....to have a staph infection of the breast, for the eighth time since the twins were born (to read about the troubles I've had with that, click HERE), coupled with a herpes simplex 1 (the cold sore and canker type) lesion directly on the nip...WHILE...waiting at the U.S. passport agency to which we traveled from Mexico to apply for passports for nine family members...DURING WHICH...we were priviledged to wait in line for four hours, with eight of our dear children...WHILE...I had the chills and a fever resulting from the staph and/or herpes simplex 1...AFTER WHICH...the fourth hour there, upon nearly completing our application process, consisting of handing in a photo, cash, a check, the passport form, a birth certificate and a signature...TIMES NINE...we discovered that we had accidentally reversed two numbers in our mailing address. I innocently pointed this out just as we were finishing up the process and the woman at the desk informed me that because the forms had already been printed out on the computer and the computer had already bar-coded all of the information on the form, there was no way we could change the address. We would have to fill out all new forms, all nine of them, but the office was to close within ten minutes and it would be impossible to finish the task.
I was nearly devastated by this point. I had already spent four hours huddled under a blanket, sometimes curled up on an uncomfortable chair, sometimes laying as straight out as I could on an uncomfortable chair, leaning my head against the wall and falling asleep with my mouth wide open in front of about a hundred strangers, and once even lying on the cold tile, using my diaper bag as a pillow, to try and slip into unconciousness and escape my fever and chills and sore breast. I looked at John and told him, "Well, I guess there is nothing we can do. We'll have to come back later and do this all over again." This is where one of John's greatest gifts came into play. John is a master at smoothing and soothing and even, I could say, kissing up. His charm and wit kicked into action and, rather than getting angry, he smiled and politely asked if he could return alone early the next week with the new, corrected forms. She didn't hesitate to say yes. He then asked if he would have to start at the back of the line, and she said, unfortunately, yes. He smiled his gorgeous smile and said that was okay, then she changed her mind and said that her name was Maria, and that perhaps he could simply stick his head in the door and ask for her, and she would see him after she was finished with her current customer.
So she gave us back all of our paperwork, about seven items for each person, and sent us on our way. So John has to go back to the states next week to try this again, but at least his gets to peek his head in the door.
Some may wonder how it went with eight kids, including a set of 14-month-old twins, for four hours at a passport agency. Here's how we coped....
1. We took turns standing in line. John and the three older kids each took 30-minutes turns, thus affording good long breaks in-between stints.
2. What with my fever and chills, I was useless, so while one person stood in line, the person who was about to stand in line got a break and each of the three older kids leftover were assigned a twin or a toddler to care for. We did this switch about seven times.
3. We had sippy cups, snacks, a near-by cafeteria, and vending machines.
4. There was an empty hallway in which the kids could run. HUGE help!
5. And lastly, I am just lucky that my kids help out so much. I'm not going to lie. There was some sighing and eye-rolling and even denied requests to go wait out in the car, where it was "more comfortable", but they accomplished their tasks and we made it through the day.
We ordered pizza for dinner that night. I even ate some. Yes, being a vegan. I was sick and spent and didn't have the energy nor inclination to make myself a special meal, so I cheated. And the twelve-year-old boy said that I always cheat and that he is going to call the cops. That would be interesting.
So, I guess the ENTIRE day wasn't miserable, just the fever, chills, and passport parts. The rest was great.
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