Tonight, I participated in an age-old tradition just like the millions of Jewish women before me. I spent the evening ironing on name labels.
Last week, as I reread the section of the packing instructions that indicated that all the teenagers belongings must be labeled for his month-long excursion into the wild, it occurred to me that this might be a good time to get some of those pre-printed, iron-on labels that all my friends rave about for sleepaway camp.
The exact moment of this thought of mine was Friday, July 2nd at 6:45 AM. The teenager was to be on a plane very early the following Friday morning.
I googled “iron-on name tags” and clicked on the third entry. (I often click on the third entry in a google search. I couldn’t really tell you why.)
I went through the entire ordering process and when it came to SHIPPING I did my usual cheapskate dance about express delivery rates. The “free” option was a 7-10 business day delivery – that was clearly too late. The “rush” option was 3-5 business days for $12.99. And then the “super duper really extra fast” option was 1-2 business days for $37.99.
Even though I really needed the labels in two business days (it was Friday, and since Monday was July 5th – a federal holiday – the next “business day” was Tuesday), I could not bring myself to spend $40 on shipping. So I selected the $12.99 option, processed my order, and went on to read my email.
Within two minutes I was in a full-blown panic. I needed the labels by Wednesday, really, to give myself time to iron them all in. “Three to five days” was not going to work. I reopened the site and discovered that the company was in Ontario! How are my labels ever going to pass through customs in time? I thought.
I went back to my google search and clicked on the first two entries. Both were domestic companies, but neither could guarantee a Wednesday delivery. They needed two business days just to make the labels. And the order doesn’t even get processed for 24 hours. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I realized the Canadian company order needed to be canceled, so at 7AM I called them, just to see if they had a recording of their customer service hours.
And a person answered.
“Oh, I didn’t expect to get someone in this early!” I said.
“I haven’t gone home yet from last night, eh,” the guy on the other end of the phone said.
I explained my plight, how I was freaking out about whether the labels would come on time, how 3-5 business days might not really be enough. And then he told me wonderful things.
1. July 4th is just a regular day in Canada, so Monday would be a regular business day.
2. And they count Saturday as a business day.
3. And he has a friend traveling to New Jersey that very evening, so he will send the package with his friend and it will be mailed in New Jersey.
So, guess when the labels arrived? The very next day! In Saturday’s mail! I don’t even know how that happened, but I’m taking it as the first of what I hope are many good omens about the teenager’s trip.