Where to begin? At the beginning I suppose. Remember when I got a new car ? and that we got the car in the states because we are moving there this summer? I drove it back into Canada soon after purchasing it, and breezed through the border on my way home.
Fast forward three weeks………..
I spent a wonderful weekend with the KoD (who has some new initials – more on those later) and left Monsey at 230pm on Sunday, in order to get back in time to put the kidlets into bed after they returned home from their other parent. I made excellent time on the roads. The roads were clear, I stopped once for gas, and reached the border by 7pm. There were a gazillion cars in front of me, it being a Sunday night, but that’s ok, I had plenty of time. (Car was at standstill so I texted my man)
QoH: Brder v busy
QoH: 4 booths open
QoH: 15 cars each
KoD: Is it moving?
QoH: V v slow
QoH: But I will b home in time
QoH: Its ok
QoH: Was smooth till now
QoH: Stll in line
KoD: How many cars in front of u now?
I roll on up to the border patrol booth, and give the guy my passport. He asks me where I live, I tell him. Then he asks, oh-so-conversationally, “were you aware, madame, that a Canadian resident is not permitted to drive a vehicle with US plates?” Of course I was not freaking aware of that – if I was would I blatantly try to drive over the frigging US/Canada border?! What would that be, like, STUPID??!! He asks me to whom the car belongs, asks to see license and registration and all the supporting documents. Then the bastard, with a wink (a wink, little sod), sent me over to the adjoining building, telling me to park in section two, that an officer will escort me from the car.
You know, when they stop you at the US side, they remind you to remove all your money and stuff from the car, and they keep the keys so you can’t drive away, nor can anyone else drive it away. Those guys have guns. On the Canadian side of the border they don’t give no flying duck about the safety of your car or possessions.
So I am frantically texting my KoD in a total state of panic while waiting to speak to another officer.
QoH: Not allowed to drive US plates
KoD: Should I call [ATTORNEY]?
Finally this female person comes to talk with me, and explains the law, that I am not allowed to drive this US plated vehicle in Canada. That I have to turn myself around, drive to the US, and leave the car there, if I want to get back into this country.
– But lady, I said, (using the term very loosely but trying at this point to still be polite), I have children waiting for me.
– Nope, sorry, that’s the law, I need to escort you off the premises immediately.
Then she has an idea, let’s scare this woman who is worried sick about her kids, let’s tell her that she shouldn’t have been allowed to enter the country last time with the car, and drive around for however long, and that she could be freaking arrested for that violation. Way to go, Ms BallsOSteel! I ask if there is someone higher up I can speak to. She goes to speak to her superintendent and says there is nothing he can do either. I text KoD, after having a brief conversation with him on the phone while she was talking to her superintendent.
QoH: I hv to come bck into the states
KoD: Don’t lv yet.
QoH: Car cannot be in Canada
KoD: Wait. Let [attorney] speak to Superintendent.
KoD: Tell them u want ur lawyer to speak to them.
QoH: No dice
KoD: I want to speak to Superintendent.
KoD: Pls ask them for name and number.
KoD: Let me speak to [lawyer].
KoD: Tell them u want to confer w ur attorney.
KoD: Do not leave until [lawyer] speaks to Superintendent.
So the woman comes back and asks me to leave once more. I then tell her I want the name and number of her supervisor so my attorney can call. She says it won’t change anything, there is no point. I press her, she says she will go and ask Mr BossMan again.
KoD: Ask them to hold off til ur atty speaks to one in charge.
QoH: They will forcibly remove me
KoD: Will they let u wait?
Ms BallsOSteel comes back and graciously allows me to wait while we get my people in touch with the Superintendent.
KoD: Tell them u need time for ur atty to speak to Sup.
KoD: I will call [lawyer] now. Ok?
QoH: They also said I cd be prosecuted for driving car in mtl 4 3 weeks
KoD: They r letting u wait?
QoH: I feel so stupid
QoH: I’m just freaking out
KoD: We had no way of knowing this so-called law!!!
QoH: I know
KoD: Keep calm.
At this point I am sat on the oh-so-uncomfy pukey orange chairs waiting to hear any news. I am trying hard not to cry, trying hard to think of ways around this, trying hard to be strong and not fall apart. KoD kept me so focused and grounded, bless him. He helped me be so strong.
QoH: I cd go to jail
QoH: They said so
KoD: We’ll get u out of this somehow.
QoH: Bc I hv already bn driving it in canada 4 3 weeks
KoD: There must be an exemption.
QoH: Or be prosecuted
KoD: How ere u supposed to kno this.
QoH: I dunno
QoH: I’m scared babe
KoD: And they let u in b4.
KoD: Why didn’t they tell u then?
QoH: They shd hv told me
QoH: They didnt
QoH: I will end up in canada w/o vehicle until we move
KoD: Let’s not panic yet.
KoD: There must b a way around this?
QoH: Anything from [lawyer]?
KoD: They will call as soon as they know sth.
KoD: Makes no sense.
QoH: I’m glad I hv u n them
QoH: But I feel so alone here
KoD: I kno.
QoH: Its in the computer
KoD: Another possibility: I drive there and drive u in.
QoH: On phone w [lawyer]
KoD: If [lawyer] unsuccessful, I will drive up.
At this point another woman guard called me over to the phone, so I could speak to my legal representative, who explained to me, that while the superintendent sympathizes with our position, the law is the law is the law. He advised me to do as they said, to turn around, go into the states, get home somehow, and we will work on it from this end.
QoH: Nothing they can do
KoD: That’s what [lawyer] said?
KoD: Only thing I can think of is that u meet me in Plattsburgh I drive up now. And drive u in.
QoH: And how do u get back?
KoD: It doesn’t matter that u hv a US address?
QoH: I hv no [official] US status [yet] [not that they asked me for any paperwork attesting to it]
KoD: I lv my car in Plattsburgh overnight and someone drives me to it.
QoH: What if the car is flagged?
QoH: In the puter?
KoD: That’s what I’m worried about.
QoH: They r kicking me out
At this point I was being escorted out of the customs office by an armed official and walked to my car. I was given directions on how to get back to the US and waved on my merry little way.
KoD: Did [lawyer] have a suggestion?
KoD: Other option is u drive back and we work this out from here.
KoD: Ask them if I am allowed to drive car into Canada.
KoD: They said yes?
So I asked Ms BallsOSteel’s coworker whether if KoD drove me over the border the car would be impounded or would it be ok. She said that seeing as he is a US resident, he can drive a car with US plates in Canada without worrying. I wanted to make sure that he was allowed to drive MY car, so I was more specific. She said it wouldn’t be a problem, but warned me not to try a different border crossing, or once car is in Canada to drive it. Made me feel that if I did, I would be immediately arrested. I would be looking over my shoulder the whole time.
So, because my vehicle was refused entry, I had to give a special form to the US border guards, who of course had to have me enter their customs and immigration building to do their paperwork. Do you know what the main difference was? They were actually nice to me, polite, helpful, understanding. (but I am telling you they are hiring these guys straight out of Kindergarten. How can they be so young and allowed to own a firearm??)Their Canadian cohorts could learn a thing or two from them.
I finally cleared the US border, drove to the nearest rest stop, and called the KoD to discuss strategy for getting me home. He had been on phone with legal people too, and we were all brainstorming. At this point my anger and outrage at what happened started to give way to panic and tears and the shakes. The Canadian biatch had made me feel so guilty, so angry, so criminal. None of the legal people I have spoken to, even those in the immigration field, have ever heard of this law. EVER. And the defense that I had been allowed in 3 weeks prior? Well, oopsies, our bad, we don’t give a hoot coz we got you now. I wonder if they will even bother to check who allowed me across before.
We eventually decided, after much back and forth, that I would drive the 18 miles to Plattsburgh and the KoD would drive up, pick me up, and drive me across the border and home.
I asked KoD where I should go, and he told me to go to the Days Inn where he stayed the night after his car got totaled after the deer hit him . They had treated him so well, when the State Trooper dropped him off after rescuing him from the side of the highway. We decided that I would wait in the lobby of the Days Inn for KoD to get there (he still had a four hour drive ahead of him).
I got to the Days Inn, shaky and afraid and oh so lonely. Sarah was on reception, and very graciously allowed me to wait in the lobby. She even showed me where the coffee was, and offered to put the TV on for me. I just wanted to curl up into my shell, sleep, and wait for the KoD to show up. It was now close to 9:45pm. At 11, Sarah left and was replaced by Matt. He remembered my KoD from the deer episode. He kept me company, we chatted well into the dark night. Matt worked hard to keep my spirits up and helped me feel less alone.
It was awesome knowing that the KoD was on his way up to rescue me, totally being my knight in shining armour. The KoD has a new set of initials. KoD KiSA – King Of Diamonds, Knight in Shining Armour. He didn’t hesitate. His wife needed him, he was on his way. Dropped EVERYTHING!! I know that’s what spouses are supposed to do for each other, but I didn’t expect him to do that.
Around 2:45 Matt called out to the sleeping beauty in his reception area, does your Knight in Shining Armour drive a silver Pathfinder? I woke up to see my handsome Knight, and I threw myself into his arms. It felt as if nothing can touch me now, I am safe safe safe.
Within 30 minutes we had crossed the border with no issues whatsoever and were home at my apartment by 4 am. Once we had grabbed some sleep we needed to start figuring out exactly what we were going to do from here, what are our legal rights, are there exemptions to this rule, how do we apply for one, etc.
Upshot? No exemptions. My car is going back home to its birthplace to wait for me, and I am going to have to manage without wheels for the next few months, take cabs when I need to. (But you know what we found out also? If you are a Canadian resident and you rent a car in the states and want to drive it into Canada, you cannot do so. It is against the law even for a rental car.) I am sure people would say who is going to stop me here, now that I am over the border, but would you want to take that risk? The car could be impounded, and worse, I could get fined or face prosecution, and that could really screw up my immigration into the states.
This has been a huge learning experience for us, and ignorance of the law is apparently no defense. I wish we had known of this law earlier, we would have made different decisions. But it is what it is. I also learned that KoD would go to the ends of the earth and back for me – well I knew it in theory, but he proved it, big time. The silver lining? KoD and I got to spend more time together, and even tho this was an extremely tense and stressful situation we grew from it as a couple.
Its only Tuesday – when is the weekend here??