Saturday, December 13, 2008

NEW WINNER ANNOUNCED Ballseyes Firearms Accessories Tournament 2

The person who guessed closest as to how many boxes of ammo were in my ammo trunk never complied with the rules. I have given him more than enough time to do so, and sent him a couple or a few emails to date about it asking him for the required info.

Since he has not properly claimed the prize, I am now looking to award it to the person with the next closest guess, that would be Rod S. of Tacoma, WA. I have sent Rod an email to that effect, and if he contacts me within the next week or so, with the required info, the prize will be mailed to him.

All the best,
Glenn B

I Hit On The Mega Millions Lotto...

...for yesterday's drawing. The grand prize was $207,000,000.00 which I did not win. There was one winner of the grand prize, just not me, but I did win a prize. I won a whopping $2.00. Whoopee.....

All the best,
Glenn B

I goofed...

...but not too badly. I should have ordered the knives for the Soldiers' Holiday Care package at least a few days ago. I suppose that I was waiting/hoping for a few more donations, but we got what we have got and I guess that is it.

I looked at knives in stores today. I went to Dick's Sporting Goods, WalMart and The Sports Authority. Dicks was the only place with knives I would even consider buying, such as the Buck Bantam BLW, although the price offered was ridiculous. They wanted about $24 apiece. I can order them online for about $11.99 apiece plus shipping. The way I goofed is that if I order them online now, the cost of shipping to me will be about $25 for 2nd day air, or $37 for next day air. I sent in an inquiry to Smoky Mountain Knife Works to see if they can help out with the shipping in any way. I just don't want to add any more money out of pocket than I have to. The remainder of the donations will go to the knives and to goodies I bought today for inclusion in the package. It leaves me virtually nothing for shipping on the knife order, but I am hopeful they will help out. If not, I'll order 2nd day air and hope I get em by Wednesday, and get em out by Thursday to Jamie and his unit. They may wind up being late if sent then, late for Christmas of Chanukah, but not for New Year's Day I suppose. Then again, I imagine any time they get a package it is good for them.

By the way today I picked up the final goodies and other items for the packages:

$ 12.99 - A box of 24 packs of Swedish Fish candies
$ 11.99 - A box of assorted cracker/cookie packets
including Goldfish Crackers, Mini-Chunk cookies
and some others
$ 6.39 - A large multi-pack of Wrigley's Spearmint
chewing gum
$ 11.59 - A 30 pack variety of Nestle's crunch Bars,
Butterfinger Bars and Baby Ruth Bars
$ 5.88 - A 200 ct. box of Sweet Stripes Candy (peppermint
candy balls with red and white stripes like candy cane)
$ 1.96 - A can of Washburn's Old Fashioned hard candies
$ 55.18 - Total for today's purchases when tax was added at a rate of 8.625%.

Add that to the previous items bought so far:

$ 35.04 - 200 pairs of Ear Plugs
$ 29.23 - Costco for Tootsie Roll Pops, 12 decks of playing cards, and 10 pack of ChapSticks $ 34.90 - A Cigar Sampler, box of 25 cigars

$107.72 - Total for Previous Purchased Items, note I just added tax I had forgotten to
show in previous posts on this (total before reflected w/o tax was $99.17)

$162.90 - GRAND TOTAL SPENT SO FAR (Of the items pictured above some were bought today, some previously, and I am throwing in the deodorant sticks for shits and giggles.)

$290.00 - Total Donations Received Including What I Donated (excluding the postage I am paying that out of my pocket)

$127.10 - Left Over For Purchase of the Knives. yes I went over budget and will not have enough for the knife purchase as planned, but I will make that up out of my pocket. My mistake for spending a bit more on goodies than I had to spend.

The knives themselves will be $131.89 without shipping, and there should be no tax since these guys are not in my state. That will leave me only $4.79 short. If I have to pay next day air that will add $37.24 to the order, making me about $42.03 in the red. Hopefully Smoky Mountain Knife Works can do something better for shipping by next day air. While second day air is $12 less expensive, I figure next day air will get them here that one important day sooner, so I can ship then to Jamie and his unit a day sooner. I wish I had ordered these a week ago, there would have been free ground shipping. Oh well. So much for my procrastination, now I'll pay the price to try to get them there on time.

By the way, when I ship the packages out to the troops, I send them Priority mail which gets them to their hub point here in the US quicker, but does nothing to actually speed them up in the military mail. I suppose nothing short of knowing a General could do that. Anyone want to recommend a General with whom you are on good terms who has pull with this sort of a thing?

All the best,
Glenn B


Acceptance of donations for the Soldiers’ Care Package ends today; if you want to send something in, please send it to my PayPal account before midnight. Please do not send in any donations after midnight on the night of December 13, 2008. If I receive anything after midnight I will refund it to you minus any fees that PayPal charges my account. Thanks to your generosity this is what was donated:

Here is an accounting up to the moment:

Donations Received:

$170 to my PayPal account
$ 60 checks
$ 50 out of my pocket (postage will be out of my pocket too but separate from my donation
for items to go into the packages)
$ 10 cash
$290 total donations

Donations Spent:

$35.04 - 200 pairs of Ear Plugs
$29.23 - Costco for Tootsie Roll Pops, 12 decks of playing cards, and 10 pack of ChapSticks
$34.90 - A Cigar Sampler, box of 25 cigars
$99.17 spent so far
Donations Remaining:
$190.87 left to spend

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.
After that ordeal in the post office, I was on my way across the street to Penn Station. I got to the window, bought my ticket and headed to the platform but just missed the next train to my station. So I bought an icy cold beverage, cracked it open, and enjoyed it while awaiting the next train at 7:44 PM. The train ride home was pretty good. I got a seat, and I struck up a conversation with the lady sitting next to me. We talked about the economy, politics, working in NY, family and so on. I convinced her that she should take at least one dollar and play the MegaMillions lottery when she got off of the train at her stop. The jackpot is up to something lie $206 million dollars! If she wins, I hope she at least remembers me, when she accepts her winnings and maybe mentions that I was the one who got her to buy her ticket. Of course, there is no denying, I would much rather win it myself, or find out that there were two people with the same numbers - she and I. Wouldn't that be one heck of a coincidence! Soon enough we said our goodbyes as my station was the next one. Once I got off at my station I called home because my daughter was to pick me up, but she was at the gym. Luckily my son came to get me. I started walking and he met me at about the halfway point. Not a bad journey at all. I hope the packages travel as swiftly and as safely as did I.

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.
As I did last year, I will post pics of all the items sent along with copies of purchase and mailing receipts and such. That will be in a later post once I get this all over with for this year. Right now I am going to eat breakfast, then go shopping and to the post office.
All the best,
Glenn B