Okay, so I’ve got some good news and some “eh” news.
The good news is that everybody’s books are signed and packaged. Also, for those of you who have the courtesy to live here in the United States, your books are winding their way through (one of) our parcel delivery system(s). With luck, you should have them by the end of the week.
For those of you with the good sense to live beyond our borders, the news is a bit less than good, owing mostly to an odd confluence of events I could not have predicted. Indeed, I was left so astounded that I could only offer up two snarky Tweets about the whole affair.
The UPS location where I went to ship all of the packages has — since the last time I availed myself of their services — ceased the processing of anything with an international address. I actually had to ask the poor employee there if she was kidding me, and she was sympathetic when I said something along the lines of, “You used to do that, right?” She agreed that indeed it was a thing of their past, and that if I still wanted to use UPS to send these packages that I needed to seek out one of their other locations…the closest one being a 20+ minute drive away. As I was attempting to knock this out during my lunch break today, I decided that I would hit the local branch of the US Post Office. SHIP THAT SHIT OLD SCHOOL, BABY!
Yeah, not so much.
When I get there, you of course have to fill out customs forms for anything heading out of the country, even when it’s something so incredibly lame and innocuous as a frappin’ Star Trek novel. Such forms were not available at the little island/desk/trash can/gum shelf occupying the center of the post office’s main customer service area. So, I waited in line for a few minutes to get to a clerk so that I could have this conversation:
“I need to mail these out of the country, but….”
“You need to fill out the customs forms.”
“There aren’t any over on the table.”
“There should be.”
She gives me a handful of forms to fill out — one for each package — and I return to the little island/desk/trash can/gum shelf thing to complete this process. I reach for a pen.
There’s no pen.
There are no pens at the little island/desk/trash can/gum shelf thing. There’s not a single loose pen visible anywhere in the room, so far as I can tell. I check both sides of the little island/desk/trash can/gum shelf thing, I slide over to the other work area, and I even go over to the little self-service kiosk, which you’d think would be awesome in this situation but instead really is rather useless when shipping internationally. No pen.
“But, Dayton,” I can hear someone saying, “aren’t you a writer? Don’t you have a pen?”
Dude, I left the dayjob/home telecommuting thing to attempt getting these books in the mail. You’re lucky I remembered to wear pants, all right?
At this point and feeling my ire beginning to rise toward the point where I’m going to say something inappropriate, I glance at my watch. I have a meeting in ten minutes, and I still didn’t get lunch. With that in mind, I take the forms with me so that I might fill them out at home and perhaps avoid a repeat of this circus upon my next visit to the post office.
So, those of you living outside ‘Murica? I still have your books. The part that makes this “eh” is that I likely won’t have time to get them mailed before I have to get on a plane tomorrow morning. I may be able to entice my beautiful bride to assist me in this endeavor while I’m away, but I haven’t yet had a chance to ask her about it. Worst case scenario? I won’t be able to mail them until next Monday.
(Actually, worst case would be that I just don’t send them. But, I’ve already signed them so unless I can find people with the same names, I’m kinda stuck here.)
I apologize for the delay, and hope you’ll indulge me a little while longer while we get this sorted out. Meanwhile, feel free to hang out here until I get back from Vegas.