Friday 17 September 2010

6.5 months to go

How did we suddenly get from 8.5 months to 6.5 months in the space of a month?  Well, it turns out Mike's work commitments will force him to be in Philadelphia throughout May, so we are moving our boat trip a month earlier.  That means I will have to request a tourist visa for seven months instead of six, which is unusual.  We are hoping they will grant it, both in Paris and at the port in New York when I arrive.  As the wife of a US citizen, I'm probably entitled to an immigrant visa, but it seems like overkill for a seven month stay.  It cost more, the process is more complicated and as I understand it, it can take six months.

Apart from that slight concern, I'm not too unhappy to spend an extra month in Philly.  It's my least unfavorite East Coast city, and maybe I'll get to see some horseshoe crabs on the beaches of Delaware, visit the Dutch Country, and do that Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island tourist trip which I had basically given up on.

Applying for a tourist visa is a relatively complicated and expensive process.  We spent an amusing hour or so producing a standard US passport photograph.  I mostly got the online form filled out, but we're still waiting for British passports back, so I can't fill in that number yet.  I read through the very long list of crimes and misdemeanors that the powers-that-be would like me never to have committed.  Some of them I had never even heard of, but they made fairly entertaining reading.  I have an appointment for an interview in Paris, and a train ticket booked for the end of October.  I need to have with me any paperwork the interviewer chooses to wish to see, even though they won't decide what that is until I'm in the interview.  Hmmm.... 

Apart from that we are generally trying to put our affairs in order ready for departure.  This is moving forward at snail's pace, to the point where I'm feeling a bit panicky.  We seem to spend all our time dealing with immediate catastrophes.  No forward progress has been made on the house!  Truly, I'm starting to have my doubts about renting it furnished, for lots of reasons.  Some of the furniture, especially the bedroom furniture isn't as tenant friendly as it should be.  We have one futon mattress that I wouldn't share with a stranger, on a large platform, one very cheap and rickety child's bed with ricketier trundle for sleepovers and one very uncomfortable futon sofa bed.  Who is that stuff going to suit except us?  Also, we really have a huge amount of small stuff that it seems inappropriate to leave so we're probably going to have to pay for storage anyway.  There are some fairly major things that need doing before the house can be let in any way, as well as lots of minor ones. the artisans who need to do the major ones are being unresponsive as usual.  I need to start putting out feelers for potential tenants and management companies and I don't even have time for that.

Call it displacement activity if you like, but I decided that our most important paperwork and our wills, provision for our child, etc, should be in order and stored with our families, partly so we can access it, partly so they can if anything should happen to us.  Well, every time I look at that stuff, I discover a new disaster.  Tonight's disaster was the discovery that Mike had made a will before meeting me or having a child and forgotten to ever update it.  It's just one more darned thing on the to do list, and probably the most overdue for attention.  I truly believe that people's affairs should never become so complicated that they are ever out of order, but I'm about a million miles from succeeding in practicing what I believe.  In theory, a lot of good can come out of this travel scheme, if it forces us to organize a bit better, but for now, I'm just feeling overwhelmed.

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