Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pack a Box Like Playing Tetris

You know it's a job when it takes an hour a box to pack each one.

I had three boxes to send out for gifts yesterday, and now (sound of hands wiping against pants) it's all done. 

A couple years ago, I got a rather vague comment along the lines that I have to be more careful in packing things sent by the mail.  More like "You've got to learn how to do this", with no more explanation.  

Since then I've been packing fragile things like they're going to Mars.  

It starts sometime around October.   The holidays are looming, it wasn't even Halloween, Xmas decorations were beginning to appear in the malls.  Ahh the spirit of Shopping-Mass!   As time went on, every time I'd get something shipped to me, if the boxes were "small", I'd save them. 

You know I'll need that!  Give me the box, I'll store it!  Oooh Bubble Wrap!  Don't you dare pop that!

I had a tower growing.   Boxes that were too complex to "flat pack" and reassemble ended up on the Dining Room Table.  The "flat pack" broken down boxes were stuffed behind the laundry box in the kitchen and in the laundry room itself in every nook and cranny I could find.

By the time Thanksgiving hits, my mind ticked over into High Gear.  I could make Cookies!  I could make Fudge!  I could Roast Coffee!  I have all these Things!  Lets send them off!

The day after Thanksgiving I began roasting coffee, a logistical challenge in itself.  It isn't difficult to roast coffee if you have the right popcorn popper, but there is a timing thing.   I put the beans in the machine, push it out the window, and plug it into the wall.  Six minutes later plus or minus 30 seconds depending on the temperature outside in the Lanai, the coffee is done, poured onto a large dinner plate to cool.  Then wait 30 minutes for the popper to cool and repeat.  The thing is as the sun comes up it heats the roof and the Lanai can go from 70F to 90F in an hour on a clear day.  That changes the roast.  One batch is "medium" at 6 minutes 10, the next would be burned Starbucks beans.   So I spread that out over a week to get my 12 batches of coffee to send out.

Quality is my motto!  Can't rush perfection!  More Business Buzzwords! 

Similar micromanagement went into making the cookies - Chocolate Chips, Pecans, Butterscotch Chips, Butter, and Eggs were bought.  Cookies made in three separate batches over three days were baked then frozen to keep them fresh.  Two kinds of Rocky Road Fudge was made, cooled, cut, and immediately frozen.

Finally there were some specific handmade gifts that were to go to specific people.  Bamboo smartphone dock to one, wind chimes to another.

All these things needed care to find their way into boxes.  After all, you don't want coffee grounds all over the fudge that would be inside of the wind chimes do you?  Admittedly the fudge is an experiment in packing logistics itself.  It's winter and once it gets North of Florida, it should re-freeze at the outdoor temperatures "up there".  I'm looking forward to hearing about how that stuff fared.

Boxed each kind of thing up when the boxes were available.  Made other boxes for strangely shaped things.

I'm hungry what time is it?  12:30?  I've been at this for 2 hours?  Throw some pork into the microwave and go back at it.

Hmmm, that pork smells great, got to toast some rolls...  1PM and I'm wandering around the house with a slab of pork and cheese on a toasted English Muffin as Box 2 is done.

Luckily by 1:30 the last box was built and sitting by the door.  By 2:30 I was back home thinking I had just played a game of Tetris that my friends and family would unwind as they find a holiday letter with a hand signature that was scanned at the bottom of the letter and printed on.

Hey, if I have to write it out, I may as well let the printer do it for me!

So the next time you open a box, consider the effort that went into making the mundane packaging.

Then toss it out with the rest of the garbage and get your New Thing!  Who doesn't like New Things?

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