Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Waiting to Hurry Up and Wait

Yesterday our Canadian marriage certificates landed safely in the hands of Catholic Social Services, along with the other pile of dossier items. I'm waiting on just a few stray pieces to complete dossier submission. Our homestudy, letter of good standing, and homestudy agency license needs to come back from Franklin county with their Apostille's, I would guess I'll get those by the end of the week.
After I get those off to CSS there's truly nothing to do but wait. CSS has told us we could hear something as early as Summer or going into Winter/early Spring. They just don't know. When we started the process it was 12-18+ months total, and that timeframe includes homestudy and dossier prep. So I'm guessing our time estimate is 6-12 months from now. Give or Take. Give or take maybe a lot.
I'm ok with the wait. For now anyway! We still have a lot to do around the house and need to keep saving and fund-raising as much as possible. We need to work on the room, study Russian, get all our baby gear organized.
For now though I'm still feeling the buoyant happiness of having just completed the paperwork; I will bask in this paper-free world for a while!
I'm sure that will wear off soon and I'll be antsy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just Keep Swimming

Friday Bek and I went downtown. Two quarters in the meter, ok 59 minutes to get all this done! First stop, the Justice Building. Through the rope maze and bad guy detector, over to the clerk of courts. It is a busy dark cave of a place. No line for county verifications, hurray! Bek plopped down on the floor with his DS, I handed over all my documents. A pleasant woman processed everything, gave us pretty little 1/4 sheets of paper with sunny yellow seals on them, charged us $24, and 15 minutes later we were done. "oh, did you know there is a secretary of state office right here downtown now? yeah, not many people know about it and i bet you can get right in to get all your apostille's, that way you won't have to send these off to columbus. you can walk from here. your son is adorable, does he like smarties?"...I could've climbed over the counter and kissed this woman.
Off we went over to the State Building, about a 10 minute walk. Sign in, provide ID, up the elevator. Into a sparkling new Secretary of State office with not a soul in it. Stepped right up, handed over documents (again), waited 20 minutes, forked out $120, got 24 beautiful apostilles! Chilly walk back to car, Bek moaning he is tired, my head starting to throb, but we did it! Back into the car, quick stop for Excedrin, pop two, off to FedEx, send 95% of dossier off to Catholic Social Services. Yipppeeeee!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

seriously?

'Member that post yesterday about not having any paperwork? So breezy and nostalgic??
I seriously could just cry! As if I'm not already a hormonal mess. I tracked the return pkg from the Sec of State which was to have our apostille'd dossier documents. I saw that it was already scheduled for delivery today, which would be an amazing turnaround. So quick in fact that I thought surely something must be wrong. Called Sec of State and sure enough they said they were returning all documents because there was no COUNTY VERIFICATION. I don't even know what this is and don't remember doing this the 1st time. And of course I'm getting no direction from anyone. I remember now w/ the first one they advised us to have all notaries done by a lawyer, but never said why and I never asked. This is why. Notaries done by a regular notary need to be verified by the county they were notarized in. Which also means I've got two separate counties of stuff that needs county verifications, Franklin & Cuyahoga.I see now, on a stray piece of paperwork from our homestudy agency that indicates as such. Ok so my bad I guess, but I've emailed them many times and told them stuff was notarized and ready to get apostilled, you'd think at some point they'd say, 'did you get your county verifications?"...argh. So this is done at the Clerk of Courts downtown. $28 out the door in FedEx shipping costs wasted on the first batch. Will have to take it all downtown tomorrow, then shoot it all back out to Columbus on Sat. The only upside may be that the corrected homestudy copies came today so I can send it all out together. I already flew out to the Post Office to send those docs to Franklin County Clerk of Courts, with yet another check and more two way shipping costs. Looks like Bek and I are taking a field trip tomorrow to the Clerk of Courts. Have eaten 1/2 box of Cheez Its. The real kind, with all the chemicals.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Not Quite but Almost There....

Yesterday I FedExed a bunch of documents to Columbus for Apostilles. I'm still missing 4 pieces of the 19 dossier items, but now I've got a majority of the paperwork atleast in the tail end of the paperchase. Atleast I can say all of these missing pieces are in the hands of someone else and not due to my negligence. We've had some hiccups with our homestudy, typos, slowness, general poor service. But...it's all getting there. Today I didn't really have any paperwork I COULD do, which feels weird. It's funny that the paperwork is so stressful and then when it's gone you are not quite sure what to do. I remember this now from the first time. When I unloaded that pile at FedEx I walked out feeling strange and a little panic stricken. Like I had lost or forgotten something important. Left stove on, lost car keys, no, it felt bigger than that. I walked down the sidewalk to Half Price Books where Brad and Bek were waiting for me, and as is customary on our visits there we each pick out a book. I couldn't focus, kept patting my sides like I lost my purse or was looking for something; it was an involuntarily reflex, my psyche and physical body was causing this reaction; as they has already become acustom to this paper baby I'd been caring for for weeks, months!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Great Cheez It Experiment

Have you seen the movie Food, Inc? Brad and I watched it a while back. It was a great movie and as it boasts on the dvd cover, it will make you re-think your dinner. A lot of it was not a news flash for us, we've always tried to eat consciously, buy organic, etc. Some times with more success, other times slipping into convenience food mode, cheese dusted hands held guiltily in the air.
This movie rejuvenated our desire to eat more wholesome, unprocessed food. I had also recently read the book Food Rules, written by Michael Pollan who was a big contributor in the movie. Some of his food rules (not really all his, some are ancient pieces of food culture and things you may have heard your grandmother say)include 'avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry' and 'eat mostly foods that will eventually rot'...basically get away from processed junk loaded with preservatives, spend more but eat less, etc.
So...I love Cheez Its. I buy them everytime I'm at Heinen's or Target or Giant Eagle. I eat them as a snack, love them with coffee (weird I know), red wine, coke zero (another vice i'll have to work on), an egg sandwich or tomato soup. Bek has inherited my love for cheez its. Sadly, cheez its contain a lot of things our bodies may or may not be great at processing. Genetically modified junk, hydrogenated oils, msg, and other artificial crap that's too hard too spell. In the big picture of snack foods and relative to many they are not that bad, if the comparison is a cool ranch dorito or an extreme cheddar cheeto.
So I decided I would try to make my own. I'd read 'make your own crackers' recipe articles before and always wanted to give homemade crackers a whirl. It was easy, ok a teensy bit more time consuming that going to the store and buying a box of cheez its, but way more satisfying! I knew exactly what we were devouring, er eating, once these flaky, buttery cheezy little things came out of the oven! It should be noted that while they are more "wholesome" because there are no preservatives and I used mostly organic ingredients, all of us girls know that a calorie is still a calorie. These are probably a special treat and should be consumed in moderation. (argh! curse you moderation!)Here's the details of my homemade cheez it experiment which I edited from another one I found online:

1 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup flour
1 stick of butter, softened/room temp
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper (i used white pepper because i didn't want black flecks on my crackers, but black would be fine)
1 tsp paprika
1/4 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, more or less according to how much heat you like, i used only a few shakes to keep them family friendly
1 - 2 Tablespoons ice cold water

Put all except water into the food processor, pulse til it's like course bread crumbs. slowly add one tablespoon of the water and pulse til it comes together, add more water if it's not coming together. it will look like pie crust dough. Dump it out onto a floured surface, kneed a few times and let it rest for 1/2 hour.
Preheat oven to 325.
Roll dough out thin on floured surface, 1/8" or less. Use a pizza cutter to cut long strips about an inch wide, then horizontally to make squares. Poke each square w/ the small end of a chopstick or whatever stick you can find that will make a small hole! the tine of a fork might work. They puff up quite a bit if you don't do this; still taste delicious though so don't worry if you skip this! Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt.
Line up on parchment (or non stick) lined pans, bake for 13-15 mins. cool on wire rack. try not to burn your tongue when you can't resist eating them right out of the oven.
I'm anxious to try different cheeses, would love swiss or gruyere, maybe some garlic, dill or rosemary.
Let me know how yours turn out!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Really Great Service, Eh


I had mailed off our Canadian marriage certificates to the Ministry of Government Services in Toronto to have them authenticated. I sent them UPS on Monday the 11th. On Wednesday 13th I had an email from them, like a personal email, not a stock auto reply. They told me they had been received and would be submitted for processing. Today, Friday the 15th, 4 days after I send them, I got another personal email asking kindly how I'd like them sent back and where to! I have to say, those Canadians are pretty darn efficient!
In other news, I got a huge chunk of documents notarized. The one snag is that I couldn't get them all done because Brad was not present with me. No worries, no hurdle I can't overcome since I've become Super Focused Paperwork Woman. Dutifully emailed husband at work and told him what time he needs to be there, no questions asked. An aura of calm and focused peace must of been emanating from me because kind Notary Lady only charged us $10 for the whole pile."it should've been 1.50 each, that comes out to $34 total, but I'll just waive the rest honey"... we got a deal AND she called me honey!
The other day the upstairs computer, which is connected to the printer, finally breathed it's last electronic breath. I still had cover letters & other docs to print. You might think this threw me into another stress fueled rant, but no, no problem, called local corner copy shop up the street and emailed documents to them for printing. I am a zen paperwork master! I have borrowed a phrase from the British which has proven to be a most helpful mantra!

Excuse this House

I saw this poem on another blogger's website and had to grab it! The author and composition date are unknown. My only question is, who shines a doorbell?


Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there,
Ours boasts it quite openly,
The signs are everywhere.

For smears are on the windows,
Little smudges are on the doors.
I should apologize, I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.

But I sat down with my children
And we played and laughed and read.
And if the doorbell doesn't shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.

For when at times I'm forced to choose
The one job or the other,
I'd like to cook and clean and scrub,
But first I'll be a mother.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

go towards the light!



i can see it, faintly, it's there...tiny cracks of light emerging..it's so beautiful; i want to be there, where there is peace, happiness, comfort all around you, cherub faced babies flying through the air...AND NO PAPERWORK. PHONECALLS. PAPERCHASING TO police departments, doctor's office, banks, notaries! Where printers and computers don't break down, where homestudy agencies don't make major typos that require correcting and re-correcting, where documents don't expire and need re-doing, oh how i want to be in that place! But the fact that I can see it, the light that is, means I am ever so much closer...I am almost there! Like bad labor pains, I forgot how hard this part was. But what I DO remember, is that when it was all done and submitted and translated and sitting on the other side of the world; all there was to do was sit and wait. and wait. and wait....I almost longed for the paperwork. Atleast it kept me busy and it kept me in control. So I must remind myself that this is part of it. Part of the big picture in getting to him or her. That and it's keeping me (barely) out the clearance aisle in the baby department at Target....

Friday, January 8, 2010

paper labor pains

Before the holidays, our agency sent us electronic copies of all of the dossier documents. It is a list of 19 items, some of them templates to customized & edited electronically such as 'parents letter of intent to adopt' and some other items that need to be collected; such as 'copy of county tax assessment record with detailed description of home'. It's a long and tedious list. And as I've said way too many times in previous posts, each of these items must get notarized locally and apostilled by the state of Ohio. Our agency advised us to work on these right after the holidays.
So January 2nd rolls around and I roll up my sleeves to get to work and head up to the freezing cold attic office to commence printing/editing these documents. Brad uninstalled the printer when he reformatted his computer, and never reinstalled it. Oh snap you gotta be kidding me. Brad I'm gonna kill you! Other things came out of my mouth that are not fit to repeat. My dear friend Laura offered to help me out, and she kindly printed the docs out for me. I trudged out into the snow and drove through the near blizzard like conditions to her house, and got the documents. I begin working on them. I've put a good dent in them, am feeling oh so productive! I realize, as I dutifully push all this paperwork around, humming a happy little working song, that since these docs were sent before the holiday, the New Year, they all are dated 2009. Son of a biscuit! I now have multiple copies of everything, as I already started this process some time ago, and now i have another set with the wrong dates, it's getting confusing. I go through piece by piece and draw an X on each dossier doc and put it in a garbage pile on the floor. Ok, no big deal, starting over now, I can do this. I electronically edit each one, and save accordingly. I then realize...mm hmmm I know you see it coming...that several of these documents will have to be redone yet again should a certain employment situation change. Can't say many details as I don't know who is reading this! But suffice to say, chances are good I am now going to have to re-do several docs AND ammend our entire homestudy due to employment changes!!
I will not give up! I will complete this paperwork! Breathe!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!



Happy new decade for that matter! It's hard to believe. What will we call this decade? We've had the 80's, 90's, then the 00's (never really knew what we called that one either) and now the...'tens'? or the 'teens'? Hmm, surely there has been or will be a segment on NPR about that. As a former child of the 70's and 80's...2010 still sounds so, so...futuristic, to me. Hearing that number in Sister Marie's 8th grade classroom, I envisioned us all flying around in cars by now, getting our dinner from our own personal kitchen vending machines. But here we are, still schlepping around on the ground in our gas powered cars.

Speaking of schlepping and cars...the old girl Subaru just did not want to go this morning! She seemed to mirror Bek and I, on the second day back to school after break...we did not want to go either. We had two glorious weeks of sleeping in and no schedule and it's been tough getting back. And of course, the thought that always pops in my head during every moment such as this (and pretty much every moment, period)...how about doing this with a newly adopted 12ish month old? I mean the waking up (whine, i don't want to get up!), the getting ready (hurry up, brush your teeth, we're gonna be late!), the search for the missing glove (no you can not wear just one!), the getting boots on and tromping out (why do we live in cleveland again?!) to the freezing cold car.
I am up for the challenge though, and can't wait to add him/her to our lives! If the Bek Experience has taught me anything, it's that 1. you can't really prepare for it (but oh you can try), you need to just do it, and 2., it will be so much more amazing that you can even imagine.
I have put a good dent in paperwork but need to keep at it. Signing off!