Life’s Minor Mysteries.

My phone has been out for a week, since we had an unexpected (but very welcome) two-and-a-half-inch rain last Thursday.  About 95% of the calls I get are from “Out of Area” or “Unavailable,” neither of which I bother to answer.  Tomorrow morning I have to stay home to wait for the repair tech, who will fix something in my backyard and restore the dial tone to the system.

The mystery isn’t why I have to be here.  I’m sure the phone repair people get tired of trying to get into fenced backyards, and they probably like having someone around who can go inside and check to see if the phone is really working.  The mystery is:  Why does the DSL line to my computer work when the phone doesn’t?  Same cable, same wall jack.  I’m not complaining, I’d rather have the Internet than sales calls from Unavailable, but it’s a mystery to me.

About a month ago I ordered six books through Alibris.  I wanted to replace my disintegrating copies of John Wyndham’s novels, largely out of print in this country but available in Britain.  Mindful of postage and shipping, I carefully ordered them all from one dealer, the Book Depository in the U.K. because (a) they HAD them all, and (b) they had them ALL.  I figured I’d get a neat package of six paperback books, and Alibris promised me a very reasonable arrival date.

Several days before the predicted date, the first book arrived, in a small padded envelope.  Two more arrived, individually packaged and mailed, on different days later in the week.  On the following Monday, the other three books were in my mailbox, in their separate padded envelopes, rubber-banded together by my mail carrier.  What’s up with the British postal system?  How could six packages possibly be more practical or less expensive than one package?  Another mystery.

Several months ago, TxDOT (the Texas Department of Transportation, which handles road signs among many other highway concerns) erected several of their giant electronic road signs along NASA Parkway, the main drag in my area, which I travel every morning and evening.  Signs of this type carry traffic advisories, travel time predictions, Amber Alerts and occasional Zombie Warnings throughout the highway system.

The signs along NASA Parkway sat unlit for months.  When some of them finally came on a few weeks ago, they said “Hurricane Season Is Here — Be Prepared.”  Trust me, people in southeast Harris County don’t need the highway department to tell us that.  Currently they say “Drink  Drive  Go To Jail.”  Good advice, but worth the cost of those signs?

   And how does Sam Spade, one of our office cats at the Scorekeeper, sleep like this? 

 (photo by Jo Anne Banker)

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gerrybartlett
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 10:47:22

    LOve the picture. Sam can obviously take a cat nap anywhere. ;) As for your book order, I’m sure it’s like Amazon and those books came from individuals selling through the giant distributor. I bet they were thrilled someone wanted those books. And I just bet, Kay, you already had plenty. Am I right?

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    • Kay Hudson
      Sep 01, 2011 @ 10:57:39

      Truly, they all came from the same seller, The Book Depository. All in the same packaging. Six identical packages from the same place.
      And yes, I have books piled up all over the place!
      I am, BTW, sitting here waiting for the phone man. It’s almost 11, and he’s supposed to be here by noon. At least I’m getting some contest entries read.

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  2. Cheryl Bolen
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 15:14:20

    Actually, I think Book Depository sells only new; that’s why their shipping system is so mysterious. It can’t be cost effective.

    Love the cat picture.

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  3. Jo Eberhardt
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 20:10:34

    I found the same thing when I ordered from the Book Depository. My understanding is that they have a number of warehouses around the place. While it would make sense that books by the same author would be housed in the same warehouse, I think their whole system is based on sending each book order individually. It may not save time and/or postage in your case, but if someone orders 20 books, each of which is in a different warehouse, then sending the order from one to the next etc etc would take forever.

    At least, that’s my best guess based on the info on their website. :)

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    • Kay Hudson
      Sep 01, 2011 @ 22:10:11

      That makes a certain amount of strange mercantile sense. I didn’t think to check the postmarks to see if all the packages were mailed at the same time. In the meantime, my phone is still out but my DL still works (the tech said the phone cable carries two wires: voice needs both of them but DSL works on one). The easement is so overgrown the phone people can’t get to the pole until the power people send a crew to clean it out. I’m taking it as a vacation from sales calls and an opportunity to make friends with my neglected cell phone.

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  4. Jo Eberhardt
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 22:22:13

    Better to have the phone out with internet working, than the other way around. :)

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