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September 07, 2001: Multiple me

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Yesterday I hussled myself down to the courthouse and procured two copies of our marriage license, each bearing the official seal of the county, created by a machine I can only assume is so insanely expensive and rare that it cost me $12 per copy simply to have them stuff the paper in and press down a lever. Then I sat down and starting making a list - a list which keeps growing slowly as new cards and accounts keep popping into my head while I'm driving down the road, or stirring up dinner, or doing anything else that precludes me from immediately rushing to the computer to write it down. And to really get the ball rolling on all this excitement, I just got back from several hours waiting in line at the Social Security office to file my paperwork.

Yep. After a month and a half of marital bliss, it's time for The Change. From this day forward, I'll be required to fill out that 'maiden name' slot on applications and official documents with something other than Not Applicable. I'm so excited I could just spit! No, really. You might want to move back from the monitor a bit. Ahem. But where was I?

It would help, I suppose, if The Change had taken place a bit quicker, and I was actually using the new name on a more regular basis. But since we'd planned this trip to DragonCon and had already purchased the tickets prior to the wedding, and since airlines tend to be fairly paranoid about letting people onto their planes who don't have proper identification (the thought process being, I can only assume, that terrorists apparently don't have proper ID's), I figured it was better to wait til after the trip to go through the whole official name change hassle. In the meantime, I've been introducing myself as Jennifer Crawford, and changed all my email sigs and updated my journal pages and all that happy stuff, but it's one thing to see it in print, or to have it come out of my mouth, and it's quite another to have it come from someone else. Yesterday the choir director at church called and asked for Mrs. Crawford. Took me a few seconds of open-mouth gaping before I managed to *not* pop out "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number" and remember that oh yeah, that's me he's asking for.

The few times I've actually had to sign my new name my signature gets a bit messy. Not to say that it wasn't messy already. My handwriting is of the caliber that I should have been a medical professional, in other words. Years ago I gave up on cursive and stuck with printing out of self-preservation. I figured if I couldn't even read my own handwriting, let alone everyone else, I really ought to stick to something a bit more legible. Pre-marriage, my signature was a little J-shaped squiggle, followed by an M-shaped squiggle with a few L's thrown in. Now there's the little J-shaped squiggle that's my first name, and the last name part ends up something that started out as an 'M', but morphed into a 'C' because my hand is set to autopilot when I sign stuff since it's been doing the same thing for the better part of three decades, and it's only halfway through that I remember to actually concentrate on what I'm writing down.

The old last name - Mueller - was constantly mispronounced, even to the point of people insisting that I must be wrong (because I, of course, would be the last one to know how to pronounce my own name). I recall getting into an argument with my German teacher back in high school on how to properly pronounce it because the proper German pronunciation has an emphasis that my esteemed ancestors never used. She was practically adamant that I should be spelling it with an umlaut, and I think only sheer professionalism managed to keep her from foaming at the mouth and leaping over her desk at me when I insisted (silly me) that my way really was correct. Let's put it this way - if you are reading that name and hearing a long 'u' in your head, you've got it wrong (yes, wrong! Even though everyone else you have ever met with the same last name pronounces it with a long 'u'). Try it with a short 'u'. There, that's better.

Because of all the hassle I've had my entire life over how to properly say my last name, it's been a secret and wicked dream of mine to find a man who had the same spelling, but the more 'proper' pronunciation, and then I would hyphenate our names, just for the amusement of changing it around every time to confuse people. Mueller-Mueller. Doesn't matter which one was meant to be first - think of the fun!

Of course, I had to give up that dream to marry Richard. You see what love will do?

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