2 weeks ago, a friend asked me to go on a cruise with him for Spring Break. His, not mine, though I suppose it could be mine too since I'm going and it's spring time. Anyway, we went to Disney World together a few years ago and we found out we're pretty compatible travel companions. We didn't sleep too late or get up too early and wasn't overly stressed about not having plans for every moment, but just general goals for the day and we both had a relaxing and fun time. I have never been on a cruise so it seemed like a good idea. It was cheap and it left from Baltimore, so I didn't have to spend more money on airfare. The flaw? I don't have a passport and the cruise goes to Bermuda.
The hunt for a passport started. I FILLED out the form online and printed it out. Searched high and low for my birth certificate, I got it from my parents years ago for my initial attempt and filed it away somewhere safe. I wondered if this is what Obama feels like when people keep asking for his birth certificate and knowing it's real somewhere. About a day later, it comes to me where I had so skillfully stored the piece of paper and planned a visit to CVS and the post office for the pictures and paperwork submission.
So the timeline goes, my adventures start Friday afternoon about 2PM after finishing work and walking the dogs. First up was CVS. I had to get my headshots. I knew I could do it cheaper if I just did it myself, but I wasn't ever going to and I had a coupon, so I went in and stood in front of the white screen and got it done.
The Post Office that processed passports is not my normal Post Office, it was one that was further away and kind of in the sticks. I guess it's a good reason to draw more customers. I show up around 2:30 and the place is empty. I get there and as I'm getting in line another customer shows up. I tell her to go ahead because I'm there for a passport and it might take a while. My turn comes around and I tell the nice lady behind the counter that I want to submit my passport application and she goes "You have to make an appointment for that. We only do them Monday to Friday, 10 to 4." I look around the EMPTY post office and give her the dumb luck of, because there is so many people here and it might hold up your line??
Off I went hoping that my "appointment" was real and not some trick postal workers like to play on unsuspecting people.
I refill my application out with the "required" parental info and show up about 5 minutes before 4 on Tuesday ready to get this done. Oh, surprise it's a new lady behind the counter and she looks at me when I tell her that I'm here to submit my passport application. Her response? "You have to make an appointment to do that." UGHHH "I did for today at 4PM." GOTCHA!! She still doesn't really believe, but she looks at my paperwork.
I guess that's good enough for her. As she's processing it and telling me the fees, she asks if I had a check or money order. I said no, the website said I could pay by credit card. Well, it's the processing fees you can pay by credit card, not the fees to the State Department. HMMM. I don't have a check, so she offers I can buy a money order. Ok.. Sounds like a good plan, what's another 2 bucks in this process. OHH you can't pay for money orders with a credit card, do you have a debit card? Oh sure in my car. Run run run to my car. (I park in the treeless car-less part of the parking lot for my car's safety, so it's a few extra feet.) She runs the card and it rejects the debit process. hmmmm I had a problem withdrawing money last night from the ATM. Wonder if it's related. The fee is $110. I remember, I went to the casino the night before. I had some cash left over in the car, wonder how much. Run Run Run back to the car. Scrounge through all my hiding spots and loose lottery money, find $109!!! ONE HUNDRED AND NINE DOLLARS!!! I had 2 lottery tickets and a dollar chip left over, but I doubt either of those could be considered legal tender. I go back in and tell her it must not be my day, and tell her I had 109 and not 110. I offered to buy a dollar of stamps and give return it for cash and give them to her, but I think she took pity on me and took my 109 and processed the money order and everything else.
4:30 and I was on my way. So, gambling pays if you know when to walk away, just need to walk about one dollar earlier or kept more money in the car. I happened to have some additional bills when I got home last night, but unfortunately, I left it there.