Chasing the Mailman

Photo by Greg Goebel, Flickr Creative Commons license

Follow that mail truck!

Friday:  Waiting for the mailman is a difficult thing for an author.  The postal tracking number showed that the print proof of Through the Shimmer of Time would arrive today, and the mail comes about noon.  I worked hard on guest blogs in the morning so I could enjoy the moment.

11:30 – No mail yet.

12:05 – Mail!  But no book package!

12:07 – Back inside, I check the USPS tracking number on the computer.  “On Delivery,” it says.

Is it on a package-only mail truck?  Or did it go astray? We’ve had mail mis-delivered before. I sign up for text alerts and they send one immediately, telling me once again that it is “on delivery.”

12:32 – My phone chimes.  The text from USPS says that the package has been delivered.

12:32 – I check the mailbox again.  I check the front porch and beside the big garage door.  No package.

12:33 – I call the number in the text.  “Welcome to  Listen carefully to the following options.”  I hang up.  I find the number for the local post office and call.  Busy signal.  Re-dial.  Another busy signal.

I pace.  I empty the dishwasher.  I pace some more.  Another call to the post office, another busy signal.

12:45 – I can’t take it anymore.  I grab the keys and leave.  I will hunt this mail carrier down!

Turn right out the driveway, since that’s the direction she would have gone.  Skip the dead-end street next to us – she’d be past that by now.  Pause at the entrance to the large subdivision, keep driving.  Pause at the entrance to the smaller subdivision, keep driving.  Not sure why, I just think I need to check the next road and come into the subdivisions the back way.  Maybe meet the mail carrier on her way out.

The pavement makes a 90 degree turn and becomes another road.  I head up that and my view is blocked by a big van.  I should be able to see half a mile up the road but I can’t see past him.  My grip on the steering wheel tightens.  This is serious stuff, folks!

The van turns left, no vehicles are ahead.  I make a quick decision to turn into the back entrance of the small subdivision.  The entrance splits and I have to decide right or left.  I pull over to look at my Maps app and check the layout, and I catch a glimpse of a postal truck.  Success!

I zoom over there, where he (he?) is trying to get to mailboxes in and around a long line of parked cars.  Someone is having a Saturday party.  I go past him, park in the road with my flashers on, and dash back on foot.  I give him my address (after he pulls his headphones out) and yes, he’s my mail carrier.  A sub, not my regular lady.  The conversation goes something like this:

“You had a package for me and I didn’t get it, even though tracking says it’s been delivered.”

He checks his bins.  “I don’t have it here.”

“I know, but is there a way to find out where it is?”

“I don’t know.  Without the package, I don’t have any information.”

Sigh.  “Look, here’s the tracking number, can you do anything with that?”

“Not really.”  He looks through his bins again, maybe just to mollify me because we already know it’s not there.

“It says you delivered at 12:32.  Can you figure out where you were at 12:32? That’s 20 minutes ago.”  We had a package go astray a few weeks ago, no big deal, but it took the residents four or five days to get it to us.  I CAN’T WAIT FOUR OR FIVE DAYS, I scream in my head.

“Twenty minutes ago . . . hmm, it might be on (names road).”  It’s the one that ours turns into after the corner.

We speak at the same time.  “I’ll go look.”  “I’ll follow you.”

Lo and behold, there’s a house on that street with the same number as our house, and yes, my package is there.  He apologizes sincerely.  I grill him as to who sorts the mail into the bins (the carriers or the office staff) so I know who to blame next time.  Because there will be a next time, I’m sure.  But I don’t yell or scold or anything.  I’m polite, even pleasant.  (Pick your jaw up off the floor, now, Sis!)

I thank him and leave, book package in hand.  But do I get to enjoy it?  No!  I still have to shop for salad ingredients for Cutest-Grandbaby-in-the-World’s second birthday, make said salad, wrap presents and then we leave. I’ll finally get to examine it on the hour’s drive to her party.

In My Hands:  Through the Shimmer of Time

In My Hands: Through the Shimmer of Time

But I did take time for a picture.

FYI:  The print proof has been edited and is now in the queue at Amazon.  It will become available anytime between Monday and Saturday.  Keep checking!

Also, it probably won’t be linked to the Kindle version for another week or two.  Be sure you click into the one you want!

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