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PEPO? Huh?

I’m a planner but now that I am married to a military member I have seen planning at a whole new level. I don’t know if it’s true of all military members but my husband has a motto – plan early, plan often – something I’ve shortened to PEPO. That’s another thing I’ve learned from the military folks, they shorten everything to mere acronyms. If you’re not in the loop, look out! But I digress.

In the spirit of early planning hubby decided that we needed to get new passport and visa pictures done. Moving this summer we would require new passports and US Visas to live in the United States. It was inevitable that the pictures would be needed at some point. Made perfect sense to me so off we went and acquired both sets of photos. The new passports were done first and without a hitch. Then came the Visas. Ah, the Visas.

Hubby was away for training when the email arrived that the Visas had to be done and he asked me if I could look after it. “Sure,” I said. “How hard can that be,” I thought. You know, whenever you have that thought, pay attention!! The type of Visas we required had an online application process and they required digital pictures. What? We didn’t have digital pictures. Phooey! In my brilliance I decided to scan the pictures we had taken but, alas, the requirement from the US Department of State is that they must be in colour. Our scanner only does black and white. Double Phooey!!

Interestingly, on the website to do the Visa they don’t even let you start the application process until you have a picture that passes their test. And it took me about ten tries to get that right! In another stroke of brilliance I used my iPhone and took a selfie, well maybe ten or so over a period of time. When all was said and done I knew a variety of ways the photo wouldn’t pass the test. And I was able to get hubby on Skype, in the middle of his evening study session, to get him to do his own picture. Needless to say it took him two tries after I explained what wouldn’t work.

The whole episode was infuriating, frustrating, and tiresome. Yet in the process I learned how to take a square picture, reduce the pixels, and that the US Department of State would accept a selfie! Who knew? In between the irritating stuff were those moments of brilliance, those ah-has. I expect this is how it is for inventors. As they discard what doesn’t work it pushes them to find other ways to achieve what they want. This is important; if you’re being pushed outside of your comfort zone, don’t give up. You are expanding and growing, even if you’re kicking and screaming all the way. In the end not only will you have the elation of having overcome the obstacle, you will have new ways of thinking, doing, and being.

One should not abandon the spirit of PEPO - plan early, plan often – but when things go astray consider it learning all the ways not to do that thing. This leaves you open to finding your proverbial light bulb that finally works.

And if you need help with an online Visa photo…call me!

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