Wednesday, June 4, 2014

No Way, Jose!

Life has certainly been exicting around here lately.  With a newborn, a two year old and two kids involved in soccer and other extracurricular things the past month has really gone by in a flash.  Can you belive that Anthony is already a month old?  It seems like it wasn't all that long ago that I was wondering when he'd be born and yet at the same time it feels like he's been with us for such a long time.

I've plunged into life with a double stroller and two children riding in harnessed car seats.  This was previously uncharted territory for me.  So far this has gone smoothly and I've gone out to stores several times now just me and the little ones and things have gone smoothly.  I certainly getting the hang of this, although I'm still not a fan of double strollers and I am still not used to going to the other side of the van to get Katie bucked into her seat.  For nearly 9 years the drivers side of the car has been the only spot where I helped a younger child get in and out of a car seat so this is taking some getting used to without question.

I do feel like I'm in constant demand anymore.  I'll put the baby down to help someone with something and think that I'm good to sit down and hold my cute little man only to pick him up and have someone else need me for something else.  Some days I feel like I should have one of those ticket machines where the kids can take a number and I'll process their needs and requests in the order in which they are received.  Of course, that won't really work.  There are last second rushes to the potty for Katie, and when the baby cries that typically trumps helping someone find a missing pair of rec specs or whatever the missing item of the moment happens to be.

It's funny how the weeks when I look at my planner and see that we don't have much going on turn out to be some of the busiest weeks even if they don't look like it on paper.  This week is turning out like that.  It all started when I retreived the mail from the mailbox on Monday.  I was hit with a wave of panic and disbelief when I saw Anthony's Social Security card as I flipped through the mail.  Anthony William Jose....  What?!  Jose?  I freaked out, tried to figure out how this happened and then wondered if my last minute add-on middle name was a bad decision.  Then I decided to google just how many characters would fit on a Social Security card to see if this was something that could be fixed.  Turns out you have 26 spaces for first and middle names on the top line and 26 spaces for a last name on the bottom line.  So I called Social Security to find out why Anthony's name which is 22 characters, including spacing between names, didn't fit on the top line.  I wasn't prepared to be told that his second middle name on record with Social Security was Jose and not Joseph.  So while I freaked out and panicked on the inside I asked how we could get this corrected and was told that I needed to visit the local SSA office and just show them his birth certificate.  Easy enough, right?  Of course not.  These things are never that easy.

Tuesday I gathered up Anthony and Katie and Anthony's birth certificate and headed to the SSA office.  I get there and find a packed waiting room.  28 people were sitting in the waiting area and all were interspersed in such a way that I wasn't going to be sitting on an end next to my train like double stroller.  Yay double strollers!  Mercifully my whiney prayer to make this wait go quickly were answered three minutes later when our number got called.  Woot!  I sit down and explain the situation to the woman behind the thick bullet proof glass and shove the birth certificate and Social Security card with the wrong name through the slot.  And then she tells me I don't have enough proof to have his name changed and what other ID do I have to show his legal name.  Are you freaking kidding me?!  He's thirty some odd days old.  He has no other ID.  I think our dog has more ID than he does.  So after she went and checked with a supervisor she came back to tell me that I need a letter from either the hospital, the people who got me into this mess, or his doctor stating his date of birth and legal name.  Sigh.  I was seething as I left the SSA office.

I ended up calling the pediatrician and was initally told they didn't think they could help me since his middle names weren't on his immunization records even though I had them on all the paper work I had to fill out when we brought him in for his first visit.  I guess I filled those forms out for fun and nothing else.  After explaining the situation to the head nurse she agreed to write a letter but needed me to bring his birth certificate to the office so she could verify that his name was what I was claiming.  Fair enough, but I didn't like that she initially told me that the wrong name was probably because I didn't fill the form out correctly or legibly.  No, I made sure I spelled Joseph correctly and very legibly so there could be no mix-ups.

My second trip to the SSA office was colorful.  This time I had Ellie and Anthony with me since Ellie had a half day and I picked her up from school, ran to get the letter from the doctor and headed back to SSA trying to make sure we were there before they closed.  My heart sank when I checked in and found that we had at least seven people who were there for SS card business ahead of us.  So for close to forty minutes we sat waiting.  The man behind me let out an almost constant stream of profanity the entire time we sat waiting.  So awesome since he had my eight year old feet away from him.  Thanks, profanity man for dropping the F-bomb more times than one might hear it in Pulp Fiction or an episode of Deadwood.  You made my SSA experience complete.  Once our number was finally called I went back with two forms of ID for Anthony, and his incorrect SS card.  Right away I was told that his name was just too long to fit and there was no problem.  So I had to explain that the rep I spoke to on the phone said his name was Anthony William Jose and not Anthony William Joseph.  They weren't convinced.  So then I showed them the print out from the SSA website stating that 26 spaces are available on each line.  The baby's first and middle names is only 22 characters and spaces.  So they agreed to see if they could get his name to fit.  That's when I realized that the woman who was typing up all the info to correct his name was blind.  I had initally wondered why she had someone helping her.  I just figured she was new on the job.  Once I noticed the braille typewriter thing (I once had to read off the history notes to a blind class mate so I recognized the machine) and then this neat little light up braille device connected to the computer. (Don't ask me why it lights up since it seems pointless to me if the user can't see the lights.  Just another one of those bizarre details that probably only I notice and then wonder why it's that way.)  In the end the ladies got everything corrected and our little Jose was officially a Joseph.  Never a dull moment around here.

I am relieved that we have that all straighened out, but I will feel much better once his Social Security card gets here and I see his entire name on the card.  If you have children to name, view this as a cautionary tale and make sure your child's name fits within the 26 space limit.  I honestly never even thought about how two middle names might impact legal documents.  Then again, the second middle name was an eleventh hour add-on.

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