Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quadruple Eek

Well, Skip's and my passport renewal applications went into a Fed Ex envelope at 9:45 this morning, and are now on their way to Gatineau Quebec. They should be arriving in under 24 hours.

They are also going on Every Last Prayer Chain I Know.


Because renewals (especially from the United States), can take approximately... SEVEN weeks to process.

Our tickets to France (via Amsterdam. boo yeah)...?

Seven weeks and ONE DAY from now.

Colour me anxious.

I spent much of yesterday on the phone. Is there a way to expedite the passports by paying extra? Why no, that would be bribery.

Is there a way to get a passport at a Canadian Consulate in the USA? Nope. All Canadian consulates suspended passport-issuing operations as of 9-11. Thank you SO much, Bin Laden. You're really cramping my holiday, here.

What does the High Commissioner say about my dilemma?

"Thankyou for calling the Canadian High Commission for San Francisco. You have reached bla-dee-bla-blah, deputy undersecretary to the assistant hoity-toity. Please leave a message after the tone.... BEEEP"

What does the Emergency Toll Free Direct Line for Canadians Abroad say?

"Wow, you're in a bind, eh. You know that Canadians living in the US really get the brunt of the ignoring when it comes to passport issues. It's like you're the red-headed step-child or something. You're pretty much out of luck, eh? I'd suggest flying to Canada and applying in person. But the wait at the Vancouver office is about a week and a half, and they won't mail something internationally, because that sounds suspicious..."

But Ken was talking to folks at work, many of whom are Canadian, and several of whom just renewed passports. While our mileage may vary, their turn-around time was 3-4 weeks.

Let's all pray, shall we?

The one bad thing about being in Passport Purgatory?

Everyone and their dog HAS A PASSPORT HORROR STORY.

It's like when you say you're pregnant, and then everyone goes into gory detail about their friend that got pregnant, and then had to be attached to an IV for her whole pregnancy so she wouldn't lose the baby, and then she got varicose veins that HUNG OUT HER VAGINA, and then when she went into labour, it was four days of back-to-back contractions, ALL OF IT was back labour, and then she pushed for EIGHTY-SEVEN HOURS, and the vacuum extractor broke off inside her, and the baby's head was the biggest the doctor had ever seen, and they had to use high forceps, and the epidural never worked, and the baby weighed TWELVE AND A HALF POUNDS.

Yeah, whatever.

*waves it away*

But, because I'm all anxious and stuff, I have a really sparkly-clean shower.

I wish I could clean when I'm *not* anxious. It'd be so much better for EVERYONE involved.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Triple Eek

Thanks to the diligence of one of my beloved readers (Kisses to Mrs. Abominable!), I am now busting a move to get passport renewals in for Skip and myself. I was sick when I went to the (obviously up to date) web site, and realized that the site that I was getting all my info from was valid until LAST December, and not THIS December. Of course, if I had just nagged Ken more back in December (when I'd said "Eek! I have to renew my passport!" and he'd said "oh, it's valid until May. Don't worry about it") I would already have my shiny new passport in my hand, and I wouldn't be suffering from the Ninja Squirts. Yes, you have to love stress, and the wondrous ways it affects my digestive tract.

But, as is my wont (and has been since the college days), when the stress level rises, and there is something that Definitely Needs To Be Done Yesterday, my system goes into Tilt Mode, and I do stuff like re-arrange my cupboards, and wash my floors. So now I have bright shiny clean floors that you could eat off of, but I still haven't found my birth certificate, which needs to be sent off as part of the Passport Renewal.

  • Nothing like a little car crash to shut down the Civilized World.

    A tanker overturned on the 101 this afternoon, and the entire Bay Area went into gridlock. Or so it seemed. I was taking the kids home from Kung Fu, and the main drag was a parking lot. What the...? Of course, I passed the point of no return (should I pull out onto El Camino? Should I turn around, and take the back way through the hills to get home? Oh, thanks for letting me into the gridlock!) when I finally heard on the radio what was the cause of the hold-up. And then it took me 20 minutes to go a mile to the nearest place that I could get off the main drag.

    Where I promptly pulled into a Walgreens, and had passport photos taken of Skip and I.

    yes, I am on the ball.

    I have the passport paperwork spread all across the kitchen table.

    Really, I should go find my birth certificate. I wish I knew what Ken did with it when we renewed our passports 5 years ago... but he's stuck in traffic, trying to get home from work, along with a hundred and eleven thousand and two of his closest friends.

    Can I just forget about going to France, and just knit something? This is just too much stress for my little brain.

    And Kelly's teacher just emailed me about sewing costumes for 21 class puppets... a job that I said, back in September, would be a piece of cake. And when does she need these costumes? Why on March 24th... when we'll be in France.... (if I ever find my birth certificate, and get my passport renewed.. and if our travel agent can even find us five tickets on the same flight there and back. Eek. Too. Much. Stress)

    Oh, and because everything can't go smoothly...

    I got a midterm printout from Skip's school.

    The school doesn't send out midterm printouts... unless YOUR CHILD IS FAILING A CLASS...

    Yes. Goodbye Honor Roll of the First Trimester.

    Hello, life of juvenile delinquency and crime.

    I immediately freaked out all over him. It wasn't pretty. And then I emailed the teacher to find out what was up with that.

    Turns out that in this class.... (an elective, so fortunately it's half over, and cross your fingers so he doesn't have to take it again!)... 70.9% gets you a C-minus.

    Hmm. Back in the day (you know, when we walked uphill in the snow to school, and then uphill through the mud and hurricanes home every day... and you had to write your own textbooks, because nobody knew anything), if I got a 70% grade, I'd be bringing home a nice shiny B for that effort. The C-minus grade was reserved for the kids that really had failed the class, but the teacher didn't want to see them again, so gave them the booby-prize mark that said "Really, you know nothing, but I'm passing you so you'll be someone else's problem".

    I guess that's inflation for you.

    When I found out that little tidbit, I told Skip that I'd be happy if he just made it through this class ALIVE. The 70.9% mark is a result of not handing in 3 of 17 homework assignments, two of which he was absent for. And here I had nightmares that he was mouthing off in class, or lighting fire to his notebook, or thumbing his nose at authority and not handing in ANY of his work.


    But now, if you'll excuse me, I have to save this, and then run around the house with my hands waving in the air, screaming "I'll never get to France, I'll never get to France"

    And then get up in 5 hours to get Skip ready so Ken can take him to Early Period, so he can rehearse for the Jazz Festival this weekend.
  • Monday, January 28, 2008

    Double Eek

    OK, now I'm freaking out because we're going to France in March, and my passport expires in May, and almost EVERYWHERE in the world expects you to have a passport that still has six good months left on it if you travel to their country.  Well, except for France (so I've read), where, if you're Canadian, you can travel around there right up until the bitter end of the very last day of non-expiry.  At least, I hope that web site was correct, when I read it...

    I haven't laughed so hard in a Long, Long Time.

    This may be one of the top funniest tattoo stories ever.

    Yesterday, in a fit of madness, I told Kelly I'd teach her how to sew, and we'd make her pants.  With stretchy fabric!

    What was I thinking?

    Oh yeah...

    I was thinking "how cuuuuuuuuuute!"

    Felting, O felting, how addicting you are.

    I should be doing a dozen other things, but instead...



    Nope.  Still too much stitch definition.  I just ran it through the wash/dryer once more, and now I'm blocking it over one of my grapefruit bowls.

    A little shake-up this morning while we were having breakfast.  All of a sudden it sounded like the house was being attacked.

    Oh, wait.  It's just hail.

    (picture taken way after the fact, after the worst of the hail had stopped, and I felt safe venturing out to the car to get the camera)

    I'm so glad Ken and I went up on the roof yesterday and cleaned out the eaves... again.  The weight of hail would've brought them down, for sure.  As it is, I've gotta go up AGAIN, and fix the downspouts, which were wrenched off the side of the house in last night's wind storm.

    I wish the kids would be self-motivating.  Sheesh.  Schlumping around the house moaning "I'm hunnnnnngry..." and "I don't wannnnnnna" isn't gonna get your homework done in time to leave for Kung Fu.  And by the way, do you WANT to get your next belt?  Because the Sihing says you're up for it, but if you're going to whine and mope, I'm going to suggest they wait until your next birthday... which is nearly a year away.

    I was ahead of the laundry game on Friday, but somehow, over the weekend, I fell way behind again.  How does that happen?  And this is even taking into account the boxes of stuff that I sent off to the Cerebral Palsy folks who came to collect donations today.

    Ken was up on the roof with me yesterday, cleaning the eaves, and he was wearing his favourite sweater, which, after he got it completely mudded up with eaves-compost, we realized that in the 19 years that I've known the sweater, I've never washed it once.  Ouch.  I started washing it last night.

    Four sink-fulls of dirty rinse-water.  Ouchies.  Then three washes with Eucalan wool-wash.  And that was just YESTERDAY's work.  This morning, I washed it again, and rinsed it three times, then ran it through the tumble dry with no heat and 3 dry towels to take the wet away faster (Oh, the smell of wet dog was strong in the sweater).

    Now I'm just thinking that I may have shrunk the thing (just at the waist-ribbing) a bit.  But the thing is so full of moth holes, I'm surprised it didn't fall apart in the sink.

    I can tell the thing is machine-knit, but there's this part of me that looks at the pattern and thinks "Hmm, could I *make* this?"  Maybe for Next Christmas.

    *puts it on the back burner*

    When we got Homer in September, I went to great pains to make sure that the elementary school had our most up-to-date insurance on file as soon as we got the new insurance paperwork.  I went in, and personally added the photocopies of insurance and updated license (remembering that I LOST the stupid thing in the fall) to the personnel files in the PTA boxes in the office.

    Imagine my surprise when I went looking for those papers on Friday so I could make copies for the Middle School (Ken will be driving the Jazz Band to a Jazz Festival up in The City on Saturday), and the only paperwork I could find for us included an EXPIRED license, and the paperwork for The Pilot... from two thousand AND FIVE.

    So this morning, as well as screwing up the nerve to call a Travel Agent about getting us to France, I also was sifting through piles and piles and PILES of "important stuff - do not toss away", looking for our Most Recent Homer Insurance, so I can not only drive on Saturday, but also drive on Friday for Kelly's class field trip.

    I hate that I'm so disorganized.

    Will I ever get any better at this?

    Nate is now quite agitated that he can't find a book that will tell him how many legs a sea cucumber has.Gracious, what are they teaching him in school?

    Duty calls.

    Fly, Birdie, Fly!

    Eek.  We're going here?

    Yes, it looks like we are.  Or we will be, once my travel agent gets back to me.