Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Black Tuesday

I was in a foul mood yesterday. Our heater isn't working, and our home insurance company most likely isn't going to pay for a new one because, according to their minions, the one we have now was improperly installed. A pre-existing condition, it would seem. Huh. Who would've guessed?

(Insert rantings here about the special circle in Hell reserved for all insurance companies and their minions.)

So, anyway. I was cold. I was working on a first draft of a novel, a terrible, horrible, demoralizing experience. And I had to go to the post office, to mail a package to Israel.

I have a bad habit of becoming enamored of plans I later regret. For some reason, in early March, I thought it would be fun to get involved in a $10 swap over at Ravelry, the knitting site. When I signed up, I said I'd be okay shipping overseas. I was feeling generous that day. I regret it now, of course.

After I signed up for the swap, I started checking out the postings for February's $10 swap, where people shared what they got, to get some idea of what was expected of me. Here's what became wildly clear: People were spending more than $10. Oh, a few people were keeping to the $10 limit, but their packages looked skimpy--a skein of yarn, a bar of chocolate, a few stitch markers, a postcard. Which is about what ten bucks will buy you.

Well, I got my package put together, and yes, I spent more than $10, though not a ton more. Maybe like $13. I skipped the chocolate. I packed everything up. I went to the post office. I waited in line. It was a long line. There were two "associates" with open windows, though other postal employees mosied in and out, chatting and humming merry little tunes. At one of the windows, a tiny, meek-looking woman appeared to be shipping the contents of her household to Siberia. There were many, many forms to fill out. She seemed to confused. The "associate" seemed confused. Clearly, the task of shipping this woman's worldy possessions across the world was going to take all day, maybe the rest of the year.

Finally, I reached the other window. The "associate" was friendly, competent, and had a nice sense of humor. I didn't appreciate it one bit. I was in a foul mood. I didn't want coddling. He informed me it would cost my right arm to mail my swap package to Israel. I gave it to him. I asked how much it would cost to get a confirmation number for the package--something that the Swap Gods require. He said it would cost me my first born child. I said to heck with the Swap Gods and their confirmation number requirement. I filled out the customs form. I left, feeling empty and out of sorts. Of course, I'd arrived feeling empty and out of sorts, so I couldn't really complain. But I did. In my head. Maybe I was muttering under my breath. Who knows.

I stayed in a foul mood for the rest of the day, until it occurred to me I should pretend we were living off the grid and that's why the house was so cold. Yes, off the grid except for electricity, computers and a fully-functioning gas stove. Well, really, that's about as close to off the grid as I'm going to get--all appliances and conveniences minus one--so I ran with that idea, and it actually cheered me up.

The heating people can't come til tomorrow, so I have another day of off-the-grid living. And it's cloudy and cool today, chance of rain. Clearly, this calls for lots of chocolate and an overdose of "Tales from Avonlea." But I'll do what I have to do to stay sane. I can't go on like this much longer.


Dulce Domum said...

May God bless you and keep you whilst you freeze your arse off, my dear.

Why the blinkin' heck are people called "associates" nowadays? Is it just a ploy to really tick off the likes of you and I?

Oh, and I weep for you over the cost of overseas postage, may the day when you can get your first born son out of hock arrive soon.

Awake This Day said...

No heat, in 8th grade lingo, is the suck. Have you a fine fireplace? If not, do keep abreast of potential hypothermia. :)

Our hot water heater blew this year and I discovered that hot water is a blessing indeed.

Sending warmth yr way.

Angela said...

You are, as we say in this family "Suffering from Thwart" - everything you attempt goes wrong in some way or other. My deepest sympathies. And as to your lady mailing her house contents to Siberia - well I believe her brother was in front of me in our post office the other day [she is from a large family, and they probably post everything to each other in succession just for the joy of clogging up PO queues!]

Re "Associates" - I was halfway through a radio news item about school dinners and the guy kept on about 'our clients' - and I finally realised he meant the school children. In the hospital, they call nurses 'associates' and patients 'customers' too. Why must the language be murdered like this?

Wrap up warm, wear a thermal vest and keep laughing!
Blessings and virtual hugs [sorry, not as heat-filled as real ones]

Tina ♥ said...

Oh dear. (hmmm, that didn't sound as sincere as I meant it to) Cyber-sympathy rarely works.

If I was there, I would make you a hot-water bottle and some hot chocolate. And I would sit and listen to you have a jolly good moan. Then I would drag you out somewhere and cheer you up by buying you a good book. How does that sound? :)

Tracy said...

Our heater went on the blink about three times last winter. We have an electric fan heater in the caravan. It lived in the house for three months 'just in case'. It is quite an efficient little thing. If you sit right in front of it. I also got very cosy with my wheat bags, which get warmed up in the microwave.

Post offices. Ugh. The one in Our Town is run by a particularly tyrannical man who loves to make his own rules. I hope your Israeli recipient loves her parcel.

Cathy said...

Hello there LHH

....But I'll do what I have to do to stay sane. I can't go on like this much longer....

So did you eat the chocolate and watch the dvds? lol

Take care

vgeerling said...

Too funny - your words of pain made me laugh (sorry). It's hard when you end up regretting committments made in moments of generosity. Hope your heating gets fixed soooooon.

vgeerling said...

(That was Victoria from Dear Meagan)

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Thanks, everyone, for your words of sympathy. The heating guys is supposed to be here this morning. in the meanwhile, we've kept the fire going in the fire place and invested in a space heater. It hasn't been too bad, except for the gloomy weather.

It's a bit disturbing that post offices are the same all over the world. Why is that, I wonder?

Tracy said...

I suspect it has something to do with their ability to wield power over the unsuspecting masses, who have no choice but to use the one and only postal service around.