Beating My Head Against The System

When Hottie and I got married, I opted not to change my name at the time. I had my reasons, none of which I can remember right now except for the “I’m not so sure I like my first name with your last name” one, and the “maybe I’ll use an awkward and unwieldy hyphen-name instead” one. Hottie didn’t care one way or the other, and gradually I started using his last name on more and more things (bills, internet things, checks, etc) until finally, after two years, I decided to do the big social security card name change.

Well, wait, not really. I’m getting ahead of myself. A few weeks ago I sent out for some information from various online colleges to see about going back to school. After a horribly amazing crash and burn failure at University of Phoenix, I’ve been very leery of starting back up again. (It was college math 2, by the way. Math is my nemesis, and anything beyond simple addition and subtraction makes my brain explode.)

Instead of simply getting some information from Kaplan University, I found myself being herded (much like University of Phoenix) into enrollment and registration and class starts next week and holy hell aren’t you guys even going to buy me dinner first?

Needless to say, I dug in my heels a little bit. I just wanted INFORMATION. I wasn’t sure I was ready to go back to school yet. After much harassment and many calls from one of my advisors I finally got around to doing the paperwork necessary to start my GI Bill up again. Except, whoops, there’s something wrong with my last name! I enrolled and sent all my various paperworks (transcripts and DD-214) with my ‘new’ last name. My GI Bill is attached to my social, which is attached to my ‘old’ last name.

See, I really didn’t decide to get my social security card changed, it was kind of decided for me. No problemo! I was willing to do it now since I’d been using Mrs. Hottie for the past year or so. Except I couldn’t find our marriage certificate. We -are- married, right? I’ll just get a copy from the office that’s way downtown and hey we only have one vehicle now but I really don’t feel like traipsing all over town to get this stuff done right now so I’ll wait until tomorrow.

Or the next day.

Meanwhile, my advisor is calling me daily wanting to know if I’ve gotten my paperwork taken care of because I’m supposed to start on the 25th. “Yes,” I say, “I can’t do it today because the social security office closes stupid early and I don’t have the truck.” So finally, today Hottie braves downtown (bless him) to go pick up a copy of our marriage license, comes home, and then I take him back to work and head down to the social security center.

Tangent: My former boss married us in his office. True story.

I get to the center (the one that closes at 3:30) thinking this is going to be an in-and-out situation. I didn’t even bring the diaper bag. As soon as I walk in I realize how wrong I was. The place is packed. Wall-to-wall people. It’s so noisy I can’t even hear myself think, and my vision starts to narrow a little.

I should mention here that a few years ago I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, one of the reasons I wanted to go to school online. I do okay in small groups, but as soon as the number of people starts to become more than I can count easily, I start having problems.

It’s so confusing that all I can do is go and get an application and retreat, clutching it in one hand while I try to make the fastest exit possible while hiding behind my son. I sit in my truck for about 5 minutes before I’m calmed enough to drive. I even called Hottie and told him, “I can’t do this. I can’t, there’s too many people. I’m just going to mail it in.” Fate was laughing at me at that point. HA HA HA.

When I got home I looked up the social security information to find out what I needed to send, etc etc. Then I spotted this little gem:

Take (or mail) your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.  If you live in the New York City metropolitan area, Las Vegas NV, Orlando FL, or Phoenix AZ you may need to apply in person at your local Social Security Card Center. 

Guess which one of those areas I live in. And did I mention that the card office I went to is the ONLY one in the area, and they service 3 counties? On top of that, after I apply, I STILL need to wait for the application to be sent to the main office in Baltimore, and then get approved and all that jazz. So it’s still not going to be a fast process.

I call my advisor and leave a message saying that I don’t think I’ll be starting school next week.

I think I need a beer or three.

I’ll be going first thing Monday morning, this time with Hottie so he can be my bulwark against all those people. I’m so lucky to have him to combat all my neuroses.

As a total aside, WordPress does NOT like the word “with”. It keeps trying to make it “WI th”.