Aaaand here's a demonstration of how good I am at working the system (or getting the system to work for me):
Guess who just booked her flights to Copenhagen? Yep, I am officially lacking that certain combination of charisma and confidence that makes people want to go out of their way to make things easy for you, so we're doing things the hard way.
Oh well, I can't really complain - 'the hard way' in this case involves a two day holiday to a beautiful city accompanied by my squishy and adorable son. I get to stay in a hotel (which always feels like a treat, regardless of hotel quality), maybe do some shopping and eat some exciting different foods (is it terrible that I am super excited about eating some junk food, specifically McDonalds? Yes. Yes it is.)
Plus it will be a great practice run for our trip to Australia - it's a nice short flight, so I can try out some on-plane entertainment strategies and see what works. I'd like to pack reaaaaally light - maybe not even check a bag? And then I'll just keep a running list of everything I wish I had brought - or do some hardcore shopping in downtown Copenhagen!
I was feeling a bit upset about the money issue - 'wah, we're so careful with money, why do I have to spend it on this, wah wah'. Then I realised that the whole point of the frugality and saving is so that when situations like this come up, you have money there to spend!
Anyway, I am off to download some free baby-entertaining apps... And maybe one that translates Danish for me!
So. Now that Henry's Australian citizenship is all official and stuff, I figured it would be a pretty straightforward process to get his passport.
HA HA HA. No.
I did all the forms, found an acceptable guarantor, I even took a better passport photo just in case the shadow on the other one was wrong:
So many Henrys...
And then I looked at where I could lodge my application, and the answer was Denmark! Apparently for a child's first passport, the responsible parent must attend an interview. In Australia, this can happen at the post office. Overseas, this can occur at the embassy in your country, but since they don't have one here in Iceland, I'm supposed to drive the 300km to Reykjavik, hop on a plane to Copenhagen*, spend the night, present my documents in person, and then make my way home again.
Estimated cost? About a grand, plus the joy of either a) weaning my 9 month old son or b) taking him with me on an overseas trip by myself. Yay!
* Okay, it's not like I don't have options. They said I could go to Oslo instead, if that's more convenient! THANKS EMBASSY GUYS.
As far as I can tell, the interview consists of looking at your documents, checking that the forms are correct, and then lodging the application. Surely they can do that without me standing in front of them? Given that Henry himself doesn't even have to be there, I just don't understand what it achieves. I don't know why they need me there, except for the reason of 'it's policy'.
Which brings me to the lovely lady at the embassy in Denmark that I spoke to the other day. I sent an email first, asking if there was some sort of exception to the 'you must attend an interview here in Copenhagen' rule, to which she replied no. So I phoned, thinking there may be some creative solution**, but unfortunately I got the same person.
** Skype interview! Interview with someone at another embassy here in Iceland! Sending his Icelandic passport as a photo ID!
I get that it can be frustrating dealing with the public - people sometimes act like rude entitled jerks who don't think the rules apply to them. And yes, I guess I sort of nailed that last point, but I feel quite confident in my ability to avoid the first three in most of my dealings with fellow humans.
I guess she was irritated that I didn't take her 'no' email as a 'no'. But from my point of view, it's not a small issue. It's not an extra two weeks' wait for the passport, or an extra hundred dollars in processing fees. It's a large amount of money, and a large amount of time and hassle and energy, so damn straight I will be exhausting all other options, and if I have to ask a couple of times to get anywhere, then I will do that.
And if she'd offered to look into it for me, even pretended to care at all, even agreed that one thousand dollars is a ridiculous amount of money to spend for a passport***, then I maybe could have let it go, but she was SO RUDE. And unhelpful.
*** The words she said to me were 'Well, if you can't afford to fly to Copenhagen, how can you afford to go to Australia?' My internal reply: Bfffft. Shrlfk. WHAT?
And we can't even skip the passport and just let him go in as an Icelander: now that he's registered as an Australian citizen, he's ineligible for a tourist visa. Grr. Argh.
Anyway anyway anyway. Time to let go of the rage again. I had actually calmed myself down from the original phone call, but now I got myself all worked up again. I am sure that this can be sorted out one way or another, and if anyone has friends in high places in Denmark, let me know!
Otherwise, look forward to seeing pictures of my super fun trip to Copenhagen!
The other day, Henry totally said Mum, like, a million times*. I don't think he intended it to mean anything, it just seems to be a new sound that he can make. Still, it is totally bizarre to hear a word coming out of his mouth, instead of just babbly noises. How weird will it be when he can talk? We can have conversations and stuff. He'll be able to say what he's thinking - OUT LOUD.
In case I haven't made it clear - this baby guy totally blows my mind.
* He hasn't said it since. Oh well, there'll be plenty of time for talking later.
Henry is not really into 'hvað ertu stór'...
...But he thinks it's cute when Ross does it.
So what has been going on? Ooh, Henry got his Australian citizenship last Tuesday - got a nifty certificate and everything! I considered taking a photo of Henry with his certificate, but I figured that kind of official document is best kept intact, minus drool and teethmarks.
Anyway, I've filled in some forms for both myself and Henry online, and now I just need to get some photos and send it all away to Denmark. The site said that if it's your child's first Australian passport, then you need to attend an interview, either at the embassy in Copenhagen or the honorary consulate in Oslo... I sure hope they make exceptions, because I have no intention of travelling overseas just to get a passport.
What else? Ross has been doing a tonne of overtime, which means yay, money! but also boo! no Ross at home until late. It has been suggested that he could easily get a job on one of the fishing boats... It pays really well, but that's because you're away for a month at a time. I really don't think either one of us is okay with that trade-off, especially not at the moment, with Henry growing up so fast.
See, he doesn't even have any pants to wear!
Aaaaand I think that's about it. You would think that not posting for a while would give me more things to write about, but I guess all the little bits and pieces don't seem important enough to recap a week later.
But just to conclude the photo dump, here's Henry eating lunch today:
My favourite parts: the broccoli on his nose, his fascination with the upside down bowl, and Nina the cleanup crew in the background. Feel free to pretend you don't see the dog hair in that pile of macaroni.
I have finally started using my iPod again - for some reason once I stopped working, I put the iPod into hibernation. Even without playing music, though, I tend to get songs stuck in my head on a regular basis. And then I find myself singing and I have no idea why, but it's usually for a fairly straightforward reason.
For example - lately Henry has been waking up around midnight-ish, hanging out for an hour or two, and then falling back asleep. I think it's teething related, as his second top tooth came through the other night, and last night was back to normal.
Anyway, depending on the time we get up, I find myself either singing this Billy Joel song, or this Frank Sinatra one. Clearly 3.30am is a better wake up time, songwise.
Also, when the weather is a bit freezing, we take entire walks where I have this Simone and Girlfunkle song in my head. And I am indebted to them for writing a song that has ousted Vanilla Ice for my default cold weather ear worm.
On a related note, I have Opinions about nursery rhymes. We listen to the CD that mum gave Henry at least once a day, and both Ross and I have reached a point where we have favourites. Pop goes the weasel is so ridiculous that it makes me angry, although I'm sure it's probably some sort of historical allegory, like Ring a ring o' roses, but I DO NOT CARE and still think it is dumb.
I think my favourite song on our album is one about ducks, maybe it's called Six little ducks? Not to be confused with Five little ducks, because that one is waaaaay too sad (yeah, I get it, who's ridiculous now?) No, Six little ducks is all upbeat, and Ross and I both have funny dances to go with it.*
* Man, I am regretting any links to any of our band stuff in the past. Just suppose you're a broody teenager who's really into my old band's dark sounds and air of mystery, and then suppose you found this blog and heard about our wibble wobble dances. It would make me sad, if I were that teenager. Oh well, teenagers are going to be sad and disappointed no matter what - welcome to the world!
And while we're talking about songs, I have to mention Ross' spectacular song-googling skills. Last night he had a song stuck in his head, and managed to find it on the internet based only on the line 'Laaaaa, la la la la laaaaah!' It was incredible.
Just in case your googling skills are inferior to his, I have to tell you the song was Crocodile Rock. Duh.