Post Office Adventures

Note: Posting this blog entry was delayed due to a DSL outage at my house.  I’m back online now.  Hurrah!

Wednesday November 23rd was all about the post office.  Specifically about getting bookmark kits out in the mail.

Car in the snow

The first challenge was the complete and utter lack of internet access at my house.  This is still going on, and I’m not 100% sure how I’ll get this blog post up.  I may have to sneak out to Starbucks.

So in order to find out who ordered what, I had to use my cell phone to track orders and look up things on the website.  There’s no way to print from my phone, a lack I hadn’t noticed until yesterday.  (Seriously, wireless print drivers for mobile phones, is that too much to ask?)  So no one got pretty invoices with the lovely logo and nice fonts.  After spending way too much time feeling bad about that, I thought about the last time I got a package, and how many of the invoices I’d actually framed and hung up on my wall (answer: none) and decided that kits sooner with an ugly invoice was better than kits later with a pretty invoice.

Next was the volume of orders.  I am thrilled, delighted, that so many of you responded.  It caught me unawares, however, so I had to hurriedly wind off many more kits.  Which was an excellent opportunity to catch up on my book-on-tape listening.  I indulged in Water for Elephants, which lived up to the hype.

After the kits were wound and packaged, I hired Kai to be my “picker”.  In the mail-order business, this is the person who takes an invoice and pulls the products from inventory to ship.  He was great to work with.  We put labels on the piles of colors and I would shout out the colors I needed for a given order and he’d grab them up.  I double-checked every order, but he never got one wrong.

My plan was to pay him cash for his work.  But after looking at the colors all day, he asked whether instead he could be paid instead with a bookmark kit all of his own.  (Doesn’t that just make you go, awwww….)  He selected Delphinium and carted it off to his room.

Next it was a trek through the snow and ice.  Where I live (a rural area about 25 miles east of Seattle) got six inches of snow yesterday.  Now while I know that people in Canada and Wisconsin are reading this and thinking: “six inches, sounds like a nice spring day.” In the Seattle area, six inches is a snow apocalypse.  We don’t have the infrastructure for such weather, and to make things even more treacherous, when we get snow, the ground usually hasn’t frozen yet.  Which melts the bottom layer of snow, which then refreezes: resulting in 4 inches of snow covering 2 inches of solid ice.  Add drivers who’ve never seen snow before, and San-Francisco-esque hills.  And well, let’s just say that everyone with half a brain stays home.

For the purposes of this narrative, I have not got half a brain.  Later Eric told me that he and Kai (home from school because it’s a snow day) had looked at the treacherous snow-and-ice encrusted hill that leads from our house and made a bet as to whether I’d try to get out today.  I asked which of them was foolish enough to bet against me and my drive to get things done.  Eric said the conversation went this way:

Eric (46, married to me for 13 years) “I’ll bet you a dollar that your mother tries to get up that hill and go to the post office today.”

Kai (7, known me all his life): “I’m not taking that bet.”

The good thing about driving in a snow apocalypse, is that you pretty much have the road entirely to yourself.  This is sometimes a very good thing.

This man is my hero.  He came into work on a day when all the schools and libraries were closed, and he cheerfully welcomed me when I came sliding in just before closing with a huge bag of packages to mail out.

Postal guy

So the kits are packaged and off to their new homes, some to be woven up as gifts, others to be gifts for new weavers.  One customer, Sunny, wrote me that she ordered a kit last year, loved it so much that this year she and bought several more kits to give to young weavers along with the gift of teaching them how to weave.  That warmed my heart.

And after all that, I got a bit of a post office reward of my own.  This is magnet wire from the Florida State University magnet lab.  It was generously shared with me by Ramona.  Apparently FSU’s magnet lab was getting rid of surplus wire and offered it free to artists.  I studied physics at FSU, and my major professor was the head of the magnet lab.  At the time, I wasn’t a fiber artist and have since kicked myself for not acquiring surplus magnet wire when it was just laying around.  I’ve tried to buy some off eBay, but it’s pricey.  So to get this, and from the place I used to work, was a real blast from the past.  Thank you so much, Ramona.  You made my day!

Magnet wire

I can’t wait to see what I make from it!

P.S. The Viking Coffee Cozy pattern is in the works.  Thank you everyone who responded regarding it.

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