Wednesday, November 19, 2008

RED TAPE RED MIST


Today is the National Day in Monaco. So we have day off. Well, in theory we have a day off.
We did plan to go to the Town Hall annex, to register that I am the father of the as yet unborn child.
This is not necessary but helps in the event of the birth, within 3 days of which I must go to Maire, ( Town Hall) and register the birth of the child. If I am not there within three days, I will have to go before the Procurer Justice ( is that a word in English? ) to explain why and I will get no social insurance, social assistance, benefit, welfare, or any thing else for the child.
I was fascinated.
We walked into the Maire Annex and they told us 'No Dear you must go to the Maire Proper for that'..... ahem...
As I walked outside I saw a group of people pull up in Van and crush the car beside them that was parked. They were unconcerned.
After some debate I decided it was really just a lot of noise that appart from small scratches, no 'harm' was done.

We drove to my bank first which was about a 15 minute walk. A line of one way streets caused me to turn Right, go forward, turn left, go forward, turn left, go foward, go forward, turn left, go forward, turn left, go foward,to get there at exactly midday. It was closed with no sign of life. The sign on the door said "Ferme 12:00-13:30"

Well let's go to the Maire. We drove, we parked we walked. At the Maire I held open the door for a lady, and about 10 ladies, 4 gentlemen and a man a woman came out the door before I could go in.
I was struck by the wide open space. The panelled walls. The Black and White photo of the current Mayor hung on one wall. It looked about 40 years old but he has only been in power a few months. I thought of Dorian Grey for a moment and then put that thought out of my head. There was no clock in sight. There was a man in front of us, using his local civil servant as his psychiatrist/psycologist all at the same time, but by his jerky actions and from the story he was telling, I was pretty sure his leather coat had been on the other way this morning with the sleeves tied firmly behind his back. He took up a lot of time.
Over his Head was sign for registering births. Beside it on the right was a sign for recognition of the child, that would be us then, and further right was the Livret de Famille or The family book.

The family book is a legal document with registration of Marriage, Children, vaccinations etc;. My ex has it. I don't. It's a legal document that proves you own your own child and is often required for the registration of children in children type activities.

So I took the opportunity while waiting to recognise my as yet unborn second child to ask for a copy of the famous book. But did I have a piece of identity? Yes I did! Did I have proof of where I live? Yes, thanks to the need to go the bank because banking internet is so bad, I did!. Did I know if the act of marriage that happened in Ireland was translated in Nantes? Because if it was the the livret would be blue, if not it would be white. I know nothing about Nantes, well I know our one is blue so that is okay right? Well you see if you are not sure you can go onto the internet, and check at this address if it was translated in Nantes and then go to the Maire Annex not back to the Maire and they would sort it out thank you and good bye. Oh well.

I got up and moved over to recognise the kid, we sat down. The lady was warm and welcoming she looked behind us. Some young man who looked like he had spent the night speeding( I don't mean in a car) and couldn't find anything to get him back down, was looking very agitated. He was agitated when we had arrived 20 minutes previously and the chair was free. Apparently he wanted the same as us, but had just stood agitated for the best part of an hour looking around him. Now that he saw you could sit in an empty chair, some of his best moves of the previous night were beginning to re-emerge in a most jerky like fashion. The guy was like vogue fast forward.

Eventually it was our turn, the first character was still rocking on with his personal civil servant and we got to go back to Jose. Yes her name was her desk. she moved us down two desks, then started to deal with us. I thought of computer networks and wondered what justification in the births deaths and marriages office you could have for having to move seat depending on which thing you wanted to do.
She explained the 3 day rule. She asked about the family of the child. Know that for the moment it is not important but once it is registered then that is the childs legal name for ever and it can never never be changed. so if it's a double barrelled name there will a double hi-fin as well ( does hi-fin take a hifin? ) So if your child is called Murphy McCormack it will be Murphy - - McCormack and it can never never be changed. Cue the spooky music as our baby sets off to Mount Olympus to get his name changed. The nationality of the child will be Irish and it will be Italian because you are Irish sir and Madame is Italian and you won't have a family book because you are not married. But when you are married you will have one and the childs name ( which cannot be changed EVER) will be in that book too.
That made me re-query my earlier discovery and ask again for a copy of the book that exits already. I told Jose I wasn't too good at insisting in French, I told her it was my fault, she went and spoke to her colleague. After some hushed telling off, ( I cringed) we were invited to move seats again. The lady was not happy. I apologised and as she told me it was not a problem I could see both the jury at Cannes and Oscar Guild stand up and applaud.
Finally everything was in order and without any grumpyness and with some genuine good will from everyone we were on our way....
There was birthday class to attend, where apparently the only way to have a baby is to ensure there is no pain and that is achieved by epidural, either 10 mg (perhour?) dose or a dose you administer yourself. That's it no pain, otherwise completely natural.
Then back to the bank. I got the needful done. I asked could I do this needful on the internet, which it says on their site I can, and the girl told me no!. I told her normally I have to take a day off to come here, she told me I could write a letter. Could I send an email? NO!..

So I got to wonder with all the red tape in France a) Do they know how the internet functions? b) Thank God my understanding of it is that it was American Military at the start, and hence it is far more flexible that French law c) is it any wonder I need physiotherapy to help my body relax?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cultural differences!

Cultural differences even happen at the level of banks.
In Ireland all I ever had to do was ring the bank with the details required.
A standing order would have then been implemented and my ex would get the money no problem.
Here I can't even ring the bank directly. I get put through to a service where they can do nothing.
The internet is not exactly the high speed network. I had to wait a week before I could be accepted, from my existing bank account on line, to perform some transactions they want me to pay for.
Anywhere else this would have been practically instantaneous.
Once they set me up with a new password and the new functionality, I have to wait another week for the functionality to actually function and that is only on the okay of a letter I am supposed to receive soon.
Nothing is fast, everything is red tape, we are forced to go slowly.
The social worker hasn't been to see my ex yet.
My ex hasn't replied about Christmas yet either. I get the feeling she is going to go ape shit when I start insisting on upholding the judgement. It won't be a problem for me. Already the first holidays didn't turn out as they should have but from now on they will.
Am I odd I ask myself to want to have time with my son? I had heard a rumour that at one point my father stayed in relationship with my mam because of me. I have no idea if it is true but it gives me food for thought.
The stereotype of man is one that doesn't fit me well. Come to think of it, the stereotypes that apply to women don't suit me either. I am not one of those guys who goes out with the guys, gets drunks, talks about conquests, fucks and then goes home to wifey. I actually find that type of guy ( if he actually does exist) extremely boring and limited in mental capacity. Yes I get drunk but usually only in good fun company. Let me define drunk here not as in not being able to stand up, Drunk is anything that is not sober, and one glass or two or three is definitely not sober. It's relaxed.
It doesn't help my belly though. I have lost the flat tummy I had when the body issues started. I have started a new treatment that I will write about soon. It's tough, painful, hilarious, and involves my physiotherapist tieing me to the wall and sitting on my arms. Kinky no?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama

No one is going to write anything that I can write, and I am not going to write anything that won't be said or felt already.
I understand that in the United States something has changed and for that I am very glad and very relieved, because a lot of killing might stop and certainly a lot of fear will be eased.

So Mr Obama, when you have finished your evolution of the world politic, when you can be no longer elected, and you must retire from presidency, when you have a moment, and when you and I are in the same square kilometer or mile or within touching distance, when you have time, I would like to sit with you a while, eat some food and just hang. Maybe we would have something to say each other. Is that too arrogant of me? I hope not. I have always believed in the power of dialog and the power of Yes. For you and I are People of this world, and therefore agents of change. What would there be not to talk about.

Wishing what you represent for many, to be oh so true.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Being There.

It is not easy being a dad! I know, no one said it was, but all the same it's tough sometimes.

We had our social inquest Saturday.

Right now 'Cold Case' is on TV. The subject is a boy who has been abused and killed, his father found guilty.
Clearly by the end of the Story line the father will be vindicated, and the boy will still be dead. I can't watch.
I have to move away. It makes me feel like I am nut case that I get so moved, so emotional. I just well up and have to move away.

So Saturday morning, a lady about my own age, maybe a few years younger arrived at the house. The moment I saw her I thought,
'Civil Servant', 'child care', 'hippie'. I stereotype with the rest of you. She had dirty blonde (although clean) curly shoulder length hair. She has probably never worn make up and her skin looked like she had smoked too much. She had extremely kind eyes. She wore very short synthetic skirt, horizontal stripes on her black nylons, teddy boy style shoes, and a synthetic hoodie. I could see her rolling smokes in a bar at home with a pint of Guinness in front of her. Salt of the earth.

Once or twice I came up against her complete knowing. She would point out something was or wasn't good for a child. She would somehow demostrate with a shake or nod of the head that her knowledge on that particular point was written in stone, applied to all situations, all children, and only she could be right. She wasn't a bad person. She did her job thouroughly. She asked a lot of questions. Questions about the past, questions about how I met Boy's mother, how he arrived, how we left Ireland, how we split up, how I managed to stay. I tried to be me. I told her what I could but it was heavy emotionally. I didn't want to get into the blame and retribution and I fear that my reluctance will make me loose out in the end. Who knows? Who could possibly know.
She wanted to know how I met Lover. If this baby was an accident too. If someday I was going to do things in the right order... it was said with kindness but the consequences of it could be huge.

I have been amiss in applying the judgement. My ex asked me not to send my son to the day care center that she would look after him when I was at work. I reluctantly agreed and the upshot is, he is not here tonight. He should be but he isn't. He will be here tomorrow. My listening and giving in again has caused only problems. I should have applied it to the letter. I should have insisted. I shouldn't have had to insist. So tonight I did. I told her we have to do what the judge said. This is what the Social woman said. But when she said it she used it as a way of explaining to the child. Funny how it has to be explained to the adults too.

I have posted the first cheque. You would not believe how difficult it is to contact a bank employee and get them to do things with the money I have given them. It will happen in time. But for the moment I can't get a standing order orgainsed. I have already spent the last week trying to do it...not an excuse.

So now what?

So now tomorrow I have to do something I am not comfortable with. I have to contact social woman and explain what has happended this holiday. I already told her perhaps the holiday came too soon after the judgement, there was some emotion around it, we hadn't managed to discuss Christmas yet....my God after last Christmas I am not so positive.

Well there you go. Where am I ? I am fucking sore. I have a trapped nerve in my back to complicate matters. I am getting fixed but it is really slow. I am impatient.

Boy is delighted baby will be here soon. Lover is suffering from a cold almost constantly but in truth, I have seen a lot of pregnant women in my day, this is a piece of cake as far as pregnancies go. I don't mean that in a macho way. But she has been generally energised, there have been no complications, physically she is healthy and strong so why would it not be good. I am very positive.

Once baby arrives, and boy's future is decided, we can buy the apartement, then I can focus on my two dreams apart from raising my children. Iron man and writing my Novel or my movie and either way telling stories....

If I don't read you, or I have not been by your blog in a while, I think of you anyway.

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