Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Gaining my identity....losing my mind.

When I married the Boy, I decided that I would take his last name. This was a decision I didn't take lightly as I've carried around my last name for 30+ years now. And I like my last name. But his is easier to pronounce and spell, and in a profession where a dozen new people each day are hacking your name, sometimes easier is better. But so I didn't completely lose the old me, I took my maiden name as my middle name. Simple enough.

Last week I began the dreaded chore of traipsing up to the Social Security Office to make the official change. Of course the place is open the convenient hours of 8 to 4, M-F. And of course the closest ones are half an hour in either direction of my house. But I picked one, took off early from work, and drove up there.

When I got there, there was no one in line and I was immediately called to the counter. Thinking this was going to be the quickest government agency visit ever, I pull out all of my documents only to discover I can't find my license. I had switched purses when we went on our honeymoon, but I thought for certain I had switched back. But alas, I couldn't locate it. I knew the answer before I asked, but I asked if I had to have my photo ID, and was told that yes, to get the new card I needed my DL or my passport. Neither of which I had.

Later that night, I'm out eating dinner with the Boy and relating the story when he reminds me that the weekend prior I had handed the DL to my oldest stepson so that he could look at it. So we checked the car and buried in the back seat was the DL. Thank goodness, but it only irritated me more that it was with me the whole time.

So today, even though I'm on call in the office, I found someone to cover for me so that I could get up to the SS office again before I'm out of town next week at a conference. Get there, documents neatly stacked, application filled out, and breeze right up to the desk. I'll start with the fact that the guy never asks for or sees my DL. I set it on the counter, and unless he has super focused vision, I know he didn't see it from his chair 6 feet away. Then he took my application and went through it entering all of the information into the computer. After about 10 minutes he printed the form for me to check for spelling errors and told me to sign. On the line where it said, "name as it will appear on your SS card" it said my first name, my middle name (the one I was born with ) and my new last name. Clearly not how I had written it on the application 3 times. So I had to have him correct it, which I swear took longer than the initial entry. Then he gave me a receipt and sent me on my merry way.

The Boy happened to be at that moment at the BMV in our town. Online it said you had to have your new SS card in your new name before you could get your license in your new name. But you had to have your new license within 30 days of the marriage. And since my SS card will take "at least" 2 weeks to get here, there's no way a person who takes a honeymoon and goes to the SS office will ever be able to wait until she gets the card back to go into the BMV. So he asked the clerk for me and the clerk said as long as I had the marriage certificate, proof of my identity, and the receipt from the SS office, I was good to go. Except she said something about having to have the official red stamp on the receipt, which I did not have.

So I came back into town and headed for the BMV before they closed. Walk in and get called to the desk. I tell the lady what I'm there for and she takes all of my neatly organized documents to start the process. Then she asks if I just went to the SS office today. When I reply in the affirmative, she tells me that I can't get my license today because the magical computer systems have to cycle over night. So I have to wait until at least tomorrow. Which they never told the Boy when he had asked for me 30 minutes earlier. Grrrrr.

I should have asked while I was there if the no red stamp thing was fatal. But I forgot. She had looked directly at the form and never mentioned it. So if I go back on Friday and they say I have to have some magical red stamp, I think I might really lose it.

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