It is nearly midnight and I have lost my passport. The day before I fly out on a two week, four country trip to work through next year’s business plan financials with the regional managers who have invited management from around their regions to join in. Hotels have been reserved, flights booked, and venues established. A lot of expense has gone into these meetings so that I can get everybody on the same page with their plans and then present the final outcomes next month, and I can’t find my passport. Not to mention all the effort that has gone into preparing to leave for this trip. Since Bridget is joining me she has made arrangements with several different families to watch our children while we are away. Everything is set…except for the passport. I try to figure out a solution, but nothing comes to me. I can’t spend my way out of it, because buying another ticket isn’t the issue, I just can’t get into another country. The only thing I can do is look for it. I tear the house apart looking but it is nowhere. Bridget is looking too, but we’re having no luck. Exhausted, nervous, and depressed I lie down and pray for help. I have a few ideas, but they bear no fruit.
Bridget has an idea that maybe I could get a new passport. The flight leaves at 11:40 a.m. A new passport is out of the question, but since we have no other options I figure I can apply for it and hopefully only miss the meetings scheduled in the Middle East. Of course that means I would probably have to pay for my own flight to London, but I would rather do that than face the consequences of just not making it at all.
The offices open up at 8 a.m. EST so I get up, after sleeping horribly for about three hours, and give them a call. Reporting my passport missing means it is invalid, even if I do find it now. The first appointment I can schedule is for September 11th. That’s enough time for me to make it to Europe…not all is lost. Still sucks, but better than not going at all. I ask if I can just show up at the offices this morning and hope somebody else doesn’t arrive so I can take their spot. I’m told that I can try if I want, but it’s not really advisable. Instead the lady on the other end of the line puts me on a waiting list and tells me they will call if something opens up. Not much hope, but at least it’s something.
I decide I will go to the Passport office and wait, even though my chances of getting in are slim. What else am I going to do this morning? So I pack as though I’m going and a couple hours later I head out. Traffic is about the worst I’ve ever seen it. Stop. And. Go. I need to fill out a couple forms for the passport people and since our printer doesn’t work I stop in the office (after waiting for construction crews to let my car pass). As I’m printing out the forms I get a call from the passport people saying to come in as soon as possible.
That was exciting. And would have been more so if “as soon as possible” wasn’t more sitting in traffic waiting to move. I use the time to fill out the forms. I call Bridget and have her look up some information for me, which she was fortunate enough to find and get back to me with.
When I finally get in to Seattle it is about 8:30 a.m. Only a half an hour or so later than their opening time. After driving the wrong way down a one way street looking for parking, I get to the office and they take my information right away. Then I wait for them to call me up. I know there is nothing I can do to speed things up so I just practice being happy and patient so the person that does call me up wants to help me as much as possible.
When it is finally my turn, I get a lady that I would love to have as an employee. She is very detail oriented, and pleasant. Her detail orientedness isn’t very good for me in this situation however. She notices that on my license my name is spelled Tymon and my passport was spelled Timon. Fortunately she just maks a few notes and is on to the fact that my passport picture is the same as the one on my lost passport. She says that would probably be a problem. Then she realizes my lost passport is only about 6 months old so she goes and checks with her Supervisor if that is OK. It is. Another blessing. Good thing I recently shaved the beard or I would probably have to go get a new picture. I’m now onto another period of waiting for the passport to be processed. I am told it will take about an hour and a half.
Now I am down to just missing my flight to Chicago where I have my layover to Abu Dhabi. Not the worst outcome. By 10:30 a.m. I have gotten my new passport and I am on my way to the airport. The self checker thing doesn’t let me get my boarding pass so I have to see an airline representative. I think it must be too late to check my luggage, but she doesn’t even seem to notice the boarding time and gets me right through. The security line is huge, but moves extremely fast. I get through a few minutes after the boarding time of the flight. I run through the terminal to get to my gate, as much to make it look like a movie as to arrive just in the nick of time for my flight…which is exactly what happens.