Thursday, January 17, 2008

The cat is on the roof...and so is my patience

These days it seems like I'm doing nothing but trying to get a single document that I need to apply for Spanish citizenship, and I feel like one of these characters in an adventure video game that gets sent from one place to another, then back to the first again, and still I have nothing to show for it. Treasure hunting in Zelda may be just as twisted, but at least it's a lot more fun. When I started this whole thing, I got all my papers together and it looked like everything was in order, but then my lawyer told me I needed to get a clearance letter from the U.S. to show that I have no criminal record. Okay, sounds easy enough. I called the Sheriff's Office in Riverside, which is the last place I lived in the U.S., suffered through their phone menu and finally got to talk to a human being. They said that for $12 I could order the letter and have it sent to me. So far, so good. Then I asked if they could notarize it, since I also have to get something called an apostille on it. No, not an apostle, an apostille...

...although praying to the Patron Saint of the Bureaucratically Challenged might be helpful (here's a whole list of Patron Saint topics, but I haven't found one for my particular case yet).

What I need is some sort of seal that makes the document legal for use over here, and to get it the letter has to be notarized first. But the Riverside Sheriff's Department doesn't have a notary public, so I decided to find a company that specializes in this sort of thing. I found one: Pacific Corporate Filings, Inc. I checked them out on the Better Business Bureau page (because you can never be too sure), and asked if they could get the letter, have it notarized and get me the damn apostille (I didn't say damn when I asked, but I sure felt like it). They said sure, for a price of course (which I accepted since it was cheaper than flying out and doing it myself), and I sent them all my info so we could finally get the ball rolling. It seemed like we had smooth seas ahead and that soon we would have the treasure in our hands....but it was not to be. Just before Christmas I got an e-mail from the Pacific Corporate people, saying that they had the letter but were having trouble getting it notarized. It seems no notary public would do it without me being present. Why I needed to be there was beyond me, since I wasn't signing anything anyway. What I was sure of was that I wasn't about to shell out around $700 to fly out to Riverside just to watch my letter get notarized. The Pacific Corporate people said they would keep trying, and so I went on vacation, hoping the thing would be solved by the time I got back. Looking back, the whole situation reminds me of this joke:

A man left his cat with his brother while he went on vacation for a week. When he came back, he called his brother to see when he could pick the cat up. The brother hesitated, then said, "I'm so sorry, but while you were away, the cat died."

The man was very upset and shouted, "You know, you could have broken the news to me more carefully. When I called today, you could have said he was on the roof and wouldn't come down. Then when I called the next day, you could have said that he had fallen off and the vet was working on patching him up. Then when I called the third day, you could have said he had passed away."

The brother thought about it and apologized.

"So how's Mom?" asked the man.

"She's on the roof and won't come down."

Anyway, my letter was on the roof, and there was no way it was coming down, at least not to be notarized (maybe it thought in its little paper mind that getting notarized is something like getting sterilized, and that it would never be able to start a paper family). When I came back from Cáceres I got a FedEx delivery with my letter, but with no apostille or apostle to be found. So, I was out some $80 for a useless letter, and I had to start looking all over again for a notary who would do it (no, not that), without my presence. I think I've found someone, but the whole story doesn't end here, it only gets more complicated... but I'll save that for another day.

For all your bureaucratic needs, try Central Snark...they won't do your paperwork, but they will make you laugh. Hmm, maybe I can find my Patron Saint over there...


  1. Sheesh! I find blogging very cathartic for these types of frustrations. Your readers are cheering you on.

  2. this is just more fun than anyone deserves. so long as YOU don't go up on the roof, it's ok.

  3. Well it reminds me of Schoolhouse Rock. "I'm just a bill, and I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill, but I hope to be a law some day!"

  4. Reminds me of when I lost my driver's license. In order to get a new one they wanted to see my birth certificate, but in order to get a copy of my birth certificate they wanted to see my driver's license.

  5. Oh what a headache! Do you feel like Don Quichotte? (windmills being both countries ) ;)

    I can only understand... as I said I went through hell when I did my permanent residence for Canada. Have to apply for citizenship later on this year... NOT looking forward to it even though I really wanna be Canadian!

  6. Holy smokes!

    I think it might be cheaper for you if I take the course to become a notary and then I'll do it (no, not IT) for you.

  7. We too are having the year of beurocracy and I. just. HATE. it.

    Hate it.

    Hate it.


    You have my deepest sympathy.

  8. Hey !!!!!
    I know what you mean with stupid Bureaucrasy Theresa! but keep on going!!! Yeh get some humor to get throught the paperwork eh? Here some Good wishes fromme to you I blew you some Pfffffffff, trow them on the roof... oooowtch.

    Hi look at my blog, my dog and me are ..... have a good weekend...

    hug from JoAnn (Holland)

  9. Erik: Yeah, if I didn't have this blog, my patience would probably have fallen off the roof by now. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

    Lime: Nah, it's too cold out on the roof right now. ;)

    Diesel: I haven't thought about that in years...I remember watching those on Saturdays. Remember Conjunction junction? Anyway, my papers are just sittin' here on top of my desk, waiting for someone (namely me) to finally figure out what to do with them.

    Marie: Now that's a tough one, how did you fix it?

    Zhu: Oh yeah, there are windmills all around me! I hope you don't come across so many obstacles.

    Jozet: You're probably right, but you would have to move to California. Would you do that for me? ;)

    Orneta: Well, misery loves company, so I guess we can bitch about it together.

    Joann: Thanks for your good wishes, I'll keep on going and hope it'll be finished someday.

  10. I'm going to start the process of becoming a notary public. I bet I will finish it (and will bend all the rules I just promised to adhere to) and will sign your document before any other a-hole in the world agrees to do it.

  11. Hi Theresa,

    How is it with the bereaucrasy and the cats;) I hpe it worked out well ,I think of you...and wish you the best.

    I also wanted to let you know, that I posted "frost nature" (because flu my flu haha!) You might like to see it,yu also might like to listen to the the music in combination with this nature..

    Have a good week my dear

    JoAnn from Holland

  12. Jocelyn: Deal. ;)

    Joann: Saw it and I loved the pics. Hope you're feeling better.