For those of you on the facebook who were wondering if my posts yesterday afternoon about an emergency trip to Chicago were a piss-poor April Fools joke, they weren't.
Around 4:30pm Indy time (3:30pm Chicago time) Cale checked the tracking number on the overnight envelop with our passports in it and it still wasn't active. That was when I put forth my hair-brained scheme to call the consulate and ask them if they had mailed them yet. If the answer was no, we tell them to hold on to them and drive up to retrieve them ourselves.
First we needed to see if my parents would lend us a car since traveling that distance in the Jeep would be terrible gas mileage. I called dad on his cell phone on his way home from work. Then we had to talk to the consulate. They close at 4:30pm and we were finally calling them around 4pm (Chicago time). As I sat all nervous on the couch, watching Cale's face for a reaction, I heard him say, "Um, when do you think they will be done processing?" This was not a good sign. The passports and visas that were supposed to be mailed to us on Thursday (that day) were still being processed.
Cale was told to call back in ten minutes so he could speak to the man who could give us more details on the status of our visas. So at 4:20pm (10 minutes before they close) we discovered that our visas would be done being processed tomorrow (Friday). Cale told the guy not to mail them, to hold them there and we would be waiting at his door when they opened in the morning. I wasn't on the call, but I got the impression that they wouldn't necessarily be ready right away in the morning. "I don't care if we have to sit in the waiting room all day," Cale said. "I am leaving with our passports."
Then we made a mad scramble to find a place to sleep in Chicago. Couchsurfing let us down. Cale emailed eight people, only two responded and they said no. We tried our old friends and even my sister's old friends, but no luck. So when we arrived in Chicago around 9pm, we had no where to sleep. First order of business, find the consulate so we would know where to go in the morning. Second order of business, find a late-night Starbucks so we could use the internet to find a place to sleep. Third order of business, pay $17 for parking for like 30 minutes!
We found a hostel on the Loyola campus where we could crash. I didn't sleep at all. The train goes right by the window and I had roommates join me in the ladies' dorm at 12:30am, 1:30am and 2:30am. Why, I wonder, is it that while you are in the bathroom down the hall the light needs to remain on in the dorm? Can't you turn it off while you are gone and back on when you return? Also, do you really need to be making that cell phone call right now?
Anyway, in about 30 minutes I wake up Cale, we find caffeine and breakfast. Then we set ourselves down at the Thai consulate and wait.