Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Sometimes One Can be TOO Efficient (Or Why Beauracracy is Not Good For My Marriage)

So the kids need new passports. Apparently children's passports are only valid for 5 years and cannot simply be renewed, you have to re-apply. And now BOTH parents must appear to apply for the passport (I'm sure to prevent international parental kidnappings). So today we had planned on going to the County Clerk's office to turn in their applications.

First, of course, you need pictures. Now, to understand this entire story you must first understand Hubby and I. We are the living example of the phrase "Opposites attract." Hubby is borderline OCD perfectionist. Every strand of hair must be in place, every thing must be perfect. Me? If their faces are clean, I'm happy. I had taken the kids earlier in the week to get their photos done, but, OF COURSE, they weren't good enough. So he took them and got them done again. Fine - his time and money spent, not mine.

With the passport application you must also submit previous passports and, for children, birth certificates. I had pulled all the necessary paperwork out last weekend and put it aside to have at the ready. But this morning it was gone. I mean, "frantically-sobbing-it's-not-anywhere-in-the-house" gone. After all four of us searching for 40 minutes, I was having visions of another 8 weeks being added to our time here in the States (without Hubby) while I waited for new birth certificates, but Oh Yeah! BOTH parents have to appear to apply. Kinda hard to do when you are in Qatar. I'm telling you, I was crazed. Then Hubby, as a last resort, looked in his briefcase.

And there they were.

He is lucky to still be breathing this New Year's Eve.

Of course, he insisted initially that he didn't know how they had gotten there. Then he said that he must have seen them laying around and put them there for safe-keeping. Uh-huh.

Off we go to submit the applications and necessary paperwork. First the clerk tells us that the pictures are not acceptable because there were shadows behind their heads. Hubby opts to take the kids and get new pictures taken while I finish filling out forms. That should have taken about 20 minutes. Unless you are my husband.

One hour later they return. He had taken them home to change their clothes and do their hair, then argued with the manager at the photo place while I was twittling my thumbs at the courthouse. Needless to say, by this point my nerves were just a little frayed.

Finally we have everything in order and we try again. When the clerk took their birth certificates and stapled them to the application, my chest tightened (we need to show the birth certificates to get visas to Qatar). I asked her to make copies and she said that was illegal, which, technically it does say in the small print on the bottom. I started crying right then and there in front of the clerk and everybody. Now images of them losing their birth certificates, or of delaying our visas an extra 6 weeks are running through my head. Finally I pull it together and we finish up.

Getting through all the red tape just about pushed me over the edge. I'm telling you - the government is out to get me. I think I'm going to go put on a foil hat to block the signals they are trying to send me from outer space.


Mylinda said...

I'm surprised I didn't see you at the govt. center today! Nicky and I didn't get our tag stickers yet, which expire today, and which I had sent the payment in for early in the month. So, I called them and they said they had issued them and sent them individually and I had a postal system problem. I could go to the gov't center and get free replacements or go to a private tag agency and pay $5 per tag. We went to the govt. center and got a number-90!! We asked what number they were on right now...5!! Needless to say, after sitting down for a whole 3 minutes, and realizing we would spend the entire last day of 2007 at the govt. center, we decided $15 was well worth it, so we left. We went to a private tag agency and spent a whopping 20 minutes, in and out. Whew! Not a wasted day afterall. :-)

stacey said...

oh my! i need to add you to my prayer list!

Karen said...

Gotta love those men! I'm not so sure about lovin' the beauracrats though. Glad you survived the moment (and don't you have several new lovely pictures of the kids?) Hopefully this will be the most complicated part of your move. (We can hope can't we?)

Melissa said...

I, too, had a hard time sending off my orginal birth certificate. I had all sorts of images of it being lost, but, voila, it showed up 2 weeks later with my passport!


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