06 August 2011

How to get licensed in the state of California

In between bouts of nausea and the desire to collapse and never move again, Matt took me out for some small errands this week. One of those was getting a marriage license. Our wedding planner provided us with the official guide, which listed the courthouses providing licenses. As we were planning on going to the valley afterwards for some fun with numismatics (West Los Angeles is severely lacking in that department, unlike the valley), a courthouse in the valley would have been very convenient. Alas, the least inconvenient one listed required a trip to Beverly Hills.

After successfully clearing the magnetometer, we happily discovered that there was no line. The clerk asked us if we had filled out the forms online. "Online?" we asked. I had checked the website earlier in the morning to check their hours, and I saw nothing about filling out forms online. Oh well, it wasn't exactly rocket science, and there was a large table to sit at. The nice clerk even provided a *working* pen.

While Matt filled in his section, I read the instructions. Being a good engineer, I normally would ignore the instructions until something caught fire, but I had to wait for my turn to write. The first thing I discovered was the existence of more marriage license providing courthouses than indicated by the official guide. Not only was there one in the valley, in Van Nuys, but the LAX courthouse had also got in on the act. The same LAX courthouse that is all of five minutes from our house. Either would have been much more convenient. Useless.

I decided not to explode, as it would make a big mess all over the form. And it was my turn to write, anyway. Name? Have you been married before? Parents' birth names? Address? Mailing address? Why was there no checkbox to indicate that they are the same address so I didn't have to write the whole thing twice? New middle name? New last name? Hmmm, things have gotten interesting.

I already decided forever ago that I wanted to take Matt's more interesting-than-mine last name. If nothing else, it will make my life easier, at least after I fill out six million change of name forms. So I filled in my new last name for the first time. As for new middle name, I left that blank. According to the form, I could hyphenate my current middle name with my current last name. Eww. No thank you.

Having survived the great renaming debacle, we once again waited on the non-existent line to submit our spiffy form. The clerk looked it over and asked if I was sure about not changing my middle name. That's when I found out I could have two unhyphenated middle names. Yet another form lied to me, the heathen. Two middles names for me!

Finally, it was time for the fun part. We raised our hands and swore that we had filled out the form to the best of our knowledge and that we had signed in the appropriate virginal blood.

With all the other details taken care of, how would we like to pay? Apparently the website and the official guide wanted to further aggravate us, as cash and check are no longer the only options; now MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted. You'll note that I didn't include Visa in that list, for which the clerk had no good explanation.

After paying, we had to wait about ten minutes for the official documents to be generated. I was slightly disappointed at how boring the finished product was. I could have made it myself in all of ten minutes. At least this one was real. Now we just have to make sure it gets used within the next ninety days. Gee, if only we had something planned.


sugarandice said...

"Being a good engineer, I normally would ignore the instructions until something caught fire..." - Ever think of writing books as a side job? ;)

SBPW, but you'll always be Beulah to me.

Anonymous said...

One of my classmates was recently discussing her wedding and passed on a good piece of advice that I will pass onto you -- if you're going on a honeymoon, make sure you book your plane ticket in your old name. Apparently non-matching IDs can be a nightmare at the airport checkpoint.

osmodion said...

That means we actually did something correct! Both times we booked our honeymoon! Stupid Europe, being too far away.