Thursday, December 07, 2006My Errand to the Post Office
We're off to mail a few Christmas packages. We live close to town now, so walking is one thing that brings pride to our multi-hundred, thousand-dollar purchase. So I've got a few big boxes- that's no problem with a radio flyer wagon... first time I've used this in a while. Elijah (4) is pulling, wearing his school uniform and bright yellow rain boots, looking like a very responsible Christopher Robin type. Triona (1) is barefoot and riding with the boxes, smiling out from the middle of them and the loose christmas presents. Henry (2) is pushing in the back, content with his job which he finds very important... his blonde hair is just long enough so that I'm waiting for someone to call him a girl, but he is so unkept today that I doubt that will happen. Despite that, we look cute. I am walking along the side, hands free, as my children are enjoying their mission. Cars and pedestrians pass and smile while I smile back with a knowing motherly-type of smile. Sure, no one napped today- but we are doing great.
At the post office: I am in need of a box so I grab one of the ready-post folded boxes, contstruct the box and fill it with presents. The kids are watching, all is fine.
At the counter: The lady tells me that I can save $4 if I am able to cram - which will be a work of art- all of the presents into this much smaller Priority Mail box. I can't resist the challenge. I get to work. "Oh, you can go ahead of me; this might take a while...", I say to the others in line. Tree is climbing out of the wagon, now loudly voicing her boredom. "Just a second, guys."...
"Um-- your son just mailed something, I'm not sure what it was". (-Lady behind me in line). Alright: I stop the project for a minute. Time to look like a mom that disciplines well: "Henry, that was a big no-no... you sit in this wagon until I am done...". I get back to work and glance behind me. The lady behind us is holding the wagon while Henry climbs over its rickety edge. "This is an accident waiting to happen," she says with a frown.
It doesn't matter now because I feel a surge of victory: All of the gifts are neatly fit in the box perfectly! Oh, wait - except for these two which happen to be the biggest. Tree has a sticky note in her hand on which I had happened to write down my sister's mailing address. It is going into her mouth. I save it just in time, shove the remaining presents into the box with the brutal force of Cinderella's stepsister "I'll MAKE it fit!" while yelling to Henry, "get back in the wagon!". (These gifts will not arrive in good condition.) Time to write the address but I am holding Tree at this point and she will not be quiet unless she has the pen in her hand. I whisper angrily "Stop!" and "Cut it out!", pulling the pen away to start writing again...she is grabbing it again. The address is barely legible- "I didn't write the return address," I tell the post lady with a pathetic wimpy tone. She takes pity on me and lets me dictate it to her. It is the turn of the lady who was behind me now. At the clerk next to me, she is ordering Christmas stamps and I hear her being asked, "Snowflakes or Madonna and Child?" She responds, "Snowflakes."
Ok: so one box left- a moderately sized box- and the price for this one: $42.00 express; $38.00 3-day, or $26.00 parcel-post. I am standing there left wondering if the value of the items in the box even equate to the shipping charges. Meanwhile the children are falling apart on me, and we are creating the biggest scene possible. The sweet post lady -God bless her- offers my children stickers. Oh how nice. One for each. Henry, though, is extrememly scared of the modern, blue-and-white eagle-looking thing on his sticker. He starts crying loudly, "Too cary! Too cary!" Ok- it'll be Parcel-Post. Here's my credit card! Tree is not happy about anything now so I sit her in the wagon giving her free reign over my purse: a complete act of desperation on my part. She starts pulling things out one by one... looking for my wallet which I have in my hand. I had forgotten what was in there until now... not much to note except an extra pair of underwear for my newly potty-trained Henry. On her treasure hunt Tree flings the underware aross the post office floor, and I embarrasingly laugh and put it back while I am waiting to sign. Annoyed at this obstruction of her vision, she pulls it out again only to fling it across the floor-again. Elijah thinks this is so funny and thank God for him I am able to laugh- a real one. I sign the slip-- "No thanks," on the receipt, console my frightened #2, and head for home... by the way, what happened to the kid's book which Tree was holding? We are no longer cute, as I, pregnant, am carrying my insistent and tired 2 year old, while pulling Elijah and Tree in the wagon behind. But ahhh... who cares about all that? At least I would have chosen the Madonna and Child stamps. :)
~Hope (!), who is finally into her first very own house, writes from sunny and warm Southern California
Labels: holiday musings