So I Joined AARP. Shut Up.


“What do you mean, Patrick? Old people are the greatest! They’re full of wisdom and experience!” – SpongeBob SquarePants

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Call it target marketing.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a story online about something I can’t remember but none of that is important. Near the bottom of the page was an ad for AARP and while I’m usually pretty good at ignoring ads (read: they’ve never prompted me to purchase a damn thing ever), I decided it to give it a click and see what it was all about.

I thought I’d go a little in-depth with what they had to offer and see if it was worth my time. About 20 minutes later, I was reaching for my wallet to join at the low, low introductory rate of $12 for the year.

And here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

Anyone can join AARP these days. It was once restricted to ages 55 and up but that’s no longer the case.

I get a 15% senior discount at Denny’s when I flash my membership card which, two weeks later, I have yet to receive in physical form. Thankfully, it can be added to your Apple Wallet via the app so it’s cool. But for my birthday this week, my meal will be free since Denny’s still does that Grand Slam birthday promotion. It will be a good way to start my day when I do what I have planned. You didn’t hear anything. Shhh.

I took a hearing test, a whopping $8 value but free of charge to AARP members, and to no one’s surprise I discovered I’m a little hard of hearing, mostly in the right ear. It was a little sketchy though since the test was done over the phone where I had to listen to the sound a voice recite a set of three numbers over white noise that got louder each sequence. Then I had to enter said numbers – or at least what I thought I heard – with the keypad. I guess seeing Elton John last week didn’t help matters (but seriously, it was Elton Fucking John and he was spectacular).

There are discounts a-plenty: travel, health, auto insurance, hotels, etc. And oh yeah, cellular plans for Jitterbug. Because I’m so fucking old that I need to use a flip phone to call the police and let them know about the damn neighbor kids messing up my lawn.

But honestly, the discounts were all pretty disappointing. I’ve got good health insurance for me and the family so we’re covered there. I tried an auto insurance quote and it wasn’t much cheaper than what we pay with AAA which offers many more benefits. For travel and entertainment, my company has a corporate site where we can buy movie or concert tickets, book hotel rooms, reserve a rental car, etc. at substantial corporate discounts. What AARP offers doesn’t even come close to these rates.

There are also financial planning services offered but again, the job offers the same thing. So as of now, about the only thing this will be good/used for is the 15% discount at Denny’s and as often as we go there, it’s not even worth keeping.

Maybe when I leave my job and retire (HA!) I’ll get back into this whole AARP thing but until then, it’s a no from me and won’t be renewing. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and OOH SHINY NEW BIKE!

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It’s new. It was cheap. I rode it home in the rain and it’s better than anything you can get a big box store for the same price of $199 (original retail was $489). I still like to ride and since Ann’s old bike was absconded by some putz at the office, I can take my old one to work and use it instead of the left-out-in-the-rain bikeshare bikes that often need repairing.

50 might be approaching but I’m not slowing down much.

Well, except maybe when I see a Denny’s.

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Fifty Shades of Dave


Photo Jan 29, 3 06 29 PMI don’t know what things are like in your state but in California, a trip to the DMV – Department of Motor Vehicles – is always an adventure.

And after taking my motorcycle exam a few times over the last few years, I thought I was through with my DMV visits. How wrong I was.

Here’s what happened. Ann’s birthday is in March and she got her driver’s license renewal letter in the mail well in advance. With my birthday only weeks away, I had yet to receive anything and time was running out so a call to the DMV was in order. And if you’ve ever tried calling the California DMV you know it’s a real pain to get anywhere. So what did I do?

Got on the Tweeter and asked @CA_DMV my question, naturally. I had an answer and phone number in a matter of hours. Ain’t technology grand?

I called and got through right away – this was their main office in Sacramento, I believe. I told the clerk my situation and she asked for my information so she could see what was going on.

It turns out that there was a hold on my regular Class C license after I failed to convert my motorcycle permit into a full-blown endorsement, meaning I didn’t renew or take the skills exam. And because of that hold, the renewal forms weren’t sent to me.

I told the clerk I wasn’t riding anymore and I wasn’t interested in the endorsement. She then cancelled the hold so that I could go to the DMV and fill out the forms to renew my license.

The problem there: getting an appointment. Ann tried for days to get one at our local office in Long Beach and couldn’t. She’s going to one in Orange County later in the month. She has time still. Me? Not so much.

After the call, I headed back to my work desk and immediately went to the DMV website in the hopes of snagging an appointment before my birthday/expiration date. No chance, I figured.

I ended up getting one a few days later – in Long Beach, no less. I had to text Ann and gloat about it. She replied with nasty Bitmojis.

Monday comes around and I leave work for a bit to take care of this business. I managed to find a parking spot no problem and since I had an appointment, didn’t have to wait with the garlic-eating masses outside who didn’t have an appointment.

When I was called I told the clerk the nature of my business. She gave me the form and I filled it out with only one notable change: my weight. I added a few pounds to it. Hell, I’m honest.

I went back and she double-checked it, then issued me a number to see another clerk. I waited maybe 10 minutes before I was called to another booth.

The clerk who helped me was a younger guy and rather affable, more than most others at the DMV. We chit-chatted as he went over my renewal form. All was going well until he spoke up about one detail.

“Hmm. On the computer, it has your hair listed as gray,” he said, pointing at his monitor with a black Paper Mate pen.

Strange. My current license has my hair as black. Then again when I renewed it I still had black hair. Then it occurred to me that when I went for my motorcycle permit, I must have written in “gray” for my hair color. He continued.

“So which one do you want me to use?” I was writing out a check for the renewal fee at the time. I put the pen down.

“Well, being I plan on letting nature take its course, let’s go with gray. I’m not bald and I’ve no plans to dye it. In fact I just had an inch-and-a-half trimmed off. Shit was past my shoulders.”

He was cool. Casual profanity didn’t phase him.

“Really? No way!”

We then chatted a bit more, mostly about aging, as he continued to process my information. He had to be in his early 30s and I gave him a little advice (as if my being nearly 49 qualifies me to be an expert on growing old).

“Man, just enjoy yourself. Stay young at heart. That alone will keep you going. And when your hair starts turning gray, embrace it and be glad you have it.”

And with that, he thanked me and sent me to the photo booth for my picture. Oh, and I had to take the written exam – again – and then wait about 10 days for my new license.

It arrived a few days ago. And although I’m thinner than I was in my previous license photo, the adjusted weight is definitely closer to reality.

And the hair? Proudly abbreviated as GRY.

Because this head will never see a drop of Just For Men.

Blogging 365, Day 45: 44


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Courtesy Flickr user RosterBoard

How’s that for a confusing post title?

It’s the best I could come up with, what with this being the beginning of my 44th year on this often cruel material sphere.

And it’s getting kind of scary now. I work with a girl who was born the same year I was at the Depeche Mode 101 concert at the Rose Bowl (1988). I’m a year younger than How Wheels, I was around to “see” the Apollo 11 mission, and I’ve outlived more musicians and celebrities than I can think of.

But in any case, it’s been a fantastic 43 years and I’m hoping that #44 keeps going down the same path. Ann’s been by my side through thick and thin for 20 years come June and Anthony still thinks I’m the cat’s pajamas (a phrase that will definitely raise a red flag as to the time I grew up).

And being that the results of my recent health screening were pure gold, suffice it to say that I plan on being around for many, many more years to annoy both my family and you, my readers – one in the same at times.

As for the whole birthday celebration thing, well, I don’t really care. I’m working on today (much to Mom’s chagrin) because what else would I do? I’m 44 not 8. It’s not that big of a deal. The only thing that matters is that I feel great both mentally and physically, that I’m in good health, and my family is beside me. I can check off all of those things because they are all true which is why I plan on – get ready for it – possibly running my first half-marathon next year at age 45. With the distances I’m running now, doubling it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. I just need to build up my endurance and not worry much about time. But I will do it.

Anyway, there you go. Even on my birthday, I’m blogging in order to stick to my year-round blogging theme. Just think: next year I will turn 45 on the 45th day of the year.

Amazing!

Or not.

And oh, before I forget. Happy Valentine’s Day! And before you ask, yes, I’ve seen my share of heart-shaped cakes in my lifetime…

Blogging 365, Day 44: Who’s Older Now?


Ann and I always poke fun of each other when it comes to our age. While the small 5 years between us (with me being the older) makes no difference now, we’ll jokingly look back on our younger years when she was in 8th grade and I was out of high school.

We’ll shudder and laugh it off because now, with me turning 44 tomorrow and she turning 39 two weeks later, it’s all water under the bridge. Even so, she will still pick on me about my age when I rarely complain about sore joints or muscles after a rigorous workout/run/bike ride.

“You old man,” she’ll tell me with a smile.

Uh-huh.

Well, my dear wife of 20 years in June, do you mind telling me who feels older now?

scooter

This is part of a piece of mail she received yesterday. Note that the rip through the middle was not done out of spite; it’s just what we do when we get junk mail.

Or at least that’s what she wants me to think.

I really didn’t want to pick on her about this but I simply had to since, with me being 5 years her senior, I have never gotten anything related to retirement, personal mobility, or funeral arrangements. And with my cholesterol and glucose levels at excellent levels, let’s hope my lack of mail pertaining to aging is a good omen.

As for Ann, well, she’s waiting to get her AARP membership application and pre-planning kid from The Neptune Society 🙂

Blogging 365, Day 39: …For An Old Guy


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I left work early today so that I could attend an assembly at Anthony’s school since he was getting an award. I told him that I wouldn’t be able to make it since we were busy at work but, as I do from time to time, I surprised him.

And being that I made it home with little time to spare, I stayed in my work clothes and only changed my shoes – from dress to running, for comfort and because it was raining.

Once the assembly was over Ann and I waited in the car for Anthony and his friend who we watch on Fridays. Close to dismissal time we headed over to the school to meet them. By the time they were dismissed it was drizzling a little bit and the two of them decided to make a run for my car.

So I decided to have a little fun with them. I asked Ann if I should try to pass them up and get to the car before them. She agreed and off I went.

From a dead stop down the sidewalk I sprinted passing a few students and parents along the way. In the end I did beat them both to the car and as I waited, I noticed Ann approaching and laughing.

“Did you hear those kids?” she said pointing behind her.

“No. Why?”

Ann tried to regain her composure. “They said, ‘Wow, he runs pretty good for an old guy!’”

Woah woah woah, hold the phone, Mabel! For an old guy? What, because I have some spots of gray hair* as well as a graying goatee, that makes me an old guy?

Pfft. Whatever! It’s a state of mind, kiddies. You remember those words when you’re uh…older – say, in your teens – and can’t get yourselves to get up in the morning to exercise or don’t want to mow the lawn. This “old guy” turns 44 in a week and feels as fit as ever.

I’ll give you old.

Ahem. All that aside, I did get a compliment from the parents I passed who told Ann that I indeed run fast – period. She told them that I run every weekend and whenever I can and again, another compliment.

And that made me feel darn good.

But old? Come on, kids. I’ll take on your mom or dad any day of the week from a dead stop like today. Then you tell me who the old guy is 🙂

*It’s more than a “patch” but you know…oh well.