February 11th, 2009


Why Didn't The Post Office Tell Me?

Fifteen Cents

I use a number of Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes for things. They're convenient, I tend to keep the stamps around and you can pack a lot into those sturdy envelopes. Of course, you can't just chuck them stamped into the mailbox, unless you're sure they're less than 13 ounces -- it's a security thing. So I left an envelope for Mrs. Dr. Phil to run by the post office. And she came back with a receipt for 15 cents. Seems that the Flat Rate isn't $4.80 any more.

Huh. When did that happen?

Effective January 18, 2009

I checked the USPS website tonight and found that the new $4.95 Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope change was effective Sunday January 18th. Okay, but...

See I was in the Allendale Post Office on Saturday January 17th, where at 11:49:43 AM, according to the Sales Receipt, I purchased 6 $4.80 Mount Rushmore Priority Mail PSA, i.e. I'd asked for six of the Priority Mail stamps.

Now... did the Allendale Post Office know about the rate change? Because at just before the post office closed at noon, I wasn't about to stamp six Flat Rate envelopes right then and there -- I was stocking up. And if I needed postage for Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes to be mailed after January 17th, shouldn't they have mentioned the rate change?

It would really suck to depend on Priority Mail, to stamp a Flat Rate Envelope, throw it in the mailbox -- and get it back for fifteen cents Postage Due.

It's not like they're making it easy for us. There's a USPS banner hanging up. It used to list the major services and their rates. Now they don't list the rates any more, so they don't have to change banners, or tape little numbers to it. I can understand the average person not knowing or caring that Priority Mail rates were being tweaked, but having demonstrated that I use the service, I'd really appreciate it if the otherwise lovely people at the Post Office would Let Me Know.

Rates Going Up

So then there was a news item tonight that postal rates were going up. Buy those Forever stamps now, because come Monday 11 May 2009, First Class postage is going to be 44 cents, not 42 cents. The kicker was the statement that rate changes come "once a year", "announced in February" and enacted "in May".

Except of course, when they aren't.
Prices for mailing services will continue to adjust each May. Prices for most shipping services, including Express Mail and Priority Mail, were adjusted in January and will not change in May.

from http://www.usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm 2-10-2009

New Price List, Notice 123 (PDF) — A complete list of all domestic and international prices and fees effective May 11.

Except that Notice 123 was effective January 18th, not May 11.

Dr. Phil

And Like That... It's Gone

Mid-February Warm-Up

A couple of days in the 50s and 60s knocked the snow way back over the weekend. Wednesday's rains has pretty much wiped out the rest. There was heavy fog this morning -- I had to leave the house around 10:20am and was surprised to find (a) the neighbors in the driveway across the road waiting for the school bus (2 hour delay) and (b) 84th Avenue had near fog-out conditions in spots.

I had a dream right as I woke up this morning, remembering that it was going to be foggy this morning, involving the M-45 Lake Michigan Avenue double-bridges over the Grand River just east of Allendale. Imagined thick white fog in the dark -- do I drive slowly across the bridge? Do I run into a hundred car pileup? If I drive slowly and carefully, does some asshole slam into me? Why do I even have to worry about idiots who can't figure out how to drive? And if that bridge is compromised, the next nearest river crossings have even worse safety issues.

Thankfully, such a thing wasn't an issue. I don't leave home in the dark these days and anyway, I stayed home today. Tomorrow, Thursday, the weather is going to be snowing and temps in the 33-37degF range. Oh joy.

Another Damned Sick Day

I first declared that I officially had a cold back on January 16th. I figured I had a long 3-day weekend to be sick, since WMU observed MLK Day. Crappy way to honor Dr. King, being sick, but at least I wouldn't miss any classes. Alas, even that plan didn't work -- I had chills on the 19th and declared a Sick Day and canceled classes on the 20th. Managed to make it to ConFusion the next weekend, but when I have a cold or bad sinuses I can't sleep lying down. So this crap has been going on three weeks plus -- geesh, nearly four! A month sleeping in a chair. Annoying.
     January  2009
 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
                16 17
 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
     February 2009
  1  2  3  4  5  6  7
  8  9 10 11 

The last couple of days my head has been so congested that if I'm not sitting or driving quietly, I end up having to breathe out of my mouth. I'm so dried up, I've had to cut down on the decongestants because I keep getting nosebleeds. But short of breath? Is it just because I hate breathing through my mouth or that I've got stuff dribbling down my throat and so its dry and uncomfortable? Did this get into my lungs? Doesn't feel like the latter, but then I'm a physicist and not a physician.

So I scheduled a doctor's appointment for today and gave my students a reading assignment in lieu of classes for Wednesday. Basically a 10:30 appointment makes it impossible to have made my noon class, which means there's no point to give the 2pm class -- and 3 hours plus of driving makes no sense just for the 3pm class.

My doctor seems to feel I did all the right things and my lungs are clear, blood fully oxygenated -- which makes this a sinus infection. Bacterial? Viral? A ten-day course of antibiotics for me then.

Got extra sleep today. And took some Sudafed PE to help dry things up. And as I write this, am stemming Yet Another Nose Bleed.

Yup, life is peachy.

Dr. Phil