Well, after getting my residency permit and registration (which I never did finish writing about), I went right away the next week to apply for an exit visa. I wanted to get everything over with so I wouldn't have to see that office again for awhile.
This time, I didn't have to get in the registration line. This was a different category. How refreshing! I went in on a Friday when there was almost no line. In fact, it was a "live" line and I had to negotiate with everyone verbally to get into the office, but it worked out.
The lady gave me a two-sided application form and a little list of requirements including photocopies of passport pages, and passport photos. I left the building, planning to return the next week with the forms.
Wait a minute.
This was easy stuff, compared to what I had just done the week before. And there was no line. I kicked into "rush" mode, found the nearest photo place, filled out the form, and was back at the place just before they closed for lunch. The officer helped me answer the remaining questions and told me to come back in 20 business days. I was their last "customer" of the day.
This was so easy compared to everything else in the whole process! Or maybe my definition of "easy" had changed?
About a month later, I showed up, breezed through, as there was no line at all, and got my 3-year multi-entry exit visa! Now I can pretty much come and go whenever I want, although I'm supposed to be in Russia at least 6 months for residency.