"Thank you for calling. Your call is important to us. Our representatives are still busy. Due to high call volume, your call will be answered in greater than five minutes. To avoid extended hold time, please visit our website at travel.state.gov/passport_serivices.html. The website contains information on how to contact us via email as well. The National Passport Information Center is staffed from 7am to midnight, eastern standard time, Monday through Friday. If you wish to continue holding, please stay on the line and a customer service representative will be with you." (long period of silence) (repeat message) (long period of silence) (repeat ad infinitum)
This is what I have been hearing for hours on end, for the entire week. The sad story goes as follows. On March 21, I purchased tickets to go to Peru to see my family there. The next week, April 1st, I submitted our passports for renewal. At the time, the estminated delivery time was 10 weeks, and we had 14, so I sent them via regular service. One week later, the website informed me my passport was being processed and gave me a locator number. Five weeks later, Matt's passport arrived, brand and spanking new. 12 weeks later, 2 weeks before our trip, mine had still not arrived. So, on June 29th, I began calling the National Passport Information Center (since you cannot start calling them until 14 days before your trip. Ours was scheduled for July 11th.) and began hearing this recording. I was told multiple stories, including my passport would be shipped out immediately, it had not been worked on at all, it was on its way, it was coming in two days, call back in three days, call again every morning and evening, it had been worked on but then stopped, etc etc etc for many days. Finally, a day before our trip, no passport was in sight, so I changed our tickets to the 14th, to the tune of $500 extra dollars in change/reissue fees.
It is now, as you may note, the 14th. And guess what? No passport has appeared. I am on hold with the NPIC once again right now in my last call to them to see if it is miraculously expected by 10 am today, the last possible FedEx shipment we could get before having to leave at noon. So now, the upshot of all this is that the husband if off to Peru (with my total blessing--at least one of us should see Machu Piccu before it's closed to the public, the arrangements are all made and paid for, he has been looking forward to and needing a vacation for the entire two years of his residency, and he's never been anywhere besides Mexico and Canada and England) and I will be at home, not calling any more and hoping that my passport shows up sometime in the future...just in time for me to move out of the country!