(NOT. Because James and I don't fight, actually, believe it or not. I just like using dramatic blog post titles that at least sort of relate to the topic at hand and catch your attention. Did it work?)
Anyway, so, I've already whined about how, a couple of weeks ago, I sat for TWO. DAYS. at a computer at the Consulate trying to work with this hideous software program, e-QUIP, and beg it, plead with it, cry until it stopped giving me a thousand error messages and allowed me to submit my personal information in pursuit of a clearance (in hopes of possibly getting an EFM job at post).
But what I didn't yet do is tell you the backstory.
Day 1 of my two days in front of the computer involved just me. Well, that's not true - since the one computer that I'm allowed to use is right smack in front of all manner of other things going on, I was never really ALONE alone, but at least I fought with worked with e-QUIP as much as I could by myself that first day.
Day 2? Oh, on Day 2, James had to come and sit with me and help me since e-QUIP hated my guts / wanted me to kill myself / was less than user friendly. Perhaps this is because my life just doesn't seem to fit in its prescribed boxes (boxes that MUST be filled out or the program won't continue or gives you a thousand ERROR!! messages and THEN won't continue).
Here. Maybe this** will explain it better:
[**And I'm not kidding, you guys. This conversation ACTUALLY HAPPENED this exact way.]
~ ~ ~
[Setting: James and I are in front of the Consulate EFM computer, staring at the e-QUIP screen. Because if he doesn't help me, I'll never be able to finish. Really.]
ME (poking my finger at the screen marked "Previous Employment in the Last Ten Years"): What do I do about THIS? It's MAKING me fill it out, even though for the last ten years I've only been a stay-at-home-mom!
JAMES (helpfully): I guess just type "Stay at Home Mom" in the box?
ME (who has tried to do this before): Oh, SURE. Watch THIS.
[Types "Stay at Home Mom" in the box. Immediately gets next empty box that also MUST be filled out, titled "Name of Supervisor."]
ME AGAIN (sarcastically): So NOW I have to type the name of my SUPERVISOR. And it's MAKING me enter this or I can't go on. What do I do NOW?
JAMES (turning a bit green): Oh, Lord.
[Pause. A long pause. In which James doesn't want to speak. And I don't blame him.]
JAMES AGAIN (helpfully): Maybe you... put... yourself? Like that you're your own Supervisor?
ME (yet more sarcastically): So that I then have to fill out all the self-employment boxes that come after it??
JAMES (turning more green): I guess.... you should just... put.... me?
ME: WHATEVER. I guess that's as good as anything else.
[Bitchily types "My husband?!?! How the hell am I supposed to respond to this question, anyway?!?!" into the box marked "Name of Supervisor." OH YES I DID.]
JAMES (quietly, helpfully, tentatively): You *may not* want to actually type "hell" on the official form you're submitting to DS? Maybe? It's just a suggestion?
ME: OH, FINE.
[Deletes the "hell" part and leaves: "My husband?!?!?!" typed under "Name of Supervisor."]
ME: Okay, now it's making me enter MY SUPERVISOR'S address, phone number, and email address. Well, SUPERVISOR, what would you like me to type?
JAMES sighs and hands me his business card. I type all of his contact information into the little boxes.
JAMES (groans when he sees the next screen)...
[The screen that made James groan was a question that basically asked: "Have you ever been disciplined or threatened to be disciplined or reprimanded in this job at any time? Or needed any remediation? Etc.?" and then you have to choose YES or NO in response. Or something like that.]
ME: Well? And what do I put for THAT?
JAMES: Well, you OBVIOUSLY click NO. Because you're a good wife and mother!
ME (narrowing my eyes at him): But in my workplace environment there aren't exactly any yearly review processes. WHAT IF my Supervisor has actually felt that I DESERVED to be reprimanded upon occasion for poor attitude in the workplace or some other subpar job performance issues, but didn't have any mechanism for doing so??
JAMES (literally wishing for death): You're a GOOD WIFE AND MOTHER. CLICK "NO."
*clicks No and Next*
JAMES (groans audibly like he's in great physical pain)...
[The screen that made James groan audibly like he was in pain was the screen that pretty much says, "And we WILL be contacting your Supervisor to hear all about whether or not you're a good employee in order to verify that, because you just said that you are," or something like that.]
JAMES (has pretty much had it with e-QUIP at this point): REALLY? Well. THAT would be interesting. I sort of hope they DO contact me. They can just GO AHEAD.
ME (snidely but in a fake nice kind of sugary sweet way): And if they do contact you, SUPERVISOR, will you be voluntarily disclosing that you and I are currently involved in a long-standing sexual relationship?
JAMES (brightly): We are, aren't we?
ME: Um, YES. We ARE.
JAMES (musing): So would that qualify as... some sort of workplace sexual harassment?
ME: I should think that's some sort of textbook definition! I can't imagine it getting any more clear cut!
JAMES (feigning confusion): But... are *you* sexually harassing *me* or am *I* sexually harassing *you*?
ME (all matter-of-fact-like): The legal presumption is that the person with greater authority is the harassER and the subordinate is the harassEE. Therefore YOU are harassing ME, Mr. SUPERVISOR. OBVIOUSLY.
JAMES: Excellent. That's just... fantastic.
~ ~ ~
After a few more hours of this kind of fun (NOT), I was finished correcting everything that had given me a zillion e-QUIP ERROR!! messages.
All that's left is to see if James really does get contacted as part of my background investigation.
Since he's my current Supervisor, and all.