By my title, you might guess that I'm talking about my house or my child or something of this sort. Oh, I wish it were a mess like that. Let me just fill you all in on the past week of my life. It all started five years ago... Try to keep up with all this:
I was born Mary Katherine Paris. Beautiful name, huh? I've never really liked Mary by itself. Until I was in sixth grade, I was known as Mary Kate. (I was born before the Olsen twins were thought of, by the way, so no jokes, please.) Then I became too cool to have a double name, so I started going by just Kate. A few people very close to me still call me Mary Kate, like aunts and uncles, cousins, my best friends' parents. The only person who calls me this NOT from my childhood is my father-in-law, and he's sweet enough to call me whatever he wants to. He could call me dork if he wanted to, and I'd still be proud.
Back to the subject. On the other hand, I have always really loved my maiden name. I just think it's pretty cool. So, five years ago, when I became a Kerrigan, I wanted to mix things up a little and drop Mary, make Katherine my first name, Paris my middle name, and Kerrigan my last name. My mom had done the same thing when she got married. I had no idea that this would cause such problems...
When we first married, I went to the social security office and became Katherine Paris Kerrigan, no problem. Then I went to the DMV and discovered that I was not allowed to do that with my driver's license without legally having my name changed, so I became Mary K. Paris-Kerrigan (hyphenated). Fine. The only problems this has caused so far is when my students ask me what my middle name is (I go through the entire spiel, in very Kate-like fashion, because I can't simplify any story) and when I went to vote in the last presidential election. I stood in the A-L line forever (for the "K"), just to learn that I should be in the M-Z line (for the "P"). I would call this a small hassle, but not a very big deal, until last week.
I went to the DMV to have my driver's license changed. When I pulled out all my information, the clerk just stared at it all. "None of this has the same name. Which is correct?" So I go through it all--the birth name, married name, social security name, driver's license name, and so on and so forth. Evidently, it doesn't work that way anymore. Both DMV and Social Security office must have the same information. I was referred to social security to sort things out before I came back to the DMV office. I was irritated, but not overwhelmed--yet.
Today I went to the social security office. Unless I want to legally become Katherine Paris Kerrigan, I will be Mary Katherine Paris-Kerrigan. So I am. The up-side is that I really like Mary Katherine, because it's pretty and because my dad and granddaddy named me this family name. But I have a whole new last name, as far as I'm concerned. Evidently, this is as far as a lot of people are concerned.
It occurred to me that my passport says Katherine Paris Kerrigan, and I'm going to Italy in March. So I make a trip to the post office after Gilbert purchases plane tickets for Mary Katherine Paris-Kerrigan. The news, in a nut-shell? Looks like I'm paying for a new passport.
I left the post office, called Gilbert, and said, "I'm going somewhere quiet to be by myself." I thought I was going to scream. I was completely overwhelmed. After Barnes and Noble, a caramel macchiato, and an hour of reading a grammar book, I was feeling a little more calm.
I'm going to see what happens with the DMV on Wednesday. I wonder how much mess I will uncover there. Keep your fingers crossed for me.