Friday, July 13, 2007

Passport fiasco

Never get a passport. Or if you do, apply for one, like a year early. Or two years. Patrick tried to warn me of the governments' ineptitude about paperwork. We applied for our passports OVER 4 months ago and when they still had not arrived in late June, I started freaking. We are to fly to Italy on July 14th for our friend Denny's wedding. We have had our tickets booked forever and the hotels - so no worries, right? Wrong. It seems like everyone and their Grandmom was in our situation though.

So like I said, when they didn't come in June I called the passport information center to find out what to do. They told me to call back when I was within 14 days of travel (this was told to me after 45 minuted on hold). I was 16 days out as I called on June 29th. So I waited til the following Monday, called bright and early, and was only on hold for 25 minutes this time. The guy told me he would put a request in to expedite them and they should arrive to me no later than wednesday, July 11th. He put lots of hope in my head but at the end of the conversation he added, "Of course we cannot guarantee they will be done by then so you should make an "appointment" at the local regional office." Ok - he was being political and had to say that, I made an "appointment" but he was so nice and reassuring that I knew they were going to come. Wrong again.

I called again on the next Monday, making sure they were processed and about to be sent out (overnight mail) to receive them on Wednesday. Turns out they weren't even done. Not close. So they put another rush on them. I called tuesday, and after 40 minutes on hold, the computers were down. I called again and they said they were in the final stages, just had to be printed then shipped. Cool. I call 1st thing wednesday. Mine is done and is being printed. Patrick's is still not done but should be within the next few hours so they will both get printed and shipped overnight so we will have them by thursday. I call later that afternoon (now mind you, each time I call it is at least 45 minutes on hold and 5 times the computers were down and I had to call back later) and mine is printed but was not shipped. Patrick's is still not done. I call late that night (like 10pm) and have them overnight both to Patrick's parents house so we might receive them on friday. I call Thursday - Patrick's is still not done, and mine did get OHIO not PA where we are going to be.

So after all those minutes wasted on the phone, we still just ended up at the regional office in Philly. Our "appointment" was at 9:30 so we left extra early to miss traffic and so we could have a nice breakfast in the city. I keep putting air quotes around appointment because we arrive way early and there is a line around the block and onto the next block already formed. We were warned of lines 5 blocks long, but since we had an apointment I thought we were fine. Wrong again*3. The appoinment was just a way to get you there, then you had to stand in this god awful line. We got there at 8:15 and didn't get into the building until noon. And we were semi-close to the front. I took pics to document the horridity of it all.

We did stand next to very nice people which helped the time fly by. And it was gorgeous weather and we did not have the kids (like some poor fools there). You could hear everyone say - "But I had an appointment". Yeah lady, end of the line please! My back hurt from standing so long but otherwise it was actually a strangely, weird in a good way, experience. Once we were in they told us that both of ours were already processed (Patrick's had just gotten done that morning at the head office in New Hampshire) so they just needed to reprint them. We were only inside for about 20 minutes or so and they told us to come back at 3:30pm. We saw the "come-back" line with thier times and people again were all over the place. Your time meant nothing except you couldn't get in earlier than your time. During the break, I got a pedicure, Patrick did a crossword and we got lunch. It is a beautiful section of Philly so it was cool. Then back in line at 2:30 (hoping we would make it to the front near 3:30). Well, we finally walked out of there, passports in hand, at 5:00pm. 9 HOURS!!!!!! Insane, but screw them - We are off to Italy tomorrow :-)

Lesson learned: Apply way early for passports. If it is about to expire, apply for renewal way early. Apply for your kids passports now, even if you have no plans. You do not want to go through this!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Messy Art Party

So today we had our 2nd annual messy art party. I couldn't make it last year so we were excited to be part this year...although we thought it might get canceled due to bad weather. But the weather held out and was actually a great day! It was at Ashli's house and the kids got to use pink or blue paint to put their handprint on a shirt. Everyone had a blast (even little Evie) but Gavin was too sissy pants to get his hands dirty (am I mean or what?) Honestly, this boy gets so upset when he gets dirty. Very anal and type A - definitely not from me!!!! So his best bud Nathan stepped up (like a good friend does) and made TWO handprints so Gavin could pretend one was his. How cute? Here are some pics (you'll notice Gavin has his shirt off in case he came too close to anyone with paint...)

Sick, sick, sick...

So there is this Dr. Seuss book that we read to Gavin every night that has the ABC's in it. For the letter "S", Silly Sammy Slick sips six sodas and gets sick, sick, sick. It's one of Gavin's favorite versus because it is easy to say (well, the sick, sick, sick part is for him). Well, yesterday - I woke up in the morning running to the bathroom! I don't know what is was - maybe some type of flu, but I was ILL! Our friends had it, and I think Evie had a touch of it, so I am just glad it happened before we left for Italy...although I had to cancel my hair appointment. Anyway, I swear kids can tell when you are not feeling well, and Gavin was super snuggly to me and asked, "Is mommy sick, sick, sick?" How cute!?!? I think once he saw me throw up he knew the answer was yes!!! He sais, "Mommy threw up and made a mess". Yes, son, very observant.

So until about 5 o'clock, I just laid around on the couch and put every movie we had on, threw all the toys on the floor and let the kids go at it. Not mother of the year! But once I started feeling better, I cleaned up (a little) and took them outside for about 20 minutes then bath and early bed! I slept 4 hours during the day (during the 2 two-hour naps Evie took) and went to bed myself at 9. But I feel much better today! I just hope Patrick doesn't get it!!!!

We still don't have our passports. I call twice a day (20-30 minute hold times each) and they just say they are in the process of them. They were supposed to be mailed yesterday to be delivered today but not as of last night! So Patrick switched his call shifts so he is working tonight instead of Thursday and we will head back to PA tomorrow so we can go to the regional Passport office there to get it. We'll see. I am still hoping they get it done today and ship it overnight to us and we get it tomorrow before we leave. Wishful thinking!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Turning one day into three...

How to make one day with daddy seem like a whole weekend (since he was on-call for 2 of the 3 days):

1. Go out to breakfast the second he walks in the door.
2. Make our weekly trip to Lowe's.
3. Help him work on the deck.
4. Let him shave Gavin's hair.
5. Have him watch Gavin play on the slip-n-slide.
6. Show him how Evelyn can "walk" (grab onto) one toy then to the couch.
7. Watch him change the oil in his car.
8. Make a really good filet mignon dinner and eat nicely as a family.
9. Put the kids to bed early so mommy and daddy can chill and watch a movie (almost like a date)!