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Tinki is Finally Official

Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. That’s what they say and this past week Tinki is now in the number 2 spot (still waiting for Dude to be totally official-he’s only halvses at the moment). Yes folks, she finally got her Carte de Circulation as now has official immigration status here in the land of cheese and wine. The Carte de Circulation is the equivalent to the Carte de Titre that adults have. She gets the Carte de Circulation since she is a minor. It’s good until she turns 18 which is good for me cuz that means I don’t have to do any more paper work on her for a couple of years.  Muy Bueno!!!!

It just so happens that the morning we had our appointment at the sous-prefecture to go get the card actually turned out to be easy. For me and Dude, we have to go to the town Maire (which is the easiest thing to do cuz it’s within walking distance) but for Tinki we had to drive to the next largest town in our area. I was bracing for horrendous parking (I hadn’t been to this sous-prefecture before so wasn’t sure what it was going to be like), a big hassle and long wait. To my surprise none of that happened. We ended up finding a spot to park a short distance away (that was free….bonus points) and was able to easily get to the office in a 5 minute walk. When we arrived, there was only two other people in front of us! Yippey-cuz the sous-prefecture in Marseille always had a bazillion people there and the wait was exhausting.  I always needed a stiff drink and nap after a morning there!

During our short wait (and I must reiterate SHORT WAIT… cuz it’s such a novel idea here), I scanned the office to read what was on their posters and bulletin boards. I like to do that. Increasing the vocab is a good thing. They had a poster up on the glass window stating that the government offices had new and improved methods for customer service. Huh? This MUST be new.

The poster gave a list of things that the government is doing to make life easier for us commoners and our massive amounts of paperwork. It said stuff like, nice and friendly service, longer window hours, open every day and more services you can do on the internet, etc.

Then…..what’s this?? I came across a point that actually said “guaranteed delays”! I don’t get it (well I do get it), but I don’t. Yes, we all know that with L’Administration Francaise there are guaranteed delays, but they’re actually admitting it on a poster and it’s on a poster that says how they’re working to make things more streamlined!! Ohhh, the French, they’re such players aren’t they.

I wanted to take a photo of the poster (you know how I love photos of odd French stuff) but there happened to be a police man in the office and being that I was in a government office I did not dare snap the shot. I wasn’t about to turn my quiet morning into a newspaper headline.

When our turn came up, we followed a lady into an office. She simply asked Dude and me for our passports and ID’s and had Tinki sign her card. Then the lady laminated it and handed it to us with a merci and bonne journée and we were done! Was I dreaming?! It was that easy?! No asking for more stuff and telling us to come back another day?! Yes, progress and during this whole process (18 months-I’ve been counting) we definitely hit their guaranteed delays but somehow missed their friendly customer service (paleeze-we never even got a smile), their longer window hours (still not open during lunch), open every day (nope closed on Wednesdays) and use of the internet to help us along (never could do anything on line-we ALWAYS had to go in person).

Well, that being said, I guess hitting one of those is a plus even if it’s the worst one. I think I would like to avoid the guaranteed delays next time. They can just keep that bullet point for themselves.

By the way, one of the reasons Dude doesn’t have his Carte de Titre yet, is because they didn’t like the paper the picture was on. They said it scratched up too easily and he needed a new and improved photo on better photo paper. Here’s the clincher, when the lady handed us Tinki’s card, her photo was all scratched up and looks totally stupid!  N’importe quoi is all I got say on that one.

Sometimes You’re the Winner, Sometimes You’re the Loser, Sometimes You’re in the Middle and Sometimes You Learn New Things

The winner today was me.

I FINALLY, after 6 months of waiting, received my new carte de titre from the French government. Back in September when this whole thing started who the heck could have ever imagined that it would take this long to get my replacement card and all because I just needed a change of address! My card wasn’t even expired. Boy did the prefecture give me a hassle, too, and it was mostly about not liking the fact that I smiled in my picture. So I went over to the local market and took a photo with a very unhappy look and guess what??!! They liked it! The actually decided to use it on my new card and voila! I have an identity card with a picture that looks like an axe murderer!

When I went over to the my town Maire today, the lady who has been helping my family get our cards was so happy that mine was finally in. She definitely knows the aches and pains since she is the one whose job it is to do all the paperwork. The only thing left for me to do is give her 19€ in tax stamps for it.  Say what?? Yup. The thing cost me 19€ but nooooo, I couldn’t just whip out a check for it. She said it had to be in government tax stamps. When I asked her what window I could get those from she told me I had to go to the local gas station and get them! Really?? I can’t get government tax stamps at a government office??!! I have to go to the local Total gas station to buy government tax stamps for my government issued carte de titre? Cuz that makes sense how? Cuz I’m in France, that’s how. So tomorrow morning I will be moseying over to Total to get those things. Whatever!

The loser today was poor Dude.

For months now the prefecture has been telling the lady at the Maire that there was nothing left to do for Dude to get his new card. We never received it so I was guessing that they were waiting to send it with mine. No dice. Today she told us that they didn’t like Dude’s picture, either. It was not for the same reason as mine, though. They didn’t like the photo paper it was printed on! They also decided to add a few wants to their list. Here is what they are: a copy of his birth certificate (which they already had), a copy of the receipt that we paid our property taxes, proof that we owned our house (which they already had) and our current electric bill. Now keep in mind that they never asked for any of this for me, just for him! Whatever! So she gave Dude a temporary paper card that is good until his real carte de titre is ready. Then do you know what else she said? She told us that when we come back in to finally get his real card that we need to bring copies of everything again to start the process all over for his next card.  She figured that since his is only good for 1 year at a time, we had better start on it a full year ahead of time! Really?? Why? Cuz it’s France.

Tinki was the sometime you’re in the middle winner today.

None of her stuff is ready, but we also didn’t get any negative notes on her card so I guess that puts her in the middle (no card but no bad news either). The original prefecture lost all her paperwork and we ended up having to do her whole file all over again. For her they wanted a copy of Dude and I’s marriage certificate translated in French. They didn’t ask for that for Dude and I’s cards! I turned that in a few weeks ago, but still no word. Why?? Cuz it’s France.

The cool things I learned today were:

1. There is a potentially good school for Tinki to go to. I am super excited to find out if this is going to fly cuz right now she is being home-schooled and although she meets the requirements for going to college in the states, she is not meeting any French kids (and has no desire to) and she is not learning the language. So the lady at the Maire gave me the phone number of the director of this school and told me her son goes and he really likes it. It is a Lycee Agricole and the kids there learn all about animal care and agriculture. I think Tinki will really like it. They have horses, pigs, chickens and other kinds of animals for the kids to learn about and take care of and they get to go hiking and learn how to grow their own food. I would like to sign up if I could and Dude said “ditto” for him. It sounds like fun. I am going to try to call the director tomorrow and see if we can get a tour of the school and figure out how to sign her up.

2) There is a doctor in town for us to go to. We haven’t had a need to ever go to the doctor since arriving in France so we have put off signing up for our general practitioner. In France when you find a doctor you have to register with the Caisse Maladie that he/she is your general practitioner and then they do all the paperwork so the government can pay for you and this and that. Well, we all need to have some check-ups so the lady at the Maire gave me the name of the town doctor that her and her husband go to and she said he is a nice guy. I guess we will try him out since I have no other leads. I still need to find a dentist but this is a good start.

Well, to top off my day (and this is the best part), Tinki and I played Badminton in our lovely garden for a little over an hour this evening. It was awesome! The weather was great; warm with a light breeze and the sun was still shining. We had a great time and it was the first time we have been able to play since buying the rackets and birdies. We only lost two birdies over the wall and into our neighbor’s yard so I’d say we did pretty well for ourselves seeing how we are not professional players or anything. It was lovely being in the garden and just having a good, relaxing game. I have mentioned how much I love my garden, right? Well, what’s not to love about being outside to enjoy it on a day like we had today?

After the game, it was taco’s and rice for dinner. Every once in awhile Mexican food just calls to me and tonight was the calling. Besides, it goes with my new vocabulary word that I have been saying all weekend which is “OLAY!!” Why have I been saying that all weekend you ask? Well, that’s a story for next time. I will keep you “posted”.


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