Monday, June 02, 2014

Passport Application

Rehoboth Beach Post Office this morning, this must be the place!

This morning I applied for my first ever passport at the Rehoboth Beach post office.

As you may (or may not) know I'm planning a trip to Toronto Canada

Pat's "hoose" in Toronto, Canada

late this summer to hookup with my friend Pat and meet Dr. Spo and Someone who will be in Toronto at the same time.  Sort of like a mini Bloggerpalooza.

I've been experiencing a fair amount of frustration in getting my U.S. Passport.  First thing I needed was my birth certificate.  I only have one copy which I didn't want to part with so way back March I wrote to the Pennsylvania Department of Records to get more copies (two) of my birth certificate.  Of course that didn't go well which was not unexpected because I assume the powers that be in Pennsylvania are more concerned with suppressing the vote and filing delaying tactics against same sex marriage.  My first applicate was returned because they didn't like the copy of my driver's license.  I sent them a new copy, in color. That was month ago.  They cashed my $20 check two weeks ago but I'm still waiting. 

Dr. Spo told me that Someone

Dr. Spo and Someone - International travelers soon to visit Toronto in August
had to wait about three months before they got their passports.  Time was a running out so I took the bull (shit) by the horns this morning and took my original copy of birth certificate to the Rehoboth Beach post office this morning.

I got there at 8:45 am.  They weren't open (of course).  So I got in line behind this young man in semi-Army fatigues.  Me being me I attempted to start a conversation while we waited for the Post Office to open.  I asked him if he was an Iraqi veteran.  He said he was.  I thanked him for his service.  I then began to talk to him about the VA and other issue related to both of our experiences with the Army but he didn't want to talk.  Okay, I'm fine with that.  Probably thought I was hitting on him.  This is Rehoboth Beach after all, lot's of Old Gays hitting on young guys.  Not me though, I like my own age group but that's another whole subject for a different blog posting.

Finally at 9:02 a.m (and not a minute before) the window opens.  By now the line waiting has eight chatty people in it.  The Iraqi war vet is first.  He doesn't take too long to do his business.  He doesn't say "goodbye" to me.  I didn't expect him to.  Then I'm next.

I flop my plastic folder full of information proving I am who I am (birth certificate, Army DD-214, five envelopes with my mailing address, original Social Security card and even the "birth certificate" with my baby footprints).  I tell her that I'm applying for my passport.  Immediately she takes out a multiple form and tells me what to fill out and "don't go past that line!"  Thankfully she knew what I was talking about, I didn't have to explain myself or worse, I wasn't told that I was at the wrong place (which I half expected).  To the contrary, she was very efficient.  

She told me to go through the "Postal" door.  She told me to stand agains the wall, take off my glasses and SMILE!  Yes Virginia, unlike our driver's license, we get to smile on our Passport photo.  
Smile, you're on Passport Photo!

So I mustered up, on this short notice, my best endearing smile.  Whatcha think folks?  I like it.  At least I don't look like a stalker criminal like my driver's license photo.  Sure, I got beady eyes but the smile….man oh man you can't beat my smile.  Distracts from my turkey neck.

Next up, fill out the forms.  I take the forms and and find spot out of the way of the other postal customers and fill out the multiple forms, printed.  Mother, father, birth dates, next of kin, am I married or not (I AM! Which I gladly fill out as my "spouse" William Daniel Kelly).

I take the completed forms back to the nice postal employee lady.  She takes one look and says "These really should be filled out in BLACK pen."  Uh oh.  I filled them out with my BLUE ball point.  

Okay Ron, fill out the forms again.  A snag not unexpected, I'm just surprised there weren't more snags.

I fill out the forms again and submit them to the nice postal employee lady.  Then she asks me for my check.  I DON'T HAVE A CHECK.  Uh oh, another snag.  She asks me if I have a debit card.  Uh……no.  I try both of my credit cards, neither one works as a debit card.  She asks if I have cash.  Well I do but I don't know if I have $111.25 on my person.  I pull out my wad of bills in my back pocket, which I rarely use since I always use my Discover credit card, and viola!  I have the cash.  
JUST have it with exactly a five dollar bill to spare.  She asks if I have a quarter.  Nope, I don't carry change.  She loans me a quarter and says when I go out to my car I can bring it back to her.  Of course I promptly forgot to do that but I digress.

She rings everything up and then needs another $40 for the application itself (what WAS the $111.25 for I wonder?) and photo.  She could take my credit card for that charge.  

She also takes my original birth certificate to send in with the passport application.  She tells me it will take four to six weeks to complete and at that time there will be two plain envelopes returned to me.  One with the passport and other will have my birth certificate.  Probably by then I will have received my additional copies of birth certificate from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Records.  They should have the time now because a judge struck down the same sex marriage ban in Pennsylvania and their loser governor, Tom Corbert has decided (wisely) not to appeal.  Pennsylvania is usually a little late to the game.  Ironically I live in the First State which is Delaware.  
Know who the Second State is?  You got it, Pennsylvania.

I gathered up all my papers and left the Post Office, walking out in the bright morning sun of Rehoboth Avenue.  Bill was waiting in the car. There was a sign "15 minute parking for Post Office Customers".
 He was afraid I would get a ticket since I was gone almost an hour.  I assured him I wouldn't because I was in the Post Office on "business."  He didn't want to hear it.  Oh the joys to bring Worry Wart with me.

But anyway folks, I finally got my applicate in for my Passport.  That hurdle is done.  NEXT!

Every day is an adventure folks. 


Anonymous said...

OOOOhhhhhh ..... I can't wait until you blog about your Canadian adventure. Make sure Pat takes you to Tim Horton's. You've previously written about his healthy lifestyle so I assume he won't partake in the goodies while there but every tourist to Canada needs to visit the Canadian institution of Tim Horton's.

Anon a.k.a. "The Canuck"

Jeff in Chicago said...

When you return to the US from Toronto, the border guards are rude and gruff. And you are returning to your own country! Expect questions about why you were there, what you purchased, etc. I bought a $5 pen with a flashlight one one end for my mother, and they made me find it in my carry-on luggage to show them. The less you say to them the better. You visited a friend and purchased nothing except meals.

Anonymous said...

My experience was similar. A bit less bureaucratic nonsense. I had a picture, and I definitely remember the "do not go past that line"! Must be part of the training. Oddly enough, I didn't have to give them my birth certificate. But I carry a "certified copy" when I do any "official" business. I got mine in about 2 weeks. Getting into the Trusted Traveler Program with the TSA was more trouble! That interview was at Dulles Airport.

Buy a shielded passport case to carry it in, and find one that it's easy to get out of (Heathrow insisted the passport be out of all cases, idiots...neither RIC or JFK cared!). Always carry it in a front pocket, and ALWAYS carry it when in a foreign country.

Peace <3

Amanda said...

You are so lucky to have had enough money on you. I never carry cash or checks with me and got caught at the DMV and AAA.
It will be so exciting to go see Pat and his hoose. I am so happy for you that for your first time out of the country, you will be able to see some of your favorite friends.

Ron said...

Pat has already told me about Tim Hortons, several times. He's also told me about The Big Carrot. I am looking forward to eating healthy and tasty vegan meals. I wish we had those kind of eateries down here in Gayberry, aka Rehoboth Beach. But alas, we're the typical greasy, overcharged and "presentation" type (drizzel some colored sauce on the meal) restaurants down here. I don't totally blame the restaurants though, The Horde probably wouldn't buy the good, healthy food anyway. They're more interested in crab cakes, FISH (I hate fish) and fries (love fries but not the greasy, frozen ones or the tasteless ones that they call "healthy"). Even the faux Mexican restaurants, the ones with the Bulgarian waiters, can't even do a decent quesadilla - what they call a quesadilla is a Cheese Mess, nothing subtle about it at all. And yet the masses buy it and rave about it. God, I am looking forward to some healthy and affordable restaurants.

Ron said...

Tell me about it. Pat's visited me three times. The second time the border guards were very rude with him (Pat's an angel) and held him up. What was that all about? I know what it is, Security Theater. That's what we're all about in this country now. I realize there is a legitimate concern about border crossings but form what I hear, they're doing it all wrong. Too much power has gone to their heads. Thanks for the good advice, I will take it.

Ron said...

The bureaucratic nonsense wasn't too bad this morning. In fact I thought she was quite efficient. I was pleasantly surprised. Thanks for the advice about the shielded passport case.

Ron said...

I am so looking forward to seeing Pat's "hoose" in person after seeing it almost everyday on FaceTime when I talk to him. I've only been out of the country once, an it was Canada in 1966 or '67 (I forget which year). A lot has changed since then. Back then you didn't need a passport. And I am looking forward to seeing Dr. Spo and Someone again. They are two super nice guys.

Jack said...

The last time I went out of the country was many years ago, north to Canada, South to Mexico and once to the Bahama Islands via ship. Back then the only identification needed was a driver's license even on the Bahama cruise. I have often thought of getting my passport but had no idea of the cost involved. Guess I'll wait until I have a real need for one before I get one.
I know you'll enjoy Canada, it's a nice place to visit especially if you have someone special to enjoy it with.

David Jeffreys said...

Did you get the passport "card" as well as the traditional "book"? The card is readable from a distance and can be scanned automatically when driving into Canada. The "card" only works for Canada and Mexico as I understand it. It is an extra charge to get, but supposedly makes entry into and out of Canada much easier. I got one with my last passport renewal, but I have not been out of the country since renewal.

David Jeffreys said...

PS: The card comes with in a protective envelope that will protect it from being readable until taken out of the envelope. I keep it next to my credit cards to keep them from being readable at a distance also.

Anonymous said...

Great picture, Ron. Your recent derm work does not show at all. Glad you were able to get things done without any major snags. Be sure to take that woman a quarter, now. ~~~ NB

Anonymous said...

Do you really need a passport to go to Canada? Incredible. Here in the EU you can travel from Lisbon to Warsaw or Estonia without showing a single document (OK, you need to show an ID to the airline employees in the boarding counter if you take a plane). Going to the UK, we need to cross a passport control but an ID is also valid. We only need a passport to go to places as Russia or... the US. I understand you do not have an official ID in the US maybe this is part of the problem. Best regards, Juan.

Ron said...

Yes, United States citizens now need a passport to go to Canada. This is all part of the "Security Theater" that is now in place in the United States as a result of 9/11 and our so called "security measures" to prevent terrorists entering our country. Yes, I agree with you it is incredible that United State citizens need a passport to enter Canada but that's the way we do things in this country in the wake of the hysteria after 9/11. Thank you for your comment and bringing to light the ridiculousness of needing a passport to visit Canada.

Ron said...

Thank you NB! There is just a little mark left where the keratosis was shaved off. I was pleasantly surprised yesterday at how smoothly the whole procedure went applying for my passport. I just wish I had done it last month. I was waiting for another copy of my birth certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Records but apparently that's going to take a LONG time. And yes, I will return the nice lady's quarter. Thanks for the reminder!

Ron said...

This is starting to sound complicated now. What's with the "readable" factor? Do I scan the passport like a credit card?

pat888 said...

Hey Ron - great comments. I am really looking forward to your visit up here and you getting to experience the "hoose". Tho - due to it's minimalist sparseness you might be quickly yearning for the comforts of home. But I guarantee to bring you to some of the interesting parts of the city. And certainly good food. For sure we'll go to Tim Hortons. He was a Maple Leaf defence man back in the 60s who died in a car accident. His wife had a drinking problem and sold off the franchise decades ago I believe (for not a lot of money) to someone who recently sold it to an American.

So another Canadian institution has been sold off. That's business I guess. But each store set up is a goldmine with steady customers.

And Ron for sure we'll hit The Big Carrot, The Green Earth Restaurant, Kennsington Market, Aroma, Forest Hill, Rosedale, Yorkville, Yorkdale, etc. We'll squeeze it all in in the time we have. Including a walk along the boardwalk at The Beach, another one of our neighbourhoods by Lake Ontario - as I know you enjoy doing that at Rohoboth.

And getting to entertain Dr Spo and someone else will be great - time permitting. I know they are on a tight schedule.

Can't wait.


Ron said...

I am so looking forward to visiting Toronto and I know you'll be the perfect host. What is really going to be nice is to get away from this summer crush down here in Rehoboth and visit some nice, reasonably price veggie restaurants. And what's really going to be nice is the wide choice of restaurants instead of the usual tourist trap beach restaurants we have down here in Rehoboth ("where's the best FISH place?) restaurants. Since both of us don't like FISH, this should be a good trip. Believe me, I can live without oysters, crab cakes and FISH and the traffic although I understand, Toronto, being the world class major metropolitan city that it is, has its fair share of traffic headaches. Can't be any worse than Route One in LSD. Can't wait!

Ur-spo said...

OOOH ! Soon we will be in ecstasy eating Tim Horton Tim-bits and proper cups of tea !!!

Ur-spo said...

Pat - Tim Horton's is my home away from home!

Travel said...

The hard part of the passport is over, you should be able to renew in 10 years by mail. Toronto this year, next year the world.

Ron said...

Pat's always talking about Tim Hortons. Usually prefaces his sentences with "Do you have a Tim Hortons in the states?" No, we don't. What's a Tim Hortons I respond?

Ron said...

I do intend to travel overseas. I've never been overseas and always wanted to but could never get anyone to travel with me. I think I can talk my Toronto pal into traveling with me. Never too late!

Unknown said...

I think I've been to Tim Horton's, I was living in New York (Ft. Drum) and me and a couple of us guys went to Kingston,Ont. If I remember correctly they do have some yummy donuts and coffee. I'm also a bit of a car nut, I also enjoyed going into Canadian Tire lots of neat stuff in there. lol. Randy.