Wednesday, May 2, 2012

in which i profess my hate for military-related paperwork

First things first. Y'all are the sweetest. The comments and emails about my post earlier this week were just so kind. I had the sweaty palms when I published it - there was still that whisper in the back of my mind telling me that they're going to think you're a bad mother! But after it was all said and done, I just prayed that God would speak appropriately, regardless of the words I put out there. And I think He did. So thank you for reassuring me of that.

Now. Back to the task at hand.

There are few things that make me want to bang my head against a concrete wall like dealing with military administrative stuff. Which is probably why I've been putting off the final steps regarding our moving paperwork - reporting the damaged items.

But they make it so easy! You can do it online!

Except apparently, they're stuck in 1997 and none of their interfaces are compatible with a Mac. So no, I cannot do it online.

The day I went on base to try to finalize it all in their office (which they told me I could do) went a little something like this:

  • Gather all of the appropriate paperwork, as well as Jack and his various accoutrements.
  • Spend at least 20 minutes driving around looking for a parking spot, because this base has the world's worst parking system. I should speak to them about building up instead of out.
  • Finally park, albeit somewhat illegally.
  • Try to decipher the signs on all of the buildings. Dear Military Man in Charge of Signage: those who are not in the military do not speak in acronyms. Please update your signs accordingly.
  • Take a chance on a specific building, climb four flights of stairs to the appropriate floor - with 20lbs of boy on my hip. 
  • Wrong building! Listen carefully to the instructions for how to get to the right building.
  • Forget one of the directions and almost walk in on a legal proceeding. Oops.
  • Find the right building and the right office. Success! 
  • Sweat a little because of the hike, the 20lbs of boy and the fact that it's a gajillion degrees in every room you'll ever be in on base.
  • Get a little 'tude from the man assigned to help me. It's 3:30pm. Don't I know they close at 4pm?
  • Go to his cubicle, sit my papers down on his desk to start pulling out the forms he needs. "Don't put anything on my desk," he says. Well, alrighty then.
  • Pull teeth. I mean, try to get some more information about my next steps.
  • "Did you try to do this online?" he asks. Yes, but I have a Mac. "Oh, it won't work on a Mac." I know, that's why I'm here. "Do you have any friends whose computer you can borrow?" I just moved here. And do you want me to cry?
  • Here's the help he offered: he told me to try again really early in the morning, because then it might work. Or go to the library. Or find a friend. And if none of those work, I can come back later. But don't come after 1pm because he'd rather do it in the morning. Oh golly gee! Thanks so much!
  • Leave before I cry out of frustration and the fact that he called to attention my lack of friends in the area.

So that was last Friday. Today, I went to the library to try again. Do you know what computers are like at the library? If all of the slowest computers in all of the world were lined up, the slowest of these would be at the library. And they would have the most ridiculous security settings on them, so that you can't actually do anything except read what's on the library's website. And it would squeal at every person who walks by.

Oh no, that part is just Jack. My mistake.

So you can see how that went.

Plan C: send an extremely detailed and informative email to your father, complete with all necessary passwords, descriptions and pictures, and ask him to pleaseprettyplease do it for you. Because if you have to go back to that man on base, you might just lose.your.mind.

Oh and then! Here's the final thing you should do: go to Dunkin' Donuts, get an iced coffee with two chocolate donuts and go sit by the water.

Because you earned it.

2 friends said...:

  1. Oh My! That military guy needs some customer service training pronto. BR, yum!

  2. I feel your pain. We've been officially waiting an entire year to be reimbursed for our travel expenses to get here... paperwork has been lost multiple times, no one seems to be organized, etc. I always said if I ran a business like the military does, I'd be out of business in a week.


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