Sunday, March 11, 2007

To Iraq and Back Again - A Bear's Journey

The good news is that Carlos, one of the soldiers with the 4th ID that my family adopted last year, left Iraq early and got home safe before Christmas.

The down side is that the Christmas packages I mailed never got to him. Instead, they went on a 13,000 mile odyssey, followed Carlos all the way to Fort Hood (adding another 1,100 miles), and eventually came back to me yesterday. A little beaten-up and travel-worn, but they made it home.

It occurred to me that we could make this a learning experience. People always ask:

"Can I send shampoo? Isn't it a liquid or gel?"

"Can I send chocolate? Won't it melt into liquid, brown, toxic goop?"

"What happens to Silly String in the mail? Is it true that it blows up and makes the plane crash?"

"Just how good is the Army Post Office?"

Well, I wasn't sure of all those myself, but let's find out! Join us on our photo essay as we delve into the box and see just what happened.

First thing we notice is that those little flat-rate Priority boxes are pretty tough, but all that's holding this one together is tape. That wonderful, free Priority Mail tape that worked so great, the Post Office decided to stop giving it to us.

This sucker looks like Ace Ventura kicked it all the way down the stairs - it doesn't have a single square corner left.

The APO forwarded the box to Carlos' home station back in the states. 4th ID got it and forwarded it to Ft Hood, Texas. Still trying to get it to the right guy. Hey, you gotta call that good service!

What do you suppose the contents look like?


Snickers past their prime, but still technically Snickers. So, OK if you don't mind a cracked tooth or two.

Peppermint crumbs! Good in coffee or on toast. So, OK in a "desperate for peppermints" sort of way.

Fancy chocolates! (I think I still have the receipt for those). "I am outraged. These chocolates taste like, well, like they've been sitting in a cardboard box for months. In a hot, dusty place like Texas for mercy sake. I demand a refund. "

Toiletries. Wrapped in zip-locs, taped the lids shut, no problem.

Toothpaste. A little banged up, but looks fine.

Tin of carmel-corn. It would make a good ash-tray, but the foil pouch didn't get broken. So, OK. My famous Christmas Cookies. I followed the advice to put them in a bag, then inside a Tupperware container, then tape it up good. Result?

They look like cookies

They feel like cookies

They sorta smell like cookies

That's as far as I went

Silly String. Hey, would I trust this bear to an exploding can of toxic, flammable chemicals? So OK. *

*the management of this blog do not recommend mailing any materials that violate Postal Service regulations. But next time you are there, ask them why in the hell they stopped giving us free tape.

Welcome home Carlos!



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