Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Return to Ogg: An Odyssey

So, lately I've been on a journey. This one isn't to the center of the earth, or a totally awesome 80's band, or even something written by Homer... but rather a long and ridiculously drawn out odyssey that will take me, finally and fully, back to my maiden name. I've come to think of it as "The Return to Ogg." An Oggyssey, if you will.

As I've already pointed out, I separated from my ex-husband in June 2010 and was officially divorced in January 2011. In the divorce, I had my maiden name legally restored. So here it was more than a year later, and yes, I was finally taking the steps to change my name on every piece of paper or plastic that makes me and my debits and credits me.

You may find yourself asking "how can it take a full year to get around to that?" And my first response would be to tell you back off, Judgey McJudgerson.  I've been busy.  But the real truth is that I am returning to Ogg with some trepidation. I haven't been Ogg since February 15, 1992.  I've spent my entire adult life as either Andrea Rocha (1992 - 2005) or Andrea Moravits (2005 - 2011)... or even occasionally as a French transfer student, a paleobiologist, or stunt driver-- but those are stories for another blog. And to be quite frank, many of my memories of being an Ogg aren't so pleasant.

3rd Grade Ogg: Hard to believe my nickname was "Ogg the Dog."

For a while, I toyed with taking my Nana's (my Mom's Mom) maiden name, which was Domini. I really dig the name Andrea Domini. Seriously, that chick is cool. And maybe kinda hot. People want to hang out with Andrea Domini, likely behind a velvet rope somewhere fabulous. But you know, when push comes to shove, I'm not actually an actress or novelist or singer, so I likely don't need a freaking stage name. (Well, I'm all of those things-- just usually all at one time which makes me kind of manic but not at all a triple threat.) I just couldn't do it.

This is how I picture Andrea Domini, pretty much 24/7.  She has way more fun than it really makes sense to be having. 

Damn it, I'm an Ogg.

In December, I made my first trek up to the Drivers License office in Castle Rock. It was the first day I was able to leave the house after being snowed in with pneumonia for about 10 days...and I was feeling remarkably optimistic. My optimism was short-lived, however, when I learned that I would first have to get a Social Security card with my new name, and then I could get a new Drivers License. I had lunch plans with my Southie girls Coral & Melissa, so I couldn't head over to the Social Security office, and I figured I'd likely need some sort of form anyway, so I held off.

Fast forward about two weeks. Per the SSA website, I completed a form, brought my passport and the divorce decree I received in the mail, and trudged up to the SSA office in Lakewood. After waiting for an hour, my number was finally called and I approached the window feeling really superior for being so prepared. Um...what do you mean I need a certified copy of my divorce decree? This is the decree they sent me in the mail, it's the only one that exists. Oh, I need to go to the court house and get a copy with a meaningless stamp on it? Goodie, I'm always looking for a reason to go to the courhouse and deal with bureaucrats.

So I raced off to the courthouse, waited forever in line in 5 inch stilettos behind someone who apparently had TB, paid $20 and got my stamped copy. I asked the clerk why in the world they wouldn't just send a stamped copy in the first place versus a completely worthless one and shockingly she had no answer. These people never do. It was too late to go back to the SSA office, so I had to abort my mission.  And disinfect myself.

Fast forward about two weeks to when I finally had the time and the permission to miss a little work again in order to go back to the SSA office, which is only open, oh-so-conveniently for those of us who work, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.  Apparently you are supposed to leave there, go to eat your early bird special dinner at Denny's and head straight home to watch "Matlock" or "Murder, She Wrote."  I once again waited an hour, inexplicably watching "Star Trek" on a Spanish language TV channel, and finally made my way up to the window. Aaaaaand...success! I was told I'd receive my new card in the mail in less than 2 weeks.

Caramba, Jaime! Yo soy un medico!

Two days later, I headed back to the Castle Rock Drivers License office, triumphant in my Social Security name change success. I told the clerk I also wanted to change my address. She told me I needed to provide proof of address-- like a bank statement or credit card bill.  Um, I've been waiting to change my address on those things until I change my name, which I can't do until I have my new Drivers License.

Are you hip to the whole chicken and egg nature of this process by now?

The clerk suggested I go across the street and change my vehicle registration and bring that back to her as proof.  "Um, I'm driving his car today and don't have proof of insurance with me."  She raised her eyebrow at me. New name, new address, some random person's car, no proof of insurance... Yeah, I seemed like Citizen of the Year and not at all suspicious. Had she been allowed, I'm pretty sure she would've asked for a urine sample at that point.

As I frantically tried to check several online accounts to show her my address, I realized that the mobile apps for these accounts don't show your profile information. I dug through my briefcase, thinking I must have at least one Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon with The Boy's address listed...aaaaand, negative. In fact, they all had my former father-in-law's name listed (misspelled) at my old address, where he never lived. Finally, after I had exhausted all of my resources, I deployed a new strategy: I just cried. I told her I'd been there three times now (okay, a slight exaggeration which she called me out on), and I just really couldn't afford to keep taking off work to get my documentation squared away. She took pity on me and after looking surreptitiously around the room, agreed to change it without documentaiton. You gotta love small town America.

Fast forward two weeks and I still hadn't received my new Social Security card. It turns out the reason for this was that I had a mail forwarding order with the Post Office because I am in the process of moving in with The Boy...and guess what?  The Post Office doesn't forward Social Security cards. I'll need to change my address with the IRS BY MAIL, DURING TAX SEASON, in order to go BACK to the SSA office, wait for an hour watching "I Dream of Jeannie" in Spanish, to request a copy of my new Social Secuirty card, bearing the Ogg name.

That sounds promising, doesn't it?

And then inspriation struck: I bet I have my old SS card, I thought, from when I was a child, that will show my maiden name. Genius! And since I'm in the midst of packing my house...I should be able to find it.

Strangely, it wasn't in my safe. My birth certificate was. Passports as Andrea Ogg, Andrea Rocha and Andrea Moravits were there. Two marriage certificates and two divorce decrees were in there. Seriously, if you need to assume an identity and go on the lam, call me and let's work out a deal. But I found no superflous SS cards.

Oh, but wait-- my packrattiness knows no bounds. There are boxes of momentoes in my basement, I thought...and surely among all of these treausres is my original SS card.

So I continued my search. I found front pages from the Houston Chronicle from 9/11, from Y2K. I found a blank check from my very first checking account. I found a copy of my first paycheck from 1982. But no Social Security card. I have the invoice sticker from my 1984 RX7, every report card and every Iowa Test score, and the mum my first love gave me for Homecoming 1983. But no god damn Social Security card. I found the plastic cup my pastor used to baptize me in the hospital as a very sickly newborn, a cigar from the bunch that my Dad gave out when I was born. But no ever-loving Social Security card. I found a business card from every job I've ever held and an envelope containing every ticket stub from every concert, play or musical I ever attended. I found baby shoes, baby teeth, my Indian Princess headress and the sling I wore for my broken arm in the third grade. I found every drivers license I've ever held and every badge I've ever been issued, including a media pass from the first post-Challenger Shuttle launch at the Johnson Space Center in 1989.

But what I didn't find was my motherfucking, God-forsaken, holy-shitballs-where-the-hell-is-it Social Security card.

So what? You may be asking. What do you even need a SS card for? I haven't needed to provide one in decades. My first reaction would be to suggest that you stop being so smug. And then I'd tell you this: My employer is requiring it so I can change my name in our corporate directory. And until I change my name in that directory, I can't change my name on my insurance cards or on any travel documents.

Which is why I'll be traveling to Las Vegas for business next week on an airline ticket for Andrea Moravits, while carrying a Drivers License for Andrea Ogg. Thankfully I'll also be carrying a passport for Andrea Moravits as I haven't tried to change that one yet, since it will require me sending in my passport itself along with a birth certificate, 2 marriage certificates, two divorce decrees, and likely a fingerprint, a lock of hair, a blood specimen and 2 - 3 eye witnesses. (Volunteers?)

I tell you what, I'm never changing my name again. Ever.



I'll tell you something else: Homer's got nothing on me.


  1. I still have all those same mementos in a box somewhere. I don't know why. I think I'm going to look at them when I'm old and remember things that happened back then. It's too late; I'm afraid I missed that boat. I am old and I can't remember those things anymore....

  2. I feel your pain, girl. Been there, somewhat. After my 2nd divorce, I also went back to my maiden name. What a huge-ass hassle and drama although not as entertaining as your story. When I got married the 3rd time, I did what I swore I'd never do -- I hyphenated my last name. I figured if the marriage didn't stick, it would ease any future name changes. That was 11 years and 3 kids ago, though. Kinda silly to have a hyphenated name now. Oh well, made sense at the time.

  3. Congrats ms Ogg!!! Why not go singular .....think Cher....Celine.....Tiger....Sting.....Oprah....Janny ( who the hell is she?)....well,you get it,right? ANDREA! There ya go. JJ in SA