Along with the joy and excitement of on-line shopping, has come the lesser joy and excitement of awaiting delivery. We can order anything from everywhere, whether its Scottish jelly, Za’atar from Israel, or jewelry from Asia or Africa. Ordering? Piece of cake.

Then, there’s delivery. Mostly, if you are an Amazon Prime member, they promise you automatic two-day delivery and at least 75% of the time, that’s what you get. It was a bit rocky when the program began, but after a year and some, they got it nailed. Mostly. Depending.

Depending on whether or not they use UPS which almost always gets the package here, to our door, in 48 hours. FedEx, who get the package somewhere in 48 hours, but not necessarily here. The neighbors are the not infrequent recipients. Or, the post office, which may or may not ever deliver the package.

I have no idea what becomes of packages sent by Amazon’s version of snail mail which starts out as UPS, but then is delivered to a local post office somewhere. Typically, they drop the package in Sudbury, about 10 miles north of here. From Sudbury, they send it to Lexington, Kentucky. From there, it travels aimlessly to Seattle, then Los Angeles. During these wanderings, I get messages from Amazon.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

“Your package has been sent to the wrong delivery address,” it says. They’ve taken my package from a local post office here in Massachusetts and shipped it to the west coast. “But we’re correcting it right now,” and it includes a happy face so I know that I should not get upset about it. With each subsequent wandering delivery attempt, I get another chirpy letter. Sometimes, weeks later, the package arrives. Sometimes only a part of the package arrives. In the course of sending each package twice around the world, the box gets a bit damaged. It was probably the monsoons along the coast of India. Nothing like ten inches of rain to soften up a cardboard box. Occasionally, it looks like they put it on a ramp and drove the truck over it. Twice.

And then there are times when I never see it, but I’m pretty sure someone is enjoying it. Somewhere.

About a year ago, Amazon thought they could lower their delivery costs by starting their own delivery service. I’m not sure exactly what they were intending, but I know that none of the package sent by Amazon’s own personal service ever got to my house. They assured me it was impossible because the electronic thingies in the trucks would only beep when they were within a few hundred yards of my house. I explained that they may be beeping with rage and fury, but the package wasn’t getting to my house. Once, we tracked it to a neighbor’s house and he begrudgingly gave it back. The rest of the times? Refund and me giving up. I finally told them that if the choice was between not ordering an item or getting it through Amazon’s special delivery service?

Just say no. It would save us all a lot of agony.

When the snow melts in the spring, I find things. Items long-buried under snow appear, a lot the worse for wear. I don’t know what they used to be, but they aren’t that any more. There are packages deep in the woods and in piles of sand along the road. Usually, they are so disgusting, I don’t want to know what they were.

I should mention that normal snail mail packages get here in the usual way of our local post office. For example, a letter mailed from the other end of Uxbridge can take two weeks to get to us, but a letter mailed from Boston will get here in a single day.

It’s part of the excitement of the world-wide web and it’s “anything you want from anywhere in the world” shopping mall. Delivery in 2 days, guaranteed!


My husband has a new woman in his life. She is our new puppy, Remy. She is fast becoming a Daddy’s Girl.

She gets into bed at night and has a ritual snuggle with Tom. This involves lots of licks and cuddles. It continues until Remy stops swatting Tom with her paw, which is whenever he stops petting her.

Remy’s morning routine involves greeting Tom like he’s been away for days. She licks him, jumps around excitedly, making sure he pets and scratches every part of her. Ears – Check! Belly – Check! Butt – Check!

As we progress through the day, Remy will reach a point when she starts to whine at Tom. It’s a kind of high-pitched screech that sounds like a sick bird. At first Tom didn’t know what she wanted from him. She only whines at Tom, almost never at me. At first, he took her outside. That didn’t seem to satisfy her. He tried all sorts of things until he hit upon a game she loves.

It’s called “Run Around The House.” Tom first runs around the sofa in the family room, with both dogs in hot pursuit. Then he runs around the island in the kitchen, occasionally switching directions to spice things up. By now the dogs are yelping and barking and skidding on the wood floors trying to keep up with Tom. Then Tom runs from room to room.

After a few minutes of this, everyone is exhausted (mostly Tom) and happy (all of them). So now Tom knows what to do when Remy gets bored. It works every time!

Our other dog, Lexi, is my shadow. She loves Tom, but follows me everywhere. Tom was hoping that Remy would be a little more his dog. He’s got his wish.

He’s putty in her paws.