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Mail forwarding and other fun projects

Getting ready to go out again has almost been as much work as the first time we did it, back in mid-2005.   I took the opportunity to complete a few projects that would be easier done while stationary, and they have taken over my life.

The first big on was to set up real mail forwarding. For a long time we’ve had a sort of unofficial mail forwarding deal set up in our former hometown of Ferrisburg VT.   I knew this couldn’t last forever, and finally got around to finding a new mail forwarding service for our personal mail and Airstream Life magazine’s mail.

Mail forwarding is easy, if you have the normal amount of mail.   Any UPS Store, PakMail, and hundreds of other private mailbox services can set you up.   You can also get mail forwarding through certain RV organizations.   But we get over 400 pieces of mail every month (mostly Business Reply Mail like subscription cards and payments), and when I mentioned that fact to prospective mail forwarders, they generally got very quiet …

Moreover, most of them couldn’t figure out how to handle Business Reply Mail.   I ruled those out right away — if they had no idea what it is or how to deal with it, I didn’t want them.   For example, I ruled out Earth Class Mail for that reason.

You might rule out the RV organization “Escapees” for other reasons.   They don’t forward magazines unless you pay them extra, a fact that has caused us considerable grief.   (Customers don’t get their magazines and they blame us, then cancel their subscriptions.)

To get your mail received by a private mail box service, you need to fill out a USPS Form 1583, and it has to be notarized.   Since we receive mail under our personal names, our corporation name, and trade name, that meant three notarized forms.   Then of course the official Change-Of-Address forms for every name.   Then a new Business Reply account application, a second form to receive the proper artwork for our Business Reply Cards and Letters, and checks to the Postmaster and the mail service to get everything started.   So I’ve been having a grand time.

 Our new address:
411 Walnut Street #4468
Green Cove Springs, FL 32043

I know where Green Cove Springs is, but we’ve never been there.   I think we may drop in during May just to see what it looks like, and to meet our friendly postal gnomes.

The other project that has taken up far too much time has been the countertop nightmare.   I don’t even want to get into it, because I may spew venom on the keyboard of my Power Mac and it could dissolve.   I’ll cut to the chase:   we will get a partial installation of our countertops on Wednesday, and maybe the rest on Saturday the 29th of March.   That will have to do.   Whatever doesn’t get installed by then will wait until October because we are done hanging around waiting for this stuff.   I hope the vendor involved here sends us a “customer satisfaction survey.”

Another project has been to do something about my glasses.   I’ve worn glasses since 3rd grade and as you might imagine, this makes me something of an aficionado of them.   When we were parked in Aurora, CO back in 2005 I splurged on a $500 pair of Silhouette frames with all the fancy add-ons, anti-reflective, anti-scratch, super lightweight polycarbonate lenses with hinge-less, flexible arms.   They weighed nearly nothing and were almost invisible on my face.

They also drove me crazy.   The anti-reflective coating scuffed off, the lenses scratched almost instantly from my camera’s viewfinder, and the arms were unadjustable.   The coatings seemed to attract dust, so they were constantly needing cleaning.   They didn’t fold into a standard glasses case so I had to use Silhouette’s special case, which soon fell apart.   I had to use two hands to put them on because they didn’t have hinges.   They moved out of position at the slightest touch of my camera.   They were, in short, the prima donnas of eyeglasses, and more trouble than they were worth.

They were also difficult to get repaired — most optical shops won’t touch them — and getting replacement lenses meant at least a two week waiting period (during which I would need a spare pair).   Given our frequency of movement, that was unacceptable.

I ended up getting a new eye exam two weeks ago and buying a “spare” pair of glasses at a cheap online eyeglass retailer.   The new glasses arrived in five days, were a great fit, and cost me $40, shipping included (I used a 10% discount coupon).   You know what?   They’re great.   The “spares” quickly became my primary glasses.   Heck, for forty bucks a pair, I’ll order another pair and say goodbye to those fussy Silhouette frames.

I also got contact lenses, for the first time since high school.   Contact lenses are a lot better now than they were back in the Early Post-Disco period, but it has been so long since I wore them that I have to go through the awkward adjustment all over again.   So I am spending 4-6 hours per day blinking like an owl and watching the world go all blurry as one of the toric lenses spins like a deranged clock.   I’ll need to get through this before I can tow again.   It should take about a week.

Writing all this, I feel sort of stupid.   These things I call projects are really just ordinary tasks of an evolving American life, and perhaps I am giving them too much credit.   But when you want to get going, any little thing that takes more than one phone call to complete feels like a barrier.   We’ve got places to go!

We are enjoying the house, as much as we can without a kitchen or any appliances, and in some ways we’d like to stay longer, but there is also the call of the road getting louder every day.   Whatever projects are left on the 29th will have to wait.   We’re checking out soon.

4 Responses to “Mail forwarding and other fun projects”

  1. Jack Palmer aka Craftsman Says:

    As a cabinetmaker doing dozens of renovations over the last 35 years I can’t understand why any counter top installation would take this long . Could you let us know the reason in your blog. I’m very curious. I would have cancelled after this long a delay especially if you have a date for delivery in writing. We recently had Granite installed on a job with some pretty intricate cuts and it took a week from measurement to installation. Why would this take so long? I’m sure you’re aware of this, but I wouldn’t write that final check until you’re a 100% satisfied with the job and I would ask for a discount because it has taken so long and disrupted your schedule.

  2. Mary Dotson (Fireflyinva) Says:

    Hang in there! Contractor nightmares are common, I think, since the business generates incentives for vendors to let small jobs sink into hiatus to take on more profitable big jobs. For instance, there was the drafty winter we spent with an 8′ hole in our house because we couldn’t get a sliding door installed! Check your contract–there may be enforceable elements that your municipality’s consumer protection organization might be able to help you with (they may not want to lose their business license). Otherwise, know we appreciate the aggravation!

    I think your home postings are great, though! Thanks for getting me into blogging all those years ago–the record has been great for keeping track of what we’ve done, plus I’ve found friendships all over.

  3. Rich Says:

    Jack … don’t get me started! Suffice to say, we didn’t get a delivery date in writing. We were tempted to cancel at several points, but for a special order countertop in Tucson it turned out we had few options. And this was for Formica! I guess we should have gotten granite …

  4. Jack Palmer aka Craftsman Says:

    I’m coming out there and set up shop. I should do well just by being on time.:-)