Friday, September 30, 2011

The US Post Office Has Some Splainin' To Do

I sent 4 boxes through the US Post Office two weeks ago. I added a delivery confirmation sticker to each one so I could track the progress.

They were filled with old books my father had willed to me and I was in no rush to receive them so I sent them Media Mail at a discounted price. I did not insure them. Those were my two First Mistakes. After that, nothing matters.

Now, just because I was in no rush to receive them and didn't buy insurance doesn't automatically mean I didn't care if I ever saw them again. If that were the case, I wouldn't have bothered to box them up and drive to the Post Office and pay $80.00 to mail them across country.

But the condition the boxes were in when 3 of them arrived at my door makes me wonder why the Average American hasn't gone "postal" on the Post Office.

Is there anyone left in this country that actually gives a darn about their job? or have we finally just collectively accepted that :

1. nothing that matters to anyone else is 'my' problem.
2. if there's nothing in for me, why should I care?
3. everyone else has enough so I'll just take some of theirs to make things even-Steven.
4. you can't pay me enough to make this job worth any effort on my part.
5. I'm just in it for the benefits and retirement.

The first 2 boxes arrived in short order. They are mangled and torn and the contents of one have been removed. 2 books are missing from that box. The third box is still sitting in Jersey City and the fourth arrived yesterday. Here is what it looks like.

That photo doesn't do it justice. There is on top a red stamp that barely reads


MEMPHIS TN 36136-9998

Half the contents are missing. Those that arrived are destroyed. The covers and outer spine are ripped from the binding. These were old Washington Irving books. One book looks as though it were driven over by heavy equipment. However, as an added bonus, I have received in this box someone's law book and pages of a law exam. Again, half the contents I packed and paid for to be shipped to me are just gone. The last book I gave my father, The Leopard, is gone. I had ordered it from England. I took it back because I wanted to read it. There goes that.

I, at this point in time, hold little hope that the third box ever shows up at all. If it did, I'll keel over from heart failure.

So, in conclusion, here is the feeling I am left with.

I hope the USPS is shut down. I now refer to all the workers at the Post Office as a Collective.

You brought this on yourself. You make your CUSTOMER who pays your salary stand in endless lines to mail something while who knows what the other employees are doing in the back. You work at a snail's pace and don't make eye contact when you finally utter the word, "Next".

You speak to the CUSTOMER as though whatever they ask of you is boring, irrelevant or self-evident and the only thing you have interest in is your next work break. I hate to tell you this but just because YOU know that this sticker is used under this circumstance and THAT sticker is necessary for THIS package doesn't mean that the rest of US are idiots for NOT KNOWING. It's too bad USPS workers don't have mandatory forehead tattoos to alert the rest of us so WE can speak to them in our jobs the way they speak to us in theirs! If you don't like dealing with customers, get a job at a plant nursery. The rest of us are tired of your attitudes.

OH YEAH, and when we complain, we get a stone wall. Nothing changes.

I hope you remember poorly you performed and how little you cared when you go belly-up. I hope you wonder and worry like the rest of us do about our futures. YOU USED TO CARE. What happened?

FEDEX and UPS are out-working you and I hope a third party starts up to compete with THEM.

To end the vent, I'll say this philosophically; I didn't have these books 2 weeks ago and my life will continue without them just fine.

It's a real shame that I can't have them because some gorilla in a warehouse decides that my stuff is unimportant and/or more useful to someone else, as opposed to ...say.....someone like me, so taking it or breaking it is completely acceptable behavior.

Thanks. Thanks so very much.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Return to Normal?

I have spent much of the past 3 days out in the fresh air, dealing with the hopes of a winter garden.

I am grateful that my inner nag had me clear out all the tomatoes (and their stakes and cages) before September even approached. This made what we accomplished over the weekend much less grueling.

Most of the raised beds were fairly empty so we pulled the scraggly peppers and the last of the tenacious weeds and roughed up 5 of the 11. I chose those beds for a couple of reason which I may go into at another date, and added compost, minerals and the like to them and worked it all in.

Then Sunday morning, in another return to what was once normal, I had breakfast with a gardening friend and afterwards we visited O'Keefes in Covington to see what they had. I have been concerned that I missed te optimum planting weeks but am going to give it a go anyway.

We now have planted broccoli, collards, sprouts, 38 leek seedlings and celery from plants. We await the raab til next week (our dealer is out of town)

You can see that a few peppers and 2 eggplant shrubs remain putting out good stuff and the shallots are in the edges of several beds. I just keep propagating them.

I did all that yesterday morning and since I was on a roll, I kept on rolling! I seeded the carrots, rutabagas, 3 types of kale from seeds I collected last spring, and 4 kinds of lettuce and of course the neon chard. The evening cool off but the days are warm so I think the soil will help the seeds germinate quickly. I cannot believe October is 4 days away.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thanks Daddy

I have been receiving the 18 boxes of stuff from my father over the past few days. I packed them up while mentally processing what happened.

Looking around the house, I was really really wondering, "What Happened Here???" There is so much 'things'. I hate to use the word 'stuff' because that just diminishes what one person valued and loved and nurtured for so many years. Let's face it; the man had 51 years to accumulate and I had 5 days to pack what was now mine! (Don't even ask what I spent in packing peanuts, bubble-wrap and postage)

Two boxes of books beat me back home but the others trickled in. Still awaiting 2 more boxes of books but as they are coming media mail USPS (thank you Marty!) it might take awhile.

Which is strange because the two which did arrive got here in 3 days! One is still sitting in Seacacus, New Jersey. Stuck, as it were. French books. I don't speak French and don't know what to do with these books but I'll get there. My brother said, "How to eat an elephant? One bite at a time"

It is a small comfort to be standing here in one room and looking at a poster (framed) that has hung on one wall in my father's home since 1965. Same wall, same position for 46 years. Til yesterday.

Well, mine looks better because it has a good frame around it but you get the idea. It's a Ben Shahn painting/poster and for whatever reason, it has always spoken to me. I just wish I had asked Daddy about what it was for and how it came to be in his home. I have a sense he picked it up in Italy on one of his business trips with Alitalia but that is all conjecture.

So, along with this I have 4 Fritz Rudolph Hug paintings of animals. And one exquisite oil of a man in a Jag speaking to a young woman standing outside a British pub. This is a photo of the Limited Edition print:

So, then there are boxes of "mint" car replicas..... Danbury Mint, Franklin Mint. I will unpack them, one by one and decide which I will be keeping, which I will be selling and and which I will save for my daughters to sell when the "market" for these sorts of things improves.

I mean, how many 1929 Bugattis does one woman need?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So. Where Have I been?

There's only a small handful of people who read this blog on any regular basis. They already know what has occurred in the past few weeks and suffice it to say, I won't be going into elaborations at this point in time.

Briefly put: my father fell, hit his head and ended up with a massive swelling on his brain. Surgery was performed but his condition did not improve.

God has made me face just about every fear I have. More on that at another time.

Unfortunately, I have a few more out there and am in no hurry to meet up with. Everytime I hit one head-on, it takes it's toll on me physically, emotionally, financially and ethically. Amazing how it works.

I do know this: the harder I try to hold on to things, the quicker they slip away. There is much to be said for living simply.

And avoiding the rapid pull of gravity when taking blood thinners and anti-coagulants. That's a BIG lesson learned.