A huge portion of yesterday was spent celebrating Monkey’s birthday, as was right and good, but of course there were a few other things that had to be tended to as well.
Like, I still had to do some actual work. (I guess none of my clients got that National Monkey Holiday memo I sent out. HMPH.) And Otto had to do some actual work. (I guess none of his students got that Write Your Own Syllabus memo he sent out. DOUBLE HMPH.) And the children needed to finish unpacking and get ready for their return to school, except they agreed to do that and then spent most of the day playing with Monkey’s birthday toys, which I suppose is par for the course.
And somewhere in the middle of all of this, Otto and I realized it was a rare business day while everyone was home—the last we’d have for quite a while—and probably it made sense to get our butts down to the Post Office and get our passports done.
We’re going on a cruise this summer, and apparently we all need passports. I have no idea. I am just along for the ride. (We are being taken on this trip, like royalty! Or at least like the rotten children and grandchildren of a certain awesome pair of world travelers who happen to want to do a big family trip.) Really, there are no words to describe our excitement, and ALL WE HAVE TO DO is 1) get passports and 2) show up. Everything else is taken care of, and how stupid would we have to be not to manage those two things?
Well. Um. I mean, LOOK who you’re talking to. [I just need a minute to crawl under my desk….]
Okay, so it kind of went like this:
A while ago, Otto did some research and determined that because he and I both have prior passports, we could renew by mail. Great! Except that my passport is too long expired for renewal, so I would need to get a new one. Crud. Okay.
He also determined that we would need notarized forms from the kids’ dad before we could get THEIR passports, on account of there is apparently a huge rash of custodial parents who take their kids on a “fun ship” cruise and then… disappear into Belize? Send ransom notes to the other parents reading things like, “Send money or I’m getting everyone’s hair beaded!”? I’m not sure. The good news is that we were actually on top of that, and had the necessary forms for the kids.
While Otto filled out the kids’ applications online, I went to fetch their birth certificates. Except that… I couldn’t find them.
We have a fire safe, and that’s where they live. Except when they don’t.
I tore the house apart. Eventually I discovered that after I brought the birth certificates in to get them registered at school two+ years ago, I must’ve set the certificates ON TOP of the fire safe, where they then slid off onto the floor the very next time I opened the lid to get something.
[Handy tip: Having a box which is impervious to fire is not actually all that useful if your important documents are sitting outside of it.]
So I found the birth certificates, but then Otto asked me for their social security numbers and I realized I couldn’t find their cards. I mean, we know the numbers, but mightn’t they need the cards for something sometime? Those are still at large. (Do you have them? I’d like them back.)
Otto finished filling out the kids’ forms, then moved on to mine. It only took us about an hour to find our marriage certificate, by the way. Thanks for asking. Ahem.
Otto got both my eye color AND my birthday wrong on my form. The former was discovered before we left (and only made me irrationally angry for about half an hour) and the latter was discovered by the woman who processed us. Nothing like having a stranger point out that you don’t know your wife’s birthday, right, honey? NO I AM NOT LETTING IT GO. Love you!
Anyway, after what seemed like a million years, we took ALL our forms and went to the post office. Where there was a line halfway out the door. Because apparently everyone ELSE had also realized it was their last day to go to the post office with their kids and get a batch of passports.
We were able to pass the time while waiting in line by listening to Chickadee complain about having to have her picture taken. Because nothing says THE AWKWARD TWEEN YEARS like being forced to get a passport just days after cutting all your hair off, shortly after getting braces. (I’m sorry, sweetie. You looked very nice! And I am not just saying that because I’m your mother! And I’m sure you’ll spend the next ten years telling me how much you hate that photo and it’s all my fault.)
After another five years it was our turn, and thus we began the Grand Paper Shuffle. I was probably still a little annoyed with Otto over the eye color thing and THEN the woman was all, “I think you have your birthday wrong, here” and Otto was all “I am just not having a good day,” and I couldn’t be mad anymore, because there is only so far you can put a dude into the doghouse before it’s theater of the absurd, you know? So she shuffled, shuffled, shuffled, and then pointed out that actually, no, I COULD renew my passport, still, because it’s within 15 years. Great news! That saves a whopping $20 or something.
But it also meant we’d filled out the wrong form.
So I filled out a new form while the kids got their pictures taken; both of them looked adorable, and it made me smile more than a little to think about 20-year-old Monkey taking in his passport for renewal and looking at his grinning 10-year-old face, plus I mentally moved some funds around for further therapy for Chickadee on account of that whole hair/braces/anger thing (though her picture really was cute as well), and then I sat down to get my picture taken.
There was a flash and then the woman just kept staring at the back of the camera.
“Did you get it?” I asked, finally.
“Well, I did, but I don’t know if you want me to print this one. Come take a look,” she said. I got up to look, keenly aware of all the people standing there in line, looking at me like I was the only thing between them and a nice afternoon at home, eating bonbons.
The screen on the back of the camera revealed me making a slightly odd face. In our family we refer to it as the “I just bit into a bug” face. Charming, as I’m sure you can imagine.
“Do you want me to take another?” the nice woman asked. Except I was too busy trying not to look directly at any of the two dozen people in line GLARING at my family, which had now been at the passport counter for over twenty minutes.
“Uh, no. That one’s fine,” I said.
Ten years of me biting into a bug. AWESOME.
Eventually the kids’ forms were turned in and my form was stuffed into a mailer and everything was DONE and we got to leave. I’m pretty sure we’re actually going to get passports back in about two months.
Except that if any of the applications are returned for any reason I am just going to close my head in the fire safe and let Otto deal with it.