Saturday, February 28, 2015

Confession of an Early Birder

Spending time one snowy afternoon in my neighborhood hair salon, I stared at an image in the mirror directly in front of me.

I did not recognize the face gazing back at me. Gradually over the past few years the face aged. I saw a senior citizen.


And now I (hub too) am acting like one.

Confession time.

Hub and I recently started patronizing restaurant early bird specials. In our younger immature years, like up until our last trip to Florida a couple of months back, we made fun of people frequenting early bird specials. Most people taking advantage of these bargains are seniors.

We have met those seniors, and we are them.

We like dining out. We have our favorite haunts, but also enjoy trying new places. However eating out gets expensive. We are now retirees and more conscious of monetary outflows (or should be), with diminished earned income. Hub works three to four days a month for his long-time employer, and we make a modest amount of airbnb income, but earned income shrunk dramatically and permanently this year.

Living in a seasonal resort community offers lots of restaurant options. These places do not need our dollars during the tourist season. Off-season, however, the establishments welcome, encourage and entice us, luring locals with early bird specials. Restaurants also offer breakfast and lunch deals, but these do not carry the stigma of the ‘early bird special’ moniker.

Next week is Restaurant Week in our town. Once a year restaurants offer three course dinners for $33.15. For the truly dedicated early birder, a three-course luncheon is available for $15.15. This may not seem cheap, but many of the places are upscale, special-occasion establishments not normally visited (by us).

Once a year we get the flavor and atmosphere of upscale affluence at popular prices.

Three seasons we patronize other special offerings, including early bird specials. During the summer not only do the deals disappear, the restaurants are very crowded. We stay home, fire up the grill and cook.

So laugh at us, make fun of us, point mockingly at us, because now we are those old folks eating early.

I do not, however, stuff Sweet ‘n Lo packets in my purse. Or anything else. Not yet anyway…  

Kids, stop laughing. The more early bird specials patronized (along with other bargains sought in our life) the more might be left for you guys. Someday. Maybe.

As my Dad stated when he and Mom spent a few dollars on a trip or other extravagance, “We’re spending your inheritance.”

My response was, “That’s great. Enjoy!”

Now it is our turn.

After all, there must be some upside when that reflection in the mirror stares you down, declaring, “Face it. You ARE old. Get over it…”


  1. There is no shame in taking senior discounts ... or in dining at the early bird special. No apology needed!

  2. Yes, take advantage. You are only old once!

  3. Ha! A day will come when you don't remember any other reflection in the mirror but the white-haired visage that smiles back at you. :-)

  4. We not only do *early bird specials*, but DH and I *share a meal* when we go out. It suits us as usually restaurants fill the plates too full for either of us to finish and some things (like Nachos) don't take well to *take home*. And have you noticed how large a restaurant dinner salad is?

  5. It's not about how old you are, it's about how healthy you are -- at any age. Ess, mamala, ess.

  6. I guess I hang with a different crowd. I just assumed your post would be about getting up in the early morning to go bird watching. h, well. at least now I understand why I have been seeing my mother's face in the mirror.

  7. We live in a huge retirement area with LOTS of seniors and young baby boomers like myself. The restaurants here have done us all a BIG favor and renamed the "early bird dinner" to Happy Hour. So here none of us go to early-bird we all go out and enjoy happy hour at a great price and are home and tucked in early. Happy hour sounds much better don't you think?

  8. Never thought about it before, but in more than 6 years living in SW Michigan I've never seen an early bird special offer. All sorts of other restaurant discounts are promoted, and we take advantage of a lot of coupons and senior discounts.

    After initially resisting the idea of accepting what I considered "old folks perks," I'm enthusiastic about seeking out the latest super deal. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, and ferreting out the best values is fun.