Thursday, January 29, 2009

And then there are days.

This year, I did the majority of my Christmas shopping online. No looking for a parking place, no hordes of foul-tempered shoppers, no dealing with sales staff who are too busy talking on their cell phones.

And, for the most part, it went pretty well. As I'm sure you know by the presents you received from me. (You didn't get yours yet? Well, I'm sure it's on its way.)

There were a couple of packages (a book, a DVD) that I was expecting to arrive on the Monday before Christmas, the day before I left for Florida for a week. But when I got back from work that Monday evening -- nothing there. Nothing on the front porch, nothing at the side door, nothing on the back deck. Oh, well. Guess I won't be taking those things to Florida, after all. And I'll alert Larry-the-Cat-Sitter that he should be on the lookout for those missing packages.

So Larry-the-Cat-Sitter conscientiously watched for the missing packages. But by the time I got home from Florida, they still hadn't been seen.

Okay, time to go into "So where are they?" mode. I checked the tracking page to see if I could find out when they might be delivered, although I thought I remembered they should have gotten to me before I left. And to my great surprise, I found out that not only should they have arrived by then, according to, they had been. That Monday afternoon before I left town.


Let me go look again. Nope, not on the front porch. Not in the bushes around the front porch. not under the leaves piled up behind the bushes around the front porch. Not by the side door. Not on the deck out back.

Okay. [sigh] Guess I'll have to get in touch with Amazon to let them know that the packages never arrived, and they'll need to resend them. Kind of annoying that they disappeared - I've never had this problem before in this neighborhood. Don't know whether it was swiped from the porch or was claimed as last-minute Christmas shopping by the carrier's temporary drivers.

Maybe I'll wait until tomorrow to contact Amazon. Maybe they were picked up by a well-meaning neighbor who saw I was away from home and that neighbor hasn't returned them yet.
Maybe I'll wait a couple of days, so I don't have to deal with the Amazon customer service people. "But it says here that they were delivered to your front porch." "Sure does. And yet - I never saw them." "But they were delivered to you." "But they weren't." Really not looking forward to that conversation.

After a couple of days, though, it was finally time. No, wait: let me put it off long enough to go to the grocery store for a big purchase: buying enough cat food to last me through long winter storms, should any appear. ("more cat food is good" the little voices near the floor seem to say.)

When I return home and carry the many bags of groceries up to the front door, I note that there's something a little bit odd about the welcome mat: it felt a bit, I don't know, lumpy when I stepped on it, and it's pushed off to the side about six inches - towards the hinge, so I hadn't been stepping on the mat when I went in the door. Okay, let me get the bags of cat food inside, and then I'll investigate.

Sure enough: both packages were there. And apparently had been there all along, underneath the welcome mat where the UPS driver had hidden them from view. Sure, they both were in packages a lot flatter than I expected - the bigger was no more than an inch high, and that's at least an inch shorter than I had anticipated - and they'd been well-covered by the mat. But I'd looked for the packages at least a half dozen times, and didn't see them where they'd been placed, and exactly where I would have expected them to be. The only saving grace is that Larry-the-Cat-Sitter had stepped over them every day for a week without spotting them, too.

Perhaps it's just as well I'm not a private investigator.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural quotes.

Today is certainly a day to quote prior inaugural addresses. Let me add this one, which I feel appropriate:

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.

You know, it's not that often that I get to quote Gerald Ford.