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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 11:09am on 02/06/2009 under ,
This morning, we headed to the DMV to get new licenses. This had involved minor drama. PA requires proof of residency (bills, etc). Further, it requires you to re-register your car within 21 days of moving to the state. Finally, in order to register your car in PA, you need a PA drivers license. Um.

Anyway, I got a Verizon bill yesterday, and along with our lease, that sufficed. Neil was a bit nervous as he didn't have a bill, but they accepted the letter from Pennsylvania Power & Light demanding ID since we'd never been customers before. I then re-registered my car and got PA plates.

Unfortunately, when I had to bring my car up (they needed to check the VIN against the title) I hit a concrete planter and cracked the goddamn bumper. Honda bumpers are practically disposable. It's not worth submitting it to insurance (we have comprehensive, but it's a $500 deductible). I'm not happy. We've had so many expenses lately, and we still have more to come.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 11:23pm on 15/10/2008 under ,
First we went to HSBC to get Neil an account. That was a mess. First they said they couldn't give him one because he doesn't have proof of address. Government correspondence apparently does not count unless you're an asylum seeker. Then they said (since I'm an HSBC customer) that we could have a joint account. Unfortunately, my driver's license was missing! (Turned out I left it in Kinko's. I have it back.) I remembered that they'd just photocopied my license a few weeks before, and they pulled it.

After all that, the guy accidentally-on-purpose forgot to put me on. I think that's what he did, anyway.

Afterwards, we went into the city and took Aliza to Central Park. She had a great time. It was a lovely day (and the weather report for this weekend was looking iffy, though it's improved now). We ended up going out for dinner, unplanned. (For the 2nd day in a row, if you count yesterday's brought-in pizza. My sister wound up in the emergency room yesterday--no worries, just a kidney infection and stone in the end--and everything went to hell yesterday. Today my mom spent the day shuffling her to doctors, and they were exhausted and didn't even want to eat, much less cook.)
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 04:13pm on 10/10/2008 under ,
That would be Social Security. "Your card will be there within a week". LIE. It's not. (I got a replacement with my new name; Neil got an initial one and neither one of us has it. His is more important since at least I have the number.)

Without the SS#, you can't get a bank account, driver's license, or job. Grrr.

(Language off note: The official Spanish name of Social Security is Seguro Social, which really means "social insurance". I wonder why they didn't use Seguridad Social, the literal translation and the name used in several Spanish speaking countries.)

Oh, and First Direct have fraud-blocked me again. Sigh. I need to write a check for Aliza's Child Health Plus, and for this amount the easiest method was to take out cash and deposit it. Now I can't do it till Tuesday as it's a bank holiday on Monday (Columbus Day). They're

Speaking of checks, HSBC made a slight error. My ZIP+4 is xxxxx-x282. They put it down (and I didn't give it to them, so it's not a question of me failing to notice the error when I checked the account details, though if their software generated the +4 I might not have noticed anyway) as x285. I'm not sure I can be bothered to have them fix the error. I don't think anyone ever checks the +4. Plus i checked (Google maps doesn't have the +4 database! Mapquest does, though) and that's basically across the street.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 09:20am on 26/08/2008 under
I can't join the local library. You need 2 proofs of address. 1 I have--drivers license. The other I don't because none of the utility or tax bills are in my name and I never write any checks so I don't have a cancelled one! (And what a stupid rule these days since the banks no longer return your cancelled checks. I could try taking my bank statement in I guess... but I doubt they'll bend the rules even slightly.)

Hmm, just realized, I could have my mom join and use her card, since no one will ever check ID. Though it might not work for signing up for programs which is why I wanted to join.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 10:18pm on 25/08/2008 under , ,
Working out how to enroll her in Child Health Plus. Find the information on BC/BS website. blah blah blah, "A completed application received by the 20th of the month will be effective the first of the following month."

So I can't get her insured till 1 October even if I fill the application out today. Sweetie, no getting sick next month, OK? I'm sure my old pediatrician would bill me for a visit, but when they do that it costs a fortune.

(Please, no rants about the American health system, OK? I'm sure plenty of countries have an enrollment lag before you can get your coverage... actually getting her covered will be easy. New York State lets everyone buy into Child Health Plus.)

At least I did do a bit of searching and found out I can apply directly to Blue Cross, rather than shlepping out to Social Services. I know I'm not eligible for anything.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 12:37pm on 25/08/2008 under
I went to visit Patty and Selma at the NYS DMV today. Selma looked at my passport and my foreign marriage license and started bleating about how I needed 6 points of ID for a name change and a passport is only 3. I looked at her and said "this license is in English and the Federal Government accepted it, it's too good for you?" (Not to mention that this is only a name change, not a new license, and so I don't need 6 points of ID. I HAVE my existing license, which is 6 points; I'm clearly the same person, and have my new name on my passport. And 6 points for a name change is bullshit. I checked.)

She got huffy and said she had to ask her supervisor. Who approved it, like I knew she would. I think DMV people just like being a pain. They made me take a new picture (bleh) and pay them $11. Huntington DMV operates some weird queuing system (5 different queues marked A-E) which I think is just so you don't realize how many people are ahead of you.

The line at Social Security was stupid so I gave up. I'll go first thing in the morning another day. It's not as urgent as my drivers license.

I also got my internet banking working again (they've finally fixed it so you don't have to print out the form and mail it) but the system won't let me order checks because I don't have an order history. So I have to call. That's about all I can do for the moment.

I feel guilty because Neil is doing all the work for this move now!
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 09:36pm on 24/08/2008 under , ,
today was my mother's birthday. My sisters and I (plus Aliza) went to have professional photos done. We had them done at Planting Fields Arboretum so we should have a nice backdrop for the pictures. Aliza was quite the poser.

We also went out for dinner and Aliza was fine till we were about halfway through the mains (we got her food served with the starters). The service was on the slow side, though. My sister and dad took turns walking her around till I could finish my dinner, then I took her out (luckily we had come in multiple cars). I got her into the car, drove around, and she didn't fall asleep!

This afternoon I took Aliza swimming in the pool in my parents' development. She really liked it. It's a shame they close it after Labor Day. :(

Tomorrow I have to start doing Boring Crap. I have to go to the DMV, Social Security, and AT&T (cell phone)--well, I have to do that sometime this week, once I decide what phone I'm getting. PAYG is stupidly expensive here so I have to go contract and hope they give me one. (I'd rather get one in my name if I can so I can start rebuilding my credit.) I also have to call the bank and order more checks because Dog knows where my American checkbook is.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 08:12pm on 08/07/2008 under ,
Today I went to Barnet Registry Office to do my citizenship application (it's faster through the checking service, plus they photocopy your documents so you can keep your passport). This all went fine, though the current wait is 7 months :/

anyway, while I was waiting I glanced at the Notices of Marriage posted on the wall and noticed someone I know was on the list. I'd had no idea she and her partner had finally decided to make it official. (Or that she was divorced...)
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 02:36am on 25/03/2008 under ,
The US government is annoying. It requires all citizens to file and pay taxes, regardless of where they are resident.

In practice, I am required to pay nothing: the US and UK have a dual taxation treaty, so if I earn money here, I don't have to pay US tax on it. (Moreover, there's an $80K exemption for foreign earned income.)

However, I still have to file. Well, sort of. See, last year, my income was less than the limit, so theoretically I don't... except you need all your back tax returns for your I-864. Since I'm technically a foreign resident, married filing separately, I have to use a 1040 long form. I have to fill out 2 pages of junk, mostly with zeroes. I also had to do 2 back returns I kept forgetting to file *cough* (Oh, the IRS doesn't care. I don't owe them, they don't owe me. I've heard of expats forgetting for years. The IRS only cares if you owe them money.)

Next year's taxes are going to be a nightmare (income/savings in 2 countries). I'm getting an accountant. (OK, my mother's cousin Sidney the CPA. World's Most Boring Man.)
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 11:35am on 03/03/2008 under ,
(IND = Immigration and Nationality Directorate, which is now the BIA, Border and Immigration Agency.)

1) Fillable PDF forms. Get with the program. I have to print the form and do it by hand. Being able to do the form in Acrobat would a) make it easier for them to read and b) mean I could fix mistakes without redoing the whole page.

2) Who can act as a referee is clear as mud. "[person of] professional standing such as a doctor, minister of religion, civil servant or a member of a professional association such as an accountant or a solicitor." This raises as many questions as it answers. Do chartered engineers count? Teachers? etc. Worse, the guidance notes say further information is available on the website but doesn't say where, and searching doesn't seem to turn anything up.

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