So far I have been out of work for six weeks as of yesterday, and although I am trying to settle down into a routine, trying to generate work and income online, and trying to spend my time fruitfully, I find myself being incredibly busy yet have trouble achieving much of what I want to. It’s extremely frustrating.
It took the best part of a month for me to settle down to waking up at a decent time instead of 6:30am, and this is one of My Pet Peeves with being out of work. It’s the same when you are working, you struggle to get up during the week, but then at the weekend you wake early, when it would be so nice just to have a lie in for a change.
Well my best intentions for the month of March were to start writing a lot of articles on different sites, to investigate creating Squidoo lenses to sell, to identify photographs and other works of mine that I can sell, and a few more things. What have I achieved? Not even 10% of this!
The problem is that although there is so much that I want to do, at the same time there is so much to be done.
Take for example last week. I had to get my taxes completed before leaving for England this weekend (I will get to this later), because although they have to be filed by 15th April, I am not going to be here. Preparing the information took some time, although I don’t know why I bothered because the accountant said that if the details do not exceed the standard amount then they won’t make a difference. I just know I ended up with a huge tax bill (see my previous posting). So I spent several days trying to find out more about paying my taxes in installments, or to see if I can make an offer to pay less. The information on the IRS web sites doesn’t really help me, and it’s often confusing, so I tried calling, and I am on the phone for up to 30 minutes, holding while some crackly music is playing. Meantime you can’t do anything, because you have to be ready for the call. When you do speak to someone, they more or less just direct you to the web site, so back to square one…
Frustration Zombie Disorder
Are you one of these people like me, where when there is a lot to do and you are frustrated, you just want to go to sleep, or turn into a vegetable? The more frustrated and stressed I get, the more I can just sit there and stare into space like a zombie, my brain racing at 100 miles per hour, but getting nothing done. The past two weeks have just been a classic case, especially when I found out about having to owe so much money to the tax man.
My other time consuming and worrying task has been my upcoming interview with the Department Of Homeland Security regarding my US Citizenship application. No it’s not the INS (Immigration And Naturalization Service) any more, immigration comes under Homeland Security. I finally got used to getting letters from them. They sent me into panic mode at first, because not only could they contain bad news, they could also be about something else. You always worry – well I do… even though I have been a good citizen (well resident anyhow)…
For my interview, which was Monday morning, I knew that I would have to answer 6 out of a maximum of 10 questions correctly, these being on US government, history and geography. I was rather concerned, since I am not into politics, and in England I bet very few people could tell you much about the political system, or how many of this or that law there were, what year they were passed etc. Here it’s different. You are expected to know the year that the Constitution was written, how many Amendments there are, who was president during WWI and WWII etc. The political questions were harder for me, although they do give you a book with the questions so you can prepare yourself. Then there are what I call the silly questions, just basic things that most people ought to know. For example, how many stars are there on the US flag and what do they stand for? Ditto how many stripes… Well I know this, but I wonder how many people know anything about the Union Jack, what it is comprised of and what this means? Probably not many.
As part of my interview I also had to pass tests that proved I could read and write English. First I had to read the sentence “What state has the most people?”. Then I had to write the answer, which was dictated to me… “California has the most people”. Phew – I passed that one… I bet if they asked a lot of people something about Mississippi they would get it wrong! Gawd – the Welsh would have the perfect answer to stopping immigration… Question: “What is the longest place name in Wales? Answer (which you would have to write): “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch is the longest place name in Wales”. Could YOU do it I wonder?
My interview was supposed to be at 9:15am Monday morning. I arrived 35 minutes early (they said to not arrive more than 30 minutes early), I went through the scanners (same as going through at the airport, except I didn’t have to take my shoes off), had to go back to the car to leave my cell phone behind, because it has a camera, even though I don’t have the ability to take photos off the camera… Well I waited, waited, waited some more… Lots of people got seen, then came out again. More people arrived, quite a lot arrived up to an hour after me and got seen first, so I was naturally getting quite frustrated and concerned. Of course I didn’t take my watch, since I have the time on my cell phone, which is now in the car, and there is no clock in the place. I finally got called in for my interview, which took all of 10 minutes. I passed the test – only got 1 question wrong, well half wrong… Phew! I got back to the car to find that the whole process took 2 hours and 20 minutes, 10 minutes of which were the interview.
However, as usual things don’t go completely straightforward for me. I have to provide evidence that I am paying child support. They didn’t ask me to bring that with me, something to do with Florida law, they aren’t allowed to ask, but they need it anyhow. So I left rather relieved, but frustrated that I now have something else to do, and I am off to England on Saturday. I thought the form would arrive in weeks, but it arrived yesterday, amazingly fast for a change. Well now I have to try to provide this before I go. That would save a month off the processing time since I will be away for 3 weeks. It does however mean that today and tomorrow I have to get the paperwork ready and to no doubt wait hours more tomorrow to get the paperwork to them, when I would prefer to be packing my bags.
I Hope They Don’t Search My Bag
Although Debbie now has her visa (see previous posts for the long long saga of the visa etc), it’s cheaper for me to fly to England than for her to fly here, and with me being out of work I can go for longer, as she only has 2 weeks off work (school holidays). So I am set to fly out on Saturday morning for almost 3 weeks in England.
Of course, since we had hoped that Debbie would be spending a year here with me as of last Summer, she has been bringing more and more clothes with her, and I now have a closet full. Since it’s unlikely she will be coming back in May and can’t come during the summer, I am going to be bringing as many of her clothes back to the UK with me. At the same time, the last 2 trips I made to the UK, I brought clothes to leave there, so I don’t need to bring many things over with me this time. Problem is, if they decide to search my bag, which has never happened before, but you know Murphy’s Law… they are going to find a suitcase filled with women’s clothing! “Er, ah, I can explain officer…” I might work up a light sweat on arrival in England… Shouldn’t be a problem though I am sure… There must be dozens of cross-dressers going through immigration every day… Just rather embarrassing since I’m not one..
Well back to my seemingly endless list of things to do… So much to write about, but like everything else, so little time…