Monday, May 23, 2005

BY MEANS OF EXPLANATION, NOT EXCUSE

The following post is the "messiest" I have ever presented on this blog. It may well make for some really boring reading too. I did however want to record this extended moment, and to those close and dear to me, I know they will be pleased I did and that they will totally understand why I did.
Although I did not proof-read it or pay any attention to layout, I did edit some of the conversation with Tammy as it would have made no sense to anyone else other than us.

YOU CAN SOMETIMES GET WHAT YOU WANT

08h46
Seated at my desk.
Yahoo Messenger window opens on my screen.

Tammy: yahooo Magoo is that you?
Me: yehboh (an ethnic moment – African tribal greeting for “yeah”)
Tammy: howzit? (Caucasian African tribal greeting for “hello, how is it going?) how

are you feeling?
Me: howzit! gonna hang up with you for a couple of minutes, perched here with

dialing finger - Stones tickets, opens at 9am, will buzz you back

08h49 rehearsal – I dial number, to be sure I know how to do this

Tammy: oooooooohhhhhhhhhh dial away
start phoning 5 minutes b4 the lines open
let me know how u make out
ciao (not sure why we say that, ‘cos we aren’t even Italian!)
Me: through!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tammy: no way - well done - how exciting
Me: nope , got to dial other nr, SHIT!!!!!!!!
Tammy: oh fuck that

08h54
Open this page and decide to plot the experience

08h57
Dial number – line is busy.

08h58
Ringing tone – “all circuits are busy, please try again”
Continue – frustrated, new phone, can’t see ‘redial’ key – how can there not be a e-dial key on this new phone? ontinue to key in number over and over again

09h03
Me: RINGING
IN
Tammy: so excited 4 u - holding my breath - let me know how it goes

09h20
Me: still holding

09h05
Answered.

09h17
Still holding.


09h27
Nerves set in, start needing to go to the loo!

09h30
Reservation starts being processed.

09h32
Give credit card number and sounds like we have been disconnected.
Hear a ringing tone

09h33
“If you want make a call please hang up”
WHAAAAAAAAT??????????
Re-dial - answered immediately.

09h35
Back on hold. Verging on breakdown and still need the loo!

09h38
Send frantic email to Daniel – need some support, need someone to tell me this is all ok and that my tickets are secure

09h46
See email from Lauren in London. Reply that I am on hold for tickets and will write more later. Checking frantically for reply from Daniel … where are you when I need you??

09h49
Answered by same lady as first call. I say, “I was in the process of booking my tickets for the Stones, gave my credit card number and the call was disconnected, was it you I was speaking with?” and gave her my last name.

I so know it was her, totally recognized her voice.

“No it wasn’t me.”
“Well, I gave my credit card number, I would like to know if I have the tickets, please!”
“What’s your last name?” (pronounced nayum).
Gave it again.
Sounding totally shocked by the fact I was questioning if my booking was made, “Yes, your tickets are booked.”
“Great, do you think you could tell me how much they cost, please?”
“Let me see, $253 + $5.”
“Ok, great, can you tell me where they …”
“No, we don’t give out details of where the seats are.”
“Oh?”
“Can be anywhere from 117 – 125.”
“Anywhere from 117 – 125?” (Refer to stadium seating plan)
“Yes.”
“And how do I get my tickets?”
Sounding like she wanted to say “Idiot person” first, but she didn’t, she continued, “they will be mailed to you” with enough lilt at the end of the sentence to suggest she was thinking I am a completely stupid. (Well, at Madison Square Garden you have to pick them up at the box office, hence my question!).
“Great. Thanks. Is there any confirmation number?”
“No, we don’t give out confirmation numbers.”

09h48
CLICK

Ok, so I know they are busy when sales open, but come on, let’s give the buying public the basic information they need when doing a financial transaction.
Oh well, who gives a crap, I’ve got the tickets I wanted!

Hope everyone else who wanted tickets got them.

09h57 check one last time for email back from hubby. No! But this email reply from my friend in London.

“I am on my way out, good luck with stones tickets. OH MY GOD!!!! Hope you get them.”

Tammy and I often don’t say goodbye on Yahoo Messenger!

One happy fan heads for the loo!


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

PERSPECTIVES

It’s official – we are official! Yesterday the family went off to complete the final step in our immigration process. My prayers were answered in that it was a different building to the one where we encountered ‘The Screamer’. (See earlier post STARS AND STRIPES, April 10). This time it was a totally different experience. Everything worked! We found parking almost right outside the building, the access was easy, the elevators were working, and everyone we encountered from the start to the finish of the process was polite, helpful and friendly.

As with most things we do as a family group, it was quite an eye opener to me and a reminder of how different each person’s perspective is from the others.

The teenager and young adult’s passports had been sent to the British Embassy for renewal. I called them on Monday morning to see if they would be arriving back in time for our appointment the following day. After holding on the line for close to 40 minutes, the lady told me that it would be at least another 5 working days before I got them back. I decided not to cancel the appointments for them until the following morning and Daniel confirmed that it was a good idea for us to proceed with our appointments. Based on his age, Ross does not have to attend these appointments; the process for him is automatic following on from the change in our status each step of the way.

I am not sure exactly what the lady on the phone at the British Embassy was doing for the 40 minutes that I sat listening to the piped music, but by 9am on Tuesday morning, the Fedex man had delivered the new passports that I had been told were a minimum of 5 working days away.

Daniel arranged to get the teenager out of school and soon enough the four of us were in the car and on our way to this important appointment.

When I received the notification in the mail that our permanent residence had been approved and the details of how I make the appointment on line that we were now on our way to, I wondered if making it on line was the only way to schedule it. When I got through to someone on the phone, she insisted that making it on line was the only way it could be done, and if people don’t have access to the internet at home, they had to go to a public library to do this.

When we got to the right floor, Daniel was directed to stand in line in the roped section while we waited for him in the seats. I wasn’t sure why Daniel was in this long line because it was just on 12 noon that we got there, and our appointments were scheduled for 12.15. I sat and watched and by 1pm, it became clear to me what happens to those people who did not have Internet access at home and were not aware of the fact that they could go do this at a public library. An employee announced to the people on line that those who did not have appointments had to leave the line and the building and could return the next day. This was quite upsetting for some people who had been there waiting for a few hours! I wanted to go to all of them and tell them they should go straight from there to a library to schedule the appointment for tomorrow, or whatever date the computer said they could return.

Just after 1pm Daniel got to the front of the line and we then all joined him at the window where our photo’s were handed in, our additional finger print taken and our signatures scrawled onto pieces of paper. We were then given a number and told to take our seats again. The gentleman behind the glass explained that our passports would now be stamped and they would call us when done. Daniel asked how long this was likely to take. The man explained that as staff members were now on their lunch breaks, it could be at least a minimum of half an hour. It was now close to 2pm. While we were waiting at the window, Daniel pointed out how much better it would be if each window was equipped with a camera, scanner for the finger print and how within minutes our cards could be created and come to us through a slot in the wall!

While we were waiting for the lady to come out of the back office with our passports, a very pregnant woman next to us nearly burst into a happy dance when her name was called and she kept repeating over and over to her toddler that “we can finally go home”. She explained to me that they had been there since 10am, their paperwork had been processed by noon, and therefore she was thrilled that the wait for her passport to be stamped was over given that it was almost 2.30pm.

Daniel sensed my panic at the realization that this wait could extend beyond the 3pm mark and he had a conference call scheduled for that time. The teenager was starting to pace the area like a caged animal and it was at this point where things do start to feel tedious. Daniel has really learnt the tricks of the trade when it comes to these situations. He went off and whispered something in someone’s ear, and soon enough a gentleman came up to us to tell us that he had “put the passports on the top of the pile and they would out in a couple of minutes”, and they were!

From here it starts to become obvious why I chose the title for this post. Going back to the car , Daniel expressed his joy at the completion of this process and what a meaningful day this was in our lives. Our Green Cards should appear in our mail box within three months, but to be sure, we have been given an on line address to look into it should we not receive them in the next six months. Daniel also spoke of how this stamp in his passport would prevent him from having to be pulled aside for checking his travel parole documentation at the airports when he travels internationally. This would reduce the time he spends in airports by at least half an hour.

I wasn’t sure how Alex felt about what having this stamp in her passport means to her as she tuned out and straight into her music headphones and her text messages. David was as quickly into his text messages and on his cell phone, which marks the moment the “pleasure” of a family outing started unfolding. He was due to have paid for his prom bid but having to leave school early without prior notice, the check and booking form were in his pocket. Seemingly, someone else had taken his place at the table he wanted to be at, and a string of phone calls started happening. I listened to his coping skills, which amounted to threats of punching people in the face, and then ending the same call with greetings of “Peace”. A contradiction in terms, but hey, I say nothing. In my head I was having a conversation with him about noticing the life lesson that things should not be left to the last minute and I couldn’t help wondering why none of his friends thought of putting his name down for him. When I heard him explain to one of the people he spoke to that he had been to “do something about his citizenship”, I realized that this day in his life held no meaning and it was just a pain in the butt that had made paying for his prom a complete hassle.

Citizenship is something that we will be eligible for in 5 years time. The process we had just been through is something that people in different circumstances risk their lives to attempt to achieve. They float on logs of wood in the ocean to get here. They stow away in trucks and die from suffocation in an attempt to get here. I did not launch into any kind of lecture as clearly, each person is entitled to his or her own perspective.

In a conversation with my sister on Monday night, I explained to her that while I fully appreciate what a privilege it is to gain this status, I personally was not feeling the excitement I had anticipated I was going to feel. What does excite me is that in five years time, if I so choose, I can gain the status that will reinstate my eligibility to vote. Because we have moved countries three times in the last ten years, I have never had the status to vote and this has given me the deepest sense of deprivation, more than anything else. Immigration is a grueling process, and you learn many things from it, about patience, about who you are and where you fit into the big scheme of things, you question your motives, you question your value within the structures of new cultures and communities. Unless it is something you have been through, it is hard to understand how demanding this process can be.

Our moves have always been motivated by a desire to expand our lives, expand our visions and to give our children the best possible opportunities in life to ultimately result in all of us being the best versions of ourselves we can possibly achieve.
Daniel has single handedly and single mindedly orchestrated all these moves which have been made possible by his commitment to our family and his ability to create a goal, focus his eye on the target, and for stopping at nothing until he got himself and all of us there by virtue of his efforts. Thank you, Daniel ~ thank you so very much for the magnificent human you continue to be. I love you.

No connection to today's post at all, just love the pic of my two dudes, taken on Sunday!

Monday, May 16, 2005

BACK IN THE SADDLE

Life has been coming at me full throttle since Pesach. We had a fantastic holiday with special family and special friends. Unfortunately I came down with dreadful flu and a fever kept me under the covers for the week following Pesach. Then I made my acquaintance with the notorious ‘New Jersey Allergies’. I have never suffered with hayfever or any kind of allergies before and this is proving to be one serious challenge; and we all now how much I need more of those! I am enduring endless coughing, which you would think I am quite a pro at by now. I have spent most of my days hooked up to my bi-pap machine due to being physically exhausted from the endless coughing. I also don’t cough much when I am on the machine, so it proved to be a great refuge. Today marks the 4th week of this saga and I am hoping that the record high in 20 years pollen count will start subsiding.

Right after Pesach Ross started at his new school. Everything has gone superbly and I will get much pleasure from writing this up in more detail. He is happy, we are happy and it has been a wonderful wave of positive and upbeat energy in our lives.

Mother’s Day was deliciously enjoyable in many ways. We had a BBQ with my Mom, sister and brother in law. It was laid back, relaxed and aside from the fact that spending time with me in these past few weeks has been like hanging out with a Spitting Cobra (due to my cough, not my nature!), we all thoroughly enjoyed the day. Again, pics and a little more blurb to follow.

Marti was treated to a weekend in Miami by her ever so charming boyfriend and she had a great time. We are preparing for her to take three weeks vacation in July during which time she will be going home. Daniel will be taking his vacation time over that period so Ross and I will get our much needed and wanted chance to hang out with him at leisure. Can’t wait! Marti has decided to make application to extend her visa for another year, which of course, for so many reasons, makes us all very happy. She has been through a profound experience in her personal life since she arrived here which one could liken to having a good shot at an American Dream! Marti, you rock!

Last Tuesday was the first day in these weeks I am describing that I had the energy and inclination to get up, remove the sweats and put on real clothes. I must have sensed something good in the air, as when I got on line, the news item of the day that caught my immediate attention was the announcement of the 2005 Rolling Stones Tour. I will be at the concert this year and am not limiting myself to the ‘live on HBO’ version, if there will even be one, like I did with their last tour. I want to see the hottest 62 years old on the planet, in the flesh, as up close and personal as I can possibly get. I have recently overcome the personal hurdle of being able to surrender to using the ‘Disabled Services’ departments to purchase tickets for concerts. I am looking forward to Elton John in September and I will be on the phone bright and early to reserve tickets for the Stones when bookings open May 23rd.

We are officially permanent residents in the U.S.A. and have a scheduled appointment for the final submission of one more fingerprint and the pics for our Green Cards. Yes, we have to pay a visit to the building that houses ‘The Screamer’, but hopefully the elevator will be working this time … please God let the elevator be working this time. (See Stars and Stripes post from Sunday, April 10th).

Listing this post brings me to the announcement that this blog will soon be expanding. I have found a great person on line (full credits to follow later) who will be assisting me with being able to do things on all my blogs - this one, THE ROSS EXPERIENCE and KEEPING THE PEACE. They wait patiently but I assure you, they will be worth having waited for. They will have all those lovely things that technically challenged and fearful folk like myself just don’t manage to master …. like Links and Side Bars etc. etc.

The internet has actually brought me great experiences and wonderful people over these past few weeks and I will be sharing more details of those soon as well.

Being forced to keep my butt in the chair while hooked up to my breathing aid, I had a great opportunity to catch up on some movie viewing. I seem to be the person who watches the Academy Awards and THEN views the movies to see if the recipients were actually worthy of their accolades! I have watched hours of TV as well. I am still debating whether TiVO has been the best invention since the fax machine or the cell phone. It is a tough choice, but I can most emphatically state that I HEART MY TiVO. My humble comments on all the movies and TV shows to follow soon too!

My second biggest challenge in life has been kept alive and well too over the last few weeks. Just when I feel like I have mastered the art of how not to feel like a worthless piece of shark shit in the eyes of the teenager and young adult I live with, so comes another tidal wave to knock me off my feet. However, I am up and through the water, have wiped the bubbles and salt from my eyes and I remind myself of this:

Those with genuine self-confidence make a conscious decision that, although guidance is always welcome and approval and acknowledgement are always nice, ultimately the only lasting confidence comes from within. (Off my ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff calendar”)

The point of this post is to announce ‘I’M BACK’. It is also to say how very much I have appreciated the emails asking me where I have been and whether I am ok. Watch this space for more!


 
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