Bite A Bullet

Bushtit, atop a juniper

Sunday, March 07, 2021 (14 days until the First Day of Spring)

Finally, I did it–and all by myself–installed a locking mailbox.

As background, about five years ago neighborhood mailboxes were broken into, robbed, and unwanted pieces strewn on a distant property. The police retrieved identifiable discards and returned them to proper addressees. Soon afterwards, in my neighborhood, locked mailboxes began replacing easy-open kinds. During last Christmas season, neighborhood hikers passed an empty lot and saw bunches of torn-open cards and packages. They posted on social media, warned again about mailbox robbers, and this time, turned my thoughts more to advantages of a locked mailbox.

I don’t worry much about my mail, mostly toss-away junk. There are certain pieces I anticipate, like paychecks from my part-time job. Nowadays, most citizens can expect stimulus checks (or debit cards) by mail. Plus, my neighborhood is rural and the mailperson’s last stop. Sometimes the mail arrives as late as 7:30, and instead of taking a lonely dark walk to the mailbox, I visit the box next morning. Lately, my tours of city streets are revealing an increasing number of locked mailboxes. Finally, it became my time to act.

But, how does one in these days of high construction find and get a trustworthy handyperson? Would I be able by myself to install a big heavy mailbox? How to remove an old mailbox from its forever post? Moreover, where could I most easily find an appropriate replacement mailbox?

Sometimes one bites the bullet, summons courage, and just tries something challenging. I turned to Amazon which had a box already purchased by 4k-plus individuals and had earned a 4.6% satisfaction rating. Well, four thousand customers can’t all be wrong. I ordered the box, which arrived in two days, a too-heavy package that heightened my fears of trying to install.

Caution is wise but often overthought. What happened is that the old box easily came off its post. Most important, with some effort I could lift my new 23-pound box. Its bottom was pre-drilled with accompanying lag bolts and a drill bit. Best of all, because I hate having to wade through complicated instructions, these were super-easy directions. Finally, with the old box off and holes drilled, I hefted the new box onto its post and installed bolts. Voila!

I write about this, because my installing out on the street attracted neighbors and walkers who paused to talk, making my job fun. People described their fears five years ago when expected checks were confiscated, destroyed, and spoke of relief that monies were in checks, not cash. Hikers passing gave me a thumbs-up. One couple said it was they who had posted at Christmas about discovering discarded mail and packages in an empty lot.

I didn’t take a photo of the new box. It’s too new, not pretty, and maybe for awhile somewhat intrusive. Besides, I already miss the battered old warrior.

Dear Friends: Luckily, we still have postal deliveries, with the Post Office in much disarray. Diana

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