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I have two pesty little neighbor girls who have been a constant source of minor annoyance since their family moved to my neighborhood two years ago. They are nearly-feral, free-range children who know neither boundaries nor mores of acceptable socialized behavior.

They’ve been known to let themselves into my house unless I lock up both doors, and in the summer, when I had my front-porch windows open, they would yell in, as well as poke things through the screens to tease my cats. The older of the two girls once sneaked into my house by following me very closely while I was wrangling my bike and BOB trailer in. The younger moseyed in another time and began raiding my fridge. I’ve caught them picking my zinnias without permission (understandable but annoying, especially since they have been caught, warned, and forbidden repeatedly), using my flowerpots as building blocks, and playing with the garden hose. On the various occasions that they have infiltrated my house, they have tried to request the acquisition of various small items of my personal belongings including random CDs, a flavored lipgloss, a packet of stickers, a multi-tool, one of the cats, and a box of my beadworking supplies. They aren’t particularly disappointed nor stroppy when I deny them the privilege of petty looting within my household, but that spirit of pillage combined with their cavalier attitude toward boundaries, property, and propriety have made me wary.

When I am at home, a few stern words will shoo them away temporarily, but they require repeated admonitions and rules-reinforcements, often within the same day. When I am not around (i.e. at work when they are not at school) there is nothing especially preventing them from marauding around my yard and porch, and I have tracked their spoor (little, muddy footprints, candy wrappers, and on one occasion, about a third of a gnawed-upon PopTart) on my porch many a time. I felt, given their tendencies, that the day would come when they’d help themselves to the contents of my mailbox or succumb to the siren song of a package. The last time I bought a pair of shoes, in fact, I had an all-too-vivid mental image of them taking turns clomping all around in my new shoes, soiling and spoiling them so that I couldn’t return them if they didn’t work out. It was then that I decided it would be worth the $60 a year to rent a PO box at the downtown Post Office and have things shipped to that location, or to Joel’s house depending on the seller’s attitude toward shipping to PO boxes.

So far, it’s working pretty darn well, though I have a tendency to only check my PO Box once or twice a week. On those occasions, I’m visited with a fistful of junkmail and maybe, just maybe, one important document. All I really want to see in my mailbox are my bills, letters or cards, and any magazines I have <i>specifically</i> requested. Credit-card offers, store ads, sweepstakes, catalogues, and really any other unsolicited paper isn’t wanted. I end up throwing away probably 95% of the contents of my mailbox each time. I’m looking into those anti-junkmail registrations. Anyone got any experience with that kind of service?

I wish the Post Office would install recycle bins in its lobby in the meantime!

4 Responses to “I recently lost a battle and got a PO box.”

  1. Herkimer says:

    Our USPS does have recycle bins in its lobby, so it’s not out of the question! Although who knows if they actually recycle (as opposed to just trash) what goes into them.

  2. wardrive says:

    Ok, I am curious, how old are these girls? I assume the parents/parent are of no help in this matter?

  3. meetzorp says:

    Wardrive – they are 5 and 6 now, they were 4 and 5 when they first started coming around and bugging me. Their mother is of no help whatsoever. She’ll sit on her front porch and watch them systematically rove along the street, pestering one neighbor after the other. If they wander out of her line of sight, she might holler after them to “git back here RIGHT NOW…NOW!” but that’s the extent of her disciplinary measures. I’ve spoken to her before about her children’s depredations only to be met with an offended look and mutters about their unruliness.

    Then again, she has a similar lack of boundaries and has been known to appear on my porch requesting the use of tools (lent once when they first moved in, never again) band-aids & neosporin for one of the kids’ most recent injuries, use of my phone (whenever theirs gets cut off because they didn’t pay it) and jumper cables. The last was the most ridiculous request in light of the fact that I don’t own a car nor does she. She’s known to sit out on her porch all hours of the night holding loud, drunken, profane cell-phone conversations on topics that could keep Springer et al going for the next decade.

    The children are a pain in the ass because they have a sterling role model of pain in the ass in their mother.

  4. wardrive says:

    Ahhh sad to hear.

    BTW….you extended kindness to me one day, wanted to thank you for that.

    No, you don’t know me, nor would you probably remember me, but it is a good example of how a simple act of kindness can have a lasting impression.

    carry on.

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