The Book Warehouse that David manages in Yaletown (1068 Homer) is being threatened with closure unless sales, devastated by hockey season, pick up. If you’re in the market for a book and you have the luxury of choosing where it comes from, please take a minute and call on his store first.

if there’s any other way

Talked to the Irish Embassy today. They’re going to send me the appropriate affidavit tomorrow. Once that’s filled out and the paper records have arrived from the Holmes clan, I can apply. The only drawback is that the current application process time is six months. This wouldn’t cause concern except that it seems I also have to send them my passport as part of the Foreign Births Registration package, which would trap me in the country.

On the other hand, it turns out moving to Montreal could be significantly less risky than previously thought, as apparently there’s a provincially subsidized language program which might pay me a small stipend to learn french, easing the transition as well as teaching me a useful new skill. Also, more locally, I may have hit upon some small crowd-sourced education funding, as long as the classes are super cheap, (in the couple of hundred dollar range), and apparently the unemployment office will now pay to upgrade my First Aid certification.

taxidermy runs in the family

I bought my father a death certificate search yesterday. It cost twenty-seven dollars. (This is not the strangest thing I’ve ever done, but I believe it to be the most unsettling credit card purchase I’ve ever made, and that’s saying something, as I just sent someone a pewter-cast bat skull tie-pin as a birthday present.) Basically this means I have hired the Department of Vital Statistics to search through the death records of the city of my choice, in the three year period of my choice, to try and find out if my father has died. Course, a few hours after I did that, some very delicate social grape-vine contacts informed me that he’s still alive. So, okay, wasted money, but at least it rescued me from my position of doubt and perplexity – the uncomfortable dilemma: what outcome I was hoping for?

Fun fact: Anyone may order and receive a death certificate for someone who died in British Columbia. Release of death certificates is not limited to immediate family.

Back east, my amazing uncle Francis unearthed all of my ancestral paperwork, like my grandfather’s birth certificate, his marriage license to my grandmother, (which, amusingly, lists her birthplace as only “Russia” and her occupation as “spinster”), and my father’s birth certificate, and e-mailed them to me as high quality scans. They are beautiful artifacts, history manifest. Now, according to the immigration requirements, it’s a matter of either signing an affidavit that states my father is too dangerous to contact or having a family member far, far away request a copy of his current identification. Either way, it’s very likely that this will wrap up much sooner than expected.

Fun Fact: According to my father’s birth certificate, my grandfather was an embalmer.

I refuse to believe that everyone lives like this

More bad news has come in. If anyone local to Vancouver has any contact numbers for support groups or counseling for families who have lost members to the Downtown Eastside sex & drug trade, it would be appreciated. Information or resource centers available to parents of underage delinquents would also be relevant. Thanks.

maybe I’ll be lucky, maybe he’s died.

I’ve begun pursuing a potentially dangerous course of action, something I’ve been putting off as long as I possibly could:

I’ve started the steps required to get my Irish citizenship.

My father’s father was born in Cashel. Because of this, according to Irish Naturalization and Immigration Services, I’m eligible for Citizenship Through Descent. Naturally, you might be curious as to why this is a risky proposition, and why I haven’t followed through with it before, especially as I’ve such a bee in my bonnet about getting the heck out of Canada. Well, here’s the caveat: even though my family in Winnipeg already has copies of all the tricky, hard-to-find, turn-of-last-century, grandfather-related paperwork, the application also requires documents that relate to my unstable, schizophrenic, murderous father. Very particular documents, the sort that require permission to access, like his full civil birth certificate and copies of his current identity documents.

When I had set up to move to London a few years ago, my plan was to apply for all the paperwork from the safety of another continent, where there would be no possible way he would go so far as to show up at my door with a gun or a sharpened crowbar. My work visa would cover my UK residency until my citizenship was finalized, freeing me to finally wander the EU as I saw fit, but when that move didn’t happen, stupidly superseded by the failed Heart of the World project, my citizenship application plans were put on the back burner, only to be considered as an utterly last resort.

Given that my 29th birthday has just come and gone, it seems to be well past time I dust those plans off again. Which raises some interesting questions, like “would contacting my father to get permission, as hazardous and a bad idea as that is, break the terms of the restraining order I have against him?” or “because I have a restraining order, and he has a proven history of extreme violence, is it possible that the government would let me circumvent him entirely?”. I really have no idea, nor do I know who to contact to get those answers.

In the meantime, while I call endless office drones, attempting to find out what I need to know, (and to discover who, honestly, I should be calling), the family clan in Winnipeg are my angels, sifting through old boxes, looking for the relevant paperwork to scan and e-mail to me, so I don’t have to apply directly to Ireland in the middle of a postal strike.

the way of it

Very few updates lately. I still haven’t found work, though I apply to at least ten vacancies a day, my uncle John is still living with us, growing more frustrated with Vancouver by the hour, and David’s bookstore has been suffering, sales wiped out by the hockey season, to the point where the owners seem to be threatening closure. Yet, all in all, things seem static. We abide. Job hunting continues, the search for a way out of this city continues. There is very little change.