I mean, things happen to me ALL the time...terrible things that normally turn any vacation upside down, except when they happen to me, they all somehow work out in the end.
It's like God keeps bailing me out of these situations which are brought on solely by my absentminded flakeyness. Is he rewarding me for stupidity? Or - as my lovely and amazingly patient BF brought up - is it only fair considering the unfortunate circumstances that have shaped my life?
Either way, I am grateful.
For a total list of all the travel mishaps, I suggest you read an old post HERE - and be warned, you will shake your head and want to smack me. But then come back to this post because I need to add the latest fiasco.
As you can see, I have bad luck with passports...in fact, last time I got back from Palm Springs, I got a call from a guy when I got home...turns out he was cleaning the plane and found my PASSPORT in the seat pocket. Yup. I just forgot it there.
Last Wednesday, my bf and I wento Disneyland. We did this last year at this time and had so much fun we decided to do it again.
I was so stoked...happy to have the time off work, happy to be in a stress-free environment (except that being around screaming children can be quite aggravating....am I the ONLY one who feels that Disneyland is actually a fantastic form of Birth Control???) and happy to have sunshine.
We got in the cab at 530AM to catch our 8AM flight. Everything was right on track. I was bleary-eyed and headed from the four hours of sleep but I was excited despite it and knew I was set with my passport, plane tickets, hotel confirmation, park tickets and money in hand.
Then, as the cab was 5 minutes from the airport, a sinking feeling crept over me. I had my passport, yes...but wasn't I supposed to reknew it recently?
I tried to shake it off, surely I went to the States recently and would have noticed...but why did I feel that it had expired in August of 2008?
I bit my lip, looked over at my BF who had a sleepy, dreamy look on his face as we approached the terminal and decided that I needed to know NOW whether my passport was expired or not. I had to know the truth.
I took out my passport in the dark and did a double take. It said it expired six months ago, August 2008. I closed my eyes, willed it to go away, and looked again.
NOPE. Still there. The cold hard reality was that my passport expired. I wasn't going ANYWHERE! The plane ticket, the hotel, the tickets...all a waste. Back to work we go. My heart absolutely froze.
I looked over at him and said meekly, "You are going to hate me."
"You'll hate me. I hate me"
"My passport expired last year"
He told me he thought I had just forgotten something at home...nope. MUCH WORSE THAN THAT.
However, the cab driver overheard me and suggested we still go to the airport because he thought I still might be able to fly. I didn't see how that was possible, considering how strict Homeland Security is, but I was willing to do ANYTHING to still go.
We go into the airport after the driver wished us luck and I march meekly up to the Air Canada counter.
"We're going to Disneyland and I just realized my passport expired," I looked up at the ticket agent with tears in eyes.
The agent was very nice and took my passport to Homeland Security - for those who don't know, the Vancouver aiport has US Customs right in the airport, so you actually clear customs here and not in the US. This came MOST in handy this time, as the agent was able to talk to a customs agent about my dilemma. They said that there was no gaurantee but that they would look at my situation and see what they could do.
So the ticket agent processed our flight and tickets and checked our bag and I was off to Customs, where of course I got the huge "I" for inspecion written on my form and had to go into that room where you think only bad people are waiting.
By some grace of God, it didn't take too long before a customs agent saw me and even though she warned there might be a huge fee involved, the fee was waived for some reason and they gave me a temporary visa waiver into the States. Followed by a finger-wagging "don't do this again" type deal.
Don't do this again? I didn't even think I could do it ONE time?
Of course, now that we were safely cleared for our travel to Disneyland, one worry remained...how would I get back into Canada? Without a valid passport, how would I get on the plane back home? How would I get into the country? Would I be stuck in Canada customs and sleep at the airport, just like in The Terminal?
Somehow I put all these worries out of my head and enjoyed 5 days of hot sunshine, Disneyland, churros, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Rolling Rock beer, sore feet (ok, didn't enjoy that) and not-working.
Then it came time to leave - yesterday. At John Wayne airport I checked in electronically...it asked for my passport info and the expiration date...I made one up lol and it fooled the machine!
Then my passport was inspected prior to screening...the guy didn't notice anything.
Then before we connected in San Francisco, the ticket agent made an announcement stressing "if you do not have a valid passport or it is expired, please see me first."
I've never heard that announcement before, so I started to think it was directed solely at me. Homeland Security checking up?
Either way, he looked at my visa waiver and said everything was "all cool."
Cool. Now let's hope Canada Customs thinks my expired passport is cool too.
Guess what? They did!
After I explained what happened to the customs agent, all she said was: "Really? They made you sign a form? Why, we let Americans in with expired passports all the time! So, how was Disneyland?"
It all went a little too smoothly...was it because we were going to/coming from Disneyland which makes us innocent? Or that having a valid passport really isn't as important as they want you to believe?
All I know is that I am applying for a new passport this week - I've been lucky so far but there is no way I am pushing it :)
Now, on to the fashion! It was hard packing for Disneyland because I had forgotten what warmth and dry weather felt like. I am so used to heavy jackets and scarfs and umbrellas that wearing just a dress was confusing to me. But I think I made it work: