Friday, September 29, 2006


Oh, in all the chocolate mystery of last week, forgot to mention our mail.

Seems it suddenly was no longer being delivered the week before last. We, being the observant folks we are, didn't notice right away, not until Saturday, when we both were home and couldn't just figure the other person had brought it in, which was followed by Sunday (no post office is open) and by Monday, when we forgot to call.

But Tuesday! Yes! On Tuesday, Charles called.

The nice, helpful (because everyone at the small rural post office is nice and helpful, if not particularly competent) person said, "Oh! So you want your mail delivered, again?"

"Yes, please," said our Marvelous Charles.

"Ok, then."

Seems that someone had called and told them to stop delivery on our mail.

This is odd as neither Charles nor I did so. My mother-in-law denies it, as well.

I was a bit concerned, as on the official form that was included in the 27 lbs of mail that reached our mailbox on Tuesday afternoon, there was mention that the mail was only to be resumed with written instructions (not phoned in) if required before 10/4/06. Neither of us wanted to go down that road. Especially as we were now getting our post, again.

According to the nice, helpful post office employee, they'd gotten a call telling them to hold our mail for a couple of weeks.

I'm going to hope they just mistook something. I'm also hoping the person who wished their mail to be held has a large box or gets very little mail.

I'd hate to come home to that.

Now, the other option is that it had something to do with our sad sack of a mailbox:

Pictures for you

You'll note that it is listing, both to the left and posteriorly. It also has a very large dent in the side.

In all fairness, it was mostly like this when we moved in a couple of years ago. And then it got creamed, once again, by the snow plow, that first winter, but Charles propped it up with lots of rocks (now covered with vines), and there it's stood, or leaned, for the duration. It does work just fine, well, except for the little red flag, that fell off a year ago, but as we never put mail out in it, preferring to use the post office or one of those big blue mail drop boxes, we figured it was fine. We grew quite fond of it, taking some inappropriate delight in its patheticness. I'd suggested replacing it when the flag fell off, last year, (Or was it the year before?) but Charles pointed out that, as it was autumn at the time, which would soon be followed by snow-plow season, what would be the point in putting up a fresh mailbox?

I agreed. Less energy expended in keeping the old one.

After the events of the past week, however, we secretly wondered if this was some sort of plot to get us to replace our poor maimed mailbox. Guilt finally kicked in, and we hauled out the green plastic monstrosity that Charles's mom had gotten us many, many moons ago in a fruitless attempt to get the box replaced. (Being the adept passive-aggressive couple we are, we just smiled wanly and put the unopened box in the garage, by the old, broken Nordic Trak and put a cat litter box on top of it. After dropping a few more hints, she gave up.

So. Sunday morning found us sprawled on the driveway, vaguely waving at neighbors driving by, trying to get the green plastic monstrosity put up. Having neglected to have a 4x4 piece of lumber on hand, we kicked around using the battered-and-bent metal post from the old box (as there were no holes drilled into it, we'd have needed to rig something to attach it to the plastic pole sheath, like duct tape), tried to rip up some wooden pallets for the boards, and finally settled on nailing two 2x2 rails together (making a 2x4) and screwing the whole mess through the slots in the plastic post.

We then piled lots of rocks all around the base and, voila!:

Pictures for you

We have a new perky, chipper mailbox. Looks sort of like Beaker from the Muppets, doesn't it? Just needs some orange sticky-uppy hair on top.

It's sort of stable, in that it shouldn't blow over in a light breeze, but if plowed by a plow, should keel over nicely, rather than standing all proudly and getting smashed. We could only dig down about a foot before hitting bedrock. I do like that it does lean a bit, as well. We could do such things like pour concrete and level it, but, well, why?

So, there. Mail box: With flag, without dents, no orange hair.

Here's hoping it will make the mail happy and the post won't have to go to extreme measures such as canceling its own delivery in order to avoid any further embarrassment of being seen in such a clunker of a receptacle.

Sorta like trading in your old, rusty VW Beetle for a K-car.

(Personally, I loved my old VW Beetle.)



Blogger Cagey said...

I hope everything is going fine with the mail. I don't' want to alarm you, but my first reaction was "oh CRAP - it's mail fraud, which turns to identity-theft." The order was merely to STOP, right? No change of address? Just checking - the latent Frauditor in me HAS to ask, because that is a common way to get at people's mail - that is, by submitting a phony change of address order.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

That is really bizarre. My first thought was also mail fraud, except that I thought the person might have planned to go to the post office to pick it up.

Maybe they just got the address wrong when the other person called it in, but oog... that means someone has been getting mail he didn't want for about a week!

8:10 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Strange but the new one looks much better! A little like a parking meter! I think you should decorate it seasonally just to entertain the mail person and any passersby! The possibilities are endless! Start with a Fall Scarecrow, then a Hallowe'en witch or pumpkin, Thanksgiving turkey. Oh, man, I'm getting into this...wish I had a box to decorate! (I must really be missing my classroom to do all this type of stuff on the door and bulletin boards! You should see all the crazy things I've done!)
Okay, now I can look forward to pictures on your post of your mailbox in all its get-ups! Oh boy! (If I lived near you, I would sneak over and dress it up myself! HA!)

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Kate W. said...

OK, the whole mail thing would freak me out... not as much as you eating that chocolate (shudder) I agree with MOI- the new mailbox must have a theme! I have a lovely squirrel windsock I am willing to part with... teeheehee

10:11 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I think you should decorate it like Beaker. I like Beaker. But yes, the theme mailbox sounds like a plan. Don't you love it when everyone makes the decisions for you?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I wouldn't like that. Ever since I went to a continuing education class on identity theft I am really paranoid about that kind of stuff. I am glad to hear that you never use your mailbox flag. But the fact that you don't check your mailbox daily invites someone to "borrow" your mail. You would never know. Also never put mail anywhere other than a mailbox (not on legs) and the post office itself.

Strange things going on in the land of Piffle. Strange indeed.

I do like the theme idea. Beeker would be pretty funny.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cagey- Yeah, we were worried, too, until Charles spoke to the post office and found that it had just been mistakably held. No change of address. I'm sure it was just some sort of mistake.

Ariella- For a while, we thought it was some sort of plot cooked up by the mailman and Charles's mom to try to force us to put up the new mailbox, but then thought we would have gotten some sort of 'your mail is being held because it is undeliverable to such a travesty of a mailbox; we've been patient for 2 years but even we have a limit' message.

Ruth- You like the new one? It is nicer, indeed, but to me lacks the soul of the ratty one. Plus, it's plastic and looks like all the ones lining the streets of cul-de-sacs all over suburbia. Nothing wrong with suburbia, we lived in it for years and years. It just doesn't seem to fit with our cow country. Feel free to hop across the border and dress it in little outfits. That's the only way it will EVER happen, unless you count the weedy vines that will try to over take it.

Kate- Poor honey! I seem to exist to cause you gastric horror with my 'left overs' and my 'mystery floor chocolate'. Maybe I was a dog in a prior life? No, no. I could never deprive you of such a treasure as a squirrel windsock.

Dana- I think Beaker would be the only thing I'd decorate it as. Decide my life, indeed. Someone should.

Lauren- We usually do check the mailbox daily, but assumed the other person had gotten the mail as the box was empty. Admittedly, Charles is much better than I am at checking it. It's usually his job. I'm afraid decorating my mailbox is beyond me. Christmas is the only time the house has decorations up and that exhausts me.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to think how I spent time re-piling stones around the post the last time we were out for a visit. No good deed ever goes unpunished. Glad to do it, D, and am looking forward to re-doing it again when needed.

The Ole RF-er

2:00 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Hey, I just might! They might stop me at the border though when I declared littl outfits for a mailbox! You might just have to paint some country scenes on it!

9:58 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...


My first thought was Pixies (or similar). They could be responsible for the mysterious chocolate as well.

Anyway, very weird.

So you're hoping that the new mailbox will be put out of its misery by the snowplow this winter and then you can replace it with something more to your liking, right?

10:44 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dad- That's right. I'd forgotten that you'd gotten in on the rock action. Must have been 2 years ago.

Ruth- Heh. I can just see the poor postman, in his rural delivery station wagon, scratching his head. "What is it? An ostrich with a toothbrush? That's not supposed to be a cow, is it?"

Rozanne- You have to wonder if the events are connected. I'm shocked. Shocked! that you would think such a thing as intentional mailbox destruction. I assure that the post I will write in 3 months time chronicling such an event is purely coincidence. Poor, poor innocent plastic mailbox, ground under the wheels of the plow. We hardly knew ye.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Beaker said...

Meep, Meep!

10:51 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I double-dog dare you to superglue orange hair to the top of that thing.

I sent you an e-mail from work - if you've got a spam-blocker that only allows e-mail through from addresses in your address book, you might wanna check it... not that I've been to work tonight to check my e-mail to know if you responded, or anything.

10:54 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

I think you should put orange hair on it and have motion dectors, so when the mail carrier comes it says "meep, meep"

1:28 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Beaker!- Welcome! I'm honored to have such a famous and erudite guest. Meep! Meep! right back atcha.

Teri- Do you believe it? Beaker! Visiting my little blog! How could it be? (Yup. Got your e-mail and answered it, so it should be waiting all warm and snug for you at work. See you Sunday!)

Stace- Would it be good enough to just refer to it as either "Beaker" or "The Beakerbox"?

7:46 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I'm surprised you never got an actual nastygram from the P.O. about your old mailbox (which was hilarious, by the brightens my day just to look at the picture).

We get indignant letters if there is so much as a branch hanging too close to ours. And we were required to replace the post it stood on because the old post was about an inch too large in diameter and didn't meet federal regulations.

The new post is not nearly as stable, so when you touch our mailbox, it goes boooooiiiiinggg, like a playground horsie on a spring. :-)

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

I can't believe the post office would allow someone to make a hold request over the phone! They LOVE their forms at the post office, as in, "Did you fill out the ___ form? You need to fill out the ___ form, then get back in line. NEXT!"

Don't listen to Kate. The chocolate was perfectly fine to eat. It was individually wrapped and all.

Maybe you could pick a "Muppet of the Month" for decorating your mailbox. Beaker could be for October. I can picture a Gonzo one for November--his nose could be attached to the door.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Jamie- I guess we're just more slovenly out here? The mailman drives this terrible old beat-up car. He's terribly nice, though. Don't you just love it when some people feel the need to interfere with something that is working just fine to make it fit a 'regulation'.

Colleen- I know! I was surprised, to say the least, but we are apparently a trusting bunch, out here. (I knew you'd back me up on the 'chocolate from heaven'.)

8:58 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

I like the old box and am glad that you took a picture to preserve it. It had character. The new box (which has the adequate title of Beaker - I know someone with a named mailbox! And a cool name!) is still gaining character.

6:27 AM  

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