Sunday, June 20, 2010

the card is in the mail . . .

so today . . . is father's day.

i have a dad--a pretty great dad, actually--but he lives far, far away. so taking him to lunch, or even giving him a big father's day hug, are not options for me. i have to find other ways to remind him that i love him. usually my solution is sending a card. this may sound like the easy way out to you, but trust me, anything involving cards and the post office has disaster written all over it for me . . .

first, i have to choose a card. and no matter what store i go to, the greeting card section is like a mine field--especially for father's day. i avoid the funny cards as a matter of principle. they all sound like they were written by immature college-aged boys whose wallets are empty! they are awful!! and anything with a lawn mower or caricature dad on it should just be set on fire . . .

but the more serious cards are not a lot better. they sound like they were written by adult women with self-esteem issues. and they are beautiful--too beautiful for a man! i mean really, what man is going to look at an aqua-colored card with foil scroll work across the front and think, "wow! that really says DAD! i love aqua-colored foil scroll work!!" what ever happened to stripes? the colors brown and blue? (and no, aqua does not count as blue!) or even green? they could at least choose manly colors . . .

so there i stood at target, in front of the father's day cards. my dad is awesome, and i wanted to get the perfect card for him. i read card after card after card after card. i finally even started picking up the ones with girlyish fronts, hoping that at least the words would be good. but they weren't. finally, in frustration, i said, "where are all the cards with FISH on them?!?!?" the young mom standing to my right looked at me, and said, "here's one." and then she quickly rolled her stroller some distance away . . .

perhaps i looked a little desperate. it was the tuesday before father's day.

i said, "thank you" to her retreating back and looked at the card. the front was kind of a 3-d picture of a big fish. i knew my dad would like that. now if only the words inside weren't terrible . . . i opened it, read it, and laughed. yes, this was the one!

i bought the card and put it in my purse with every intention of mailing it right away so it would arrive at his house before father's day. but i had to rush home, change my clothes, and go right back to school for graduation. i soon realized his card was not going to get mailed on tuesday.

but that was ok. if i mailed it wednesday, he would still get it in time. i put it in my school bag so that i could write in it the next day and take it to the post office. (you see, this is part of the reason i never get anything mailed on time. nothing i need to mail only takes one stamp, so i never have the right postage. that means i have to go to the post office, get out of the car, stand in line, and get the proper postage before anything can be sent. which would be no big deal, except i seem to have some sort of mental disconnect between getting something ready to mail and actually mailing it. i had four packages to send to my aunt last fall. i got them all ready to go, put them in my trunk, and promptly forgot about them. i finally mailed them two weeks ago . . . ) at least, that was my plan. but in my "planning" i forgot that wednesday was my class field trip to adventure city. so, i did not sit at my desk on wednesday. i did not take anything out of my school bag. and i did not make it to the post office.

then, wednesday night after slurping down a big soda (because my day at the amusement park had been relatively soda-free,) my brain started working again, and i realized that it was now going to be thursday before i could mail my dad's card.

on thursday i went to the post office immediately after school was out. i knew that barring some sort of postal miracle, my dad's card would be late. he would probably not be completely surprised by this, since my cards are usually late. but still, i always hope it will somehow make it on time.

i went into the post office and witnessed my first postal miracle--there was no line! not one body was in front of me! so i stepped up to the counter with my fish card that required extra postage, and the postal worker said, "you can mail this for 66 cents. OR you could mail it priority mail--that would ensure that it would arrive tomorrow. would you like to do that?"

i'll bet she had been saying that all day to everyone who brought in a card. there she stood, implying that my card was going to be LATE! i just looked at her. ok, i thought, i'll bite. "and how much would it be to send it overnight." it couldn't be that much, could it? it was just a card. "$18.95," she answered.

$18.95?!?!?! are you kidding me?!?!?! i could have gotten a real gift for that--well, sort of . . . but $18.95 just to make sure my card arrives on time?!?! no, i don't think so. i said, "no, i think i will just mail it first class." "ok," she said regretfully, knowing that i must be the black sheep of my family, "it will be 66 cents then. and do you need anything else? stamps? boxes??"

she was so helpful. no wonder it takes so long for the lines to move at the post office.

i took out my wallet to extract the $10 i knew i had left over after paying to get all my kids into adventure city--it was all the cash i had left. and, as my luck would have it, i had left it in the small bag that i had taken to adventure city. it was not in my purse--the purse i was currently holding.

i couldn't believe it! all i needed was 66 cents to get my dad his father's day card only a day late, and now it was looking like it might be TWO days late. i was going to be the black sheep--a position, btw, with which i am not at ALL familiar!

the postal worker watched me digging through my great big handbag. (you know, the one diandra bought me for mother's day? it is beautiful and i love it, but it has so much space in it that sometimes i can't find anything!) she just kept looking at me. to fill the silence i said, "i know i had $10 in here . . . " she just looked at me. the silence grew. finally i said, "maybe i will have to buy some stamps after all, because i may have to use my debit card."

"oh, that's ok. you can pay for your postage with your debit card," she said. put 66 CENTS on my debit card?!?!?! oh no, i don't think so. and what happened to all that up-selling she was doing! but she wasn't finished. "yes, you could. or you could just get cash back. we don't charge a fee for that. in fact, lots of people come in here at lunch time and buy a stamp just so they can get cash for their lunch."

that stopped me in my tracks. because i have been at this post office at lunch time. i know what the lines are like then. and let me tell you, if a person only has an hour for lunch, they do not have time to come to the post office to get lunch money!! besides that, where are you planning to get lunch that won't take a debit card? every place takes debit cards!

finally i managed to find 66 cents in change. i paid her and sent my dad's card on it's merry way. a day late.

but my dad won't care. in fact, he isn't even home today--he is visiting my brother. so hopefully my card will beat him home, and be waiting for him when he gets there. he will never know that it was a day late.

. . . unless my mom tells him to read my blog . . .happy father's day dad! you are the best! i love you!!

1 comment:

mom said...

I loved it and I will tell him to read your blog. He needs reminded of most things these days. And the picture you posted is one of my very favorites. It is a great picture of him from the good old day....Also, have you heard of "delegating", (asking someone in the family to run an errand). I do the shopping and the addressing and then I say, "Take this and mail it and I need a receipt." Guess why I need a receipt..hehe