Wednesday, November 4, 2015

a day without voting

I got up Tuesday feeling as if there was something I ought to be doing that I was missing. Figured out what it was: voting. Our city has just changed its municipal election dates from odd-numbered years to coincide with state/national elections to save money. So this is the first Election Day since we moved here that there's been nothing to vote for.

Still, it's been a busy day. It started about 9 AM when the doorbell rang. I want to tell you about this because it says something about how I interact with strangers. I cracked the door open and peered around. A man stood there in casual work clothes. "Hi, how are you doing?" he said. I waited, wondering what he was going to try to sell me and how quickly I could get rid of him. Then he identified himself as the supervisor of the roofers.

The roofers! The ones who have been working intermittently in our complex for weeks and whom we knew would come around to our unit sooner or later. Why, this man has legitimate business with me, and deserves my full attention and courtesy. I pulled the door open, stepped outside, and we had a busy conversation on various related issues for a full five minutes.

So the lesson is: if you're a stranger who accosts my attention with a phone call or a doorbell, don't waste time trying to make friends first. It'll only increase my suspicion that you're trying to put something over on me. Tell me who you are and what your business is first, and then I'll know how to react. And most of those who do have legitimate business with me know that.

Then I went out for an appointment with a new accountant. Our old one has retired. This one was fun to talk with, and seemed on top of her game. So I left her with our last 3 years' worth of tax returns to chew over, since - like B. eating brussel sprouts - she seems to have an appetite for them. Now's the time to get acquainted with our finances, since it's the slow season.

And one with a retirement counselor. Not a financial adviser, I'd explained when making the appointment, though he does that work too, but someone to act as a guide through the thicket of rules and a sounding board to make big life decisions. Even on this initial appointment, I learned much about how Social Security and Medicare - things I'm going to have to deal with fairly soon - actually function, things I had not known, and which I'd rather get in a clear verbal explanation, where I can interrupt and ask questions and say "I don't understand this part," rather than in a bramble of written government legalese. I had had an amazingly difficult time figuring out what kind of person could give me this advice (my own broker, who serves as my financial adviser, didn't know anything about it) or convincing anyone I consulted about this question that I needed someone to do this.

Then in the evening I went to ...

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