Oh, God. Retirement paperwork is such a pain in the ass. Old fashioned paperwork where you have to write pages of stuff by hand.

I get a message on my cell phone saying, “This is Octavia. You missed some things in your retirement paperwork. You need to call us.”

What she didn’t mention is her company or her phone number. I have multiple pensions coming in from different former employers. And no company handles their own pensions anyhow, it is all outsourced. I call the phone number on the caller ID and I get a message, “We don’t take pension calls here. Contact your employer.”

Who are “we?”

I’m looking in my email for a notice. None is forthcoming. Off to the websites for my various pensions I go. Now I find my passwords don’t work anymore. Shit. (That happens if you don’t log in frequently enough to some sites. They delete your login.) I start calling them directly. The first one on my list is Lockheed, where I worked for a decade in aerospace.

After a long hold and getting transferred around a couple of times, I finally reach someone who can help. Someone who sounded tired and irritated. On this page I didn’t initial, I just put in a checkmark. (I have a copy of the page. I clearly show initials.) One page my wife didn’t sign. (There are instructions saying that she didn’t need to sign if I took the standard package with her as my sole beneficiary.) Yet another page where I see I really didn’t fill it out completely. It has all been mailed to me for correction, so why am I calling them?

Well, I haven’t gotten it yet. Are the forms available online? NO. Can you email them to me? NO. They can only be faxed or mailed. (Who the hell uses fax anymore?) You say I have to go thru the copies I made of the papers I sent to them, recopy and correct them and resend them??? (What if I didn’t make copies?)

Because I am paranoid, I did make copies, both paper and digital. I went to look at my PDFs and some of them are missing, including my retirement papers. Not only that but the scanner software seems to have been corrupted. (All it takes is a bad power failure in the middle of doing something. I hate f-ing computers!). but I still have paper copies. And BTW, I have to change my account password, just because, and if I want to access my pension info on the phone I need a pin which they will mail me.

Finally, I am done with them. I can only wonder what hell the poor people manning their phones must be going thru. Probably underpaid, overworked, and under extreme pressure to do impossibly conflicting things simultaneously. (That’s what my life on the phones turned into.)

I’m scratching my head wondering exactly where to begin when the dogs go crazy. It is the postman. I check the mail and there are the papers from Lockheed retirement. I open them up and there’s a checklist of what needs to be done. The checklist does not match the papers sent nor does it match what I was told on the phone. Ah hell, again.

It isn’t a lot of money – $386 per month to be precise – for nine years of work. But I’m not exactly getting rich on social security and every little bit helps. If I hadn’t married a nurse, I would have had to cancel my Crunchyroll account and be a nomad in a van hunting down free campsites.

Maybe not such a bad life.