Arriving back at work on Monday was a brush with reality. After spending the weekend driving around the middle of nowhere, (as Louise had said, in the movie, 'We are not in the middle of nowhere, but we can see it from here',) we left the house early, and drove, bumper to bumper, to South Austin to have our morning cup of coffee. Presumably everyone was leaving town, early, as the trip from Joe's to the office was very quick. Many offices were closed, taking advantage of an extra long weekend, and we had plenty of time to play 'catch up'.
My first order of business was to call the post office. Our mailman is one of the most efficient, helpful and conscientious people I have met, as are most of his colleagues. Unfortunately, they are bound by red tape. Red tape is, in my opinion, quite often confused with stupidity. Last week I checked on a piece of mail which I had posted a couple of weeks earlier, the destination being Brighton, Colorado, It was sent both by priority and certified mail. It had arrived at the Brighton post office two days after posting. However, after two weeks it had not been delivered. I called to find out why, and was given a 'complaint' number. I was assured of a call by the end of the next business day. At the end of Thursday I had not heard from the post office. When I arrived in the office on Monday, no one had received the call. I checked online and found the package had been delivered the previous Friday, via Denver? The card that was to be signed by the recipient, and returned to me, had been detached, and arrived back at the office, unsigned, several days earlier. Returning to the beginning of the paragraph; I called the post office on Monday. The person to whom I spoke was very sympathetic, and said that it had been logged that someone was going to contact me to find out where to deliver the package. She explained that as the card (that the recipient was meant to sign upon delivery) had been returned, unsigned, the mailman was unsure as to where to deliver the envelope. Somewhat confused, I told them that it was now showing 'delivered', and I was simply calling to find out why it had not previously been delivered, and why I had not received a follow-up call from the Colorado post office. Not entirely convinced that I was on the same planet as her, she asked, 'But how would they know where to deliver it, if the return receipt card had come off the envelope?' It was at this point that the sarcasm kicked in. 'Ma'am', I started, politely, 'Perhaps they looked at the front of the envelope and saw the address printed!' Still not convinced, she repeated, 'but they didn't know where to send it. The return receipt card was not attached to the envelope'. Again, I started politely, 'Ma'am. The clue lies in the question. The 'return receipt' card was detached. Not the address.' I did apologise, but was slightly frustrated. She gave me 'complaint' number, and said I would receive a call by the end of the next business day.
When we arrived in the office on Tuesday morning, there was a message on the ansafone. It was the local, Austin, post office. The postmaster was unsure as to what I wanted, as the problem appeared to be in Colorado, but had been told that I had a complaint about an undelivered package, which was sent from her office. As far as she could see, the package had been delivered and she did not know how she could help. I called back. It was my good friend, Cindy. The nice lady who did not report me for breaking her post drum! We discussed the situation, and she advised me as to my next move. The case would be seen as closed, as she had returned my call, in response to not one, but two complaint numbers!
By Tuesday evening, my weekend had all been put into the recess of my mind, and the 'break' was a distant memory. The weather had relapsed into a pre-spring disposition, and the city still appeared to be sleeping off the hangover from SXSW. The Easter weekend seemed to be going on well into the week. However, Wednesday was slightly less lethargic, and with a minor victory at the Legislature, (the battle was won, but the war was still on,) we moved into Thursday with slightly less apathy. Traffic had started to increase and the city started to smile. Dana reminded me that an invitation we had received, at the beginning of the year, was for the coming weekend, and I reminded him that we had a neighbour's soiree on Friday evening. Things were starting to get busy again.
Friday was a very busy day. Unfortunately, our five o'clock party was not going to be attended by us, as we did not leave the office until gone 6:30. My post office dilemma was still not resolved, but I had high hopes for the following week. All that was left was to look forward to the weekend.
Saturday was a beautiful day. Austin's weather was back on track, and by midday, the tank top and shorts proved to be a very good choice. After the weekly argument with the scanner in Walmart, I came home and got changed for our outing. Dana and I were unsure as to the dress code, but decided it was easier to dress up, and leave the jacket and tie in the car, rather than go under dressed and wish we had brought more appropriate attire. The invitation was to attend a ceremony honouring a young man, who becoming an Eagle Scout. Those not in uniform were rather nicely dressed, and we complimented ourselves on the decision not to go 'Austin'. One of my newly knitted creations achieved its debut. The ceremony brought back many memories, for both Dana and me. The 'Pledge of Allegience' to the flag had my husband standing straight with his right hand on his heart, along with the other citizens, and me making a mental note to learn it. It felt rather disrespectful to be the only person whose lips were not moving, although I am sure, due to the nature of the ceremony, everyone was immersed in the pledge and did not notice.
After a dedication or two, we went with the crowd to 'mingle'. Dana became very emotional when explaining that he had not been asked to 'pledge' to the flag in many years, and we waited patiently for the lump to disappear from his throat, as he continued congratulating the young Scout. It brought back different memories for me. I was part of the scout movement, on and off, for many years. As a young girl, I was a Brownie, and then a Girl Guide, (which I believe interprets as a Girl Scout in the USA) and when I was about 15, I was chosen to represent my pack by being the flag bearer at the Annual National Jamboree. It was an immense honour. The memory was not so much for the honour, but what came next. Every year, the girl who was chosen to bear the flag in our pack, also took the most prestigious honour of being the Guide of the Year! The memory is so intense because this was the year when they made an exception! At the time I was rather upset. The award went to the daughter of a guide leader. She was retiring form 'service' and her daughter was leaving the pack. However, after almost forty years, I was able to laugh, and it brought smiles to the faces of many people around, especially the sympathetic Eagle Scout, who it appears has never suffered such failure. He deserved his award and was very humble, as well as charming. I brought smiles to a few faces when I then remarked that I had become an assistant Cub Scout leader, and then an assistant Beaver Scout leader. I added, somewhat tongue in cheek, that I may not have had to settle for 'assistant' had I become the Guide of the Year!
Dana and I left the party, which was coming to an end, and went in search of food. We skipped the cup cakes and hors d'oeuvres at the reception, and enjoyed some pasta at Macaroni Grill. We were glad we were able to attend at least one party this weekend. Dana felt he had fulfilled his social obligations for the year and I was glad to have a chance to grab some more writing material! We did acknoweldge that the Scout movement, (despite the small percentage of scandal) is a very worthy one. It did teach me how to survive in the wilderness, and when I am flying over mountains, my thoughts do go back to those days. Admittedly, whether I would be compos mentis remains to be seen, or not, I hope! Of course, the good morals and ethics are worthy of mention too!
Sunday was a beautiful day. Samantha joined us for brunch. The week, in retrospect, was what we needed to recoup energy for the forthcoming final eight weeks of the Legislative Session. It will, as usual, be an uphill struggle, but we have faith that 'good' will prevail. However, as I said, the summer is starting to show its strength and is winning the battle against cold, (or cool). The chocolate will have to go into hibernation (or at least into hiding) as the attempt to regain a somewhat swimsuitable body is attempted. I am sure my efforts will not be particuarly interesting enough for