Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ok! Refingerprinting...CHECK!

Egads...I am SUCH a mess when we have to go to The Federal Building. I don't know what it is...worrying about terrorist attacks...dealing with bureaucracy...feeling like a criminal having to go through metal detectors...being fingerprinted for the 8th, yes THE EIGHTH time. Whatever the reason I hope I NEVER have to go back there again.

Let's see, well hidden on the USCIS (formerly the INS) webpage is a link to follow where you can make an appointment. This is NOT an appointment to be refingerprinted, but an appointment to PAY for your refingerprinting. Our appointment was for 9:30 this morning, we were there around 9:00...yeah, I know...wonders never cease! ") Go through security, ride the elevator to the 5th floor. We go into the USCIS office which has LOTS of chairs for LOTS of people who have to wait and five windows (two of which are open) where the USCIS officers/staff/employees sit/meander/work. Garry went up to the check-in window and it went so smoothly I almost fell off my chair. They gave him a number that would be called when it was our turn. There must have been at least a dozen people ahead of us. Guess what? If you have an appointment you are called AHEAD of everyone else. I'm still in shock. Once at the window we had to verify some basic information, write a check, and wait for our receipt. Next stop, the fingerprinting office on the 12th floor.

When you enter this office you have to fill out a basic form and then take it to the person behind the window there. They check everything, take your driver's license, and give you a number. When your number is called you get fingerprinted! Well...we forgot that our driver's licenses no longer have our social security numbers on them...neither do our passports...or anything else we had with us. The guy there was extremely nice and very helpful. He told us to go to the Social Security Office on the 7th floor and they would give us what we needed. SO! Back on the elevators and down to the 7th floor. We get there to find two armed security guys standing in the doorway saying stuff like, "I think it's ok...just a false alarm." We go in...more and more guards are arriving...nothing materialized thank God! Take a number and get the idea. It was relatively quick and painless.

Back up to the 12th floor with our copies in hand. You may remember that I have next to no fingerprints left. She finally gave up on my left pinky...the supervisor wasn't too happy but she told him, "That's as good as it's going to get! I did it MANY times!"

Hope loved all the trips in the elevators, trying out yet another public restroom (the girl SERIOUSLY loves public toilets...go figure), and going through the revolving glass doors at the front of the building.

The really sad thing is, this was nothing compared to when we had to refingerprint while we were waiting for Hope. Read on if you dare!

No one informed us that we needed to PAY for refingerprinting. Yeah...we were frighteningly naive! We went to the fingerprinting office, filled out our forms, took them to the window and the lady told us we needed to pay. Garry gets out his wallet, she tells him she can't take the money, we have to go to the 5th floor. She said when we got there, there would probably only be one window open and A LOT of people waiting. She told us to jump in front of everyone else as soon as the window was free and tell them what we needed. I kid you not! That's exactly what she told us to do! I felt HORRIBLE! Here are all of these people who are in the country LEGALLY and who are jumping through every conceivable hoop they can to REMAIN here legally and we are supposed to leap in front of them. Ok!

We ran to the window as soon as we got there and told the woman what we needed. She gave us the total we owed and Garry and I got out our wallets. No, no, NO! They don't take cash! We didn't bring the checkbook. Not a problem! Go to the post office downstairs and get a money order she says! Back down to the first floor to buy a money order...up to the 5th floor to pay, jumping in front of yet someone else to do it...back up to the 12th floor to be refingerprinted. The Federal Government is FUN!

It's done...I feel immensely better and now I'm going back to drifting in my fog.

Later y'all...

Oh! I almost forgot! I was feeling so good after our trip to beautiful downtown Cleveland this morning that when I got home I did some nesting. I got out all of the crib linens and fired up the washer and dryer. I think the crib may go up this weekend. Too early? Probably but I *needed* to do it...something in my gut and in my heart said, "go for it."

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