Saturday, March 6, 2010

One of those weeks

Fun. Busy. And a tad frustrating!

Let's just get the frustrating out of the way! Passport renewal. Living in the USA, we must mail our applications to Canada for renewal, every 5 years. Along with that must go our current passport, so we're left feeling a little bit vulnerable! Now, they've changed/simplified renewal for adults, so we no longer have to send our proof of citizenship in the form of our original birth certificates, and we no longer have to have a guarantor sign to support that we are who we say we are. However, you can no longer do your own photos, which we've done in the past. And Canada's passport photo size is different than the U.S. So it was necessary to find a commercial photographer who could provide the correct size of photo and not charge us an arm and a leg.

After striking out with UPS and CVS, I found that Walgreen's could do it for us at the somewhat reasonable price of $7.99 per individual. It's actually very cool -- they just load the photos onto a Fuji machine, select the country from a list of several, and it enables the user to set up the photo properly and sizes it correctly. Stamped and signed by the photographer.

Now, for Nick, as a child, I still had to submit his original birth certificate (which was the cause of a lengthy delay last time, as Passport Canada made me have MB issue a long form birth certificate, which they had to send to me, and I in turn had to forward to PC -- love government!)  Nick also still required a guarantor, who last time, for all three of us, had been our dentist, based on the guidelines defined by the instructions on the passport app. This time, the guarantor has to be a Canadian citizen posessing a valid Canadian passport. Piece of cake when you live in the U.S. -- not!!!! However, Marc and I, being of reasonable intelligence, agreed that he fell under the definition of guarantor as the other parent, not the applicant/parent, who was me. Confusing? Of course. That seems to be the way they want it to be!

Next is the post office. I figured I'd simply overnight it, pay whatever inflated rate they charge, and guarantee that it gets into the hands of Passport Canada asap. But our little Oreland PO doesn't mail many of these, and it took 3 visits to get it right. But I do have to applaud the awesome people who work there, who spent waaaay too much of their time on this. It started on Tuesday, I went back Wednesday to actually mail it, and it came back to me Thursday as some of the information concerning the values of the package was conflicting. Back to the PO Thursday morning, I left it in the capable hands of the postmaster, and popped in later in the day to be assured that it was taken care of, and that the receipt would be delivered to me Friday.

Well it was, and using the tracking on the USPS site, I was able to confirm that it was delivered in Ottawa by day's end. Now, I hold my breath, cross my fingers and hope that Passport Canada likes what we sent and returns our new passports and expired ones in a timely manner. That's only Nick and myself. Marc is off to Singapore and Australia next week (visiting the bubs, lucky Grandpere!) so he can't renew his passport until he returns. Which cuts it close to getting it back in time to travel to Winnipeg for Pier & Nate's wedding. I don't care that we can't visit Canada for spring break -- as long as we can be there for the wedding!!

The rest of the week was fun. I had an enjoyable Monday morning visit with Pastor Kay, including lunch. Gab's school had their annual pasta dinner put on by the 5th graders last night, the Blankemeyers joined us for soup supper on Wednesday, I joined Gab's class at Robbins Park on Thursday and Nick participated in the Music in Our Schools program Thursday evening. He played guitar, of course, and was amazing, even though he didn't care for the song!  Oh, and on Thursday we also squeezed in a dentist visit for Nick, a follow up after his wisdom teeth removal. All's good, he's healing well, and seems to be chewing like normal!

The schools had early dismissal yesterday afternoon, so Gaby's book group met in the afternoon. It's as much fun for the Moms as it is for the girls and it's been turning into a baby playgroup lately, as Lexi's twin brothers become more mobile (they'll be a year next month) and EK's baby sister Caroline does more than eat and sleep (she's pushing 6 months) Gaby's friend Julia hosted this month. They moved into the oldest house in our neighborhood almost 3 years ago, and have been slowly restoring the huge and stately home. Nine or ten foot ceilings, seven foot windows, spacious rooms and they have the coolest furnishings and pieces to pull it all together. It's always fun to see what new has been done since our last visit. Of course there was Woody the puppy who is new, and a friend for Jimmy the cat, and the coop of chickens out back. Never a dull moment there!

Using Starburst fruit chews to understand how rocks are formed over time. A fun and tasty way to never forget this lesson!!

There's this really cool wall with wingspans, and as the kids visit Robbins Park over the years they go from a humming bird to a red tail hawk and beyond.

These gentlemen belong to some DelVal carving group and meet here every Thursday. They've carved the canoe and totems poles featured outside, and work on a variety of small and intricate pieces inside. Gaby was fascinated with their work and they were more than happy to share their stories and their skills.

Nick and members of his guitar class performed at the Music In Our Schools Program Thursday evening. All levels performed, starting with the combined 5th grade orchestra. Thursday's performances were all instrumental -- choral groups performed Tuesday. It's amazing to see how the kids progress through the years, and motivating for both the kids and parents to see how far they can go. An incredible show!

Book club at Julia's. A fun way to wind up the week!

And now we're onto a busy weekend, getting as much Dad time as we can before he takes off halfway around the world. 

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