Why is this so hard?

I thought it would be a fairly simple task. We get to take our granddaughter, Hayley, on an adventure this summer and we are planning to head to Niagara Falls. Since we wanted to head over to the Canadian side and maybe even check out Toronto, we all needed to make sure our passports were in order. We watched the other kiddos over the holidays while Mom and Dad took Hayley to the Post Office to get her Passcard (since we’re only heading into Canada she didn’t need a full passport ($110+) and could get just a Passcard ($40). Passcards are good for Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean Cruises. Just spreading the word.)
This little cutie is ready to go!
Now we just had to get our passports renewed. No biggie, right? Plus we aren’t taking the trip until summer. Plenty of time.
I did my research, filled out and printed the correct forms, found $2 coupons for passport photos at CVS :), and located the Post Office in Huntsville that handles passport stuff. We set out on our day off last week to get ‘er done.
First Stop – CVS for the passport photos.
Sorry, they didn’t have the “passport camera” available and couldn’t help us. Strike One.
But that’s OK – we’ll just head to the post office since it said on the USPS website that this location does photos too. We should be fine.
We get to the office in plenty of time. Said website assured us that the passport desk is open until 4.
Uh-oh – the sign on the desk says it’s only open from 11-2.
No, we’re still fine – it’s only 1:45. Stand at the desk and wait. Finally we ask if there is someone to help with passports.
“Oh, I’m sorry – the passport center is closed. Maybe the other post office is open longer. I’ll check.” She returns a few minutes later, assures us that the “other” post office is open until 3 and they can help us. After getting some sketchy directions to this other PO, we head on our way. Strike Two.
We arrive at this other post office with plenty of time to spare, and wait patiently in line for our turn.
“Hi, we’re here to get passport photos taken and renew our passports.”
“I’m sorry, there’s only one person here who’s certified to do that, and she’s been out sick all week.”
“But someone just called to make sure someone here could help us.”
“Nope – no one here can help.”
Okaaaaayyyyy. Strike Three.
I guess Friday was not the day to do our passport renewal.
We let it rest over the weekend, and today we began the quest once again. This time our only objective was the photo at CVS since we’d decided to do the rest by mail. And this time I called a different store to make sure the passport camera was available. It seemed like we were good to go!
I confess we were a bit surprised when the sales associate just pulled out a little digital camera (special passport camera?), but he seemed to know what he was doing. He took the photos, got our approval (really, I look like that?), printed them out, cut them to the correct size and put them in little folders for us to take. We paid (using our $2 coupons, of course), and headed off to run a couple more errands (and enjoy some great pizza at a local shop we found down the road in Willis!). To top off an afternoon well spent we even filled up the truck for a mere $33.75. (That’s $1.64/gal folks!) It’s all good, folks, all good.
We got home and I pulled out our passport paperwork and went to attach the pictures.
Um, no. That face is too big for the picture,and what happened to the top of his head? Guess that will teach me to actually look at the pictures in the folders before I walk out the store.
Well, we’re getting closer anyway. Mine was OK – though I wasn’t sure I recognized that wrinkly lady with the smirky smile.
But it’s back to CVS for a retake for Gary. Sigh.
Hayley, I PROMISE Pops and I will be ready for our great adventure.


2 thoughts on “Why is this so hard?”

  1. You and Gary have such a great reputation for getting things done that the immigration service wanted to present you guys with additional challenges to getting to Canada.

  2. Let’s see if I have this straight now. To get a passport or passcard, you must get the photo at XYZ shop which only takes new photos on the third Tuesday following the fourth Monday of months that have 29 days. Please bring cash only. No bills larger than a 5 spot. Must be cleanly shaven and have hair combed prior to arriving at photo studio.
    And it goes on and on and on…

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