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Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Forced to negotiate with the terrorists and pay their ransom, I now sit and wait to see if they keep their end of the bargain.

The Passport Agency has held my children's passports captive for over two months. With a travel date less than two weeks away and no new passports and no old passports with Australian visas attached either, I'm a little antsy. One phone monkey, when questioned why the original birth certificates had to be sent in after they had been authenticated at the post office and these were only renewals, so the originals had already been handled years ago during the initial applications, argued with me that they were not technically "renewals." Children's passports are processed as new each time. Semantics. Whatever, Phone Monkey. How about you just return my entire package and I'll drive over to Miami and get them done in one day? Oh, right. I've got to submit my request in writing and that will add how much more time to this ridiculous procedure? And why couldn't you specify this up front instead of letting me know there was a problem after the passports were already due back? Repeated calls left me with nothing more than a standard "wait and see" response until Monday, when I finally had enough and demanded someone expedite the return of our documents, which, thank you, ma'am, we all know are not really "ours" but property of the US Gummint, except for those Australian visas, which are the property of the Australian Government, and do you really want an international incident on your hands?!

The magic word was "expedite."

Sure they could get those right out to me! It would only cost an additional $60 for each of the three applications! The Next Available Phone Monkey questioned my decision, "Are you sure you want to do that when there's a good chance you'll have them before you leave whether or not you pay to expedite the packages?" Well, since the computer still says no one has touched the applications yet and we are eleven days from traveling, and a "good chance" is highly unacceptable, that would be a "YES!" Why no one else in all my calls mentioned this speedy service before when I was obviously highly concerned about the timeline will never be satisfactorily explained, but that's to be expected, I suppose. I asked him, and seriously doubted, if they accepted American Express. "Don't leave home without it!" Funny Phone Monkey.

Though the arrangements were made Monday, the drop did not take place until today, and we are expecting they will be released, unharmed, Friday.

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