One of my greatest pleasures has become mail day at the embassy. Nothing else sends me galloping through the streets like receiving that weekly text from my beloved, “mail’s here”. It’s the clanging dinner bell to my desolate cowgirl soul. I race to the basement and await my turn. Everyone in line chit-chatting, discussing weekend plans, trying to keep our hysteria in check and remember that we are in public. Collectively suppressing the overwhelming urge to snag one another by the elbows and swing around in a spirited docey-doe (Maybe that’s just me…) This week proved to be a particularly good haul. It took two mail carts to drag my loot up to the loading dock where one of the duty drivers met me to help get it all back home. Oh, elation! What could be in all of these boxes!? I certainly didn’t order this much…
Since it takes a few weeks to arrive, we never know what exactly is coming. This only amplifies the “hoedown-happy birthday to me” vibe. Delivered “pouch style”, once a week, all of the boxes must meet with certain restrictions: size specifications, no liquids in glass, weapons, lithium batteries or sharp objects. I’m likely over simplifying here, but that’s the basic gist.
We signed up for Amazon Prime which charges an annual fee of $79 but gives you free 2-day and often overnight shipping. As you can see from the above pictures, it really works out great for us. We can get 40# bags of dog food, potting soil, cereal, spices, etc. The guys in the mail room were a little put off when they realized that 30# box they were hefting around was filled with dirt, but I’ll bet they won’t be harumphing when I show up with gorgeous tomatoes and fresh herbs in a few months.
Living in a city where nothing is familiar, it’s these small pleasures that light me from the inside out. Of course I make a big production of opening the boxes once I get home. First, if there are any new clothes I’ve ordered, I strip down right there in the kitchen and don my new frock. Then, I take each box, as if I’m the most fascinating guest of honor at the hottest-ticket party event of the year, in front of a huge crowd (the dogs) hanging on my every reaction and begin to open all of my amazing packages.
“A three pack of brown shoe polish?!!! Oh my god, Thank you!!!! I love this stuff!”
“Who told you we needed a lemon reamer?? So perfect.”
“MAPLE SYRUP!!??! You’ll have to excuse me while I….” -glug, glug, glug-
“My very own copy of Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton?! My head is exploding! My heart, it aches with this generosity! Oh, the generosity! You all know me so well….”
As much as Amazon rocks, it’s the little care packages from our families that keep us feeling truly connected. My mom (the original scrap booker- covers packages in old calendar images and remnants of wallpaper), sister, aunt and MIL are slowly filling our pantry and freezer with fabulous chocolates, nuts, dried fruit, and other snacks while our wiggly, gestating daughter’s closet explodes with special little frocks, hats, blankets and rhinestone sunglasses. (A harbinger of what’s to come, no doubt…) My mom and sister also did a remarkable job of shopping for maternity clothes for me. And I received my very first mother’s day gift of pjs, chocolates and sweetly scented candles from my MIL. Thank you all SO MUCH, ladies. You have no idea how much this all means to me. As with so many things these days, this lonesome (but jolly) rancher is truly humbled.