Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Passport please

In scenes reminiscent of waiting for college acceptance letters, I have been checking the mail box every freaking day for a thick envelope from Immigration Canada. As many of you know (or don't know), I am in the process of applying for permanent resident status here in Canada. Today, after a little more than a year and a half, I finally got a letter saying my application had been approved and that my passport is needed so they can attach the immigration visa.

A year and a half might seem like a long time, but it falls within the 30% range according to the CIC website. Pretty good as far as I am concerned. I always remind myself that while, yes, it is a long time - imagine the wait for someone emigrating from a country you really want to get away from. Somewhere were the morning question isn't "Tim Hortons" or "Starbucks" - but which 20 mile trek has a better chance of leading to clean water. That is a little melodramatic, but sadly, it is a fact of life for millions.

I'm an immigrant twice over now, but each time it has been from one industrialized, English speaking country to another. Also, I'm not emigrating for political, religious, or some type of life saving reason. I'm doing it because I really love living in Canada. There are so many resasons besides hockey, beer, and words spelled the proper British way (even though the British own all the houses...that's another story).

I love being shocked by schools having photos of the Queen rather than the President. I love ketchup potato chips. I love pronouncing "Weber" as "Weeber". I love listening to jokes about Newfoundlanders and getting the punchlines (but I don't laugh, because that would be mean). I love hearing "Welcome home" when I pass through customs at the airport. There are a thousand of these, and even now, I'm starting to sound cheesy - so enough of this. I'm just happy and that's that.

As is customary among the ex-pat bloggers - here is a timeline of my application process.

  1. August 25, 2005 - application submitted
  2. October 2005 - corrected applications resubmitted
  3. December 20, 2005 - application accepted in Buffalo
  4. December 19, 2006 - application transferred to Detroit (Rock City)
  5. May 2007 - request for medical exam
  6. July 2007 - request for additional documents (I got married, they needed proof)
  7. July 25, 2007 - medical results received in Detroit
  8. August 7, 2007 - request for passport

...to be continued (and thanks CIC!!!)

Friday, August 03, 2007

first the fat boys break up

Originally uploaded by alexkinsella64
My buddy Dan Mickelson from Wisconsin just told me that the Argus in Madison is closing down and is supposedly becoming some kind of high end night club. Sad panda man, sad panda. For those who haven't been to Madison (and if not, what the hell is wrong with you?) - the Argus was one of the older pubs around. I didn't even go to university in Madison - but I did make my way around the pubs and bars there when I got the chance.

I've always felt bad about permanently borrowing glasses from places - but with the Argus closing, I feel great about it. Until someone drunkenly drops it - I will have a piece of history.

I'm not recommending going out and taking glasses - that is wrong. Do not look at this gallery of photos.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

plan this

Best line from a blog post detailing wedding planning tips that I've ever read -
"There's no reason to bother meeting with more and more vendors if you've found someone whose work you like and whose price fits your budget. Is it possible that someone getting married across town from us is going to have better flowers? Maybe, but our guests won't know, so we don't care. (Besides, does such a thing as "better flowers" even exist? Oh, you know what? Fuck you.) "

I totally agree with what this guy is saying. During our wedding planning, we really didn't get stressed out until the day before - and there were only two things that stressed us out. For Laurie - it was not being able to print the seating cards because the printer wasn't working. No big deal - we used a different printer. For me, it was not being able to tie my tie correctly. I wasn't trying to be a perfectionist or anything - it was just damn hot in my house (no A/C) and I was sweating. So I asked my dad to tie my tie for me. Problem solved.

Planning for us was easy. We looked at one venue - liked it, signed up. Flowers - we got them at Sobeys - saved a fortune, looked great. Our friend Sharon had a live band at her wedding. They were awesome, so we signed them up - a little more than a DJ would cost, but much more fun. As for the insanely expensive cake - we went with a girl just starting out. Cake was awesome (cake taste testing was the single greatest night of my life). Just go with your cut (and your wallet) and remember that it is supposed to be a party.

For anyone getting married - please read that article, take it to heart, and relax and enjoy throwing an awesome party. That's what the day is for and don't let anyone tell you any differently - unless they are paying for it, then they can say whatever the fuck they want to.

Also - go with open bar, you will never regret it - although some of your guests might. Them, and whoever has to clean up after them. I won't mention names, but you know who you are.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Po ta toe

Picture 021
Originally uploaded by bmsox622
Since it is the 1st today, I’ve decided that now is a good time to track my expenses for a month and then come up with some kind of budget. Budget? Yes – seriously. I feel that I’m old enough now to start being responsible when it comes to discretionary spending. That is the word for today by the way – discretionary. Try to use it in a sentence today if you can. Anyway – I’m thinking about this budget as I drink my $2 coffee from Starbucks, and it occurs to me that I have to write down that I spent $2 on a coffee from Starbucks today in my budget. Seeing that expense marked down makes me reconsider my two to three time a week habit. Maybe I should just suck it up and drink the coffee from the machine upstairs. Hey – the coffee is free. Sure the milk is the kind that can sit unopened in a cupboard for four months, but hey – free is free, eh?

In non-budget related news – I was reading the awesome blog “The Consumerist” yesterday and they had this article about Burger King coming out with ketchup flavoured potato chips. Instantly, there were 15 or so comments from other readers pointing out that Canada has had ketchup flavoured chips for decades. Yet another shining example of how Americans know absolutely zilch about their neighbour to the north. Sure, it is just ketchup chips – but that is just the tip of the ice berg my friends. Ice bergs are ketchup flavoured here too.