AH, READER DEAR...as the cause of this prolonged stopover at the blog-train station, perhaps, if you thought about it at all, you were picturing me in prison?
Let me quickly assure you that my offense was not nearly so grievous as all that! With a few more details conveyed, I am hoping to pick up the story of my...well, my overstepping of a line.
Speaking of steps (as well as lines), I'm stepping backwards in time once again: The Yard Man's elderly aunt, Ann, was admitted to the hospital on that sunny morning of which I previously spoke. And then she was discharged several days later, cured of her minor infection. Soon after that, a woman from the retirement home where she lives called me. "What is Ann's date of birth?" she asked. Then she told me how Medicare is pitching a little fit regarding claims the retirement home is submitting to them. "Medicare says that Ann's birth date is May 27, and we've got May 20 as the date," said the woman. "Is May 20 correct?"
"Yes." I said , "yes it is. I don't understand. They've been paying her claims for a very long time! She is eighty-five years old! Medicare is just now concerned about a one-week age discrepancy?!" I'll have to admit, I was quite puzzled, Reader Dear, that this detail would only now be coming to Medicare's attention. However, since I am the appointed Power-of-Attorney for Ann, it was necessary for me to straighten up the snafu. I used the phone number given me, and straightaway phoned Medicare.
(Insert a long dead space here, Reader Dear, while I'm punching away at numbers on the phone, drumming my fingers on the kitchen counter, clearing my throat, and ever so occasionally speaking to a human on the other end of the line). One hour and three phone calls later, I've been informed that I must make a visit to the local Social Security office. There is no other way to fix this error, I've been told. And make no mistake, it must be corrected, Dear Reader! No more Medicare coverage for this eighty-five year-old woman until she apologizes for trying to pass herself off as a whole week younger than her actual age!
It was four days before I could get to the Social Security office, eleven miles distant. To fortify myself, and since I've grown a slight addiction, I stopped at a nearby McDonald's for a cup of coffee. I had the address, but not specific instructions, so it took me a bit of time to find the place, nestled there between Fisher's Homestyle Salads and Sensing Devices, Inc. And then, at the door to the Social Security office I was met by a guard. "We are closed!" he stated emphatically. "We close at three, I can't let you in!" It was ten minutes past.
The following day I set out for the Social Security office again . Just as before, I stopped for coffee at McDonalds. I had plenty of time, it was only one-thirty. But...surprise, surprise, when I got to the SS office, the door was locked!
It caused me to carefully read the sign on the door:
9AM -300 PM
wed 9am 12pm
So finally and at long last, this brings you, Dear Reader, to my third trip to the Social Security office, the day of my transgression. It was a Friday. I did not stop for coffee. I approached the door of the Social Security office at 11:07 a.m. Pulling out my camera, I snapped a picture of the door. Then I walked right in and was scanning the room full of lined-up chairs, when the guard hustled over to greet me. "What are you here for?" he asked.
"Uhm, well, I'm here to change a birth date," I said. With that, he escorted me over to a ticket machine. "Here's a number for you," he said, punching the ticket machine and handing me a slip of paper. "Go to the window when your number is called. They'll take care of you."
Now, Reader Dear, all around the ticket machine were signs with instructions. Little hand-lettered signs and printed out directives, at least a dozen of them. Perhaps the security guard takes a break now and then, and ticket-takers must figure out the protocol by themselves? I mused. At any rate, I've got a blog to consider. "I'm going to take a picture of this," I explained to the guard, pulling out my camera again.
My goodness, Dear Reader, you'd have thought that I'd pulled out a gun!!
"NO! NO! No photos allowed!" barked the security guard. "Put your camera away! It shouldn't even be in here! If you use it, I'll have to confiscate the camera, and throw you out!"
While I hastily stashed my camera, he went on. "There are to be no photos taken anywhere around here!. And that goes for outside, as well! No photos on the grounds, or anywhere near the building!"
All unawares, I'd already broken the law!
"But...I didn't see any signs," I protested.
"Oh, yes!" he responded. "Right here at the entrance!"
He marched me over and pointed to a sign with the image of a camera*. It had a big red X super-imposed.
Oh, how I longed to take a picture of the sign, Dear Potential Viewer! (You know that I did!) The thing is, I had no wish to be led away in handcuffs!
*It was such an outdated model! But, yes, yes...I could tell it was meant to be a photo-taking device.
(To be continued, as, alas, this is not the last of the SS office)