ciroccoj: (journey)
No, actually, it turns out taxes are not so damn certain after all. Bummer.

My mom died almost five years ago. Her widower died two years later. I had done most of my executor duties by the time he died, but there was one thing I hadn't done, because I had assumed he was going to do it and apparently he assumed I would: her Death Taxes.

It's been a long, long road, getting them done. It has involved going to different tax folks, not having many of the papers they needed, rooting through boxes holding 60 years' worth of documents, missing accountant's vacations, sending e-mails into the ether a few times, blah blah blahbureaucracycakes, but it all came to fruition (almost!) a while ago when the tax dude was finally able to send her papers into the gov.

Almost, I say, because there was one last piece of documentation missing: a doctor's Disability form, which needs to be filled by her doctor.

Not a problem. I headed off to my mom's doctor's office. It's where I went until I was 19 and had a bit of a run-in with him, concerning my anorexia. Or, more to the point, our disagreement as to whether or not I had anorexia )

Anyway, I went to his office. Which was no longer his office, but a florist's shop. They looked at me funny when I asked them to fill in my mom's disability forms.

I contacted the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and asked if he'd retired.

Nope, said the College, he's just at a walk-in Appletree Clinic now.

Splendid. I looked him up, called to ask when he was working, and drove on down to his clinic.

...which had no idea who I was talking about. No Dr. S. here, they said. Who told you he worked here?

Um... the nice lady on the phone?

What phone?

This phone number. ::show them phone number, possibly scrawled onto a napkin:: It's what's listed online for this clinic.

Nope, that's not us. Sorry!

...?

I considered asking them to fill in my mom's disability forms, but they didn't seem the type to just fill out random forms for people they've never heard of.

Went back home, called again, got the same nice lady, who reassured me that Dr. S had been working that day. "He's here twice a week," she said.

"Where is here?" I asked.

"1234 Apple Street," she said.

"1234 Apple Street? The website says 4321 Apple Street."

"No, that's the other Appletree Clinic, not us."

"Yeah, I gathered that."

"Huh. Wonder why it says that."

"You got me there."

You can't ask secretaries to fill out forms over the phone, I discovered.

A week or so later, I drove out to the 1234 clinic on one of Dr. S's days.

...except he wasn't there that week. Someone else was filling in for him.

He looked like he was probably twelve when my mom died. Probably wouldn't agree to fill in my mom's disability forms.

Called back the next week and made sure he was working. Went to see him, and was told there was a 45-minute wait, and that that's standard at a walk-in clinic. No, I could not make an appointment; that would defeat the purpose of "walk-in".

Bugger. I had an appointment elsewhere in an hour.

So yesterday I called to make sure he was there, got a bunch of things ready to take with me to do during the wait, gave the boys stuff to do while I was gone, got to the clinic... and was told the wait was 2.5-3 hours.


I would have an easier time getting in to see Stephen Harper. Unfortunately, I have no desire to see him; he can't fill in my forms.
ciroccoj: (Default)
Well folks, today I committed fraud against the Government of Ontario, and I'm thrilled to bits and very, very proud of myself.

I have this car, see. It was my mom's, but she died in July 2004, and as her sole beneficiary, it became mine. The Government of Ontario, or rather, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, for some reason, did not wish to let the car be mine. Here's how it went:

Me: What do I need to get my name on the ownership paper for this car?
Nameless MTO Person #1: You'll need to bring in your license, the ownership papers, insurance documents, and bill of sale.
Me: Great! Thanks!

::gathers the necessary papers and goes to MTO office, standing in an MTO line with Justin, aged 4, and Daniel, aged 7. Books, toys, snacks and drinks are brought along::
Nameless MTO Person #2: This bill of sale has your name on it, but your name isn't on the ownership paper.
Me: No, that's why I'm here. We bought the car in both our names, but my name was never on the ownership papers.
Nameless MTO Person #2: You need a bill of sale from the person whose name is on the ownership to you.
Me: She didn't sell it to me. She died.
Nameless MTO Person #2: Then you need a copy of the will.
Me: ...

::a few weeks later, books, toys, snacks are brought along::
Nameless MTO Person #3: OK, you have the insurance, copy of the will, ::blah blah:: where's the safety check?
Me: The what?
Nameless MTO Person #3: You need a safety check to transfer the car to your name.
Me: ...

::a few weeks later, no snacks brought along, Justin begins whining about 5 minutes in to the line-up::
Nameless MTO Person #4: ::blah blah:: ... and the DriveClean emission test?
Me: The what?
Nameless MTO Person #4: New rules, car transfers now require an emission test as well as a safety check.
Me: ...

::a few months later, Daniel and Justin are now 5 and 8::
Nameless MTO Person #5: ::blah blah:: ... this Safety Check is more than 36 days old. It's expired.
Me: ...

::a few months later::

.. anyway, you get the idea. I let the thing lie for a while. The next time I went, several months later, sans toys and snacks, I made sure to get a written list of all I needed to bring. It included "copy of the will". So you can imagine my delight when I was told, a couple of days ago, that when they said "copy", they actually meant original copy. Not photocopy. What joy. I no longer have any originals.

Almost burst into tears at the MTO lady and, amid exhortations to my toy- and book- and snack-less 6- and 9-year-old children to Sit! and Be still!, told her my sorry tale. Got her to list what I needed, in writing. And despaired.

Then last night I took my scans of the will. Lightened them and sharpened them to make them look like originals. Printed on Best Quality. Traced over the signatures with the blunt end of a sewing needle. Stapled them together, folded them a few times, very lightly crumpled them to give them that "every so often I get carted around in the backpack of the executrix along with sippy cups and snacks for a few weeks" look. Put a tiny smear of peanut butter on one of the pages.

Walked into the MTO this morning, waited in line for about 15 minutes, got to the front and was told the MTO lady in front of me could not do Estates. Suppressed a sob, waited another 15 minutes, handed another MTO lady my papers, and walked out about 25 minutes later with my ownership papers and my will, which was given a very cursory glance by the MTO lady, and the sense that I'd just moved the Mountain to Mohammed.

Go fraud.
ciroccoj: (Default)
In March of this year, we got a $35 parking ticket. Promptly lost it. I tried to find it, but finally gave up and hurried down to the local City office to pay it before the fine went up (it goes up after 15 days, I think).

Got there, waited in line with both kids (a real treat), got to the front of the line, told my story to the clerk, gave her our plates... and she couldn't find any record of a fine on the computer.

Huh. We did have one, I said.

Yeah, either the officer made a typo or it's just not on the system yet. Sometimes it takes a while to get the computer records up to date.

Well... so what do we do? I can't come down here again, I had to move around my whole schedule to be here today-

Oh, don't worry, the City will mail you a reminder.

But I don't want to pay more than $35.

Heh, don't worry, it doesn't actually go up right away. The ticket says it does, but actually, it takes about six weeks. You'll get a reminder for the $35 amount.

OK.

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then figured that probably the cop just made a typo, and woo-hoo, no fine for us.

This was back in March.

A few weeks ago, Chris got another parking ticket. Went to pay it and was told, That'll be $35 - oh, and there's another fine here. A very late one. March 2. $71.

What?!

Yes, it says here, you have an overdue unpaid fine.

But... we never got a notice for it.

It says that you were sent three notices. And it's probably going to be transferred to the collection agency.

What?!

So. I get on it. Call the city, go through about four menu choices, then wait, listening to I Am A Woman In Love and Blue Bayou and periodically being told that my call is important and an agent will be with me as soon as one is available.

Finally. A human being. I explain my situation.

Well, you'll have to call the Ministry of Transportation. Here's the number.

Call MTO. Five menu choices, and this time I get Pina Colada and Stayin' Alive. My call is very important, and an agent will be with me momentarily. Finally, a person who tells me to call the Something Something Info Line, at 1-800-BLA-BLAH.

Info Line. Six menu choices, Careless Whispers and Dancing Queen. My call is important. A person looks up my record, tells me that, indeed, I do have an outstanding fine. Which I know. And if I want an explanation as to why no message was sent to me, they don't keep that kind of information, but I should call the Parking Hotline. They will have the information I need.

Parking Hotline. Seven menu choices before I realize that there is no human being on this line, it's exclusively button-driven, I will hear no soothing music and nobody will reassure me that my call is important. I am crushed.

Back to the Info Line. You sent me into nothingness, I tell them. The Hotline is not so hot. My goodness, they say. You better go to the courthouse then, that's who issued the ticket.

So I go to the courthouse. As I approach the courthouse, I pass by City Hall, and wonder to myself how likely it is that the place I actually need to go is City Hall, since it seems a little much to handle parking violations in court.

You're right, says the info lady at the courthouse. Who sent you here? We don't do parking, that's next door, at City Hall.

No kidding, I say, and trudge back to City Hall. Where I am seen by three people before one tells me that the address on the March ticket is my London, Ontario address, and that's where all the notices went.

We moved to Ottawa more than a year before we got the ticket. I'm sure we must have changed the address.

You'll need to call MTO and have them send us written confirmation that your address had been changed before March of this year, the nice man says.

Call back MTO. Five menu choices, good old Pina Colada and Stayin' Alive, and my call is, once again, important.

MTO guy tells me that no, they don't keep records of when we changed our address - at least not available to the general public at the drop of a hat. But, he explains, after I calm down from a minor freak-out and apologize to him because it's not his fault that there's more red tape around paying a simple parking ticket than getting a new erectile dysfunction drug approved of by Health Canada, if I fax the following number (Special Parking Investigations) and send a cheque or money order for $6, my records may be faxed to me pending a search through the records...

Fuck it.

The Man Wins. The prize is $71.

November 2012

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