Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Hubby's Exciting Excursions To The Post Office To Mail A Package For Me

I'll get to the story in a minute. But what I said about no boxes, no laundry, no cleaning? I lied.

We were home by 1 p.m. and the afternoon stretched out before me. Thought briefly about sitting down with a good book but just couldn't. So the cleaning commenced, as did the laundry.

The living room is clean, cleared of the detritus of moving, the floor swept and mopped and our two Poang chairs comfortably settled on the long side with the wicker trunk serving as a table between. Looks a little spartan in there, but much better than before.

The very last box of household goods was unpacked.

And three more loads of laundry were washed and (mostly) line dried. I was frantically putting the last one on the line right before Spanish class. During class quite a little storm brewed up but the hubby, disabled though he is with a bad back, got everything off the line and under cover before the rain hit.

The hubby, whose back was doing better, messed it up again doing yard work yesterday. It's actually worse this time than before, which is often the case when you re-injure something. Please pray for him. He's leading Bible study tonight.

So I'd promised you a story and then got busy cleaning and didn't get to it. But here it is....

A month ago I held a little give-away to celebrate my first blogiversary. We were up in Resistencia at the time and the plan was to mail the gift as soon as we got back. Hmmmph. Didn't happen. A few days after our return the hubby brought home an envelope for me. The exterior dimensions were right, but it was just a bit too small inside for the wallet to fit.

It was another week before the hubby was back downtown to the post office and bought a bigger envelope. It was really big. (This is starting to feel like a modern day re-telling of Goldilocks but it's not.) He said there wasn't anything between the two. I told him a plain old manilla envelope would do just fine, but he thought I needed to use these special envelopes you buy at the post office to send stuff overseas. Okeydokey.

And he was leaving for Buenos Aires the next day. I figured I could get it ready and he could take it to the post office when he got back. He arrived home A WEEK LATER completely wiped out and in no shape to go anywhere. And the container arrived that Monday with all our stuff.

If you've been reading my blog, y'all know we've had a crazy couple of weeks since then.

But in the midst of it hubby did take that package to the post office. He had several errands to run, including a Very Important Stop to pick up our modem so we could have internet and that place was closing at 7 p.m. so he had a deadline. There was a long line at the post office but hubby waited patiently.

Finally, 20 minutes before 7 and it's his turn! He gets the lady we will call Miss-Government-Efficiency-Herself. Miss-Government-Efficiency-Herself says, "You have to fill out this form." Oh goody! So the hubby walks to a cubby where he can fill it out. And his pen runs out of ink after two letters. So he goes back to Miss-Government-Efficiency-Herself who grudgingly gives him a pen to use. He fills out the lengthy form and returns to Miss-Government-Efficiency-Herself who oh-so-slowly inputs the data on the computer and then looks at my hubby and with a perfectly straight face says "That will be $92 pesos." I Don't Think So! "Oh yes, that's what it costs when you use that envelope." Aaargh! So he takes the envelope and leaves.

He rushes from the post office in an effort to get to the place and pick up the modem before they close. He arrives...only to find out they've moved the office. Across one of the bridges to the other side of town. The clock is ticking. He grabs a taxi and gets there just in the nick of time. Whew!

An Aside: For anyone reading this who has lived overseas and dealt with the typical bureaucracy you are probably nodding and laughing and remembering similar good times you yourself have had. Most Americans won't get it. That NOTHING is ever easy or simple. Even the most simple things they manage to make complicated. The easiest thing we've done since arriving? Seriously. Contacting the American Embassy to let them know we're here. We did it online in like 5-10 minutes.

Okay, back to the story. Hubby was a little irate as you can imagine by the time he got home. However, I was pretty sure we could probably find the box of office things I'd packed that included envelopes in various sizes, including bigger ones. In about 10 minutes we had a 6"x9" envelope in hand and had it addressed and ready to go. The clasp had gotten a little rusty in transit and I wondered about whether the sticky flap would stay sticky so slapped on a piece of tape for good measure. Then decided to slap on another piece at the other end. Just in case. I mean I wanted the wallet to arrive intact.

So two days later the hubby returns to the post office. Guess who waits on him? Yes, Miss-Government-Efficiency-Herself! She looks at the envelope, sniffs condescendingly and tells him, "You cannot put tape on it." Well. The hubby, not to be deterred this time asks, "If I get all the tape off, will that be okay?" And she gets a little snippy and says, "Well we can't do it if it tears the paper at all." At which point the hubby smiles sweetly and says, "I'll be VERY careful." He just goes a couple steps away and slowly, very carefully begins to try peeling the tape away.

But folks, I had used the heavy duty packing tape. Two inches wide and...well, heavy duty. So it was really, really slow going. The man behind the counter, next to Miss-Government-Efficiency-Herself, leaned over and whispered "There's a stationary store across the street. Go over and get another envelope and I'll get it done for you." So that's what hubby did. At the store they sold him an envelope and then gave him a GLUE STICK to use to seal it after he'd transferred the contents. And the man at the post office took care of him without making him wait in line again.

And so Elizabeth, your wallet is FINALLY on its way! I'm really sorry it has taken so long. Hope you enjoy it! I'm sure every time you use it you'll remember what your poor uncle had to go through to mail it :-)


rita said...

You have an amazing hubby!
And that was a GREAT story! Living in a 3rd world country has its positives for writers!

Elizabeth said...

Oh my goodness... poor Uncle Ivan... tell him thank you so much... you really didnt have to hurry to send it to me... I look forward to getting it and using it. I will be sure to pray for you both every time I see/use/open it.
Thanks again!
Love, Lizzie

s hoyt said...

Monday noon, just catching up on the last three updates.
You know... when you talked about mailing things from Argentina (before you left), I had this slightly negative reaction but didn't know why...NOW I REMEMBER!!!
I didn't think it was possible to mail something from overseas! (This is probably why every overseas traveler gets loaded down with packages to be delivered to loved ones)

PJ said...

Oh...OH...oh...Nobody does bureaucracy like government agencies -- the further South the better!!!! (And I don't mean U.S. South -- THERE everyone is polite!) Power and Position!!! Yikes. Your husband deserves that chocolate cake -- Oh, but he'd have to go get the microwave first!!!