I did it -- 02/02/13

This has been an extremely busy week for me.

As I mentioned in my last entry, UPS brought me a new laptop for work. It has 8 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive -- so I think I will have the horsepower and the memory storage needed to get me through this year (through the remaining eleven months until retirement). It also runs Window 7 and after three and a half days of struggling with Windows 7, I have to say I deeply regret that it didn't have Window XP Professional instead. However, I did buy a copy of Windows 7 Simplified, so perhaps that will help me cope.

I have spent most of my work time this week struggling to install all the various software that I need. I think probably another eight or ten hours this coming week will be wasted on the same process. Ah, but it will all be sweet when I am finished. Yeah, well, maybe. Certainly everything should run faster.

My left foot is making great progress. My podiatrist has approved of me wearing real shoes (i.e., various pairs of Brooks running shoes) instead of having a surgical shoe on that left foot. He also has approved me walking -- that is, going out for a brisk walk for exercise. He suggested starting off with a ten minute walk and gradually increasing it from that, but to avoid any running or jogging until toward the end of the month. The idea is to let the new bone growth become stronger than the steel plate (that has been holding things together since the surgery) before subjecting the foot to the impact stress of running. I had been hoping to run the March Hare Hop 3-miler (first Sunday in March) -- he says I could certainly walk it and maybe do a bit of jogging but no running.

I guess my return to running in races will have to wait until April.

It felt good go to Friday morning's Tai Chi session without the surgical shoe. After Tai Chi, Jill wanted to go for a run and planned to start with a walk around the neighborhood as a warm up and she invited me to join. I said I would try my doctor's suggested ten minute limit, but when I got walking, I could feel some discomfort in my left foot (I guess the Tai Chi class had been enough activity for it) and so I made a U-turn and only walked a quarter of a mile.

Friday afternoon
I did it -- I completed my application for Social Security. I had started it online two or three weeks ago but couldn't complete it online because they wanted a copy of my 2012 W2 form (for those of you outside the US, that is a statement of income paid and taxes withheld that employers have to give to employees so they can file their annual tax returns) -- but, of course, this is not available at mid-January. So, a few days ago I got my W2, went online to attempt to complete and got a message about being unable to process at that time. I did not want to mail it it -- picturing it spending weeks sitting in a neglected pile of mail in some office -- so Friday afternoon I drove up to Warwick, to the closest Social Security office. It had the look-and-feel of a DMV (and you've never dealt with a truly moronic bureaucracy until you have been forced to visit a Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles office) but to my pleasant surprise the staff was intelligent and friendly and helpful (even on a Friday afternoon).

This morning I got a phone call from a very pleasant woman at the Social Security office. (Nancy was surpised that they were working on a Saturday.) She just wanted to double-check that I wanted to start drawing Social Security benefits effective in March. She had noticed that my birthday was in April and wondered if I had meant April. I told her that March was correct (because it isn't actually paid until April 1st). If I waited one more month, my monthly payment would be a few bucks a month higher (after 70th birthday there is no increase for waiting) but I figure that payment for March will leave me ahead until I am 85 or so -- and by then they will either be slashing payments because of the crushing national debt or they will have inflated the dollar to being near worthless anyway (or both). I didn't tell her that the actual reason I picked March rather than April was that I hadn't trusted the government to correctly process everything in time if I said April and end up starting with May and never getting paid for April at all. This way, if the March payment does not show up in my bank account at the start of April, I will have sufficient warning to be able to do something in April. If I were to start with April, it would be the beginning of May before I would find out that they screwed it up. Who, me? Cynical? Whatever do you mean?

So -- I did it -- I am now going to be collecting Social Security. And on December 31st I will be retiring from my job -- 01/01/14 will find me retired.

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