Monday, June 21, 2010

Crossing the border

Crossed the border from Port Huron, USA into Sarnia, Canada around 4 PM EST. Made it through with out mishap, I guess our 1993 Dodge Caravan with our fully loaded rear end doesn't meet any profiles. Used the kids' passports for the first time.

Getting their passports was a very interesting story. Did you know that when applying for your child's passport, both parents must be physically present during the application? Angie and I had to coordinate meeting up at an agency to accomplish this task. Well the closest passport office to both of us is in Duluth (up the hill for those that know Duluth.) The place closes by 5 PM. I left Coon Rapids, MN at 2 PM and drove up Interstate 35. As I approached Cloquet I called Angie and she left Cornucopia to meet me there. Well she arrived at 4:00 PM and I was still stuck on the HWY. I35 is under construction at the hill and I had to take a secondary route to the passport agency. Meanwhile Angie, has gotten the lady to take the photos of the kids while I frantically drove to the mall where the St. Louis County office is located.

I arrived with 15 minutes to spare and the counter lady gives me one of those looks, the kind of non-verbal message equivalent to "who does this bozo think he is?" She verbally states that passport applications take at least 15 minutes to process EACH. I smile and say thank goodness I made it in the door by 5. At 6 PM we leave the counter, relieved that we got it done, counter lady really not happy with us.

Now the clock ticks. We applied for the passports with four weeks to spare, cutting it pretty close. You can check online for your status, which I did frequently. Angie and I got our renewed passports with 7 days to spare. On June 14 we got a notice that they had mailed the kids' passports. Checked the PO Box a number of times that week. Anxiety, what would we do without the passports? They said that kids can enter the country with their parents with a birth certificate, but I was uneasy about that prospect. Finally we got the passports on Thursday. Angie and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Fast forward to today, with visions of them stripping down our van only to find our family of mice as extra undocumented visitors to Canada, and the ordeal to obtain these precious documents, the Canadian agent (through no fault of his own) was rather indifferent to our crossing the border. I mean I didn't expect a fan fare or a party, but an acknowledgment of our effort would have been appreciated. And appreciation is really the only thing that dads care about. Happy Father's Day, to all those dads, I appreciate you!

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