Planning my wedding was one of the most stressful things I had done in my adult life. It was nerve-wracking making sure that every detail was just right ahead of time.
The day of the wedding came and there were some things that I had to improvise and change due to the weather. We made it through, though. I can honestly say that I didn’t even notice the little details that didn’t make it in on the final day. It was very stressful for me.
I have always been a person who likes to have a plan. I feel far more comfortable knowing exactly what is going to happen and what I need to do when it comes to strange or unfamiliar situations.
Changing your name is probably one of the most daunting things that a new bride has to deal with. The entire process is so tiring and a hassle to fit into a busy schedule (or if you work graveyard, like I do!). Sure, you can research your county’s rules on changing your name, plan your day and materials, but still have everything turn out to be different than what you prepared for.
Which is why I’m going to be telling my story, so that I can hopefully help some other people out along the way.
My marriage was filed in Clark County, Washington.
The auditor’s office website has a list of links to every place you need to visit to make a name change go smoothly.
After comparing the information for each site, it seemed as though I would need to visit Social Security first. It seemed fairly straightforward. I just needed to make sure I had all the right documents from the list and go into the local office, or mail it to them.
The only problem with mailing in my request was that I would need to also send them the necessary original documents to do so. Social Security does not take ANY photocopies or unoriginal documents.
For me, that would mean I’d need to mail them my;
- Filled-out Application for a Social Security Card
- Notarized Marriage License
- Driver’s License
I would have to mail them my Driver’s License! Which I definitely couldn’t do because I need it for work and transportation. They do return all your documents to you, but I just didn’t want to risk being without my ID for who knows how long.
So I opted to go in to the Social Security office over mailing my application in.
I drove to downtown Vancouver, which wasn’t very busy. I parked about 2 blocks from the office and paid for just over an hour of parking time, thinking that it wouldn’t be too long, since it was a weekday morning.
By the time I got to the building, it was about 10 minutes until they opened, which seemed like it wouldn’t be too bad. There was probably about 20 people in front of me.
Once security let us in, we had to file around the lobby in a line to use the one kiosk that they had for check in. It took me about another ten minutes or so just waiting to use the kiosk. A lot of people required assistance checking in for various reasons; hearing, sight, language, multiple options, etc.
When it was my turn, I entered my Social Security number on the screen and was presented with a list of options to choose from to check in. There was “Get a New or Replacement Card”, “Make a Change”, “Report an Injury”, etc. Since I was changing my name, I chose “Make a Change”. The kiosk belched out my ticket and I was good to go.
I took a seat and noticed that the room was quickly filling up. An older couple sat next to me who then began to make lightly audible remarks about everything from the slowness of the service, to the employees leaving their desks, to the Hispanic in the back row, to the Koreans next to me. I even heard them say, “She’s probably illegal” when a older Russian woman was called up with her daughter.
Needless to say, it was really frustrating. Many of their remarks could have started an altercation. I wanted to move but didn’t want to cause any issues.
During my time in the office, I was very aware at how much time I had left on my parking meter. I had already seen a couple of people leave to go put more money in theirs, but I didn’t want to leave. I was only two numbers away in my letter group and didn’t want to miss my call and have to wait again.
As I was waiting, I found out that the woman from the cranky couple was there to change her name, as well. She had been married the month before. I saw that she had selected the same option as me, because we were both in the same letter group, “C”, but she was four or five numbers after mine. It was relieving to know that I seemed to have picked the right option.
At this point, I realized that if I had left when I first saw people leaving, I could have put more money in my meter and been back in time. It was definitely too late now, though, because I was next in the letter group.
They finally called my number up at the one hour, twenty-nine minute mark, which means that I was at least half an hour over my meter time. I figured I’d just pay the parking ticket if there was one when I got back.
Going up to the window in an almost celebratory manner, I sat down, pulled my documents out of my padfolio and explained to the attendant, “I think I picked the right option. I got married back in October and I need to get my name changed.”
He looked at the ticket. Then back at me.
He kind of laughed a little and said, “Well, you didn’t pick the right option-” I let out an exasperated sigh. “-…but, I can help you. It’s just, if you had picked the right one, we probably could have helped you about 45 minutes ago.”
I was so tired. After all, my bedtime was at least two hours prior to my number being called. Working graveyard shift makes running errands like this an even bigger hassle than it would be for a daywalker. I was staying up late to get this done and over with.
I had all my paperwork ready and honestly, it only took about five minutes from the time I sat down the time that he handed me my receipt. Good thing I came properly prepared, otherwise it could have been a lot longer. Like the girl who didn’t have any ID in the booth next to me.
As I was walking out, the cranky couple waved to me. Those poor fools; they probably had to wait another forty five minutes at least.
The best part I’d have to say about this trip to the Social Security office is that when I finally got back to my car, there were no tickets to be found.
I couldn’t be too happy, though. I still had to go to the DoL to get my license.