the paramedics as she was with a client (accident scenes are rife with inexplicable chaos). She remained at her vehicle with her client, about 30 feet away, and I talked to the paramedic, explaining the scene. Man is on his belly, face in the gravel, blood coming out, he is breathing heavily. Paramedic instructed that the cyclist should not move. Soon people arrived on the scene who knew this man and started calling him by name. Turns out he is mentally challenged and prone to seizures. The cyclist suddenly jerked awake and started flailing about, despite a number of people telling him to hold still. Someone brought a rolled-up towel to put under his head. I was off the phone with the paramedic, gave the phone back to its owner, and the ambulance arrived a minute or two later.

There were three paramedics and they were all asking did anyone see it happen? and no one had. The only actual witness had fled the scene as soon as he could pass off responsibility to someone more willing to take it. Why? Was he in a hurry? Late for work? Had to pee? Or just frightened? It made me irritated that compassion and empathy does not come standard issue in every human.

The paramedics did everything they could to help our man the cyclist, but he was flailing and they had to do a lot of wrangling to get him into the ambulance without having him hurt himself. He was in shock and had not said anything, but his eyes were darting about like a scared animal.

Here's something else that was weird. Once again there was the bicycle to consider. How would it be later restored to its owner once the cyclist went home from hospital? Even though there were a number of people on the scene who knew this fellow, not one of them offered to take his bike and return it to him later. Nobody offered to take it up to the Farm, where I'm sure it would have been kept safe until he could get it back. The paramedics said it would have to be picked up by police.

That's too bad. This man was of a visible minority, and with having special needs, he likely suffers a double stigma. I hope getting his bike back won't be too hard.

Crowd dispersed, ambulance packing up, I returned to my truck (second in a now long string of people waiting to leave the Farm). The grouchy old lady before me still sulking in her car, and I happened to be behind her for much of the way into Duncan. She was driving painfully slow and braked hard if anything moved in her peripheral vision. She was driving all over the road. When it came to the traffic circle, she signaled when she was going in (unnecessary) but not when she was exiting. Given my mood, I wanted to call the RCMP and report her erratic driving.

My drive back to Victoria was thankfully uneventful. Now I had a new accident scene to play itself in the theater of my mind.  I got home, explained to my in-laws that I wasn't feeling well, and plunked myself on the bed. Had an emotional text chat with Dan (as in I was emotional and he got me through it). Went down for a lovely dinner, but then came back upstairs and was in bed by 8:30pm. Got out of bed at 8:12am this morning.

Today has been a weird day because I have felt out of sorts for all kinds of reasons that weren't present yesterday. Maybe rest really was the thing I needed? But then with all that time in bed, I must have moved weird and pinched a nerve in my neck and now I'm doing the whole move-my-torso-when-I-want-to-look-sideways thing. Not awesome. I'm not as grumpy as I was yesterday, thank the heavens! But I did manage to get things in my room a bit more organized, and that always makes me feel better.

I think tomorrow I might actually post about my knitting, as I might just have things to report. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thoughts on Love, no solid conclusions

After closing out my post yesterday, I got to thinking about the possible reasons why it is so hard for me to tell my loved ones I love them. At least in words. I can easily I say I love you in a hand knitted item, a batch of cookies, or some other symbolic gesture. Why do the words get stuck in my throat?

My mind reeled back to a memory of late June 1991. My mum had just left my dad (my sister and I knew it was coming, she had told us, but she didn't inform him until the day she left) the day before hand his life came crashing down. I had just finished grade 10, my best friend Jeremy had been in the hospital for a week having died from an asthma attack and then been revived, airlifted to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton from where we lived in Wetaskiwin (roughly 50km away), and Jeremy was not likely to survive. A large group of friends was grieving the loss of our friend who would die at the age of 15, and we were all deeply traumatized.

When my mum left, my sister, then 12, opted to go with her. They took two of our three cats and my sister's dog, leaving me and the oldest cat with Dad. I was 16. My dad came home from work and just fell apart emotionally, something I had never seen before. He cried and told me he loved me - something I had never heard him say before. In that moment I gave the expected response, which was "I love you too" but the instant it came out of my mouth I knew it was not true. I regretted saying it. I never told my father I loved him again, and more or less vowed to myself that I would not say those words to anyone I did not actually love.

This is sort of along the same line of when I was 12, and my mother told me "don't get pregnant, it will ruin your life!" when what she meant was don't get pregnant until you are actually ready to be a mother, I must have subconsiously taken her literally because I knew even in my mid-20s that I didn't want to ever be pregnant or have children.

My family of origin was not affectionate. I always felt strange around my mother and ambivalent around my father. My sister was naturally an adversary, I being the big sister and we are three and a half years apart. After our parents split up we were more or less only children.

After a few months of being away from her friends, my sister decided to return to Wetaskiwin and live with Dad and after I finished grade 11 I moved in with Mum. I know I have told this story here before but I believe this time it is in a different context. I think the last time I wrote it, it was on the topic of being able to relate to men.

Back to the topic I meant to write about, which is my difficulty saying the words, I don't know if it will ever be possible, or if saying it out loud will make me cry, or if I'll just feel like a phoney even if I do say it out loud and mean it. I have tons of wonderful people in my life, many of them I am related to by marriage (I really won the in-laws lottery, I'm telling you), and... yet... I don't know.  Luckily all my loved ones love me and know I love them, and I bet they even know it's something I'm awkward about. Life goes on.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It only takes a moment

I witnessed a tall man in his 70s crash into the road as he fell off his bike, having underestimated his speed down the hill and the angle at which he needed to turn. I just happened to be looking out my window at that moment. He fell to the right and over his bars, doing a face plant (albeit the side of his face) on the pavement. No helmet.

I raced down the stairs and out the door in my bare feet to see if he was alright and what was needed. There was a woman that was driving a car that, had she not been there, he might have made the turn okay, but she was on her side of the road as he slid under her vehicle. Blood was streaming from his face, I raced back into the house to grab a blanket and paper towel. He had hit the ground hard and I knew he would be going into shock.

I took first aid a long time ago, and one of the few things I actually remember is that when someone has a shock like this, they are likely to lose body heat quickly so it's best to wrap them up. It was a warm sunny morning in Victoria, so there was no need for covering, but we did manage to get him sitting down on the grass. By the time he was sitting down, the ambulance was already on its way. I handed the roll of paper towel to one of the passersby and asked him to tear off a number of sheets to stop the bleeding, our man was bleeding in a number of places, most notably his eyebrow and out his nose.

The man was on his way to play tennis, and one of his tennis buddies happened upon the scene. He said he would relay the message to their tennis people that our friend would not be able to make it.

I offered to keep his bike here until he or someone could retrieve it.

The paramedics were here in no time, and of course the first thing they did was ask him questions, checking for concussion. He did seem a bit confused, he wasn't sure if he had been wearing a helmet or really what had even happened. Then they checked for spinal or shoulder injury, thankfully there was none. They managed to get him up walking to the ambulance, away they went, and I went back inside.

This scene has been playing itself out in my mind all day. When this kind of thing happens, we often tend to ask ourselves the "what if"s or consider that if the car had been at this point or if he had been wearing a helmet or if only... It's moments like these that (to me, at least) serve as reminders that we are on this planet for a short time and it could be our time to leave at any unplanned moment.

Later in the day our man phoned to say his daughter would be by this evening to retrieve his bicycle. She came, and said her dad had a broken arm and would require a pin, they were doing surgery this evening.

This incident wasn't exactly traumatic for me, but I do feel a bit rattled by it. Not in a sobbing emotional premenstrual sense, but it felt like a sort of reminder to be careful, stay safe, and tell your people you love them. That last one is a hard one for me. I can say it to my cat and my husband until I'm blue in the face but saying "I love you" to anyone else, including family, feels just so darned awkward. Anyway, I didn't mean for this post to head down the lane way of mush, so I'll wrap up here.

But before I go, I should give you a brief update: I'm in Victoria now back with my in-laws and things have been great. Sam has settled in comfortably and I really like the room I'm in. It's nice not driving anywhere. Still no word on my documents, but on Monday the 17th it will have been two months, so I'm checking for voice mail and email every two hours to see if they have tried to contact me.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The follow-up to a one-off design

Turns out I prefer one-offs to doing repeats of previous creations.

So this is the second Runner Duck Cosy but it wasn't nearly as fun to knit as the first one was. Granted, it knitted up faster, and it was a bit easier, but because I wasn't designing on the needles, the spark of creativity was gone. Just for comparison, I'll post again photos of the first one below: