Thursday, May 11, 2023

Obstruction of Correspondence

On Tuesday we put together some Mother's Day cards to mail out to some important women in our lives (because it's good to tell people you care about them and it's nice to receive something in the mail that's not a bill every once in a while). We ended up choosing nine relatives. Zoë made a picture for each one (and printed off one of her recent poems) and we also had everyone sign a card for each recipient—that's 72 signatures in total! 

We got nine envelopes, put nine stamps on nine envelopes, addressed nine envelopes...licked nine envelopes. Alexander thinks that's the worst part. He's probably not wrong. And then we put those nine envelopes into the mailbox...for Wednesday (because by the time we were finished we had missed Tuesday's mail). 

Here's a couple of things to be aware of: (1) we are always home (pretty much) and (2) we check our mail all the time because that's one of our methods to cut Phoebe's fits short. 

She always wants to check the mail because it means she gets to go outside. But she also understands going into things that it's only going to be a brief visit to the mailbox (not an entire afternoon of outdoor joy) so she doesn't get upset when it's time to head back inside. 

We check the mail when we know the mail hasn't been delivered. And we check the mail when we know we've already collected the mail for the day. We check the mail a lot. Specifically Phoebe checks the mail a lot...with the help of many people over the course of the day.

I was thinking Tuesday was a pretty good day to get things into the mail. Aunt Ruth's card, I knew, would be late (since that would be international mail). But I figured all the domestic mail should arrive by Sunday.

Did you know that it costs $0.63 to mail a letter these days?! 

For some reason that feels outrageously expensive to me. But anyway...thank goodness for "forever" stamps.

Anyway, on Wednesday when we checked the mail, our letters were gone—off and away!—and our mail was in the box and we thought everything was right in the world. 

Then this afternoon, just as I was settling down with Phoebe for a nap, I got a message on NextDoor:

Hi Nancy,

We found what we believe is your outgoing mail on the curb in front of our house today. From the Heiss family. It was opened, like someone had been looking for checks. Some are still in order and some can be repackaged. 

Text or call if you'd like to pick them up or we can drop them off.

She included a picture of our massacred mail:

And it's really not a very big deal. There wasn't anything important in any of those envelopes. 

But I was still so bothered by it that I couldn't fall asleep with I just held her while she slept (because I'm a pushover for contact naps and this is my last baby).

When she woke up, Miriam and Rachel walked over to the neighbour's house (about 0.3 miles away) with me (and Phoebe) to collect our letters. Miraculously everything was all there...except for a few envelope flaps. Whoever took them opened seven of the envelopes before calling it quits and discarding everything.

I was glad about that because one of the envelopes they did not tear into was Aunt Ruth's! I was worried about it getting across the border being all taped up. 

Miriam and I pieced things together the best that we could and now our Frankenstein letters are ready to head back out into the world.

And it's really not a big deal. Except that the trust we had in our community was chipped away at. Not that we think it was any of our immediate neighbours; that would be weird...but we're still left puzzling over who would do something like this. And, like...why?

Because who even puts cash in cards anymore?

Our grandparents haven't done that in years. They transfer money directly or send online gift cards.

And, like, why did it take them seven envelopes to figure out the contents in each was the same and they shouldn't bother opening the rest?

We joked about putting a sign up that says something like, "Hahaha, suckers! The money was in the eighth envelope!"


  1. It is just a feeling of violation, right?

  2. Ugh! I've heard people warn about this, but never knew it if were yet another fearmongering story since I didn't know anyone who had this happen. Until now. So sorry.

    And, yep, the price of stamps has gone up quite a bit. But you know what? My sister had to have an envelope sent to Michigan by UPS because the person couldn't receive regular mail. It was ... over $13!

  3. I hope you reported it- both on your neighborhood Social Media and to the authorities. I used to mail bills on occasion, but most places won't even take checks anymore, they just want your card number and they prefer it to be done online, (saves them labor costs).