Friday, April 08, 2011
are your papers in order?
I seem to have misplaced my common sense.
I had a series of small chores to accomplish today. And they all went well. By noon, I was done with my list.
But I knew I had two more things to do. Two things I have been putting off for almost a month.
The first left me no choice. My FM3 expires in the middle of this month.
Last year, I applauded Mexico for jumping into the twenty-first century with internet forms for visa renewals. And I still feel that way.
For some reason, I was simply not in a mood this month for government forms -- the reason will soon be apparent. With the expiration date coming up almost as fast as my departure date for Rome, I needed to get moving.
I had agreed to accompany my land lady to Manzanillo in the morning to take care of a few chores -- like changing the telephone bill to my name. And getting a faster internet package (I hope). I am a bit tired of having each of my photographs take at least fifteen minutes to load.
And it seemed to be a good time to renew my FM3.
With that deadline in mind, I grabbed my Spanish dictionary, dug out my passport, and opened up the required internet site. It took me less than 20 minutes to get the ball rolling.
In theory, when I show up in Manzanillo tomorrow, the process will have begun. I will take along my passport (and a copy), my old FM3 booklet, a utility bill and my constancia de domicilio to prove my address, a copy of my lease, and the original and copies of my last three bank statements to prove I have adequate income for an FM3. And, the item I did not have last year, a copy of my land lady's voter card.
Oh, and one additional item: mug shots. Because I will get one of the new identity cards, I need front and right portrait photographs to accompany the application. The photograph that will undoubtedly be used on CNN when I am kidnapped by leftist separtists.
Several people have told me proof of income is no longer required for renewals. But I am taking mine along. There are rules -- and then there are practices.
After pulling all of that together, I am looking forward to tomorrow's process. I hope.
My second task is what has put me off of government forms -- perhaps for the year.
It is tax time. And no one likes filling out income tax forms. Even with software packages that streamline the process.
This was an odd income year for me. I started the year retired. Then I returned to my old job for six months to train my successor.
I had been an employee for the prior twenty years. And for each of those years, I received an income tax refund from both the federal and state governments.
But not for 2009 -- my first year of retirement. I ended up paying a rather hefty pile of Franklins to both governments.
To avoid that result for the 2010 tax year, I upped my withholding amounts from my retirement checks and asked my former employer to take out the maximum in taxes for the six months I was there.
Due to my great planning, I whipped right through the tax preparation software. Only to discover that I owed almost three times as much in non-withheld taxes than last year. I ran and re-ran the figures. They were correct.
That was in early March. I kept waiting to file my taxes. I suppose because I was reluctant to part with savings that were the equivalent of buying a late model used car. As opposed to buying a share in two badly-used governments.
But, today I decided to bite the bullet and slash a financial artery. And it is done.
It is on days like this that we realize the road from serfdom is a two way street.
But that task is done until next year.
Now I just need to get my visa in order. Getting deported is not my idea of a great Mexican adventure.
But, who am I to judge?
Note -- I am aware the photograph runs afoul of Godwin's law. But some things are not to be helped.