Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I have never been good with a diary, a Filofax, a calendar. I just don't think that way. I keep all my appointments in my head. If you think that system works, you are as nutsy as I am.

Starman has instituted a calendar online for us to share. This is ingenious. We can both access it, put stuff on it, refer to it several times a day. His opens as soon as he logs onto the Internet. Mine . . . doesn't. I don't look at mine. I should. I mean to. I feel bad when it's clear I haven't and bad things happen. Hell, I feel bad when it's clear I should be looking at it, but bad things haven't happened.

I don't know what my problem is. (Incidentally, nothing about that last sentence was meant to suggest that my calendar phobia is my only problem. Not even close!) I don't even think it's an old-dog-new-trick problem. I just don't work that way.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I know what today's calendar says. This morning we're driving to Philadelphia to see those nice people in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) about two things. First, Starman's green card came and was right in places, and wrong in one place. They had his middle name -- the name he actually goes by -- wrong by one letter. Kinda matters, particularly as the resulting misprint is a GIRL'S name. (This comes out like a Will Shortz puzzle on the radio: Take a four letter first name -- masculine -- change the last letter to an A, and you get a four letter girl's name.)

So he followed the instructions on the website, sent the green card in, and sat back & waited. Which probably would have been okay but for two wrinkles. First, he hadn't read all the fine print that explained they can take up to 90 days to send back his green card, and he won't be allowed back in the country without it. Well, to be fair, he sort of knew that he might have to go to a USCIS office to get his passport stamped (again) with a temporary green card, closer to the date in January when we want to go back to see his family.

But that's not the big, hairy, obnoxious wrinkle. We come by the wrinkle-from-hell courtesy of the Social Security Administration. The rule is, as soon as he got his Employment Authorization Card (which he still has) he can get a Social Security number. So he applied. He didn't get a SS#. He got a form letter that said it might take four weeks. That was seven weeks ago. You can't call to inquire about the status of this. Our fear is that the Social Security Administration has been told by Homeland Security that Starman's paperwork is "under review" even though his green card was granted and is merely having a typo fixed, and that somehow translates into "Do Not Give This Person A Social Security Number NO Matter What" in the Social Security system.

Just pause with me for a moment, and think about all the things you can't do without a Social Security number. Get a driver's license. Have a bank account. Credit cards. An investment account. All he wants to do is invest in our (shaky) economy, and he can't. It's beyond bizarre and annoying.

So, we're trying to get that fixed. Good luck to us, hunh?

And the one other thing on my calendar today? Meet with a producer and costume designer in the Binghamton area to discuss the possibility of his taking umpteen yards of offwhite damask and making me a wedding dress. He's been recommended by a friend, he's seemed really nice in our e-mails back and forth, and I've even seen him onstage (dressed -- by himself -- as Pooh Bah in The Mikado) and he looks smart/talented/delightful.

So -- confrontational interview with government employees jaded by post-911 policies or friendly talk with talented person to discuss my wedding dress. Guess which one I'm dreading. (Insert ironically smiling emoticon here. Which is what? :-/ ?)

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