Right now I am furiously trying to wrap up NLWM, otherwise known as National Letter Writing Month.
It used to be sponsored by the United States Post Office, but I don’t think they’re involved any more.
Ironically, they caused me a little stress over it this year. I’ll get to that story in a minute.
Anyway, I knew going into it I’d be gone for half the month, so I meticulously planned it out so I could play and still take my trip.
While we were in Maui I got cards made for all the 70+ participants. This year I decided to stick to a theme, and for me, that was tropical images. I found a luscious set of papers from Graphic 45 and went a little cray cray with a fancy design that called for a lot of cut and paste (my favorite.)
Then embellishing got a little out of hand, as well. You may remember that as I cut out components I posted vague photos building to the big finish. The rules of NLWM say we can’t post photos of finished work until after they are received so it will be a surprise to the recipient/s so I had to keep it to myself, as much as it distressed me to be a teaser.
And wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to take a photo of the finished cards before I mailed them.
JUST KIDDING! I’m way to full of myself to let THAT happen!
Once we arrived home from Maui, I printed out a couple of my favorite photos to use as postcards for the group. All 70+ participants received the palm tree photo, and the 35+ “madness” participants got the “Maui Love.”
What is madness, you ask? Well, those are the crazy people who agree to write to everyone in the madness group and answer all mail received, from regular players who decide to send us a little treat, as well as all those in the group.
So here’s where the “ironic stress story” starts.
My executive assistant (aka Mr. Tattered) has the task of letting the post office know that we’ll gone and request that they put a hold on our mail. There have been some issues in the past, so he took the notification to the post office, and backed it up with a second request in our mailbox.
Fast forward to our return home, and he went to the post office to pick up our mail, knowing that with my goofy project, there should be LOTS.
But, (and here’s where the ironic part comes in) the lady at the “service counter” said that not only was there no mail being held for us, there was no record that we ever requested a hold. I’m participating in a thing that benefits the post office (the math is a little tricky, but it doesn’t take a whiz to figure out that it is not cheap to fully participate, especially when you add in that some of the ladies are in foreign countries to the tune of a minimum of $1.40 a whack) and we have no mail. IMPOSSIBLE.
So, thinking they must have figured out a way to cram it all into our box (no way, no how!) he went all the way back home to check.
Empty, except for the back up card requesting the hold.
At this point, he turned mail retrieval over to me.
I went to the post office, stood in line (toddler in tow) and eventually came face to face with a clerk. Fortunately, not THE clerk, but one of her co-workers.
“Good morning,” I say (passive/aggressively, because it is definitely NOT a good morning at this point, as I fantasize about all my beautiful mail being lost out there in the universe,) “You are dealing with a pissed off customer. Would you like to handle it, or turn me over to a supervisor now?”
He says, “Well, tell me what the problem is, and I’ll see what I can do.”
So, I nicely launch into my story about what we did, my participation in NLWM, my beautiful cards (maybe 100 of them, I say) being unaccounted for, my husband’s earlier unsuccessful visit, and how upset I am. I show him the photo my husband texted me of the almost empty mailbox which included the notification card…
He looks at it carefully, says, “Okay, let me check…” and walks off, only to return a minute later with a big ol’ stack of mail, which obviously contained a LOT of very pretty envelopes. “Well, I don’t know what happened, but here it is, right where it was supposed to be. I’m sorry for the the inconvenience.”
I was tempted to launch into a tirade about incompetence, and no wonder so many people hate the post office…but my pile of happy mail made me smile, and all was instantly forgiven. ALMOST. I still had a little whining left in me, but my mail was safe.
And that’s where I realized my planning hadn’t been so good. I neglected to make cards for those responses that were going to need to be sent out.
Truth is, I COULD have gone to the store and bought a gazillion thank you cards, but have you met me? That’s just not how I roll.
They HAVE to be hand made. HAVE to.
So, after opening all my treasures, and logging who I need to respond to (and how many times, so I’d know how many new designs I need to come up with!) I was ready to design new cards.
Yeah, I think I’ll tease you again…