Thursday, June 9, 2011

Paperwork Nightmares

Paperwork is the bane of the Foreign Service life, it is however a necessary evil, and as such is the subject of this week’s FS Weekly Blog Roundup. Becky at Small Bits is hosting this week so make sure to click over on Friday to read about all the paperwork that goes hand in hand with living the FS life.

I am very, very lucky in that my husband, the employee, has control freak tendencies when it comes to paperwork so I rarely have to deal with it at all. He does it all for us. Just one more reason I love him.

Right now we are dealing with two ongoing paperwork issues. One issue concerns Dakota, and the other one concerns our pets. To be fair only one of those paperwork issues is State generated but both are beyond belief frustrating.

Let's start with the animals. Due to all sorts of things going wrong our animals ended up being left behind at my mother's house last summer. I am one of those people who is never really truly happy without her fur kids, so number one priority this summer is getting the cat and possibly the puppy* to post. The problem is the animals are in Texas, and due to heat issues they can't fly as accompanied baggage or cargo this time of year, it’s simply too hot. No problem! We'll take the cat in-cabin as a carryon, not ideal considering the length of the flight, but better than no cat. The other half of the problem occurs when the flight lands in Africa, Johannesburg does not allow animals to arrive in cabin, they must arrive as cargo. ARRRGH! I know of at least one other family going round in circles trying to get their animals to Malawi. You would think no one had ever brought a pet to post before. There has got to be a way to get at least the cat here with us. I am hoping for a miracle in the next 6 weeks.

The other paperwork issue is even more frustrating. As long term readers know Dakota left for bootcamp in early December. When a diplokid grows up and heads off to college they get a college shipment. It is a small shipment, only 250 pounds, but enough to at least get their clothes and a few personal items to campus. Recruits are not allowed to take anything to bootcamp, so we didn’t even think about this at the time. Now that bootcamp is over Dakota would really like to have his stuff back. We really didn’t think it would be a problem to get stuff sent to him using the college shipment, we were wrong. Why we thought anything would ever be simple I have no earthly idea.

To start with Dakota left Malawi on Navy orders, with a ticket bought by the Navy. Standard procedure for recruits reporting to bootcamp. We had no idea what a headache this would cause later. When we tried to arrange for the shipment we were told he isn’t eligible for a shipment since he is still at post. Explaining that he isn’t at post but in the states serving in the Navy didn’t get us far. There were no orders cut, no ticket bought with State funds, therefore he is still at post and doesn’t need a shipment. David has had this conversation in many forms, with many different people, and at this point it doesn’t appears as if this situation is going to be resolved any time soon. I will be hand carrying the most important items home with me this summer, and that may be all he gets. I know it is bit unusual, but surely Dakota isn’t the first diplobrat in history of the Foreign Service to join the military rather than heading off to college, there has to be some way to get his junk our of our house and off to his barracks room.

If anyone out there has any idea how to solve either issues please Please PLEASE let us know!

*The cat we have had for 10 years and he is much beloved. The puppy was a new addition to the family last summer but at this point is no longer a puppy and has never been around kids, except for a brief time last summer when he basically terrified of my boys, but he was a little puppy so he could be socialized and trained adapt to the kids. We will have to see how he handles the rowdy boys this summer, but also we have to consider that he is shorter than the gap under the security gate so he will be a high maintenance kind of pet, never able to go outside alone or even off leash. There are packs of scary dogs and the occasional hyena that roam the streets around here at night. It would be bad to have to explain to the kids that a hyena ate their dog. I am thinking we will be finding him a good, loving home this summer. Anyone want a not-a-puppy-anymore Japanese Chin?


Jen said...

Send a note to Livelines ASAP...if you aren't in LL, shoot me a note off-line as I know a wunderkind in Travel and Transportation...she's awesome and if she can't fix it, she knows who can!

Smallbits said...

So since they didn't pay to ship him, they won't pay to ship his stuff? Crazy. I hope that things work out okay on all counts. Can't wait to see you all. Can I send him anything?

You have been included in the Weekly State Department Blog Round Up here:

If you'd prefer not to be included please let me know.

Heather said...

Assuming he doesn't need alot of stuff in bootcamp, will the Navy ship his stuff from his home of residence (Malawi) to the location of his A school (his 1st school after bootcamp?) I can ask my (Navy) husband which first move the Navy will pay for, if that helps :)