The representative from the moving company is coming tomorrow evening to look over the things I plan to move so he can write an estimate for how much the move will cost and help me get the paperwork taken care of. Needless to say, I’ve been busy doing other things, so the place is as messy as it was one week ago, although the mess is distributed much differently than it was then.
I checked my apartment mailbox yesterday and was surprised to find a letter from USFWS regarding my application for CITES permits for the birds (don’t they read their own instructions regarding mailing addresses versus the address where the birds reside?). This letter assigned me a “PRT” case number that I am supposed to use for all communications with them from now on.
I was appalled to see that my application took ten days to register on their hive-mind, even though I overpaid the postage by one-third and even though the USFWS letter took only three days to reach me. I was also annoyed that this letter was sent to my apartment mailbox, even though I explicitly told them to send it to my PO box (because it’s secure and the staff at that post office actually know what they are doing). Needless to say, the USFWS already look like a bunch of bumbling overpaid dumbshits. Why bother asking for a separate mailing address if they don’t use it?
The USFWS letter said that I have at least 30 days from time of receipt of my application (nevermind that it took eleven days before USFWS noticed my application and another ten days to mail their computer-generated response to me), and more likely 60-90 days to wait for the permits. If I get the permits at all. The USFWS letter went on to whine about how there are oh, so many thousands of applications to process and for that reason, the USFWS is going to treat me like shit, and I just have to wait my turn like everyone else and boohoo, woe is they.
I then emailed my veterinarian friend about the process necessary to get the USDA health certificates and medical testing for my birds underway, so I could get that done while I wait so I can cut down on the wait time, but was informed that no, I cannot start that process until the USFWS decides to give me my damned permits because I must have the CITES permits in my hand to move on to the next step of the process. How inefficient is that? Worse, I have to go in person to the nearest USDA office to start the next step of the process. Obviously, the USDA is comprised of cretins who haven’t heard of email, photocopiers, FAXes, telephones or snailmail. So where is that office located? Despite the fact that NYC is THE major port of entry into the United States, the nearest USDA office is located in New Jersey! YAY! Getting there and back using public transit will likely be one whole day of yet more headaches and frustration and expense! I am totally looking forward to this!
Oh, and one more thing. My friend told me that this process is going to take me at least six months.
Yeah, you read that correctly.
No where — NO fucking WHERE — does it say anything like that! But she’s done this numerous times, so if anyone should know how long everything really takes, she would.
So instead of sitting around for three months at the most, I learn that I have to sit around for at least six months, twiddling my thumbs, with no job or income of any kind (all my pet care clients have mysteriously evaporated because I might not be at their beck and call at some point in the future as I’ve been for six years), waiting for USFWS, the USDA and the German authorities to get their collective asses in gear, while I try to figure out how to pay the money-grubbing landlord hundreds of dollars each month in penalties in addition to rent because I didn’t renew my lease. Because I thought I’d be moving in November. Or December. I hadn’t planned on moving in April next year.
And that’s if I did everything correctly. If I screwed up any one tiny little thing, then I get to start everything over again. Or I have to give up my birds. But I won’t know this for 90 days. Probably. (And the more time and money that I invest into this asinine and ridiculously complex process, the less likely I am to give up the birds and the more likely I am going to write numerous blog essays about it. I mean, I offered to give up all my birds several times, in fact, and had already started looking for vaguely suitable homes for them — but my spouse wouldn’t hear of it.)
At this rate of speed, my spouse and I will be celebrating our first anniversary on separate continents after spending a grand total of eight days together after getting married. Sounds like a great anniversary, doesn’t it?
Worse, it looks like my holidays are guaranteed to suck as badly as they have every other year of my life. I am really looking forward to spending another holiday season absolutely alone, again, eating vegetarian chili from the can, again (because that’s better than oatmeal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) while I listen to WNYC play their 36 hours of pre-recorded Christmas music. AGAIN.