Moving sucks. Losing a passport sucks more.

I hate moving. It’s ironic, coming from someone who used to move multi-truck shows pretty much every week. Besides touring, I have had approximately thirty-seven addresses in my life. This is not an exaggeration. You can ask my mother and she’ll happily show you her paper address book.

Every time I move, I put it off until the last possible minute. Moving checklists from organizational type entities such as women’s magazines or the Post Office start two months out. I rarely have my next address two months out. I always use the same method: on moving day, throw everything in bags, suitcases, and milk crates and carry it out until it’s gone.

WARNING: This method doesn’t work when moving a household of seven people (in case you thought it sounded like a good plan that you might want to try).

In my defense, when we finally bought a house I knew my old method of moving wasn’t going to work, and we attempted those insane two-months-out checklists. It still came about that moving day dawned with less than half the house packed up. The movers got there late- but not that late.

The best part about the move is that CC had to work.  One of the features of our jobs is that sometimes you actually can’t get a day off for very important things. Neat. He got up early, packed up some more boxes, went out and got me a bazillion shot cappuccino from our local coffee shop, and left for work.

Around this time, #1 was prepping for a trip to Europe. It was a big deal: an academic group that was invitation only. She did a ton of work with the group before the trip.

In 2008 when CC and I got married, #1 gave me this purse at my bridal shower (I promise, this is significant to the story):

On the day of the wedding, it became the thing I couldn’t lose. It held the rings; the check for the caterers; the money for the minister; the money for the band; the marriage certificate; the keys to Miss Lucy, my ’66 Mustang; my lipstick; and my chocolate.

Likewise, when we honeymooned in Costa Rica, it held our money and passports and credit cards- right up  until the moment when we started driving through the flood:

. . . at which point I transferred everything to my undergarments. CC got us through the floods fine, though it was beyond sketchy at several points. To hold up my end of the bargain I made with god, I haven’t complained about his driving since. For real.

So the pirate purse was my logical place to put everything important on the day of the move. The money for the movers, the keys to both houses, my ID, and #1’s recently-acquired passport, because she needed it for her trip in about three weeks.

We moved. It sucked. Around 9pm, there was no place left to put boxes in any of the rooms, but there were boxes filling the last quarter of the truck. I told the movers to stack them in the garage. They moved faster than they’d moved the entire day and I couldn’t keep up- end result being that any box we might actually need was topped by six other boxes that had come out of basement storage.

Over the next couple days, we began making paths and striving for some order out of the chaos. This was when I noticed that #1’s passport was NOT in the pirate purse.

Crap.

I remembered putting the passport in there. Except, clearly, I hadn’t. So where was it?

We spent a total of three days going through every box literally three times. It was a mind-numbing, time-consuming experience that left us drained and our house in even more disorder, and still we did not find the passport.

Crap.

By this point, we had to tell #1 that I had lost her passport in the move. Any shred of belief she had about me being responsible vanished at this point. CC got online and started researching how to get a passport really fast. We had the added red tape of needing to provide extra legal documentation regarding custody in person. He attempted to make appointments at several different offices and did get one.

In Pennsylvania.

In ten days.

If that didn’t work out, she wasn’t going to get to go on the trip. And it was All. My. Fault.

We continued to look for it right up to the night before the appointment. We were getting ready for bed. CC had set his alarm for some ungodly hour way before the sun was coming up. He glanced at the secretary’s desk in our room, an antique that belonged to his mother. It’s the very desk that I’m writing on right now. It folds up and has a key lock and I had placed that key in the pirate purse.

CC: Where’s the key to the desk? We haven’t looked in here.

Me: Here.

CC: That’s not the key. That’s the key to the wardrobe you gave to Lindsey and David.

Me: Crap.

We looked at each other. It was almost too much to hope for. But why would I have considered that key to be so important that it went in the Pirate Purse?

CC went to the garage and found his toolbox, because even if I can’t keep track of a passport I know not to bury the tools. He brought a file and proceeded to file the wrong key down until it fit the keyhole on the desk.

He opened the desk, and there was the passport.

I felt such a flood of relief that I feel it even now while we’re still paying for that trip on credit. I will add to my list of qualifications for stepmom of the year: I did not completely crush her soul and forfeit her trip to Europe!

Ever lost a passport? What important objects have you lost? What’s your qualification for [fill-in-the-blank] of the year?

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34 thoughts on “Moving sucks. Losing a passport sucks more.

  1. I am the queen of putting things “somewhere safe”. At the time, where I put them seems perfectly logical, but then I can never find them again. I recently found over $500 worth of gift cards that I had put “somewhere safe” before our last move. “Somewhere safe” was in one of my purses, in the zipper part. I went to use the purse and was like, oh wow!!!
    So glad you found the passport and did not ruin her life. That would have been a tough burden to bear. I know this. I have a 17 year old, whose life I ruined at age 6 when I wouldn’t let her double pierce her ears.

    1. Somewhere safe= Christmas, if you ever find it again. Did you ever let her double pierce her ears? I would have ruined her life too. We set age 11 for the first ear piercing, and anything else requires serious negotiation and sucking up on their part.

  2. That was a close one. I hate those, “I’ve just ruined my kid’s life” moments. I have them regularly. I am forever losing things I specifically remember placing in a special place I won’t forget. I always remember having the thought (I usually say it aloud to myself–I talk to myself too much), but never the place. Funny how that works.

  3. When I was asked to go to Singapore with the show I needed a passport and put it in charge of my ex FBI agent father and he kind of procrastinated but he figured it would all be fine if we took care of it with some of his connections a couple weeks before the gig. Little did we know I was on a list of people who had some prior “issues” and I was being looked into for these past “issues” so instead of getting the passport I had to wait until I was cleared of these past “issues” and I wasn’t cleared until te day before we left for Singapore. This left Richard Hester and most of the people in charge of this shin dig extremely nervous and from what i gathered they already had another Dude that sings like a chipmunk on hold. But my old man being the god that he is told me that he knew a guy in phileadelphia at the offices that would hurry me to the front of the line to get me my passport and i should be cool. So my bro and I took the hour and a half ride which tool us about 46 minutes because that’s how we do things. And as I got there that past “issue” thing wasnt cleared and they said they couldn’t get me the passport until next week. And by that time I would have been back from singing at the coolest f&@$ing hotel in the universe. So as the guy was asking me about my life he asked me what I did and even though i don’t like doing it I dropped the JB bomb and this dude happened to be an actor slash dude at the counter of wherebever the frig I was and somehow or another took care of the past “issue” and let me get the passport about 10 minutes before the offices closed at Dodgers. This left my brother and I a whole day to check out scenic phileadelphia and all it had to offer. We paid out respects to old Ben Franklin and went on our merry way. The next day I left or one of the most incredible journeys I have had on this 3 year jersey boy extravaganza…………….and now……..that coveted passport is gone……no idea where it is. I have moved 3 times since an it got lost in the sauce. I’m waiting to hear that I blew something up somewhere god forbid. Or that I’ve been outed as some espionage agent. Which would be kind of cool. D

    1. Ok. 1) My brain hurts. 2) I am TOTALLY calling you from now on when I need something “taken care of” 3) That’s so Jersey. 4) Dear God, please don’t make me travel overseas with this guy, please. 5) I am not in the least surprised that you lost the passport in the end. 6) Thanks for reading & commenting!

  4. First of all, why would you leave valuable things with pirates? Don’t you understand, they are pirates? It would be like leaving the family machine gun and hand grenade stash with terrorists. Losing drivers license has been a problem. How do you replace your ID without any ID?

    1. That’s a really good question about the pirates- really, what the hell was I thinking?As for replacing ID without ID, I guess you could always go in with a nicely drawn picture of yourself and an affidavit signed by your mother.

  5. I lose everything. It’s hard when a million things are going on though. 😉
    I absolutely love that pirate purse–so awesome. I’m glad you found the passport :0)

  6. My stomach was in knots just reading this! (And 37 addresses? What’s the craziest one??) My friends will tell you there was a long stretch of time during college where I’d forget my wallet, to the point where I had to always assign someone to “Purse Duty.” Found it every time, though, with all the money gone.

  7. If you read my post called “I Forgot Everything” from sometime I don’t remember, you’ll see that I lost my passport too, and of course you don’t know that you’ve lost your passport until you really need your passport. Enter the Lost or Stolen Passport form, and silly questions like “When did you lose it?” and “Where did you lose it?” and “What have you done to find it?” They call the government Big Brother or Uncle Sam, but when it comes to losing passports, it’s more like Mom. Glad you found #1’s. Phew.

    1. Like Mom- that’s so true! “What are you going to do differently next time so that this doesn’t happen? Do you think passports just grow on trees? Do I look like there’s nothing I’d rather do than make you a new passport?”

  8. A friend of mine moved recently, just a few days before a trip to Europe. She went through boxes in a panic just hours before her flight, looking for her passport. She found it just in time, but not until after she had cut her cheek with the box cutter.

  9. I lost our marriage certificate and all the birth certificates! Read about THAT drama here: http://teamoyeniyi.com/2011/04/26/i-broke-a-heel/

    I haven’t lost my passport ever, but I did have a freak out when DHL wouldn’t give the 5 passports with the visas in them to my husband because for some reason they had left South Africa in a package addressed to ……………….. wait for it……………… NO-ONE!!!

    I was standing naked and blue (it was damn cold) at 2am in the morning thinking I was going to have a breakdown because how the hell do you convince DHL in Nigeria to hand over passports when you are standing naked in Australia?

    http://teamoyeniyi.com/2011/06/01/good-dinner-party-story-for-someone-else/

    Actually, I’ve misplaced an expired passport that I really liked because the photo was cute – but it is from when I was about 18, so I don’t think it matters any more.

    I have had those times when I have been convinced I put item A in place Z, only to discover I put it in place T. I get SO stressed when that happens!

    1. Definitely a good dinner party story! Do you wonder how it is that we can so completely convince ourselves that we put something somewhere when we didn’t at all? It really seems unfair.

  10. Awesome post, and like the others, I’m glad you didn’t ruin #1’s life. Because as I’m sure you know, it totally would have. 🙂
    As for losing passports, on a trip to Europe when we were teenagers, my best friend left her pack with ALL her money, camera and passport on a train headed to Italy (I think) We were in Switzerland. It wasn’t noticed for a few hours after we got off the train.
    The next day as she was preparing to go to Geneva with the trip leader to get a new passport, and totally ruin MY life because she wouldn’t be traveling with me anymore, we thought to check the lost and found one more time. A little old lady who was in our train car turned it in. All money, passport, everything…still there!
    Great post!

  11. In high school I lost my purse so often that the secretaries knew it on sight. If someone called my name over the PA system my friends automatically said, “Jodi, where’s your purse?”

  12. Here’s another good moving day/passport story for you. A good friend of ours, a world class procrastinator, decided to schedule her move such that the last day she could be out of her apartment was the day she had a 9am flight to Chicago. And then she put off actually moving until around 9pm the night before. It came down to frantically moving things out until the wee hours of the morning and randomly tossing things that wouldn’t fit into the truck in the dumpster outside her apartment. Thankfully my boyfriend had the good sense to do a once over of the items that went in the dumpster as the sun was coming up and rescued her passport from the landfill. Whew.

  13. We were tearing the house apart JUST TODAY, laughing (trying not to cry or kill eachother in bouts of rage) about how we should never have put the paperwork we needed in a ‘safe place’.
    Luckily we found it in the bottom of my underwear drawer (EH?!?!?!) but we’re never going to use a safe place again. Until the next time we have something important to keep hold of.

    1. I can totally see how “Underwear drawer!” made perfect sense as an answer to where to put the paperwork at one time. That sounds like something I’d do. Really, I’m better off just to leave it in the pile of mail that I never get to. No one ever touches that.

  14. Oh I misplaced the key to the house in which my sister’s in laws were to stay during the wedding (I had opened the place up to place fresh flowers about an hour before they were due to arrive). And I didn’t find it in time. They had to break the lock. A 10 lever lock. 😐
    I found the key two weeks later.

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