Monday, November 16, 2009

We're home - oh the saga

I am obviously pretty behind on blogging.  I blame lack of sleep.  Once we left Hawaii, Blaise went from a fair sleeper to ridiculously bad.  I'm not really sure what happened, of course there were a few things working against us...jet lag from an 8 hour flight, 5 hour time difference, Jan left us to go home and I'm a pushover.  Anyway, we're working on it to get him back on a better schedule.

The saga for those of you who haven't heard is that I couldn't find our passports.  I had three of them, my US passport and Blaise's US and German passport.  I know they made their way into my parent's house when we arrived because I saw them on the table.  A few days after we arrived my mom invited some family over to see Blaise and while we were getting ready we must have moved them somewhere-never-to-be-found.  No one has any recollection of having moved them, but the table they were on became the pie table so they must have been cleared off at some point.

Fast forward two weeks later.  I knew I hadn't seen them since we arrived, but I honestly thought they'd turn up while packing.  The night before we left we went out for an early dinner with my Grandma and then headed home to put Blaise to bed and start packing.  Once I was pretty much done packing and hadn't found them yet, panic began to set in.  My parents and I searched the whole house that night except for my parent's room because Blaise was sleeping.  We looked ev-ery-where.  Twice.  And then again.

We finally went to bed to try and get some sleep.  Early the next morning as soon as Blaise woke up we searched their room.  Nothin'.  I kept thinking I was overlooking some key memory, like if I just thought hard enough about it, I'd find the answer.  Nothin'.

I started making phone calls.  The one thing I had going for me was that our flight wasn't until 6:49 that evening, so I had all day to try and weasel out of this.  It was touch and go all day.

Everyone I spoke with at the National Passport Agency and the Chicago Passport Agency was very helpful and sympathic.  The first guy gave me a list of things I needed, forms filled out, birth certificates, passport photos and a notarized consent form from Jan confirming Blaise was allowed a US passport.  Super.  The notarized consent is supposed to ward off kidnappings I'm sure, but it threw us a curveball.  I called Jan and I was freaking out.  He was surprisingly calm (I say surprisingly not because he is one to fly off the handle, but because I was so NOT calm, I guess we compliment each other).  He left work to find a notary.  All I can do is just hope that a fax will be acceptable to the Passport Giver-Outers.

At 9:00 I called the automated Chicago Passport Agency appointment line and was given an appointment for 3 days after my flight.  I called back and asked to speak with a person.  There was luckily one appointment left for the day - at 11:00.  They'd give me a 15 minute grace period.  I had less than 2 hours to get passport photos, receive Jan's fax and get downtown.  It was within the realm of possibility, but it was tight.

My Mom thankfully had my birth certificate and I ended up having Blaise's.  My Dad and I left for the post office for our passport pictures while my Mom waited for the fax from Jan.  (My picture looks like a mug shot!  Blaise's is cute.  Figures.)  The fax wouldn't work so they scanned it and emailed it to me.  I printed and noticed the notary didn't actually sign the form, but an attached letter.  I literally almost lost it.  I called Jan freaking out because we needed to leave for the appointment.  The notary's secretary pulled him out of a meeting and sent me a new one.  We left in the meantime, we had to make the appointment.  We figured if I needed the other copy, I'd be able to find internet somewhere downtown.  As it turned out the attachment was no problem - the scan was.

We head for Chicago and had some traffic issues on the way, but nothing drastic.  We arrive at the appointment right on time.  We "check in" and we're told they won't except a scan, only a fax and they won't give out the fax number so we can have it faxed there.  I'm told to wait until the agent calls my name and he will have the final call.  Scan wasn't accepted.  James G., our agent, gives us the fax number!  I call Jan to fax again.  After much running around he sends the fax and I think we are home free.

What made our case more complicated was that although Blaise is a US citizen, he was born abroad.  I had his social security number, but a German birth certificate.  I didn't think to have Jan fax the proof of citizen born abroad certificate that we got.  They started telling me I'd have to prove we entered the country legally, which I couldn't do without a passport.  That meant, I'd have to get some other agency to print out the fact that we did indeed legally arrive in the US on Sept 24.  Which meant, see you again on Monday - three days later.  I tried to stay calm, and basically just talked it through with the agent and somehow they were confused enough to just drop it.  Thank God!

By about 1:30ish we were finished with the paper work and James G. personally took our applications down to be printed.  We got them just before 3:00 and headed out of there, but not before filling out a glowing "how well did we serve you today" form for James G.

We left in plenty of time to make our flight.  It was a loooooooooong day and made even more miserable because with all the searching, telephoning and freaking out I was doing in the morning, I didn't have time for a shower.  Read with sarcasim:  It was a comfortable 8 hour flight - maybe that's why they had the air-conditioning so cold in there...

A huge thanks to my parents who were a huge help during this whole fiasco.  Another story to add to the repertoire (did I spell that right?), as if they needed one...


APMom said...

Holy Moly! What an adventure you had! I'm so glad to hear that everything eventually worked out, but am sorry that you had to go through all of it!

Jen said...

Yikes. Talk about stressful! I'm glad it all worked out....way to be persistent. I'm sure Jan was so happy to have you home.