My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

You Can't Fight City Hall

Or so the old saying goes.  But right now, I don't want to fight City Hall.  In fact if I could, I'd go right now and give City Hall a big hug.

My previous experiences with City Hall and official business was in San Diego when I had various legal type items to deal with, mostly simple property issues related to the house in San Diego.  A handful of visits there always yielded the same result; waiting and waiting for some jackalope to break away from their coffee break with the five other "workers" so they could be bothered to come help me.  Said help was always slow to materialize, hampered by poor communication skills and abject indifference, and almost always resulted in my being told to go a different department where the process was repeated ad nauseum.

This process was merely annoying and time consuming until I realized that these city employees were the same jackalopes who could retire at 50 with a six figure pension and were the reason that San Diego, and cities just like throughout California, were sinking in a financial abyss.  This made me angry.  Very angry. 

So when it came about that I had to go to City Hall here in Grand Forks to get a building permit for finishing our basement and dog licenses for the pooches, I dreaded the visit.  Not only did I dread the visit, but I did what I always do with unsavory tasks, I procrastinated.  Yes, I procrastinated like a champ. Delaying, dallying, making excuses, and otherwise putting off things I don't want to do is probably one of my best characteristics (and also probably my most unmarketable job skill). Eventually I ran out of excuses to toss Alycia's way, sucked it up, and went down to City Hall. 

Since I don't know the area and things were covered in snow, it took me a few minutes to find the right building.  This made me a little frustrated and I anticipated taking out my frustration and angst (there was some of that in there too) on some hapless city employee.  Unfortunately for me and my cathartic anger urges, the process couldn't have been easier or more pleasant.  I had to go to two different departments and the total time it took was maybe 10 minutes.  Each employee was pleasant, competent, efficient, and very helpful, a super good combination. 

I literally walked out of City Hall happy and enthused, thankful for the helpful folk I encountered and determined to apologize to the Grand Forks City Hall employees who I prejudged, in the most public forum available to mankind, the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes blog.  Sorry Grand Forks City Hall, it was wrong of me to judge ye.  Ye are quite awesome. 

4 comments:

Sara said...

You're echoing my exact same experience, attitude, and procrastination with getting my business license in San Diego and then here in Atlanta. I never actually did get my official license from SD County, despite having visited 4 different offices and paying multiple fees. Here in Atlanta, my bank printed out the forms for me, and then the business license office offered all kinds of pointers for getting started out as a small biz owner. And my official license paper thing arrived within a few weeks. I immediately hung it up on the wall in our office :) I'm so loving living in an area where people have an interest in competence, helpfulness, and good ol' manners.

El Gaucho said...

And since I didn't know otherwise, I assumed that all bureaucratic encounters were going to be that way, until I got here and realized "wait, this is how it should be". I love California and San Diego, it'll always be where I'm from, and I'll always go back to visit, and they have some incredible places/things/people, but good golly am I glad to out of there.

Sara said...

Exactly! San Diego treated me well while I lived there, and I'll definitely go back to visit, but to quote a wise person, "good golly am I glad to get out of there."

lifeshighway said...

It is good to know that some efficiency exists somewhere in government.

Very high praise indeed for the city of Grand Forks to be praised at Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes.