Thursday, March 1, 2012

Passport Pass-Out

What is the deal with passports? How can such a tiny little book be the undoing of so many travelers? We have four people in our family. We have four passports.  I use mine regularly to cross the border into the U.S. to pick up mail (ahem, fabric) and do the occasional Trader Joe's food run.  In the recent past, Canadians and Americans didn't need a passport to visit each other; a birth certificate and driver's licence sufficed.   9-11 changed all that and passports have become a household item for many who never before held one.  Now, "do we have the passports?" is the first question asked as every family pulls away from the curb in their luggage-laden car.

Passport covers by Poppyprint
I made these as Christmas gifts for the kids

The kids got new passports to go to Holland almost 4 years ago, so their's are all good even if they look like completely different people than the ones in their photos (Canadian passports have a 5 year shelf life).  B and I have been in sync for passport renewals for over 10 years and mine's good until next fall.  We assumed his was, too. Imagine his horror last night when he decided, while making the FRANCE 2012 LIST, to just have a look at his, only to discover......the expiry date is March 6. 2012.

That. is. Tuesday.

Our flight to Paris is Thursday.

What was I doing while my husband was on the verge of a coronary? Well, irony of ironies, I was downstairs in my sewing room, making a lovely new cover for his almost expired passport. The poor guy.  He had the foresight to go online and check out his options before breaking the news to me (good call, because if we'd shown up at YVR next Thursday and discovered it then, I swear it would've been quel dommage for you buddy. Home to feed the fish while the rest of us gnaw on baguettes and brie for a month).

Passport covers by Poppyprint
This one is mine

After some frantic online form-filling-out, a quick trip to late night drug store that takes passport photos and emails to references, B was all set to hit the passport office at opening time of 7:00 a.m. this morning. Luckily we live in a city with a quick-turnaround option. All it takes is money and they can get you a new passport in 24 hours.....well, apparently not exactly. He just texted from the office to say he was 5th in line, but his won't be ready until next Wednesday. WHAT?!?! Jeez, Nigel! Let's hope so!

Passport covers by Poppyprint
How do you like that map print fussy cutting? Love.

So, what is it with these things? My mom would drive me crazy; long after I became a responsible adult who had traveled the world, always asking "have you got your passport?"  I only forgot it once, en route to a summer job in South Africa. My mom, trying to respect my 21 year old's fierce independence no doubt, waited until we were half way to the airport before asking. At that moment, I experienced Passport Pass-Out, realizing my little black book was sitting on the floor of my childhood bedroom. In my mind's eye, I could see it there. Right where I left it so I wouldn't forget it. At that moment, my dad morphed into Mario Andretti, pulled a U-turn and hit the gas. We raced home, raced back to the airport and I had an entire 20 minutes to catch my flight. Easy peasy, right? That was the first and only time I've ever brazenly jumped a queue. I made it to Johannesburg after brief stops in Toronto and Frankfurt, none the worse for wear.

Have you ever experienced Passport Pass-Out?


39 comments:

Suzanne said...

Krista! Your post has me laughing nervously. Just reading about your husband's passport pass out makes me anxious. I've never had a passport incident, but I did travel to Greece with a group of high school students back in the paper ticket days and one of the boys lost his return ticket. It took hours to get a replacement and then they didn't want to let one of the girls on the plane because she had an Israeli passport and a temporary green card...all very nerve wracking.

Lesly said...

I have - not as drastic as yours but it necessitated a trip directly to Ottawa and much hyperventilating. Hope yours resolves well! P.S. Desperate for some of that map fabric - what line is it and where oh where did you get it?

Laura said...

Yes I have. My DH and DS were going on a trip and realized the night before that mys son's passport had expired. Total Freak Out!!! After calls to practically every pharmacy in Houston we finally found one that would be open early enough in the morning to get the photo, race to the passport office and make it to the airport. Instead of a leisurely drive to the airport (2 hours away) the day of the trip, they frantically jumped into the car the night before and found a hotel close to the pharmacy. It all worked out, but with only a few minutes to spare.

Elsa said...

I haven't ever misplaced my passport, but I did lose a ticket home once (my son and I were in California and we lived in Thailand at the time). I was really a nervous wreck till I got the replacement ticket!

Katie said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I suffer from the fear of forgetting my passport every time I cross the border. As I sit in the long Peace Arch line up, I check and re-check that I have my passport!
Can you leave your passport in the cover? Or do they make you take it out? I've often wanted a cute cover but if they're going to make me take it out. I don't need to carry around 5 passports and 5 covers seperately!

Katie B. said...

Your passport covers are fantastic, but, jeez, this makes my stomach hurt!

helenjanei said...

Yes! I feel your pain. I once realised I'd lost my passport the week before I was due to join my family on holiday. I had to phone all the local travel agents to find one open on a Sunday to get new passport forms, the guy was just in doing paperwork so selotaped the form to the door for me to pick up an hour later, got a work friend to lie on the form about how long he had known me and phoned in sick on a Monday to go queue up at the passport office!

nicolette at dutchcomfort said...

No not me, but my mother-in-law did. She forgot hers when she was leaving for Spain to celebrate her 85th birthday with her children. The airline company and custom service wouldn’t let her fly, not even on a tourist visum, imagine, within Europe! So she had to book a hotel on the airport and one of the children drove home to catch the passport while the rest of the family flew to Spain as planned. She flew the next day with her daughter and the passport, but this whold experience caused her some heart problems.

Dianne said...

This post cracks me up (except the part about poor ol' B having palpitations)!
I experienced PPO once when, as I headed for the border with my QFF's Rebecca and Pam on our way to Sisters Oregon for the quilt show, my passport was not where it was supposed to be. After several heart lurching and stomack falling moments I located it. I cannot tell you the scenarios that were flying through my mind! Even though Rebecca is the Maria Andretti of the driving world it would have thrown a serious spanner in the works of our day to go back home. Whew!
The covers are lovely and suitably themed for your creative family. Can't wait to see B's!

DianeY said...

Never forgotten the Passports, but years ago, when my husband and I went to apply for ours, we were informed that our Drivers Licenses, that we were using for picture IDs, were expired! That was long before 9/11, so we were all able to have a good laugh and the passport officials did not really care!

{Leila}Where the Orchids Grow said...

I hope all goes well with your husbands passport. Good thing he did check!

Blog editor said...

On my one and only visit to Vancouver (which I loved), I scanned my passport as advised ... And discovered when I got to the check-in desk after an hour in the queue that it was still in the scanner. Major heart sinking and embarrassment. I flew the next day - Air Canada was very accommodating and assured me there would be a seat, as someone always fails to show up, or forgets their passport. Nice passport covers - love the map fabric. Jill (in Australia)

Krista said...

Well that is a lucky thing that you have a local passport office!!! I would have died. The covers are SO CUTE by the way! I love them!

I've had close calls with my passport the last two times I've gone international-- I realized I had lost my passport a month before going to Mexico, and had to rush it not knowing if it would arrive on time. It came the day before I left. Then when I came to retreat with you, I remembered I hadn't had my name changed since getting married. Whoops. That still had me sweating, although I had it in plenty time luckily.

Flying Blind... said...

Oh that is my worst nightmare - I'm sure a few sleepless nights and then you will all be fine; well you and the kids will be ;)

So far, touch wood, no passport traumas - I am way too paranoid!

Katy Cameron said...

Oh man, nightmare! My only nightmare is that I've lost my UK passport, not a clue where it went after I came back from holiday 2 summers ago and went on a business trip straight after. My only regret is the visa evidence I lost, my Irish passport is still good at least!

karen said...

Haha! Ian, Pat and I got our passports at the same time and so they were due to expire at the same time. I got all the info for Ian to take to the passport office to submit. We got his passport and Pat's back but not mine because he did not include it in the package, nor did he tell me. Then he could not remember where he had put my application and we were supposed to leave in 10 days. ARGGHH but you are right paying the big bucks put my application ahead of others and we got it with 2 days to spare.

Heather D. said...

Oh my goodness. This is one thing that freaks me out, and I get so stressed about it! Haven't had an incident yet though, thankfully! We've been in process of renewing our passports just this week, not because we're actually going anywhere in particular, but it just seems like a good thing to have these days.

My fingers are thoroughly crossed for you!

Michele Pacey said...

I haven't had the pleasure of PPO and knock-on-wood hopefully never will... I have a good feeling that it will all work out for you guys. Good thoughts!

traceyjay said...

have such an amazing trip Krista! We'll miss you! (and cute cases)

Sana Saroti said...

For some reason I am terribly paranoid that whenever I fly to the States they wont let me in. So the last thing I need is to forget or loose my passport.
Your story did make me laugh though. Hope everything gets there on time! Love the passport covers. Got myself some Echino here in Berlin last weekend (just payed the double amount than what you did ;-)

Kristie said...

Almost did for our Disney trip! My hubby's expired Mar 6 as well....luckily our trip was in Feb......and we didn't think to check until the week before. Phew!

Have a awesome, awesome trip!!

CitricSugar said...

AAAAAAHHHHKKK! Hopefully, everything will go well at Service Canada and you'll have his passport in time.

I haven't been without a passport but I have been at a border crossing at 4am with a visa that I thought expired at midnight but according to the border guards had only been valid for two weeks after arriving and expired 5 1/2 months prior. (It hadn't but they'd never seen one like mine before.) Yeah. We'll see if I ever get into Russia again.

kathy said...

Not flying until June - thanks for reminding me to check expiry date.

Two years ago I flew to Ireland with passport cover - no- they don't ask you to take it out. Usually, it's the back cover that slides into the pocket so the rest of the passport is entirely visible.

I like your map fabric - did you buy or print on your printer?

Pam said...

That happened to Jim just recently as he was getting ready to go to Portland this January for work - we would be there from the 8 -14th and he discovered his passport expired on Jan 11th - - and he discovered this on the night of the 6th - a Friday night! Some frantic calls on his part he discovered that so long as it was valid and he was driving not flying the Americans would let him in - so that was good. And the same thing - my passport and his expired the same year and I knew mine expired in October - so I just assumed.................. Glad to hear you have it under control and My Goodness you are going that soon!!!!

felicity said...

My heart was pounding reading this post. It's never happened to me but one of my "I'm too stressed" dreams involves losing a passport.

The Pied Pedlar said...

Hi I hope your trip goes well.
On one of my trips to Vancouver My daughter had to go to the USA embassy to pull my passport as it was taking so long for a visa to be added.She meet me at Heathrow airport with it.

carol said...

Sounds to me from your comments that you are not the only one who doesn't check expiration dates. That reminds me, I should check ours (although we have no travel plans at this time)! Have a ball on your trip!

Regina said...

Those are great! No passport freak outs here. The only place I've been is Canada and it was before they were required. I was so excited to get my passport stamped and they didn't stamp it. It made me sad. Mine is expired now. I do want to renew it now that I'm relatively close to Niagara Falls.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! Several years ago, not too long after 9/11 when passport offices were extremely backlogged here in the US, my husband was planning a business trip abroad. He applied for a passport renewal in what he thought was ample time. I guess about a week prior to the trip it still had not arrived. I ended up doing internet searches on what to do, deduced what office his must be in, and left random voice mails on any phone number I could find. Thankfully, some kind, but I am sure overworked, employee responded and my husband ended up retrieving his passport from the closest shipping office (can't remember if it was fedex or ups) a day before his trip! --Becky C.

Brenda said...

great passport covers. do you have directions handy? if not, enjoy your trip and I'll figure it out from here.

Leanne said...

I was good until the part about your dad being Mario Andretti, then I was truly laughing. I have left the ID at home and had to miss the flight while the family traveled on. Luckily the airline just booked me on the next on, no extra charge and I caught up with them eventually. Oh and the change to daylight foiled a couple of flights, again the airlines were great and just booked the group on the next flight. I hope it all works out, you are going to have so much fun. I am off to check my passport's expiry, I am travelling this spring too.

Monika Kinner-Whalen / My Sweet Prairie said...

I bet I can make you laugh.
I have no passport. The farthest south I've been is Regina. The farthest west was the Enchanted Forest. I'm quite excited about my first trip to Winnipeg next spring! That will be the furthest east I've ever been. Then can I call myself a seasoned traveller!?? I haven't been ANYWHERE! lol

Kirsty@Bonjour said...

Argh! Almost a disaster. Had to laugh at your quel dommage comment!
Haven't had PPO, but had BSPO when we thought we'd lost our birth certificates after applying for our French drivers' licences. After some freaking out I found them rolled up with the kids' exactly where they should've been but for some reason I forgot to check. I hate that feeling - like when you're standing in a shop and realise you don't have your handbag on you - where is it??? -that monetary panic is horrible!

Christelle said...

We live in France, last spring we were going to london for holidays, at the last minute a huge fight with my husband because he wanted me to take the passporst and I didn't want because as Europeen we only need the ID if we stay in Europe.
So I took both, not happy with the weight of my hand bag..... when we arrived at the brit customs, I give the lady the passports and she asked me the kid's ID cards... the passports had expired 6 month ago, and she confirmed to my husband that beeing french, we just need ID to travel in Europe...just saying :)
Hope you have a lovely time here

Sandra said...

Hi,
Whew! Two things come to mind from experience. Firstly the last time my husband and daughters had to have passports renewed, we diligently sent all the paperwork in and many weeks later (and a few weeks before our trip) they came back; except my husbands came back incomplete as they had misplaced his photographs (and could he please resubmit with new photos's signed by the same guarantor). We got it done, just in time.
Second time wasn't strictly me; a friend and I were travelling around Europe for a month. We travelled overnight on a train between Sweden and Germany, the next morning we realized she'd had her purse stolen,complete with passport. Going through the process of getting an emergency travel document (with no supporting identification) whilst in a foreign country is no fun, I can attest to that!
We too live close to the border and often travel to the US from Canada. I'm a Brit, so I'm used to having to carry my i.d. around, but now I have to make sure the whole family have theirs too!
Have a great time in France, it's an awesome country.
Bonnes vacances

Live a Colorful Life said...

Oh.my.gosh!!! My heart was pounding when I was reading this. Our passports expire in June and they are right here on my desk waiting for renewal. I MUST get them renewed. Or else there is no way I'll make it to your quilt retreat later in the year if you have an opening! High priority.

Hope you have just a fabulous time!! Eat a baguette and some brie for me, okay?

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

Jeez Nigel this is both hilarious and terrible

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

Jeez Nigel this is both hilarious and terrible

Sonja said...

Just made me remember the time I was flying to Calgary with my kids. No problem right? No passports needed, just a quick jaunt over. That is until we're asked for ID, and I realize I left my wallet at home! No ID, no birth certificates proving these blondies are my kids. Thank the lord I made Vince sign a letter giving me permission to travel with our children, and I had my bank card in my back pocket. The nice airline guy let us on! *phew*