Dr. Kafka Will See You Now

The farm continues to be a source of interesting life experiences.  Usually they have been in the form of dealing with creatures who are in places they shouldn’t be.  Like the neighbours cows, and of course, rodents.

Speaking of which, we now have deployed traps in the forest to control rodents of unusual size that prey upon the native birds.  Remember when I was freaking out about emptying mouse traps in the garage?  That’s a breeze by comparison to “resetting” these traps.  Resetting is a euphemism for removing the carcasses of deceased four legged pests.  I’ll spare you pictures of that process, but this is how you set the traps—the spring mechanism is so fearsome you have to use a lever tool to get sufficient leverage (and keep your fingers out of danger).

But I digress.  Our most recent adventure involved a multi-legged and headed life form known as bureaucracy.

There are several different public and private grants available to support environmental programs and we have been fortunate enough to receive some. Last week we submitted an application for a new grant.  I would never want to be accused of biting the hand, but the grant process has taken a turn for the bizarre.

The application process was fairly straightforward, if rigorous.  It involved completing a multi-page form on line.  This was no surprise.  Most organizations that give out money for environmental projects tend to be conservation minded and have a paperless application process.

In addition to completing the form, they asked for a sizeable amount of supporting documentation—land title to prove we own the property, photos, plans, quotes and things like that, including the 45 page project plan that our ecologist prepared.

We scanned all that stuff and sent it in by e-mail and crossed our fingers.

Today we got an e-mail back that I quote here in full because otherwise you would think I’d made it up.  My first reaction was to check the date to make sure it wasn’t April Fools Day.  Then I had a good laugh. Here is the e-mail:

You need to send in this supporting information in hard copy – paper form, with 7 copies. A process change due to the staff reductions we suffered in the latest restructure.  Sorry.

You read that right.  An organization that is giving money to people to plant native trees is telling us that because of staff reductions, it is necessary for us to be complicit in the chopping down of a few trees so that we can send them seven printed copies of the information we’ve already submitted electronically.

Kafka would be proud!

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12 responses to “Dr. Kafka Will See You Now

  1. Catch some congressmen while you’re at it.

  2. Snoring Dog Studio

    Oh, I think that’s a grant I’d give up on. Wow. Crazy world.

  3. I applied a few months ago for a state rebate for my “energy efficient” windows and, while no one asled for seven copies of anything, I was asked (after supplying a signed contract for the amount of the transaction, the manufacturer’s label with the window specs, and godknows what else) for a “register receipt.” A cash register receipt. For five WINDOWS that had been trucked to my house and installed by the Super Mario Bros., or a couple of guys remarkably like them.

    • How did you get it to register with them that this wasn’t an over the counter sale?

      • I wrote an eloquent e-mail explaining the transaction in detail and asking what I could do for them other than produce a document that I did not have. They consented to accept a breakdown of the sale contract printed off the store’s computers and signed by the salesman. I’m not sure how radically that differed from what they already had but by that point, they had to stipulate that I give them something, I guess. To save face.

  4. All that the story needed to make it even more Kafkaesque were vegetation corridors that lead nowhere, traps set for unsuspecting humans inspecting traps, and tool shed closets where well-intentioned environmentalists are being beaten to death by paper.

  5. That’s NZ for you Thomas. But I do worry about your ecologist – you state “project plan prepared by the ecologist that we have been executing for the past few years.” Did you bury him eventually with your large rodents? :)

  6. I like the way they say “hard copy – paper form” … just to make absolutely sure you understand they’re talking about cutting down a few forests :)

  7. Having been a beaurocrat for 30 years, their request is not surprising. Got to think of it like a Zen Koan.

  8. Staggering in its brilliance

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