Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mail woes

One of the drawbacks of life on the edge is that there is no mail delivery. We have to drive 15 miles into town to retrieve mail from a PO box. This is problematic because in my day job I receive thousands of books to review and evaluate each year and many publishers and publicists have accounts with UPS, FedEx, or DHL to deliver those books. That means that they have to have my "street" address and because the rest of the world can receive mail at their "street" addresses those publishers and publicists sometimes send me mail, or even books, through the US Postal Service addressed to the "street" address. When and if that mail does arrive in my PO box it has black marker crossing out the address with 4 or more stickers stating the post office was glad to find me and asking me to contact the sender with my correct address. Those packages were addressed to my "correct address" it is just that the Post Office doesn't deliver here! I've made up and widely distributed postcards with photos of where I live and directions that US Mail must go to the PO Box and UPS or FedEx must go to the "street" address and that DHL will not deliver here. DHL remails packages sent to my "street" address zip code. One of my copy edited manuscripts was once overnighted to me via DHL and arrived 91 (yes ninety-one) days later. By that time it was moot as the ms. has be resent via FedEx, edited, sent back, the book was published, and distributed. Many things sent via DHL have never arrived.

One of my pet peeves are rebates and free offers from companies that specify nothing will be sent to P.O. Boxes. I've gotten so annoyed I've composed a form letter to send to them. Here it is.

To Whom It May Concern:

Please send my rebate check via UPS or FedEx. Or, you may deliver it in person as the rebate form states you will not honor requests for people who receive their mail through Post Office Boxes. We live in an area not served by the United States Postal Service nor DHL. UPS and FedEx do service this area and are here almost every day.

If you choose to hand deliver the rebate please be advised that you should rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle. You should also be sure to wear sturdy boots. Our home is located on the edge of a remote canyon at 7,000 ft. altitude and the pavement ends nearly 3 miles before you get to our house. Because of the altitude we usually have a substantial amount of snow on the ground several months out of the year. If you do decide to utilize this option please call me at ###-###-#### for detailed directions and the gate combination. I will also advise you if mountain lions or bears have been prowling so you can take adequate precautions. We did lose an 80 lb. dog to a mountain lion some time back.

Feel free to call the post master at (970) 244-3400 to verify that the post office does not deliver in our area. We would love it if we only had to go three miles out to pavement rather than fifteen miles into town to retrieve our mail and in fact have been trying for many years to convince the post office that we should have rural delivery here.

Eagerly anticipating my rebate,

Friday, March 07, 2008

Is it Spring Yet?

Nice sunshiney day today but unfortunately the arc of the sun is moving higher in the sky. This is the time of the year that I have to start a fire in the mornings as the house doesn't really warm up until later in the day. The floor has started to cool off, too.

Rick was talking to one of the neighbors who has been keeping track of the weather patterns and he said that in previous years all the snow has been melted by March 1. Here it is, the 7th and while we have lots of patches of mud we still have a considerable amount of snow. The snow that had been up to the swing seat out front has dropped and now is only about a foot deep.

Even with the lack of sun penetration into the house it has been performing pretty well. I know if I were in a conventional house and the exterior temp dropped to 4 degrees it wouldn't stay close to 60 in the house without supplemental heat.

The plants are all doing well. One of the spider plants has gotten carried away and started a dozen new plants where its shoots trailed down onto the planter. One of the banana trees died this winter. I don't know why but the other two are thriving. The citrus trees are doing well with one of the orange trees covered in fragrant blossoms. I never thought I would be growing bananas, lemons, and oranges in Colorado at 7,000ft. Ah, life is an adventure.