Skip to main content


I go to the post office about once a week. It's a small office in an almost vacant business building that houses everything from a bridal store to an outpatient chemical dependency clinic.

I've mentioned before that, except for Christmas time, hardly anyone knows the post office is there. So, at most, there is a line of three, and I'm in and out.

It's a familiar routine. I know the two guys that work there. One, Charles,  is an older, pleasant type of few words. He walks with a bit of limp and usually prefers sweat shirts and sweat pants. The other, Dave, is flashier. He wears open Hawaiian shirts and lifts weights. Sometimes the portable radio blares behind him with a strange mix of AC/DC, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears (it's a bit uncomfortable waiting in a longer line when Britney is moaning "Gimme More," let me tell ya).

But both are efficient and friendly. I put my envelopes on the counter, and they plop it on the scale, and the amount pops up on the electronic screen to the right of me.

For the smaller packages, I have the price memorized. $1.71. Always. $1.71. Makes it easy to budget.

That was the routine earlier this week when, after a long bout of sickness, I returned to the post office. I placed my stack of envelopes, all of the small variety, on the counter. Charles put the first one on the scale. And the screen flashed the price ...

One-seventy ...

Wait, what?


"Everything's gone up. Everything," Charles says. He proceeds to tell me the CDs that he sends out cost more, too. But I'm too busy calculating what that's going to do to my budget.

Eventually, I shrug it off. Twenty-four cents more per package isn't going to kill me. No big deal. In fact, I bundle up a few more packages and am back at the post office for a rare second time in a week. This time Dave is there. No music though.

He puts my first package on the scale. It's going to Canada. I brace for the $1.95 to flash on the screen, although I should know better.


"Overseas packages have almost doubled," Dave says cheerily but in an understanding tone.

I wanted to crack that there is no sea between here and Canada, but I'm sure he's heard this one before. Even though I was ready to make a joke, I was pretty shaken by the news. It hasn't been an easy month monetarily.

When I got home, I clicked on the weather forecast. I was supposed to go to a card show this weekend. But the weather was looking iffy. I didn't have a lot of money for the show either. Then the weather guy said the dreaded words "heavy accumulation in persistent snow bands." I would be driving through a persistent snow band to get to the show.

I checked the weather a few more times. Same reports. I took the money set aside for the card show and put it in the bank. We needed groceries.

This was on Friday, and I was beginning to wonder whether I could send packages out with the same frequency that I've done in the past. I'm not one to focus on the money aspect of things in almost anything. I budget stuff, but I'm not super vigilant about it. It's too much worry. But this? This kind of got me.

Then today, I received a big package from Rod at Padrographs.

I looked at the postage on the front.


"Not bothering Rod," I thought.

Inside were some cards, and an unopened junk wax pack, and some cool Dodger figurines that I have to identify later.

And there was this:

It's a children's book called "You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!" It features a holographic front and some absolutely terrific illustrations by Andre Carrilho.

On each inside cover is Carrilho's rendering of a famous Topps Koufax card:

Over lunch, I leafed through the book -- which is the story of Koufax's career -- mesmerized. What a terrific item, combining my favorite things, the Dodgers, Koufax, baseball, books, writing and illustrations. How thoughtful of Rod.

And all that for just $8.68.

Then I thought back a couple weeks ago to another large package that I received. It arrived in the middle of my sickness and I could barely look through it. I knew it was wonderful, but I just couldn't focus on anything.

The box came from Smed. He's sent me generous packages before. I don't remember how much it cost to ship this box, but I know some of his other boxes have hit double figures.

The box contained a few Dodger cards, like the Bowman purple refractor of Dee Gordon at the top. But the major part of the package was a whole mess of 1977 Topps:

Isn't that something?

I really need to get a list of wants for '77 Topps after I catalog these cards.

This is the last of the sets from the major Childhood Nostalgia Era that I need to complete. 1974, 75, 76 and 78 are already done. Once I finish with '77, I'll decide whether I want to tackle '79, which is kind of on the edge of the whole kiddie era.

But how much did it cost to send that package of nostalgia to me? Six bucks? Seven bucks? Ten?

Whatever it was, it was incidental (at least I hope it was for Smed). The enjoyment I received from these packages can not be measured in cash.

So, I'll continue to send out packages as often as I can. When the money runs out, it runs out.

This hobby is too important.


Robert said…
When you get your list of 77 Topps needs put together, let me know, I have a few dupes that may be able to help out the cause.
Captain Canuck said…
yeah, I hear ya pal... 98% of my packages have to go..uh.... overseas.
So I send when I can. When I can't, I can't. One of the reasons why itry not to get involved in specific card for card trades.
Sending stacks of cards to friends is much better. And they understand if it arrives a month later than planned.
Dodgerbobble said…
Can't wait to see those Dodger figurines.
Section 36 said…
My problem with the increase is that I use stamps. 2 0.84's plus 1 0.03 = $1.71. I sent out a package on Tuesday using the stamps, then I got your package yesterday (Thanks, BTW!) and saw the $1.95! I don't know what will happen to my package. Guess I need to buy different stamps.
You nailed it with the last line - The hobby is TOO important...
The price hike is a killer... My box fee is due on 01-31. I've had it for 7 years I think and it started at $20 for 6 months, which I thought was a great deal. It has steadily gone up and up... It was $35 when I renewed in July. Well, I got the notice it is going to be $42. Ugh.
On a brighter note - packages from Padrographs and Smeds are soooo awesome that you totally forget about all that BS.
AdamE said…
Crap I went to one of those after hours postage machines the other day. I didn't bother weighing the packages I just plugged 1.71 into the machine and bought 4 of them used three of them and put the other in my wallet for next time. So now either they are coming back or everyone I shipped to has to pay some more money.
Justin Drummond said…
If you buy your postage and print the labels though Paypal the price for the small envelopes actually went down! Instead of $1.95 you could be paying $1.64 (with delivery confirmation included). Something to consider.
Two Packs A Day said…
definitely! If you do a lot of the work (Paypal or online at the USPS), you can usually save money since I assume the USPS makes some rates a little bit cheaper because it's the customer doing the work instead of a postal clerk.

Popular posts from this blog

Stuck in traffic with Series 2

In the whirlwind that has been my life this month, I found myself going absolutely nowhere for a portion of Thursday afternoon. I was in the middle of yet another road trip, the third one this week. This one was for work, and because it was job-related, it became quickly apparent that it would be a waste of time. The only thing that could save it was a side visit to the nearby Walmart to see if I could spot some Topps Series 2. I found it right away, which was shocking as I was pretty much in the middle of the country, where SUVs share the road with tractors and buggies. Who knew that the Amish wanted Series 2, too? The problem was getting back into civilization to open the contents of the 72-card hanger box I bought. The neighboring village is undergoing a summer construction project smack in the middle of downtown. It's not much of a downtown, but the main road happens to be the main artery in the entire county. Everyone -- and by everyone I mean every tractor trailer ha

Heading upstate

  Back in 1999, Sports Illustrated published an edition at the end of the year rating the top 50 athletes of the century for every state.   As a lifelong Upstate New Yorker, I braced for a list of New York State athletes that consisted almost entirely of downstate natives, that is, folks from the greater NYC area and Long Island.   We Upstaters are used to New York City trampling all over the rest of the state. They have the most people, the loudest voices. It happens all the time. It's a phenomenon unique to this state. Heck, there are still people out there who, when you tell them you're from New York, automatically think you're from NYC. They don't think of cows and chickens when they think of New York. But trust me, there are a lot of cows and chickens in New York State. Especially cows.   So, anyway, when I counted up the baseball players that SI listed as the greatest from New York State, six of the nine were from New York City or Long Island. I was surprised all

G.O.A.T, the '80s: 30-21

  I often call this current period of the television sports calendar the black hole of sports programming. The time between the end of the Super Bowl and the beginning of televised Spring Training baseball games is an empty void when I'm looking for something to watch on traditional television. I don't watch the NBA and the NHL on TV holds my interest for maybe a period. College basketball I can't watch until the tournament. This didn't used to be as much of a problem back when I could turn instead to my favorite sitcoms in February. Do you remember when February was "sweeps month"? (Maybe it still is, I don't know). Networks would make sure that every top show aired original episodes that month, no reruns. So you'd always have something to view during the week even when the sports scene was boring. (I know, people have multiple streaming viewing options now. But I find myself going weeks sometimes before I see something I want to view on Netflix or Am