Friday, June 22, 2012

The Wondrous and the Routine

In honor of my birthday (and in recognition of a slow freelance season), I have signed up for Social Security. Yes – I am ENTITLED!

I signed up on line because they hate it when you call them. You can tell, because when you call, before you ever reach a live person an automated voice spends a lot of time telling you how to sign up on line.

After I signed up, I emailed the agency to ask when my benefits would start, because I couldn’t find that information on the web site. In reply, I got an email saying the representative I met with when I signed up had already told me that information.

I responded that I didn't meet with anyone; I signed up on line. The anonymous correspondent apparently took offense, and emailed me information about how my taking Social Security will affect my spouse.

My spouse? I have no spouse. I fired back a note that said so, and asked my original question once again. The return email said this: “There is nothing we can add to the information we previously gave.”

Fine. I called Social Security, knowing they prefer that I not do that, to say I signed up to begin in July. I asked when they would send the money. The woman said the first deposit will not show up until August because all Social Security payments are made a month late “like your paycheck at work.”

August? Sheesh. I want my money now. So I asked about changing my start date to June, so I would have my money in July. The woman advised against that.

Get this: Until July 22, the Social Security Administration considers me 63, not 64. Yes -- They say you are not your true new age until one month after your actual birthday. They said if I wait until I am truly 64 in their eyes, I will get $12 more per month than if they considered me 63, whether or not I was 64 at the time. Sigh.

Yesterday morning I found a note on my Social Security Status Report (an on line service) saying they needed to see the court document from when I changed my married name back to my birth name. The note said just put the document in the mail and they would send it back after they read it.

That sounded dicey to me. I dug out the document – this happened in 1982 – and drove to the San Francisco office. I hope that now Social Security believes I am who I think I am, so I can get my entitlement. Even if I must wait until August.

In Other News, it’s been a splendid Birthday Week. Enjoyed homemade pizza with Susan and her Ballerina Granddaughters (they made the pizza; we ate it at my home) on Sunday. The girls had on their recital costumes; Susan and I donned festive headpieces. Oops – should have taken a picture of that.

Got a brand new dental crown on Monday (my second in three months). Had a celebratory lunch with a friend in Sausalito, followed by Summer Solstice Eve cocktails (okay, cocktail) and dinner with friends on Tuesday. Spent Quality Time with Banjo the Cat and soaked up some sun on the longest day of the year on Wednesday. Aced my routine appointment with the oncologist and bought myself pretty orange tulips and a pair of wild and crazy socks on Thursday.

Today I will head to the neighborhood hardware/gift store and buy something fun (or not – a friend says I need a crowbar in case of an earthquake, so I can pry open the front door) with the birthday discount, which is half your age. Nice!

Next I will visit The Baby at day care. Then I have an appointment at a posh spa (thank you, Five Favorite Female Friends!) for a Vichy shower treatment. Never had one? You lie on a table on your stomach, covered by a towel, and 12 showerheads on the walls and ceiling massage you with warm water. Then you are dried off, oiled up and sent on your way. It’s bliss! Tonight I hope to spend more time with The Baby and his parents, maybe share a pizza and hear stories about their recent vacation.
There you have it -- a birthday that blends the wondrous with the routine. That's how I like all my days to be! Time to get started on a great day.