Saturday, January 07, 2006

Laughing Matters and Skunks

We attended the Topeka improvisational comedy group, Laughing Matters, monthly show tonight. It's a good thing I didn't wear any eye makeup because I laughed until I cried all evening. I don't know what kind of personality can think of funny things so quickly. Great fun.

On the way home, we spotted a skunk road kill. We had to turn around to get a picture. It looked different than the typical Kansas skunks.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mailbox games

I promised to write about mailbox games last night, but that Texas/USC game was too good.

The most common mailbox games are “letters in the box” and “shutting the lid.” There are others, but these are the most common especially in typical mailboxes.

The letters in the box game involves actual placement of the letters. Most people place their letters at the front of the box with the flag up. There are some, however, who are in a hurry and throw the letters in so they land at the back of the box. I am sitting in the middle of my vehicle so I have to practically crawl out the window to get to the letters. I try to be nice, but if this happens too often at a box, then their incoming letters are thrown to the back of the box. This sounds childish, I know.

I actually don’t get too caught up in the letter placement because I have thoughtful customers. The shutting the lid game is another thing, though. Most mailbox lids stay closed just fine. They have that little thing at the top that holds them. Trouble is, those things are cheaply made and the first time a snowplow goes by at 50 mph, the box and more specifically the lid, is bent and that is where the trouble starts. There have been times when I actually have to use a hammer to get in the mailbox because the lid fits so tightly. I, on the other hand, close the lid gently so the customer can get their mail with little effort.

If I have to use the hammer again the next day, then it is time for a little educational demonstration. I place the letters in the box and beat the lid shut with my fist—then wait to see what happens. If the customer is kind and thoughtful, the lid is closed just right. If I have caught the customer at a bad time for my demonstration, the lid will be jammed the next day again. Do you see where this is going?

I mentioned the movie Funny Farm, at least I don’t throw the mail out the window as I race by and my customers aren’t waiting with a rock to hit me. Those two were playing a serious mailbox game.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Maybe it’s because I am in the business, but I notice mailboxes. When we travel, I look for picturesque settings or unique types. Someday when I my kids go through my pictures, they will find a folder labeled mailbox and they will probably hit the delete button.

Keeping in mind that I give more thought to mailboxes than the normal person, I have a couple observations. First, why do so many pictures of mailboxes show the lid open with deliveries literally hanging part way out. What is that about? I would loose my job if I delivered mail like that.

And, then there is the importance of a mailbox to its owner. I have places where the home is in need of repair or just plain trashy. Out by the driveway, however, is a neat, straight mailbox. Or, the expensive, well kept home with a crocked, leaning mailbox barely on a pole. How about the mailbox in Fort Knox--completely enclosed with bricks or rebar. I even have a mailbox within a mailbox. Inbetween the two is solid concrete. If someone hits that one with a bat, its going to sting. Oh, as a side note, there is no mailbox that can't be destroyed. The advertisements lie.

How is my mailbox? Well, up until a couple of months ago, it was just that. A mailbox on a pole—no numbers or name. It did stand nice and straight but that’s about it. Dan fixed it up a bit so at least it has numbers now. I once thought it would be a good little side business to specialize in fixing up mailboxes. People would pay a small fee to have someone set a post fasten on a box & tidy up the area. They said it would be a “conflict of interest” for me to have a mailbox business. But, it’s an idea….

Tomorrow I will write about what I call, “The Mailbox Game.” Have you played? My guess is yes. Hint: the movie Funny Farm

Monday, January 02, 2006

Christmas gone but not forgotten

This was the last day of my Christmas break and I finally made myself put all the decorations away. There are two cheery reminders that the season was here and happy. One reminder is the poinsettia I wrote about before Christmas. It has continued to grow and the flowers are still red. I wonder how the green houses get the poinsettias we see in the stores to stop growing.

The second reminder is my Christmas cactus. It had its first bloom on Christmas day. Since it has at least 10 more. Christmas Day Marc said his mother has a plant belonging to her great grandmother.

Two years ago, we invited my friend Carole for dinner during the Holidays. We also invited Ray who brought me the cactus as a gift. Ray and Carole have become very close and they say we were Cupid. This cactus is a reminder of a Holiday season and relationship for the future. I hope both have the longevity of Marc's mother's plant.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

I’ve decided on our 2006 calendar.  Dan bought two and I like both of them.  We decided this morning that the Americana one would be less cluttered and easier to read.  I look forward to filling out our new calendar each New Year’s Day.  Actually, I’ve already started filling in my weekends to work and potential travel plans.  

I am doing something a little different this year by noting the year of birth by each birthday.  I missed acknowledging two “even” dates last year, Kim turned 35 and she and Marc celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.  Maybe I am also thinking about the fact that this is an even year for me and everyone who is an original Baby Boomer.

We had a great New Years Eve day.  We traveled to Salina to visit our “boys.”  We had fun playing their Christmas games and enjoying good food.  On the way home, we stopped by Chapman Valley Manor.  Mom and her roommate enjoyed toasting the new year with a glass of Diet Coke.  Then Carole and her friend Ray came over in the evening for snacks in front of a roaring fire and later playing the game Scene It, an interactive movie trivia game.  Turns out the guys were very good at this game and had a full sweep of wins.

Today I am setting my goals for 2006.  It is an optimistic time.