Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting the Mail in Alaska in Wintertime

  1. Decide that you want the mail more than you want to stay warm. (Sometimes it takes two or three days to reach this decision--but if I know there's a netflix out there, or we're expecting a package from someone, I usually buck up and go for it.)
  2. Collect all the appropriate paraphernalia: coat, boots, mittens, hat, mailbox key, lighter...
  3. Put mailbox key in armpit (inside coat). This is optional, but it will most likely speed things up later on.
  4. Zip up, mittens on, venture forth...the mailboxes are one driveway over. Don't drop that key out of your armpit on the way m'kay? If you do it will be a booger to find, cuz remember it's dark 3/4 of the day, and little keys don't show up very well in snow...
  5. Once at the mailboxes, light the lighter, using your body to shield the flame from the wind, and hold the flame on the mailbox lock until it gets really frosty, and then gets all wet, and then the water runs out of it... this may take anywhere from 30-90 seconds. Once the water is running then the lock is probably thawed enough to get the key in.
  6. Retrieve the key from your armpit (it stays much warmer there than it would have in your pocket, sparing you a key-heating step, which is good, because holding the flame on the key makes it vulnerable to bending or breaking, not that I would know...)
  7. Put the key in the lock. If you can. You may need to reapply the lighter, or you may need to push the key really really hard. Or both. Try not to bend the key, it doesn't work after you do that.
  8. Turn the key. This is actually the hardest part of the whole process, as the mailbox keys are cheap little things...
  9. Retrieve mail, close box, and turn key straight again. (OK, I may have lied, that may be the hardest part.)
  10. Retrieve key. If you can. Muahahahaaaaaaaa!!!
  11. Hurry home, go through your mail, ask yourself why you live in Alaska. Then  hang up your coat, put away your boots, put on some tea, and remind yourself why you live in Alaska.



Of course, when the temperature rises to around 40 then all of this is no longer necessary...we get the mail daily in those spells!

9 comments:

Mrs. Case said...

i sure hope the mailman gets paid a higher salary in alaska, lol!

Brooke said...

Very interesting! I'm certainly glad that my mailbox is attached to my house and I can practically get the mail w/o stepping outside (not quite though). I hope the mailman makes more money in AK, but I have my doubts :)

Mallory said...

Wow! How cold is it normally? (When it isn't a spell of 40?)

Jenni said...

Oh it's not really that cold. Days are in the 20s through much of winter, cold snaps get into the teens. It's colder at night of course, but we rarely have to go out in it.

ashley said...

This makes me really glad that this Alaskan doesn't need a key- just a quick walk to the street to get my mail. :)

Life as a Convert (Khourt) said...

So funny :) I wouldnt last long at all!

Becky N. said...

Ha!

Although I think I'd be less likely to ask myself why I live in Alaska, and quite more likely to ask why on EARTH the post office agreed to the idiotic idea of an outdoor mailbox that necessitates a key.

Janeen said...

*snort* I'm sorry but I live in Wisconsin where record lows for where I live have gone all the way down near -30. In fact, we're expecting temps to drop again in to the -10's next week. Now that's not the high, that's the low but we have had some pretty low temps for the high too including some days where it didn't get above 0. My mom used to tell us kids a story about her first winter here in Wisconsin (she lived in Chicago most of her life then moved to the "big woods" of Wisconsin a couple of years before I was born). One morning she woke up and went to look at the thermometer we used to have outside our kitchen window. She shouted to her mom, "Hey Mom, what does it mean when all the red is at the bottom of the thermometer." My grandmother answered, "It means it's time to go back to bed!" That whole month it didn't get above 0 and that was for the high. lol Now, we may have a little more light than you guys do this time of year but it sure gets cold here!

Janeen said...

Oh, I did look it up, the lowest it has gotten in my hometown (and this is not even Northern Wisconsin but West Central WI) is -37. Again, that's before windchill. The record for today was actually -35 back in 1996.

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