What’s my name again?
It’s been awhile. Ben and I have been busy trying to enjoy the end of summer. In particular, my time has been spent on the following (in no particular order):
- Name change
- The puppy
- September the month of weddings
- Looking at our professional wedding pictures over and over again
Let’s tackle the first topic of discussion: name change.
How much trouble could the name change possibly be? One might assume (based solely on the number of weddings that Ben and I will be attending this year) that millions of people change their names every single day (or, more accurately, about 86% of all new brides according to various web sites referencing a 2006 study).
I don’t mean to complain but this name change situation is a huge pain in the you know what. First of all, in many cases, a woman is giving up the only name she’s ever known so there is the psychological factor. Ben and I have been married since April and I still have trouble saying “HI, I’m Erin Hatten”. More frequently it comes out as “Hi, I’m Erin Kor – oh – Hatten”. Very effective at confusing whoever I am talking to.
In order to ease the pain, I’ve updated all of my email display and social networking names to be ‘First Maiden Last’. Apparently, I am so head strong in general that people actually think that I have taken the double last name. Let’s be clear – while I hate the fact that I am giving up something that I associate closely with my identity, logistically the double or hyphenated last name just seems like a lot of work. Kudos to all of you ladies that do that – this newlywed does not have that threshold of patience.
At work I didn’t have the option to keep my maiden name in my email display name so I had to make the transition directly to First Last. It’s been a shock. At my current client, where I worked for over a year prior to getting married, there is now a mess of ‘Korte’ and ‘Hatten’ across documents, spreadsheets, action items, etc. It’s as though I’m confused as to who I am and/or which version of me will be doing the work. Plus people are worried about offending me by using the wrong name which creates all sorts of hilarious exchanges of people-trying-to-be-nice. (For the record, I don’t care and I’m totally ok with all 18 user IDs with my maiden name…please do not waste hours of your life updating them).
Secondly (getting past the identify crisis phase of updating your name), there is the pure logistical mess of updating your name on EVERYTHING.
My running list:
- Social Security Administration
- Internal Revenue Service
- Washington, DC (drivers license and car registration)
- Credit cards (of course I have no less than 7 cards when you take into account charge cards)
- Bank (you even have to order new checks for those 3 times a year where you might actually physically write a check)
- Rewards programs (hotels, airlines, etc)
- Existing travel reservations (TSA is not happy when your name doesn’t match your ticket)
- Your alma mater(s)
And, if you’re like me and do ALL of your shopping on the internet, that is a lot of stored credit cards and account information pages to update. I’ve been testing the waters a little bit. Shocking how many sites will continue to let you use what is likely an invalid credit card (since name and security code no longer match). But I digress.
For the first few bullet points in that list, I chose to go with the website MissNowMrs.com. The user interface and the flow could use a little work but overall it was super easy to use. Once I filled out all of the basic information, the program printed out forms and instruction sheets for me. The pre-populated forms and instruction sheets were awesome. The service is worth the $30 just to get that. BUT, I would not recommend using the form letters. The form letters from MissNowMrs are offensively terrible and have their logo and watermark on them. Gross. Form letters aren’t that hard. Have some dignity and write your own. And, since a lot of credit card companies allow you to submit your requests online, the letter itself is becoming obsolete.
I’m pretty advanced in the process. Altogether I would estimate that I have spent no less than 15 hours on the process (including time out of my work day to visit the Social Security Administration and the DC DMV). My one hold out is the passport because I’ve been too lazy to go get pictures taken. Terrible excuse when you live a block away from a 24 hour CVS. Otherwise (on paper at least), I am Erin Hatten. And I’ve finally accepted that the subpar initials of EKH are all mine and ELK is gone forever…