I Am What I Am and That’s All What I Am *
Quick note: If you go to your local post office to renew your passport you might be wise to pack a lunch.
My wonderful wife and I are in the early planning stages of another trip to Ireland. We have been there three times before and there has been no warning from the Irish about making a return visit.
We have done the B&B thing and advise against it for more than a one stop visit. If you are going to move about the country we recommend renting a house, centrally located, and day-trip your way about. It is cheaper, you can get laundry done easier and you won’t pull as many muscles lugging your bags out to your car every morning.
We are planning on making this next venture in April of 2016. April will be before the high tourist season and the weather should be survivable by then. I don’t recommend visiting Ireland during the winter unless you enjoy being constantly wet, chilled to the bone and likely to become airborne if you walk heading into the wind.
While looking over the map of Ireland we checked our passports and noticed that mine was set to expire in early 2016, before our planned travel dates. “That will never do,” I said. “I’ll pop down to the post office and get it renewed.”
It is a good thing I ate breakfast this morning.
I knew that the post office opens at 9 AM so I figured that my morning vespers at St. Arbucks would fit right in.
After coffee I got to the PO at 10:40 AM. Taped to the glass door was a handwritten note. “Passports today from 11 AM – 3:15 PM. Sorry.”
It certainly is.
Thank God and Juan Valdez; there was a St. Arbucks Chapel just down the street. I hied my carcass down there and caught up on my email. At 11:10 AM I toddled back to try to get my passport business taken care of.
Being that we are in the middle of winter, and in a snap of some seriously cold weather, it shouldn’t have surprised me that there might be other people there trying to do the same thing as me. It is nasty cold and any sane person is thinking, “I gotta get out of here.” I was in line for 10 minutes just to be told to, “Go over there and fill out the Purple Form, then come back over here.”
I went ‘over there’ and found a form that was the closest to purple on the spectrum and prayed that my pen was filled with black ink because no other color was acceptable. (It was. Whew!)
After filling out the Purple Form I went back ‘over here’ and had to get into another line. Eventually, the Lovely Maria took my forms and asked me if I had my passport photos with me. “Huh? I need new photos?”
Maria then escorted me to another room for my photo shoot. Thank God and Vidal Sassoon I had a comb with me because I had serious case of hathead. After she snapped a few shots she showed me ‘the best ones.’ If I had seen photos of a stranger that looked like that I would have asked, “When are services?”
After my photo spread we went back to her part of the counter and finished the paperwork – most of which had to do with me forking over $157.00. It seems to me that the last time I did this it cost me about $60. I guess we gotta pay for the highly paper-trained and drooling TSA folks at the airports somehow.
Maria told me that I should get my new passport in a few weeks. I’m cool with that. As long as it arrives before next April I’ll be happy.
*The title of this post is a quote from that legendary mariner and Spokesperson for the American Spinach Board, Mr. Popeye The Sailor.