My passport expired at the beginning of the month. I’d made a mental note to renew it back in….November?….when we went through the rigamarole of getting the baby his first passport. But, as these things go, nearly six months had flown by without my stopping at the Consulate to submit the paperwork.
Last Wednesday night, I looked at the professor: ‘I have to go get my passport renewed tomorrow,’ I insisted. Knowing (1) he was going out of town on Friday and (2) we’ll be making another epic journey to the heartland in July.
So Thursday morning came and I was showered and dressed before 7.30am. I guess it’s what people with jobs do every day, but it seemed really impressive to me at the time. ‘Wow, look at me, I just took a shower AND put on a coordinating outfit….and it’s not even 7.30!’
I found the forms I needed to fill out in the folder where I’d hidden them last November. I was pretty pumped that I’d remembered where I put them. That almost never happens anymore.
I hurriedly filled them out because the Consulate is only open to American citizens from 8.30am to 12pm. And the professor had stuff to do before leaving on his trip. Filling out a passport application is not exactly rocket science, but you do have to concentrate to ensure all the information is correct – your birth date, your spouse’s birth date, your mother and your father’s birth date.
It’s a sad commentary on my mental faculties that I had to think about how many times I’d been married since my last passport application and what the name of my current or ‘most recent’ spouse is.
By 7.45 I’d completed the form, and applied some makeup so that I would look acceptable in the picture that would horrify me every time we traveled for the next ten years.
Luckily we don’t travel that much.
I was about to head out the door when I decided to jot down the address of the Consulate. I recalled it was situated on McLeod Trail, but couldn’t remember exactly where and didn’t want to waste precious minutes looking for the building.
I ran to the computer and pulled up the website, scanning quickly past several paragraphs to find the contact information. Only to be stopped in my tracks by an ominous bold sentence.
‘Effective February 1, 2010, an appointment is required for all non-emergency American Citizen Services.’
Most able-brained individuals would read that sentence and understand its meaning right away. But it was 7.45am and I’d expended all my intelligence recalling my mother’s middle names and her birth place and how many spouses I’ve had in the last ten years.
Which is why I digested the (basic) sentence over a silent little debate with myself. ‘Weren’t we at the Consulate after February, without an appointment? No, that was last November. Ugh!’
‘Wait, does non-emergency mean emergency or not emergency? Not emergency. As in you need an appointment to get your passport renewed.’
Cautiously optimistic, I clicked on the appointment scheduler. Maybe it was my lucky day! Maybe there would be an available slot for 20 May!
But there wasn’t. Not for 20 May. Or 21 May. Or any of the days after that. The first appointment I could get was for 8 June. Which, I think, was nearly three weeks away.
After giving the matter some thought I decided to try and mail in my application. Which meant I’d have to get some passport photos taken.
I needed to go to the Superstore today and remembered that I’d seen a sign for passport photos at the Heritage Drive location. So I quickly showered and combed my hair. And applied makeup (for the first time since the previous Thursday) and put on a nice-ish shirt.
The results weren’t spectacular. I’m pretty sure the concealer I’d applied around my nose to make me look less sinusy would be visible in the photo. But as I said, we don’t travel that much. I could deal with staring at my overly white nose for the next ten years.
I drove to the Westhills location, feeling proud of myself for taking the bull by the horns and getting the blasted pictures done….until I walked into the store and realized the Westhills location doesn’t have a place to take passport photos.
Must just be the Heritage Drive store.