Here is an accounting up to the moment:
$ 60 checks
$ 50 out of my pocket (postage will be out of my pocket too but separate from my donation
$ 10 cash
$290 total donations
$35.04 - 200 pairs of Ear Plugs
$99.17 spent so far
I mailed out two packages last night, and let me tell you while it was for a worthy cause, it was not fun. It was just one of those days yesterday. My work car started running very roughly and the check engine light was blinking away. I called my boss asking if I could bring it to a shop local to my home as I was in the field not far from home. He said as long as they charge nothing to diagnose the problem. Well they always charge for that but take it off of the final bill, but my boss did not want to hear it and told me to take it to a repair shop in my building at work. So I did, and while you might think that screwed up the rest of my day it was not too bad! The car is in the shop for the weekend. Of course there was no replacement car, and I also had the two packages for our soldiers in the car. I ultimately had a nice ride home on the train but that is getting ahead of myself.
It wound up I asked a friend in the office for a ride home, he lives nearby to me. Turns out he was not going home. So I had to take the train home and he at least gave me a ride to the station. The train station is right across the street from the main post office in NYC so I grabbed the two boxes (lucky the guy at the garage left my G ride parked outside of the garage), a bag with some other goodies, my backpack and we were off. It was really fun trying to pass through the revolving door at the post office with my backpack in the rear and the two boxes out front. Almost did not fit, then almost could not squeeze out. Had there been anyone else in the next compartment of the door I would have had to have gone for a ride round the block so to speak. Once inside I looked for some Priority Mail labels. None to be found at the over one dozen customer stands I checked. They did have the insurance labels, and a Customs declaration for I had never seen before, but a postal worker assured me these were what I needed. She also told me there were no Priority labels except at the windows, and to just wait on the line, get the mailing labels at the window then fill em out and go right back to the window instead of having to wait on line again. She was right on 1 out of 4 things.
One hour and forty minutes later (yep 1 hour and 40 minutes) I got to the window. There had been about 6 windows open, not even close to half of them, and about 100 to 125 people on line ahead of me. Once at the window the postal clerk told me I had used the wrong Customs declaration (of course none of the right ones had been available, and I had been told by the other postal employee to use that one), and that I had used the wrong insurance form (ditto as for the customs form). Like I said, the postal employee who had told me what to do got only 1 out of 4 right as I had found the Priority Mail labels at a customer island while making my way down the line, and then made the mistake of getting off of the line to fill them out. That set me back about 6 customer places on line or so. The thing is I was able to get the other forms at the window and once I filled em out I was able to go back directly to the window. So it was only 1 out of 4 for the employee who gave me advice. I wondered for what she got paid.
I have to admit my time at the window, about another 10 minutes was mostly enjoyable. The postal clerk was quite the nice lady. Two new customs forms, one new insurance form, a couple of other customers who used the window while I was filling out the new forms, and $15.00 postage later and we had two packages sent off to the troops.
As for the packages I sent off, One of the packages contained a box of 200 pairs of foam ear plugs. As you may recall from an earlier post, I sent about 10 pairs of ear plugs in a package a month or two ago. I put them in as a sort of an after thought when they caught my eye sitting in my range bag. Well let me tell you they were truly appreciated by the soldiers. I suppose they are a hot item in an artillery unit. The other box contained: 25 cigars in an aluminum case, a package of 10 ChapSticks, and a big box of Tootsie Roll Pops.
With a little luck and some good timing, I’ll be able to go to the post office today. No not the main NYC post office, but one local to my home. No waiting on lines like that again for me unless they are giving away free houses, cars or lots of money. I have the flashlights from StreamLight to send out. I will send them in multiple packages as if one box gets lost in the mail it will not be a total loss on all of the light. I cannot wait to see how much it cost to insure about $900 worth of flashlights! I’ll also try to get to a sporting goods store to pick up 11 folding knives to throw into the packages. I got some Gerber and Buck folders last year at a decent price, hopefully I can duplicate that this year. hen I’ll see how much money is left over and I’ll spend it on snacks and such to go into the packages. Right now I am figuring spending about $150 on the folding knives. That would leave $40 and change for some other goodies. That $40 may not go too far, but it will be enough to put in some nice snacks. Those snacks with the folding knives, the flashlights, and the items we already sent to the soldiers certainly will be welcomed and well appreciated, that you can bet on.
If I am able to come up with a little more out of my pocket for items to go into the packages then I will do so, but I am not betting on that because I still have to pay postage on at least two to four more packages. I’ll also insure whichever of them contain the flashlights. Even if that is all we send this year, it will have been a good deal of care that we have sent to show our troops that we have not forsaken them – especially at this time of year. My thanks to all of you who have donated. I will be sure to include a Christmas card/Holiday card in one of the boxes with all of your names on it. You have done a really nice thing by joining in our effort to make the holiday season nicer for our guys and gals in uniform.