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. A good plumber Toronto would know exactly what the problem is within a short period and fix it in no time.
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.