So Alice and I met with the representative from the Italian Consulate this morning, sighed our paperwork, and then mailed everything out for approval by the consulate (whose nearest office is in Detroit).
I get really nervous when I don't know exactly where my passport is, and I have a very good reason. When I was first getting my passport, back in spring of '07, I was applying in order to go on my 3 month internship in Montreal. I sent out everything, paid the $90 fee to have it expedited (or rather, mom did), and then waited. Within the allotted time, a bright, shiny passport arrived in the mail, with one teeny tiny problem: It listed my birthdate as June 24, 1937.
Now I know I might not be the prettiest girl at the ball, but 1937? Really? Do they even double check their work at the federal government (wait, don't answer that. Silly question).
Needless to say, I had to send it back. By this time, it was getting awfully close to June 15 and my departure date, but according to the website (at least at the time, I don't know about now) they don't want you to call about the status of a passport unless you are traveling within two weeks. So I waited. And then I called. I called every day for five days (sometimes twice) only to be pawned off from one person to another, told that they couldn't help me, and that no, there was no way of contacting the specific office where my passport was located. In face I was told: "They will get to it when they get to it. It might take months." When I continued to demand that I get my passport--I was traveling in just over a week, had paid the extra fee, and the error was theirs--the manager cut me off with a "Thank you for calling" and hung up.
Did you know that when this sort of situation arises, that the only recourse for a citizen is to contact a local state rep/senator/congressman and ask them to light a fire under them?
Thankfully, my family was on speaking terms with most of them for Ohio.
Two days before I was supposed to leave, it finally showed up, with not so much as an apology or the promised reimbursement for shipping.
So, yes, I am a little touchy about my passport in general, and especially now that I have just over 4 weeks to get my visa.
But, this means that everything I have control over so far as payments, paperwork, and the like is now taken care of. All I have left is packing and finding a temporary home for my kitty, who seems to be the only one in the house with any semblance of control over the situation (little trouble maker that he is) (Why does he have to be so darned cute?).
He's so cute when he stalks inanimate objects...