Archive for May, 2011
Although we may refer to it as ‘snail mail’ when comparing it to electronic mail, standard mail delivery moves at lightning speed compared to the time it used to take to send a letter or package by the postal service in the past. The US Postal Service has used every means necessary to provide delivery of communications across this country since it began operations.
- Steamboats – In the 1800’s steamboats became the fastest mode of transportation on the water. Although mail had already been carried in boats and on rafts, steamboats provided a much faster delivery. Mail could be delivered between New York and California, via the Panama Canal in four weeks or less using steamboat delivery.
- Pony Express – Pony Express riders and their speedy horses are legendary for their part in mail delivery in the west. However, pack mules carried plenty of mail bags themselves, though not as quickly.
- Railroad – The railroad has played a large role in mail delivery throughout its history. In its early years of mail delivery, the postal service actually sorted mail in railroad cars while they were en route.
- Automobiles – Cars and trucks continue to delivery mail between cities and along rural routes. In the early years of automobiles, both electric and gasoline powered automobiles were used by mail carriers.
- Airplanes – Mail being transported through the air is common today, but in its beginnings it was considered quite unique, and certainly more expensive, to send a letter by Air Mail. The first regular pilots for mail delivery were Army pilots flying training missions.
- Motorcycles – The use of motorcycles for rural mail delivery is not as well-known as some of the other forms of transportation, but they formed an important part of the transportation system, particularly following World War I. Sidecars were often utilized to assist with larger loads.
- Pneumatic Tubes – You may be assuming that the use of pneumatic tubes for mail delivery was a Twentieth Century idea. It was not. Pneumatic tube delivery of mail began in the 1890’s in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. The tubes ran underground from one mail station to another within the cities. Tube carriers looked vary similar to the cylindrical carriers used at your bank’s drive-up service. The cost of the service prevented it from continuing.
- Missiles – They tried it, but it didn’t work very well. In 1959 the use of guided missiles for mail delivery was experimented with. After a crash landing and an accounting of costs, the idea was discarded.
- Stagecoach – Not all of the mail in the west was carried by lone riders on horseback. The regular routes of stagecoaches made them a natural choice for mail delivery as well.
- People – The individual mail carrier has been a part of mail delivery longer than any other mode of transportation. Human feet are still the best delivery system to city homes.
Hopefully, you learned a few things about US Postal delivery systems that you did not know. Some of them were sure to have been new to you.
If you are living in a rural area and need to install a new mailbox on a post or replace a damaged one, there are some tips that you should know before you attempt this project for the first time. Paying attention to these tips can save you from having to re-do your project a second time.
- Box height – There are very specific regulations about the height of your mailbox. These height regulations vary in different locations. Check with your local post office to determine the height regulation for your area.
- Which side of the road – Don’t make assumptions about which side of the road you should install your mailbox on. This is another item you should ask about when you contact the post office about the box height.
- Distance from the road – One more item to double check with the local post office. They can give the specific distance that will enable the carrier to reach inside the box without leaving the vehicle.
- Post hole – A post hole digger is your friend! At least it will be a better friend than a simple shovel, but you will need both to do the project properly. Eighteen to twenty-four inches should be your goal to create a stable support for the post.
- Wood posts – Wooden posts are the least expensive choice for your mailbox post, however, you will want to make sure that the post is treated wood or cedar.
- Other materials – Metal and formed plastic posts are also available. Some metal posts are designed to allow the box to swing to side when hit. This type can save plenty of repairs in the future.
- Drainage – At the bottom of your post hole you will want to place a few inches of gravel to create drainage for water away from the posts.
- Concrete – Although concrete will certainly provide a strong foundation for a mailbox post, there are negative aspects to adding this element. An immovable object close to the road can be a liability in the case of an accident where your mailbox is hit in the process.
- Keep it straight – Bring a level with you to make sure your post remains perfectly straight as you fill in your post hole. A small level that can be attached to the side of the post is your best option.
- Tamp it down – As you fill in the hole around the mailbox post, be sure to tamp the fill periodically to give your post strong stable support.
Most importantly, remember to follow the specifications provided by the post office as to the height and distance that the box is located from the road.
Commuting is a reality for many working people these days. The amount of time you spend getting to work can be hours in some cases. How easy it is to sit in traffic and let your mind wander to all the things you wish could do while driving. There are just too many things we love to do, but can’t when behind the wheel ,and unable to risk any distractions. What are the kinds of things we would do, if not having to watch the road? The following are ten things that have been mentioned by different commuters, that they wish they could do.
- Catch Up On Emails. Trying to use the internet in the car is very risky. Many of us do communicate by emails more than ever before. If they involve business orders with delays leaving you buried with sales demands it would be beneficial to respond while on the way to work.
- Watch The Latest Movies. Making it to the movies isn’t always convenient. For that hour or more in the car it would be great to watch the latest film instead of the car in front of you.
- Play Video Games. There are many fans of video games today, and they love their game time. Being able to sit and play their favorite one without their hands tied up, would be a wonderful use of the time
- Shop. You can shop on line, but it isn’t safe while cruising down the road. There are many times that we recall something we need, and risk forgetting it, by the time we get home.
- Exercise. Some small options are there with finger pulls, but nothing that equals a very active option. Just another of those things people think of when they’re inactive behind the wheel.
- Sleep. If you have a very early or late commute, then you might be suffering from a lack of sleep. More than one of us wishes we could just slip into the back seat for a nice nap, and still make it to work on time.
- Relax. Sitting in the same position for more than any hour can cause muscles to get stiff. You can’t always stretch them when driving. Just having a chance to relax and get a break from the stress would mean so much.
- Have Dinner. We aren’t talking fast food you eat quickly while driving. An hour is a long time, and if you commute during dinner time, it would be wonderful to be able to enjoy a regular meal at the same time your stomach is truly hungry.
- Change Of Directions. The same routine day after day gets very boring. Clocks don’t always give us the option of looking for detours, that won’t mess up our arrival time. Just having more choices would really improve the trip for some.
- Take Medications. Too many medications we need for sickness or health have restrictions due to causing drowsiness. Still we can’t always call off work due to some illness. Being able to take the meds during a commute would be a true blessing for some.
Perhaps you’ve got some others that didn’t make the list. Still it is nice to appreciate how many of us have similar wishes about this time which seems so wasted every day.
Have you ever moved into a new residence and found that the former resident has not changed their mailing address with the US Postal Service? It can be a bit annoying to have other people’s mail to sort through. In addition, you are left with the hassle of marking the envelopes ‘return to sender’ and redepositing them in the mail. Why would someone move and forget to notify the USPS of the change of address?
- Last minute move – If they move was sudden and unexpected, such as due to a family crisis or emergency of some sort, an address change could be overlooked in the midst of more important details.
- Infrequent mail deliveries – Some people receive very little postal mail. They have their bills paid electronically. They communicate via email and text. For these people postal service changes could be easily overlooked when moving.
- Billing address changes – Many people are very conscientious about notifying their creditors, magazines and others of their address changes. In the process of making the individual notifications, it can be easy to overlook the primary source, the Postal Service itself.
- Staying in the same building – When a person is simply moving to a different apartment within the same building, the move can seem so minimal that notifying the Postal Service could easily be overlooked.
- Uninformed – There may be young people living on their own for the first time who do not realize that the Postal Service should be informed. They may assume that it is simply their responsibility to contact everyone with their address change.
- Transitional residence – At times a person may not be moving direct to their new residence. There may be a time of transition after the move where they must take up temporary residence in another location other than their anticipated permanent residence.
- Unknown address – There are times when a person leaves their current address uncertain of where they will be living following their departure. This would certainly be true of someone who has been evicted and may find themselves homeless for a period of time.
- Overlooked detail – Moving can be a very busy and hectic time. Belongings need to be packed. Arrangements need to be made for the move and the new home. Changing your address with the Postal Service can easily be overlooked in the midst of all the other details.
- Miscommunication – There are times when these kinds of details can be overlooked because two people both thought the other person had taken care of the task.
- Expected return – Occasionally, an address change has not been made because the person expected to return to the residence. This could happen in the case of a person entering a nursing home or some similar situation where the resident is not able to return to their home.
A change of address with the USPS is very simple to do. All it involves is filling out a change of address form which includes both the old address, the new address and the date the change is to take effect.
Some days just seem to start out with problems. It doesn’t matter how we feel or how good the thoughts are that we focus on, but as the day progresses, things just end up getting worse. Most of us probably have some signs we use to predict the type of day we can expect. They might be humorous or insightful, but we do have our own expected ways of gauging what we think will happen after we get out of bed. Here are some signs that you can add to your list, if you have one. Or you can use this to start a list, if you haven’t created one before.
- The Alarm Clock. Your buzzer fails to go off and you wake up an hour after you were supposed to get up. The night before you just forgot to set it and often it just makes you feel off about the whole day.
- Flat Tires. Walking out to your car and feeling rushed you look down to notice a flat tire. This means you have to take time to change it, and then later getting to the tire store to get it fixed or replace it. Both can cause expenses you weren’t expected and may not be able to afford.
- Freeway Closures. Traffic accidents, emergencies and road constructions can be as unexpected as storms. The delays they cause can really impact how you feel, and the way you are able to cope with the rest of the day.
- Surprises At Work. Change is enough stress for many. Having the boss suddenly present you with some additional work without notice can really create problems, and a bad mood that is hard to overcome.
- Accidents. From hurting yourself at work in little ways like a paper cut, to perhaps ripping your clothes, neither makes us happy. They both can really start your day off in a way that gives you a negative outlook for the hours that follow. It can sure reduce how much you enjoy the remainder of the day.
- Reactions. Sometimes just having everyone else in a bad mood can affect what you experience. If everyone you talk to starts reacting negatively to anything you say, it can lead to something other than smiles.
- Bad Breakfast. If the first meal of the day turns your stomach, it can ruin the rest of your day. It can leave you with a sick feeling that will nag you, no matter what else takes place.
- Unexpected Errands. You get a call or a last minute request for help. You don’t want to turn down a friend, but by the time you get done, a few minutes becomes hours.
- Running Out Of Gas. You forgot to check the gas gauge, and don’t find out until too late that you don’t have any fuel. Walking to the gas station will not help make it a wonderful day.
- Doctor’s Calls. Your doctor calls, and needs to see you right away. If you have any health issues you are dealing with, then this can happen far too often, and it is seldom good news.
The one good thing about bad days is how often the next day is much better. Sometimes, all we can do is endure them, and remember the good times. At least having some inkling of what to expect, can help prepare for when things go from bad to worse, in the same day.
Many families end up scattered across the country these days. Trying to stay connected to parents can be difficult at times. There are those, however, who have not moved far from home. They have managed to purchase or build a home next door to their parents. This type of situation can have many advantages.
- Babysitting – With the grandparents next door, babysitters are often available at short notice and without much hassle. Having Mom or Dad watch the kids while you run to the store or even do chores around the house, can be very helpful.
- Security – Parents are going to keep an eye on your home when you’re away. They’ll notice anything out of the ordinary faster than the average neighbor. There won’t be any teenage parties at your home while you’re out of town, if Grandpa and Grandma are watching from next door.
- Pet sitting – No need to pay for boarding services with parents that close by. Just hand them a key and give a few instructions, and be on your way without any worries.
- Family gatherings – No long trips for family gatherings. In addition, you can combine your yard space to accommodate larger numbers of people for summer picnics.
- Recipe shortages – You might hesitate going to a neighbor to borrow a couple of eggs or other ingredients that you need to finish a recipe, but doing the same from your parents wouldn’t cause you any embarrassment at all.
- Shared rides – When going to visit other relatives or driving to any other destination, you can easily share transportation by riding together, instead of driving separately.
- No privacy fence – There should be no need for a privacy fence to be built between your two homes, assuming that your relationship with your parents is a good one.
- No overnight visits – With your parents living right next door, you don’t have to be concerned with them coming to stay at your house for any length of time. You can be assured that they’ll come home to their own beds at the end of any visit.
- No complaints – You shouldn’t have to worry about your parents complaining about the noise your children make or how early you mow your lawn. Parents generally will give their kids much more leeway than they would other neighbors.
- Sharing – Having your parents next door can be a convenience for both of you. You may have tools that your dad doesn’t have, or vice versa. If one or the other needs a few extra lawn chairs, it can be easy to share those types of items with one another, without concern for their return.
As long as you get along good with your parents, they can be the best neighbors anyone could hope for. In a day and age when many families are divided by distance, this is a rare privilege.