Saturday, August 29, 2009

USPS troubles

I've been alive quite a while, and for most of that time the U.S. post office was the way to communicate with those far way. I've used the mail to pay bills, send gifts and cards, and correspond with friends and relatives in far-flung places. For the most part, it worked. It was a little slow, but seemed dependable and efficient. Sometimes people would blame the post office if something didn't show up when it was expected. I assumed that the post office was just being used as a scape goat, when someone didn't plan ahead far enough to ensure timely arrival.

My first problem was maybe two years ago. I use my bank's online bill paying services for most of our routine expenses. But, my local utility is small and not set up for electronic payments. So, the online service contracts with a company out of state that would withdraw the money from my account and send a check. Then one month, the utility bill showed that the previous month's payment was not received. I had no idea because the money had been taken from my bank account. When I investigated, the post office was blamed (lost in the mail). I have no idea who really dropped the ball, but I paid for both months. By the next month, the check had shown up. After that, I mailed my own check. At least I could tell whether or not it had been received and deposited.

In late January I sent a Priority envelope with a cashier's check in it. It vanished! It didn't get where it was going, didn't come back to me, no one knows what happened.

In June I sent a birthday gift to a friend in Texas. I didn't hear from her, which was highly unusual. When we corresponded later--by e-mail--she told me she had sent a thank you card. I've never gotten one. Maybe it's with my priority envelope.

Now this came in my mail.

It was less than half of what was sent, but luckily our names and address were on one of the remaining pieces. This is what was printed on the other side of the plastic bag.

I had to laugh. I thought the postal service was struggling because of a declining volume of mail. I've contributed to the decline, but this year has not made me more confident. I use UPS more because they can actually track packages. Yes, it is more expensive, but I haven't had anything disappear or arrive as pieces in plastic.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Does no one care but me?

I got a kick out of this comic, even though it was a slap at teachers. Considering the grammar and language mistakes that permeate society now, there must be lots of poorly performing educators. Just some examples that come to mind:
Signs that encourage us to "Shop Local" and "Drive Safe."
A commercial for a tire shop that "Does it right and does it complete."
A radio traffic report said that things "are running smooth."
With this service, one can get their auto loan "quick and easy."
A certain bed means you will "sleep fantastic."
At the Outback steakhouse, you can "live adventurous."
NAPA has something that will "keep your engine running strong."
A customer testimonial says that her "fireplace turned out beautiful."

A news anchor on television wondered where someone was at.
A sportscaster described a football player as "running explosive."

Many seem not to have ever heard of subject/verb agreement, especially when there is a prepositional phrase included. Few know how and when to use an apostrophe.
Communication by text message, notes on Facebook walls, and blog postings often contain lazy language. Shortcuts, fragments, crazy or missing punctuation, and misspellings are common, all in the name of speed.

I will assume that, given a different circumstance, many could write a decent, coherent thesis, but sometimes it is difficult to believe. From my perspective, it is all very sad.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Camping with Grandsons

We had a terrific time playing with our three grandsons for a week. Our camp offered lots of fun hiking and exploring. Notice on this hike that the photographer was trailing--that's generally the case, especially uphill. My brain is willing, but the body requires several rest stops.
Grandpa knew where to go and we ended up in a lovely meadow.

Naturally, one cannot possibly camp without making S'Mores over a fire. Who cares if they are messy, they're required.
We also caught a few fish, played games, went for rides on the ATV (with helmet), practiced our target shooting, ate lots of good food, got a bit dirty, talked, and laughed a lot.

We took a day to visit Bryce Canyon National Park. Hubby and I hadn't been for many years and the boys not at all. It is still an amazing place!

Some of the formations are called HooDoos and we thought this one looked like two people standing on a precipice.
It was a fun time with three wonderful kids who don't get to see each other very often. We were sorry to have to send them back to their parents and sisters.
The three younger grandkids are our granddaughters (8, 5, and 3). We'll soon need to find a way to do something fun to get them together too. Darn these sons who end up on different coasts. The boys (and grandpa) are already planning to camp again next summer.