There are some peculiar things you learn about the usps and by extension our government by living in a rural area that you would never think about living in Manhattan. Also this whole “needing” a car thing is a lot more annoying in reality than it is in theory.
Last week I ordered a bunch of supplies from Johnny’s Seeds so we could start planting seeds indoors this Sunday. Both 2 inch and 3/4 inch soil blockers, some trays to put them in, a heating pad (ended up back ordered), and some things that will come in handy later in the season (one-row seeder, compost thermometer, collinear hoe, wheel hoe). I spoke with a nice man on the phone who said they should arrive on Saturday the 13th (perfect timing for us, since we are only up on weekends). So we were around all day Saturday and nothing ever showed up. At the end of the day I checked the priority tracking number (again) and saw that a delivery attempt was supposedly made. Sure enough there was a slip in the mail box down by the road (not within site of our property). I was pretty sure no one had even bothered to come see if we were home. Holiday weekend? Lazy mail delivery person? They came up, didn’t see a car in the driveway, assumed we weren’t home…?
So earlier this week I tried contacting the post office (the number listed on the slip didn’t work; if you call their real number after hours they don’t even have a message come on). I put a pretty terse redelivery request into the online system asking that the packages be delivered “to our house.” So then a very nice man called me from the post office and explained that the reason they didn’t deliver my packages is that we live on a private road and usps vehicles are not insured to go on private roads. This is not a trecherous mountain path, by the way, it’s a pretty normal road. I explained that we don’t have a car and that I would need to take a 2 hr trainride upstate to Pawling, pay for a taxi to the post office, pay for a taxi to my house, and then turn around and take another 2 hr train ride home if I wanted to come pick up my stuff. He said that maybe the mail carrier could do an off-the-record to-the-door delivery. (Here I was thinking I’d paid priorty mail shipping prices to have my packages delivered to my house, and not to have them delivered to the Pawling post office). Today I got an email from the ladies living downstairs (they are moving out this spring) that a bunch of boxes had been left for me by the road where the mailboxes are, and that they had brought them up to the house. I don’t know that anyone would have stolen them, but seriously?
Also, one of the 3 packages was mysteriously not redelivered, so I had to put in another request and it will be delivered Friday.
The thing that stands out the most about the situation is that we also had some things delivered UPS, and they dropped the packages by the door, as you would expect. Apparently UPS can afford the extra insurance so their vehicles can go down private roads, but the US government cannot.
Also something else I’ve been thinking about is that I hope our mail carrier doesn’t think I’m a bad person now. It’s not really his fault. There’s a level of neighborliness and lack-of-anonimity here that you are more aware of than in the city.