Hey there – I miss you guys.

I mean, I’ve kind of been here, but really it’s just an illusion. I’ve not *really* been here.

Where I’ve really been is staring at dozens of people’s butts, all day every day.

And when I’m not doing that, I’m answering Facebook messages, tweets, emails, texts, and phone calls regarding butt appointments.

It’s a bit overwhelming. And I really want to get back to being here – because I like y’all better than butts.

Also, because of these rare circumstances, I have been breaking my own rules and visiting the Post Office. With two small children.

Also known as the Sixty-Seventh Ring of Hell.

Maybe I need to find a new post office or better yet figure out how to print my own postage and get home pickups, but my local branch moves slower than a Hardees drive-thru. And I’ve only eaten Hardees like five times in my life, but those five times added up to a year of my life.

(I think y’all call Hardees “Carl Jr” out west – are they slow, too?)

So Monday, I had one large box and five envelopes full of jeans that had to be mailed. I had pre-filled out all of my shipping labels and affixed them to the packages before I left the house – except for the box, because I was hoping to find a smaller box in the PO stash.

I did not, so I went to the long counter that paralleled the line and began taping up my remaining box.

Let me clarify: at my post office, there’s a work counter out of the line, and a really long work counter that runs alongside the line. If there are already people in line, I always do my work at the long counter while in line to prevent being jumped. That’s what the counter is there for, right?

There were six people in line. I let Noah loose for half a second so that I could use the tape dispenser, and he took off, yelling happily all the way. He and Ali spread through that post office faster than e.Coli at Chuck E. Cheese. They bounced off the walls, ran into poles, and got dangerously close to the open door. So I stopped, chased, and scooped an unhappy Noah up, and told Ali to stand next to me.

Which meant that I was then stuck with the task of trying to get packing tape off of the tape dispenser with one hand while Noah was squirming mercilessly in my arms and saying “down, down, DOWN!!” and Ali was holding onto my leg and asking me never ending questions about the inner workings of the post office.

It was not for moments like this that I became a parent.

As my shoulder was being pulled out of socket and my leg was being hugged with a with knocking-off-balance force and the packing tape would not come off the roll without sticking to itself (WHY does tape have to DO THAT?!?! We can send robots to Mars but we can’t make tape that doesn’t stick to itself??), a very able-bodied 60ish-year-old woman walked into the post office and got in line – in the small space between me and the guy in front of me.

I stared, aghast.

How could she not think I’m in line?

I mean, sure. I’m sealing up my package. But what else is this counter for?? This isn’t like a restaurant that won’t put you on the list until your whole party has arrived. This is the world’s slowest post office line. Have mercy, woman!! Did you never have small children??

As I was staring, Noah was beating (lovingly?) upon my chest demanding freedom and Ali was tugging and questioning with the rapidity of a semiautomatic weapon in a voice loud enough that Linebreaker Lucy turned around, looked at me sympathetically, and said,

“Oh MY. Don’t you have your hands full!!”

And it was at that moment that I wished I weren’t so southern.

But alas, my Mother raised me to smile and nod, so smile and nod I did.

I hope she’s proud.

I fumingly went back to one-handedly ripping packing tape off of the tape dispenser, but the anger lobe of my brain had grown seven sizes that day, which caused it to push into my hand-eye coordination lobe, and my finger met the very sharp, very industrial strength teeth of the dispenser.

I thought it was just a flesh wound, until I noticed that I was bleeding all over the packing tape.

(Which, incidentally, helps it not stick to itself.)

I gave up on the tape and used my one free arm to reach across Noah and feverishly search my purse for any type of sopping item, and right before I got desperate enough to affix a feminine product to my index finger, I found a used napkin.

I wrapped my hacked-up self and carried on in my packaging attempts.

Not a single person had been successfully helped and dismissed from the Post Office since I had entered, and there were now at least four more people behind me, all simultaneously emoting sympathy for me and oohing over how cute Noah was, as he tried all of his begging strategies to escape my grip.

“Peeeese peeese down.”

“Iloveyousomuch you’rebooootifulmommy peeeeeeese down.”


Finally, Linebreaker Lucy got her turn at the counter.

She had four letters in her hand to mail – letters that had already been stamped. But she had come to chat with the counter employee.

“Hi there! How are you today? I’m great. You see, my friend Susan just had pelvic surgery, so I wanted to send her a get-well card. But all I had here were these old 20 cent stamps, so you see I put a bunch on it. Do you think that this will be enough postage to get the card to Susan?”

“Yes ma’am, that will be more than enough.”

But yet. She stood there chatting for at least five more minutes, past the time that the other employee became free and I began the tedious process of moving my six packages from counter to counter. I needed use of two arms, so I put Noah down and told Ali to watch him.

He took off in a blinding sprint, so she did what any responsible sister would do: she grabbed him by the back of the collar.



<juicy gag>

“Ali. You’re choking your brother.”

“You told me to keep him from running away.”

I picked him back up and began the fight to keep him from hitting the cancel button while I ran my transaction.

I finally left, finger still in napkin tourniquet, feeling beaten and bruised, and a perhaps just a little sinful in my heart toward Linebreaker Lucy.

And, five days later, I still have deep finger fish scales as proof that it wasn’t all just a figment of my imagination.

Finger Injury

I hope Susan enjoyed her pelvis card.

25 thoughts on “Postal Purgatory.

    1. Ha – no worries!! I’m taking a break this weekend, then will be taking a long break after the 18th. Looking forward to seeing you again!

  1. Do you ever get food at Dairy Queen? Slower than freaking dirt.

    I feel your pain about the post office. There are just some places you don’t want to take kids.

  2. Stamps.com my friend. They were the sponsor of the Nerdist podcast last week and there is some special offer apparently if you enter “Nerdist” in a box when you click a microphone.

    Also, how rude of that woman!

  3. Maybe it’s just me being my usual overly-modest (aka prudish) self, but I would never say “pelvic” or “pelvis” to a stranger, unless that stranger was a qualified medical professional. Way too embarrassing.

    It’s tough to have that Southern politeness so ingrained, isn’t it? Sometimes I just want to bellow at rude people, but I’ve never actually done it.

  4. I’m going to take this as a sign (excuse?) not to go to the post office today like I had planned. The last time I went (alone, with child in arms) was just to get stamps and I was still there almost an hour. Yes, I know I can buy stamps elsewhere and I tried, but no grocery store/Office Depot carries the “fun” stamps. Just flags. =( And for you, I’d say pick a different post office but even when I tried that at Christmas, the line took forever so maybe online is the way to go. At least you got a fun story out of it. But Linebreaker Lucy (love it!) should be taught her lesson threefold! (And I think I double spaced this whole comment without even thinking about it. You’re right, it’s habit!)

  5. My condolences. Any time a friend of mine mentions needed to go to the post office, I offer to watch their kids. No mother should venture into those doors with children in tow. It is like that building has some sort of special power that turns normally happy children into unrecognizable terrors.

  6. If I had a dollar for every time some unhelpful person told me, “My, you’ve sure got your hands full!” I’d have enough money to buy a time machine, go back into time to when they said it and punch them in the face.

    Note that without fail, those who has commented how full my hands, never offer to take anything out of my hands.

  7. I survived the post office in our old town only because the grocery store had a post office counter. Genius! Two stops in one, carts to belt kids into and available suckers to quiet children. I really miss that place.

  8. I recently had a similar experience waiting in line at the Publix pharmacy. I had all three boys with me (10,6 & 2) and they had already used all their patience and good behavior up at the pediatrician’s office. I had to wait in line for them to tell me the prescription had been received but was not ready. As soon as I stepped out of line, literally like 30 seconds, the employee told me I could get back in line as it was now ready. Do you think anyone that had been behind me in line offered to let us back in? Of course not, they all just gave me dirty looks for how crazy the boys were acting. I just kept asking myself “Do these people think I planned being here with three boys when it is so busy?” I was tempted to have my 6 year old with strep throat cough on every last person but as you said southern manners held their course and we finally got away. I

  9. Pro tip – mail from Office Depot. Never a line since a lot of people don’t realize you can ship from there. And they have all the same USPS boxes and stuff. :)

  10. I have similar horror stories (minus the injuries). I feel your pain — the post office ring of hell, the children-who-almost-always-behave-except-for-here-and-now, and the judgmental, non-helpful other folks. I have no words except a quiet, understanding, “I know.” Hugs to you! (And a BandAid. Get yourself a BandAid!)

  11. Ugh. Been there! Post offices DO make kids go crazy! Anytime someone says, “you have your hands full” I hear “your kids are out of control!” Or “I’m SO glad I’m not you!” Or both. It’s just not a helpful phrase! Haha :) and seriously, someone could have offered to tape your package for you!

  12. Oh! You poor dear! (That is about as much “southern as” I can muster) 67th ring of hell… bwahaha! I have loathed the Post office since… 3 kids ago. It’s much worse than a grocery store, at least THEY have the decency to give you a germ infested carriage (more southern) to contain your small people in. Seriously though, I went to the post office about 2months ago… without children… had to wait… and enjoyed just standing in mostly quiet without kids. I even received a compliment on my awesome Jack Sparrow sweatshirt I got from D-land! There are brighter USPS days ahead for you.. now, what’s this about double spacing?? Apparently, I’ve been missing you too! ;)

  13. Sigh! We have neither Hardee’s nor Carl’s Jr. near us. Every once in awhile, one of us will drive about an hour away to get Carl’s Jr. The next closest one is near the state line between WA and OR. We also go there when we visit my parents in San Diego. We’re usually in such a state of shock from seeing that glowing thing in the sky (I think people call it the “sun”) that we wouldn’t notice if they were slow or fast. We also always go to In-and-Out while we’re there. We’re kind of deprived in Seattle…. Butts….well, I really can’t think of anything profound to say about butts that hasn’t been said already, so I won’t touch that. Around here, the only thing slower than the post office is the DOL (Department of Licensing). The ones to register your car go really fast, it’s the one’s where you get your driver’s license and what not that go so slow that you end up leaving two days before you arrived. What I really love is that every time that they start moving the line along, someone goes on break and the line goes to negative warp speed again. Or they’ll be on 84 and you have 87, when all of a sudden, one of the tellers switches to the 300’s or 600’s. If you think taking children to the post office is bad, wait until you take them to get their learner’s permit or license. Or better yet, wait until you take them driving for the first time! We all think the terrible two’s are bad, but it’s really the frightening fifteens that are the worst. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be so amazed that the Duggar family had so many kids, if it were not for the fact that they have managed to teach so many of them to drive, yet managed to live long enough to copulate again!

  14. You need never go to the post office again…. here’s my handy shipping secret! :)

    Go to http://www.usps.com and order the FREE flat rate Padded Flat Rate Envelopes. (Make sure to get the PADDED ones!) Its completely free to order them, and the envelopes will fit up to size 2x Jeans. It will take about 10 days for the envelopes to get to you, so order ahead of time!

    In the meantime, purchase a roll of clear shipping tape. The el cheapo “Duck” brand from Walmart works the best! Also, buy a box of Gallon Ziploc Bags.

    When you are ready to ship something:

    Go to http://www.usps.com and click on Click-N-Ship. Set yourself up with an account.

    You’ll put in all of the to/from shipping option and purchase your shipping labels. I think you can also schedule a carrier pickup the next day if you’d like.

    You’ll print your shipping label and receipt right on to a plain piece of printer paper. Tape the label to your package (following the included instructions).

    Fold the jeans you’ll be shipping as compactly as possible. Sometimes putting them into a gallon ziploc bag and squishing the air out will be necessary. A general rule is if you can fit it into the ziploc bag you can fit it into the Padded Flat Rate Envelope. It might take some wrangling, but you can do it!

    Seal your package, tape it shut and drop it in any USPS blue box, or at the postal counter, OR you can schedule a pickup. We just put ours out in our mailbox with the rest of the outgoing mail.

    Easy peasy.

    Of course this probably won’t create as many bloggable experiences. You win some. You lose some.

    Hope that helps!

    ~ Jamie

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