Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Stats Of It All.

I’m a firm believer in "anything can happen". I’m a firm believer in if it can, and it’s weird and unexpected it very likely will happen. Although…if it’s likely, then it’s no longer unexpected. Would that mess up the math of it all?

There is a next-to-nothing chance that I will win the lottery. I can’t legitimately say no chance as I am in on the office pool of lottery ticket buying. I WILL NOT be the only person left behind if the office lottery pool wins millions! I rarely buy my own tickets, though, and I am aware that it is statistically unlikely that I’ll retire early on a lottery win.

I also know that it is not likely (although more likely than a lottery win or just finding a sack of money) that I’ll win any of the 27+ contests I entered. All but a handful of which, by the way, are for travel. Travel somewhere that I won’t be needing mitts, hat, coat, long johns, under armour and a hardy pioneer toughness.

You know what IS likely to happen though? Winning a trip…and not being able to go because I don’t have a passport. That would be so absolutely typical. And something I would grieve the remainder of my life, I think. And the teasing…I’d never live it down. Can you imagine? Actually winning a trip to Italy and not being able to go due to lack of paperwork? I would deserve every single snide comment if that happened.

I have now rebalanced the universe and returned to things to "very unlikely" that I’ll win a trip. I am passported. So to speak. At least in 8 to 10 business days I will be. I should have had it by now but despite the basic process I managed to have to go to the Passport office three times.

The first time I thought I had everything I needed. I had the forms filled out, had my guarantor, had my witnesses and the official pictures. Pictures that I had taken at Wal-Mart. Mainly because I was there, no one else was waiting and it would save me a trip.

I had several pictures taken, the photographer and The Girl picked one, and it got printed. And then photographer laughed a little and showed my picture to The Girl. They both agreed it was something unusable. Not sure what the problem was (she tore it up), but I guess it was so awful that they didn't even want me to see it. So we started again. And I got my little pictures; put the little folder in the inside zipped pocket and the next day went to the Passport Office. Only to find that I had no pictures. Which made absolutely no sense. I remember putting the pictures in that pocket. The only other thing in there is a two dollar bill. Not like I could miss seeing the photos if they were there. So. I left.

Got more pictures, went back. But (and this is totally my fault, I didn’t read things carefully, and it’s been 16 years since I had a passport so I forgot all the rules) the pictures hadn’t been signed by my guarantor. So. I left.

Went back today, assuming that everything was perfect. Everything was NOT perfect, but at least I didn’t have to leave. First of all, I said I was born in Toronto. But the birth certificate says East York. Lucky for me between the time I was born and today the two had amalgamated. Off the hook for that one.

The next issue was my name. I write out what my first name really is as one word. It is two on my birth certificate, two on my driver’s license. And on the other ID I was using (and everything else, because she wanted to check) it was the name I actually use and sign everything with. This did NOT make the powers that be happy. So giant red pen slash through the name to make it into two names. Also giant red pen slash on so many other things I was starting to get worried. I forgot little things – the city of one of my references, my own postal code, and – by far the worst – I signed the first page incorrectly. If your signature ends up in the grey area of the signature box the whole thing fails. She said that if the sticker they have covers it all, then I can sign again. If not…then a new front page and I’d have to start again. Which would mean leaving. Again.

The point is, though, not that I’m likely to be winning one of those contests but that if I do I won’t have to turn it down. So there. Also means when I visit family on Vancouver Island I can go to Seattle if I want to. And if…as it seems to be heading that way…I have a weather break down and run away from home some time this winter, I can run somewhere warm.


  1. Getting my passport was one of the most vexing bits of bureaucracy I've ever endured. Try finding a valid guarantor when you're a non-politically active atheist who doesn't go to doctors and whose dentist is on vacation the week you need to get the paperwork done. Seriously. Not fun. I mean really, all they need to do is check a blood sample for my Timbit content to make sure I am in fact Canadian.

  2. Just went and looked at the form and they did make it much easier to find guarantors now...it used to have to be a member of law enforcement, Doctor, clergy or an elected politician and the person couldn't be related to you in any way. I actually couldn't find a suitable one, and had to pay to have another form filled out by a Notary.

  3. The first passport is always the hardest. Don't worry. and if you get a good picture, it is likely unacceptable as it won't look like how you will look after 48 hours with no sleep and standing in immigration line at an airport for an hour and half.
    Working on my fifth passport. Last one through the Embassy in Kyiv. Try finding a guarantor in Ukraine who has known me WELL for enough time and has enough English to fill out the form. Thankfully, they have a back up. For another $50, the Embassy will act as guarantor. New form, two more references, who were contacted and vouched for me.