Wednesday, July 20, 2011

118 Minutes and 90 Cents

Just to let you know I woke up alive. I've been terribly weak, but I am sure it's just temporary. Matter of fact, today I was beginning to feel more frisky, so I decided to tackle lots of work. 


I am trying to learn newfangled stuff. Heaven help me!  


I think of the infamous Dolly Parton quote
"If there is a heaven, I hope to hell I'm going there!"
I had a package to mail. So, today I tried to print postage with a shipping label, pay for it with my credit card  at USPS.com


It took me 118 minutes, 5 emails, and 2 phone calls to complete the transaction. Of course part of that time was spent cajoling the printer to grudgingly accept my loaded paper.  Remember tractor feed paper printers? They loaded and printed in a snap. My printer requires constant hand holding, coaxing, magic wand waving, numerous button pushings for settings plus a few choice curse words for it  to finally haltingly spit out the desired label.   


Are computers really saving us time?


In that amount of time, I could have driven to the post office, stood in line, paid the clerk, mailed the package, come back home and still had enough time leftover to take a shower, make lunch,  and enjoy a siesta.  I know because I had already been to the post office to mail off packages. But when I got home, I had an email notice, to mail off another one. So I decided to utilize the computer. In the end, I did finally end up with a barcoded prepaid preaddressed label. (That's a mouth full to say!)


Of course I had to use my scissors to trim the label, then Scotch tape to affix it to the package. 


It used to be I could just hand the package to my secretary.  In about 3 minutes time, she would weigh the package, address it by hand, look up the postage fee, stick a bunch of stamps on it, then set it out for the mail carrier to pickup. 


That was back in the good old days, when folks like me not only had a secretary, but had a private office , with real walls, doors and windows.  


Now they issue you a computer and a cubicle. 


If your're lucky. 


Some folks work elbow to elbow at workstations with no cubicle at all. I think I would slit my throat if I had to do that. (But I understand, you can only slit your throat on your coffee I mean comfort break, not on corporate time.)


Crime has been bad around here lately. 


Someone stole the red flag off my street mail box. Is scrap metal fetching a princely sum these days?  


Just how many mailbox flags do you have to steal and resell to make a living wage?  


The mailbox doesn't belong to me. It came with the workamping lot. It is a rather large heavy metal box on a thick wooden post. I so hate to bother the ranger with such trivial stuff as reporting my red flag was stolen. 


So I made a new red mailbox flag  out of white flimsy cardboard, then colored it with a red magic marker. I taped it to the side of the mailbox in the up position in hopes the mail carrier will see it tomorrow.  (I sure hope she is impressed with my crafty work!)  Once she picks up the package, I plan to remove the flag (but I shall save it for reuse.)


At the USPS.Com I was able to log back in after fighting with the internet browser for 10 minutes, then switching to another browser (and battle) so I could request a pickup at my location. This is so the mail carrier will know I have a package to mail. The instructions online finished with something like "Place package in mailbox, if it will fit, raise red flag for the mail carrier."


Isn't technology fun? 


Growing up, I wrote lots of letters and postcards. Sometimes I ran out of stamps. I would put the letters in the mailbox on the street, with a stack of coins.  The mailman (we called them mailmen rather than mail carriers) would pick up our letters, take the change, then affix stamps on the letters for me. If I didn't have exact change, he would leave the change  due back,  in the mailbox. 


I so wanted to just stick the package and $5 in the mailbox and let the mail carrier deal with it. But those days are just a distant memory. Long ago and far away, when life was simpler. 


Harley enjoyed the walk to and from the mailbox. He lifted his leg in salute, watering the weeds and rocks around the post holding up the mailbox.  


Oh, and the BIG news. I found out I saved 90 cents by doing my own thing at USPS.com over going to the post office. I guess I should be thrilled at my clever thriftiness. 


That and the dime I found while out walking, make a whole dollar. For one dollar, I can buy Harley 3 foam footballs. Ain't life grand. 





Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

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