Saturday, January 28, 2017

So bring back the Pony Express 6WS

They do say that wearing tight shoes keeps your mind off your troubles.  And my local tight shoes have driven out a little bit the grinding worry and fear that is our daily lot around this nation.

Partly it's funny, since I went from bring worried, about my hitches, to being trumpishly enraged, to being long suffering, to finding it too funny and trivial in comparison to the rest of the world, to dwell on.

It went thus:  At the end of December, the coupon book came to start the new year of HOA dues, new booklet, preprinted address label, all that.  Duly wrote out the January fee, two weeks ahead of the deadline, stamped, sent via local post office, and waited for it to show up in my bank account. Did likewise with utility bill.  All preprinted, return address, everything, first class, no danger of my handwriting causing problems.  And likewise waited for the bank account to indicate the payment had been credited.

And waited, and emailed the HOA to say I'd paid them, and so on.  Three times.  One line response: we have not received it.  Oooookay. Since it was first class mail, I checked with my local carrier, nice guy, who had the boxes all open, had clearly already emptied the outgoing box into his official plastic crate, unlikely he was the cause.  Talked to the people at the PO who assured me that there was no way of knowing why it hadn't come back, or got there.  That they handle millions of pieces, etc.  I forbore to point out that my town pop 20K did not handle millions of pieces at the end of December, nor did the next stop, Trenton, nor the final regional center, Plainfield.  Asked him to alert the Postmaster of the problem.  He glumly agreed to do that once he got in.

Then two days later, amazingly, both bills were credited to my accounts.  Same day, totally different agencies.  Which puts the question mark on the post office.  And my dark suspicions on the fact that having sat on the mail for over four weeks, said mail suddenly arrived, unharmed at its destinations. Two days after my complaints.

Not before I'd had alerts telling me I was in arrears, and had sent in replacement checks to cover the difference, and gone on to start setting up direct debit instead of this malarkey.  So now both have received two payments onto my account, the utilities now three payments, since I paid up twice...scream. Hoping they will credit me correctly. It hit my bank account at a low point, but I did not get into an overdraft situation.  And today a letter from the HOA telling me I must have overlooked them, and please send in thus much by Monday...drafted before they received my payment, I suppose. And sent first class, but we now know that's no guarantee.

This reminds me of a similar deal years ago, when my favorite magazine was arriving creased and battered and pretty much worn out.  When I complained to the then postmaster, he said, oh well, you are the only people in town with your last name, so it gets put by itself in a huge mailbag and gets tossed about.  Just normal wear and tear.  

I looked at him steadily like a mom eyeing a lying toddler, and said, well, how does that account for the crumbs I'm finding in the pages?  there was peanut butter this time, too.  Oh.  Rubs size 12 shoe around, well, I'll check up on it.  And from then on not a moment's trouble.  Magazine arrived in pristine condition.  I became the first reader of it.  I did offer to bring it in if they wanted to read it in the lunchroom, as long as I got it first...silence, redness.

And I wonder if someone just hadn't taken care of all the mail until they were alerted this time. I say alerted, but I was pretty firm and relentless asking how could this happen, and what was the point of first class mail, and why didn't it come back to me, etc.  Poor Rich, he was the unlucky guy on the counter when I came in.  I bet other people are being surprised the same way with letters suddenly arriving.

It's a total round trip of less than fifty miles, door to door for each of my bills.  Pony Express would have it there in maybe a day or less.

Meanwhile, since everything is Too Upsetting and I'm doing my Bit but it's such a little Bit, I decided to start on my first WarmupAmerica blanket section. They have to be 7x9 inches, so I decided, after making a cardboard template to avoid a lot of measuring, to work corner to corner, to have a better shot at accurate sizing.  Here's one side

And here's t'other side

 No real front and back, random knitting, some open work, a bit of Shaker, whatever I feel like. It actually doesn't look very random, and you see where I am on this piece.  It does take a bit of calculating to get the rectangle right, when to stop increasing, sooner on one side than the other, etc.  And blocking will help, I expect. But anyway, it's under way. Working corner to corner always makes even a plain stitch look more interesting and mysterious.

And the library is starting a knitting circle, Friday afternoons from mid February, so I might join in there.  Probably everyone needs to Do Something, and this is my thing for the good cause.



  1. I used to work as a sub rural carrier for the USPS, and what you're talking about sounds like a lax local office. There are some strict rules about mail and it's up to the postmaster or mistress to see that everyone in the office observes them. ALL first class has to go out on the day received in the office--and if a carrier misses delivering to a box, they're supposed to go right back out.

    Bulk mail, on the other hand, is delivered at the postmaster's discretion--so it used to be that when mail was really heavy at Christmas, we'd hold seed catalogs until the day after Christmas. They might have held for several weeks. Now I notice that they come earlier in December but there's not the volume of first-class at the holidays like there used to be.

    Your experience sounds really bad, and like someone just laid your stuff aside and found in during a cleanup or something. And the magazine! Lordy, we'd have been skinned alive if we'd read someone's mail! That's why I think the management is not doing a very good job at your local PO.

  2. Your postal horror story is why we have every bill we can set up on automatic debit and don't rely on the mail at all. We can pretty much count on not getting mail on either a Friday or a Monday if the weather happens to be nice - not that our delivery guy would EVER want to take as many long weekends as he can. Why ever would we think that?


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