It sounded like a good idea at the time. Let's go back to Florida. We had all our passport application papers filled out and ready to go, when Mog got ill again last week. Since we were in town anyway last Friday (getting Mog to her doctor's appointment), I decided we could use the Post Office check and send service rather than trying to sort out another lengthy journey to the passport office. Just as well, since the post office rejected one of the applications. Was it mine? A simple matter of filling out a new form correctly? Nope, too easy. Little Fish's; slightly more complicated but still only needing my signature and someone "in good standing in the community" to countersign the photograph? No, that, although slightly annoying, would also have been too easy. Instead, it was Mog's application which was turned down. Mog's, which requires information from four separate individuals, which requires a special attached letter excusing her from meeting standards for the passport photo, Mog's, the one I was expecting to take the longest to sort out anyway.
Infuriating, but so pleased we checked at the local post office rather than trogging off to the passport office, which would have been an all day trip.
Came home and tried to work out what to do. When we go in April, Mog's passport will have less than 90 days left to run. According to the US Embassy, this will not be a problem. OK, problem sorted, we'll just travel with her current passport and renew it when we get home. Except, although that's clearly what the US Embassy states, it isn't "received understanding" amongst people who advise us about travel. I'm inclined to believe the Embassy website over other people, but still a minor concern.
Problem number two with Mog's passport. The photographs aren't wonderful, but they are only wrong in one particular way. Everything else about them is right. That's probably as good as we are going to get. But they will only be valid for a month. Which means either I renew her passport some time in the next 4 weeks, or I start the whole thing again when we get back.
I'll almost certainly start again when we get home. But that means that there will be a period of time when Mog has no passport. Since Little Fish moved in 12 months ago, we have been wanting to take a day trip to France with my parents. We've also been trying to get up to the north of Scotland, to visit family up there - and realistically, flying is the only way to do this with the girls. Passports needed as identity documents for them. And then we're planning a family holiday in Italy in the summer too. So there isn't going to be an ideal time for Mog not to have a passport. Little Fish wants to visit her cousin.
This will be sorted. We will have a lovely time. There are reasons why we wanted to go back to Florida, and I know we'll have a wonderfully relaxing holiday once we get there. We've even managed to book a less stressful flight this time, and we aren't flying out just a few short weeks after a major terrorist-related incident (or we aren't yet; there's always time for one to occur I suppose but please no!). We are all booked to sit together on the plane (an issue last time), the girls are small enough to be carried off the plane so we won't have to wait for the heavy squad (an issue last time which almost caused us to miss our connecting flight), we have an apartment booked with a full kitchen, and we have a longer holiday, so more time to kick back and relax.
I have been fretting about the passports we sent off via check and send. The reason we wanted to go to the passport office was that the passports were guaranteed to be returned in seven days. Check and send takes two weeks, not guaranteed. I needn't have worried; the passports arrived today. We made it to the post office at 5.3o last Friday. That's impressively fast.
Which means that as of now, I have 3 valid passports. 3 return tickets and the promise of nice accomodation when we get there. A helpful airline. Insurance. Half the medical notes we need and I know the other half will be easily obtainable. Everything is sorted, everything is in hand.
So why am I so worried about it all?