Hoping to remain a "Resident Non-Immigrant with Permission to Work"

Tim HortonsTomorrow morning Nic and I are headed up to Quebec to submit our TN-1 renewal paperwork at the border. If it’s approved, we’ll be here another year. If it’s not… well if it’s not, we’re screwed! Obviously we’re hoping that goes smoothly!
Our plan is to cross around lunch time, find some food, load up on Tim Horton’s coffee (it’s the only way I can pull of my 5:30 mornings!) and then head back to the border.
I did mention to my boss that it might be nice if maybe next year we could apply for a more permanent Visa — since this one says “temporary” all over it. He agreed that might be a good idea, so hopefully next year won’t be so precarious. If customs decides, for some reason, not to renew my Visa, the US will never issue that one to me again, and we’ll have to move home immediately. Actually, we’ll likely be turned away at the border and have to arrange our move at a later date. We’re praying there won’t be any issues!
Update: Well it was a long day, including lunch at the most unexpected of locations, and sitting on a bench at customs for an hour, but our paperwork was approved and we’re back in the States for another 12 months! Thanks to everyone who was praying for us!

A very scaled down Christmas

christmas027_big.gifAt risk of being scolded severely by our Christmas-crack-snorting friends, I’d like to clear-up our intentions for Christmas this year, for our family and friends who may not know what our plans are…
We have a lot going on this Christmas season, including expiring Visas, a new church campus and a baby on the way, so we’d like you to all understand that we won’t be going all-out on Christmas. I won’t be able to get away with zero Christmas decorations, but most of my limited house-work time has been, and will be, devoted to the baby’s room. For those visiting, please forgive us if we’re not overly-festive. We got a lot done this weekend, but there’s a lot left to do.
There’s also the matter of gifts. Nic and I have set and plan to stick to a very rigid budget as the priorities in our lives change. That means that we plan on modest gifts for each other, and cards for everyone else. I think last year we did a pretty good job of hooking everyone up, and we appreciate everything everyone has given us in the past. However, it would be a lot less stress on us if this year you didn’t buy us anything. If you’d like to purchase something for the baby, I’m sure it won’t complain, but our needs are met and there’s nothing we’d ask for from you but your love and support as we figure out how to be parents.
And finally trips home. I know some of you are still expecting to see us over the holiday season. We hope you’ll understand that we won’t be making the drive home. With the baby due so close to Christmas, it would be foolish of us to get in the car for an 8 hour drive. Our hope is for the baby to be born in the States, which means our safest bet is to stay put until it arrives. For those considering it, we’d also ask that you not make plans to travel here and stay with us. There is no longer room in our apartment to host guests, and there’s very little room in our schedule to entertain company. However, if you’d like to travel down and stay in a nearby hotel and visit us within the constraints of our everyday responsibilities, you are more than welcome.
I hate to sound like Scrooge, but I’m going to have to be very firm in reigning in our commitments and activities not related to the birth of our first child. Our December is already pretty well booked, and I’m not prepared to allow any more stress than necessary into my bride’s life. She’s been carrying around our little alien like a trooper for the past 9 months, refusing to let her discomfort slow us down, but this is her time now, and I’m going to protect that as much as I can.
We’ll be home again in late January or February, and we’re looking forward to introducing you all to our newest family member!

2 years in the process……aren't I huge!!

34 weeks Do you ever remember that when you where a little girl you would play dress up? Well me and my sister would put on my mom’s high heels and put white slips on our heads and pretend to be getting married…how weird is that at that age. Also for as long as a can remember I have been looking at the Sears catalog picking out baby stuff I would like to get someday….this was when I was in 9th grade….even weirder!
Now I did eventually get to wear a real veil and my own high heels and walk down the aisle (and a dress too people!) but if you look at the picture of me walking down the aisle it looks like I’m not impressed but I was trying really hard not to cry. You see I was so happy I couldn’t believe this was happening to me, someone who thought they would never ever meet someone they could see themselves marring especially at such a young age. We had our lives pretty much planned out when we were dating for 6 months (we had just turned 18). We were going to get engaged when we were about 20, married a year later and Jon would be done school and I would have 2 years left of University.
Well as most of you know the schooling part didn’t work out like we planned but we still got married and started our life together. We had also planned to start having kids when we were 25 or so (well we’re close) but we had a bit of a scare when we were 23 and we realized that we really wanted to have kids so a couple months later we started to try but it wasn’t that easy. We weren’t really trying hard but we thought if it happens it happens but about a year later I was getting frustrated and Jon hated to see me like that.
So I went to a specialist but I had to wait to start the treatment till we got home from Asia because they have to monitor you (which means taking blood from you twice a month…eh I hated that!). So I was to go on Clomid for 6 months and then if nothing happened we would talk about what to do next. Well by the end of the 6 months we were in the States and still nothing. So I started to get things in order with getting referred from one doctor to the next till I got one with an infertility specialist. We talked and decided on the next thing to do was to get my charts from Canada (which was in April and they just arrived in October!) and wait for my next cycle to begin.
After being off Clomid for two months I was 2 days late….but with me that is no big surprise because I’m very irregular (sorry guys). Jon happened to come home for lunch, I don’t remember why, but I know he was frustrated with me always thinking I might be pregnant and turning every little thing into a symptom. But this time it was a little different or so I thought but he wasn’t convinced. So he told me to take a test and give him a call. Well those stupid test make you wait like 3 minutes before you find out — I know, I had done a lot!! Well I peed on the stick and sat and stared at the clock….only this time I couldn’t wait and checked it at 2 minutes. Oh and I have to say I spent more money this time and bought the test that actually says Pregnant or Not Pregnant….I hated looking for the lines, what colour do you think that is, are there two there or am I just seeing things, are there any lines?! Anyway I look down and it said Pregnant and I just lost it….I thought this is so not true…after so many negatives you almost don’t actually expect to get a positive to appear but it did. I tried to compose myself as I called Jon but as soon as he answered the phone I started crying again and I can’t imagine what was going through his mind at the time but I finally got out that “It said yes” and he’s like “What said yes” and I kept saying that. Finally he figured it out and was also surprised. So I took another 2 days later just to make sure and made an appointment to get tested at the doctors and both came back positive.
Finally after 2 years, almost to the day, we got pregnant and it took awhile for it to sink in that what we had been praying for the last 2 years was finally happening. Looking back on the 2 years we noticed that if we had got pregnant at certain times that we wouldn’t have been able to do some of the things we were able to do so we knew then that God had planned it all out. But we were just not being patient enough and listening to him that it will happen, just give it time.
And here we are 5 weeks and 4 days to go and I almost can’t believe it’s that close. I’m starting to get a little nervous but I know this wouldn’t have happened unless we were ready for it to happen so that adds some comfort but I do have to wonder why do girls have to cry so much. I mean this is what I have been wanting for over 12 years but I’m still scared….I made it through 5 years of marriage I should be able to handle a newborn, right? I hope so……

A Job Well Done

Two days, 7 computers — 5 of them starting with no OS and a blank hard drive — from Windows 2003 servers, to XP workstations filled with spyware to OS X boxes of every shape, every one of them is running better than when I got there. Obviously the current Apple of my eye is that new little cube shaped computer on the left, next to it’s big brother on the right.
It was a giant task for my Thanksgiving weekend, but I think it was worth it — hopefully I won’t have to worry about anything at home for a year or so, and at least 2 computers at the church will be running smoothly now. I think I’m going to take a computer break for the rest of the night though, and tomorrow I’ll be doing some more painting — does anyone know how to put up wallpaper? Cause I’m pretty sure I don’t have a clue…

American Thanksgiving

TurkeyAmericans are wonderful people — except at movie theatres!
We did not want for food for a single second yesterday! Karl invited us over to his grandparents for lunch, where we ate our share of a giant turkey and then played Mafia with their family (with varying degrees of success). Then as soon as we left there, we headed over to the Erndt’s to take them up on their invite for turkey dinner. After which we (Jeremy, his dad and I — the girls couldn’t be convinced) sang karoakee in their professional sound studio downstairs, ending with a rousing rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, and then headed to the movies to see Casino Royale.
The movie was fantastic, the other theatre-goers mostly retarded. A gangsta looking group sat directly behind us and talked non-stop all the way through the movie, while similarily ignorant people ran up and down the aisles yelling to each other. Not once did an usher ask them to be quiet, so Walt went and got us our money back at the end of the show.
Another distinctly American thing? Shopping after Thanksgiving. Both houses we were at in the afternoon had plenty of fliers to look through with all sorts of deals (some great, some not-so) and the ladies at the first house spent the afternoon cutting, note-taking and strategizing their Black Friday shopping mission. The Erndt’s brought us by a CompUSA at midnight last night, just so we could experience the festive consumerism. No deals remained by the time we got there — I’m sure the people lined up at Best Buy 10 hours early had better luck.
Nic and I are thankful for two days off for Thanksgiving. It gives us a chance to get some things done around the house, and relax with each other. We’re also thankful for our baby on the way! Everyone who sees Nic, who’s had previous baby experience, claims that Nic is dropping a lot, so we’re wondering if maybe the baby will arrive earlier than expected. I guess I’d better get to work on the nursery just in case…
Oh, and speaking of birthdays, shout-out to Laura Bolt! Happy Birthday, Pick!

The new jonandnic.com

If you visited last night, you probably noticed that the site was down. I was rebuilding the server in preperation to add some new software. I actually figured it was best to re-install Windows, and here I’m going to go off on a rabbit trail from the original intent of my post…
Kerio Mail Server is the possibly the best software ever written. Before I formatted, I backed-up my mail store directory. As soon as Windows was back up and updated, I re-created my domains and users and copied back in the mail store directory. Everything to do with mail was instantly restored. All my webmail settings, all my mailboxes, all my public folders, all my calendar and contact data — everything. I cannot even imaging what it would take to do this with Microsoft Exchange… just the thought give me nightmares. But with Kerio, it’s as simple as drag and drop. Absolutely brilliant.
Anyway, back on track. You’ll notice that jonandnic.com looks a little different. That’s because I’m running a new blogging engine — one I didn’t create. While I’m sorry to see eXpression go, and I’m mourning some of it’s features, I’m very happy to have a system maintained and updated by someone other than myself. The goal here is to simplify our home I.T. infrastructure as much as possible, to make time for my second job and the new arrival we’re expecting soon.
I’m working on restoring the old side, probably as a subdomain of this one, so you can hop over to it to re-visit old memories, but from now on, all new posts will be here in WordPress. I have some work to do to customize this new site, so right now it’s a little lacking in features, but hang in there, we’ll be back up to full strength soon. As always, thanks for visiting!