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March 30, 2007

Delivery Rant

I have SUCH a wonderful time getting things delivered to my house.

Bad service from UPS and FedEx is a given, I'm not ranting about that anymore. Nope, US mail service. From the local post office.

At any one given day of the week, I can expect the mail to be delivered by 1 of 4 possible people. 1 of them is the absolute laziest, and will most often leave package pickup slips in the mailbox, or balance/lean the packages on top of or next to the mailbox. Two of the guys, they actually try to deliver stuff to the door (drive down the access road and honk); one in particular, after watching my mom slip and fall on her posterior in the mud, actually will honk to let us know he's there, and WALK from the vehicle to the door.

But the post office in general is lousy when it comes to delivering things before a specified, printed "delivery by" date on the flyers. I've stopped counting the number of times I have received a sales flyer, ranging from a week after the last sale date to a month (YES!) after the sales date. And I know from talking to friends who live in either the same zip code, same county, or same state, that it's our post office.


I'm actually pleasantly surprised if I receive the sales notice/flyer the week before the sales starts, or even during the sales time period, or best of all, before/during the "deliver by" dates.

But the total capper: magazines that are torn, stained, missing mailing labels or wrappers.

What does this indicate? That they took my magazine out of the mail, held on to it, and read it, then delivered it later on.

Hey, you want your own copy? Go to the Library, the bookstore, the grocery store, go online, visit the newsstand.

Please. I don't want your sandwich all over the pages, smearing the pictures of sweaters I might have thought were pretty without mayonnaise over the stitch details. Nor do I want to read articles with coffee/soda stains on them.

And how can I tell if my mailing information was listed correctly (name, numbers of issues, subscription number) if you peeled off the mailing label? How can I be sure you really gave me my copy and not Mrs Whatshername down the street?

Mangled, torn pages might be explained by the crazy machines they use to automatically process the mail. But NOT if it has food crumbs caught in the edges of the tears.

Best capper of it all: when I KNOW my information was mailed to me, in plenty of time, for my 20 year high school reunion last fall, and it. never. arrived. Never.

Rant over.


March 09, 2007

Commencement and questions

I am graduating this spring. It sounds so more real each time I say it. Finally, after 20 plus years of off-and-on post secondary education, I am getting a bachelor's degree. Not in my first love, Archaeology (via Anthropology) but in Computers. At least job-wise, I'll be a little more marketable. But the biggest thing is, I'll be finished that part of the education journey once I walk across the stage. Yes, after all the blood, sweat, tears, and nights of lost sleep, I am doing that graduation walk across the Comcast Center stage at College Park come May 12.

And of course, for the past month and a half, I've been seeing messages and receiving notes and reading the notices on the online class system: Don't forget to send in your commencement questionnaire by March 16! (And nothing about "click here" to find the information on the UMUC website either. Not very well organized by my standards.)

Um, nice people, but where is it? was my answer back to the computer screen, email windows, online class messages. And how am I getting this wonderful questionnaire? Well, yesterday, March 8, I finally received a nice commencement packet in the mail, with, yes, the questionnaire and other papers inside it. That sucker is now in the to-be-mailed stack this morning.

The other bits and pieces were the usual sales junk for college ring, envelope seals, special frames for your diploma, a college mug with the college logo on it to commemorate your graduation, and of course, the information for ordering the requisite cap and gown.

I don't need a cap and gown. I own one of each. No, I'm not talking about my high school cap and gown, that were once white but have since aged to a weird spotty yellow-ecru polyester thing in a bag. They are probably dry rot too, but I kept for semtiment's sake.

I own "official" commencement regalia, purchased in 2002 when I changed jobs and job levels. Yes, if you are of a certain employment level at the community college, you are hereby required to attend commencement ceremonies, either as part of the audience, or attired in appropriate regalia.

That is, barring the out-of-town travel, family emergencies, illness, or, heavens' forbid, your own death. Oh, here's a nice little clause hidden on the questionnaire form: "Any cap and gown to be worn in the ceremony that was not ordered through UMUC must be approved by the registrar during regular business hours April 3–6."

Well. Good thing I have off work that week, so that I can pack up my regalia to get "approval" for my standard black cap and gown. I also have plain black tassel, and a hood for my "discipline" in computers. If I plan it right, I can also visit the REI store, and do a little pre-summer-travel-necessities shopping, or figure out a way of getting from College Park to an open green space where I can hike or walk or just let off steam.

I intend to take my usual sock knitting with me as I wait in lines, unless I figure out a way of getting around that whole approval by the registrar thing. I mean, c'mon! It's all in black! Just give me a tassel! Wonder if an email to the registrar's office would clear me? Ponder, ponder, ponder...

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