Update, Monday Sept 14, 5:28 pm
Well, at least one thing was easy. I called Air Canada to change my ticket. The agent put me on hold for 15 minutes; while holding I discovered I could change my ticket online myself. She came back and told me it would cost $100 US to change. I told her I had a better offer online - $100 Canadian (that's $75 US). She didn't believe me so I proved it to her. I bought the new ticket while she waited and she confirmed that it worked.
So now I am flying Wednesday. Assuming my passport really does arrive tomorrow.
Update, Monday Sept 14, 3:07 pm
The post office told me to call after 3 to see if my package came in the afternoon shipment. It did not.
When I called, I spoke to Frank the mailman again. He told me tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. My passport could possibly come at 7:30 am but it is scheduled to arrive at 1:30 pm.
Now I need to change my flight. I'm scheduled to leave at 11 am. Air Canada claims I can change it for $100. Let's hope so.
Newsflash! Monday Sept 14 at 2:59 pm
My passport is in Albany. Only an hour away from me. However, it is impossible for me to intervene and get it. Like taming a stray cat or falling in love, I need to wait for it to come to me. Here, kitty, I've got passport kibbles for you...
My friends at USPS.com updated the tracking for my package. Apparently it flew for 37 minutes, from NYC to Albany and now it is just going to sit in the airport for the rest of the day.
I hate long layovers.
Update, Sept. 14, 1:22 pm
No, constantly watching the US Mail tracking page will not get my package here any sooner. I know that. But I keep refreshing the page.
Now the US Postal Service has informed me: yesterday over the course of 7 hours, my passport moved from one side of a midtown Manhattan post office to the other side.
Update, Sept. 14, 8:06 am
WTF?! No, Jacob, that does not stand for the World Tildlife Fund.
It appears that 5 DAYS after the consulate said they put my passport in the mail, someone finally dropped it off at the post office.
Guess I am not going to NYC after all. Now the race is really on but it's between the post office and the clock. I am merely a spectator. The latest I can possibly leave for Montreal is 3:00 tomorrow morning...
Update, Sept. 14, 8:03 am
The rental car is parked in the driveway. I'm ready to head to NYC. Just need to reach the consulate and confirm they do have my passport still. (If not, I'm really screwed...)
Update, Sept. 14, 7:45 am
Is my local post office tired of hearing from me yet? Frank the mailman, Colleen's coworker, answered the phone just now and he knew who I was before I told him. But no, my untracked package did not sneak into the post office with the first morning delivery.
Update, Sept. 12, 3:09 pm
No news is bad news. No envelope, no info in the tracking system.
I'll leave Monday morning, drive to New York, get my passport, drive home, finish packing.
And then, gentle reader, I have news for you. See, I got a great price on my flight to Tokyo. But it flies Tuesday morning from... Montreal. Yes. That one in Canada. So I'll drive north late at night after first driving south in the morning.
Update, Sept. 12, 11:35 am
Just went to the local post office. Colleen, the friendly postal worker at the counter, looked up my package. It still shows no information. She said it would be checked in and out at each facility en route, so this means it's probably still on someone's desk in the consulate.
Or coming in a different envelope.
Colleen says to call after 3 when the afternoon express mail arrives in Oneonta.
Update, Sept. 11, 10:51 pm
This is not good news.
The embassy operator actually called me back! But he said no one will be in the visa department until Monday morning. This means I have no way to know if they still have my passport or not.
I plan to make an emergency run to NYC on Monday morning before I fly on Tuesday.
Worse, he said, they often mail passports on Friday COB. If so my passport is in transit and will definitely not arrive in time.
Update, Sept. 11, 10:17 pm
I did not reach anyone at the embassy. However, I called the after hours emergency number. (My passport is an emergency, right?) And — shocking this is — the operator took all my information and told me he would call the director of the consular office right now, to get an answer for me.
Can you imagine any US government office calling on your behalf in the middle of the night?
Update, Sept. 11, 3:03 pm: My USPS Express Mail with my passport should have arrived yesterday or today from New York. However, the post office says there is no record of my package. Calling the embassy as soon as I get home.
September 8. One week from today, I leave for Japan for a month. I'll be on assignment photographing Fukushima for several magazine articles.
However, I don't have my passport. I called the Japanese consulate today in NYC and they promised to mail it back to me today. Stay tuned...