August 10, 2001
Half-Raftered

 


 
The twitchy adolescent sales clerk glares at us as we approach the Photo Department counter. "What's the last name?" he asks sullenly, when we tell him that we are there to pick up some pictures.

I hesitate.

"I'm not sure," I say, momentarily at a loss. I turn to David. "Which name did you use when you dropped the film off yesterday?"

"Rafter," David says pleasantly, patiently ... but with an unmistakeable tinge of amusement (and exasperation) in his voice.

Oh. Yeah. Rafter. There is no *other* name anymore, is there?

It's not so surprising that I'm having trouble getting used to the new last name ... mainly because I'm not 100% there yet. Right now I'm still sorta wandering around in that peculiar no-woman's-land -- half *old* name, half *new* name -- that I'm sure a lot of newly-married women must endure for the first few weeks after their marriage. (At least, they must "endure" it if they're planning to switch over to their husband's name ... which I am.(

At the Totem Pole Company, for instance, I'm "Terri Rafter" on the office phone lists, on the e-mail server, on the company softball team roster [snort] ... but according to Payroll I'm still "Terri Polen." When I write a personal check, or use the ATM, or sneak over to Sears during lunch and buy clothes with my poor overloaded VISA, I'm still "Terri Polen" ... but I'm "Terri Rafter" when I discuss extermination issues with the landlord. ("Can we exterminate Upstairs Neighbor Guy?")  "Terri Polen" is still receiving Victoria's Secret catalogs, credit card bills, wedding response cards and twice-weekly solicitations to join Great Expectations Dating Service ("Because there is someone for everyone!") ... while "Terri Rafter" should be receiving her first issue of People Magazine within the next 4-6 weeks.

Confused much?

Yeah, me too.

And it's probably going to remain this way for at least a while longer. Because we were married in Washington State, instead of here in California, we've got to wait for a certified copy of our marriage certificate to be mailed to us ... a process that could take anywhere from ten days to four-and-a-half years, depending on how swiftly the request is processed in TicTac (and/or how "swiftly" the United States Postal Service completes its appointed rounds). Until I receive the certified copy of the marriage certificate, I can't change any of the stuff that really counts -- my identification, my bank account info, my Social Security info -- which means that all of the other changes are put on hold until then.

Of course, once the certified copy gets here ... the fun really begins.

I don't think you realize just how complex and extensive a process it is, changing your legal name, until you actually have to go through the process yourself. Among the myriad changes I'm negotiating:

  • My California State I.D. (I don't have a Driver's License right now -- another story/another day -- but I do have a state I.D. card. And right now the photo on that I.D. card -- taken eleven months and 35 pounds ago -- is the most incredibly hideous, unflattering, embarrassing I.D. photo in the history of I.D. photos. So you'd better believe this is going to be the FIRST thing that gets changed.)
  • E-mail accounts ... all 43,897,621 of them.
  • Luggage tags.
  • Meta tags.
  • Bank stuff (including checking and savings accounts, debit cards, groovy "Wizard of Oz" personal checks).
  • AIM and Yahoo Messenger info. (Go ahead and add "TRaftervoi" to your Buddy Lists!)
  • Credit cards.
  • ISP accounts.
  • AOL accounts.
  • Business cards.
  • My listing in the Internet White Pages, The Diary Registry, the Monster Boards and The Society For The Prevention of Jennifer Love Hewitt mailing list.
  • Voter Registration Card.
  • Membership in the NAESAA. (Honestly, I have no idea what "NAESAA" stands for ... but membership is free, so whut the hell.)
  • Personal address labels.
  • Frequent Flyer and Rapid Rewards program info.
  • Sheer Endurance Hosiery Club membership.
  • Library card.
  • Utility company records.
  • Domain name registration.
  • My résumé.
  • Voicemail and answering machine greetings. ("Hi, you've reached the RAFTER residence. Nobody here but us RAFTERS, OK?")
  • My Safeway Club Card.
  • Our rental agreement.
  • Insurance policies.
  • SecraTerri's AOL profile. (I've gone from "The Internet Girlfriend" ... to "The Internet Fiancee" ... to "The Internet Ball & Chain.")
  • Classmates.com class lists. (I'm still waiting for *Hey! You Owe Me $46.52 For Those 'Firefall' Tickets!* Guy to find me and send a blistering e-mail.)
  • My 401K.
  • Hello Kitty! Bonus Card. (Three more stamps and I get a free Badtz-Maru pencil.)
  • Social Security Card.
  • Anything I've had monogrammed/engraved/personalized in the past twenty years ... including my left shoulder blade.

And that's just the stuff I'm coming up with off the top of my head, first thing this morning. Wait till I get a little caffeine into me.

I'm not kidding myself here. I expect that I'm going to be wandering through the world as a Half-Rafter for months yet.  But that's OK. It's not so bad. Being *half* of something wonderful is a bazillion times better than being *all* of something miserable.

And you can quote me on that one.

Have a great weekend, everybody!




p.s. hahahahaha! bet you thought there was going to be SOMETHING ELSE here today, didn't you?!?

p.p.s. *footnotes* is looking for a new home ... again. this is a long and terminally-uninteresting story that i plan to inflict on you sometime next week ... but in the meantime please e-mail me IMMEDIATELY if you can recommend a decent web hosting service. [i'm defining "decent" as 1.) not expensive, 2.) not stingy about web space, and 3.) not so in love with technobabble and geekspeak that they lose me four seconds into the "how-to" e-mail.]

p.p.p.s. yes, i broke down and subscribed to People Magazine ... even after i said i was going to "wait a while." what can i tell you? they made me an offer i couldn't refuse. [and with the money i'm saving ... i can start buying COSMO every week!]

[david: "grrrrrrrrr."]



one year ago: bespectacled

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