Deployment Chronicles – The Post Office!
Today I made the first trip to the post office for this deployment. I’m a little rusty because, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but when Mr. Wonderful was deployed last year I rarely sent him packages. I got to the point where I used large envelopes for a letter and some artwork from the kids and used our own mailbox to mail it. A trip to the post office, as well as the time and effort it took to fill a care package, just seemed so onerous with everything else that filled our days. Plus, as a previous Supply Officer, I know that the ship stores are very well stocked, especially on carriers and that anything I would send him he could probably already get. I felt bad about it though, thinking of Mr. Wonderful sitting there away from his family waiting on boxes of junk food and magazines that never came. Geez, I’m starting to feel guilty all over again.
Which brings me to today. A lot of his stuff wouldn’t fit in the seabag, so he left some items here with the intention of me mailing them over immediately upon his arrival and knowledge of his mailing address. I didn’t want to let him down this time so I as soon as I got his address, I began the mailing prep.
Since he had already pre-packaged two other boxes by himself, it helped to know I was just responsible for getting together one box this time. Knowing there were still a large amount of unshapely items (shoes, a pillow, extra flight suits, etc), I searched for something bigger than a Huggies Supreme Diaper box but smaller than, say, the box a TV comes in. I found the perfect combination in a Leaf Blower 3000 box, hidden in the garage.
Next up was the wrapping and taping portion. Like my mother used brown paper grocery bags to wrap my schoolbooks, I like to use them to wrap packages. Especially since the little ones like to color on them. I think it adds flair. We did have a problem when we ran out of mailing tape. However, ever the resourceful southern girl, I finished it up with some good old fashion duct tape (note: don’t do this – I found out at the post office that, depending on who you get at the window, they’ll make you redo packages with duct tape. Save the time and hassle and use the clear, post office approved mailing tape).
After dropping the kids off this morning, it was to the post office I went. Of course I was mapping it out in my head on the way. Logistically speaking, how would I get all three (one with a semester’s worth of school books!) in at the same time. Could I leave one and come back to the car and get the others? I thought that might go against the whole “no unattended packages” thing that seems to be the standard now. I could totally imagine that whole scenario with my luck. However, all of that was avoided by the good samaritan who saw me drop a box as I juggled another one on my hip (us moms know – the “mom hip” always works like a shelf…for babies, boxes, trays of food, you name it).
Finally, up at the counter, again remember I said I was rusty, I had forgotten to include a customs form. After fixing that, it was a piece of cake. I even bought more clear mailing tape and flat rate boxes specifically designed for APO addresses (ask at your own post office). He even gave me extra custom forms and mailing labels for future use. I was very thankful for all the good gouge he gave me as well (the duct tape information as well as using a flat rate box b/c it was cheaper than finding my own around the house – wish I had known that before I threw the Leaf Blower on the floor to take its house)
When I got home there was an email waiting. Mr. Wonderful was wondering if I could add a few more items to his packages before I sent them out.
Oh well. I’ll add them to his next one. I’ve already ordered some TastyKakes. He’s a Philly boy and loves em’. This care package thing is going to be fun this go round. And, I’m going to make a concerted effort to do one at least once a month. The kids are already planning what they want to send in the next one – though the frog Thing 1 caught yesterday and wanted to send probably wouldn’t clear customs.
What about you guys? What kinds of things do you put in your care packages? What are some things that your deployed military members like? We do pictures online but do they also like you to send hard copies? Then there is always artwork from the kids. What else can you think of?