When I first learned about the trip to Honduras at my new church, I was stoked. I’d never been anyplace that required a passport and love traveling just about anywhere. I immediately went online to order a copy of my birth certificate.
Let me back up.
My birth certificate disappeared at some point along the way. Both of my parents have moved multiple times, as have I, and none of us knew where it was exactly. About 5 years ago, Jason and I did a cruise out of Florida to the Bahamas. Since we were traveling by sea only, a passport wasn’t required so we opted to save our money and just bring a birth certificate.
The night before we flew out, I realized my birth certificate was nowhere to be found. There were many tears shed, phone calls made to the cruise line, etc but seeing it was a weekend, I was out of luck.
I brought all the paperwork I could find that would prove who I was and headed to the port. By some miracle, they didn’t even bat an eye when I said I didn’t have a birth certificate to show.
I vowed then to come home and immediately order one.
(Can you see where this is going?)
When the trip to Honduras came up, I ordered one to be sent to me with expedited service. My idea of expedited and theirs is completely different because it took 27 days to get to me. Matter of fact, it showed up on Friday, June 1 just two hours before we pulled away from our TX house.
At that point, it was going to be cutting it close so I opted instead to make an appointment with the passport office. The nearest one to Charlotte is Atlanta and I didn’t have time to make that additional trip so I made an appointment at the Dallas office the day I arrived in Fort Worth for my conference, which ended up being 3 days before we left for Honduras.
I landed at DFW, grabbed a quick lunch with my brother and dad, and then headed to the federal building in downtown Dallas. When you make the reservation, the automated system tells you exactly what to bring. I wrote it down – and brought that sheet with me – but completely forgot to actually DO those things, including the two photos.
It only took 3 tries to get through security – the metal detector kept going off – and this is after flying there just hours before and being fine! By then, I was late to my appointment.
When you head into the office, a security guard checks you in. I told him I didn’t have photos but really needed a passport. He told me to RUN to the first floor snack shop and get them made. So I did. Of course, this was in the middle of the afternoon snack break for all the building employees so I had to be patient and wait my turn.
Photos in hand, I raced back upstairs to the office. By then, it was 2:45 and I notice they close at 3. My appointment was for 2:30.
The lady at the window takes my birth certificate, credit card payment, photos, and proof of travel. Then she asks for my application.
I stared blankly at her, then started apologizing for being a hot mess and not having my act together. These people held my trip to Honduras in their hands and I was going to kill them with kindness.
She sternly informed me that my 15 minute grace period was up and I best hurry.
I ran across the room and filled out the app.
(at this point, the two security guards are quite amused)
Once I fill that out, I move to another window to process the rest and they take a look at my photos. They won’t work, evidently. There is a glare on my glasses and I’m not all the way forward. They tell me to run back down to the snack bar and tell him I need them redone.
I race back down, grab him from the stockroom and beg him to quickly snap new pictures for me. Then race back up.
The office is now closed, but the security guard (still chuckling) unlocks the door and lets me back in.
We finish the paperwork, they are happy with the photos, and they gladly take my $195. Since I wasn’t technically leaving until the 23rd, they tell me it’ll be ready between 2:00-3:00 on Thurs or 9:00-Noon on Friday. Both times are in the big fat middle of the conference I’m leading in downtown Fort Worth but I smiled, thanked them for their patience, and scooted out of there before my meter expired.
Then I did what anyone would do. I called my daddy and begged for his help getting it. He took off work early on Thurs, drove over to Dallas, picked it up for me, and then dropped it by the convention center in Fort Worth on Friday afternoon right before I headed back to the airport. What would we do without dads?
It was after that experience at the passport office that I realized I was no longer spinning the plates in the air but instead, were smashing them into the ground in rapid succession.
But at least I provided afternoon entertainment for the security guards, right?