Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stand your Ground? - When does the Mailman Stand up to a Wolf Pack Attack and When Does he Run?

By Mel Carriere

When Supervisors, Station Managers, and Postmasters that have never delivered mail open their mouths to make some sort of official sounding pronouncement they usually just wind up saying something stupid, but because the stupidity now has official sanction letter carriers are forced to endure these misguided words and logic while under the watchful gaze of the boss, and then ignore them and do the right thing as soon as his or her back is turned.

It is especially frustrating when the boss who carried mail for all of six months tries to act like the resident expert on dogs, a veritable postal "dog whisperer," and chastises a letter carrier in front of all of her peers on the workroom floor when she was just doing the best she could to escape from an impossible situation.

We had a standup talk this morning about a dog attack involving one of our CCAs who was attacked by three dogs simultaneously while delivering on an auxiliary route.  Auxiliary Routes and their role in dog attacks could be an entirely separate topic I could write several indignant paragraphs about, but I will try to focus and stay on task because I'm sitting in Starbucks, hiding out from the real "boss," and any minute now she is going to call and tell me to bring home something she has to stick in the soup but forgot to buy at the store.

This dog incident story gets real ugly.  One of the three dogs that attacked this unfortunate young lady was a Pit Bull.  Because there were three dogs involved in the attack she couldn't safely retreat from the Pit Bull.  Anyone who has carried mail more than six months, unlike the "Dog Whisperer," could tell you that dogs in groups instinctively assume a wolf pack mentality that makes them hunt like...well wolves.  As actual wolves do in the wild, dogs in packs will surround their quarry on all sides.  The quarry in this case was that letter carrier.

In the process of backing away from one of the dogs the CCA apparently tripped on the curb and fell on her back hard.  As she lay on her back, apparently unable to move by the account our Safety Captain gave us, she screamed out for help but absolutely no one on the block came out to assist her.  It turned out the owner was home the entire time and it is ludicrous to think that he didn't hear all of that screaming and barking in front of his own house involving his own dogs, but the scoundrel only reared his ugly meek head later when a Postal Supervisor came by to knock at his door.  He then gave a version of events that contradicted what the CCA said, but this contradiction kind of implied that he witnessed the entire incident and did nothing.

The CCA finally managed to call the Post Office from her horizontal position and a buffed out Supervisor appeared a few minutes later to chase the dogs off.  I'm not sure if the poor lady was bitten, but by all accounts she hurt her back and she wasn't at work today.  Usually in cases like the this the letter carrier involved is out for a considerable amount of time.  CCAs usually don't have the luxury of convalescing for several weeks as we regulars do.  Lost work for them means lost money.

Going back to the standup talk, Dog Whisperer Boss criticized the letter carrier for running, claiming that she should have stood her ground, because running from a dog only encourages their predatory instincts and increases the dog's level of aggression.  While this may be true for a single dog, when a mini wolf pack attacks standing up to one dog means the others sneak up behind you and bite you in the butt.

Blanket statements about dogs are not wise, especially by a person who has probably never been attacked wolf pack style.  I have.  Yeah, I admit it was only three Chihuahuas that surrounded me in a circle and I managed to stomp my way to freedom with my size 15s without being bitten, but the principle is the same.  Pit Bull or Chihuahua, the danger level from dogs in a pack increases exponentially for the letter carrier and every incident calls for a different response.  To criticize this poor lady who has already been through so much pain is tacky at best, and almost criminally stupid at worst.

I hope all of my East Coast letter carrier friends are weathering the storm.  My good thoughts and blessings go your way.  Out of respect for what you are going through in that terrible blizzard I won't make any jokes about sitting here in my shirt sleeves.  Out of solidarity I wore long pants instead of shorts today, if that makes you feel any better.

Image from http://www.news.ruralinfo.net/2014/05/postal-service-pushes-to-prevent-dog-attacks-on-letter-carriers.html

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Postal Tsunami News "Ripples" for January 25, 2015

By Mel Carriere

Not much of a Postal Tsunami today, I'm afraid, just a few quiet ripples that may start to gather momentum and eventually set off the warning siren on your calm postal beaches as this cup of Starbucks Sumatra I'm sipping starts kicking in.  So don't panic, everybody move to high ground in an orderly fashion, and let's get started.  Here are a few postal news "ripples" that gained my attention, in lieu of a more substantial topic to write about.

  • In Hanover NJ a letter carrier sorting mail in the back of his vehicle was hit by a motorist who was temporarily blinded by the sun.  I have been skittish of this practice myself since a friend of mine sorting mail in the back of his LLV was hit by an unoccupied car that rolled a short distance down a very gentle grade and pinned him to his postal vehicle.  My friend was a real trooper and wanted to keep delivering, but it turned out he had a broken leg that kept him out for months.  Since then I'm always checking my back as I'm stuffing my satchel.  In the New Jersey case the carrier's injuries are said to be "non life-threatening," but if that is the case what the heck is the guy with the shovel in the picture up there scraping off the road?
  • I guess the ads with the cute kid in his little brown mini delivery truck didn't work as advertised, because UPS has reported a less than stellar holiday season again. Unlike Big Brown's 2014 undelivered package debacle, this time the company overcompensated by bringing in too many people, which meant there were a lot of drivers in cute little brown shorts chilling in the truck while some "holiday helper" flunkie ran out and dropped parcels on doorsteps.  I actually witnessed the UPS driver on my route doing this with his ride-along during the Christmas season, and the Thing 1 and Thing 2 tag team irritated me because they parked in my spot!  A UPS driver years ago confessed to me that these holiday helpers just get in the way.  UPS's proposed solution for 2015?  RAISE PRICES!  Great plan, score one for the Postal Service.
  • Are the downgraded service standards for first class mail delivery that were initiated on January 6th starting to have a negative effect?  In South Bend, Indiana, customers are complaining about delayed utility bills that have led to harassing phone calls.  On my own route in California (proving that you can't just blame the weather) a customer received a regular monthly check from Texas three or four days late.  She was starting to give me ugly looks, claiming this had "never" happened before, so I was relieved with her when she finally got the check last Tuesday.  I can't help but believe that lower service standards coupled with plant closures may be negatively affecting our "most trusted institution" status, just at the time when we are starting to blow UPS out of the water.  I told the customer to write her Congressman and I wasn't just trying to blow her off, like people usually are when they use that expression. I was serious!
Just a few gentle ripples to stir the still surface of your placid postal lake.  Of course your postal lake may be covered in ice, so these ripples are probably frozen.  I wish I could help keep you all keeping warm; if I had a big enough pipe I would most definitely try to assuage my Palm-tree Postman weather guilt by pumping some warm temperatures in your direction.  It hit the high 70s here in San Diego today, and is expected to top out at 80 tomorrow.

Links to these stories:

UPS's Non-Happy Holiday    If this link doesn't work go to postalnews.com and you can get it there.

Image from:  http://postalnews.com/blog/2015/01/23/whippany-road-motorist-blinded-by-sun-crashes-into-postal-truck/

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Scanning Tsunami - Drowning in Barcode Madness on the Postal Reef

By Mel Carriere

It's gotten to the point now where these inefficient, laughably outdated, ridiculously clunky scanners have overwhelmed all other aspects of postal existence.  Our office is patiently counting the days until the new scanners arrive, but in the meantime we just do our best to try to hold these ancient monstrosities together with spit, chewing gum, duct tape, and rubber bands.  Seems like scanner circuit farts are now a constant addition to the postal landscape, but the only thing these heavy silicon bricks really seem useful for is bopping supervisors in the head when they come around with the missed scans report in the morning, and increasingly in the evening as well.  You can't sneak out the door any more without being blindsided by a report of some scanner malfunction that is directly related to the completely amateurish scanning system and has nothing to do with the letter carrier's ability to make the scans.

Our office is extremely parcel heavy and I think because of that we get dinged for missing scans on packages that have invalid bar codes but somehow still sneak their way into the system.  Because of this are now under the heavy scrutiny of the scanning microscope and our supervisors are sometimes staying in the office until 9 at night to fix scans that show up as missing.  Naturally this would make anybody cranky, and this crankiness is starting to trickle its way down the ranks.

Friday afternoon my scanner went completely schizo on me.  A big white cloud formed across the face of the faulty device; the twisted second-rate Rube Goldberg contraption with its buffoonish accompanying disposable flip phone straight out of the Mexican drug cartel completely blanked out.   Once the smoke had cleared the screen then reverted to Window's desktop mode, complete with the Recycle bin in which I would have liked to deposit the scanner if it would have somehow been possible for the machine to consume itself.

Instead I called the supervisor.  She gave me instructions on how to reboot the scanner  (A + F + Escape) and this worked, except that once the scanner reboots the fickle, bitchy little beast then has to be reconnected with the docking cradle so it can reset its date and time.  When everything was said and done she still had to drive me out a new one.

Remember Dory from Finding Nemo?  One of the bad things about postal supervisors is that they typically have five second Dory memories, and in the thirty minutes between my scanner malfunction and my return to office she had naturally forgotten that my scanner malfunction ever occurred.  Right after I had clocked out to End Tour she yelled at me to come over to the desk.  It was almost as if she had waited for me to ET before she pounced.

"I'm off the clock," I answered as I walked up to where she sat behind the computer.

"Well, I've been yelling at you," Dory the supervisor replied.  "You missed some scans.  Maybe we can wait to talk about this tomorrow, IN THE OFFICE."  She then gave me some cute, ditsy little smile that announced quite clearly I'm just joking, of course, even though you know I'm really not.

All of the missed scans were of course related to the broken scanner, but as we walked through each one of them it was like this was the first time she had heard about the defective device.  All told it took 17 clicks to get through the six scans that never uploaded to the system, 17 unpaid clicks of the quickly falling sand in the hourglass of what is left of my life, and I had to spend it patiently retelling the sad story of my broken scanner to Dory every five seconds.

When you think about it, life on the reef must be blissful when you can forget every bad thing that has happened within the preceding five seconds, which would of course be approximately eight postal seconds.  When you think about it, this must be the key to survival on the Postal Reef, where angry but clumsy Postal Scanner sharks prowl about with their accompanying pilot fish flip phones swimming alongside.

Photo above is my own.

My latest on Hub Pages in honor of MLK

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Postal Nuggets for Thursday, January 15, 2015

By Mel Carriere

Sometimes there is just nothing cooking on the burner of my brain, especially when my head has been getting baked by the low winter sun all day.  One bad thing about our sunny winters in Southern California is that very often there are no clouds to block the sun, and because the solar orb rides so low in the sky during this time of year a sun hat or pith helmet or even the sombrero I purchased in TJ on a bender one Friday night just isn't enough to block it.  Yes, I know all of your letter carriers slogging through the snow out there want to strangle me and I would deserve it, but believe me if I could ship you some of this sunshine I would most certainly do so.  Since I can't, just look at my sunny palm tree lined picture above for a little while and you might feel a little warmer.

Because I was lacking for inspiration, today I thought I would dig through the Postal News and give you my commentary on a few interesting items I found there.

  • I suppose it's too early yet to know what the new House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz's new agenda will be from a postal perspective, but at least he had the good taste to take down his predecessor Darrell Issa's portrait from the committee's chambers.  An encouraging bit of news is that in place of Darth Issa's ugly frowning mug casting an evil shadow on everything it touches, Chaffetz will hang pictures featuring "everyday America," including photos related to the Postal Service.  Signs of the Issa personality cult that reigned previously are being purged, and I can't help but be hopeful that this is a step in the right direction for us.
  • That's Washington postal news for you, but over in Moscow Russian postal workers will apparently be swinging their satchels down the street to the beat of the goose-step, as the Russian Postal Service has been issued what are being called "Nazi SS style" uniforms.  No word on whether toothbrush mustaches will also be required by the grooming standards.
  • Bridgeport, Illinois is being called a "postal desert" after two local post offices were closed down recently, and our corporate competitor UPS is moving in quickly to fill the void.  This same thing is probably happening everywhere.  The Constitution has been ripped up, the "Service" part of our name has been slashed, and now UPS comes charging in to bilk residents of this community and others with exorbitant mailbox and shipping fees.  A sign of things to come?  I certainly hope not.
  • On a local note, my coworkers and I were thinking out loud today about how much money could be raked into postal coffers if the Postal Service actually required all of its customers to pay postage.  Remember the days when there was a revenue protection unit that enforced the use of proper postage?  Recently I took a photo of six packages going to one address that had copies of the same postal shipping label and bar code affixed to them.  I emailed this photo to my supervisor, and was replied to with a resounding ho-hum.  And what about those Chinese "registered" packages that are charged a laughable two to five dollars apiece, but require the letter carrier to go to the door for a signature?  Maybe we could avoid a few processing plant and post office closures if we could just protect our existing revenue streams.  I'm just sayin'.

Okay, I'm tired and they are going to chase me out of Starbucks any minute now, so I am going home.  I hope you had a pleasant postal Thursday and I will talk to you soon.  Think warm thoughts.

Here are the links to the articles I discussed today:




Featured photo is my own, for a change.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The People's Dollars have Voted so leave the Post Office Alone - Thoughts on Record Breaking December

By Mel Carriere

One of the main tenets of faith repeated over and over again by members of the GOP and their laissez-faire capitalism minded allies is that goods and services should be allocated by people voting with their dollars, not by voting at the ballot box.  In other words, if a product is popular then people will approve of it by buying the product, and government should not have to step in and play referee to keep antiquated goods and services available that people don't want or need.  Okay, let's for a minute suppose that this "voting with dollars" doctrine is true, and then are ask ourselves why, after the United State's Postal Service's record breaking December, that the politicians aren't easing off in their call for postal reform.

The people most definitely used their dollars to vote for the Postal Service in December.  Parcel volume was up 18% over last December as 524 million total packages were delivered.  On December 22nd alone the USPS delivered 28 million packages.  Exit polls at post offices throughout the country demonstrated that the dollars of the people voted "postal" in a landslide victory, and yet if you browse through the headlines in the Postal Reporter or the Postal News our enemies are still screaming "Off with their antiquated heads!"

What's the deal people?  We played by your rules, by your guidelines, according to your philosophy, and we kicked your butts.  Yet you still keep your heads buried in the sand, pretend that you cannot see the obvious, and continue to call for the end of Saturday delivery as the only way to save the Post Office.  Save us?  Who needs saving?  We delivered 20 million packages every Sunday throughout the holiday season.  Not only should Saturday not be eliminated, it looks like Saturday is not enough.  The people and their dollars have proclaimed that not only should Saturday delivery continue, but getting packages on Sundays is a great idea too.  

I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago in which I took the Denver Post to task for writing about the Postal Service's "antiquated business model."  Well, Denver Post, the antiquated business model is booming.  The Postal Service is more popular as a mode of package delivery than ever before, as indicated by the stellar December numbers.  People don't want to pay $60 to ship a package via UPS that they could mail with us for $13.  Duh.  

If you took Econ 101 in High School, you will remember that another important component of the pure capitalism the GOP claims to advocate is price competition.  Companies that cannot produce a service for a competitive price should not exist, according to this doctrine.  Therefore, since UPS and FedEx obviously cannot compete with postal prices, perhaps they are the business entities bogged down by an antiquated business model.  Yet I never hear Darrell Issa or any of his anti-postal cronies call for UPS or FedEx reform.  Why is that?

The simple truth is that so-called "postal reform" is a deadly smokescreen hiding an insidious, dark agenda.  The public Postal Service that belongs to the American people does the job so efficiently that it scares people.  It does not fit into any of the textbook models that the postal "reformers" cling to religiously.  Public companies are supposed to be inefficient and bogged down in bureaucracy.  When this turns out not to be the case, when the reality turns out to be different than expected, then they have to either pretend not to see the reality, or else bribe their friends in Congress to punish the dangerous competitor with legislation that imposes a 5 billion dollar a year fine for operating efficiently.  The "reformers" are not so laissez-faire after all when it comes to using Congress to destroy a competitor that they cannot do in themselves by running their business operations more efficiently.

The people have voted "postal" with their dollars, and yet the first headline I saw tonight screamed out that mail processing should be privatized.  The fourth one down said that Massachusetts postal workers are bracing for job cuts.  They want to cut the people who processed the record-breaking December package delivery.  Get over it people, you lost!  Be a good sport, walk away, and leave us alone to do the job that the people's dollars said we obviously do better than anybody else.  Stick that one in your Econ textbook.

Image from:  http://www.foxbusiness.com/government/2013/02/06/post-office-saturday-cut-too-little-too-late/

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Keep your Butt in the Seat - Thoughts on Freelancing Letter Carriers

By Mel Carriere

Yesterday, which would have been Monday the 5th, the first grueling Monday in the Postal New Year, the manager called a stand-up talk.  You may call this a "service" talk in whatever particular regional postal dialect you speak, but I think you get the point.  Anyway, this call to muster brought about the expected grumbling along the lines of "Are you kidding a stand up talk on Monday?" accompanied by the heavy, reluctant dragging of feet toward the center of the workroom floor where the manager typically gives her talks.

If they are calling a stand up talk on a Monday you can bet it is because something serious happened, and as expected something did.  Turns out a local San Diego carrier had a "runaway" accident, which means his vehicle got away from him after he dismounted with the engine still running.  A "runaway," we were quickly told, is to be distinguished from a "rollaway," in which the vehicle breaks loose with the engine off.  Both are extremely serious incidents and often lead to folks getting injured or killed.  Thank goodness in this case nobody was hurt, but it still aroused enough negative attention to line us all up for a tongue lashing on a Monday.

I'm not here to lecture you all about safety.  I don't exactly have a stellar driving record myself. Two months ago I was struck by a vehicle passing on my left as I was making a left turn from the correct lane with my turn signal on.  That accident wasn't my fault, but several years ago I was guilty of striking a fixed object, an act that got me sentenced to postal driving school.  Still, I do my best not to be an out of control driver.  I wear my seat belt religiously and I never leave my vehicle running no matter how close I am to the mailboxes.  All the same, because of a few lamentable mishaps I will never be a member of the million mile club.  I will never hoist that plaque proudly as they take snapshots of my smiling mug for the union newsletter.

The reason I write this is because I am wondering why there are always those Postal Mavericks - free-lancing letter carriers I call them, just like the driver of that runaway vehicle, who always think they can do their own thing, make their own rules, essentially flip the proud postal eagle bird at the instructions given by the people that sign their paychecks.  I screw up like everybody else from time to time but I am always a good, obedient postal soldier and I do what I'm told.  As the Union constantly preaches, do what you are told and if what they tell you to do is wrong grieve it afterwards.  This is my mantra, and one would think it to be the guiding principle of all letter carriers everywhere. Obviously it is not.

Every time I train a CCA the first thing I tell them on the first day when we go out to the parking lot is that their cute little butt has to be in that LLV seat every time the engine is on, even if it is only for the vehicle check.  Even so, on day two one of my trainees got busted starting the engine while standing next to it, which naturally got me reprimanded for not teaching her the rules.  

What can I say?  I throw up my hands in hopeless defeat.  But it's not just safety; it seems like most people wearing a postal uniform do whatever they want, no matter what the post office tells them and in complete defiance of what the M-41 says.

One of coworkers never cleans out the mailboxes on his route, even after being reprimanded several times.  "I don't like doing that, I just want to deliver the mail," he protests.  "Well guess what, you get paid to do that, you jackrabbit," I tell him, but he doesn't care.  He keeps stuffing the boxes, to the knuckle-busting chagrin of every other letter carrier in the station that has the misfortune to deliver to the apartments on his route.

Another carrier keeps wasting time numbering parcels on his own route, even after the manager told him not to.  "I might have to go home in an emergency," he says in his defense.  I told him we are probably smart enough to figure out where his parcels go ourselves in an emergency but he keeps doing it, probably more because he is a slave to routine than anything else.

Another carrier refuses to chock his wheels in the parking lot, even after several scoldings by the safety captain and several replacement chocks that she gave him, which he promptly threw away.  I once saw him back over a chock with squealing, smoking wheels as he was dropping off the express mail, but that was the closest he ever got to a chock.  His hatred of those accursed wooden wedges is almost religious in intensity.  I think he just does it because he dislikes the safety captain, who can be somewhat of a loud-mouthed, meddlesome mother hen.

That same mother hen safety captain returns all mail to sender that is missing an apartment number, even if she knows where to deliver it, and is extremely vocal and adamant that the rest of us do likewise.  She actually walks around like some mail-killing missionary and tries to convert the rest of us to her doctrine.  In regard to safety issues she is the first to quote chapter and verse of the M-41, but when I pointed out that the M-41 says we are supposed to deliver misaddressed mail if we know where it goes she replied "Yeah, but that's not the way I do it." Period.  As with other tenets of religious faith that are clung to tenaciously, we tend to embrace the parts we like and ignore the sections that contradict our personal belief system. 

Other letter carriers refuse to fill out a 1571 and have it signed by a supervisor for mail that is being brought back from the street, as we have been instructed to do to the point of absurdity.  Instead they bring back a mountain of returned mail, dump it on the ledge and go home with a completely untroubled conscience.

I don't get it.  Am I the only letter carrier trying to do the right thing? Well, I admit I do cheat in harmless little ways that won't get me busted, but I make sure I dot the 'i' and cross the 't' in the proper way to make sure I cover my behind and won't get called into the office.  What's my problem?  Am I the only letter carrier that doesn't freelance - well except in the writing way, of course.

The carrier you see in the photo above compiled from an infamous You-Tube video was obviously another postal freelancer.  He jumped out of the vehicle with the engine on to deliver the mail to this gas station, then came back out running toward it in terror after the LLV did a complete 360 spin out into the street and then back into the gas station.  I invite you to watch this horror of horrors for yourself, if you haven't seen it already.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

One Mailman's New Year's Resolutions

By Mel Carriere

2014 was an up and down year for letter carriers.  For a lot of you it started off with the snow-called "polar vortex," a meteorological catastrophe which brought record breaking blizzards, cold and ice to the Midwest and points east, and months of misery for frostbitten mailmen and mail-ladies. Polar "selfies" by Eskimo-like letter carriers abounded on Facebook and other social media sources.  So far complaints and comments about the cold seem to have subsided in this winter of 2014-15, indicating probably better than the weatherman ever could that the temperatures this winter are milder for those of you in cold climes, although we actually dipped into the 30s here in sunny San Diego the last couple of nights.

There were some good things that happened in 2014 as well, as you can see from the small photo sampling above of notable 2014 moments.  In addition to this Polar Selfie of a Nebraska letter carrier, the NALC food drive was again a rousing success, our postal-dismantling Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe resigned, and postal-hating "wicked witch" Darrell Issa is now out as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

So in light of these positive developments 2015 is bound to be a better year, right?  I certainly hope this will be the case, and I'm going to do my part to help make it so by molding myself into a better letter carrier and a better person all around.  Toward this end I have compiled a list of 2015 New Year's Mailman Resolutions that should help make the Postal Service a better, funner, nicer, kinder, gentler, more enlightened and exciting place to work.  Here it goes.

  • I resolve not to eat any donuts or other baked goods found on the swing room table that look like they have been there more than three days, no matter how ravenous I am after ten hours on the street.
  • I resolve to keep my grouchy, caffeine deprived opinions to myself at 7:30 in the morning when the clerks are throwing parcels to the tune of 80s easy listening favorites like "Reunited," "Sailing," "Endless Love," "How am I supposed to live without you," or any other sleep inducing melodies that make me inclined to throw one of my size 15 shoes at them.
  • I resolve to smile sweetly at every customer that says "you can keep the bills," "just checks no bills," "hope you didn't bring me any bills," or any other statement that includes the words "bills," "checks," "Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes winnings," or one of a number of key phrases indicating that this person is very lonely, probably because they are extremely unskilled at creating new and interesting conversation starters.
  • I resolve to no longer deliberately try to blind postal customers with my headlamp after they tell me I am "late" at 5:15 on a Monday afternoon, realizing that they have probably been standing there since noon and have deep-seated psychological issues that go way beyond insisting on using a sundial to tell time, even though technology has moved forward since around the start of the 14th century, when the clock was invented.
  • I resolve not to use any swear words my Grandmother would not approve of after busting my knuckles open trying to stuff mail into a mailbox that hasn't been emptied since around the 4th of July.
  • I resolve not to use hand signals or other inappropriate physical gestures while driving, except for those actually authorized by the DMV manual.  Furthermore, I will restrict my use of any colorful exclamations beginning with the letter "F" to five times daily, having been given a note by my doctor stating that banishing these terms from my vocabulary completely could result in severe brain hemorrhaging when stuck behind stupid drivers in heavy traffic.
By following this short list of resolutions I intend to make 2015 a much healthier and happier year until I break one of them, which statistical trends indicate should occur sometime around 7:35 AM on January the 2nd.

Happy New Year from the Postal Tsunami!  Thanks for your wonderful support in 2014 and your continuing visits to these pages in 2015.