Post Office Slow – Three Kings Early

Here’s an update on my trying to collect an insurance claim from the postal service for a box lost in the mail last year. I spent most of Monday afternoon copying proof to support my claim for insurance on a package of 15 books that was lost in the mail over a year ago. After 13 months of not hearing back from the postal service, I wrote a letter asking the status of my claim. The reply took a month to come back which was last Friday. My claim had been denied for these reasons. Mail not bearing the complete names and addresses of the mailer and addressee, or is undeliverable as addressed to either the addressee or the mailer. I’ve been given 60 days to reply.

I copied everything I had as proof that the postal services reasons aren’t so such as the pieces torn off the cardboard box which the postal service sent me back from the dead letter place in Hazelwood, Mo. where the box ended up. The postal service employees didn’t have any problem finding me by taking my address off the return address to contact me. Other cardboard pieces contained the address sticker for the person who bought the books plus the canceled stamps. I’d kept my email correspondence to show the person emailed her address to send the books to and the address matches the address sticker on cardboard piece.

My problem didn’t begin with this box. I sold the 15 books on January 1, 2009 and sent the first box a day later. It was lost in the mail at the same Hazelwood, Mo dead letter office as the second box. I was sent cardboard pieces of that box with address stickers and stamps, but I hadn’t insured the box so didn’t have any way of getting back my loss. So the second time February 9, 2009, I did insure the box. Both times, I was asked to send pictures of what was in the box so the postal employees could look for the contents and fill out a form describing the contents. I was hopeful if the employees had portions of my boxes they might have some of the books. I didn’t hear back one way or the other.

Not wanting to lose a good customer, I sent a third shipment of books by UPS. That box was delivered to the address, which the postal service said couldn’t be correct on the missing boxes, in 24 hours. By then, I was out 45 books and $20 postage, postal insurance and tracking fee and was paid for 15 books and postage to cover one shipment. My letter to the postal service states if I had that kind of bad luck with their service very many times, I’d be out of business.

In February 2009, I was told I had to wait a month to fill out a claim form in case my boxes were found. My month was up in March 2009. I waited patiently for a reply on finding the books or the insurance claim check but didn’t hear from the postal service. Finally months later, I called the claims status phone number. The help line is voice activated. I tried giving my umpteen numbered claim and was ask to repeat the numbers. Finally, I was told I’d have to wait 17 minutes for someone to help me in person that could understand me. Not 10, 15 or 20 but 17 minutes. I hung up.

After waiting a year, I’ve heard stories from others that they hadn’t gotten insurance claims either. I was told by them not to be hopeful. Now I’m sending my 9 pages of proof and two page letter back to see what happens next. It is a good thing to keep a paper trail for transactions. Whether it helps me or not we’ll have to wait and see. After all this long wait, I still may not get a reply for months. When my patience runs out again, I’ll inquire why the postal service hasn’t gotten back to me, I’ll get a letter from the postal service telling me the inquiry wasn’t bearing the complete name and address of the mailer so they couldn’t answer me.

Saturday afternoon, we scurried around like squirrels burying nuts for winter. The weather men said it was going to be down to 31 degrees that night. My husband covered up as much of our large garden as he could with tarps. I put lids on the plastic coffee cans that protected our two dozen tomato plants I’ve babied since February, a dozen pepper plants and a few sweet potato plants. I brought my hanging baskets and small flower pots inside. My husband took three large ones, containing two feet tall geraniums I had taken care of in an upstairs bedroom all winter, to the garage.

Sunday morning, we checked from window to window, looking for frost in the hayfield and pasture. Though the air was cold enough to cause the furnace to run with the thermostat set on 60, we couldn’t see any flowers or vegetables that froze. We spent the evening at my husband’s mother’s house in Belle Plaine. The rest of the family had tales about frosted grass, icy sheets and wilted leaves. When I lamented we may have to go through this again at the end of the week because it will be the Three Kings days, my mother-in-law said not to worry. The Kings came early this year. They won’t be back. I sure hope she’s right.

The first of our setting hens hatched chicks yesterday. My husband has them in a secure, warm place in the barn which is the only varmint proof building we have. We had two other hens sitting on nests in the machine shed, but a mother fox decided she needed those hens and eggs worse than we did. She has babies in a field driveway culvert not far from our house. Recently, I thought she was cute when I saw her red head peeking at me in tall road ditch grass as we drove by her home. Several mornings in a row, we discovered empty eggs shells a few at a time on the machine shed floor then my hens came up missing. We realized Mrs. Fox was paying us nightly visits. I don’t think she is cute now.

We decided the machine shed is off limits to the hens wanting to be mothers. We have other places that the hens can hide so we forgot to keep checking the old corncrib we use for storage. Yesterday we found a nest with 17 eggs. Later when I looked again, the hen was on the eggs. When she stays on the eggs at night, we’ll know she’s sitting. The corncrib isn’t any safer than the machine shed so I hope Mrs. Fox doesn’t find out about her.

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