I had the opportunity today to work with a couple government agencies today, a pleasure I haven't had for about a year and a half now. I guess part of a 'paper pregnancy' is forgetting how much fun that is.
Here's the run down:
9:15am - Midnight: Tried unsuccessfully throughout the day to fill out and submit some fairly straight-forward forms online. Keep in mind that those of us who fix computers for a living would rather strap an angry woodchuck to our nether regions than go into an office and say, "I know the form is available online, but it didn't work for me." Seriously though, I couldn't do it. Chris couldn't do it. When you click 'Continue' and you get '404' it's not our fault, that's just bad programming. Anyway it only took 15 hours for me to swallow my cyber-pride. I think that's a record.
8am: Drive 35 minutes to Government Agency #1.
8:40 Find the paper version of the form and fill it out while standing in the right line (because I'm a pro)
9:00 Realize that I only have one form of identification on me.
9:05 Get back in the car, go to Government Agency #2 to request a replacement ID card.
9:20 Read the sign that says I have insufficient identification on me to make said request.
9:25 Start to drive home to get passport which 'should' make it unnecessary to get the replacement ID card that Agency #1 wants so badly.
9:26 Call the Agency's 800 number in hopes that I can request the necessary ID without producing any actual forms of ID.
9:29 After multiple verbal menus, I'm told to fill out a form at my local agency office... so I continue home.
9:45 Jump back in the car (with passport) and drive 30 minutes back to Government Agency #2
10:20 Arrive at agency #2 and get my number. Sign at the front counter says, "Average wait time 20 minutes."
10:55 Number is called. (I've always been above average...) and I go up to the window.
10:57 Request for replacement ID is processed and I'll get it in the mail in 7-10 business days. Which is fine, except I want it today.
11:10 Drive back to Agency #1 with my drivers license, passport, the properly filled out form, and a receipt from Agency #2 saying I tried to get more ID.
11:15 Join the fray. For some reason this particular 'line' wasn't very linear.
11:25 I hear the one of the workers tell another client that she needed a photo ID and document with his Social Security number on it. My passport does not show my SSN and I don't carry my card around, so I'm hosed.
11:26 Call Chris to see if she can dig out a W-2 or something and drive it over to me. She says she can but it would take her a while to get the kids ready. That's wife-code for, "You're on your own buddy."
11:27 Digging through my bag, which I had with me the whole time, I find an obscure insurance form that conveniently has my SSN in bold on the front page.
11:31 I'm sitting in front of an agent.
11:38 Form submitted, accepted, and I'm in my car for the 35 minute trip home.
Futile online time: 12+ hours
Car time: 1.5 hours.
Standing in line time: 1 hour
Unnecessary trips to Government Agency #2 for unnecessary forms of ID: 2
Face time: 4 minutes
Ahhh brings me right back to the adoption days. The only thing that would have made it better would have been some kind of fingerprinting mishap. I don't know whether to be really frustrated that I wasted a day and a half dealing with paperwork that really only required 4 minutes of productive time (less had the internet not failed me) or if I should be relieved that I actually finished in under 5 years.
Either way, I'm glad that part's over.