How to get a REAL person when calling USPS!

Over the past year I’ve had to call the United States Postal Service (USPS) a few times, and every time it’s been absolutely maddening! The person that programmed their telephone menu options did an amazing job of making everything circular, trapping you in their options without any means of escape, or to speak to a real human being. I just got off the phone with Canada Post because they showed that they delivered a package and we didn’t get it, and now I have to call USPS again. The good news is that the Canada Post lady told me an easy way to get ahold of a real person at USPS, and I want to share it with others.

Dial USPS’s number (800-275-8777) and when the recorded voice of the woman comes up, press 0 nine times. Yup, one after another, without any pauses. The result is a REAL person at the other end of the line!

Write it down and save it in case you ever have to call them; it’ll save you a lot of time and stress.


Saying Goodbye to my Furry Little Friends

Last week I did something hard – I said goodbye to my two chinchillas.

Seven years ago Kat and I drove to Sylvan Lake, about 1.5 hours away, to pick up Brisco and Elby from a chinchilla breeder. I had wanted chinchillas since I was in Jr High and a magician brought one to our school as part of his act. They were cute, furry, and weren’t a common pet. While I was living in my condo I considered getting a dog, but realized they required more attention than I could give at the time, so I did some more research and decided on chinchillas. The cage was already ordered from the States and was set up and ready for them when we got them home. I had a really awkward spot in my condo; to this day I don’t know what it was intended to be used for, but it was the perfect size for the chinchilla cage. They were the centre of attention, right off the dining room table. We’d say “hi” to them when we got up, and “goodnight” when we went to bed. I played with them, took care of them, and loved the little furballs.

When we moved into our house, we didn’t know where to put the chinchillas. Their cage was huge, and there wasn’t a good place to put them on the main level. We were also getting a dog, a Shiba Inu, and they were bred to hunt small mammals. The dog and the chinchillas weren’t going to be friends at all. So they went to the basement, in my office, because they like it cool, and quiet, and the office was both. The problem was that the office wasn’t used very often, and the chinchillas, which used to be the centre of attention in the condo, were now in a room that hardly was used. The dog, and the cat which we got a short time later, took up more time, and less was available for the chinchillas. Then, the baby came, and the free time I had  almost gone. The chinchillas were never completely forgotten, but they weren’t getting the attention they should have, or deserved. It took me a long time to make the decision, but I knew they had to leave our house.

It was a tough decision to make because I was having to say goodbye to my little friends, but also because I was admitting I was a bad pet owner. When I picked them up from the breeders I was almost entering into an agreement with them, agreeing that I would take care of them, and love them, and I felt as though I was letting them down. It was upsetting to say goodbye to them, but I was also doing it knowing that this was the best thing for them. I found their new owners through Kijiji (like Craigslist, for those that don’t know what it is); two girls in their early 20s who didn’t have any other pets. The chinchillas would be the centre of attention again, and that made me happy. While they could have a decent life living with us, they’d have a good life at their new place. It was hard, but I had to say goodbye.

Their cages are gone, and a bookshelf sits in their place. The room has more stuff in it now, but it feels more empty than before. I miss my little friends, but I know it’s for the best.

The Chinchillas - Elby and Brisco

My furry friends, Elby and Brisco

A Sweet Update!

My last post (which was far too long ago) talked about how Kat and I are trying to reduce the sweets we consume, and I figured I should provide a little update.

It’s actually going well, which surprises me a bit. It’s become quite easy, well, at least until I got past the first week. I found avoidance to be the best solution early on, but now I can tempt myself without falling victim to the sweet sugar, like the bakery we used to stop in at when we went for walks. I would get this delicious apple square there, and while I still crave it, I can safely walk past without needing to stop in and get one. I’d also buy donuts at Safeway every time I’d go to pick something up. I’d eat them in the parking lot so Kat wouldn’t find out (I came clean about this, so I can safely blog about it), but now I can walk through the bakery section without looking at the wall of sugar.

Neither of us has completely cut sugar, but we didn’t set out to do that, either. I’ll still enjoy a small piece of quality chocolate (and by small, I mean 1/10th of a 49g chocolate bar), and we’ll get a dessert if we’re out at a nice restaurant (which is rare these days), but my daily sugar craving is gone.

Do you have anything you’re trying to cut down on, and if so, how’s it turning out for you?

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