Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Day. From. Hell.

Kindergarten registration.

That sorta says it all, don't it?

Yesterday was the first day of kindergarten registration in our school district, and me, being the masochist I am, decided to get in early and get it done.

Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha.

The woman behind the counter, I'll call her Satan's Minion, gave me a stack of paperwork to fill out and directed me to a row of tables around the corner where I could do so.

That's when I saw them.

My fellow prisoners of war. A row of soccer moms; their skin sallow in the flickering fluorescent light, their eyes pleading, urging me to turn back while I still could.

I should have known then that things were about to go downhill fast.

Seventeen pointless forms (I mean, do I need to fill out a bilingual survey if we're not bilingual, seriously?) and half an hour later, I took the completed pile back to the counter.

Satan's Minion asked to see Ethan's birth certificate, which I handed to her.

Or so I thought.

"That's not a birth certificate," she said. "That's a certificate from the hospital saying he was born."

I think I blinked.

"It's not a certified birth certificate," she continued. "I need a certified birth certificate."

What the hell is the difference?! He was born, and I have proof. It's not like I'm trying to commit insurance fraud or enroll an imaginary child in your damn school.

That was what I felt like saying. Instead, I smiled politely and asked where I might get one of those.

She directed me to the office of Vital Records on the other side of town.


Off I went, determined that at the end of the day, Ethan would be among the first of his class to be registered to walk the hallowed halls of primary academia.

Now, if you've never visited the Clark County Center for Community Health where the Washington State Vital Records offices are located, you are certainly missing out. It's a hoot and a half.

No wonder the nearest parking space was half a mile away. Everyone and their inbred brothers hang at the CCCCH.

I made my way to the third floor, and waited at the Vital Records counter to be helped.

I use that term loosely.

"Rita" and "Fern" (I'm not sure those were their names, but they fit, so I'm going with 'em) were "busy" discussing the scandalous behavior of their fellow state-employed co-worker, Sheila the Hussy.

Ah, my tax dollars hard at work!

When she did deign to speak to me, Rita informed me she couldn't help me until I filled out a request form.

I waited for her to produce one. She stared at me.

"Oooo-kay," I said. "And those would be...where exactly?"

"Be-hind you," she replied in, if I'm not mistaken, a terse manner.

Thanks, Rita. Bitchsayswhat.

(Hey, look! I guess I am bilingual after all!)

I filled out the form and returned to the counter where, yet again, Fern and Rita were dishing the dirt.

I waited. And waited. And cleared my throat and waited some more.

When Fern could sense I was on the verge of doing something really drastic (like clearing my throat again), she took the paperwork.

"Have you been to the cashier?" she asked.

"No, not yet."

"Well, I can't help you until you see the cashier."


Off I went to the cashier, who was surprisingly efficient, and I returned to the Vital Records counter with receipt in hand. Fern pulled up Ethan's information, printed off a copy of his birth certificate, and stamped the back.

It took two minutes.

Total time at the CCCCH: forty-three minutes.


Back I go to the school. Satan's Minion, who I'm now calling SM, 'cause we're tight like that, makes a copy of his certified birth certificate and looks over his paperwork.

"His immunizations aren't up to date," she says.

"I'm pretty sure they are," I told her. "His doctor made sure of it on his last visit."

"Well, you're missing a couple dates here. I can't process him until I have those dates."

No problem, I thought. I'll just call the doctor's office on my cell phone...

Which is sitting on my kitchen counter.

Of course.

Home I go, call the doctor's office, and I'm told they do keep immunization records there, but they're downstairs, and I'd have to come in to get a copy.

Ethan's doctor's office is in Portland, which meant another half hour of driving, and when I got there, the receptionist (obviously not the one I spoke to on the phone) said I should have just called. He could have just given me the information over the phone.


I returned once again to the school, only to be informed that a driver's license would not suffice as proof of residency (because they just hand those out willy nilly?), so I go home once again to grab my phone bill (Lord knows you can't fake those).

A vial of badger blood and hair of a Chinaman later, Ethan is now officially registered to start kindergarten this fall.



Erin said...

Holy Crap!!! Makes you wonder if it's all really worth it. What a run around. Sorry it was such a mess.

terri said...

I used to work at an elementary school and there were always 43somehundred forms required for each student which we filed away, never to be looked at again. But they were there in the event that compliance with some legal regulation had to be proven. When my kids hit high school, there were, blissfully a grand total of 3 forms each to be completed. I wish someone could explain that to me!

meleah rebeccah said...

Welcome To The Days of School. This post was hysterical.

"who I'm now calling SM, 'cause we're tight like that"


(brought me back 10 years ago)

Jodi said...

Congratulations....for getting through the day without killing anyone!

CamiKaos said...

holy hell they sure made you jump through some flaming hoops. glad you got through it...

Edge said...

Ahhh yes, and none the easier for a husband of a kindergarten teacher.


The Casual Perfectionist said...

You could probably make a few extra bucks by selling some vials of badger blood in the parking lot yourself. You know, buy some extra, sell it at a profit to the other unsuspecting victims of Kindergarten Registration. ;)

The Immoral Matriarch said...

Thanks for making sure I'm in a bad mood automatically next year when it's time to enroll the Bella!!

Marianne Arkins said...

Hmmm... reason number 435,763 that I homeschool. Thanks for the reminder -- I was getting frustrated with teaching this morning.

And, yeah... our tax dollars at work. **sigh**

Nan said...

It's the same all over the world. Whether I am transferring a car in a third-world country or trying to get my tax record sorted out in the UK, a government office is a government office! They hire people especially for their ability to annoy.

sybil law said...

Dude! I had the same problem with Gilda's certificate! Luckily, though, her school didn't make a fuss about it.
That was truly a day in hell.
I can't believe you had your wits about you to even write!!

Bee Repartee said...

I feel so guilty, but...bwahha! haha! haha! hah! HAHAHA!! ~snort, choke, cough, and piddle pants a little~

Oh, holy. crap. that was funny. You know why? I did that same thing. THREE. BUGGERED. TIMES!

missburrows said...

This would have gone a lot better if you had just said the secret password:

squiggly bulb

try it next time, it works wonders!

Natalie said...

Oh. My. Word.

But you made it funny!

Leendaluu said...

WAIT! you said *sallow* soccer moms? What happened to Mary Kay?

Blessings to you for getting him registered. Now the fun begins (gleefully says the mom of kindergarten twins...c'mon in, the water's fiiiiiine.) Mwahhahahahha. Did I tell you need to bake 12 dozen cupcakes for Friday?

Doozie said...

at the end of all that I would have been very fluent in another language.....sailor

Sheila said...

O.M.G. When I have a day like that, I need a stiff drink... or a pound of chocolate to take the edge off! Kudos to you for perservering!

Stephen said...

Yikes! Have you ever seen the movie Brazil? Reminds me of some of the runaround a main character gets in that movie.

loveyh said...

I'm with Doozie. That's why you got lemon bars. :)

Sooo, this is what I have to look forward to NEXT spring? Fan-fraking-tastic. At least Bran will go full-time, which right there makes it all worth it.

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

Ugh. I think I'll homeschool!!! I'm not looking forward to this experience!

R said...

And that would be the sixth reason why I homeschool.

I had a good laugh over badger blood.

I can't believe how horrible that was. I am very sorry. I am sad the government hires morons too.

Emma Sometimes said...

Hey, these are those magnets we were talking about. I'm too lazy to email. Actually I'm too busy trying to get the girl's file together for Kindeygarden.

Anne Taintor rocks my socks.

growingapair said...

"A vial of badger blood and hair of a Chinaman later"

M@ said...

(I mean, do I need to fill out a bilingual survey if we're not bilingual, seriously?


holly said...

all this so he can fingerpaint in a group! he could have done that at *my* house with only *half* the paperwork.

seriously i need to know he's immunized.

Larisa Ho said...

Wow. It's like a nice page from a novel. Great :) Just dropping by. Am a newcomer :)

Jo Beaufoix said...

Blimey, that sounds mad. Glad Ethan's in though. I'm surprised they didn't ask for blood, sweat and tears too. Wait, they got that anyway right?
And Rita and Fern? You were so calm with them. I'd have wanted to kick their bottoms. So rude.

Dapoppins said...

I am glad everyone was so helpful.

Caffeine Court said...

I actually got a call from my daughter's school AFTER she started Kindergarten. Apparently one of her immunizations was off by ONE DAY. So she had to go into the doctor within a day, or they wouldn't let her back in school.


secret agent mama said...

This is why I home school!

Mya said...

It sounds like France - you can't fart here without having the correct forms for everything - in triplicate. Aaaagggghhhh.

Well done for persevering and not killing anyone.

Mya x

Michele said...

I love your post! I had a similar experience and just to let you know the week before school when you meet the teacher you have to fill out about 20 more forms. Get there when orientation first starts because most people get there later then you can chat with the teacher and you are leaving as everyone else starts rolling in. It took me about 45 minutes to an hour to fill out everything then you have to sign up for PTA and buy spirit wear it is a long day. I had someone watch my youngest daughter so she would not have to wait with us.

Nan said...

Where are yooooouuu?? Is all well? Do you have post-k-registration-attack-syndrome? Having A Gray withdrawal symptoms here.

Bee Repartee said...

Is it DAYS of hell, or just DAY? Where are you? Are you stuck under a neighbor's rock..oh, did I say neighbor's? I meant your rock. In your front yard that I've NEVER seen before.

rjlight said...

Your writing is so entertaining and colorful I don't know what has taken me so long to get over to your blog from the Buzz.