Tuesday, January 19, 2016


It happened early this evening, after dark - completely unexpectedly. No, it wasn't an angel. But it certainly was one helluva surprise.

I was never in favor of getting to the point easily. Good writing - much like good sex - needs sufficient foreplay before the climax. I'll drive you there, but I'm gonna take the long route. Take a deep breath and fasten your seat belts.

Let's first describe my day:
A bitterly cold, yawning, miserable day.
The temperature is desperately trying to hit 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) but never makes its mark. Everything outside is frozen. I am drifting in an icy, lethargic limbo. Too cold to think. Too tired to care.

The temp dropped to 2 degrees last night. That's Two - like in "Duo". I stayed up all night, babysitting the water pipes. Making sure they didn't freeze. Long, frigid, lonely hours. I made pancakes to pass the time. And a couple cups of hot tea.

By dawn, I have lots of other things to do. Sleep is not yet an option. Just after noon I finally collapse into bed for a few hours, accompanied by Bosco the cat, who keeps stealthily stealing the covers.

I'm gonna radically change the subject now, only because it's imperative to my story. Trust me. I always know what I'm doing.

A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine in California decided to send me a gift. It was something I can use during the cold winter months (let your imaginations go rampant). She ordered the gift from a catalog and had it shipped to me.

Of course, the package never arrived. I'm here in the wilderness among wolves and heathens. Adequate deliveries via UPS are unheard of. Hell, UPS is unheard of. 

The catalog company was informed of the non-delivery and a new package was immediately sent. Against all odds, it was miraculously delivered - kinda like a virgin birth. I received it last week.
The End.
Happy ending.

So, what about the Visitation? 

Hang on to your wigs and girdles. I'm getting there. 

So. Let's get back to today.
After my afternoon nap with Bosco. I made a quick dinner (fish and chips, if you really want to know).

Just as it is getting dark, I decide to take a shower and wash my hair. Heavy snow is expected late tonight. I want to look my best in case I freeze to death and am photographed by the press for the Morning Edition.

Before I hit the showers, I let my cat Scratch outside. She's extremely demanding and doesn't mind the cold. 

As I'm stepping out of the shower I suddenly remember that Scratch is outside. Despite her appreciation of the cold, she's been out twenty minutes and might very well have turned into a feline popsicle.

With a towel around my waist, I open the back door. The Arctic blast that hits me has the power of an avalanche. 
No cat in sight, and it's now pitch black.

"Scratch, where the hell are you?" I yell so loud that my voice echoes through the forest. 

At that very moment, someone or something is pounding at my front door.
Holy shit, it couldn't be the cat, could it?

Picture this:
I live in the proverbial middle of nowhere. In a forest. Access to the damn place is nearly impossible without sleds and teams of huskies. It's pitch black outside and now 10 degrees. I never get visitors. Even on a good day.

I drop the towel, hastily pull on a pair of jeans and half a flannel shirt (I only had one arm in one sleeve). My hair is dripping wet. I stumble to the front door and open it.

It's a guy from UPS. Young and cute - but that's beside the point. His truck is far away. He actually hiked to my house.

"I'm here to pick up the package," he informs me. 

What the frick? 
"What package??"

I'm not sure what's more embarrassing: my ignorance over what he's talking about, or my appalling - dripping and completely disheveled - appearance.   

"The first package that was delivered on January 4th," he explains.

I make a feeble attempt to gather my wits and explain that the first package never arrived. I only have the second package - and I won't surrender that one without a fight. Or at least a heroic scuffle.

I explain the situation and he accepts it.
We part on amicable terms.   

I genuinely feel sorry for the guy - having to find my place after dark, and having to hike in frigid temperatures to get to my door. 
Kudos to cute and courageous UPS couriers.

I also feel sorry for me - having to make an appearance before a stranger when I'm soaking wet and half dressed. This has never happened before. Well, not when I was sober, anyway.

I feel sorry for my cat Scratch, who looked like a paltry imitation of a polar bear when she finally came in.

I should also feel sorry for the kind and patient people who took the time to read this excruciatingly long tale, but I don't. Hell, it was free entertainment.

And - since it was told by me - it was damn good entertainment.

Hey, Jon - you're full of yourself.


  1. Damn good entertainment, damn well appreciated. The whole US mail and shipping enterprise is currently swamped --as evidenced by our receipt today of a parcel posted on the 23rd.

    1. Damn good comment, as well, Geo.
      The US mail enterprise has always been slow, but I think we all have tangible evidence that it's getting slower. And more unreliable. I wouldn't be surprised if my missing package (the first package) winds up on your doorstep one day.

  2. Free entertainment alright. You had me at sufficiently long fore play and than climax !!!!!! Thank goodness you didn't freeze in that towel.you story reminds me of the time I got locked up of my adobe naked and had to ask the neighbor for the key. A long story. And you say you put on half a flannel shirt. Where was the other half? Lol. Did he ever picked up the third package!?! Wink

    1. The half a flannel shirt deserves explanation: I got one arm into a sleeve but not the other. Hence, it was half on, half off. I suppose, in some strange way, that could be called half a shirt.

      You'll have to write a story about the time you were locked out naked. I'm sure it would make good reading - - and would be enjoyable to visualize mentally.

    2. I just did some quick editing, so the half a shirt makes a little more sense.

  3. Never mind the packages, my heart was in my mouth the moment you mentioned poor Scratch being left outside, such that I hardly dared read on. But read on I did and can now rest relatively assured, though not without some perturbation at events.

    1. I should have known you'd be worried about Scratch rather than the packages. I should have assured my readers of her safety more quickly than I did.

      Scratch constantly demands to go outside, by meowing and scratching at the door. It was foolish of me to appease her whims in such blustery weather.

      It is nearly dawn as I'm writing this and it's starting to snow. You'll be happy to know that my trio of kitties are all inside, warm and snugly asleep

    2. I'm feeling a lot better now that I know they're all safely tucked up, Jon - as well as you, of course - AND we've got mild weather on the way tomorrow, though rainy and windy - but still, whoopee, Spring's round the corner! (he prays).

  4. I hope the UPS guy was cute, at least.

    my kids wanna constantly go out on the sunporch in this weather, but I am not giving into their whims. the porch is unheated and I don't want them catching cold. hell, it's bad enough I have to go out in the cold to get to work!

    and yes, I read allllll the way through.

    1. Yes, the UPS guy was cute....and congratulations for reading all the way through.

      My oldest cat Scratch is extremely demanding and can occasionally annoy the hell out of me. Sometimes I let her out just for spite.

  5. I have seen a couple of "films" that start with the delivery man at the door -

    1. I'm smiling and keeping my thoughts to myself.

  6. Enjoyed reading every word. Glad Scratch made it home safe and sound :-)

  7. We had a cat in Mobile that would knock on the back door to come in, and one in Texas that would go off wandering from the backyard, then the next time we opened the front door there he would be. He would come in, walk straight to the back door and wait for us to open it so he could go back outside. He had no problem jumping the fence to go wandering but I guess he didn't want to jump it to come back. We also had a grumbling cat, if you told him to get off a chair so you could sit down he would jump down and grumble as he walked away...ha. Take care and stay warm, Sheila

    1. I'm laughing because I can really relate to this. Cats can be very strange and annoying, yet always amusing. And once they get into the habit of doing something, you can never break it.

  8. many years ago
    I had a UPS man
    I looked forward to
    named Bill
    the first time
    I met him
    he was picking up a package
    I was in my shorty pajamas
    he helped me tape my box
    that's all
    he was married

    1. That's all that happened? Heck, I'm disappointed (*smile*).

  9. I'm really going to have to quit reading LWC at work ... or, you're going to have to quit being so stinkin' funny. (No, not really.) Do we get to hear what was inside Box #2? :)))

  10. I'm always delighted when I make you laugh. Few people appreciate my sense of humor. Actually, I often make myself laugh - - and that's not easy.

    Package #2? An afghan (not a dog) and some other stuff.

  11. Glad you're kitties are safe and sound. Kudos to UPS for making that trip. I've always had good customer service with them. They used to bring packages to my Nanny's (grandma) door by walking them down her steep driveway in all kinds of weather. Stay safe and warm Jon. I always look forward to your posts.

  12. UPS always seems to be reliable. I've never had trouble with them - and I'm amazed that the courageous courier found my remote place after dark.

  13. Entertaining reading, for sure, but you should have invited that delivery guy in for a cuppa tea. Might get even better service the next time a delivery needs to come your way.

    Stay warm! Two degrees is too darned cold.

    1. I looked so horrible that tea was the last thing on my mind (or anything else, for that matter).

      Two degrees is about 50 degrees too cold.

  14. Wonderfully told, Jon! But hey, you should have asked him in, absolutely INSISTED he had some hot tea! :)

  15. Jon,
    You are a great story teller! You can tell stories (narratives) like this ANYTIME. Even out in your isolated outpost, interesting things happen. I just wish you had taken a photo of that cute UPS driver. By the way, I don't think I've ever seen an unattractive UPS guy. They must pass some kind of test before UPS hires them. Was he wearing those cute brown shorts?


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