WIPocalypse 2012

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Adventures in Fingerprinting

Well, we've been fingerprinted and hopefully that's the last time for a long time. Erich and I took a day off work yesterday for adoption fingerprinting and what a long and wet trip it was!

We were up at 5am to get ready to leave by 6 for Hammond, IN which is almost 2 hours away according to Mapquest. Usually we don't have any major problems with Mapquest for directions but yesterday as an exception as you'll see. We get into Hammond around 7:45 which was really 6:45 Hammond time. Forgot about the central time zone switch til about halfway there when we were greeted by the "Entering CST" sign. Oh well, now we have time to stop for a bathroom break and stretch our legs, and hey didn't Mapquest say the street for this place was just off the highway? Oh well, we'll just find that in a minute as we've now got an extra hour. So we stop for a few and get a donut and caffeinated beverage and a new map because of course our state map is in the other car and we noticed some construction that might get in our way on the second leg of this trip. And back in the car we go, cruising back up and down the street and looking for Interstate Plaza Drive. Let me tell you, this place doesn't exist and now we're getting worried because it's about 20 minutes til our appointment. We turn down the side road where we think it should be (based on the distance Mapquest gave us). All that's there is a closed Big K and what appears to be a license branch and a factory of some variety. This can't be it. So we turn around and I start to panic because our letter said very clearly that if we didn't make the appt. that we'd lose our application and that means losing a lot of money. We drive a few minutes up the road and find a gas station with staff that has probably seen every lost person who has had an appointment with Citizenship and Immigration in the past ten years or so by their tone. They tell us to basically go back where we were and it's behind the Big K and oh yeah, the street sign's wrong. Thanks Hammond and Mapquest!

So we drive right back where we were and sure enough all the way down at one end in tiny letters in a shop window of a place that looks pretty much closed is a sign for the Application Support Center. And there are a few cars there now, with people who look like they're waiting for the place to open. So we wait and eat our donuts and head in when the herd starts moving only to be shooed back out with the entire group by an employee who is basically screaming at us all that absolutely no cell phones may be brought into the building, they must be left in the car. All righty then. Back out we go, deposit cell phones on car seat and back into line to be further yelled at about ID's and appointment letters and such. Apparently we can't be civil about this. Fabulous customer service skills. Way to go Homeland Security! Eventually we fill all the right forms out along with the other 10 or so people that are there and we all get our hands scanned and then they have the nerve to give us customer satisfaction surveys on the way out. Snort! You're kidding, right? Okay, you asked.

So we're finally released and start to head off toward Indianapolis to get reprints done for one of our background checks. We'd had the local post do prints about a month ago but the state rejected them last week saying that they were too dark and we'd need to get them done again. Rather than mess around locally we decided to go to the main post in Indy and get them done there since our agency's instructions said they could read the prints immediately. Much better to us than getting them done locally again and then delaying at least another month (agency won't release our home study until this gets processed right and that means no paperwork can go to Russia until this is taken care of) if the locals screw up again. Because of the detour we had to take we got to make a short stop at Purdue (yay!) and walk around the bookstore for a few. We did get a baby Boilermaker shirt:) and stopped at Von's which is a bookstore/bead store/music store with a few other random things thrown in too. I found some neat fiber optic beads there and got some star-shaped ones I'd like to use in a Christmas ornament.

Another hour on the road and we finally made it to Indy only to realize that Mapquest's directions stink for finding the state police post. They basically tell us to go downtown and make a U-turn on a very busy street. Um, I don't think that's gonna end well for us. It took us a couple times round the block but we finally came up with a public parking garage that was reasonably close and made our way through the rain into the right building. We take our letters and fingerprint cards up to the desk and they have us fill out yet more paperwork and do the exact same type of printing that we had done in Hammond. So we ask the guy doing the printing if he can tell whether the prints are good or not. Well, he has to go get another lady who asks if we had a question. Yes, we want to know if these are going to be acceptable so we don't have to make another 5 hour round trip drive to get them done again. Oh, she says, well they won't know until they run them but if they aren't right this time they'll just do a name search through the FBI. Insert smack head icon here. You mean we could have done this at home and still have been okay then? Why, oh why did you people not tell me this when I called to inquire last week? Uggh. Well, at least we know we're done with that now.

So that's my ramble for the day. In other news, we're getting pretty soggy up here as a result of the hurricane leftovers. The remnants of Ike are scheduled to hit tomorrow evening and we're all under flood watch until at least Monday. Yay, good thing I didn't really want to do any outside work anyway. Sounds like a good excuse to stay in and watch movies that were due back a few days ago but we haven't had time to return or watch yet. Less than a week until vacation and that makes me very happy. Next Friday morning we're leaving for a long weekend in northern Michigan, in particular we're going to spend a few nights on Mackinac Island which is one of my favorite places to be. My parents and a couple sets of aunts and uncles are joining us so it should be a good time. Then when we get back, Erich is scheduled to spend a few days in Grand Rapids, MI for work training so I'm going to tag along since I'll still be on vacation. Sounds like I'll even get to meet up with a BBer and get some stash shopping in so it should be a good end to the week.

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