Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Estimated Response Burden: Foreverrrrrr

I am mired deep in paperwork and need to take a break. The choice was to either: bang my head repeatedly against the brick wall in my kitchen, or blog. And I chose you, Internet pals. Because when it comes down to you or a head injury, you will win EVERY TIME. That is my promise to you.

Tomorrow morning we have an appointment at the US Consulate in Sydney to apply for a passport and Social Security Card for Grace, and to register her as an American citizen. I am now filling out the "Consular Report of Birth Abroad" form. There are two things about this that are making me a little mental. One, is that they are calling Grace "a broad". A chick? Okay. A flibbertigibbet? Most certainly. But not a broad. I find that offensive and inappropriate. I mean, A) they don't even know her, and B)she's 4 months old. I know that Americans are 'sposed to stick together, but I feel they're assuming a level of familiarity that they simply do not have. But that's neither here nor there.

What's really bugging me is that the application asks for "precise periods of physical presence in the United States" for Jason and I. And then it says, "Use additional sheets if necessary". Which means they're serious about that. So, I have to remember and document every time that Jason or I have been out of the country for the last, like, ever. To understand why I am annoyed, you need to know that part of our jobs before we came here was taking groups of students on overseas trips. And before that, we each took several trips overseas as college students. A week here, a week there. And since living here, we've been back to the States several times. I can't remember all those precise dates! I am only a simple woman.

So now, I find myself going, "Babe, how many times did you take teams to Costa Rica?" and "Did you go to Mexico during the summer of 1993?" And if you know Jason's powers of recall about dates, I might as well be asking him to travel back in time to 1993. But I'm afraid to fake it. Cause what if they know? What if it's all a test?

This will be the activities of my evening. And here's the kicker: at the top of this form it says, "estimated response burden: 20 minutes"! Ha! I say again, Ha! Ha, United States Department of State! It will take me "20 minutes" to figure out if I went to South Africa in 2000 or 2001.

Maybe it's not all that important that Grace be an American. I mean, Australia is pretty awesome, you guys. And when she's 18 and asks me why she can't vote for the American president while the rest of us can, I'll tell her that the price for her citizenship was simply too high, and that the night I could've filled out the application, NCIS was on. And we can't miss that, can we? Mark Harmon, people!

(No one is handsomer than my Jason, but that man's a biscuit. It is what it is.)

Am I still talking? Yes? Okay, well I better stop now. I'll get back to you and let you know how all *that* went.


  1. i too love mark harmon. yes i do. and i missed NCIS for a finance meeting, if that makes you feel any better at all.

  2. Grace is a nice broad, a real classy dame. I welcome her into the fold of American citizens.

    And geez that form sounds like a pain in the butt. I'm sure if you just explain that you needed to watch Mark Harmon, that would be the ultimate American shibboleth.

  3. Wow, that sounds intense. I'd never be able to remember the precise dates of all the trips I've taken either. I wonder if you can put, like, exact dates for the times you've spent EXTENDED periods of time abroad, but then "week-long trips to South Africa in the summers of 2001 and 2003" etc.? Can they possibly expect you to remember precise dates of EVERYTHING??

    Patrick's going to have to fill something out to get our baby dual citizenship with Ireland, but I don't think the Irish forms are that complicated!

  4. Meg's tip of the day--look at your passport for dates. :)

  5. Thanks for the commiseration, friends! And Amy--a Finance meeting, eh? That is just wrong.

    V, that's a good idea, I am being most specific with the ones I can remember! I mean surely they don't have to know the exact week? And yeah, Meg I'm checking passports as well, but that's taking time too as they seem to just open them and stamp wherever.

    Anyhoo, it'll get done. Or they'll deport us. Whatevs.

  6. I feel your pain! Good for Ron he has me to do all that for him:)

  7. That didn't come out the way I intended:) I meant that out of the two of us atleast I'm a little better than him with remembering details:)

  8. Suuure, Rosemary. I'm tellin' on you!

  9. I'm curious about their definition of "physical presence." What other way is there to be present?
    You have my sympathies on the form filling out. yucko!

  10. NCIS ??? I don't remember seeing no stinking NCIS on tv in Oz. Cricket, sure. But no NCIS. Mark Harmon is delish. I can see how you might get distracted from paperwork. But you know you will prevail, cause you're diligent.BTW, can't wait to see the kiddos in December.

  11. So, if I understand this whole dual citizenship thing, Grace can be both President of the United States and Prime Minister of Australia?