Archive for May, 2013

Housing matters

Picture by Vanderbolt-0 under a Creative Commons LIcense


Ten days until our lease of an apartment in California starts.

Thirty-something days until we hand over they keys to this house to the buyer we found.

Wait, maybe I should announce that with a bit more fanfare..




We didn’t even make a loss. Sure, alright, we didn’t make much money on it either, but to sell – in this market – in six months, without losing money.. It’s a rarity. People are positively envious.

And we’re mostly happy because it helps us leave everything behind and proceed on the road to owning less, to simplifying and to living life lightly. We start packing up our books today, have some possessions already ‘labeled’  for their new owners and will otherwise do a lot of donating, giving away and throwing out. It will be glorious. Life will be compacted into a trekking backpack and a  carry-on bag for each of us.

I can start planning for a goodbye party. And I can start fretting about the medical appointment that I have to undergo before I can go to my visa interview on June 25.

Civilization getting in the way of things

There are one or two blog posts that have been hiding up my sleeve for a week or so. They’re just not coming out right now. It’s not their fault. They’re not shy. It’s my fault.

You see, Beloved and I decided to get ourselves a copy of (Sid Meier’s) Civilization V. And from our living room ceiling hangs a beamer which is connected to the pc on which we installed the game. Our screen is seven feet wide and the couch in front of said screen is very comfy.

Hence, it is seriously, absolutely, totally The Most Important Thing right now to ensure that Russia reaches the space age before that asshole from the French empire, and to support the city state of Venice so that they remain our ally against the onslaught of the Ottomans.

I’m sure you understand, right? Right? Because if not, then I’m just about finished building my first nuclear sub 😀

Interview date

The next step after a case complete, is the assignment of an interview date at your local consulate.

Which has happened. *yay* *squee*. Unfortunately it has also happened later than I had hoped (and, frankly, expected). Not that it matters all that much, because an appointment is an appointment and as far as visa timelines go we’ve been incredibly lucky (and pretty well organized) and are ahead of the curve in terms of how long these processes frequently take.

A quick timeline:

  • NOA1 (confirmation of petition received by USCIS) November 8, 2012
  • NOA2 (USCIS approves petition by US citizen and allows case to progress to national Visa Center) January 2, 2013
  • Case Complete (National Visa Center has formally ‘accepted’  original petition by USCIS + evidence of monetary sufficiency by US Citizen + visa application by foreign spouse), April 15, 2013
  • Interview Date (with local consulate), June 24, 2013

General counsel is to not make any travel arrangements until after the interview is passed and the visa is ‘ in hand’. However, the summer holidays are coming, ticket prices are skyrocketing and we’ve got a lease on an apartment that starts June 1st. So, we’re seriously considering booking tickets already. Due to the time needed to actually put the visa in my passport, we’re not comfortable leaving less than 8 days after the interview. Which places us right in the first week of the high season (and the 4th of July rush).

We’ll have to see about how to handle that one..

Names and IDs and little bits of sexism

Photo by Brian Suda, under a Creative Commons License

My driver’s license was about to expire. And my passport was only valid for a few more months – not long enough to be able to get it stamped with a visa.

And so I went off to city hall to get that stuff renewed. Beloved came with, also desiring a new driver’s license. When I signed, gave finger prints and handed over a passport photo, the clerk asked me if I wanted my partner’s name added onto my new license and passport.  This may need some culturally oriented explaining.

I decided that, yes, please, I’d like my partner’s name in my passport on the line below my own name: the line  for ‘spouse’. Mostly to have a little visual proof for those not accustomed with people keeping their names, but also because of the fun tickly sensation of, you know, having found my Favourite Human and being able to have this verified by Powers That Be. (I acknowledge that this is a form of privilege that many people do not have, by the way.)

Much to my chagrin no one gave Beloved the option. So now I have two official documents listing Beloved as my spouse and he has two new documents that totally fail to acknowledge my existence.  Hello?! I’m here! I married this one! I know he has a penis, but why does that imply that he doesn’t need _my_ name all up in his business? Hmm?