Not busy USPS this December?

I write from the United States in South Carolina. Usually when I go to my local post office in December, it is crowded and there is always a long line – no matter what time of day I go. I was at my local post office 3 times in December, and it was not crowded – at all! There was only 1 or 2 people in line. I noted this and thought it quite strange! Where are the people mailing packages?

The one time, my husband dropped me off while he went to do another nearby errand, and I ended up “hanging out” at the post office for over 30 minutes. It remained not busy. (In my boredom I noted a plaque commemorating the building of this post office in 1969 when Richard Nixon was president!)

I just received a postal letter from a pen pal out west in the United States (Colorado) and she actually works for the post office in the back warehouse area – moving around packages, etc.  She said her work has been extremely light this year, very few packages are being mailed. Often this time of year she works overtime, and no overtime has been needed. She wondered if the economy is causing people to not mail gifts? She was a bit worried about her job security.

I have no idea! I google searched for news about less mailed packages this year, and did not find anything. Anyone know what is going on? I know a couple of my readers follow postal news closely. Maybe people are not using the USPS, but direct mailing through amazon or using the UPS or FedEx instead? Maybe there is a revolt against the USPS?

If it was only myself that encountered the strangely not busy post office, I might think I just had good timing arriving at the post office when it was not busy. But when my pen pal in Colorado happened to mention how slow it was with her postal work – that made me wonder if there was a bigger pattern? Feel free to leave a comment if you have any news links or analysis!

Merry Christmas!

 

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Patience is a good pen pal…

Any of my readers still out there? I have not blogged regularly in a long while. Between mid-August and early November I wrote none of my pen pals. I just had a lot of things occupying my time, and when I did have some time, I had no energy to write. I felt bad for keeping my pen friends waiting, as they are friends to me. But my pen pals have been very understanding!

One wrote back: “Don’t worry about not answering promptly all the time. My promptness varies.”

Another wrote back: “Write when you can…we all get busy or lazy or stressed.”

I appreciated these patient and understanding pen friends!

Update on the waterlogged letter

My last post in April was about a waterlogged letter I received from Australia. I’ve since heard from this pen pal, and she told me that another international pal (besides me) also informed her that her letter arrived waterlogged. AND my pen pal says that she herself has received 4 waterlogged letters. It appears that this is happening on the Australia side.  My pen pal mentioned flooding in her area of Australia. I can understand a few raindrops getting on a letter, but the letter I got appeared to have been totally soaked – submerged in water.

Thankfully all my other letters to and from pen pals are coming and going just fine – dry and intact! Perhaps one lesson is to use pens with waterproof ink? In my last post, I explained that the waterlogged letter was un-readable due to the smeared ink. If not for that, I still could have read it even though the paper itself was “wrinkly” from water.

A waterlogged letter!

After being a pen pal for about 36 years…a first. I opened my mailbox and saw a letter from a pen friend in Australia. I could tell by the “wrinkly” look of the envelope that it had gotten wet at some point in the postal journey. At first, I was not concerned as the envelope was dry and intact.

But as I opened it, it became clear that the letter had not just gotten a few raindrops on it, but had been totally soaked or submerged in water! The letter was written on a note card and stationery paper, which was wrinkly, and the ink was totally smeared/smudged and unreadable as a result. Some paper nature images enclosed in the letter were all wrinkly too. The one surviving item, without any damage, was a laminated bookmark! The lamination had made it waterproof.

Over the years I have received a rare ripped or torn letter in the mail, but never one damaged by water. How about you??

Pen/writing themed rubber stamps

I recently found a bag full of wood block rubber stamps for $4.00 at a local consignment shop. This stamp alone made it worthwhile!

The wood block had no identifying info such as a company or artist. It could be that it was self mounted onto the block.

How to “interpret” this wonderful stamp? Our words by pen or pencil and the postal service fly places? Our words can fly to the future if our letter is preserved? Etc.

This stamp looked best with pigment ink. The dye ink did not work as well.

The other stamps on this envelope are ones I already had. The ink bottle is by 100 Proof Press, and the fountain pen nib by Stampin’ Up. (I am NOT an affiliate, so if you follow a link there is no benefit for me.)

USA first-class postage to Canada

For those in the USA who have used the postal system for years, you may remember there used to be a special international first-class rate for Mexico and Canada – it was more than domestic first class but less than the international rate. I am dating myself, as this was years ago! But at some point the special rate for Canada and Mexico ceased. However, I discovered several months ago, by accident, when I was double checking the postage amount for a slightly heavy letter to Canada, that:

“International postage (for first-class postage) starts at $1.30, covering the postage costs for up to 2 ounces of mail to be delivered to any address in Canada.”
Normally the limit is 1 ounce. See the chart below.

So, take advantage of being able to stuff extra paper items in your envelope to Canada, up to 2 ounces! This may be nothing new, but I was unaware of it. Years ago I mailed to Canada quite often, having personal friends and pen pals there. But then I lost touch with these people, and only gained a new Canadian pen pal a couple years ago.

By my mailbox…

We recently had unusual snowy weather in South Carolina and the snow stayed on the ground several days! Typically, when we get a little snow, it melts the next day because it warms up. This time it stayed cold, and I enjoyed seeing snow out my window for a few days in a row. I grew up in Buffalo, NY where we got LOTS of snow, but I’ve lived in SC about 25 years now where our winters are mild. Here is a photo of me by my mailbox.

Memo holder for your desk

My husband does woodworking as a hobby, and I had him make eight “memo holders” to give as gifts. (But I kept two!) While called a “memo holder” you could use one to hold whatever…a photo, outgoing mail, incoming mail, a recipe card, etc. The right back one has a “moat” around it that I thought could be decorative or practical. I put acorns in it, but you could use it on your desk for paper clips. Here you see six of them:

Rubber stamped cards

Here are some cards I recently rubber stamped, but I am not so good at photographing objects. Hopefully, you get the general idea, despite shadows on some.  I share these partly for my own future reference, for ideas when I stamp in the future. I am a simpler stamper, and not interested in more advanced technique or more involved steps.