Tuesday, August 05, 2008

This is my mail box?....seriously?

Here's the back story: I live in the country, and yes, apparently, in a world with unlimited forms of entertainment teenagers still find destroying mail boxes the height of hilarity. My mailbox has been demolished three times in one year. If it were the entire street that got hit, we could at least rally round to grumble and commiserate together. But alas, it is just my mailbox. I don’t even KNOW any teenage boys in Louisa. Do they have me mistaken for someone else? Do they get heaps of delight watching me yet again dig a hole and fill it with cement and assemble another new and costly mailbox plus post? What is it? What kind of negative mail related karma have I attracted to myself out here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge?!

The first time it got a bashing, all that was left was a battered box flung far into the front yard, the post, which had been cemented in, had disappeared completely. With the second bashing, I actually heard the box being annihilated, I just naively lay in bed wondering why there was a neighbor repeatedly opening and closing their car door in the middle of the night when in actuality there was a kid who had gotten out of his car with a baseball bat and was whacking repeatedly at the post arm, until he succeeded in dismantling it, and giving a loud whoop of triumph at this perceived great achievement, hopped in the car with his posse and sped away in a cloud of dust and squealing tires. It was finally at that point I realized what really had been going on and leapt out of bed only to view from my window the sad and wounded wood and metal remains of these senseless hostilities.

So, I then decided that I was going to catch the little bandits on film and set up my video camera every night with its night vision feature on. Video tape only runs for a few hours, so I had to set my alarm to get up in the middle of the night to change the tape. I was quite diligent and kept dragging myself from comfortable, sound sleep month upon month until finally I just decided it wasn’t worth the sleep deprivation. They had won the battle, I surrendered. And yes, sure enough, once my little white flag had been symbolically raised, my mailbox was again flattened, razed, ravaged and abused a third time. I attached yet another new box with a cursory single screw to the dangling arm of the leaning, weary battle-worn post. After all, why put in a lot of effort at this point, I would just slap something up that could hold a few letters each day and wait for the next attack.

Enter Gary Wayne, cowboy, country singer, pipe layer and husband to my co-worker Kate. Gary needs a web site to support his budding fame. I desperately need help around my house, not the least of which is a bash-proof mailbox. Let the bartering begin! Gary lays pipe at his day job, (but let me here also plug his talent and singing/song writing abilities: he’s very, very good). So Gary tells me that he can create for me a bash-proof mailbox. A mailbox like no other. A mailbox made of pipe. A mailbox that will be ugly, but could destroy the arm bones of any young buck attempting to wage war upon it. Ugly? Who cares, I’ve had it with mailbox repair, bring on ugly. After all, how ugly could it be? You see, I am imagining three inch piping as a post with the box anchored to it, I’ve seen them like that in the country. But Gary thinks big….real big. He shows up to my house on what happens to be the hottest day in decades. It’s 100°F before noon and the humidity makes it feel even worse. I question whether today is the right day to be doing anything outside, let alone be working. It is so hot that when I step out for five minutes to talk to him the tops of my toes start to burn like someone has set them alight. How is he going to work in this? I check on him constantly out the window to be sure he is still standing. At one point I don’t see him. I wait. And wait. And wait some more. Oh no, he’s passed out and in the ditch, I just know it! I go out to look in the ditch. No Gary. I walk around the yard, my toes burning, but can’t find him. As I am looking under his truck, out he comes from the house next door. Ah yes, small towns, he grew up with my neighbor and was over at her house catching up. Ok, no problem, just thought you might be passed out in the ditch, my bad. At least he got cooled off in there and I am relieved.

A little while later he finishes up the mailbox and fetches me to come see his handy work. It truly is a mailbox like no other. I mean NO OTHER. He has used 12 inch bright blue piping emerging out of the ground like some proud alien port to an underground world. Attached to that is an iron elbow with a glorious crown of one inch lugs around its ends joining it to the next piece of bright blue piping that becomes the “box” part to hold the mail. And to top it off, he has used the little red flag from my old mailbox and attached it to the side of this Marvelous Holder of Epistles so that there should be no mistaking its purpose. He has devised a white pipe plug to use as the door, but doesn’t like the results; it doesn’t quite fit right, so currently, there is no door. I express worry about the mail just disappearing down the big pipe since there is no barrier to stop it. I mean, if it falls in there, it’s gone forever! This mailbox is permanent baby, it’s not going anywhere. A semi could run into it and loose! He suggests he bring a feedbag from home and fix it in place on the inside to keep this from happening. Feedbag, oky doky. He also suggests I paint the pipes different colors for the holidays, the fourth of July is coming, and perhaps I can alternate red, white and blue on each pipe section. He further explains how I can hang stuff on the lugs and giant screws to decorate it……. (insert cricket sounds here). I know that I need to do something to enhance its rugged beauty, after all, I am an artist by trade, and this is a real opportunity to explore the depths of my creativity. A challenge, yes, an object to transform, to titivate if you will. And honestly, I do have a one of a kind, like no other, original, unique, kick butt mailbox. If this sucker goes down, I have vastly underestimated the teenagers of Louisa. Although I do wonder if they will just see it as a challenge, hmmm, perhaps I should set up the video camera again just to capture the response and possible attempts. Come on Don Quixote! Come try to attack my windmill! My mighty, mighty cowboy-made windmill – er, mailbox! I dare ya!! I double dare ya!

So far, no mail has been delivered three days out of this week. Perhaps I just didn’t have mail those days. Or perhaps it has vanished into the underground world that now exists in my ditch. I came home yesterday to find bright blue paint marking the water lines that run the length of the front yard just behind my Magnificent Receptacle for Correspondence. Does the county think that perhaps my water line needs repairing because they perceive my Superb Vessel for Communications is actually a broken water pipe in need of repair? Perhaps, we will just have to wait and see. I’ll keep you posted on the post.


So, it has been two weeks, and I should have had several pieces of mail that have not made an appearance. Gary Wayne had come and attached a piece of feedbag to the interior of my new and wonderful mailbox, but since I was not at home at the time, I was not able to request that he take off the top to see if any of my conveyance had fallen into the depths of the thing. To the rescue comes my next door neighbor Chris, a young man of exceptional humor and determination. Chris got out his Granddad’s pipe wrench, and together with his mom Theresa, the three of us (and it did take three of us to handle this monster), proceeded to dismantle it enough to peer inside. Once the lugs were loosened and removed one of the iron rings dropped like lightening onto Theresa’s toes. What a trooper! She hopped, she winced, she expressed her pain….she hobbled back home for some ice. Chris and I got the large head of the colossal beast off and gazed inside, sure enough, more mail than I could have possibly imagined had fallen and drown in the dark, wet depths of the obelisk. I remain in awe of just how deep Gary Wayne, a one man powerhouse of energy, dug down to put in place this Matchless Wonder for Dispatch. Mere arms, even Chris’s, who is quite tall, were not able to reach down into the abyss. Extra long tongs and a skinny rake were quickly employed in order to save these poor innocents from the malodorous void. We retrieved no less than four magazines, (one of which was a Martha Stewart publication, she would be horrified!), four catalogs, five bills, an insurance statement, my bank statements, a letter from a friend which is completely unreadable, two checks totaling over nine hundred dollars and wouldn’t you know it, not one piece of junk mail. All of this paper communication was soaked completely through, even the magazines wrapped in sealed plastic. I salvaged the checks and dried them between two towels over night to make for what could be an interesting trip to the bank the next day. The Chronicles of Communication continue, stay tuned.

KKW ©2008


Marcia Havaris said...

Hi Kim,
I had to read your story - it was intriguing. Absolutely one-of-a-kind! Thanks for sharing & I am happy you managed to retrieve your lost mail - a very funny read to start my early morning.
Have a great day and keep us "posted" with any news on your mailbox saga...
Marcia (LCC member) & mom to 3 from China

jodyfoznot said...

This is hysterical! I mean, I offer my condolences at your mail receptacle woes. Your mailbox situation brings new meaning to the excuse, "It must have gotten lost in the mail."

And congrats on your TA!!! Meika is absolutely precious!

Jody (reader from LCC)
dh Rob--Navy Chaplain
ds's--Caleb-9, Gabe-7, Seth-3
dd--Lily-4, doa 02-2006, Dongguan

Denise said...

This it too funny!!! I'm putting your blog on my list of blogs that I read!


Terynn said...

A brilliant piece, artfully written with comedy and finesse. A class act, in the style of SNL. Love it. I really do want you to keep us updated. This is the best reality blog thing I have followed. Too funny!!

Starla said...

You made my day with your great story! Congratulations on your TA! Starla, LCC

shannon said...

Have to comment- I received this post from a friend because she knows my story. I, too, live in the country (Hamilton, GA). My husband, kids and I came out of the driveway one morning to see that our maibox was mis-shapen and there was white stuff ALL OVER the road. Someone had put a pipe bomb in it! No one else's on the road was touched. We replaced it and they stole the mailbox. We replaced it again and they took the mailbox and the post! The third time, I got worried. They finally arrested some kook (you know, all the kooks live in the country) down the road who had some pipe bombs in his possession but they never connected him to us. (I had had to call the pound on a very aggressive dog who wouldn't leave our porch one time and still think, perhaps, it was the kook's dog and I pissed him off). Anyway, I love your pipe mailbox! If we have any more trouble, I'll be asking for some plans or Gary's number. . . . Good luck to you!

Jodi n Tom said...

This was TRULY funny... and though I do NOT live in the country, I share your tale of woe... I live on a corner lot... my lawn has been mutilated by a drunk teen who thought I had a circular drive, my front door has been pummled with eggs and it wasn't anywhere NEAR halloween, I've had a dead possum thrown into my trash can (not going to comment on what THAT caused) and yes, our mailbox has been "taken out" not less than 4 times in the last 2 years. Ok, one time it was actually a woman who had turned her head to scold her screaming child... She actually stopped to tell me it was her and sent her husband over to make repairs. but the rest of the hits... well, they were blatent attempts to see how many yards away they could send the top of my mailbox flying... This last time, I got a 4 x 4 and mounted the sleeve of the mailbox over it. so far, so good... but I'm waiting... after all, school is out... :-)
All the best,
Jodi - waiting for CA

The Geer Family said...

Loved your story! Too funny! We too live in the country and had our mailbox bashed, but once we painted it John Deere green, it hasn't been touched for over 2 years... go figure!
Maybe you should fill the upright part of the blue pipe with concrete... that would make it even more indestructible and help fill up the "void to which no mail returns"! Have fun!

Sami said...

lol that was the funniest mailbox story I've read so far and I so adored the 'shushing' story.

Congratulations on your beautiful daughters too. May they bring you much happiness in the years to follow!


Lou Ellen said...

The Vessel for Communications story is hilarious! I enjoy your writing style more than any other blog I can recall, so I'll be back to read more.

The mailbox actually reminds me of one that our next door neighbor had -- in the city! Rick was a plumber. Someone kept destroying his mailbox, so he built one of PVC pipes. Funny thing, he made it look like a man. The outstretched arm held the mailbox. The legs were filled with concrete. He then painted it bright pink. I never did understand the choice of paint. Perhaps he wanted to "get back" at whoever kept destroying his mailbox. It never was vandalized again! Now I wish I had a picture to send your way.

Your daughter is adorable! Congratulations on your second daughter. We have 4 grown "bios", 7 "grands", 2 "littles" from China (5 & 4), and waiting to travel for another "little" who is 4.5 years old.