Sunday, December 12, 2021

Minnesota Senior Safe Driver Course: Keep 'Er Movin'

Our insurance agent reached out to us several years ago about signing up and taking a Seniors Safe Driver class online. It would save us a few hundred dollars each year in premiums just by taking this 8 hour online course. While it was a great idea, I have to admit, I never signed us up for it. Life was pretty busy with both of us working. And besides it was kind of a reminder we were getting old and soon would be qualifying for all the senior discounts. And we’d become those old people drivers that I always get behind up on the highway going 45 mph. You know the ones that are on their way to the Perkin’s dinner special that starts at 4PM. I didn’t want to identify with that. That was about 10 years ago.

About 2 months ago, our insurance agent, well really the son-in-law of our now semi-retired agent, reached out to us regarding taking the online Senior Driver class. We were once again told we could save money each year with our premiums and it could all be done in 8 hours online. Being retired, I really didn’t have much of an excuse regarding being too busy. While retirement has been extremely busy, it isn’t hard to juggle the schedule around like it used to be when working.

So I went online and signed up and paid the $25 fee to take the class. The content downloaded and I grabbed a mug of tea and sat down to start the class. I figured I could get it done in maybe 3-4 hours just skimming over all the content and taking the quiz. I got my Kindle to finish a book while I sat there, and got my phone so I could text with people. I need to state a disclaimer here: while I am not a distracted driver, I am most definitely a distracted student. I need to be doing a few things at once while being spoken to in a lecture. My A.D.D will kick in full force with anybody or anything talking at me for more than about 15 minutes. 

I sat down and began to open up the course. It was paced out in different sessions, lessons and topics. Each lesson was about 78 screenshots long with a narrator with a voice pleasant enough. Each lesson had to be done in order and a quiz taken before being able to move on to the next session. The course was set up to make sure the person could do nothing else but sit in front of the laptop while it ran. Not only could you not skip ahead or fast forward anything, but you had to hit the next button about every 10-15 seconds to move on or it would just stop and go to a screen saver.

So I seriously could not do anything else without completely stopping and switching back to watching the course and hitting the next button. The first session has taken me about 2 weeks to plow through slowly and finally finish. The session is probably 30 minutes long if done studiously like it is intended. But I had to keep stopping and taking stuff out of the oven, let the dogs outside, straighten out my yarn stash, and let the dogs back in. I lost interest in the first 10 minutes so saved it and closed it for a rainy cold day.

About a week later on a cold snowy day, I pulled up the class on my laptop, I grabbed a mug of tea once again and sat out in the recliner to focus on only the course. I was about 5 minutes into it and had finally finished Session 1. It was time for the quiz for that session. The instructions will tell you that you need to score 100% in order to move on to the next session. That seemed kind of passive aggressive, who has ever heard of needing to score 100% on a quiz? Fortunately I got 100% the first time. I could go on to Session 2. When I first sat down I was hoping to get through at least 3 sessions. 

When I woke up from dozing off and wiped the drool from the corner of my mouth, I realized I had only gotten through 3 pages of Session 2. I went back to the menu to see how many sessions there were total and where I was. I looked at the screen and then did a double take. There were 7 (BEEP) sessions and quizes to go to complete this course. In my brain, I imagined making a 2022 New Year’s Resolution to be done with the course by maybe June. It was going to be well into the new year before making even a dent in this course. 

And then it came to me...My Best Half is now retired. He has extra free time on his hands. I can give him the job of saving us $300 a year just by sitting at the kitchen table and drinking coffee and watching a few videos and powerpoint. I spun it with a little Catholic guilt from my 12 years of Catholic school. I told him how for the past 42 years I have paid the bills and kept the house functioning, even while working for several years. This would be his chance to pitch in with some of the more mundane things that have to be done. A chance to help with the not so glamorous chores of the house. Afterall, he’s retired now.

I may have spun it just right, because he said yes to doing this online course and to get it done in a timely fashion. It was either the little bit of Catholic nun in me or the option of sitting around drinking coffee and doing a job at the kitchen table that got him to agree. Of course I didn’t let him in on the way the course is set up so that you can’t do anything else. So time will tell how well it works for him doing it.

As for me, I am hopefully off the hook. I figure worst case scenario if neither of us can do it, we have one of the grandkids sit at the laptop with a major bowl of ice cream and all the toppings and let them keep hitting the next button until it is time to take the quiz. Somehow we need to get through this course, be it me, my Best Half or the 5 year old grandson. Somehow we need to  “keep ‘er movin’.”

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