Thought I would post the follow up for our passport drama from last time, mostly because the story gets better and I'm never going to remember it all if I don't write it down. : ) First off, as a side story, Cameron got invited to go with his Uncle's family down to Rocky Point in Mexico, a resort about 4 hours outside of Phoenix that is also called Arizona's Beach. We were told that we didn't need a passport for him, but with all our previous luck, we decided to get one anyway, just in case. We did it right this time, went to Costco, paid $6 for 4 pictures, and Jason and I both met up at the state offices in Provo, so there was no need to get a notarized permission from a parent. I had already filled out the application online, and made copies of both sides of our driver's licenses, so we just had to wait for about 20 minutes for our turn, which was still interesting considering we had most of our young'uns with us. We turned in the papers, paid the fees, and his passport card arrived about 4 weeks later. However, by some lucky chance I happened to notice before we got to the state office that one of the fees had to be paid by a check or money order-(this never should have happened because 1) it is 2015 and no one should ever be required to pay anything by check anymore, and 2) if you will see the last post, I apparently am blind to the small print on passport applications.) One other catch with Cameron's whole international travel experience was that because he was traveling out of the country without his parents, we also had to send him with this birth certificate and a notarized letter from both Jason and I authorizing such an adventure. So that added in another trip to the bank to get the letter notarized. Cameron actually already went on his trip to Mexico, had a great time, and seeing as how his other cousins never got their passports at all and are safely back in the US, I am not so certain that he needed any of the paperwork that we sent him with. And frankly for all the work it took, I don't want to know. Ha ha!
Back to Colby and Landon..... About a week after we got Cameron's passport turned in, we got letters in the mail for Colby and Landon stating that 1) their pictures weren't going to work because the backgrounds weren't white (yes they were) and 2) that the notarized letter from Jason stating that Landon was authorized to get a passport was expired. It wasn't expired when we turned it in, it expired by the time the state department got to it. So that means, a trip to Walgreens for Colby to get pictures because Costco was closed, a trip for Landon, another $30, and another trip for Jason to the bank to get another notarized letter signed and we send it all back off on the 27th of May. We are now about 5 weeks into this process. At the end of June, the website still says that their passports are in processing, and we are hoping to go on our trip in July, the trip we are not ready to schedule until we know that we can get passports. First funny thing is that the website says if you have questions about your passport application that you can either call or email. So I email and I get an email in response telling me that they can't answer my questions via email for security purposes. Really? Once again, it's 2015 folks.
So Jason makes a series of calls and spends a total of about 3 hours on hold over a few days to learn that they do have the passports but they are in line. We mostly wanted to find out if our whole 4-6 week waiting period started over when we sent in the new pictures or what. It took a couple of days to get the right supervisor because the regular people said that it was going to cost an additional $60 each if we wanted to expedite them. What?? Finally, a supervisor tells Jason that the passports have been in their possession long enough for him to waive the expedition fee, but he can't waive the $15 each priority mail fee and if we don't priority mail them, then we probably won't get them in time. Fine, priority mail them please. Wait, the next day another person calls to let us know that they only priority mail the passport books, not the cards-which is what we got Landon-, and did we want to pay the additional $70 in order to get him the passport book instead? No, we don't! and in the meantime, I find out that since it is a close-circuit cruise, despite the fact that the cruise line highly recommends that one have a passport, it is not required in order to board. Really? But guess what, 4 days ago, Colby's passport book-which was priority mailed for $15- and Landon's passport card-which came with regular mail service- arrived tucked nicely together. So we have them, they are here, off we go! What a process!