Exactly 16 weeks ago I presented myself, my expired passport, and all other necessary items to the Signal Hill City Clerk.
I joined the nationwide queue of people applying for passports.
In my case I had no travel plans, no non-refundable plane tickets, no weddings to attend or honeymoon to travel to.
Many people weren't as fortunate.
Los Angeles Times Travel Editor Catherine Hamm, whose passport expired without her realizing it, has been keeping a Diary of a Trip Through Passport Limbo. It makes for scary reading.
"The U.S. passport system is broken, and Americans are paying a painful price," Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Burlingame), head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday.
"Every citizen of our nation has the right to hold a passport. But millions of Americans ... have been reduced to begging and pleading, waiting for months on end, simply for the right to travel abroad." Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2007
So those of you who expect to see your passport in "10 to 12 weeks" after your application process begins might want to lower your expectations. Significantly.
Please let me know how things work out!