One More Thing About the First Tuesday in November

Today is also an Anniver­sary of sorts.

Depend­ing on how you count it, one year ago, either today or in 2 days (date rather than day), George Bush, through what­ev­er means were employed, won the elec­tion. I remem­ber arriv­ing home exhaust­ed after work­ing to get out the vote in New Hamp­shire (which we won back, damnit! ). I called and left word with my broth­er in Seat­tle to call if the news was good. When I awoke the next morn­ing to the clock radio, I knew even before the NPR announc­er got to the end of his first sen­tence how the elec­tion had gone. Pam and I turned to each oth­er, and before we’d even opened our eyes, we knew what we had to do: Plan B. Our lives had tak­en the turn that end­ed up with us here, on a dif­fer­ent coast, in a dif­fer­ent coun­try. Every­thing was put into motion a year ago, in that moment.

Just thought I’d take notice.

Another Day, Another Setback

The plumber arrived this morn­ing and peered under the sink. Yes, the prob­lem was indeed the peanut shells that we had put in the drain instead of the garbage can. As the say­ing goes, hind­sight is 20–20. The plumber said “This isn’t the first time there’s been a prob­lem here.”, not­ing that some of the pipes had been replaced, and the ‘repairs’ had omit­ted an eas­i­er route to clear­ing the clog, requir­ing him to do some extra labor. So, there goes $185 for 1/2 a bag of peanuts and we are a bit wis­er about what goes down the dis­pos­al.

After that, we wrapped up the G5 in a tarp, and wheeled it up a cou­ple of blocks to West­world com­put­ers (a local Apple Deal­er — not an Apple Store, as the only one of those in Cana­da is in Toron­to) on the dol­ly we got a month or so ago. The ser­vice guy said it would be a day or 2. Good thing I had a back­up from a cou­ple of weeks ago, as there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll lose all the data on the hard disk. There were a cou­ple of soft­ware updates, and quite a few MP3s that I had recent­ly ripped from CDs, but noth­ing cat­a­stroph­ic. I’m back on the old Tibook today, which should get a medal for con­tin­u­ing to hold up, no mat­ter how slow and beat-up it gets.
Then, I got a call-back from our immi­gra­tion lawyer. I had called him yes­ter­day because we hadn’t heard any­thing regard­ing my mul­ti­ple appli­ca­tions for a work per­mit; one to the Province of British Colum­bia (the Provin­cial Nom­i­nee Pro­gram), and one to the Gov­ern­ment of Cana­da in Ottawa (in this case, an HRSDC Assess­ment for Labour Mar­ket Opin­ion). I had got­ten a form let­ter from the BC Nom­i­nee pro­gram a few weeks ago and they prompt­ly charged my cred­it card for the $500 appli­ca­tion fee, but noth­ing more. As for Ottawa, I’d heard noth­ing at all.
Our lawyer did not have good news. Appar­ent­ly, he had met with BC Nom­i­nee Pro­gram staff last week, and found out that they were mov­ing their offices from the bor­der to Down­town Van­cou­ver and get­ting rid of staff through attri­tion. That means that those who didn’t want to com­mute to Van­cou­ver (prob­a­bly a 45–60 minute trip dur­ing rush hour if they lived near the old offices) would lose their jobs. The upshot of this is that the BC Nom­i­nee Pro­gram has ground to a vir­tu­al halt. Instead of expect­ing any­thing from them with­in 4 weeks as we had orig­i­nal­ly thought, they won’t be get­ting through any appli­ca­tions until ear­ly 2006 (Jan­u­ary, to be more spe­cif­ic, if our lawyer’s fore­cast is accu­rate). At this rate, we’ll prob­a­bly hear from the Nation­al Gov­ern­ment first, and that should be a cou­ple of weeks from now. That’s also a bit scari­er. If the paper­work for the nom­i­nee pro­gram went through OK, it was to have been a quick trip to the bor­der to pick up the work per­mit and all would be done. The HRSDC process involves a call to the com­pa­ny from Ottawa and some ques­tions regard­ing the posi­tion, which could go bad­ly if they didn’t give the right answers.

I was dis­ap­point­ed to hear all of this, to say the least. While we can make it until Jan­u­ary on our sav­ings, it’s still a drag wait­ing, and so much more rides on that work per­mit: health care with­out hav­ing to pay for our exor­bi­tant US Cobra insur­ance, a BC driver’s license, a BC Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card, which would make reen­ter­ing the coun­try much eas­i­er if we have to go south of the bor­der, and a lot of oth­er minor items.

I take some solace in the fact that if we had tried to sell our town­house in Cam­bridge today, we would now be in, as the Boston Globe said last week, “a buyer’s mar­ket”, and prob­a­bly wouldn’t get what we asked for. Accord­ing to the same arti­cle, a house in Jamaica Plain rough­ly our size and price had to drop their price by $70k and still no tak­ers. So much for the ‘no hous­ing bub­ble’ reas­sur­ances from the US gov­ern­ment and press. That’s on top of the US dollar’s plunge, which took place short­ly after we arrived. So, you win some, you lose some. Maybe if we had come ear­li­er or I had got­ten the spon­sor­ing com­pa­ny lined up soon­er we could have beat­en the Provin­cial Nom­i­nee Pro­gram office shake-up, the way we squeaked our phone install in a day before the Telus strike that’s still going on to this day. Once again, hind­sight is 20–20.