Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chaos & Fury

Brian went downtown Monday morning to pick up our refund cheque from the Insurance Company and have lunch with Sabrina and Brian Jr. It was chaos. The news reports say it could take BC Hydro officials several days to figure out what caused a fire that burned through 14 circuit cables, knocking out power supply to 20,000 customers in a large section of Vancouver's downtown core. The force of the explosion blew out a manhole cover near West Pender Street and Richards Street, sending thick clouds of smoke into the air.

When he finally arrived at the Insurance Company's office there were no lights on and the doors were locked. Winding his way through the streets with no traffic lights working he did make it to his lunch with the kids but the whole excursion proved confusing and ultimately disappointing.

Meanwhile, that morning he'd put in a call to the Ecuadorian Consulate and a Vancouver lawyer trying to get our paperwork together. Because of the power outage the lawyer's office had no power and thus no telephones and the Consulate simply had an answering machine. He left messages.

That evening we had an appointment with the new owners of the boat to take them through Dowager's various idiosyncrasies and guide them through docking procedures. Dock rats were on hand to shout encouragement (not) and although the new owners are very nice people, we were glad to see them leave so we could collapse on the couch and stress down for awhile.

Tuesday morning Brian's back on the phones trying to put our documents together. After numerous calls to the Translator and various Spanish speaking lawyers in Vancouver, as well as to the Consulate, he managed to put together a "plan" that might have us on our way by the time we have to leave the boat.

Problems (or Challenges for those born in 1970 and later):

1. We had to find a lawyer that wasn't located in downtown Vancouver because of the power outage and who could speak Spanish and was a member in good standing with the Bar Association.
2. We had to get the Translator together with said lawyer.
3. The Translator was taking classes and had limited time available to meet with a lawyer.
4. After the lawyer notarized the translated documents, we had to take the notarized copies to the Bar Association so they could complete an Affidavit saying the lawyer was in good standing.
5. The turn around time with the Bar Association is usually 2 or 3 days.
6. Brian sweet talked the lady at the Bar Association into doing it right away but we had to be there before 3:00 p.m. because "there probably wouldn't be anybody around authorized to sign it after that".
7. The Consulate was going to be closed from July 16th to July 24th.
8. We have to be off the boat by July 21st.
9. Everything cost $200 or $500 or our first born child.

4:00 p.m. found us sitting downtown in a Tim Hortons, slurping an Ice Cap. We'd tried to pick up our insurance cheque but the office was still closed due to power outages. Shelley commented:

"It's a lot like work. I've got that drained, tired feeling you have after work."
Brian agreed.

We'd found a lawyer on Broadway from the Philippines who spoke Spanish. We e-mailed our documents to him and several telephone calls later the Translator e-mailed the translated documents to him as well. The lawyer was 70 years old and proud of it as he informed us of this fact several times. He'd been accepted to the bar the year Shelley was born. We were grateful to have found anyone, but his slow, careful, methodical, step by step, ponderous way of dealing with the paperwork drove us out of our minds.

Our Translator, a lawyer himself in Columbia before he'd moved to Canada, told us over fruit juices while we waited for our elderly lawyer to get it together, that he'd never seen anything quite like it! They had gotten into a bit of an argument in the office, in Spanish, voices slightly raised in that quick talking manner, to the point where we felt it was best to separate the two of them until it was down to the nitty gritty.

We'd arrived at the lawyer's office at 1:00 p.m. Finally Shelley, in desperation, stepped into the elderly lawyer's office and told him she used to be a legal secretary and had a pretty good idea how long things should take. She explained to him if we didn't get to the Bar Association before 3 o'clock the timing of the whole thing would go down the drain.

It did seem to speed him up just a tad.

After much signing and stapling and stamping of documents, we rushed from the office at 2:45 and caught a taxi downtown. The taxi driver, seeing desperation in our faces, did a real "follow that car" routine and got us downtown in record time despite the traffic. We gave him a big tip!

At the Bar Association, for their $105 we got a lovely stamp 3 inches around!

Documents in hand, sitting slumped at the Tim Hortons, we phoned the Ecuadorian Consulate. Three phoned calls later it was established we could see the Consulate between 9 and 10 p.m. that night.

Brian's good friend Greg picked us up at 8:15 and off we went to Richmond to visit a little piece of Ecuador in Canada. The Consulate was in a mega house, beautiful and immense inside. After carefully looking at the documents we were informed it would cost us four times as much as quoted as we'd had each document certified separately.

We were happy to pay the money. We only wanted to get this done. We smiled and nodded our heads eagerly. "Anything you want!"

After 4 stamps on 4 separate documents, Shelley began to weary and went to the car to wait with Greg. Twenty minutes later Brian came out resplendent with several more stamps and a sticker.

"It's done!" he crowed. "It's done!"

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