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Thursday, June 26th, 2008

The saddest words...

For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: `It might have been!`

This excerpt from a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier has been rolling through my brain for 3 days. Nancy and Steve and a few other Humzooers know why. I considered keeping the tragedy to ourselves but we're all friends here we don't need to keep secrets, right?

Last week before the Heinzels left Springfield, IL to go to Kitty Hawk, NC, Nancy and I worked out a little deal Humzoo stickers for treats. Now, before you think badly of Nancy, she did not expect anything for her generosity and sticker shipment-the idea of the exchange was entirely mine but she went along with the idea and gave me a shipping address to the realtor's office (we were concerned the beach house wouldn't be a mail drop). My stickers went into the mail and were happily received and the receipt was documented on Humzoo (don't we document everything here?), I baked and packed and shipped my package on Saturday, priority mail, along with four other boxes--all of which arrived at their destination on Monday.

I expected the shipment to show up on Tuesday due to Kitty Hawk's location (no major airport close by) but eagerly watched the box move across the country and excitedly wrote to Nancy on Tuesday morning "The Package Has Arrived!". We both eagerly awaited her pickup of the box and sharing of the treats. That's when the tragedy occurred. I got a second notification a few hours later "not deliverable as addressed". We emailed back and forth-confused. Did I get the wrong address from her email? Did I write the address wrong? Unfortunately by the time we discovered a problem existed-the post office was closed.

We both discovered the problem roughly at the same time the realty office has a PO box-not a street mail drop. Nancy talked to the realty office, I tried connecting with the Post Office via their website-but our attempts to grab the box before it was returned to Oregon failed. In frustration, I watched the package come back. My double-frustration was the waste of the return trip if we could only have gotten one person to work with us and redirect the package to a PO box (for a town of 3,000). But the days of postal carriers who drink coffee with their customers and pat neighborhood children on the head, calling them by name, have apparently passed into history. I can't fault the post office for being efficient and I did get the box back (much to my disappointment). Nancy and I kept hoping the package would magically appear at the realtor's office or PO Box-a Frank Capra movie ending to our saga-until late last night when I saw the package was back in Portland.

Nancy, Steve, Dave, Courtney and everyone else at the beach-I'm sorry we failed. Perhaps if we had gotten the Humzoo Express to be our carrier, we would have been assured of delivery. My hopes of sharing the famous Death By Chocolate Chunk Cookies (DBCC) with you and your families were dashed by the existence of a PO box.

My last secret to share. Nancy, I decided to send more than the cookies. I couldn't resist. My muse demanded it. I acquiesced. I also shipped a pan of Pecan Strawberry Shortbread Bars. I wanted the package to contain a surprise even if you knew the package was coming. My muse loves surprises. So, not only did you miss the cookies; you missed the bars.

(yes, the pan was quite beat up but the bars survived!)

The good news (maybe there is a Capra ending to this story), the cookies and bars appear to be edible even after two transcontinental flights and untold handling and temperatures. My co-workers have assured me they will sacrifice themselves to avoid waste-so the baking is not in vain. The cost can be equated to paying to see a disappointing movie or wasting some gas on errands-no harm, no foul. But I will end as I started this blog:

(paraphrased) "The saddest words, it might have been!" will, alas, be our epitaph for the attempt.

What a total sweetheart you are to think of the clan at the beach and wanting to send them some homebaked goodness. I'm really sorry to hear how uncooperative the post office was, but at least there was a happy ending to the story--your coworkers must be very happy!

Now what can I trade you from some of those DBCC's??? : )
Jules   Thursday, June 26, 2008
I have a couple dogs I could trade!
Angi   Thursday, June 26, 2008
Humzoo Express would have definitely pulled through on this one. Sorry to hear about the confusion but glad someone can help you eat the goods! If I had known I would have used this as an excuse to crash the Heinzel beach party and driven down there to track the cookies down.
Denny Deaton   Thursday, June 26, 2008
How very tragic! I believe I can hear the roar of the Oregon
co-workers cheering that they will once again be the recipients Linda's baked goods. Thanks for sharing the trials and tribulations of the failed delivery. The real miracle is that the package made it across the country and back so quickly.
Leslie   Thursday, June 26, 2008
Jules, I'm always up for a barter--what do we have to work with? I'm close to knowing that recipe by heart! I was worried I wouldn't use 2 cases of chunks I got for a deal from Amazon. I still have until 2009 for shelf life and only 7 batches of DBCC cookies worth of chunks left! :)
LGrant   Thursday, June 26, 2008
Denny, I'll make sure you are in the know next time. Silly of us to deal with shipping in NC and not talk to one of the barons of the state!
LGrant   Thursday, June 26, 2008
Awwww dang! Thats so sad. What a super nice gesture tho. What a disappointment that it didn't work out. I'm sure they must have appreciated the effort and at least someone benefits from all that baking you did.
Ames   Thursday, June 26, 2008
Effort is only 1/10 of the eating, Ames. They missed the 9/10s part of actually getting to enjoy it. LOL
LGrant   Thursday, June 26, 2008
Its like torture seeing those pictures without being able to scoff the lot.
LimeyGeorge   Thursday, June 26, 2008
"Scuff the lot"? I'm going to assume that means "stuff your face with them"?
Sarah S.   Thursday, June 26, 2008
Whatever it means I have to agree with the sentiment!
Jules   Thursday, June 26, 2008
And this after abuse at the hands of the postal worker! Nancy was so sweet to offer to mail stickers to any of us who seemed never to quite get one--she deserved something in thanks. I'm just sorry that same postal worker couldn't find a little hint of humanity and get them to her! LOL

LGrant   Thursday, June 26, 2008
Oh no, Linda!!! Pecan Strawberry Shortbread Bars?????!!!!!!! The loss is even greater than I imagined!!!!! That is just like you to include a surprise!! But after all is said and done, it IS the thought that counts and we all appreciate your very kind thought and gesture. You said you wanted to share this time at the beach with us. Well, you did but not as you imagined. We've talked about the cookies all week and looked for the cookies all week and appreciated your generosity all week too!!!

Thank you again for trying. You're a honey. If this isn't the greatest tragedy ever, it's close to it!!!!!

You've heard of Sleepless in Seattle?? Well, we're Cookieless in Kitty Hawk!!!! Hi to all you wonderful Humzooers from the beach!!!!!
!   Friday, June 27, 2008
The agony!!! Linda, it was so sweet of you to make us baked goodies. Our loss is your co-workers' gain.
SallyPants   Friday, June 27, 2008
Oh noooo!! So sad.
Betsy   Friday, June 27, 2008
LOL, Nancy, that would have been a better title for the Blog. LOL
LGrant   Friday, June 27, 2008
Your title's great, Linda. That says it all!!! (And that's one of my favorite quotes.)
!   Friday, June 27, 2008
Yeah, me too. I had to Google it to get it right and give credit to the appropriate poet but it was running through my head for days. LOL
LGrant   Friday, June 27, 2008
I am just now catching up on blogs... UGH! work... always gets in the way of my personal business

I am sooo sorry to hear about the shipment fiasco. I am positive they would have loved your DBCC cookies! Glad they didn't go to waste though.
SA Tenor   Friday, June 27, 2008
We'll see on Monday. It bugs me to give week-old cookies to someone...but they offered. LOL

Work is a nuisance, isn't it?? :)
LGrant   Friday, June 27, 2008
Hi LGrant!
I am Nancy's sister and have just finished one of the greatest weeks of my life with her and other family members at the beach! It was such a fun week and the "Saga of the Missing Cookies" certainly added to the excitement of the week!!
You are such a kind and thoughtful person to go to all that trouble of trying to get something so delicious to us ~ along with the delicious surprise!!
My mouth is still watering just thinking about all the goodies you sent!
Thank you so much for ALL that you did ~ it really is sad to think the P.O. could not help us out with making the delivery happen :( :( :(
Kindness Counts and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated all you did!! You tried and we thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
cdcgull   Saturday, June 28, 2008
Hi, Gull!

Wish I could have satisfied all those wishes and expectations but alas I was stymied by the Mail Machine! What little I saw of the vacation looked like a great one. I'm sure we'll hear more before it is done. Looking forward to it! Nancy teased me with "more to the story". We'll see what she has up her sleeve (or maybe in her beach hat!)

Thank you for the kind words and thanks. Maybe we'll achieve success next OBX trip!

LGrant   Saturday, June 28, 2008
You'll love the next part of this story!! When we had breakfast before leaving the beach this morning she told me she had teased you with this!! I need to let her tell you all about it ~ it is fun addition to the story!! You'll get a kick out of it!
Nancy and I do not get to see each other very often so when we do have the opportunity it is VERY special!! I miss her so much!!
I think you have a sister in NC...and you probably do not see her that often so you will know what I mean!!!
cdcgull   Saturday, June 28, 2008
I'm looking forward to the story! Love good stories! I'm glad you and Nancy got to spend some time together and enjoy the beautiful OB area too.

Yes, I do have a sister in NC. Gigi (Humzoo), mom of Denny and Grant, sister of LGrant. You are right we don't see each other often but enjoy it when we do. :)
LGrant   Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wow-love this new feature and the chance to go back and relive this great cookie caper. Those shortbread bars look wonderful!
dannie   Thursday, July 3, 2008
Please help.... My brother wants to ship a cake to me next week.... what is the best way to go about this?? He lives in Southern MO and I'm in central IL. (just so you know that the weather is hot and humid) lol. I figured if anyone would know how it would be you. Thanks. btw.. I posted from this blog because i was looking here for an idea. :)
KTkat   Thursday, August 7, 2008
I did do one where I show my process of packing a cake.


Starting with this picture and the next two in the same album (scary that I knew someone would need it!) :)

Any dry crust cake like a pound cake ships well without much fuss. You want to minimize pressure on any cake. So, I use styrofoam peanuts if they are available. If not, I wrap it in bubble wrap to cushion the sides and then use light wrapping paper or newspaper but pack well around it to minimize movement. I shipped one angel food cake--it was the worst for pressure. Like a foam mattress--showed every touch and bit of pressure. It probably was a little the worse for wear when it got there. The groceries use a disposable pan they probably use for baking too. I don't have anything like that to protect it.

Frosted cake? In hot weather? I'd think that would be really tough. If I was going to do that, I'd freeze it solid, frosted. You can't freeze marshmallow type frosting--it gets chewy but any other kind freezes well. Then, I'd definitely get the styrofoam peanuts for protection as well as insulation. If you have a styrofoam cooler that fits it or some insulated bag--that would work. I got some perishable foodstuff in this wonderful cooler bag that I'm hoarding until dire need. It will be perfect for a cake.

Another idea would be those flexible cooler bags that most grocery stores stock now to keep your groceries protected for the trip home. I have several I use in warm weather to protect cold or frozen food--works great. Two gifts in one. Keep the bag for your groceries and insulate the cake on the way. I'd wrap it in that after the plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze it all together. When time to ship, use the styrofoam for insulation and put two freezer bags (they sell them everywhere to put in cooler or lunchbags) under the cake to allow the cakeboard or plate to protect the cake from the hard packs but keep everything cold as long as possible. Then, ship fast as you can afford.

US PO works well for a 2 day shipment to anywhere close to a major airport. 3 days tops. Let me know if you have questions. Oh, Priority Mail also has free boxes for shipment. The large size is perfect for a cake 12x12x5 1/2 (unless a very tall cake!). And the shipping cost is fixed regardless of the weight so you could pack LOTS of ice packs in there to keep it cold and not worry about cost. And the recipient has some free freezer bags/blocks as well as the free insulated bag to reuse. I think the large is around $13.95. Maybe less. I just shipped two cakes in that box and it worked great. With delivery confirmation I think they were around $14. I pay the extra .65 now to track the package if things go awry. I had one vanish in Phoenix and no real way to track it. It turned up a day late but otherwise was fine. Make sure they mark the box perishable unless you use the APC (Automatic Postal Center). For a frozen cake I'd probably opt to be there for a postal worker to handle and stamp since it has a greater temperature sensitivity. I don't know if they keep them cooler if that is indicated but it doesn't hurt.
LGrant   Thursday, August 7, 2008
THanks! See, I knew you'd be the one to ask. :)
KTkat   Thursday, August 7, 2008
I've had a LOT of practice. LOL
LGrant   Thursday, August 7, 2008
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