Saturday, September 22, 2007

Snail Mail

Why is it so hard to write a letter? I mean a actual, sit down and put pen to paper, for real letter. I decided I should be a better friend about keeping in touch. It is always nice to GET a letter, especially when you are feeling down or dealing with life's changes or bumps in the road. It is nice to know someone cared enough to write to you. So, almost two weeks ago I decided to write some letters. It doesn't sound that hard.

I went to look for that nice stationary I got as a gift two Christmases ago. This is the perfect time to use it. Unfortunately, we recently moved and the stationary is no where to be found. I hate buying something when I know darn good and well I already have what I need. So I put it off for a few days while I looked. I finally conceded and decided to go purchase some more cards. All I could find were Halloween, birthday, and sympathy cards. No blank cards? I know they used to make them and you could get a huge package so you had plenty to write as much as your heart desired. OK, off to the mall to the actual card/stationary store. This requires taking all of the kids and takes most of the day. Whew, I am tired.

The next day I sat down to start writing. I talk to these people just about every day. We email and chat on the computer and never run out of things to say. Today nothing is happening, my mind is completely blank. What did I want to say? How did I want to say it? I can sit in front of a computer screen and type all day long. If I mess up I just hit delete or cut and paste to rearrange my thoughts into a more sensible order. Writing a real letter is like working without a safety net. I can't erase a mistake; I have no spell check.

Well, maybe I will just address the envelopes. That is easy and maybe I will think of something to say while I do that. Like I said we just moved so I don't have any of those cool labels with the correct address on them. As I write out my return address I realize I don't know any one's real house address. Emails yeah, but not a real address. I have to go to the computer (my external brain) to find the info. So tempting to just shoot off a few quick emails instead, but I resist. I have been known to write everything on the computer and then transcribe it to a actual handwritten document. Maybe that is what I should do--Taylor needs the computer. Come on you can do this.

I take my printed addresses back to the table and finish labeling the envelopes. I begin to struggle through the writing process on a piece of notebook paper so I won't mess up the cards with scribbled out mistakes. I finally get everything written out and start to put pen to stationary. I have to stop to go break up a fight between the kids. On my way back to the table I decide to unpack a box real quick (this is called procrastination and I am very good at it). DRAT! There is the stationary I was looking for. I wonder what else is in here? Next thing I know several hours have gone by. I will have to finish my letters tomorrow.

The next day I am determined. Today is the day I will get these into the mail. I finish transferring every thing to the cards with only a few minor interruptions and start overs involving spilled juice and a pen that sputtered ink as it died. I remembered I wanted to print out a poem and include it with one of the letters. Back to the computer to scan and print. Add the poem and seal every thing up. Now I just need to "Affix first class postage. Mail will not be delivered without a U.S. postage stamp." ARRRRGH! No stamps. I am shuffling through the drawer and all I can find are one cent stamps.

My husband senses my distress and says he will find some or go to the post office. The post office is closed so he starts going through more boxes. A few days later he finds some. Yeah, finally I can end this. Wait, how much is postage now? It keeps going up and these are old stamps. Back to the computer to look it up. It costs 41 cents to mail a letter. My stamps are 37 cents. Remember the one cent stamps I found?

Now my nicely decorated envelopes are finally ready. I stick them on the slot and realize the mail has already run for the day and it's Saturday. Mail doesn't run on Sunday. So my letters are still sitting out there, and will be for the rest of the weekend, mocking me. Hopefully they will get picked up sometime Monday afternoon.

To all my wonderful friends: If you get a letter from me sometime in the middle of next week with a bunch of stamps all over the envelope, now you will know why. If you don't get a letter from me sometime in the middle of next week, now you know why. I think my letter writing days are over. Regardless, know that I love you all and think about you often. You will be reminded of this fact when you get your next email from me.


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