Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Anti-Social Security

I called the Social Security offices today to find out how much money I'll rake in monthly once I get old -- in two months. I spoke to a very nice young lady in Cleveland, Ohio who assured me that I was doing the right thing by applying for my own benefits to start once I turn 62 and that they could take care of it by phone interview.

Okay, the interviewer who initially sounded as if she had just been woken up from a nap (2 pm) and would rather be having a root canal also told me I was doing the right thing by applying for my own benefits now. I was almost giddy -- I didn't have to go sit in a horrible office and wait forever to talk to someone who would possibly be even less enthused about talking to me and they would see to it that I started getting money right after my birthday. What a wonderful world! I really need to have the rose tint removed from my glasses!

The lovely lady asked how much I earn and when I told her the embarrassingly low amount (hey, it's government work) she said, "I will pay you nothing. Nothing." Apparently, since I earn more than $14,000-something a year, I'm not deserving of receiving the money they have been removing from my paychecks since 1967. I was then told I could receive one check (quite small) in December because since my birthday is in the latter part of the year, it has to be postponed until Dec. Excuse me - since when is the fourth month considered the second half of the year?!

The woman actually turned out to be very sweet and we chatted a bit. The long and short of this interview was that anyone who continues to work full-time past 62 or who earns more than the bare poverty level is considered by government standards to be a moron or a glutton for punishment. I know I should be glad that I'll receive some benefits, but who knows if they'll still be there in four years!

The call made me realize that the organization is due for a name change: they're really not very sociable and our benefits are by no means secure.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

As my dad used to say when he'd answer my weekly phone calls, "Happy Sunday." The day started well since I actually got enough sleep and had time to read some of my book of the moment, Italian Lessons, by Peter Pezzelli.

Then, my favorite priest and one of the funniest of all time, Fr. Small -- a young fella from Emory and St. Pius H.S.-- said Mass. When we got to the Lord's Prayer, the old gent next to me whipered a few things, none of which I understood and he was speaking English. I think he was asking me if it was all right to hold my hand but who knows? Then, he said "okay" after every statement of the prayer. Our Father -- okay! Who art in heaven -- okay! Hallowed be Thy name -- okay! You get the picture. At the sign of peace, after he hugged his sweet wife on the other side of him, he leaned over to me, kissed my cheek and said, "thank you, honey." His wife shook my hand and also said thank you. Okay, it doesn't take anything at all to make me tear up at church and that did me in.

Keri's home now, doing laundry, eating, discussing her take on the world and how it should be run, talking on the phone and just being plain old Keri which I thoroughly enjoy.

Okay, happy Sunday!