I don't send Christmas cards. I don't send New Year's cards.
I try to send Valentine's.
By February, the rush and then deflation after the holidays is finally over. I have a little time to think. Time to, you know, write and address over 150 Valentine's cards.
Key to the Valentine's is including a little photo of the girls. I try to take the photo as close to Valentine's as possible so it really represents how the girls look at the time. This is the same photo I select for my Every Six Month's Photo Project.
Here's is this year's photo. I wrote about taking the photo here.
And here is last year's photo. I wrote about taking it here.
The girls were dressed as Frida Kahlo (in homage to living in Mexico at the time time.) Little Lyra's blonde locks didn't really match the Frida unibrow, but at least give me some points for trying. I wrote about sending Valentine's while living abroad, on a sailboat, here.
A lot of the Valentine's last year were mailed just before we left to cross the Pacific, and as news of what was transpiring on Rebel Heart (almost a year ago now) started to make headlines, many of our friends were getting their Valentine's. I can't tell you how much it means to me when I hear that my friends posted the photo of the girls on their fridge, or their wall, and kept them, and us, in their hearts until they knew what had happened.
This year I was excited to get started. I was in America, with zippy internet, speedy mail service, and no reason to not get my Valentine's out in time. I ordered some Valentine's that came with their own envelopes, made an Excel spreadsheet with everyone's addresses, and spent a night drinking wine with Mele as we printed out mailing and return address labels, along with little labels to affix to the back of the girl's pictures with their names and ages.
I proudly took the huge stacks of Valentine's to the post office five days before Valentine's. FIVE WHOLE DAYS. Yes, that is how on top of things I was. You betcha. People were going to get their Valentines in the mail... on time.
The only problem? The envelopes were too small.
I thought you could mail ANYTHING as long it was the right weight and had the correct postage.
But nope. You can't. The smallest envelope you can mail is 3.5" tall, and 5" long.
Gobsmacked, I turned around and walked out of the post office with 150 Valentines (STAMPED ALREADY, MIND YOU), scratching my head and wondering what to do. The problem was that Lyra's birthday party was also five days away and I had no more time to mess around with Valentine's, I needed to get the house looking ship shape.
Sadly, I set the Valentine's aside until....after Valentine's.
After Lyra's party I got back to work. I bought a pack of envelopes that were just a bit larger than the ones I tried to mail and then painstakingly peeled off all the stamps from the small cards and glued them to the new ones.
See the fuzzy parts on the envelopes there? At the top right of each one? Yep. Peeled off stamps. Every one.
I wasn't able to connect with Mele this time to get more labels printed out, so I started hand addressing each one.
For those of you who know me, and know how truly awful my handwriting is, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry to all the mail carriers too, who had to deciper what I wrote as well. It tooke me several days, but I finally got everything done. Again.
Except for a few that were going to require special treatment.
We have friends who are out sailing and don't have a permanent mailing address. They are out sailing with their kids. With very young children.
Just out there on the water SAILING. WITH CHILDREN. How awful of them, right? So selfish. So reckless to endanger those kids that way. Someone should call CPS on them!!
That's what people said about us. Sorry. I got side-tracked.
Right. So we know some awesome families who are sailing with little children (and big children) and I needed to get Valentine's to them too. Luckily, I had an ace up my sleeve. Her name is Cherry and she sails on s/v Rainbow Gypsy.
Cherry and her husband, Alec, were in San Diego for awhile on their boat before heading to Mexico. She was kind enough to take the Valentine's I wanted to send to my Mexico-cruising friends and deliver them by what sailors lovingly call 'The Coconut Express." Cherry will use the VHF radio when shet gets to ports where my friends are anchored and hail them to let them know they have mail. Landfall Voyages and Aboard Astrea, I'm looking at YOU!
That still leaves two more Valentines for sailing friends (with CHILDREN, on BOATS!!!!!!!!!!) But they are really out sailing. I'm talking the kind of long-distance, out-of-reach sailing that means I may not be able to get a Valentine to them until, oh, Christmas-time of this year, when they have friends or family traveling to meet them in exotic locations. Ceilydh Set Sail and Sailing Totem, I'm looking at you.
Cora and Lyra were happy to help, yet again, bring the Valentine's to the post office.
Any reason to use their back packs to help carry things is a good reason for them.
Of course when we dropped the second round of Valentine's off I thought I was finally done.
But I wasn't.
Seven of the second round came right back. This is the same envelope in the photo above. One side is the front and one side is the back. I *think* the problem is that I wrote the return address a little too large. It looked like the mailing address....but the STAMP was not on that side. The stamp was on the side with the recepient's [correct] address. Maybe it was because the stamp has a white background, so the carrier didn't see it? I don't know. I.don't.freaking.know.
So I tried again. I bought BIGGER envelopes to fit the first envelope and the second envelope into the THIRD ATTEMPT envelope.
Luckily, the girls were ever ready, with backpacks and bikes, to help me get this third round back in the mail.
Let us all hope that the saga of the 2015 Valentines Cards is now complete.