Thursday, November 22, 2012

13th New Thing ~ Barbie Without Borders

Thing 13

Way back at Thing # 6 or 7, someone asked what I would be doing for my 13th New Thing. I had no definite answer but since 13 is my favorite number, it felt like I should be deliberate about my choice. I had a couple of #13 ideas floating in my head but 10, 11 & 12 came upon me speedy quick.

When I finished #12, I saw a bit of a New Thing break on the horizon and was relieved to have a couple weeks to catch my breath. Nothing New scheduled or even contemplated. So I wasn't really worried about 13.  With a lot of writing to do, pictures to screen and organize, people to contact for more information and details, it felt good to have a clear view ahead. Time to get catch up.

Two days after the Flash Mob, I had a rough day. They're bound to happen. And this was one.
Wanting to take my mind off the unfortunate events or  perhaps wanting to vent to someone who could take it, I was on the phone with my daughter. Soaking up her unwavering and wise support on my way home from work, I asked...

"What are you guys doing tomorrow?"

"Getting Sequoia's passport," she said. "Do you want to come?"

Ding, ding, ding.  We have a sudden and spontaneous New Thing.
I am nothing if not sudden and spontaneous.

And sarcastic.

Getting my passport was on the list from the very beginning. It was one item I had no doubt about. It fell into the column of things that I'd need to do a bit of research for. Where to go, what I'd need, what about that mug shot picture thing? I had no idea where to start but wasn't really worried about it. Plenty of time.

So those who know me, might guess that as soon as she said "Do you want to come?" I went straight to the Internet to do some 'getting your passport' research, but I had previous plans and couldn't. So quite unlike me, I barged straight ahead the next morning.

I awoke, gathered my 50 year old birth certificate and all other ID-type documents I could think of and drove into Tacoma...straight to Ciara's.

My daughter, her husband and their magic hobbit-elf baby girl live on the seventh floor of a converted hotel in downtown Tacoma. We packed up Sequoia ready for a morning stroll along the city sidewalks.

They live in a really wonderful part of Tacoma. An area, that I found intimidating at first: the parking law small print  and one-way streets. But over the last year and a half, I've grown to love and fully enjoy it.

Don't get me wrong, it's probably not where I'd choose to live but I do love to visit. Having a 'home-base' in this neighborhood. It often feels like an adventure. There is so much variety: in people, in energy, in commerce.

On our walk to the Tacoma post office at 11th & A Street that morning, we passed by one store front window display of Art Deco flower arrangements: calla lilies, tree branches and geometric shapes. And just next-door, a life-size cardboard cutout of Darth Vader for sale. I think there used to be an Indiana Jones. Across the street, an establishment called Hell's Kitchen. Newly reopened.

A few blocks later, we walked into the Post Office. I wasn't paying close attention as I was distracted, cooing and gooing with Sequoia. Taking turns sticking our tongues out at each other.

But just a few minutes into our business I looked around me and noticed that we're standing in an unexpectedly beautiful, old historic building.

We stood at a counter to fill out page after page of paperwork but I was distracted by the patterns and textures around me. "Look Sequoia, isn't it so pretty?"

Made me want to run my fingertips along the front of those mail boxes.

Okay. Focus, Barbie. Back to the paperwork. 

All form fields filled, we stepped up to the counter. It was not busy at all. A postal worker looked at our pile of papers with a smile. We explained why we're there.

Sequoia and I were applying for our passport. Ciara was changing her passport to her married name.  Ciara and Sequoia stepped behind the counter and into another room to get their passport picture taken. I loved this full service. I had no idea the post office would do the picture part. It was so much easier than I'd thought.

The man behind the counter was funny and friendly. Engaging.
"You're in good spirits," I said to him.
"Was I not in good spirits last time?" he said, as he was writing on and sorting through our applications.
"This is my first time here. I'm just very excited about getting my passport and didn't want to get an overworked, under appreciated, exhausted postal employee nearing the end of his rope."

"That's me," he smiled.
"Well, you hide it well," I said. "And I'm grateful."
He told me his name is Dennis. I told him about the blog. He said I could take his picture.

Ciara and Sprig returned and it was my turn to step to a back room. "Don't smile," the photographer instructed me.

When we were all back to the counter,
Dennis was busy working on all three applications at once. Flipping and shuffling our forms back and forth.

"Sign here."

"Birth certificate, please."

"Initial this."

"I don't know how you keep it all straight?" I said.
The counter between us had become covered with loose papers.
"Neither do I," he said with a wink.
"Reassuring." I laughed, relieved at how much I was enjoying this process.

Sequoia thought he was funny, too.

As we finished up, I was still quite smitten with the design and architecture of the post office. As I'm taking pictures of the beautiful old building, Dennis told me that it's 102 years. That there's a school upstairs and plans for a restaurant or bistro in another part of the building. 

We said Good-bye to Dennis.
I shook his hand and thanked him for his great service. 

Then we headed outside.

The passport application process was painless. Enjoyable. I was so sure it was going to be confusing and stressful.

In fact it was so easy that I was a little confused.
"What do we do now?" I asked Ciara.
"Nothing. That's it," she said.
"Just watch your mail in a few weeks," she said.

Sequoia and I do a little Happy Passport Day Dance 
to celebrate.

Grandmother & Granddaughter! 

Getting their passports together made it extra special.
I could not have planned a better 13th New Thing.

Now all we have to do is wait, wait, wait for the mail to arrive. So exciting.


  1. Easy breezy huh? I had no idea. Perhaps I should get mine and we could slip off to Victoria...another country for a 50 new thing?

    1. Easy, indeed. Your 'other' emailed me saying that he thought the two of you should get your passports too. Great idea. I'll join you and take pictures.

      I recommend the beautiful, old post office in Tacoma.

      And hope that you get Dennis when you step up to the counter.

      Is it a date? ~ B

  2. What a great 13th thing! I love having a passport and the feeling it gives me that I could just hop on a plane on the spur of the moment to some exotic place.
    Such great photos! Sequoia is adorable... I love the one of you two 'waiting for your passports'!!

    1. We had great fun taking pictures outside that day. I had to resist the urge to post ALL of them.

      And don't tell anybody, but only one of us in that last shot is actually nervous and excited about the passport thing.
      The other one of us is just teething.

      ~ B

  3. This post makes me so happy. It might be something to do with the cute pictures and you getting to do it with your granddaughter. It might have something to do with the idea of you traveling. I love that idea and it goes along with the fact that I have a passport and my husband doesn't like to travel.

    Oh the places you will go! Oh... the possibilites.

  4. Fun! Great memories for you as a Grandma too! Enjoyed reading. Sandy B.