Ok, so you know how some preachers get up to preach and they say "this message is for me".? Well this blog post is for me! (And anyone else interested in renewing their passport...)
Rewind about 6 months ago- we were getting ready to leave Croatia for furlough and I had long since noticed all my passport pages were almost filled with stamps. I kept telling myself to go get more pages, but I counted where the border patrol people could possibly squeeze a stamp if they had to and I had about 7 spots left (if they looked real hard) and so I did what I do best...I procrastinated. We leave Croatia and I make it through all the checkpoints and acquire a few more of those lovely stamps all the while telling myself I need more pages! Well of course now I am safely in America and have a whole year before I plan on leaving the country again and I have several months until I need new pages to obtain my new visa sticker so I waited.
2 months of living it up in Wal-mart and Chili's and those pages are nagging thought. Oh, but with Christmas coming and all the traveling...I will wait a few more weeks. I got time.
So Christmas comes and goes and a few days following we head to Orlando for vacation till jan 3 and you know offices and such are closed for the holidays so as soon as I get back its going in the mail! Without fail I am mailing my passport the day I get back from vacation.
Screeeeeeeeeech! Hold up, what do you mean my BFF of 21 years is about to die? (Another post I am working on for another day). So off I fly to NJ to say my final goodbyes and that passport I was supposed to take care of months ago is still neglected and I am starting to run out of time. As soon as I get back from NJ that passport HAS to go in the mail. Well no excuses just severe depression and a move from the east coast to Texas has got my brain sort of on cruise control. Ya know where you wake up and brush your teeth and eat because that's your routine, but clearly your mind is in lala land? Yep- guilty.
Ok so now it's February. I'm in Texas. I'm better (for the most part) and I get my act together (or so I thought!) and get busy on my passport. Well for like $20 extra I can get a whole new passport because my present one, I, not only look like a dude with half his eyebrows, I also look like a truck hit me head-on. Totally not kidding.
I fill out the paperwork to renew( even though its not expired), I get the 2 pictures required, I get the money order and input everything in a large envelope and mail it. Now, let me pause to point out some major wrongs... besides my ultra bad characteristic flaw of procrastination...
1. Never try to renew your passport while forgetting to enclose your current one. This leads to MAJOR delays! Current processing times 3-4 weeks. Not so if you DO NOT include your current undamaged all filled-up one. :/
2. Never try to renew your passport when you are in a time crunch WITHOUT expediting the service. Current processing time 3-4. That's plenty of time, right?! Please see #1. Now please see #3.
3. Never try to renew your passport during the months of Feb. and March. Wanna know why? First time spring breakers headed to Mexico in the coming months are applying for a passport now too! Current processing time is now 4-6 weeks ( before you factor in the mess you've created seen in #1 & #2!!)
4. Never rely on the online system to give you your updated status! For 3 weeks my application info could not be found. Then one day I checked and it was processing and entering the final stages. After 5 or 6 days, I check status again. Guess what? My application info can not be found!! What?!
Are you kidding me? So I call someone. Sit on hold for like EVER... Then I'm told if I was in the system and now I am not its because my passport is "in transit". Apparently not the case after all.
5. Never try to renew your passport while on furlough and have a pressing issue with your visa application ESPECIALLY with #'s 1,2 AND 3 against you as well!!!!!!
Alas the passport saga is over(almost). It finally came (in about 7-8 weeks). It is safely on its way to Croatia to have another year of approval stamped inside (yay!). It has caused some serious frustration, plenty of tears and I couldn't tell you how many heated arguments with me and the Mr.
Oh and the new picture that replaced the hideous dude-looks-like-a-lady one? Yeah, well now it's here comes honey boo-boo's mama!!
The one good thing that came out of all this?? Hmmmm... I'll have to think about that! :)