Nail Biting & Crying Have CommencedMigraine.
This passport thing is turning out to be a quest for the holy grail sort of thing, only without the Dan Brown clever twists.
At every turn, I am thwarted.
I had to call the National Passport Information Center 30 times yesterday before I got through to make an appointment (through the AUTOMATED system). Guess what? There are no appointments available in Chicago for Friday (the day before we leave and our only option).
At wit's end and with no other options available to me, I broke down and called the office of our Representative in the US House, Tammy Baldwin (D) - WI. I left my name, the nature of the problem, three stinking phone numbers, and guess what? I have heard nothing back. In 30 minutes I'm calling our Senator. What else can I do?
The State Department can't offer me any assurance that the passport will arrive in time. They have instructed me to get an appointment at one of the regional offices for an expedited passport. Chicago is the closest regional center, but they don't have any appointments available. And, they won't see you if you don't have an appointment.
I don't know what else to do except cry.
I've tried following the rules. I've been proactive and timely with both my applications and in requesting/reminding the State Department of the rapidly approaching departure. I've been patient and understanding with the few staff members that I've actually spoken to (I may blog my frustrations, but I know better than to take them out on civil servants). I've tried to make Plan B arrangements, but even that is impossible. I've even called our Congresswoman.
So now, I'm just going to cry.
I've exhausted all of my other options, so crying is all I have left.
I wanted to take a family vacation and that now appears to be scratched. I have no idea if JetBlue will be good to us if we cancel the trip. Maybe if I cry for them? I don't know. My husband says that I'm going with or without him, but it isn't much of a family vacation if 1/3 of your family is missing. He's going to have to force me onto that plane if he's not going.
I totally did not need this drama.
UPDATE: Tammy Baldwin's office is working on this for me. Not the DC office (which is who I called last night at 9 PM), but her Madison office. They've managed to finesse a number of these sticky State Dept. issues, so the DC guy told me all is not yet lost.
But then, this whole thing has been a non-stop cycle of hope quickly followed by the rug being pulled out, then more hope, then more rug action. I've got whiplash. And a sore ass.
FURTHER UPDATE: Okay, not so much an update as a personal revelation/decision. Screw this crap. Our next family vacation is San Antonio: the weather is good, the food is great, and most importantly - no passport required!