Saturday, 25 May 2013

why does mummy have that big vein popping out of her forehead?

We're off on holiday soon so I've been gradually, in a very organised manner, assembling our things in suitcases and making numerous lists. Feeling slightly smug and strangely calm, I did a quick check of our passports to make sure everyone was accounted for. And that's when I noticed that Mia's passport expired last March.

Well, shit.

After a lot more shits and fucks and crap crap craps, Paul rang the passport office to make an emergency appointment. You can pay quite a lot of money and get a passport within 4 hours, which is great...if they have any appointments. Passport Office Guy refreshed his screen and by some miracle, someone had just cancelled. We had an appointment at 10:45 the following morning in London, the only appointment available in the entire UK. By yet another lucky coincidence, I happened to be working at home and was able to go to the post office to get the passport renewal forms and pick Mia up early to get her photo taken.

Forms (I got an extra one just in case) and photos all sorted, Paul headed off to my teacher friend Liz's house to countersign Mia's application and signature. Normally you don't need a signature if you look the same as your previous photo but as Mia was a baby in hers, the passport office told me she had to have her photo signed. So, off Paul went. Then Paul sent me a text telling me that he'd signed the wrong part on the form and we'd need to get new ones.

Well, shit.

It was long past 5:30pm when the post offices shut and although you can fill out the form online, you then need to wait for the passport office to mail it back to you. Why? I don't know. Probably to keep someone employed. The Passport Form Posting Guy. Our only option was to head back to the post office when it opens at 8:30am, go back to Liz's for another signature, then head to London - and attempt to get to the appointment by 10:45am. At this point, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to laugh, cry, or throw up.

Liz had a marvellous idea: use Facebook to appeal to anyone who may have spare forms at home. After a minor meltdown on my status and being incredibly snippy to my lovely friends who were only trying to be helpful, the third amazing coincidence happened and one of Liz's friends had two spare forms. Paul got back in the car, picked up the forms, got Liz's signature, and all was much better in my world. To people who say social media is a horrible thing, I say it most certainly isn't. Most of the time, anyway.

This gave Paul much more leeway this morning, and he was able to head off to London with Mia with plenty of time to spare. We still don't have her passport in hand and I'm still pretty anxious (nothing new for me, though), but I'm feeling much more optimistic.

Needless to say, I've now put reminders in my calendar for all of our passports long before they are due to expire.

In contrast, my Canadian passport application process is as follows:
-print off a form from the web site and fill it out
-get my picture taken
-send in the form, photos, and money
-receive passport

That's it. No countersignature, no trips to the post office. May the gods bless Canada and their crack-smoking mayors and their bridge-breaking trucks.

Friday, 24 May 2013

oh. hey. hi!

How rubbish am I at updating this blog? I only just realised yesterday that I was supposed to be doing a photo a day/photo a week/photo when I can be arsed. Rubbish.

I have actually been taking a lot of pictures, so if you have me on Facebook or Flickr, you're all up to date. Hooray for you! If you're not, then I apologise. They've mostly just been pics of the kids and food, so if you've seen one,  you've pretty much seen them all. The kids are great and we've been eating a lot of food. There, you're all caught up now.

On the home front, it's all crawling along. Planning permission has gone through but we're still awaiting building regulation application approval and tenders (quotes) from builders. We've also got a lovely brochure with illustrations of our new kitchen, which is actually very exciting. After a consultation and a trip to the showroom, our kitchen plan has been brought to life. I really, really cannot wait to have a new kitchen. I spend so much time in there, it's sort of a little haven for me. As sad as that sounds. I love cooking and do a lot of it, and it's one of the ways I unwind (wine is usually the other method, which also goes well with cooking, I find.) Our kitchen isn't terrible - it's not a bad size, but very badly laid out. I've got a tiny amount of counter space, which drives me up the wall. All I want is more space to work, and less things on my counter. Except for my KitchenAid, which will go on a pedestal with a disco light shining on it at all times.

I keep labelling things I say and do as being "middle-aged" like getting excited about a new kitchen but truthfully, a new kitchen would have thrilled me in my 20s and 30s, too. And isn't it now trendy to be into old lady things like gin, knitting, and sewing? I love a good cup of tea (with a giant slice of cake, obviously), curling up with a great book, and grabbing every minute of quiet I can get. I think in my mind, I'm somewhere between 25 and 75. I'm still cool though, because I'm still loving my Converse running shoes and have shiny Doc Martens with spotty laces. Well...cool or horribly embarrassing.