Sunday, June 01, 2008

Is the Missionary Prep about to end?

Our Missionary

For those of you who have sent off missionaries from your home, you know the whirlwind we have been experiencing ever since Sean received his mission call to Buenos Aires, Argentina back in March. We also had the wonderful challenge of trying to get things done with Sean still attending BYU in Utah and us in Wyoming.

Some of my happy memories have been:

Getting Sean to go to the post office to get his passport! Thanks Karie for finally getting him there, but right after that Sean told Page that I was putting too much pressure on him since he had "school" still. Hello! Passports don't arrive in a day!!!

To get the passport, we had to get Sean's birth certificate. Of course I couldn't find our copy, so I had to send off for one in Los Angeles County. They said it could take over a month, but I needed it now so Sean could get his passport, that could take over a month to get, etc etc..... see my stress rising anyone!!!!????

Right when I was going to request it, unfortunately, Page's Dad passed away and we had to go down to California for the funeral, so when Lacey and I picked up Sean at BYU, we had him sign the request for the birth certificate and we went to the bank to get it notarized and faxed to the county recorder in LA. We sent it rush to get it in two weeks and paid a lot of extra $$ for it.

After two weeks, still no birth certificate. We are back from the funeral, we still need to get the passport! I finally get somebody to help me and they had me fax all the stuff again to a special number so they could expedite it. Eventually it arrives, I have it mailed to Sean's dorm and he has Karie take him to the post office in Orem to get his passport (see above).

As soon as I do all that, Sean gives me a letter from the church travel office giving instructions to get his Visa. Guess what! He needs three more birth certificates that Argentina wants for the visa, plus a letter from the police department of a place he has been 5 years saying he has no police record, he needs to make two copies of his passport, and take 3 more photos (smaller than passport size of course) and send it all to the church travel office as soon as possible. Sooooooooooo, I request 3 more birth certificates, but this time I request it as his parent and send the $72 to get three certificates on a rush order. Here we go again. I'm checking my order on the website and it doesn't seem to show them processing it. A couple weeks go by, nothing. I am in a panic AGAIN. I finally call and get somebody on the phone and it appears they didn't send them because they thought it was the same request (when I ordered only 1 a few weeks earlier for the passport). How did they think it was the same order? I requested 3, it was ordered in my name. Oh boy! The lady was nice and said she would send it out by the end of the day. She did. I got the certificates a few days later.

Going back to March..... we had to get Sean's wisdom teeth pulled. He went to a dentist in Provo. They did a lot of work on some cavities and were going to do his wisdom teeth. We decided to have him wait until he came back to WY and have them done here. I make an appointment for an oral surgeon up in Billings ( 90 miles to the north) because nobody does that in our one horse town. Sean comes home from BYU at the end of April, the surgery is scheduled for the second week of May, but the day before he goes in, I have him go to the clinic to get some of his shots. He gets a Hep A and Meningitis shot. They swear it wont interfere with wisdom teeth removal the next day. The next morning, Sean says he was up all night with a fever. Silly me, tells him to get in the car so I can rush him 90 miles to Billings to get his wisdom teeth removed. Once we get there the doctor says he doesn't want to do it with Sean having a fever and all. UGH. He schedules it for the next week. Sean does go back the next week and has it done, and he recovers beautifully. That's a blessing at least!

When we were in Provo picking up Sean, we had to pack up his dorm, run it over to Aunt Hope's because we were going down to California for a few days so he could go through the LA Temple with grandmothers for the first time. We got to Provo on a Wed., packed him up, took him and Natalie to dinner and then had about one hour to run to Mr Macs and buy all his missionary clothing. You should have seen us. We were speed shoppers. I never spent money so fast. We also ran over to Deseret Books to get a few things. Mr Mac's were going to make alterations to the pants and mail everything to us in WY in a few weeks, so we didn't have to haul it all down to CA and back with us. We left the store, and I left a notebook that had all of Sean's missionary instructions in it, letters, original passport, etc. Once we realized it we call Mr Macs but no answer. Remember, we closed them down for the night, they stayed open and extra half hour and I'm sure they rushed home after we left. Luckily, they had it for us when we went back the next morning, but we had to wait until 10 am, and we wanted to be on the road early to get down to CA.

I had the privilege of helping Sean knock out his to do list. I've driven him 3 hours to Livingston to get his police letter for the visa, I have gone to get his shots here in town, and also had to drive him up to Billings one day just to get a Typhoid shot since nobody had the vaccine here in my area. We went and found the perfect sleeping bag made out of down, and super soft, since that will be his bed for two years. We went to Cody to get his WY drivers license. But now I have found out that when he needs to renew it a month before he comes home he will have to take an eye exam- but I explained he was in Argentina and wouldn't be able to do that, and he may need his license if he is driving down there. They didn't seem to care..... another UGH!!!

Now back to the Visa stuff. I had to send the police letter to the secretary of state in Montana to get what they call an Apostille on it. It is a legal stamp that makes our documents in the USA legal in foreign countries. You learn something new every day! It went very smoothly. I got it back in a week. I had to send the 3 birth certificate to the secretary of state in California. Montana charges $10 and California charges $20. wow. Since I had 3 certs that was $20 each or $60. Oh well, it's only money....

I called CA a couple weeks after I sent the certs. I had a delivery verification on the package and it showed that it was delivered April 24th. When I talked to the person there they said they were just on the stuff that arrived April 18th, so it wasn't processed yet. So I waited another week and a half and called back. This time they said they were on May 1st already and had no record that they had our stuff! I was about to have heart failure now. I already had the certs delayed a few weeks from LA County because of their mix up and now CA says they never received them. I told the lady I had a delivery confirmation. As soon as I said that she said call the post office to see if they can verify they mailed it. DUH, she wasn't even listening. I finally convinced her I had already received confirmation for April 24th. She then said oh you mailed it the 24th? It takes awhile for stuff to get here from WY. Noooooooo! you received it on the 24th. I asked her if it arrived on the 24th, could it have been put in May's pile? She said no. I then asked what could be done. I think she finally felt sorry for me because she went to look for it. 20 minutes later, as I was on hold, she comes back and says she can't find it, but she would keep looking tomorrow and call me. I give her my number. That night I pray like I have never prayed before, the next morning I call the church travel office and give them my sob story- since the stuff was already due to get the visa for Argentina and I still hadn't even gotten back the apostille's from CA. The lady at the church building calmed me down and told me everything would be ok. She was right, at the end of the next day, I get a call from CA saying they found it. I didn't even ask where, I just thanked them, and they mailed it to us and we got it a few days later- so now everything is mailed to SLC at the church office building for the travel office to work on Sean's visa....

This has been a nightmare for two months. I am frazzled! This week, we have to write our talks for Sean's farewell this Sunday. On Saturday we are putting on an open house at the Melin's in Livingston- 3 hours away. Thank goodness Jamie is helping us with all of that! The grandmothers are flying in on Wednesday. One in Cody and one in Billings. My mom wanted the fasted route to Cody. My mother in law refuses to fly on a puddle jumper- that eliminates Cody, so she is flying to Billings and we are making that 1 1/2 drive to go get her. Cody is 25 minutes away. We are cleaning the house before they get here, we have to bring in an extra bed and put it in our computer room so that they both can have a bed to sleep on., then we have about a week with Sean before he leaves for two years. We get him set apart in Billings at the temple on the Saturday before he goes to the MTC. Sean is leaving from the Livingston Ward, Bozeman Stake. His records will be in Livingston. The stake president will not be in Bozeman that weekend. He has meetings in Billings at the temple, so he will set him apart there. Actually that is nice because Billings is half the distance Bozeman would have been. Then on Monday we head down to Utah. On Tuesday we plan to go through the Salt Lake Temple and Wednesday take him to the MTC.

I'm sure many of you have similar experience, and I guess I shouldn't complain. We are so happy about Sean's mission call. He will be gone so long, I'm sure I will miss doing things for him. But a part of me will be glad when everything is done. Now we just have to get Sean to pack!!!!


Mama said...

A job well done Mikie!

Jamie said...

WOW! You guys are amazing! Perhaps we should start praying now for stateside calls. Of course if Jesus comes in 2012, we won't even have to worry about it! ;) We are super-excited for Sean's Open House!

Kira Joy said...

Nice work you guys!

Lacey said...

super dad does it again!

Candace E. Salima said...

Holy Cow! I had no idea sending a child on a mission was such a nightmare. You need a medal. A big ol' huge one! Congrats on getting this close to heading down to the MTC to drop Sean off. Don't forget to drop by IHOP on Wednesday, missionaries get to eat for free that day.