Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Entreaty for Chores

I need something to do. I must have something to do before I go insane. Our wedding anniversary is coming up fast with Christmas only a few days afterwards. I emailed Molly and Lance begging for some assignments that I could complete to begin the update of our I601 waiver.

Ashley is finally recovering from a bout with strep throat, for which I am eternally grateful. She woke me up a few nights ago with a fever of 105.6° which prompted me to take her to see the doctor first thing in the morning. The fast strep test results were almost instantaneous, but I still had to wait for my mom to come home from her half day at work so I could pick up her antibiotics. I really didn't think the people shopping at Target would appreciate someone bring their sick and contagious child into the store, even if it was to pick up the medicine. I would have done it if there were no other option, but thankfully it has never come to that.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Denied the Rainbow

It's so difficult to continue living when what you want most is only just beyond your reach. Naturally I am talking about my afternoon craving for skittles and the demonic vending machine that refused to dispense them after gleefully accepting my dollar. My afternoon without skittles was horrifically long and devoid of sweetness. It is cruel and unusual punishment to be denied the rainbow when you are a sugar fiend like me.

I've just completed what may be the most pant-shittingly terrifying thing I’ve done in recent history. I officially dropped health insurance coverage through the non-profit I work for to take advantage of ACA (aka Obamacare). I will save over $400 a month on premiums and will have a yearend savings of approximately $5000. The only thought I had while I was reviewing the numbers before purchasing my policy was, if only Alberto were home that money could go towards the purchase of a newer car. I dream endlessly of owning a new car; a vehicle that only I have driven daily and the history of which is not the great unknown. I’m tired of my Volkswagen, even though I do have to admit it has held up well despite all the abuse and neglect it receives from me. That fact does not make me hate Hans any less. Hans is my Volkswagen; it’s only fitting that I would give it a German name and a name that is associated with the villain of one of my favorite action films - Die Hard.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Into the Den of Jackels

This post has been a long time coming, but it is still in fresh in my mind as though it were only yesterday.  Knowing myself intimately the way I do, I decided that I should schedule myself a bunch of appointments to help keep myself occupied while I waited impatiently for the interview to come to pass.  The first stop of the day was to get some testing for an allergy study.  They did a blood test and a quick review of my nose and mouth to see if there was anything that was prevent me from qualifying for the study.  I'm hoping I hear back from them since this would potentially add a few extra Benjamins to my wallet at a time when I find myself in need of some extra money.

I arrived at the building where the interview would take place a little earlier than I had hope.  It was closer to 30 minutes before the interview instead of the 15 minutes I had planned on.  This gave me ample time to rifle through the paperwork I brought with me, obtain a paper-cut, put a hole in my nylons, pick at the hangnail next to my new paper-cut, and make a mess out of my hair under the pretense of fixing it.  After seeing the damage I did to my hair in the rear view mirror of my car, I decided it was probably better if I just went in the building to pace about at my leisure.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Hallows Eve

I just have to breathe in, exhale, and repeat. I’ve turned in my evidence, picked out my outfit, and worked out my schedule to the minute. My information packet was over 200 pages, and included some unusual sources such as the visitor records from the County Jail where Alberto was held the longest.

I’ve had my meeting with Lance to prepare for the interview tomorrow. He said that the interviewer needs to like me, so I need to keep my temper in check. I’ve been practicing some breathing techniques and some of the answers to anticipated questions that could set me off. Lance made sure to tell me what to expect during the interview and let me know that it will be his job to get mad regarding all these extra steps we’ve had to take because of USCIS errors. I’ve repacked my purse, removing anything that is not essential and my dangerous weapons (i.e. small manicure set). I have the passports, a wallet-size picture of Ashley, and my bracelet that will supposedly protect me against the evil eye. I’ve always thought it was funny how superstitious a person can get on the night before or day of an important event.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Crafting Arrows for Battle

I received the I-130 interview letter this week from the USCIS. Molly sent me a copy via email along with a memorandum that outlines the categories for which I should supply proofs to support the status of our very real relationship. The 5 categories that I need to cover are: 1) Evidence of Visits and Communication, 2) Financial Records for Joint Assets or Liabilities, 3) Birth Certificate of Child Born to the Marriage, 4) Statements from at Least Three Persons, 5) Other Evidence Establishing a Bona Fide Relationship. I immediately made a list of what I had in my files or could obtain and sent that information back to Molly asking if there was anything I might be overlooking. I also mentioned that some of the documentation I don’t have copies of (i.e. last bank account we held jointly) should be in the waiver packet we sent back in February of 2012. Lance said, “Just add to the heap of paper post waiver submission.” Ok, that gives me a starting point!

I opened my copy of the waiver and reviewed the table of contents and scrolled through some of the pages to see what they already had. I started a table of contents for the documents I was going to give Lance and Molly since I am nothing if not obsessively organized when it comes to anything immigration related. At the end of day one, I had printed and cataloged over one hundred pages of supporting documentation that I had on my flash drive. Those hundred pages were almost exclusively tax returns from 2007 through 2012 and I didn’t print copies of W2s or other supporting documentation.

Friday, September 27, 2013


There are no words to describe how I feel at this moment in time. I’ve been betrayed by my government, and the relationship that has spanned nearly half my life has been called into question. I don’t expect perfection from anyone, but for the love of bacon why can’t we count on a certain level of competence from people that have the power to change lives? In my last post I spoke of mistakes; I acknowledge that we are all wrong from time to time and I consider errors to be a part of the learning process. The problem is, you can only learn from your mistakes if you acknowledge their existence in the first place.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering what blunder was committed that has me so upset. As you might recall I received a case update regarding the I-130 petition that said initial processing, a status which made me quite angry. The USCIS has rescinded the approval of our I-130 petition pending an interview with them. I understand that there was a breakdown in the process and that our petition was approved after a swift kick in the ass from Senator Franken, but this is almost too much. It is the policy of the USCIS to interview every couple that files the I-130 petition while the beneficiary is in removal proceedings, or if the couple has been married less than 2 years at the time of filing. Alberto and I had only been married 3 months when the I-130 was filed, in the midst of his removal proceedings, so you see there is a reason for this development.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


As if I wasn’t already annoyed enough, I received the following email from the USCIS case status system:


Your Case Status: Initial Review

We transferred your I130, IMMIGRANT PETITION FOR RELATIVE, FIANCE(E), OR ORPHAN, to your local USCIS Office for further processing. The new office has jurisdiction over your case and will send you a decision as soon as processing is complete or you will be notified if further information or action is needed. If you move, please use our Change of Address online tool to update your case with your new address.

If you have questions or concerns about your application or the case status results listed above, or if you have not received a decision from USCIS within the current processing time listed*, please contact USCIS Customer Service at (800) 375-5283.

*Current processing times can be found on the USCIS website at under Check Processing Times.

*** Please do not respond to this e-mail message.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Delay of Game

In effort to give my child summer memories that she will hopefully look back upon fondly, I signed Ashley up for Summer Power and Day Camp through our local YMCA. Summer Power went as expected, she got to go on fieldtrips and made new friends while in a safe environment that was significantly cheaper than Preschool. We did have a few behavioral issues the first few weeks, but I’m hoping that this transition from Preschool to Summer Power will help her make a smooth transition into Kindergarten. I have a meet the teacher and Kindergarten orientation event coming up that I need to be prepared for. I had been watching the advertisements for the last month to see who would offer the best deal on the supplies she is responsible to bring to school on her first day. In the end I still ended up going to Target, and I’m sure that my $20 was well spent. I need to start going through her clothing and weed out the items that are too small and supplement whatever is left with a well-timed shopping trip to Once Upon a Child. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my neighborhood second-hand stores; I only wish they had more selection for women my size.

I swear that if I had the money I would quit my job and make it my mission in life to harass the USCIS into compliance. Our attorney went to an InfoPass appointment earlier this week and was told that our file was in Minnesota for nearly a year before being transferred out to the California Service Center near the end of April. Our file then spent its summer vacation lazing on the beach in the California sun under review where just last week it was referred for a special internal review due to ‘security reasons’. At this time our file is still in California under this special review. If nothing else this appointment served to show that a band of rabid chimpanzees are more organized than the USCIS on a good day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


August is really no better than July was for depressing events. Alberto was deported this month last year, his birthday was last week, and I have a baby shower to go to. I’m happy for my cousin, this is her first baby after all, but honestly I thought Ashley would have a little brother or sister on the way by now at the very least. My baby-fever is awful and unfortunately there is no cure that I can partake of when I’m 2000 miles away from my husband. It’s probably not as bad for me as it is for others given that I know I am capable of having children, but still my coworkers are waddling and dammit I want to waddle too!

Ashley’s birthday is just around the corner and I haven’t gotten my plans for her party smoothed out. It never occurred to me just how much of a disadvantage it was to have a birthday in August. She isn’t in Preschool anymore so I don’t have an easy way to contact her friends and the ones I have been able to get ahold of so far are going to be on vacation the weekend that Ashley’s party is set to take place on. I’ve decided that a bowling party would be the best option for this year; the price for the party is per child and includes pizza and pop, 1 hour of bowling, bowling shoes, 1 hour in the party room, and I only have to pay for the kids that show up. Pretty sweet deal if I do say so myself. It makes me sad to know that Ashley will be starting Kindergarten and Alberto is going to miss that milestone too.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The doctor is… IN

The answer to life, the universe, and everything is apparently ‘more drugs’. I finally got in to see my psychiatrist, who will now be known as Dr. Lucy, on Tuesday and she said we should try adding Zoloft to the Wellbutrin XL. The ultimate goal of this is to bring my anxiety back down to a manageable level. Apparently it’s not normal to feel like you’re choking 99% percent of the time. She also said that adding Zoloft might help with my sleeping problems, because not sleeping is a problem, since my body treated Celexa as a depressant. It was helpful in that I was able to live through the pain those first 9 months after Alberto left, but utterly useless because I became a Celexa zombie – a walking, talking, barely functioning nightmare.

Dr. Lucy is also of the opinion that I need something to do, even if that is simply preparing for the worst case scenario. She says that for someone like me, being stuck in limbo with nothing to work towards is a comparable form of torture to the rack. I need work to do, a plan to make, a goal to achieve so I feel like I’m doing something positive. Whatever I do to keep busy has to be something that will occupy my mind whether I’m actively thinking about it or not. It would also be best if my goal were not exclusively linked to the worst possible outcome. Dr. Lucy suggested I make a list of tasks that would need to be complete in order to facilitate an international move, and another list of issues to solve that would make my life easier here in the US. Then I could compare the lists, find something that overlaps, and work towards solving that issue. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Distressing anniversaries

Last week was particularly hard on me in ways that I hadn't anticipated. My psychiatrist canceled my appointment a few hours before I was supposed to go and see her. I was counting on being able to discuss my feelings and this desperate need to occupy myself with a rational third party. I had been hoping that she might have some special tip to combat the anxiety that was threatening to strangle me on a near daily basis. Maybe it's time I put some serious time into finding either a meditation or yoga class that could work with my schedule.

For the last two weeks Alberto had been sending me a message through Facebook. It wasn't elaborate, just a simple good morning, but it was really nice to know that he was thinking of me while he was 2000 miles away. One day the messages stopped without warning or any apparent reason. For two whole days I heard nothing, my phone calls to Alberto's cell phone didn't ring half the time and my calls to the Madrina weren't going through either. By the time I got through to the Comadre I had envisioned a catastrophe and Alberto in the hospital with no way to communicate with me. The Comadre said that Alberto was still in Mexico City and working in the store, so I asked her to tell the Compadre to have Alberto contact me.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Feats of Cognitive Ability

Sometimes I wish I could shut done my brain for a while and just drift. I annoy myself with my inability to wait and see. I had intended to wait the 45 day period that we agreed on before I started emailing everyone again, only to discover I couldn't even wait two weeks. After a record-breaking 10 days of practicing impatience, I emailed Lance pleading for something to do.

To: Lance

I was wondering if there was an Action Plan in place for whatever it is that may (or may not) happen next in regards to our case. It's not easy for me to take a step back when I have been purposefully making a pest of myself, but I believe if I knew the possible outcomes as you perceive them it would be easier for me to let go for a little while.

I need something occupy myself while I am stuck waiting (im)patiently once again, so if you have a list of documents that I should retrieve or some other feats of amazing cognitive ability that need to be performed, please let me know.

I will be seeing my psychiatrist again week after next, so hopefully she can help me locate my mind if I have lost it by then. :)


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CISOMB gracefully backs out

The title of this post says it all doesn’t it?

To: Deza

I heard back from Senator Franken’s Office. They informed me that they have been in touch with the California Service Center (CSC), and the CSC is currently working on locating your husband’s file to address it. As I mentioned in our phone call, when two government offices duplicate a request to CSC it may only cause delays rather than expedite a resolution. Since Senator Franken’s office has already initiated a request to CSC on your behalf, our office will close your inquiry. However, if you find that at some point in the future you need our help, we will be happy to reopen your inquiry and see how we can assist you.

I wish you the best of luck as you work to resolve your husband’s case. Many thanks,

Friday, June 21, 2013

And then the phone rang...

I very rarely get phone calls, which probably has something to do with my hatred of talking on the phone, so whenever my phone rings I typically let it go to voicemail. This also serves the purpose of allowing me to screen my calls so I can avoid whichever collection agency is trying to contact me. Fools – you can’t collect from someone that doesn’t have any money. The only problem with this practice is my cell phone does not like dialing numbers or allowing me to access my call log; it routinely freezes or force-closes whenever I wish to call someone that is not in my contacts. I’m sure you can imagine the sense of panic I feel when the voicemail of a screened call is so important that I need to call the individual back immediately. Today was one of those times.

My phone rang and I almost answered it. It was a Washington D.C. area code, a fact I was aware of due to my previous experience with the CISOMB office. After a few moments of debate, I decided that letting it go to voicemail is the best course of action. If it was the government, I would be forewarned and if it was some other entity I probably didn’t want to talk to them anyway.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why ME... continued...

This post is but a continuation of the previous days post as I'm sure you could guess by the title.  If you though the last post was enough to provoke a saint to violence...  just wait until you read this.
Dear Deza Mendez,
We are sorry that you did not receive the USCIS response you desired.  We will keep your inquiry closed, as your email requests, because Senator Al Franken’s staff is currently working to resolve your issue with USCIS.  Please do not hesitate to contact our office in the future.
Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman
The author of this email cowardly neglected to put their initials on this email, but perhaps this was the point that drove me to write what is the best scathing email I have crafted to date.  I was beyond enraged after reading the first sentence that I saw nothing but red for a minute or three.  Knowing my temper the way I do, I consulted briefly with Lance to ensure that he didn't want us to let the case become closed.  He said that I should not allow them to close it and so I lowered the boom...  This email I am about to post here was sent to every individual and email address I had for the CISOMB office as well as to Diana, Lance, Graciela, and Molly.  This email I am about to post was GLORIOUS, a work or art, a thing of beauty, and crafted by the angriest woman in the world if only for that brief moment  in time.
Dear Anonymous CIS Employee:
I apologize for a delay in my reply but to tell you the truth I was flabbergasted when I read your response.  I am curious to know how you determined that I was requesting to close my inquiry, when in fact I was expressing my bewilderment at the gross misunderstanding I am suffering at the hands of USCIS and now the CIS Ombudsman office. 
I need the assistance of the CIS Ombudsman as even the office of Senator Al Franken is receiving conflicting information when USCIS deigns to answer their inquiries.  We have been caught in this no-man’s land for 6 months, and been trapped in immigration proceedings for an additional 5 years on top of that.  Please assist the Senator’s liaison to receive our file with all due haste so that we may continue the process.  I outlined the path we wish to follow, which was confirmed by our attorney Lance, in my first reply within this email thread.  Please ensure that our attorney, Lance, is not left out of any future correspondence.
I trust that the CIS Ombudsman office now understands the scope of my request for assistance and the enormous impact they may have on the life of a little girl who misses her daddy terribly.
Thank you again for your assistance and do not hesitate to contact me and our attorney Lance for additional information,
Deza Mendez
I did not receive any further response from the CISOMB, or Lance on this day.  The story doesn't end here, and damn it felt AWESOME to send that email.




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why ME?!

You know, there are days when I can almost believe that I must have done something horrible in a past life to earn this ridiculous turn of events.  Let me show you the latest string of emails between myself, the CIS Ombudsman office, and our attorney that demonstrate the shabby treatment I receive on a regular basis.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Feather in the Wind

Today is June 18th, or exactly one month until the one year anniversary of our waiver denial, which is also known as the worst day of my life.  It's times like this when I wonder if there are really 'signs everywhere', and I'm just too deep into survival mode to see them.  Nothing has happened for weeks in regards to anything.  Alberto has been making noises about beginning the process of moving to Mexico to be a family again, and I've been thinking about it.  I get angry when people on the outside of the situation insist it would be a grand adventure to live abroad, because they are stuck looking at an international move as a 'perpetual vacation' instead of a logistics nightmare.  There is so much to think about and do before I can pack a single box and my head is swimming with questions like:         Will Alberto's business be enough to support the family?  Will I need a visa and how much will it cost?  Will Ashley need some special paperwork to go to school?  What the hell will I do with myself all day if I'm not working and am too afraid to leave the house on my own?  What will happen if Ashley gets sick?  Will I have access to mental health care?  What about when I get pregnant?  Will I have to resign to suffer from stomach ailments and diarrhea for the rest of my natural life because I can't handle all the grease and oil the food is cooked in?!?!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pity Party at Table 1

Ever look at one of those posters with all the cartoon facial expressions and just want to set it on fire because there is no little cartoon expression for how you're feeling today?  No?  Must just be me then.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

And then I got mad. I got terribly MAD.

Today I received an email from the Customer Assistance Office (CAO) which I believe is in response to the inquiry that I submitted to the CIS Ombudsman (CISOMB) office. The email simply stated that the response to my inquiry was attached, but I felt my heart stop when I saw the title of one of the two attachments. Obviously I opened the attachment titled “MENDEZ_DENIAL_NOTICE” first because I needed to know what the denial was in regards to. I was beyond relieved when I saw that it was nothing more than a copy of the original notice we received back in July 2012, so I opened the second attachment to see what response the government sent me that required a copy of the denial notice. The letter read something like this:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Surviving with only Half a Heart

At first I wasn't going to talk about the last few days we were in Mexico or the pure misery of going to the airport the morning we left, but I realize now that I need to talk.  I need to mourn the loss of the physical connection that I so desperately need, and in order to mourn I need to feel once again.  Living for a week completely numb to the pain and horrible sense of loss was necessary to my survival.  I will live my life one day at a time, knowing that I can begin setting money aside with the hope that I can see my love again for Christmas.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Is there a Doctor in the House?!

My worst nightmare came to pass; we had to bring Ashley to a doctor yesterday after passing what was probably the longest day of my life waiting for Alberto to come home.  Sunday night the diarrhea started, Monday morning I bought her Gatorade and started the BRAT diet, however by Tuesday afternoon she was burning with fever and refusing to eat because she felt like she was going to throw up.  Ashley, who is normally a ball of energy, was listless and spent most of the afternoon sleeping.  The Madrina came home first and stopped in to see me as was her habit and said we needed to bring her to the doctor as soon as Alberto got home.  We jumped on him the minute he walked through the door.

Ashley moaned and cried pitifully during the entire ride to the pharmacy that partnered with a doctor much like the Minute Clinics back in Minnesota.  We paid the 25 peso consultation fee and sat down in the uncomfortable plastic chairs to wait for the Doctor.  I could feel the heat radiating off her legs and Alberto recoiled in shock when I set his hand on her knee so he could feel it too.  Just then the Doctor came to the lobby to bring us back to the exam room.  As we sat talking to him about the symptoms and what she ate the last few days, Ashley continued to cry softly while poor Alberto broke into a sweat with each little noise she made.  The doctor focused on what she might have eaten asking very direct questions on whether she mostly ate chicken, pork, or beef and if we’d been anywhere outside of Mexico City.  I ran down a list of food I’d seen her eat, what she’d drank, and where we’d been including the meal we’d had at McDonald’s the other day much to my husband’s irritation.

Monday, April 1, 2013

RIP George

Our first weekend in Mexico was nothing it not eventful.  Alberto made sure to warn me that we would be getting up very early in the morning because we stayed the night in Mexico City instead of driving straight to his mother's house from the airport as he'd planned.  When the alarm went off at 5 am I awoke to find myself more or less pinned to the bed by my snoring yet adorable husband.  I can't remember the last time I slept in a twin-sized bed but thankfully having less space makes it harder to be a bed hog.  I remember many nights where I would wake up clinging to the edge of our full size bed to keep from falling off, and having to wrench the blankets away from Alberto so I wouldn't become an ice cube by morning.

I kissed my husband lightly on the cheek and snuggled closer to prolong the simple pleasure of waking up with the man I love.  He stretched as he woke and I saw the moment when he realized that I was really there lying in bed with him.  A beautiful smile of contentment spread across his face and mirrored my own smile.  We looked over at Ashley who was still out cold on the couch and I had to chuckle at the look on Alberto face.  The best way to describe how Ashley sleeps is to think of the child pose in yoga, which is very comfortable and all that but I don't think I could sleep on my face all night.  We decided to leave Ashley in her pajamas and let her sleep during the trip.  It was time to get up and dressed so we could load my suitcases into the van.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A trip long overdue

I'm not sure I want to go back home to the frozen north, but only because I'd have to travel with my darling Ashley again. She started whining upon arrival at the local airport shortly after my dad dropped us off. It was kind of cute actually because he really wanted to help me with the luggage despite the fact he's not strong or coordinated enough to be of any real assistance. I told him to stay in the car while I wrestled with my 2 checked bags, 2 carry-on bags, and each of our "personal" items. I was already irritated because I was up until midnight waiting for my sister-in-law Aide to show up with whatever it was I was supposed to bring with me, which in turn became my second checked bag. It didn't help that I had to rearrange everything to bring my largest bag to exactly 50 pounds to avoid a fee for overweight luggage, and my carry-on was an overstuffed duffle bag. I had separated my electronics for easy removal from my carry-on and my toiletries were in my largest checked bag; my goal was to not be "that person" who holds up the line at security.

Our first order of business was discovering the location of our terminal, after which my priority became brunch. We went to this pretentious French bakery/cafe and ordered the only thing on the menu that appealed to me - a breakfast quesadilla. I should have known better, I mean the menu stated that all of the ingredients (including the whole-wheat tortilla) were organic. I was served an nearly tasteless plate of barely edible food, for which I was charges $12. Ashley insisted that I remove the green stuff (wilted and overcooked spinach) and the following conversation occurred:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Answer more confusing than the question

Our request for assistance from the CIS Ombudsman Office has served to confuse me more about immigration and the logic that is not employed by the government in general. I received the first response on Tuesday of this week, in the form of an email requesting a signature to authorize their pursuit of information. The email did not actually have the form that needed to be signed attached so I found in on their website, signed, scanned, and emailed the completed document back within the hour. Thinking that my portion was done, I thought to myself that I would be lucky to hear back before I leave for Mexico and moved on to my mountain of paperwork.

The next day I had another email waiting patiently for me in my inbox. This email explained that it was not my signature that they required, but that of the 'applicant' who will be referred to henceforth as my husband. In a state of extreme agitation, I forwarded the email to our attorney Lance. He responded quickly that they should not need Alberto's signature as we are inquiring on the status of the I-130 petition and not of the I-601 waiver as they had mentioned in their email. With this response in hand I emailed the CIS Ombudsman office that we needed help with the I-130 and not the I-601. Within minutes my phone was ringing. A little bewildered, I answered to discover it was the assistance of the individual that I had just emailed in the CIS Ombudsman office. They were already calling me about the email I sent not 5 minutes ago? She said that her supervisor had told her to call me and explain that it was not the I-130 petition that was 'holding up the process', but rather they were adjudicating of the I-601 waiver. Since they needed to check the status of the waiver, I needed Alberto's signature. I said I would do my very best to obtain his signature in the week they were giving me, and that was the end of the conversation.

Friday, February 15, 2013

CIS Ombudsman Office

I have felt hopeless in the past and turned to other channels for assistance but I am at my wits end.  I asked our attorney if there was any agency with whom I could lodge a complaint against the USCIS.  I know there isn’t much chance that anyone would listen, but I need to make my voice heard if only for a moment. 

Lance responded immediately with the information for the CIS Ombudsman office and said ‘go nuts’ which I suppose was meant to be encouraging.  I am on the verge of displaying my wounded soul to yet another government entity which may or may not be able to do anything to help us.  I feel my optimism is slipping through my fingers like so many grains of sand, taking what little hope I have left with it. 

How much more of this can my battle-scared heart endure before I’m too far gone to ever be happy again?


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love is…

I’m turning in my notice tomorrow at FedEx.  I had an entire wall of boxes fall on me yesterday and I could barely get out of bed this morning.  I am done.  I’m sure this is not a sound financial decision on my part, but I survived without the extra income prior to October, and I can continue to do so after my last paycheck is received.  I cannot afford to put myself in situations where serious injury is common whether or not an individual is careful.  The chick that was taken to the hospital a few weeks ago is not overly careful; in fact she scared the crap out of me whenever I helped her unload a trailer.  I am obsessively careful; although I was not seriously injured this time, I could have been.  I talked to HR about the situation and I feel as though what I had to say was important to someone, but it was too little too late.  I was able to confirm that FedEx does not have a required 2 week notice policy, a day of notice is sufficient, but I will tell the big boss that I’m done as of Saturday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sick and Tired

I truly believe that a pack of wild monkeys could run USCIS better than the powers that be.  So far this year we were told our file was sent to Consulate in Cuidad Juarez for processing, then that it was received by the National Visa Center which didn’t make any sense at all.  Today may actually take the cake in regards to baffling behavior; we’ve only just learned that the National Visa Center sent our file to the California Service Center to review the approved I-130 petition.  I’ll let you read the emails I received today...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sick Ward

I hate it when Ashley gets sick, because it spreads through the house like wild-fire.  Last Monday she came home from Preschool with a slight cough and it all went downhill from there rather quickly.  By dinner she had a fever of 101.6 and didn’t want to eat anything.  She quickly became lethargic and clingy, so I called in sick to FedEx by leaving a message on my supervisor’s voicemail.  She went to bed with me and about midnight she had an accident.  It’s not fun having to change your sheets in the middle of the night, and only worse when your child is so upset that she wet the bed.  You know when I encouraged her to have a sip of water to help stop the coughing; it never occurred to me that she drank way too much for her poor little bladder to handle.

In the morning I left the house to run to Walgreens for more children’s Tylenol, and I also bought a new friend for Ashley to hold while she was getting better.  I know she doesn’t need any more stuffed animals, but I could hardly resist the impulse because of her upset over wetting the bed.  Carol agreed to watch Ashley during the day so I could go to work with the understanding that I would be home earlier than normal to help with the kids.  I need to save every minute of PTO I have available so we can go to Mexico at the end of March, so the less time I need to take off the better.

Tonight she was coughing so hard that she threw up on my bed.  Please God don’t let me get sick too…


Open Petition

I know that my story is sad, but our situation is by no means the worst.  Please consider, dear readers, signing this petition to bring attention to those living in exile to keep their family together.  The families are suffering from lack of proper medical care, the children are receiving inadequate education, and the places they live in are often not safe.

I don't want to join the ranks of the hundreds of expatirates that went before me.  I don't want my daughter to suffer in an unstable and unsafe environment.  I don't want to make a choice between buying food and seeing a doctor or my child's education.

Please sign and share this petition:  Bring Home American Families in Exile

We're counting on everyone.  Please help us.  Action for Family Unity


Monday, January 28, 2013

Escape to Paradise

I’ve filed my 2012 tax return so hopefully my refund will find its way to the bank soon although the IRS apparently doesn’t start looking at returns until Wednesday.  I can’t wait to buy my tickets, it’s been so long since I’ve seen my husband it’s almost more than I can bear.  I found something cool this weekend at Target that we can use for Ashley to sleep on in Mexico since we won’t have a bed for her.  It’s called an EZ bed, and it’s basically an air mattress with a fitted sheet that has a comforter attached to it.  It has horrible reviews, but as long as the thing holds air for 2 weeks it’ll have been well worth the $15 bucks I spent.  It’s really kind of cute.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Just give me a push

I am often amused by the males of our species and today I witnessed something that ranks pretty high on the usual scale.  I was walking back to my desk from the kitchen, minding my own business, when I walked past a window and became engrossed in the drama unfolding in our parking lot.  Exterior scene, nearly empty parking lot at mid-day.  A scruffy-looking man in his mid 20’s and his car, a Honda hatchback that has seen better decades, is visible through the window.  It appears that he is having car trouble.  Enter the curious employee.

‘Scruffy’ had the door on his car open and was pushing the disabled vehicle across the parking lot.  The end destination was apparently the very busy street right in front of the building.  He pushed the car into the street, jumped in the driver’s side seat and attempted to start the car.  When nothing happened Scruffy seemed more concerned that the engine still wouldn’t turn over instead of the amount of traffic whizzing by mere inches from his bumper.  After wildly gesturing his frustration at the willfulness his car was demonstrating for one and all, Scruffy got out to push the car back into the parking lot.  It was at this time a male coworker noticed the disabled vehicle and rushed over the help push the car back into the parking lot.  After a few moments of discussion, Scruffy and his new apprentice pushed the car across the parking lot and back into the street.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Good Day/Bad Day Routine

I hate to say it but this whole good day/bad day routine is getting old really fast.  One day will be really good and many good things will happen, the next day an equal amount of bad things will happen and make me want to cry.  Today has been a bad day.  This morning my car attempted to go on strike by almost not starting, but it gave in to my demands easily.  I managed to get Ashley to Preschool without incident and make my way to work.  Since my headlights come on automatically the only reason I use the switch is to see my gauges on the dashboard.  Since in the past two years I have required a jump-start approximately five times, I try my hardest to check the status of my headlight each and every time I get out of the car.  My car, a German import that inspires an episode of rage each time I think of how much I’ve spent keeping it running, does not have a signal indicating that you left the lights on.  So you see I need to think about it as I get out of the car which can be difficult when it’s no longer dark enough to need my lights when I pull into the parking lot.

I’m sure you guessed by now that I left my headlights on and drained my battery today.  My battery was dead with not enough juice to use my remote to unlock the doors, so I went back inside and got the only supervisor who was still in the building. She came outside with me and we got down to the business getting my car started, but unfortunately her car just wasn't warm enough to jump-start my car in the balmy 11 degree (fahrenheit) weather we enjoy during the winter here on the frozen tundra.  Defeated by the dastardly car battery, I went back in the building to call my mom for help.  We have a new group of cleaners in our building, so when one of them heard about my problem, they offered to use their van to try jumping my car.  We went outside and got the vehicles hooked up, at which point I apparently set my keys on the driver’s side seat and shut the door.  My car has a ‘feature’ where if you use the fob to unlock your car, the doors will relock after 30 seconds.  This irritates me to no end because I have left my door open to run back in the house for my lunch bag, the doors relocked, I got back in the car without thinking about it and had the alarm blaring when I turned the key in the ignition.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Home and Hearth

I’m alive and its Friday, which means the next two days, will be spent mostly at home doing laundry.  @#^%!  I’m sure I’m over-reacting, right?  I mean I do get time to myself, granted I’m never awake to enjoy it, but that counts for something right?  I want what my mom wants, some quiet time where I can sit and read a book should I so desire without interruption.  I’m seriously considering getting a hotel room for me and Ashley to have a mini-vacation.  We could have French toast for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and popcorn with a movie; if it came with a Jacuzzi tub, a bodice-ripper romance novel, and a complimentary hour of child-care it would be a restorative dream come true.

I need a little escape, but I can’t afford that little bit of relief, especially now.  My mom said something on Tuesday that I have never heard before, “I went to go put gas in my car and I wasn’t sure if my check would bounce.”  My mom may have spoken of financial hardship in the past, but never like this.  She’s spending three times what she normally did for groceries that don’t last half as long as before.  My brother has yet to pay her the rent he’d promised and they aren’t helping much beyond using the WIC coupons that Carol has.  The electricity bill is through the roof just like the other utilities and my brother’s main concern seems to be where he’ll find his next economy-size bottle of Bacardi and does it come with a complimentary can of Kodiak (chewing tobacco).  I just doubled my rent payment because I need to do something, anything, to help out.  I’m also going to start extending my exercise schedule after working at FedEx so I can shower at the YMCA 5 days or more a week.

I’m putting an immediate halt on all unnecessary spending and I’m counting the days until I can file my 2012 tax return.  I won’t get as much back as I have in other years, but I will get something.  I just hope that something is enough for 2 tickets to paradise for me and my favorite girl.

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads.  Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.”
Rosalia De Castro


Monday, January 7, 2013

Remember When

I was driving on the same route I take to my full-time job Monday through Friday when I was assaulted by memories.  It was so painful that I thought about filing charges, but the police would think I've lost my mind.  I've driven that same stretch of highway so many times since Alberto left that I couldn't possibly count.  The memory itself was probably triggered by the fact something appears to be wrong with my car yet again, big surprise, but the incident that came to mind is from about 7 years ago...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Open Enrollment

Today I received paperwork to enroll Ashley in Kindergarten.  I was excited, then sad, and now I'm just a mess.  I'm just so angry and depressed that I want to hide in my room for the next week and a half.  Alberto has missed out on every single milestone in the life of our daughter; her first smile, haircut, tooth, steps, day of preschool...  EVERY.  SINGLE.  MILESTONE.  Now I get to enroll her in kindergarten, alone, as I have been every other time something big has happened.  So today I feel bitter, and no quantity of sugar-coated Hallmark sympathy cards from Wal-Mart is going to change that.