Passport Woes – To Paris or not To Paris?

Passport Woes – To Paris or not To Paris?

My great-aunt passed away about 8 years ago.  As a celebration of her life, the women in our family went to San Francisco for a long weekend with the money that she left behind.  It was not enough to do much with individually, but was just enough for four of us to get plane tickets and a hotel for three days.  There was also a little spending money left over that we each said “Sis, would have wanted us to have…” as we bought souvenirs.   Souvenirs such as dragon kites from China Town and large bunches of raw garlic from the Fisherman’s Wharf Farmer’s Market.   It was a lot of fun and a great bonding, family experience.

My Granny – Sis’s sister (Now that’s a tongue twister!) – passed away this past summer.  It was such a wonderful experience to have a celebration weekend to relate to Sis’s passing that we are going to do it again for Granny.   This time there is a bit more money left – enough for us to take the four of us (plus my cousin’s daughter) to Paris for 5 days.  We could do a smaller jaunt within the States, but this is my mom and my aunt’s mother and it just seems like “Granny, would want us to…” go to Paris.

Only one problem.  My passport expired in 2007.   Fine, just renew right?  Well, I have procrastinated for a bit now and it has finally come down to the wire on whether we can buy tickets or not.  It is all riding on me getting my passport application submitted.  Yikes!

I printed the application off on-line and found the nearest passport acceptance place near me that takes passport pictures as well.  I had read the rules, had the applications, had the lost passport report complete (figuring it was easier to say I lost it than try to find it in the chaos of my office since our move), and had taken pictures of myself against a white wall that met the criteria (no shadows, white background, head measures 1″ to 1 3/8″ from top to chin, etc.)  In I trotted to the office.

Two minutes later, I trotted right back out again.  NOPE.

Regardless if you have already had a passport, you have to produce the old one or a certified birth certificate in order to get a new one.  My social security card and driver’s license were not acceptable proof of citizenship.  My tax returns apparently are not either.  Nope, certified birth certificate or expired passport.   So, this morning I rooted through boxes and tore through old tax returns and other random assortment of *important* things (passing plenty of McDonald’s toys, photos, and hair ties in the process) and found my passport.

So, we are stopping on my way home from work AGAIN and hopefully I will get it submitted and back in time.   But there are a few things I learned along the way that I want to share with you:

  1. I have become a person that allows their passport to expire.  That vision I had of myself ready to jet across the globe on a moment’s notice?  Out the window and substituted with a vision of me flying out the door late to drop the kids off at school.
  2. The last time I used my passport was 8 years ago.  That bucket list of continents and countries I intended to visit, one per year at the minimum?  Gone.  Now it’s a quest to visit each SuperTarget in a ten mile radius from my house.
  3. Passports are expensive!  A passport application is $110 plus $25 application fee plus $10 photo fee.  That is without expediting the processing.  That will be an additional $60 for you lazy bums, please.
  4. You now have a choice between a passport book (traditional) or a passport card.  The card only gets you into Canada and Mexico and still costs all the other fees, but is $30 for the card itself ($80 savings).  But heck, I am going to assume I will go out of the country again in the next 10 years and just suck it up and get the book.  And NO MORE letting it expire!  It’s too rough on my self esteem.

What about you?  And international trips in your future?  Any great memorial traditions you have when someone in your family dies?

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