We received the forms from Buffalo with their wonderfully conflicting instructions......they wanted two photos each......no they wanted four photos each. It said Do Not include any extra documents with the form....but the other thing said...Wait until you have all the relevant documents and send everything at the same time. We decided to go with the larger amount requested...so we sent four photos each and we waited to get everything together which decision, unfortunately, cost us rather a lot of money......
They asked for FBI background checks on all the adults (me and Alan at that time) so we started with that. The form was simple, it said 'Get your fingerprints taken by the police and send them to .....then they gave the address for the FBI in Washington'. Note - this has since changed to West Virginia. No problem! Foolish foolish woman that I am. They did not supply us with a fingerprint form. So I wandered across main street to see if Ed the Fed (the local police officer) was around to see if he could print us. He was gone for the week and his deputy wasn't sure of the procedure. So we went to the neighbouring and bigger town and approached the desk at the police station.
Now I have always been one of those people who feels guilty at the mere sight of a policeman, customs officer or school principal. I have traveled all over the world and I have never, ever, gone over the legal limit simply because whenever I walk through those customs halls I always feel like I am wearing a big hat shaped like a red arrow pointing down with a sign saying 'Look at Her!! She looks guilty!!' I turn into a blathering idiot in the presence of my childrens' school principals .... I may be middle-aged on the outside but on the inside I'm still a fifteen year old who just got caught smoking behind the bike sheds - which I never actually did but if confronted would no doubt have confessed to. Any psychiatrists out there.....no I don't want to know :o)
So you can imagine how I felt asking a large, American, not too happy looking Chief of Police if we could have our fingerprints taken. He started to object because we didn't have the correct forms when fortunately another policeman wandered up and offered to take care of it. He (Rick) was a friend and customer of ours so that really helped. Even so I was shaking like a leaf as he rolled my fingers in the ink and took prints. He told me it was really important to go limp and relax but you really do feel silly when some really cute guy in uniform is holding your hand for all the wrong reasons.
Well we got it done and sent off the cards..which were promptly returned because, although we had sent a certified bank check (cheque), we had sent just one check (cheque) to cover both of us. They want separate checks (cheuques). So we did that...again.
SEVEN weeks later we finally got the results....and one day before they came the Canadian government announced the Right of Landing Fee..... sigh. But we felt we were committed to go ahead now, so we got everything together, sold a kidney or two to cover the costs and sent in the forms to Buffalo.
Meanwhile our middle son had his 18th birthday. So Buffalo wrote back and said we would have to print him too......sigh. Back down the police station and this time Rick wasn't around to help. We resorted to the age old method of lots of mascara, stockings, highheels and a very short skirt. It worked and policeman did us the favour of taking the prints but it took us ages to shave Alan's legs and he never really did get the hang of the highheels.
Go to Chapter Three