A Tale Told by a Bureaucrat, Full of Sound and Fury…

Word of advice: if you can structure your life in such a way that you never have to try to get passports for a family of six, do so.

Stuff that went wrong:

  • First Visit:
    • We didn’t have a checkbook along. (I thought you could pay for everything with credit cards these days. Or, for heaven’s sake, at least cash. What does “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private” mean, anyway?)
    • I took time off work based on the hours posted for the City Clerk’s office on the State Department’s website. They were, of course, wrong.
    • I did the photos on a camera at home, and in spite of doing my darndest to follow the instructions, they didn’t pass muster. (My headshots were, evidently, too close and detailed.)
    • The previous fact was, of course, only discovered after Kathy left the City Clerk’s office to go get our checkbook. And encountered a train on the way. Which was not moving. For 30 minutes.
  • Second Visit:
    • We went to Walgreen’s to have the photos done by a professional. They pulled out a handheld digital camera, took the photos, and then printed them on the dang photo printing machine that’s open to the public! Well, I could have done that, you muttonheads!
    • At the City Clerk’s office again, we discovered that we didn’t have the kids’ social security numbers. (I was sure I had written them on the forms, which must have had a visit from the White-Out Fairy or something.)
    • When I got back from retrieving that information from the house, the lady at the City Clerk’s office took my driver’s license for ID purposes (again), and then informed me that she couldn’t use it because it expired back in March. I made a lucid, if slightly loud, defense of the idea that I am, regardless of when the license expired, still the same person I was two months ago. We eventually decided that the license, combined with my University photo ID, combined with my old passport was enough to verify my identity.

All of this, of course, was preceeded by Emily’s official adoption, which we were trying to get completed before submitting the passport applications. This too was a comedy of errors, which included the firing of a lawyer, the last-minute hiring of another lawyer, confusion about homestudies and their necessity, a trip to the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Austin to get an updated birth certificate (which, of course, they couldn’t do, since Emily wasn’t born in Texas), and much more.

Anyway, I’m frightfully glad to have this hurdle cleared at last.