A Lesson in Receiving Bees at the Post Office

:: in which we learn to get over ourselves ::

Have you ever waited so long to do something, that when the time came to do the thing it was kind of anticlimactic?  That happened to me this week when I went to the post office.  You might think nothing you could be taking care of at the post office would hold any promise of excitement in the first place, but you’d be wrong.

For almost 20 years, I have been anticipating, preparing for, and dreaming of having bees.  I’ve read so much about beekeeping, I can spout bee information for hours at a time.  And I often do, which is why I’m no longer invited to very many parties.

beeswax foundation in a brand new frame
beeswax foundation in a brand new frame

One of the things they always say in the bee book is: Be sure to notify your local post office that you have a shipment of bees coming, and that you want to be called right away when they come in.  That way, you don’t have to worry about the postal workers getting nervous around your buzzing boxes, and you can get the bees settled comfortably in their new home as quickly as possible.

For years, I imagined this scene with the relish of a child fantasizing about riding her very own pony.  I pictured myself walking in and making my announcement in an offhand way, as if I receive exotic shipments of this sort all the time.  Or I would play the scene again, this time with a self-important air as if to say to everyone waiting in line behind me, “I have very important bee business.  You wouldn’t know about it.”  I had a lot of time on my hands in these days (pre-motherhood), so as you can imagine I worked the scene over a few different ways.

The day finally came, and I made a big deal of it.  I marked it on my calendar: Tell Post Office About Bees!!  Exclamation point, exclamation point, underlined.  I planned a special trip into town for it.  Usually when I go to the post office, I’m hoping for a short line.  Not because I’m in a hurry, but because I’m often mailing something weird that requires me to ask the postal worker, “I read on the internet that I could mail this potato if I put a stamp on it.  Can I?”  And it gets kind of embarrassing, so I prefer to do most of my postal transactions in private.

Mailing potato letters
Mailing potato letters

Anyway, today I was hoping there would be a ton of people in the post office so they could all marvel at my big announcement.  But as these things so often go, when I arrived there was only one other customer in the post office.  She would have to do.

I walked up to the counter with a big grin on my face.  Off to a good start.  But from there, everything went awry.  I was carrying a letter in my hand, and the postal worker immediately zeroed in on that, reaching out for it before I even got all the way to the counter.  He threw me off my game.  “Oh, ok.  Yes, I need to mail this,” I said absentmindedly.  “But I, uh, also, uh, I have to tell you about, oh shoot.”  Deep breath Jessica, start over.  “Okay, I’m getting two packages of bees next week and I’d like to pick them up when they get here.”  The postal worker was not even fazed.  He grabbed a scrap of paper and scribbled “Bees.  Two.  Hickey.”  I scowled at the unofficial looking note.  This was not going the way I wanted it to.  I looked over at the customer next to me and she was not even curious about the bee things happening on my end of the counter.  This lady was not a satisfactory witness to my glory day.

Fortunately, I’m used to this kind of let down.  I have a way of building up small things into big, exciting events…which usually is a good thing because it makes life fun.  But the world doesn’t always cooperate with you, so you have to get used to recalibrating.  And that’s when I realized today isn’t the big day.  The big day will be when the bees arrive and I pick them up.  Yes!  That’s going to be the interesting day.  I waved to the postal worker on my way out.  “See you next week when my SIX POUNDS of bees arrive!  Alive and buzzing around in open-sided mesh boxes!”  Heh heh heh.

I went home and began reimagining my Bees in the Post Office scene in earnest.  I would walk up to the counter and say loudly, “I’m here for my bees!”  Or “My bees, please!”  How about something more suave: “I believe you have something of mine…something dangerous.”  Even one customer in the lobby would be enough this time, because it had to be exciting.  There’s no way to exchange 20,000 live bees in a boring way.  I don’t think.

As the days passed, I anxiously waited for an early morning phone call from the post office.  I kept my cell phone charged and slept with it by my bed, in case they called in the pre-dawn hours.  I was like a firefighter, ready to jump into my boots/pants combo at a moment’s notice.  And then I got this:

shipment notification email
shipment notification email

I blinked several times.  UPS?  As in, the bees are being delivered to my door?  Quietly, and without an audience?  What a let down.  I moped around the house for the next few hours.  Then I remembered that the guys at the post office are still on notice, waiting for 20,000 agitated bees to descend upon them any minute.  And that kind of made me feel better.

**UPDATE:  I am an idiot.**

When I finished this post, I was still waiting for the UPS truck to rumble down my driveway.  I noticed that the package had gone out on the truck at 7am, but by lunchtime it still hadn’t been delivered.  Why on earth would two boxes of live bees not be the FIRST item delivered?  I would think the driver would be eager to offload the little buzzers.  As I pondered this while eating my lunch, I got a call from the post office.  My bees had arrived.  Confused?  Join the club.  Turns out I am a doofus, a point of fact that is becoming increasingly clear in these blog posts.  The item I ordered from Brushy Mountain was not my bees, but some hive hardware.  That’s what was being delivered by UPS.  The bees were coming to the post office all along.

And for anyone concerned about my big fat ego, yes I had my glory day in the hot sun.  The post office was packed when I picked up my bees, and people were making lots of flattering comments about what a crazy person I am and how they would like me to vacate the premises as quickly as possible.

I have never been more excited
I have never been more excited!
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