Today I completely messed up thread

I don’t think we have a thread that deals with these scenarios - you know, the ones where for a moment the world ends, your stomach sinks down to your feet and, generally the world feels like it’s just sticking it’s finger up and laughing at you. Well GWJ, today (technically yesterday now) I did just that.

You see, at 6am today (it’s about 1.30am here now) Mrs Sorb, Mini-Sorb and I, along with Mrs Sorb’s family are supposed to be getting on a plane to go on a weeks holiday on a very nice Island in the Mediterranean. My FiL pays for it all, we just cover the flights and it’s much need family break after a long and difficult year. Mrs Sorb’s grandmother passed away, my FiL having a bad scare with his health and just generally being very busy.

So while I was just checking through the last of our paperwork late on Thursday, I found myself just checking that our Passports were still in date. Guess what? Mine and Mrs Sorb’s were fine. Mini-Sorb’s had expired back in August.

This caused a lot of swearing. (Very loud vocal swearing). Cue Mrs Sorb coming to find out what all the commotion is. I tell her. She joins in with the loud vocal swearing, then we calm down a little. first we try denial - ‘ oh we’ll just go, they probably won’t notice’ - which didn’t last very long because we’re not daft and we were mostly in shock. then came the gut punch realisation that we had monumentally screwed up and were going to have to explain to Mini-Sorb that the holiday she’s been waiting to go on for weeks - we probably weren’t going to be able to go.

Didn’t sleep a lot, spent the night mostly reading the government website (this is in the UK) about emergency passport issuing, Exactly what we’d have to do (spend a lot of money for starters) to get a application in and then reading websites of other people’s experiences, none of which were particularly optimistic. While the UK government will do a 1 day turn around for an adult passport, they don’t for a child’s. Apparently that’s because they regard anyone taking a child out of the country at short notice probably means they are abducting them from the other parent. So you are supposed to wait a week. Knobs.

So yesterday morning Mini-Sorb woke up and immediately told us how excited she was about the holiday. Have you ever broken your child’s heart? I don’t recommend it. It’s one of the most hideously awful experiences of my life. There was a lot of crying. By everyone. Once we calmed her down I made an appointment at our ‘local’ passport office (about an hours drive away) paying a lot of money for the privilege, and the went and got an application form from our local post office. That part was easy. Then we went to get some New passport photos taken of mini-sorb. The UK government is very picky about passport photos (gotta be exactly right) but thankfully, a local photo shop does them properly for a fee. So we went there and got the photos done. Not cheap, could have been worse.

Then I filled out the application form. The application form itself is 4 pages. The information booklet telling you how to fill it out is 40 pages long. While I was doing that, Mrs Sorb took us to a friends house where they could counter-sign one of the photos (they have to be verified as actually being of Mini-Sorb, by someone who is a friend (known us for at least 2 years) but not a relative and also have a accepted profession) The friend signed the photo, signed the application form, gave us a coffee
(they are good friends!) and then we went to my in-laws to get all the other travel documents we’d need, and Mrs Sorb’s grandmother’s death certificate because that was our excuse - so much going on with that it’s the reason we forgot to check and renew the passport before it expired.

Then we drove the hours drive to the passport office. Got there in good time, killed an hour having some very nice cakes in a local cafe, then went to the appointment. The guy only wanted to speak to Mrs Sorb (I was really only there to show nobody was abducting mini-sorb, we just wanted to go on holiday!) but she did a fantastic job of explaining it all and writing a short paragraph on all the circumstances. We’d filled in the forms perfectly, the photos were accepted with no issues, a death in the family is one of the of accepted criteria for getting a child’s passport expedited.

Then he had to ask his manager. Who I will now call Karen. Karen listened to his explanation, took a look at the forms, glanced at the death certificate and said ‘She died in May. That’s been more than enough time for them to get their act together. Tell them they’ll have to wait.”

I called her something incredibly rude under my breath at that point (there was a very large security guard stood not very far away) and then had to deal with mini-sorbs floods of tears again. However the guy who was helping us did say that the passport should get processed tomorrow, and with any luck, we might get it on Monday. So now I’m looking at hideously expensive flights out on Tuesday so we at least get a few days out there.

The moral of this tale is, I’d you’re going on holiday, check your passports at least a month before you go!

Update: We now have Mini-Sorb's new passport and have a flight booked out very early tomorrow morning, a train ride this afternoon to get to that airport and a stay in a hotel overnight (I say over-night, we'll be getting up at 3am)

3 and a half days instead of 7 but could be worse I guess.

Ouch, Sorbicol! I'm sorry to hear that you've had such a stressful and expensive few days. But well done on salvaging something from the situation.

Yep, passports can be bugger. I'd offer a further piece of advice:

Check the rules in the destination country. Some require that your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of arrival. Others require that you have a minimum number of blank pages in your passport for visa stamps.

For what it's worth, my partner and I missed a flight to the Far East after she accidentally threw away her passport while we were in the lounge. It had become mixed in with some newspapers, and she didn't notice as she helpful put them in the bin-bag proffered by the lounge cleaner. We were due out on the last flight of the night, so the lounge was closed and locked when we dashed back to find the missing passport.

Suffice to say, it's surprisingly hard to get out of an airport at gone-midnight, when only one of you has passport.

Got married in 2011. Leaving for the honeymoon in a week and can't find our passports anywhere (we moved and figure we may have lost them in the move or something). I agree on the "Costed an arm and a leg for new passports) but we did it!

Now I know exactly where they are and exactly when they expire.

I have definitely had that sinking feeling but mostly associated with work.

I hope you are forgiven and enjoyed your holiday.

I forgot that I scheduled, not 1, but 2 doctors' appointments yesterday. One of them was with a Dermatologist, so there was no way in hell that I was rescheduling that. I hadn't called in sick without being sick in years, but desperate times, desperate measures and all that.

12 years ago I completely messed up - similar passport story. I was supposed to go to Turkey for a business trip. Left the house with all my bags and my passport. Got to the airport security check-in 30 minutes later, no passport. Not in my bags, not in my car, not at home, not lying on the ground in between the parking lot and the airport, not anywhere that I could find. I retraced my steps all the way back home. No passport. Notified airport lost and found. No passport. Missed the trip entirely.

To this day I have no idea where it went. I was always anxious about losing my passport before that, now I'm positively paranoid. At least it didn't happen in Turkey. I might still be sitting in a Turkish prison.

Grenn wrote:

I forgot that I scheduled, not 1, but 2 doctors' appointments yesterday. One of them was with a Dermatologist, so there was no way in hell that I was rescheduling that. I hadn't called in sick without being sick in years, but desperate times, desperate measures and all that.

Why? Don't want to wait another year for the next open spot?

My wife is Australian. I am Northern Irish. As thus I can hold a British and/or an Irish passport. I had assumed due to the years of marriage, and all of the successful citizenship nonsense, and financial fleecing, that my wife could secure a British and/or an Irish passport upon expiration of her Australian passport. Nope. Well, that's fine. We'll make do with another Australian one.

So. We're told by the people who work in the necessary consulates and various government representatives that we'll need to journey to Australia. What? Then we are corrected, upon query, that we can instead simply journey to London. What? Then Dublin when we query again. The trip itself was one of the worst days for multiple reasons to the extent we almost missed our appointment, which was already cutting it close to some deadline or another. This had us concerned due to past memories of a deportation threat upon my wife losing her Residents Permit Card (when her purse was stolen from her bag at work, with proof from her employer, a police report, and a letter from the courts upon prosecution of the thief) and we were consequently held to ransom by the Home Office to pay (£1,300) for the entire process all over again at a higher cost than previously (£900), on top of any other fees.

Passports. Immigration. Home Office. Ugh! I loathe the thought. We were often made to feel like we had to stump up every penny we had, and detail every aspect of our relationship, to compensate for free roaming European citizens.

(Love the idea for this thread, by the way. I've nothing for the immediate present. Plenty from my history, though.)

Oh, so there's a thread for mess-ups. AWESOME!

Today (well... this is a mess up that took several weeks to reveal itself).

I'm a teacher. I sponsor a STEM after-school club. My school was invited to attend a field trip to a hands-on workshop day at a nearby physics lab. Super cool event that we've had the chance to attend several times. The kids love it!

This year, I said I would only take 16 students in my club. We were asked for the numbers we would bring on the trip as soon as we found out about the trip. So, I responded with 16 kids, and likely 2 adults.

Annnnnyway, and here's where the GOOD INTENTIONS I had start to pave the way to "Oh crap oh crap oh crap!"

I actually got multiple parent volunteers to help out!! 28 students applied, and with the extra help, I could split the work up and accept everyone into the group. No kid has to be turned down, and I get to facilitate a cooperative STEM group for as many kids who want in! YES! I was so happy (AM so happy, still that went the way it did).

Well, we got an e-mail about transportation, that "would be based on the numbers we sent." OH CRAP.

So now, I sit here waiting to find out if my group can be accommodated with 12 more students and 1 more adult. I feel terrible. I was so focused on the positive, of being able to expand the club, (and then doing the regular parts of my job), that it never even crossed my mind to update the field trip numbers.

So yes, I screwed up.

This was a few years ago (and I think I even posted at the time about this), but I had a similar vacation to yours, Sorbs. Long and rambling a bit, I'll spoiler it.


Back in 2015 we got a deal on a dual vacation through our insurance company. $3000, which would involve renting an apartment in Williamsburg, VA at a small resort for a week, and a room for two on a cruise. Well, the cruise doesn't work well for our family of 4, so my wife had planned to do the first week as a family with a girl we were kind of friends with, and we were attempting to hire as a live in nanny, and then they'd do the cruise while I took the week off with the kids.

Leading up to the cruise, my wife felt guilty that the kids and I wouldn't be there as well, and talked me into booking the same flight and another room on the cruise. As luck would have it, the internal room across the hall from her balcony room was available, so while pricey, I booked everything.

The first week was pretty nice. It was laid back, we drove around Williamsburg, down to Virginia Beach, did a handful of relaxing things, and overall didn't have any complaints. The second week was pretty much a disaster.

The plan was to travel from Williamsburg on Saturday back up to our home in Maryland, unpack our bags there, pack up for our flights the next morning to Florida where we'd catch the ship. Unbeknownst to us, the entire east coast for American Airlines had had a networking issue which meant every airport was packed with people trying to fly out after their flights had been cancelled. My first mistake, was being wrong on the airport codes. I thought we'd be flying out of Dulles, but it was actually supposed to be Reagan. Not a major issue, we'd given ourselves 3.5 hours, and it's only a 45 minute drive with parking, so we head over there. The line of people trying to check in was basically going around the building.

After standing for a bit my wife found an employee, mentioned that our flight to Ft. Lauderdale, FL was booked for today, and they were able to get us through the check in area. Next was security which was also backed up. At this point the pressure is on, but we're still 30 minutes or so from our flight. As I step up with our carry-on luggage, I get pulled because my wife packed baby powder and protein powder in her bag that I was carrying. By the time I get through, they'd given our seats away and wouldn't let us board. We stood there arguing with employees while the doors were still open for the plane we were supposed to be on.

I was already ready to concede defeat, and head home. I wanted to just cut our losses with the boys and not bother with it. My wife was hell bent to get us all on this ship, even if it meant catching it at it's first stop in Puerto Rico on Day 3 (of 7). At one point she'd found a flight that would get her and her friend there before the ship left and she didn't take them because she wanted us along as well. Grrr... We spent hours running from one side of that airport to the other, the entire time I'm dragging a kid along while carrying bags and car seats... I was exhausted. Eventually she found a flight to Miami that would arrive about 30 minutes after the ship left. Next problem, passports. Leaving from Ft. Lauderdale and then returning there meant we hadn't needed them... but if you fly to Puerto Rico, catch a cruise, and then disembark at Florida, you do. There's a passport office in Miami but the first available appointment was for that Thursday, which was like day 5 of the cruise. So I looked up the next closest, which was Atlanta, and got us an appointment there.

To summarize the next bit... we flew to Miami, arrived around 6PM, and rented a mini-van (which in and of itself was a hassle because we no longer carried a credit card with us at all, but we managed to get one booked through USAA). Then we drove up to the airport in Ft. Lauderdale to grab our luggage, because unlike us it had made the flight. Then we drove through the night to Atlanta, GA, and ended up arriving about an hour before our appointment the next day. We got through the paperwork, provided pictures (a CVS was across the street), and paid an obscene amount to get it all rushed. Next we booked a flight to Puerto Rico from Atlanta, which had an 8 hour layover in Miami... We ended up sleeping in the terminal while one person kept watch on our stuff. We ended up getting to Puerto Rico about 3 hours before the ship got there, and we paid a cabby to just drive us around and tell us about the area like an informal tour.

We're finally taking another cruise next year, and my anxiety is pretty high concerning it. We're leaving out of NJ and are probably going to drive up the night before, no chance in hell we're flying. I need to get my kids' passports renewed sometime in the next year, which I'll start soon (just booked the cruise this past weekend) just to make sure that's not an issue.

Grenn wrote:

I forgot that I scheduled, not 1, but 2 doctors' appointments yesterday. One of them was with a Dermatologist, so there was no way in hell that I was rescheduling that. I hadn't called in sick without being sick in years, but desperate times, desperate measures and all that.

Lots of companies allow you to use sick hours for doctors appointments.

Or, you’re just “sick” no worries. I won’t tell anyone.

Fun thread.