I have to either get a new hobby or stop shipping care packages all over the place.
Ok, no I won't stop with the care packages. I will say that my holiday preparations start sometime in October, or perhaps September as a result.
For some odd reason, I have a lot of friends who have their birthday in September.
Maybe that means that I'm preparing for the holidays in August.
Now wait a minute, I'm not that well prepared.
See what happens is that my sense of Logistics and Planning gets started and I end up grabbing things when I see them.
There are always one or two Official United States Postal Service shipping boxes here. When I use one, I get one. Maybe two. Depends.
Why? Because of that birthday thing. You see I don't buy things. Oh, I end up spending as much time and money as the next guy, but I send these weird boxes of stuff to people. While it may look like a random assortment of gloves, trinkets, jelly jars full of homemade jellies and jams, other baked goods, and other random clippings from my life, it is all well thought out.
That last moment thing? If you think I'm just winging it, you're not paying attention.
So I could just toss stuff in a box, put my address and my sister's address on it, seal it with a kiss, and send it on its way but that won't work.
Things break in transit. Broken Jelly Jars aren't much fun. Since I usually send about a half pound of home roasted coffee with each box, that can escape too.
I got a rather direct comment once from my sister saying "Next time, watch how you pack".
Packing has become an art.
I could go to the office supply store and buy bubble wrap, but where is the fun in that?
Not when you have a manufacturing plant in town.
No, what I am doing this year, and probably for a while is to use what we call "Fom".
Fom is probably trademarked. It's one of those silly marketing trademarks that some brainiac in a cubicle somewhere, who was paid way too little or way too much depending on how you see things, thought up. We would see Fom in the Brookstone stores in malls for years and get a chuckle out of it. They were pillows that were ridiculously expensive for what you got. They were filled with strange things, most likely beads made from recycled plastic, and you were expected to use them like they were the best thing to come into your life since you took your first breath of fresh air.
Not really that exciting, but they were fun to poke since they were amazingly tactile.
But for us, anything remotely foam rubber like was called Fom. That's F-ah-m. Probably after the Boston Fahms or some such, dunno.
There's a manufacturing plant about a mile North of me that periodically puts out these "come and get it" messages on Craigslist. Their name is "Barco Sales and Manufacturing", and they make precision cut foam rubber and packing materials. At least that was what I had thought since every time they put out a "come and get it" it was for foam rubber. There's usually a sign for the stuff outside when the plant is open inviting you to get some.
It turns out that they do more, making some pretty interesting precision cases for some things that need extra protection when they're being shipped. Think really nice suitcases for your electronics. Laptop cases that look like they'd survive a drop off of a roof. Solid looking stuff.
Nice of them to put out the come and get it messages since usually the stuff is bagged up in a dorm room refrigerator sized plastic bag. You can just take a bag and be on your way.
I've done that a couple times. The first time I went they were cutting some foam rubber with the consistency of a seat cushion. Perfect, I needed to fix a piece of furniture and that foam fit in there beautifully. I had meant to go back and get more of the stuff since the dog's bed could use more foam in it and my favorite chair is getting a bit flat these days.
I went back and decided to fill a Jeep with whatever they had. Basically, thanks to Barco, I came back with a bag that was about the size of the back seat of my Jeep that was stuffed full of black pieces of Fom in random cut pieces.
The bag sat in my Florida Room for a couple days before I finally decided to act.
Opening the bag I found triangles, slabs, and blocks. Almost all of the stuff was charcoal grey and almost none of it was in "regular" rectangles. Makes sense to me, this was what was leftover when the manufacturing process was done.
But what to do with these strange oddball pieces of Fom?
Just you wait. Jelly Jars will be made once Thanksgiving hits. Cookies and probably some home made candy will be made as well.
It will all be wrapped in Fom from Barco. The box will be lined with charcoal colored oddball bits and pieces that will be taped to things to hold it together and they will get shipped. All of that will be inside of those USPS Flat Rate Large Boxes that I got back in October.
Shipped with love and Fom.
Thanks to Barco, Foam for everyone!