California has a lot going for it. Namely, it has three of our offspring living there, as well as their three amazing spouses and, of course, two top-of-the-line grandchildren.
What it doesn’t have is a postal service that is even close to adequate.
Case in point: We once mailed a large box filled with wrapped Christmas presents to Meg at her workplace, which at that time happened to be the Lawrence Welk company. (Remind me to tell you the story of how she got that job – perhaps in another column, if this one gets to be too long – I never know just how long a column will be until all of a sudden it ends.)
The box was lovingly and carefully packed (my dad was postmaster here for three decades and taught my sister and me the importance of good packing). It was very slow arriving at her office but I put that down to the Christmas rush. Finally, she called to say the boy from the company mailroom had brought her the box, carrying it very gingerly because it was dripping wet. As in, it must have been submerged in a lake, or possibly an ocean, since there is one nearby. It lay in an ever-widening puddle by her desk. The Christmas presents inside were drowned.
Fast forward to this June, when I sent a box, lovingly and carefully packed with gifts for the aforementioned top-of-the-line grandchildren. I sent it priority mail to Amy’s office so it wouldn’t be left outside their apartment building. (Amy is the children’s mom – please do pay attention.) The box was to be delivered in two days. It wasn’t. It wasn’t delivered in three days. Or four days. As of this writing, a month later, it still hasn’t arrived.
I ran the miles-long tracking number through the USPS website. The package was “undeliverable,” I was rudely told. Furthermore, after being undelivered, it vanished. Probably into a lake or the nearby ocean, like its predecessor. I spent hours talking to postal robots on the phone and filling out about a thousand website questionnaires. Maybe a million. I’d get one website page of questions completed and when I would go to the next page, the first page would be dropped – “We’re sorry, your page has expired, try again later.”
The people at our local post office tried valiantly to help, but they too ran into a stone wall. Since I had carefully affixed a return address label on the box, they couldn’t understand why it wasn’t returned to me. Neither could I.
Now the tracking robots tell me it is in transit back to Algona. I don’t believe them for a minute. If it does come back, I’ll bet it will be soaking wet.
Okay, I think I have just enough space left to tell you that Meg got the job at Lawrence Welk by assuring Larry Welk, Jr., that no, she wasn’t too young to remember The Lawrence Welk Show. “Yes you are,” he insisted. “If I sing you the entire introductory song, will you give me the job?” she asked. “Okay,” he answered with a doubtful grin. She sang it flawlessly – what he hadn’t known is she spent many Sunday evenings with her Gran watching the show.
She got the job, which led eventually to her having her own music promotion company.
I love that story!