It’s a lovely day today a sunny and lazy Sunday morning with time to sit on the terrace and watch the war zone that our oak tree has become since the acorns sprouted. Squirrels, Jays, Magpies and a pigeon are competing noisily about who can collect the most acorns. Thankfully it is also a morning that gives enough time to squeeze out an increasingly rare blog post.
Since returning from holiday it seems to have been busy, busy, non-stop with plenty going on at work as well as trying to get back into the rhythm of the morning school run. The days are long and tiring with very little time for anything other than the routine stuff. Last weekend we shot up to the lake district, which was very nice although perhaps a little soon after the holiday. It was a very comfortable “Agrotourist” place not far from Mikołajki. There wasn’t a great deal of “agro” involved beyond them growing their own vegetables and fruit that were used in the meals but we were happy for that and you really could taste the difference. We’ll need another break in November so I need to think where we could go for a long weekend. I think having at least a four day break every three months should be compulsory to try and defuse the inevitable build-up of stress that comes with working hard and dealing with kids week-in and week-out.
Talking about stress, the highlight of the week just finished was starting the process of renewing my residence permit. The current one was for 5 years and expires later this month. Earlier advice, perhaps wrong as usual, was that this was an easy process and can be left until nearer the time. The build up to holiday had little spare time so it was left until after the holiday. Reading the small print now it looks as though the permit application needs a ‘meldunek’ (a certificate that matches you to an address) that is valid for at least two months. My current one expires on the same day as the residence permit and is therefore not fit for purpose and so I trolled off to the meldunek office on Nowogrodzska with all required people and papers to renew it.
We were shocked at how light the queue was, we took a number and were almost instantly called by an old lady who bore a striking resemblance to Nanny McPhee (at the beginning of the film). We explained what we were there for and why I needed to renew the meldunek now. She took one look at the old document and told us to piss off! “This expires in 22 days time so come back then!”.
After 10 minutes of rather sensible, I thought, reasoning her position had not changed. Her “system” (that she didn’t even bother consulting while we were there) would not allow her to renew my meldunek on any day other than the EXACT day it expires. So, after five years I am supposed to make sure that on that very day, no earlier, no later, that the meldunek office is open and that I’m in Warsaw with time to go visit them. I refuse to believe that that is the only day when renewal is possible, because it is too bloody stupid to be true. I just got the most bitter & twisted urząd lady on duty, should have taken another number and waited for a second opinion.
Best of all was her response to various other scenarios:
“But the residence card urząd require a two month meldunek for me to renew the card, so if we can get a new meldunek now I can then go renew the residence card.” – NOT HER PROBLEM
“But my residence card expires on that very day and will take time to renew so what am I supposed to do, leave the country?” – NOT HER PROBLEM
“But I have to travel a lot with work and cannot guarantee to be here on exactly that day!” – NOT HER PROBLEM
“So I’ll just go home and say goodbye to the family then, shall I?” – NOT HER PROBLEM
Satisfied that this cow was never going to change her position, nor was she ever likely to turn her computer on to check what she was saying, we left and decided to pop over to the urząd responsible for residence permits on ul. Długa to see what they had to say.
They didn’t have anything to say because it was Wednesday. They don’t work at all on Wednesdays. In fact, as you can see below, they only work 28.5 hours a week and not one of those hours is at a time that I can make without taking time off work.
So there it is, the opening salvo in the battle of residence card renewal has been fired and it’s 1-0 to the authorities. I wasted at least 4 hours of a busy working day, collected loads of papers and got absolutely nowhere.
I can understand there will be times when “the system” does not work completely as I would like but there are three things I consider to be unacceptable:
- Offices that are not open for sufficient hours to allow people to do these things WITHOUT taking time off work.
- Offices that close all day on a normal working day.
- People who take pleasure in making your life difficult. Even if they are correct and “the system” is that completely stupid, they can communicate this in a FAR better way than they do.
If “the system” is not that stupid and Nanny McPhee was just an evil bitch – she should be fired and the rest of them should be warned that the same will happen to them if they try the same tricks. I appreciate they are not paid much but they are paid by us and we are now 20 years after communism. It really is time this relationship was turned around – we are the customers, you are there to serve us so get your attitude and opening hours tuned into that fact ASAP.
I’m not begging for a residence card, frankly, given the amount of tax I pay this country AND the fact that as an EU citizen I have a right to be given one anyway, it should be them kissing my backside not the other way around.