Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hauling ass all over Baltimore

Q: So what has Cookie been doing of late?

A: I changed my last name.

Q: You did?

A: That is right, I have. I legally had my last name changed to my husband's last name.

Q: But why?

A: Well, its all very simple.  My last name, the one that I got stuck with because it was my father's, was a real mouthful that people couldn't pronounce or spell.  And frankly, seeing how I have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with my late father I just decided, as my friend Martha Smith Standish would say, "it was simpler" to de-emphasize it.  So instead of "It" being my last name, the old last name now becomes my second middle name.  So I have a four part name.  This will help with the books that Cookie has written, and will bridge them more easily to the books that I will write in the future.

Q: So why have you been hauling ass all over town?

A: Well, when the decree came down, I had a set number of days in which I need to get the paperwork going.  Social Security, Maryland Vehicle Administration, et. al. all have time frames that must be met.   And Oh, because the certificate hadn't arrived at my home yet, I had to go to the courthouse to get copies of filing because all these agency's want originals.  Most give them back, but you can never be sure.

Q: But, aren't you married?  Couldn't you just take your husband's name like all the other married folks?

A: Ah, there is part of the rub, as it were.  In Massachusetts, where we were married in 2008, you have to tell them BEFORE you get married what your married last name will be and that goes on the certificate.  And because we were living in Ohio, and the chances of living in a marriage equality state was slim to none, I said I was keeping my surname as it had been up to that point.  And now that the Federal Government and 15 states and the District observe marriage equality, and because none of these agencies all work the same, in speaking with an attorney, we figured that this route would be the best way to go.

Q: And...

A: Well, what we found is that the Federal Government would accept the name change WITH the marriage license, but the Maryland MVA would say that they would accept the Massachusetts marriage license because I didn't declare on IT that I was changing my name.  And dealing with the MVA is like dealing with the Knights Who Say "NI".

Q: Who are the "Knights Who Say NI"?

A:  Really?

The rules that MVA Employees observe depend on the whims of the person you get when they call your name.  You could get someone who changes it, no problems asked, ie, they like the shrubbery.  OR you can get someone who doesn't like marriage equality, in this case, the shrubbery, and demands that you produce other documentation or perform other tasks, like bring them another shrubbery, or in the worse case, cut down the biggest tree in the state using only a herring.

Q: Where else have you been? 

A: All over God's creation.  Trust me on this.  Between out of town guests, this name change and pre Christmas shopping (I loathe the mall during the holidays), I have been as busy as MJ's beaver!