Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Passport Saga

Just when we thought that every little thing would be alright, our passports dealt us a low blow... by not showing up during the 4-6 week period that was initially told to us. We were scheduled to move to Germany on Oct 26, but when our passports didn't arrive by Oct 21, I had to push back our flight to Nov 1. The good news is that we got to spend Halloween with family and we got to see my good buddy's '80s cover band perform, a couple unexpected bits of fun before the flight. The bad news, I was stuck between employers... officially still on the books at my old job (but physically located 3,000 miles away in Virginia), and unable to get to my new job without the official passports in hand. My vacation time dried up altogether during our stay in Virginia, and I was destined to use "Leave Without Pay" in order to avoid a gap in my civil service, which creates all kinds of logistical problems.

Pumpkin Pickin' at the Patch

All Dressed Up for Halloween

Nicki and me cheering on "The Reflex"

By the way, if you live near the DC area, you should check out "The Reflex", a great '80s cover band who are not only fun to watch, but are very musically talented. Anyway, now back to my story...

After pushing back my flight to Nov 1, I requested the contact info for the folks at the State Department, who process the official passports required for overseas government employees. They alerted me that the passport processing period was not 4-6 weeks, but more accurately is 6-8 weeks. Had I known that initially, we would have made drastic changes to our travel plans to prevent being stuck in limbo. After learning this info, I contacted my new command in Germany, who was able to contact some VIPs in Washington, DC.

Long story short, our passports were found in the passport machine and were eventually fully processed and redirected for my urgent pick-up in person in Arlington, VA. However, I had to reschedule (yet again) our flight during the passport search and rescue mission. New flight date... Nov 6... if the passports could be in my hand by Nov 3.

So early this morning after waking, I threw on some clothes, hopped in my dad's pickup, and drove the nearly 2 hour commute to Arlington - after first stopping at a nearby 7-Eleven for a much needed coffee and banana nut muffin. With passports in hand (and fully reviewed for any errors), I headed back to my parents' house a happy man.

Destination: Germany
Target departure date: Nov 6, 2010

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