Naples Potpourri by Bill Barnett

We spent from the end of July through October 19th in Western New York about 35 minutes south of Buffalo in a
beautiful little community called Angola. My wife Chris has a lot of family there and the cottage we stay in is about a two minute walk to Lake Erie. The area we stay in is known as the Corn Capital of New York and I can tell you that I ate fresh picked sweet corn almost every night for two solid months. Roasted, boiled, shucked, corn casserole, cornbread, and creamed corn: you name it, I ate it. No, I’m not eating any corn in Naples, period.

I’m also a little apprehensive about chicken wings, because I ate my share of them as well! When I am asked how we get there from Naples and I say we drive with our two rescue cats Ava and Maggie, and our rescue bulldog Zsa-Zsa, they look at me with amazement and always ask how do you do that? Well, they are terrific travelers.

We drive an SUV and every inch of it is full. The cats have a litter box in the back and from when we put them in the car until we get to our first night’s pet friendly Best Western in Savannah, Georgia they don’t make a sound. Zsa-Zsa loves the car and refuses to get out when we stop for gas and food. She has been that way for 11 years and we just accept it. If we try and get her out she will immediately go around to the other side of the car and try to get in.

When we do get to our night’s destination which is usually late afternoon, she will immediately head for the grass and do her business. Our whole trip takes 3 days and the pets are a lot easier to deal with than my kids ever were. We always stay at pet friendly Best Westerns and really like them. I will say that in Western New York and in the City of Buffalo we never heard one complaint about wearing a mask. The folks up there wear them and that’s that.

It seems like forever that I have been hearing stories of folks who had their first experience with Social Security and then in later years Medicare or Medicaid. After listening to them I was happy I didn’t have to worry about that. Candidly I took my Social Security when I was eligible for it, I always figured you never know what the next day will bring and I earned it.

Many of my friends said to wait that I’ll get more the longer I wait but I didn’t think the odds were that good! Working for the City of Naples for a total of twenty-eight years over a thirty-four year span the City always had good insurance. Fast forward to last March and I found myself jobless and needing to get on Medicare and find a supplemental policy for my wife Chris and myself. What an education!

If I hadn’t found someone who really knew what they were doing, I would have still been spinning my wheels. One would think that this was the end of the story and it all worked out, but it wasn’t and didn’t. It seems that during the
initial paperwork a small box that needed to be checked off wasn’t, (probably my fault) and someone at the Medicare enrollment office decided to check it for me.

The question was when should my Medicare start, May 1st or June 1st? Well it should have been May 1st, as I was finished officially April 30th, but they checked June 1st. We got our cards and in May had some medical expenses. When they were denied I realized the mistake and the medical providers wanted to be paid which is understandable.

So, from June until yesterday, which was October 26th, I have had a battle of words with Medicare and Social
Security agents from local offices to the official headquarters of both agencies, with the result always being two steps forward and three back. By mistake one day in late September I called the Naples Social Security office for about the
umpteenth time to get a progress report and the call transferred to the Hialeah, Florida office. To this day I don’t know how this happened, but it was a blessing. The agent I spoke to pulled up my file, told me he could fix this issue, (Of course I didn’t believe him) and the next thing I knew he did it.

He followed up with me constantly during the process and gave me a renewed faith in mankind! I got my new card in the mail yesterday! The moral of this story is when it’s your turn to file for Medicare, read the application at least four times and then read it again before you send it in. I feel like I’m somewhat of a novice expert dealing with both agencies, but don’t ask me any questions!

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and all the other good things you celebrate!
You can e-mail me at I do respond!

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