Friday, August 8, 2014

Changed my name in a day

I knew I had to get all the paperwork done before we went back to Canada. I carved out an entire day to make it to all the agencies.

The first order of business was to file the marriage license. I would need that at all the other locations.

Max and I learned something new that day. The clientele at the county clerk's office can vary drastically. We showed up around 11 am to request our marriage license. There were screaming children, long lines, tired employees, and couples of all ages and makeup. We arrived at 8:05 am when we were filing. No children, no lines, only 20-something business couples there exactly 30 days prior to their wedding date. Woah it was different. Thankfully, it meant it only took us 10 minutes to file our license! That was a pretty sweet deal!

From there we went to the social security office. The place opened at 9 am, so we were in line before the doors opened. It didn't take us too long to get up to a window, maybe 30 minutes. Here's where things started getting frustrating.

I had already printed and completed the form to apply for a new card with a changed name. The form had a location for a mailing address. It asks for the country. I assumed this meant that you could enter a country other than the US and have your card shipped to you.

The cranky lady at the counter informed me this was not the case. I had to provide a US address. Which is fine, I can use my parents address. But it meant I had to verbally provide the address. I was not given a chance to confirm the information. The address the card is shipping to is Lavendare, while my parents live on Lavendale. 

I asked an officer (yes, actual police officer, sent there to guard the crazies) if I had to get back in line to request a change. Yes. I would have to take another ticket. The current waiting time was over an hour. Oh. No. No no no. We'll just hope it still winds up at my parents' house. If not, I'll try again at Christmas.

It occurred to me that I might be able to call and have the information changed on a form somewhere. I dialed the number, waded through all of the select-an-options, and was told by a machine that there were currently no operators available to assist me, then was disconnected. I'm done with you, social security office. Done.

We drove through Chick-Fil-A for lunch, then set off toward the DMV. Garland has a new mega-center, and they recommend that you call ahead to get in line. The first time I called, I got a very choppy machine which I couldn't understand. The fifth time I called, I was finally able to understand the machine, only, this time, their system wasn't processing any of my selections. No matter how many times I pressed '2' for get in line, the machine kept repeating the entire list of options to me. Fine. It was still only 10:30 am, so the line shouldn't be too awful.

Once I got in line, I had a 42 minute wait. Not awful. Max had finished eating his Chick-Fil-A and made it inside. I mentioned that he still hadn't gotten his license replaced since his parents moved. He went back to the entrance to get in line for a license. His wait was 30 minutes behind mine. That's alright, we've got the time. 

The new mega-center is really nice. It's clean, it's large, they are very efficient. However, the place is freezing. It's seriously just insanely cold! Max was even cold! That never happens!!!

The time passed fairly quickly. The folks working there get way too personal way too quickly. The gal who helped me told us all about her daughter's wedding and asked about Canada and it was more interaction than I'd ever desired to have with a DMV employee. 

Then it was another 30 minutes before we were called for Max's new license. This gal was a little less chatty, but still asking the tough questions. It didn't help that we were hitting a real low energy point.

We'd had a long weekend!!! We'd been busy!!! And now we're sleepy! Leave us alone!

We made it out of there right around 1 pm. I had an appointment at the passport office for 2, but we figured they could let us in early.

Wrong. Of Course. As with everything else so far that day.

The passport office is in the courthouse downtown. We went through security and up the bank of elevators for floors 9 to 15. There's only 15 floors. I really don't understand why they had two banks. Whatever.

We walk in the office and the officer (again... officers...) asks if we have an appointment. It was 1:30 pm by the time we'd made it there, but he informed us we would have to come back at 1:45 pm for our 2:00 pm appointment. I asked if we could just sit on some of their chairs. No. But, there's a cafeteria on the 6th floor that we could go sit in. If we took the elevator down to 9,  which is the floor that connects to the other elevator bank, then take the other bank of elevators down to the 6th floor. 

I just.

Can't we.


No. To the 6th floor we went. I was thirsty. There were vending machines. The one that only dispensed water was out of order. The one that had one spot for water was out of water. :( I just want to be done.

So all of 5 minutes later we went back up to the 11th floor via the 9th floor. Ridiculous. 

Then we learned about the process. The officer let us in this time. We proceeded to the check out counter. She wants to see all of your paperwork. She does not verify that any of your paperwork is correct, necessary, or all present. She does however check your application form. This fabulous government agency also asks you which country they should mail things to. So, in another desperate attempt, I put in our Canada address. Friendly little check in gal tells me I have to put a States address. I insist that "Country (if not the US) should not be on the freaking paper work. She informs me that I'm "not wrong." Thanks. I was incredibly worried that I was wrong about this fact.

She paperclips it all together and gives you a number. Then you sit and wait for your number.

Since handy dandy check in lady doesn't actually look at the documents you hand to her, folks can spend 30 minutes at the next window. Or they can spend 2 minutes there if the kind citizen bothered to check online and verify the required documents. But, you know, to each their own.

45 minutes later our number was called. Thank goodness. We approached the counter. The employees sit behind BULLET PROOF GLASS. WHAT HAPPENS HERE?!!!? WHAT?!!!! 

I pass through all of my documents. Since I knew what I needed and had everything in order, it took all of 2 minutes for her to put all of my information into the computer. 


NOW we have to wait "no more than an hour" for them to print the new passport.

But, it's already 2:38 and even if we're just using the bathroom out in the hall, the doors lock at 3 and we will not be allowed back in.

Working hard here in this government agency.

Exactly 59 minutes later my passport is ready. The office has emptied and there are only 3 of us left. 

But now we're done.

And my name is officially Catherine Ann Burgess.

So that's pretty great.