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Mailbox Battles

November 29, 2010

Our neighborhood has cluster mailboxes. They look like this:

These cluster boxes are spaced pretty evenly throughout the neighborhood since there are only 12 mailboxes in each. Our house is right in the middle between two of them. This means I don’t check the mail more than once every 7-10 days. It’s kind of a pain to walk down there if I’m not sure there’s any mail to check – and yes, I realize this makes me sound lazy, and I’m okay with that. 🙂 It was actually a pretty interesting experience when we moved in because we had a key for the mailbox, but absolutely NO IDEA which mailbox was ours. Although the image above is not our mailbox, it is identical – so there are no addresses on the boxes. Also, since we weren’t closer to one more than the other, there were several trips to each where we literally put the key in every single lock until we finally found the one that worked. And in case you were wondering – ours was number 12. Naturally. 😛

Whatever else you may know (or not know) about Alaska, I bet you know it’s cold, right? As a matter of fact, most people assume the Anchorage area is much colder than it actually is – but really, the average temps in North Dakota are lower than in Anchorage, and for the last week or so it’s been colder in Tacoma, WA than it has been here – but I digress…

So, back to the mailbox and the cold… Well, something that did not occur to me until today is that when it’s cold outside, and you have a metal mailbox with a lock on it – that lock is going to freeze! I was able to get into my mailbox, but I discovered a key to the 1P box inside. I love to get packages, so I was excited – until I tried to insert the key into the lock and actually turn it. It wouldn’t turn.

I proceeded to stand outside in the cold, windy 14 degrees and jiggle and curse and grunt and throw the key on the ground (okay, that last one was an accident), trying to get the stupid mailbox open. I even tried some heavy breathing onto the lock. No luck. The entire reason I was even getting out was because I was on my way to the post office to pick up another package that they had left a notice for on Friday. I gave up and decided I’d have another round with the mailbox on my way back.

Mailbox: 1, MM: 0

While at the post office, I asked the lady who brought my package out if she knew of a way to get it unfrozen. She suggested warming the key in my hands first, or calling them to come out and pry it open. Great.

I posted a plea on Facebook asking if anyone had any ideas, hoping one of my Alaskan friends would respond… no luck. I stopped by the mailbox again, as planned. More wrestling ensued…

Just as I was about to give up one of my neighbors came by to check his mail. I made a comment about how I was fighting with the mailbox and it was frozen. He tried to turn the key too, but had the same problem (this was somewhat validating, as it confirms I was not weak or just trying to unlock the wrong box ;)). He said he would be right back, and I was about to give up hope at this point.

Then he returned with this:

*Cue the Hallejuah Chorus* The lock opened right up! He said this stuff is like $1 at Walmart. I’ll be getting some for myself the next time I’m out – and you can bet there will be some in Howdy’s stocking when he gets home (sorry to spoil the surprise, babe :P).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2010 12:06 pm

    i think the real moral of the story here is that walmart is the cure for everything.

  2. Papa Guy permalink
    December 1, 2010 11:22 pm

    Such as it is when one lives North of Texas…


  1. Okay, now it’s war « If Here Was There

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