The principal at your child's school can be your passport guarantor, as long as you have everything signed and photocopied. Had to drop the passport off and then go back out and pick it up. Then got E. and went straight downtown to Gaston, where, if someone had said "the post office" I totally would have known where to go. I figured the roads were so crappy only an idiot would go to get their passport done now. Ha Ha Ha.
The line up wasn't too long, only about 24 people ahead of us. We were told how to figure out how long it would take...
15 minutes a passport, not a person, so if one person has 5 kids that need passports, do the math,
if there are 4 people working, 4 people every 15 minutes get their paper work done, about 16 an hour,
if one employee takes a break, you can try to bribe them with money or chocolate but it doesn't work;
you can try to buy a seat further up the line, I don't know what the going rate was;
a passport costs $103 and change.
We didn't move for over 1/2 an hour. No one came in after us for at least that time. When someone did, we moved and moved and moved. And then the guy behind me says "what's the big deal, this is nothing, I'll be out of here in about an hour and a 1/2" and I'm thinking we've been here for over 2 hours, shut up. But you know, no one was grumpy, everyone was in a good mood dispite having to wait in what looks like a fire trap for at least 2 hours.
And even though the idiots were on the road, they weren't in the passport office. A man was told around 3:30 that he needed to have this and that for his wife's passport and she wasn't there, so he asked the people on either side if they would hold his spot. And they did, he promised them chocolate. Every time we moved, the woman in front of him picked up his sandwich and moved it with her. Then the sandwich gets to the front of the line, everyone is speculating "did he just go home, did he say forget it?" when the owner walks in just as they call "Next please". He had a huge tray of chocolate in his hands and passed it to the woman in front of him, and the man behind, and then to everyone waiting. Most of whom didn't even know what was going on. And we ate the chocolate dispite the germs and everyone was happy! I was really glad the kids got to see this, especially after seeing the crazy drivers. We all agreed to meet again in 5 years to renew our passports, except for the guy behind me who is going back in 4.5 years to beat the rush!
And the passport agents are postal workers, not 'government agents', so they are really pleasant! At least, this is what the kids and I decided.
And guess what, Kerry gets to go back with the rest of the passports. We only did Shaun's because he needs it ASAP. And if you need it before March 15, too bad! It takes at least 40 business days right now.