In This Post: The Dog and I Obsess Over the Mail

I lost our mail key last week.

We live in a gorgeous old steel factory that’s on the registry of historic something or other: exposed brick walls, wooden beams running across the high ceilings, 10 foot windows, the works. But we have a tiny little mailbox in the front of the building that is opened by a tiny little key that we keep on a tiny nail in one of the wooden posts in our kitchen that is either beautifully decorative or holding up our lofted bedroom. I tried keeping said tiny little key on my keychain, but Muffin felt this hindered his ability to check the mail when I’m not around. (This is, of course, ridiculous since I’m always around.) So little key went back onto the little nail.

Because I don’t have the key on me when coming and going (also because we use the building’s back door and the mailboxes are by the front door), I tend to only get the mail if I purposely walk the dog out front. This causes a problem because my dog hates the mailroom. It’s not even a mailroom. It’s more of a mail alcove. And yet he hates it. HATES. He will put all of his four pounds into not going into that alcove. He will lean in the opposite direction until he’s at a full 45 degree angle to the ground. Knowing that, as weak as I am, I can still pull his four pounds without much effort, he then goes into stiff legs. All four legs go completely straight and he refuses to walk and I have to drag him to get the mail. This is combined with him barking/growling/snarling (as much as four pound dog can bark/growl/snarl) at the lingering scent of any of the dozen other dogs in our building who have passed through the lobby in last hour. I then have to flip through my mail and deposit what I don’t want into the recycling bin while holding the leash between my knees as the dog tries desperately to escape.  Ultimately, my dog is terrified of having things dropped on him–junk mail and keys included. This may be at least partly my fault.

Once I’ve secured the real mail and recycled the junk mail, (I’m so sorry, CB2 catalogue. You’re not junk. You’re just too tempting as I continue to mentally decorate the house I don’t yet own. We’ll be together again soon, I promise.) the tiny key goes into  the pocket of my puffy winter coat and the tiny dog finally gets to go outside. At this point you might be wondering if the histrionics were because the dog needed to relieve himself after being home all day and not necessarily due to his mailroom neurosis. I assure you, this is not the case. He’s a nut job. We go outside, the dog does his business, which includes sniffing the places where all of the other dogs have done their business, and we slowly make our way to the back of the building as I scan the church newsletter or flip through Muffin’s new Runner’s World. We go back inside and I deposit the tiny key back onto the tiny nail.

Except sometimes I forget to do this and the key stays in my pocket until the next time I need to get the mail.

Last week I went to retrieve the key from my pocket only to find the pocket empty. I immediately blamed Muffin. He had clearly been messing with the other keys hanging from hooks and nails on the post and he must, MUST, have done something with the mail key. He admitted to the messing around–he moved some other tiny keys that go to tiny locks that are locking who knows what, who knows where. He even checked the drawer where he put the other tiny keys. No mail key. We went a few more days with him not really caring about the mail and me alternating between blaming him and worrying that the key fell out of my coat pocket or that I put it down somewhere in our admittedly messy home and it would be lost until we moved (it’s a VERY tiny key). So I cleaned. And I straightened. And I looked behind, around, and under every logical surface. And then I had an idea. I checked the pocket of my trench coat.

‘Cause it had been raining the last day I took the mail out. Oops.

The good news is that I found the key! Just in time for Holiday Card Season!

Which is a good thing because I love getting holiday cards. Loooooooove it. I love when people hand-write personal notes. I love seeing your Christmas trees. I love your pets in sweaters and reindeer antlers. And even though I resent you for having children when you should be obsessing about the Walking Dead winter finale or complaining when you only have time to read one book this month, I love your children dressed up in matching outfits, knowing that you probably had to take thirty photos to get that one, perfect, everyone looking the same direction, magical photo. I love hanging cards in my home–currently we’re lining our banister with your smiling faces. I love that you thought of us when you put together your mailing list. I love, and feel a little sorry for, you as you try to figure out how to address an envelope to someone who kept her maiden name (Mrs.? Ms.?). Love.

Of course, I haven’t sent a Christmas card  since 1998 when I bought a pack from Hallmark and handed them out to my friends at school. Who has time with episodes of Revenge available On Demand?

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