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Out of the engagement frying pan, into the marriage fire

October 09, 2002|by Laura H. Vogel FulghumI

I am having an identity crisis in the wake of becoming a married woman. The wedding was perfect. Our marriage has had a truly blissful beginning. My husband is simply wonderful. But, in the face of the happiness that surrounds me, I am seriously beginning to wonder - who am I?

I find myself in the middle of changing my name - and tied up in all of the paperwork and time that it entails. Much to my surprise, most agencies are requiring official, certified copies of our marriage license to prove my name change. I am presently only armed with the original and photocopies. As we wait for the certified copies to reach us, I have been halted only halfway through my list of those to notify.

So the answer to the question, "Who am I?" varies depending on who you ask. According to the Motor Vehicle Association, I am Laura Fulghum. However, I am still Laura Vogel if you ask the IRS. On my Visa card I am a Fulghum but on my car loan I am a Vogel. Every time I sign my name I have to think about who I am in that particular situation. It's trying.

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Imagine the reaction of the bank teller when I told her that I needed another withdrawal slip because I had signed the wrong name. In hindsight, I guess I probably should have explained myself better - I am certain that the woman thinks I am insane.

I have also noticed that in addition to all of the agencies that I chose to deal with, most junk mail sources have somehow caught wind of the existence of Laura Fulghum. Of course, they have not been able to grasp the concept that she and I are one in the same, and so our mailbox is filled daily with two of everything that we didn't want one of in the first place.

One of the perks to this new name of mine is that when tele-marketers call and ask for me by my maiden name, I can honestly tell them that she doesn't live here or that they have dialed the wrong number. And since no one ever pronounces Fulghum correctly (it's "full-jum," by the way, NOT "full-gum"), I can pretty much tell them the same thing when they ask for me by my new name. As a matter of fact, if one of them actually got it right I might even entertain their sales speech as a reward.

Changing my name has not been the only surprise adjustment to being a Fulghum that I have faced in the past two weeks. Returning to the nest with much more stuff then we left with was an enormous adjustment. Our house looks like a department store. Don't get me wrong. I am by no means complaining about all of the wonderful wedding gifts that we were so lucky to receive, we just don't know where to put them all. And I'm also not quite sure what I am supposed to do with the mountains of wedding planning supplies I have relied on so heavily for the past nine months.

One of the most delightful and welcomed adjustments that we are making is also one of the most unexpected. When we first moved in together almost two years ago, we were so love-struck that we hardly got anything done. The dishes piled up in the sink and laundry overflowed in the basket. Dinner was never made at a normal time and we were glued to each other's sides. Eventually, we adjusted to our living situation and learned how to balance life with love.

It seems as though, since we have been married, we have forgotten how to balance once again. We are behaving like two infatuated teenagers - too busy being in love to worry about real life. We rent movies, drink champagne and make popcorn. We stay up way too late on a work night and call each other during the day. We meet for long lunches.

Eventually our lives will return to normal. We will open the door and reluctantly let reality back in. There are bills to be paid and dishes to be done. Besides, my husband is almost out of clean shirts. And while I recognize the need for life to resume, I am selfishly hoping that the proverbial honeymoon will last just a little while longer - at least until I finish changing my name.

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