When life gets you down, at least there’s still food… (Deserter passports and Chicago Blues Fest – Picture-heavy)

(Oh so cloudy…)

Okay, so that’s probably along the same lines of “if you’re having a bad day, eat a gallon quart pint small bowl of ice cream,” and that’s really not the best idea always, but it’s kinda true. I have a thing for comfort food, which really just means that any accessible food is likely to make me feel better, hehe.

A couple weeks ago, everything that could’ve gone wrong, pretty much did. Long story short, my passport went missing 5 days before before a huge international trip was set to take place. After searching for 12+ hours, turning the house upside down (no really, that includes moving the stove and fridge….the unimaginable and forgotten were even scoured repeatedly), numerous meltdowns, and a dozen calls that led to feeling like I was harassing government officials (oops?), I finally got a glimmer of hope.

Chicago has a National Passport Agency where I could potentially get an appointment and receive a passport same day. Unfortunately, their soonest appointment wasn’t until after my trip was scheduled anyway, but a couple meltdowns later, more searching, and more harassing (double oops?), I finally got someone that talked to a superior and got my name put on an emergency standby list. He still told me that it was highly unlikely I’d get called, and even if I did, it’d be if an opening came up….and considering Chicago was a 5-6 hour drive away from me, it’s not like I could make a last minute appointment anyway, but no matter. It was more than I had before.

Oh, and my original birth certificate was discovered missing, too. Did I mention that? No? Well I did say that everything that could’ve gone wrong, did go wrong, didn’t I? You should’ve assumed it wasn’t just a passport slipup. And getting a new passport in Chicago, meant also having to provide a lovely raised-embossed birth certificate copy. I was born a state over, so guess what I did the day after discovering this? I drove across the border to a state office that would give me a copy right then and there instead of paying to have it express-shipped to me, with no guarantee I’d get it before the weekend.

At the point where I had to give up on finding my passport (there’s a landfill laughing at me somewhere, I’m sure), I had to focus on making backup plans. It wasn’t the easiest to do, but the trip must go on. And lo and behold, while I was sitting in St. Louis having lunch after getting my birth certificate, they called.
Chicago freakin’ called! I couldn’t believe it! They told me if I showed up on Friday morning before they opened, they’d get me in, and I could have a passport by that afternoon….which was the day before my  plane was set to leave, and left me only a single day to pack and prep everything. Yikes! But whatever, I had an appointment! In Chicago! And I could make my trip!

(I don’t understand these statues. Why are they being sprayed??)

So to Chicago we went. It was exhausting, leaving at 3 am, running into floods (yes, even with a more promising outlook, things continued to go wrong), detouring, hopping a train, walking to the place, going through security, and finally waiting in line as the 3 people in front of me were turned away because of problems with their applications or pictures. But I made it. And they let me have a passport 6 long hours later!
And while I waited? We walked to the park and discovered that a Blues Fest was being set up and would be available to enter in about half an hour. Hmm, Blues Fest? Not necessarily my type of music, but fest = food, and food is awesome. We walked around a bit longer and then hit it up.

Fortunately, food was definitely aplenty and we went the route of choosing a few different “blues bites” options….which are partial portions of food for cheaper prices, so we could try more without having to decide on just one or two items.

That’s the part you’re here for, right? The food! It’s certainly the part *I’m* here for, but I couldn’t appreciate the food without all the hassle and frustration that led to it. Ah well.

Pulled pork from Robinson’s was awesome-tastic with tons of sauce and tender meat. Or maybe we were just starving, but it sure hit the spot.

We sampled some mustard catfish, but with only 3 pieces, I was a bit underwhelmed. Oh well.

And Billy Goat’s? Well we passed by them at least 3 times because they were “just burgers” but they were also actively yelling out, encouraging people to come by, and after a bit, their enthusiasm won my tickets. Unfortunately, they really were “just burgers,” even though I was really hoping they’d be something a bit more special. Again, oh well. At least I had my BBQ pork still, hehe.

(Yes, I took a picture of the burger upside down. Whatever.)

You can’t go to Chicago without having some authentic Chicago deep dish pizza, right? Wrong. The “blues bites” option at the pizza place actually wasn’t pizza at all. :S Strange. Instead, it was shaved ice and worked out well for us to have a “drink/dessert” with the food….and the tickets ended up falling in a way that we grabbed a second one of these on our way back to the passport agency. Not bad.

And the entertainment was fun. Guy King and his Little Big Band were okay, but my eyes were glued to a guy in the crowd the entire time (well, between bites anyway). Check him out, dancing to the beat, all by himself.

Wish I would’ve gotten more of his excited moves, but every time I’d put down my camera is when he’d get into it again.


Did I mention I got my passport? Yay!



  1. Leave a Reply

    June 25, 2011

    It sounds amazingly exciting… drama filled… yet.. exciting.. wish i could have been there…!.. haha the pictures are beautiful.. congrats on the passport.. !!!

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