I just have to say.

Some of you have heard part of this story.  But it got better today.  This is really just an examination of inefficiency.  Those of you who know me, and hopefully love me, know I don’t suffer inefficiency.  I spot it everywhere, and I do my best to breathe deeply and let it go. 

Sometimes, I can’t. I apologize for the long rant.

The girls and I needed passports.  To get a passport with children you have to go to the passport office.

So I filled out the available online passport form completely and totally.  I printed and read the instructions repeatedly so I would bring all important papers.  I got a notarized affidavit from Phil allowing me to go to the passport office and get passports with my children, just in case I was devious and tried to smuggle them out of the country.  I had birth certificates, plus my old passport. 

We went to the office.  We took a number.  We watched the 4 clerks help the professional clerk’s office paper bringers in sequence – these are people whose job is to take a number, stand in line, and then hand the clerk somewhere between 50 and 1 million sheets of paper (there was clearly some limit, but the stacks did not appear to have any consistent height or time limit.).  The one sweet couple waiting to get a marriage license and I laughed about the clerks who move in slow motion rifling through papers.  For the first hour.  Then it stopped being funny.

Then, we had a ray of sunshine. “G” stepped up to a new window.  There is hope.  Cute couple is the next number, and we have a jovial laugh in anticipation of their good fortune.  And then the most amazing thing happened.  “G” spent round about 12 minutes, best we can figure, just moving things around the desk.  Turning on the computer and printer.  Lining up the rubber stamps.  Sharpening a pencil.  Cute couple and I muse that this cries out for YouTube, it is so pathological.  I joke “I hope you weren’t planning to get married today!” To which they respond that actually, they were hoping to.  If the Clerk’s office will permit such a thing.  Finally, at long last, he calls them.  One half hour later they have a license. 

Other three clerks?  Still helping professional line waiters.  My number next.  “G” comes available.  Looks up at number sign.  And just as he starts to call my number, Supervisor asks “G” to help cute couple number 2 with their marriage license.  A long time passes.  He prints certificate.  Bride to be points out error.  It was just her name, after all.  Another long time.  Professional line waiters still being served by other clerks.  Dinner reservation time arrived.  Passed.  10 minutes from “Passport window closing time”.  FINALLY.

Our number.  Its “G”.  I have my prefilled paperwork stacked in order by person:  Application / Birth Certificate / Affidavit . 1,2,3.  Check book out.  “G” looks at papers.  Turns over papers.  Tells me they aren’t the current form.  I point out the “Good through 12/31/2011” on the top.  He agrees to take the form. 

He has to write my driver’s license three times total.  He has to staple one picture to each application.  He then has to swear us in.  I am not kidding.  This took 25 minutes.  25 MINUTES to write 30 digits and the word Arizona 3 times, carefully place 6 staples and ask us to raise our right hand.  25 infernal late for dinner minutes. 

After he swears us in, he staples the check to the Clerk’s office to the Federal passport application and I point out his error.  So he starts opening drawers and slowly moving around until I realize he is looking for a staple remover.  I reach under the glass, pick out the staple with my fingernail.  He leaves anyway because “He can’t work without my staple remover.”  He is gone for 2 or 3 minutes. 

To summarize, for me to deliver Prefilled out forms with all the related paperwork and write two checks and raise my right hand took 2 hours of waiting and one full half hour at “G’s” window.  Even the girls were horrified.

After 10 days, I log in to the Federal State department website.  Grace and I?  Passports in process.  I register our emails addresses.  Andra? Not there.  I wait another week.  Andra still not there.  In spite of the DIRE warnings about not calling the Federal office, I called.  I explained that I was concerned that Andra’s passport was AWOL.  Lady confirms it isn’t, and hangs up. 

Today?  Today, oh glorious day, I got an email telling my application had been received.  It was in process, and would take 4 to 6 weeks, and please, do not call the Federal office.  I was thinking this was still okay, more or less.

And today I got my passport in the mail.  Just mine, and it didn’t have my birth certificate, or my old passport.  It did have a little slip of paper, and politely explained that my documents would come back in another envelope.  Just to make sure they spend the most money, I guess.

Honestly, I find it all rather shocking.  I need a tropical vacation just to forget it all.  I just hope my kids can come too.

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8 Responses to I just have to say.

  1. Misty says:

    Getting the kids passports is on my list. Guess it just dropped way way way down!

  2. Mostly says:

    Great News! I just got an email telling me that my passport will arrive about the 15th. With a tracking number showing it arrived on the 10th. EFFICIENT!

  3. I strongly agree that women need to have a passport too. It is because in case of emergency that we have to go to other countries, we can get a newly schedule that will fit with our time.

  4. Passports are such a headache, I had to wait 3 months for mine and still didn’t get it for my cruise we went on. At the same time I’m glad it is such a process because I wouldn’t want passports getting into the wrong hands.

  5. intrading says:

    No offense, but the design really is horrible

  6. anydiets says:

    And you have a cool site and blog!

  7. gyroscopyref says:

    And you have a cool site and blog!

  8. Aurgas says:

    Yeah, in my opinion, this is written on every fence:)

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