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.
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.