Monday, April 10, 2006

Delivering encouragement

In February, we were still getting Christmas cards. In March, we started to get magazines. And in April, I'm actually seeing mail with postmarks less than a week old.

The US Postal Service took a beating in Hurricane Katrina just like the rest of us in New Orleans. And like us, they've struggled to get back to that elusive place we call "normal." A recent story in The Times-Picayune heralds the reopening of the local mail processing center. Count this as an important mile marker on the road to recovery.

For months, we had to go to a central station to pick up the mail. I blogged about that experience in November of last year. Back then, we were finding mail in the box at our apartment in the "sliver by the river" perhaps once a week. In January, it may have been two or more times a week. By mid February, we started seeing mail on a daily basis.

Old mail--typically out-of-date bills and special offers--but regular mail delivery nonetheless.

About a month ago, my wife received the special holiday issue of Family Fun magazine. The cover alerted us to the great holiday gift ideas inside. Better late than never, as they say, but what was important for us was that it signaled the return of magazines.

Soon after that, I received the November, December and January issues of one of my magazines all in one week.

The only thing we don't have at this point is junk mail. And I confess, I miss that, too. I liked that there were people who wanted me to have 10 DVDs for a penny. I liked knowing that Quality Paperback Book Club wanted me to have 6 books for a dollar, with no long-term obligation. And I'm worried that Publishers Clearinghouse may be trying to find me with a guaranteed winning number, but my future fortune is going unclaimed because the Post Office has a petty grudge against Bulk Rate mail.

In the ghost town of Vista Park, the neighborhood where we used to live, the Post Office has told us that house-to-house delivery will not return for a while. As people return to live in travel trailers or a few in actual houses, USPS is setting up community mail boxes in every block.

This is a temporary situation, we are told, but many of my neighbors take a more cynical view. They know that newer subdivisions everywhere in the country either have community boxes like these, or they have mailboxes at the curb. Letter Carriers who walk a route are going the way of newspaper boys on bicycles and milkmen leaving bottles on the doorstep.

Progress can be good or bad, it seems. But in New Orleans, I find all progress encouraging.


Adrastos said...

Wow, you get magazines. I'm guessing that you must be in the 70118 zip code. Our mail service in 70115 was terrible pre- and non-existent now.

Mr. Clio said...

The New Yorker tells me they still won't send me a mag because they haven't gotten the green light from the USPS. And yet my wife gets crappy medical advertising magazines. No rhyme or reason.

Sophmom said...

The blog looks great! Well done. I have taken to sending son's rent check USPS Express (2 days, $14.00, but it gets signed for and is trackable) because it was taking weeks to get to his landlady. Anything I send to son goes UPS or FedEx.

ashley said...

Where you been? Good to have you back, at least, until you start telling me about your magazines. I'm getting diddley for magazines...nuttin. And they deliver maybe 2 or 3 times a week.

Not that I'm complaining...I do appreciate the progress.

Tim said...

adrastos, Yes, 70118. Who knows why such a difference? Is it New Orleans, or is it the Post Office? Both can be so unpredictable.

mr. clio, The Post Office specializes in neither rhyme or reason. What more can you expect for 39 cents?

sophmom, The new page is still under construction (it's a lot of work!), so thanks for the encouragement. You are wise to use FedEx. I had problems with UPS in October and November, so I haven't used them since.

ashley, Blogger lost my template! I had to start from scratch rebuilding all the links. I wanted to call them up and curse them out but then I remembered it was all free, so c'est levee.



Adrastos said...

They lost your fricking template? Ouch. I thought Editor B looked a bit lonely in the links section.

The USPS in the 70115 suck. We lived in 70118 for 13 years and never had a problem...