Five years sure does fly by....our passports have expired, and it's time to renew them.
If you are a Canadian citizen, it used to be that you could cross the border with only a birth certificate and a smile. (Unless you are my father, in which case you enter the United States with a library card and the incredible luck of having the border guard's grandfather born in the same county in Ireland where you grew up.) Now we are required to have an actual passport.
Filing for passports is not child's play....you have to jump through some considerable hoops to get one, and all for the priviledge of having an official document that you are ashamed to show anyone. Everyone's passport photo looks terrible, that's a given, but my passport photo is unspeakable....I look as though I've been made over by hyperactive toddlers, and shot out of a cannon. My mother says that if you look like your passport photo, then you are too sick to travel.
Even the kids' photos are horrendous...Thing 1 only looks like she's been drugged, but Thing 2 appears to have just been arrested and she's none too happy about it. My father's passport picture is so awful we pull it out every now and again when we need a good laugh.
I went down to the passport office, which has big signs all over it saying they will NOT give you any indication WHATSOEVER as to how long the wait will be, so DON'T EVEN BOTHER asking, and other signs telling you that foul language, profanity and abuse of the staff will not be tolerated, which makes me wonder just how long people have to wait anyway.
The first line is to tell you whether or not you have everything tickety-boo, and whether or not you should even bother waiting in the second line. A very nice woman looked over my document for myself and the Mister, and said all was as it should be, and then she looked over the girls' stuff and asked where their birth certificates were. Ohhhh. Birth certs. I didn't know I needed them. Damn. Then, because I didn't use foul language or abuse her, she said I could get our stuff done and come back another time for the girls stuff when I had the right docs.
After waiting in the most soul-destroying, joyless room imaginable for 20 minutes, I got my turn and got everything sorted out. I explained to the next very nice woman that I had to come back and she gave me a super-secret, extra-special little bit of paper that would allow me to jump the line when I came back!! See??? It pays not to swear at people who are in charge of your destiny!! I went back later that afternoon and got in and out in about 10 minutes.
So now we will get our passports mailed to us in a couple of weeks, and I can cross the border any time I want, as long as I don't scare anyone who looks at my picture.