A few weeks ago, I told you all about the planned family cruise for next June. Next year. June. 2010. So, it may come as a surprise to you, but certainly not to me, that Dad needed to apply for his passport while here on vacation. This year. August. 2009. He had no sooner gotten off the plane, when he announced that he had brought his birth certificate, "the one with the raised seal," so that he could get his passport while here.
Nearly everyday, he reminded me that he needed to get his passport. He's heard that there is a backlog and that it could take a long time for passports. He wanted to be prepared for the cruise. June. 2010. So, yesterday was the day. Now, I've known my Dad all of my life, so I did my homework. I found a nearby Court House that took passport applications. I called and inquired about the wait. I was told that there is usually no wait after lunch.
So, we get there, park and go inside. Dad looked at the building and announced that it "looked like there was a jail in there." I'm not sure what buildings with jails look like, but he was certain. We go inside. Because it's a court building, we had to go through security. He forgot to take his phone out of his pocket. The officer with the wand found it. He had to go back and put it in the basket to run through the machine. He wasn't pleased--he ONLY wanted a passport.
We found the office, and sure enough, there was nobody there. I filled out his application, and we went up to the window. Wait--I forgot to say that he didn't have his pictures, but that they offer picture service. Anyhow, we go up to the window. The charges are posted on the glass--$75 for the passport, by check or money order. Then $25 for the processing, in cash or credit card. Dad didn't have his checkbook, I wrote the check from my checkbook. The woman then requested $35 for the processing AND picture. Dad kept telling me that she was cheating because the sign said $25. I explained that the extra $10 was for his picture. He still thinks she's cheating. They took his picture. They showed him the pictures. They had 2. Now, she DEFINITELY was cheating. She took TWO pictures. I advised that they would put one picture in the passport and keep one with the application.
So, all that's left is his signature. He had to sign in the clerk's presence. He did. But then, she bundled his birth certificate ("the one with the raised seal") up with the application, to send on to the Dept of State. He asked for it back. The nice lady told him that he would get it back with his passport in a couple weeks. He wanted it back now. She was confused. I stepped in and repeated that he would get it back in the same envelope with his new passport. He was clearly disturbed, but let it go. And he announced that he did NOT want to go through the metal detector on the way out. He didn't have to. It was over.
However, an hour later, sitting in Olive Garden, he told me that he HOPED he would get his birth certificate back, the one with the raised seal. I love Dad. He's a hoot.