Sadness & Bureaucracy

This must be a record for me, another post in just a little over two months. WoW. Where’s all this energy coming from? Actually, it’s sheer exhaustion. If you’d just let me cry and bitch, we’ll get this out of the way and can move on to, where ever we might want to go.

The year 2011 did not start off well. My sister-in-law Felecia died March 20th of cancer and her death really kicked us all hard in the gut. She’d been diagnosed last October and by late February, despite treatments, the cancer simply exploded and sucked out her life in slow and excruciating increments. She died surrounded by a bunch of exceptional people. Family and friends, who loved her and will continue to cherish her forever. Her family abounds with creative minds and hearts. Musicians and poets, dancers and visual artists – all amazing and caring. So you can imagine, what a person she was, and how desperately she is missed by her husband and her two daughters. My brother lost his sweetheart, with whom he had only one single fight in over 20 years of marriage – and it wasn’t a boring marriage, either! And Calista and Katya lost their guiding light and the warmth of a mother’s embrace and the sensations of touch, smell and sound of their mom’s very being. I have a picture of Charles & Felecia on another hard drive, I’ll post it as soon as I’ll retrieve it. It tells the story of their love more clearly than words could.
So, what else, beside anger, happened in these last three months? Well, we were busy realizing our plans to, A. take our dogs to Costa Rica with us, and B. accumulate the paperwork necessary to apply for ‘Pensionado’ status in Costa Rica. That is, to apply to be granted residency, rather than remain tourists. For this application process, Costa Rican laws require the applicant to submit a copy each of a birth certificate, a marriage license, if applicable, otherwise a divorce decree or a statement of bachelorhood may be necessary, also, a letter of conduct, issued by the police department at your last place of residence is mandatory. Does this sound easy to you? Oh, you delusional little dreamer, you!
Each one of these documents has to be a certified copy. The certification may not be older than three months at the time of presenting these document to an Embassy or Consulate of the Republic of Costa Rica for consularization. Never heart of such a thing? No one else ever has. Are you familiar with the Apostille Convention of de Hague? No? Well, google it. Costa Rica did not recognize the Apostille until about five minutes ago anyway, so we don’t really have to bother learning about it. We have to do it the hard way. No easy, sliding through the bureaucratic maze Apostille for us chickens! Here is a summary of the sequence of events, as they’re supposed to happen. First you contact the office, which registered your birth, to issue a certified copy of same. Next, you submit said certified copy of your birth certificate to the Department of State of the state, in which it was issued, for a certification of the certified copy. Essentially you’re asking to verify that your certified copy of your birth certificate is for real. Have actual, tax-payer paid bureaucrats issued, signed and sealed your certified copy? In some texts, this is called a super-certification. I just call it bull. Hey, we’re far from done here. Once the State Department returns your super-certified birth certificate to you, you better be ready in those starting blocks to over-night ($47 minimum) that document to a Consulate of Costa Rica for consularization. This required step in escalating ridiculousness means, believe it or not, that the Consulate verifies the stamps, seals & signatures of the previous certifiers. All of this you do State-side. Additionally, In Costa Rica, all these super-certified and authenticated documents have to be translated by a government-approved translator (fee per page) and will then be submitted by your lawyer (fee per case) to the relevant Costa Rican governmental department. Now, don’t misunderstand the cause of my bitching. Of course, there must be fees, of course, there must be rules. But, I am absolutely aghast about the artificial difficulties we had to overcome to receive information. Rarely does anyone answer phone calls or provides e-mail information in a timely fashion and websites often don’t work. The State Department has it’s own ‘Authentication Department’ to certify certified documents. Since we had papers from different states to be super-certified, it would have been convenient to submit all these documents in one fell swoop for the extra stamp of approval. However, we were told by our Costa Rican abogada that people had a problem with that process. So I sent e-mails to the State Department of the United States of America, repeatedly, with questions only they could answer, which they didn’t, ever. Are you listening, Ms. Clinton? Their website instructs: do not call, mail. Yeah, right. By no means are those guys the only duds in this comedy of errors. None of the representatives of the Republic of Costa Rica ever answered an e-mail, either. None. And super-but, what really, truly gets me, is this. We are post 9/11. Everybody who has a passport (Barry) or a green card (me) is biometrical registered and KNOWN. I bet you a substantial amount of money that the Costa Rican government could verify my identity to their super-satisfacion in about 3 minutes flat.
But I really wanted to tell you about the funny part in all of this. Barry and I got married in 1977 in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. …. to be continued!! I’m really tired and have to go to bed now. Y’all sleep well now, y’hear?

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