We decided to venture to the passport office on a Friday morning when Romeo’s boss was out of the office. He has a job where he can come and go as he needs, but a certain someone gives him the stink eye if the mood strikes. So, Friday, we decided it was a good day. Romeo went to work before the rest of the family was out of bed and we had a plan to pick him up at his office at 8am.
The kids made me 5 minutes late. Then a detour to the restroom on the way to the car added another 5 minutes but by 8:10 Romeo was in the car and we were heading to the passport office so we could be there when they opened at 8:30 am.
We pulled up to the post office with a bag full of goodies to occupy the kids for what we assumed might be a long wait. The automatic doors slid open and we were inside! It was 8:27 am, 3 minutes to spare.
“You here for passports?” a woman asked.
“Yes, we are,” said Romeo.
“Booked. She’s booked. We close at 1pm and her whole list is already filled. No walk-ins today.”
WHAT? We were there three minutes before they even opened and they were already booked?!
The woman saw the look on my face and said, “Sometimes they line up as early as 5 am.”
My stomach sank. I turned on my heel to go.
“You could go to Orange Park,” she said.
Orange Park is a small town outside of our city. It’s about 30-40 minutes away. She gave us the address and we left. I was expecting Romeo to say he had to go back to work and couldn’t take a 30 minute detour to try another office that could very well be just as booked.
Instead he said, “Let’s just go to Orange Park. We have to take care of it, so let’s just go.”
We got in the car for the 30 minute drive.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t find the oldest’s social security number and I knew I needed that for the passport forms. I mentioned to her that she needs to memorize it because it’s an important number. She told me it’s too long and she doesn’t have a way to remember it.
“Mnemonics?” she asked.
“It’s like a secret code.”
The two of them spent the rest of the car ride looking at common mnemonic codes for 0-9, designed to help you remember any number.
It goes a little something like this:
0= z or s
1= a single downstroke, like the letter T
2 = 2 downstrokes, like the letter n
3= 3 downstrokes, like the letter m
4 = fouR, the letter R
5 = L for the roman numeral 50 to help you remember 5 (Goose argued that this should be a V for the Roman Numeral 5, but there simply weren’t enough words to start with the letter V)
6 = g (which looks funny in this font, but I promise it makes sense)
7 = the letter K because apparently it looks like two 7s when you separate it
8 = f because when you write a cursive f it looks like an 8 (Seriously, they are stretching this code big time)
9 = p because it’s the mirror image of 9
Whew. As if that weren’t complicated enough, then they start to use the code to come up with funny little stories that utilize the corresponding letter.
Nincompoops Say No Red Lamborghini Golfcarts To Ride, Teddy Roosevelt. (I’ll wait for you, go ahead. Decipher the code). Look up. It’s all right there. The first letter of each word corresponds to a number.
:::::::::::cue Jeopardy theme music::::::::::
Got it yet?
There’s the number. Guess what? That’s the phone number to the White House. You’re welcome.
So we arrived at the new passport office in the little town over and voila, there are several clerks working and a line only a few people deep. We started completing the paperwork and the little people played a silly game on the iPad. Goose remembered her social security number and put it on the form using her silly story to remember it.
The clerk called us up within minutes and checked over all the forms, took all the checks and birth certificates and stapled our mug-shot-looking passport photos into place. We paid her the fees (gladly) and high-fived each other on the way out.
I can’t believe how painless that was.
Third time’s a charm! The countdown for 4-6 weeks begins.