Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who am I?

Haven't I done a "who am I" post already? Well today I seriously wasn't sure. How many trips to the Courthouse and the DOT does it take the average person to get their passport application completed? Now multiple that times 3 for me! In a period of 4 hours I was at the Blackhawk country recorders office three times and the DOT station at the mall twice. Throw in a trip back and forth to Reinbeck too!

About 14 years ago when I was 21 (and knew nothing) I had the desire to some how retain my maiden name. I didn't want a hyphenated last night I just wanted to keep it there in the middle. I wasn't ready to let go of it, I don't even remember why now. When I got my driver license updated in 1994 the DOT mistakenly hyphenated my last name. I tried to argue it at the time but they insisted, based on what ever document they were looking at, that was the way it had to be. My social security card however had my given middle name and my maiden name hyphenated the way I originally wanted.

Now fast forward 14 years and I'm trying to get a passport. I asked upfront if that was going to create an issue and was assured that it would be fine. Wrong. Yesterday I got the denial notice from the US Department of State as I had not signed with what they thought was my legal name (based on my drivers license). This morning I calmly go into the Recorders office and explain my predicament. My now friend Trudy was very sympathetic and helpful. Yes I was going to have to get my drivers license corrected. Off to the DOT I went.

After much to do they determined that what I was requesting was a legal name change. NO, I explained this is my legal name, you just have it wrong. Off I go to Reinbeck to get my marriage license. Once I get there I realize I can't find it. Back to the recorders office (2nd visit). Trudy was happy to see me back and more than happy to look up my marriage license, for $15.00. I waited patiently for about 4 minutes before she poked her head out of the back room and said "you'd better come look at this before I make a copy". I thought I was going to throw up, how bad could it be? Was Tom married to someone else 14 years ago on May 21st? Come to find out that this legal document had no mention of my maiden name at all, which was good news and back I went to the DOT. By this time I had seriously calmed down. In talking to Tom I jokingly told him "well honey there was no marriage license. Our marriage is a sham and has been for 14 years. The way I see it I have two bastard children and you owe me some child support." He was so calm, I really thought he knew I was kidding and was just playing along. Later I found out that he didn't immediately realize I was joking but remained calm because he didn't want to upset me any more!! What a guy!

Where was I? Oh yeah back to the DOT. I go in and explain to a new bouncer (the person that sits at the door and decides if you have a valid reason to enter) that I had all of my documentation this time and I needed my name corrected on my license. He looked it over and him-hawed around and started to delve into a conversation about how and why it happen. I interrupt him and said "you know I don't really care how it happen all I want is for you to fix it (and no one will get hurt. no i left that part out)". And with that I was assigned a number and granted access to the exclusive DOT inner sanctum (along with all the rest of the crazies that I would most certainly deny driving privileges to). I waited just a few moments, which must be a DOT record, and walked up to the counter. The gal did not speak to me, she took my info, I told her what I needed and she started typing. And typing. For like 5 minutes, I swear she was checking her myspace page or something. Finally she says to me "your name has been like this since 1998." as though it's now my name by common law. No, I tell her it's been like that since 1994 and it's wrong. Now change it. She starts typing again. Then she picks up my documents and walks away and is gone for seriously like 8 minutes... she comes back and says "I had to see if this was ok". Oh holy hell I'm about to lose my mind here. But I stay calm and I'm actually having to stifle a giggle because now all I can think of is Kevin James Stand up (it's about a quarter of the way into that clip) where he's talking about being online at the airline, LOL!!!! Finally I make it through the DOT gauntlet and am in the home stretch. My final trip to the Recorders office downtown (3rd visit).

Trudy is on lunch when I get there, I'll wait I say. which seems fine with them as no one wants to touch my crazy situation. As I'm waiting at the counter, filling out a new application I hear someone say "Rachael!". I turn around and it's a gal I work with and all I could think of was that my boss had sent her to get me! (she was actually there getting her own passport, good luck Diane!). Trudy was a gem and got all of my stuff together and mailed it off! With any luck in about three week my pretty little blue book will be mailed to me and I'll be ready to go (but I'm not holding my breath!). So it's good to know who I really am.

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