Having made my plans for my next trip out of the country, even though it's not until next August, I figured it was finally time to replace my lost passport, especially as now is the slow season for passport applications.
Replacing a lost passport is considerably more complex than renewing an expired one. For renewal, you just get a new photo, attach it and a check to the application form, and mail it and the old passport in. (You get the old one back.)
For the lost one, I filled in and submitted a special form online which asks for things like the date and circumstances of the loss. The only place I got stuck was with the question, "Did you file a police report?" I didn't know how to answer this one. I filed a lost item report, yes, but not with the police, but with airport lost-and-found. (The police had in fact directed me to do so, after an airline employee had incorrectly directed me to the police, which only increased the amount of running around I had to do in the airport on the day.) So either a yes or a no would have been misleading.
The questions the online procedure asks you turn out also to fill out an application form for a new passport, which you print out with everything already filled out. But you can't just mail it in, no, you have to take it to a passport application center. You can look these up by zip code. Most of them are post offices, but I was relieved to find one at a local public library. Visiting the library in question, before I could get to the desk to ask, I noticed a sign on an office near the new books display, reading "passport applications." But on that office door was a notice saying you have to make an appointment in advance. Fair enough, and I could have gotten the same info from the library's web site if I'd thought to check that first.
Cross-correlating the info from the Dept of State website, the library's website, and an automated phone call I got from the library the day before my appointment was challenging enough. I learned from the others that I'd need to photocopy my driver's license, but only the phone call revealed that I'd need to photocopy both sides of it, on the same sheet of paper.
I also needed proof of ID, for which it said an expired passport would do, so since I still had the old one I brought that (and a photocopy of the info page) along, but just in case, I also prepared for the other option and hauled out my original birth certificate - the one I'd used to replace my driver's license - again, and photocopied that.
Arriving for my appointment, I found two librarians in the office, who went through all the questions in the application, examined all the supporting documentation, and then had me hold up my hand and swear to the truth of all the contents thereof. Have I ever had to do that before? I remember nothing of the process of my first passport application, but that was in more primitive times.
Then the library sends in the application, not me - something else unclear from the instructions - and now I wait.