Friday, January 7, 2011
Last night I sold a copy of my book, The Insightful Body: Healing with SomaCentric Dialoguing. I got an email from PayPal saying someone had purchased a copy through my website www.CLEARInstitute.net. Anytime a book is sold means one more person will have my written work in their hands. It is exciting, to say the least, to know that someone wants to read what I have to say. (Thank you to all of you who encouraged me and cheered me on as I sat writing every Monday to get it written in five months.) Each time a book is sold it also means that there is potentially one more person interested in taking my SomaCentric Dialoguing (SCD) workshop (again see www.CLEARInstitute.net and please forgive the consummate and unabashed marketer. It works. That is how I found my sweetie, which is another story.) Those who have taken my class or read my book have sung its praises, and fortunately not just to please me and stroke my ego. They really like the material and see how it is applicable to enhancing their work. Okay, enough for now about SCD and my book, back to the mail.
“Do you think you can go to the post office tomorrow?” I asked Hugh last night at 7:30 PM. We were done cleaning up dinner and it was wind-down time. This meant he was enjoying the warmth of the wood stove while reading in the glider rocker. I had my keister parked in the chair at the dining table, hacking away at my laptop’s keyboard. It seemed like I was always forgetting that I had a laptop that could be taken over to the other rocker by the stove.
“I suppose I might be able to.”
In reality that meant he would try if he could on his lunch break. He has been logging trees deep in the woods. The logging site is a good ten minute drive from the road, which means to leave the site for lunch, would take twenty minutes of his thirty minute lunch break, not to mention the time it took to go to the post office.
“I’ll just tell her it’ll be in the mail on Monday or Tuesday.” I did not have the heart to make him sacrifice his much needed break to spend it all driving to the post office to mail something that could be sent the beginning of the week.
A couple of weeks ago someone asked me what it took, meaning what type of effort or activity, to get the mail. I thought that would be a great topic to eventually write about. Then when I got Carol’s book order, I knew that I needed to let her know there would be a slight delay in posting it. So no better time than the present to tell you about what it takes to get the mail.
You should know a couple of things about our mail system here. First, we do get mail, but I can guarantee that if you sent something overnight to the house that it would not be delivered. That is because our mail box is not at the house. I will come back to this.
Second, the post office is open limited hours. Monday through Friday it is open from 8 AM to 2 PM. Saturday it is open from 10 AM to 12 Noon. Yup, very limited hours. So there is no opportunity for Hugh to drop it off at the post office on his way home. And given the fact that he is at work at 8 AM or as close to it as possible, going before work is not possible either.
Third, to mail a book, because of the 13 ounce rule and the fact that we do not have one of the fancy Automated Postal Centers, which I used to take for granted, it has to be hand delivered to the post office desk. For those unfamiliar with the 13 ounce rule, now is your chance to learn: “Mail weighing more than 13 ounces and bearing only stamps as postage must be presented for mailing to an employee at a Post Office retail service counter. Stamped mail weighing more than 13 ounces can not be deposited in collection boxes or picked up from a customer’s mailbox.”
The deposit of any stamped mail over 13 ounces in a mail box is prohibited and will be returned to the sender. This summer I mailed six books, not realizing this and got them all sent back to me, delaying the recipient of some good reading. So, into the hands of the post mistress my books will go.
We do have one of those big blue mail boxes at Four Corners, aka the center of town where the stop sign is at the grocery, hardware store, laundry and tourist office. But that will not work either. Because of the postal services ongoing attention to security I, or Hugh, must be asked “Is there anything dangerous, hazardous, flammable, liquid, or perishable?” As if we would say “Yeah, actually the end of the book says ‘Once you have finished reading this, this book will self destruct in ten seconds.’” It is just a book, aka paper bound with glue (non-hazardous hopefully) with a glossy colorful cover. It is quite pretty if I do say so myself (The publisher actually listened to my idea for the cover design, which they do not normally do. Thanks JKP!) Okay I am digressing again.
Two weeks ago I went to mail some Christmas gifts on my lunch break of ninety minutes, a benefit of being my own boss. I used the post office’s handy-dandy flat rate mailer box and gave it to Julie, the post mistress. I knew her question was coming. How was I going to answer it without these gifts being confiscated?
“Is there anything dangerous, hazardous,…?” she asked.
I had to be honest with her. She probably smelled what I was mailing. So I braced myself and boldly told her “Yup! Cookies.”
I then waited for her to say something like “I’m sorry but the United States Postal Service has deemed the mailing of homemade Cherry Pecan Oatmeal cookies to be dangerous to the health of postal employees. We are going to have to confiscate these.”
But, fortunately her only reply was “Would you like any insurance or proof of delivery?”
So we have now established the fact that to mail Carol’s book it has to go to the post office desk. This begs the question of why can I not get off my butt and take it to the post office myself, why does Hugh have to be asked to do it? Well, I have only been taking appointments at the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I try to stack as many appointments in one day as possible. Yes this gives me the luxury of having four days “off.” In reality it is a practicality and almost necessity.
During boating weather it is much easier to get into town. We walk from the house down to the dock, get in the boat, motor around the point into Bass Cove, which is about a 20 minute ride. Then once pulled into the dock there we get into the truck and drive into town, which is another 20 minute drive. Yes, going to town in our area takes forty minutes not counting the requisite chatting with the neighbors if they are in the yard. And not counting the time to load and unload the boat and truck with garbage, recycling, laundry, empty gas cans or propane tanks which are the reasons for the trip to town.
Fact four, during non-boating weather, also known as Winter, it is simple but time consuming to go to town. Going to town during the winter involves either walking to the truck or walking to the truck. Yes, you read that correctly — we have to walk to the truck. The truck and Jeep, are parked during the winter at our summer neighbor’s. Shelter Island is technically a peninsula while the water is at this 20 year low. Because boating is not an option, we have to “walk out.” We hike to the neighbor’s along the shoreline or along the trail in the interior of the island. It is about a mile hike and takes about 30 minutes. Once at the truck it is a 15 minute drive on the two-track dirt road. 4-wheel drive is highly recommended during good weather and necessary during winter as there is a creek with ice on both sides that needs to be forded. Once on the paved road it is an additional 20 minute drive to town.
I quite enjoy the walk, in and out, to and from the house. It is good exercise and there is always something interesting to see. Bundling up in flannel lined jeans and Carhartt overalls, snow boots, a good LL Bean parka, cozy mittens, neck warmer and hat makes it easy. It is a pleasant walk, but we still do not just run to the post office the moment someone orders a book. If you have not figured it out by now, going to the post office is a trek. So we plan for it and do other errands in town at the same time.
Back to fact number one, the mail box is not at the house. You have probably realized by now why the mail box is not at the house; it is not practical nor feasible for the mail person to deliver mail to us, given all that we have to go through to get ourselves on and off the island. When Hugh moved here he talked to the post office about his address and a mail box. Of course getting a post office box was an option, but that would mean that every time he wanted to pick up the mail he would have to drive all the way into town to the post office. (Yes, the post office mail boxes are available in the non-secured area.)
They told him the address was 38300 S. Shelter Island and to put a mail box up somewhere and just let them know where it was. Where they got the street number I do not know; I will have to ask Hugh that sometime. Even though the address was Shelter Island the mail person was not going to deliver it to the island. Being the practical kind of guy he is, he put a mail box up next to the neighbor’s where the other boat dock is at Bass Cove. Next to 39756 E. Bass Cove Rd. is 38300 S. Shelter Island. It made sense; two-thirds of the year we go to and from Bass Cove, so why not put the mail box there?
Back to the original question “What does it take, what type of effort or activity, to get the mail?”
The answer is “It all depends.”
If it is boating weather – we get the mail each time we go to Bass Cove. Sometimes a couple of days can go by because we have no reason to leave the beauty of our island. If it is winter and non-boating season, we get the mail each time we walk to the truck, drive the two-track to the paved road and then decide to drive another ten minutes, away from town, to the mailboxes lining the road on Bass Cove Road. Like going to the post office, getting the mail, especially in winter, is a trek.
The mail person has gotten used to our mail piling up in the mail box for a couple of days. It would not be too bad though if it were not for all the junk mail order catalogs I seem to get. Somehow the simple act of moving here inspired all these companies to send me their catalog, thinking I would want to indulge myself. They thought wrong. It is time to get back online and unsubscribe myself from what I never asked for. If you have the same problem check out www.cataologchoice.org. It is a wonderful free way to get unsubscribed from mailing lists.
So Carol, your book will be in the mail, soon.