It’s easy and oh-so-fun to bash the government and say they can’t do anything right. But I sent off my United States passport on December 8 for it to be renewed. I just got the new one today: December 16.

Granted, I sent the application by Priority Mail and paid the extra money to have it expedited and overnighted back. I did all this because the application info said it would take three weeks or less this way, compared to six weeks or so otherwise. For a travel writer to be without his passport for six weeks is an unsettling prospect, so I ponied up the extra.

They gave me the version with extra pages I requested too. Good thing since you have to pay a fortune to add more now.

In the end, it was just eight days—six business days—for me to get a new passport from Philadelphia sent to Tampa. And it arrived via the postal service some “privatize everything” pundits say is an unnecessary government program.

I’m not thrilled with how ridiculously gung-ho “Go USA!” the patriotic imagery is inside this thing (it looks like a set from the Colbert Report), but I’m now set until 2021. Nice.