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My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-05-2006, 02:07 PM   #1
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My first annual retired personnel seminar

When you're in the military you can learn how to do just about anything. If one of your shipmates doesn't know the answer, they're within six degrees of separation from a shipmate who does know.

However this system breaks down when it comes to military retirement. Those darn retirees are never around when you have a question, and if the military retiree has come back to work in your spaces as a contractor or a volunteer... well, if your workplace is the best place they can think of to hang out then you might not want to ask them your retirement questions.

But if you're a military retiree and you've ever had a VA or a Tricare question, the annual retired personnel seminars are a great one-stop way to find a roomful of people who know what to do. I've been retired over four years but I just attended our first seminar. Our Retired Activities Office holds one every November but this was the first time that I've actually been available and had questions to ask. I wasn't too thrilled about having to be there by 7:30 AM but they had free coffee & fruit. As a youngster of 46 I dragged the room's average age down by at least a decade. Only one other attendee even looked like he was below 50.

Usually the seminars are held in a big conference room on base, but this year the coordinator screwed up and invited a politician as keynote speaker. Our congressional representative must've leaped at the chance to speak to a bunch of veterans three days before the mid-term elections, but last March when our coordinator sent the invitation he wasn't thinking about the significance of the first weekend in November. So the base admiral had to kick the whole affair off-base to avoid a political foodfight and we ended up at a local veteran's center. Not worth the effort-- Abercrombie's 30 minutes didn't improve the four-hour schedule.

I didn't learn much from the healthcare or the VA briefs, either, and the commissary/exchange reps didn't have anything new. But the coordinator filled an entire room with tables full of handouts from all of those activities along with free coffee mugs & door prizes. I was able to pick up a free VA benefits guide and a 2006 military almanac that would've taken a while to find over the Internet. After the VA & Tricare reps spoke I caught up with them at the coffeepot, asked them my specific personal questions, and got detailed answers. I didn't have to figure out who to talk to or spend hours playing phone tag-- that alone was worth four early-morning hours on a Saturday.

IMO the best part of the conference was the ~125 attendees. There were a couple canes & walkers but they were all in pretty good shape. I estimated approximately three millennia of cumulative military experience ranging all the way back to the 1930s. They were all pretty uninhibited about expressing themselves-- one of them actually heckled Abercrombie. When another of the speakers (maybe 25 years old) claimed that the exchanges didn't have lines because the cashiers always opened more registers, some of the more "senior" attendees shouted him down and almost drove him out of the room. Another one pointed out that the stores shouldn't start selling their holiday bargain merchandise on 15 October if they only have a 45-day return limit that falls a month short of Christmas morning. That had never even occurred to me but she got a round of applause from the rest of the room.

Just about every 70-something in the audience had a cell phone. They had it turned up to max volume, couldn't hear it ringing, didn't realize it was theirs until the rest of the audience yelled at them, and then fumbled with it endlessly trying to turn it off (while putting on their reading glasses to do so) as the other 70-somethings heckled them. It was a pretty scary glimpse of the way our future could turn out. (It also made some good points for cell phone designers.) I think I'll wait another five or ten years before I attend my next seminar...
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-05-2006, 05:19 PM   #2
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords

Just about every 70-something in the audience had a cell phone. They had it turned up to max volume, couldn't hear it ringing, didn't realize it was theirs until the rest of the audience yelled at them, and then fumbled with it endlessly trying to turn it off (while putting on their reading glasses to do so) as the other 70-somethings heckled them. It was a pretty scary glimpse of the way our future could turn out. (It also made some good points for cell phone designers.) I think I'll wait another five or ten years before I attend my next seminar...
OH YAH!! My husband has hearing aids. If he isn't wearing them he often doesn't hear the cell phone ring, if he is wearing them the speaker volume is an issue. Also - he doesn't wear his glasses unless he "needs them", which means he can't read the caller ID when it rings nor can he use the contact list without a scramble for his specs. Then there is the fumble fingers routine, and his venting.

He doesn't need a camera nor text mail on the phone, he just needs one that he can easily use.

I wish the cell phone designers would offer a design for us old *****.
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-05-2006, 05:37 PM   #3
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar

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Originally Posted by Brat
OH YAH!! I wish the cell phone designers would offer a design for us old *****.
I saw an ad for a phone today on TV called "Jitterbug" which is designed for the elderly. Unfortunately, it's a separate system that seems designed for the very elderly who can only hit one of three buttons.

It at least identifies that the elder market has been noticed. I've just started looking for a new phone and do not want a camera, a music player or a game machine. I just want something with numbers that rings and lets me talk and hear. I really do want it to be thicker than a stick of gum.

NORDS,

Was there anything on USFHP?
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-05-2006, 06:32 PM   #4
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar

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Originally Posted by Brat
OH YAH!! My husband has hearing aids. If he isn't wearing them he often doesn't hear the cell phone ring...
I wear 'em too. Tell him to set the phone to vibrate and keep it on his belt or in his pocket.

dory36

(and tying into the current thread, my hearing aids were supplied courtesy of the VA...)
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-05-2006, 07:00 PM   #5
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar

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Originally Posted by dory36
I wear 'em too. Tell him to set the phone to vibrate and keep it on his belt or in his pocket.

dory36

(and tying into the current thread, my hearing aids were supplied courtesy of the VA...)
I paid for mine. Worth every penny.

JG
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-05-2006, 07:06 PM   #6
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar

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Originally Posted by dory36
Tell him to set the phone to vibrate and keep it . . . in his pocket.

I've heard this reduces the required Cialis dosage.
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-05-2006, 10:40 PM   #7
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dory36
I wear 'em too. Tell him to set the phone to vibrate and keep it on his belt or in his pocket.

dory36

(and tying into the current thread, my hearing aids were supplied courtesy of the VA...)
Tried that, he complained that it ran the battery down.

We paid for the 'aids and they work great, but there are times he needs to give the ear canal a rest. We went to dinner with our 2-year old grandson one evening, a really noisy place so he removed them. Grandson wanted more attention so he shouted "Grandpa put your ears in!" the one minute the place quieted down. That brought smiles from several tables.
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-06-2006, 07:03 AM   #8
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar

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Originally Posted by Patrick
I've heard this reduces the required Cialis dosage.
Well, this thread certainly put a smile on my face this morning.

I think everyones' complaints about cell phones is not just what my wife calls a "senior moment" problem. When I left active duty I had to give up my city cell phone (an older Nokia) and go to using my personal cell full time. In the last few years all the cell companies and phone manufacturers have moved to multi-function phones that do everything you can imagine - but no single function well. They gave me strange looks at the Cingular store when I said "but all I want it to do is make telephone calls". Polyphonic ring tones produce more natural sounding musical "ringers", but lack volume - and none of the phones have a vibrating feature worth a darn. When my old Nokia was on vibrate, you could hear it buzzing from the next room, while I have to be in physical contact with my current phone to tell when it vibrates.

That's not to say that you guys aren't all getting a little hard of hearing as you get older, just that the recent changes in cell phones is not making it any easier on anybody over the age of 19.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
But if you're a military retiree and you've ever had a VA or a Tricare question, the annual retired personnel seminars are a great one-stop way to find a roomful of people who know what to do.
We have something similar and I find the coffee break chats with retired guys is as useful as actual presentations put on by the advisers. The informal network is great.

In the same vein, I have found the informal social events are a fantastic time to get all of the scoop on how other retirees have done it. At a golf tournament last week I found myself eating at the same table as a husband and wife team that are a couple of years ahead of me in retirement. Between the two of them I got a mountain of information on how to do everything from getting a release to write a book to how to go back and do consulting work.

The only drawback (other than a high handicap) was all the active duty guys that are still hanging on and their opinions on retirement. All of them say the same thing: "What do you do all day?" quickly followed by "You're too young to not be working somewhere!"

I had spent ten minutes telling them all the stuff I have going on, but because I'm not working for a paycheck I'm not fulfilling their idea of being productive. After a while I just nodded my head and said "Yeah, I'll probably try to find something to do next year."

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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar
Old 11-06-2006, 09:28 AM   #9
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Re: My first annual retired personnel seminar

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Originally Posted by 2B
Was there anything on USFHP?
No, this was a Hawaii seminar so it only covered local topics. I'm not sure that USFHP is available in Hawaii.
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