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VISA Renewals and Grumpy Customs Officers

Last Friday I flew to Detroit with about 20lbs of paperwork to renew my working VISA in the US. I’m not gonna lie- I was a bit nervous despite the fact that my lawyer assured me that everything should be smooth as a freshly paved highway (something not too common in Detroit). Still, having grown up in a border town and crossed US customs hundreds of times, I have learned that a customs officer having a bad day can make your life miserable for no apparent reason.

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Upon landing in Detroit, I get into my rental car and drive to the Detroit/Windsor crossing like my lawyer told me to. I cross into Canada (legally required for some reason) and then turn right around to cross back into the States and pull up to customs.

“Citizenship?”

“Canadian.”

“Purpose of your visit?”

“I’m here to renew my L1 VISA.”

“Hmmm…the guy who processes those isn’t here today.”

Uh oh. I know the guy because he processed my VISA last year, and just processed Steve’s a couple months ago. My lawyer has dealt with him for years and years. He’s familiar with our case. I should also note that you can’t make appointments with these guys.

“Shall I come back on Monday?” I ask.

“There’s no guarantee he’ll be there on Monday. You need to go to the next border crossing.”

So I turn back around and go back into Canada. I drive to the next border crossing and go back into the States, sighing at the long line. I have the brilliant thought to call my lawyer to ensure that this is the right course of action. Voicemail. I leave a message telling him of my intentions.

I finally get through the line and enter the secondary customs area and go to sign in where I am told to, but there is no pen. There is a lady dressed in a customs uniform on the phone, and she doesn’t look happy as she barks at the person on the other end. Someone’s having a bad day, I think to myself. Finally she gets off the phone and with a scowl hands me a pen. I ask if I should fill out the rest of the form and she snarls, “No, of course not.”

Sorrrrrry.

I am told to wait for my name to be called, so I sit with my magazine in the next room. I am engrossed in an article when I hear someone bark what sounds like my name. I startle, but I think I must be hearing things. It sounded like an almost inhumane growl.

“Denise!” Again.

I jolt up and say, “Yup, right here!” as I go to the counter where I see the snarky woman. Uh oh. She appears to be the one processing my paperwork. Once again she doesn’t smile or greet me, merely holds out her hand for my paperwork. She grabs it and starts to go through it. I want to greet her or ask her how she’s doing but I am afraid she will think I’m sucking up (maybe I am) and she seems like the type who wouldn’t be down with that.

But I’m a little nervous. All my paperwork should be there. I mean, my lawyer has been doing cases like mine forever with a flawless track record. Still, this woman’s sour demeanor alone puts the fear of God in me.

She continues to go through the paperwork and when she sees the marketing material for our parent company, manufacturer of beautiful arbors and trellises, she pauses. She goes through the brochure slowly and mutters, “Wow, this is nice stuff.”

I exhale. Finally, some common ground. I milk this for all I can and start talking to her about the product and ask what kind of decor she has in her yard. I end up hearing about her gardens and landscaping and murmur the appropriate amounts of sympathy and rage when she tells me how the neighbor boy poisoned the beloved goldfish in her pond. No wonder she’s so hostile. (I suggest one of our privacy screens and she tells me she just might look it up online.)

I am feeling better about this now that she has warmed up to me considerably. But my confidence is over-optimistic. After our small talk, she informs me that I’m missing a piece of paper and that some numbers are wrong on another form. I am perplexed that my lawyer seems to have dropped the ball. She assures me that once I have that sorted out, my case will be fine. This causes me a small measure of comfort; after all, I can certainly get what she’s after, but it’s still a pain because I’m in Detroit needing to retrieve paperwork that I don’t have.

I get to my car to a voicemail from my lawyer that goes something like this: “Do not go to that border crossing. She will not approve your VISA because she requires paperwork that you don’t have because it’s not legally required. I would suggest waiting until the other officer is around, even if you have to stay in Detroit for a couple of days.”

Phew!

I sigh and head to Port Huron, MI where I cross yet another border into Canada to visit my family for the weekend. On Monday morning I leave early and cross back into the States to drive to Detroit, then go back into Canada only to turn around back into the States, vaguely aware that I have just blown over $30 in border crossing tolls over the past couple days. Much to my relief, the officer I need to speak to is there. He greets me with a smile, asks how I like living in the States, reviews my paperwork, asks me a few questions pertinent to the business, and then approves my 2 year VISA with another smile as he says, “Welcome to America!”

The process takes 20 minutes.

So I’m still here legally, much to my relief. The red tape of being a foreigner here is pretty inconvenient, but it’s worth it, because we’re changing the world of do-it-yourself digless vinyl fence. With our vinyl fence you don’t need to dig holes or pour concrete. It’s WamBam fence, the only fence that’s fun to install.

A New Partner

We are pleased to highlight one of our partners who is reselling our product: http://diy-vinyl-fence.com/.

This company is intensely focused on do-it-yourself vinyl fence, has worked relentlessly to merchandise our products, has a nice ecommerce site that is both user-friendly and easy to use, and is knowledgeable in the world of SEO. We’re pleased to have them on board.

Our partners are helping us bring the concept of digless do-it-yourself vinyl fence to homeowners all over. It’s WamBam Fence, the only fence that’s fun to install.

Uh oh, a Press Release

Generally we’re not into press releases, but they do serve a purpose and I think it is fitting to release one announcing the launch of our product. The press release will be distributed on Monday, Sept. 20 by PRWeb Network.

I apologize that it’s quite boring and sterile, which sort of goes against the “WamBam spirit”. I promise this won’t become a habit. You may need toothpicks to prop your eyes open. Here it is:

New Do-It-Yourself Vinyl Fence Eliminates Digging Holes and Pouring Concrete

Forget about digging holes and pouring concrete with WamBam Fence’s innovative new vinyl fence system. Designed for the do-it-yourself market, installing a WamBam Fence eliminates much of the hassle associated with traditionally installing fence and can be shipped via UPS to a customer’s home.

Cornelius, NC (PRWeb.com) September 17, 2010 – WamBam Fence is a new company that has developed an innovative vinyl fence system that enables homeowners to install fence without the hassle of digging holes and pouring concrete. Developed for the do-it-yourself market, the entire fence system is designed to be shipped UPS. This allows a customer to order the fence system online and have it delivered to his or her home in conveniently sized boxes.

Currently fence installation is a time-consuming and difficult process for homeowners as they must rent augers, tear up the yard, and pour hundreds—if not thousands—of pounds of concrete. WamBam’s digless vinyl fence system eliminates these headaches because their fence is installed by driving pipe anchors deep into the ground. The pipe anchors work in conjunction with some patent-protected pieces to ensure a strong, lasting, and easier install. A short technical video demonstrating the concept can be found here.

With a tagline that boasts “The only fence that’s fun to install”, product videos featuring sock puppets, and fence panel names such as “The Curious George Privacy Fence“and “The Nervous Nelly Pool Fence“, it’s apparent that WamBam Fence likes to have a little bit of fun.

“We take the product very seriously, but don’t take ourselves too seriously,” says Denise Esser, one of the founders. “Fencing is a boring category and we want to liven it up a little. Buying and installing a fence can be an involved process, and we want to make it as fun as possible for our customers.”

WamBam Fence offers 9 styles of vinyl fence, including privacy, picket, pool and ranch rail. They also offer an assortment of gates and other fence accessories. The product is available online at www.wambamfence.com and other select dot com companies.

A spin-off from vinyl arbor manufacturer New England Arbors in Sarnia, Canada, WamBam Fence relocated to Cornelius, NC in 2009 to be closer to their target customer base. The product was in research and development stages for more than two years before launching.

The concept of the digless fence system has been used successfully by professional fencers all over Western Canada for more than twelve years. WamBam Fence is the first company to develop a full product line to take the concept national to the do-it-yourself market in a boxed program. To find out more about WamBam Fence, visit www.wambamfence.com .

About the Company:
WamBam Fence is the first company to offer a do-it-yourself digless vinyl fence system that can be entirely shipped UPS. Located in Cornelius, NC, WamBam Fence was founded in 2009 as a spin-off from vinyl arbor manufacturer New England Arbors.

Contact Information:
Denise Esser
10616 Bailey Rd. Unit H
Cornelius NC  28078
877-778-5733 x12
denise@wambamfence.com
WamBam Fence website
Follow WamBam on Twitter
Find WamBam on Facebook
Find WamBam on Youtube

Uncork the Champagne!

www.wambamfence.com is finally live!

Here are some stats:

1 scrapped website
3 stress-induced cold sores
9 revisions of the fence calculator
12 videos
38 SKUs
52 Clever Joe illustrations
69 PDFs
72 product images
89 web pages
146 images not pertaining to product
279 instruction illustrations
317 pages of instructions
Countless sleepless nights

We want to celebrate, but we’re so tired we feel like napping instead.

Plus, now I need to start selling our do-it-yourself digless vinyl fence.

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