Friday, January 18, 2008

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Tape

I think it's universally agreed upon that, unless you're living in the witness protection program after ratting out a mob boss, a package on your doorstep is a very happy sight indeed. Last night I came home to three. THREE!!! Okay, so one of them was for Katie, but you get it right? I could totally justify caps and exclamation points for just two. I was expecting them (sort of) and knew what they were so it wasn't really a surprise but that does not in any way take away from the absolute joy of seeing them there, crowding my welcome mat. I was even excited for Katie to open hers. Packages = Love.

The first was my order from Barnes and Noble. People know how much I love gift cards to book stores so I always get them for Christmas and my birthday. (Note: if you're looking for something for Rachel Appreciation Day - held on the first Thursday after the Second Wednesday of every month - you would not go wrong with a gift card to Borders. Except the Writers Guild of America. You know what they can give me? New episodes of the Office!! I'm DYING without them.) Because my birthday happened while I was house-sitting at the Dukes I ended up putting all those wonderful cards into a gift bag after my party and putting it in my closet before heading back to dust more Surfing Santa figurines. I found them when I was moving...around Christmas time. And suddenly I found myself rolling in plastic money. Hooray! I bought my weight in books in the stores but I still had some money left over. So it was time for CDs. I haven't purchased a CD in months but I had been wanting the new Rilo Kiley since I heard a full review on NPR and Amazon had been recommending this Robert Plant/Allison Krauss CD for a while now and that seemed like kind of a weird and magical pairing so I got that too (see exactly how much I loved this CD here. I feel bad for Rilo Kiley because I may never get to theirs.)

The next package needs some explaining. Picture Young Adorable Impressionable Rachel. It's her 7th birthday. She just opened a package from Uncle Kim & Aunt Vicki. It was 3 books from the Trixie Belden series. Who's Trixie Belden you ask? She's Nancy Drew, only so much better. Nancy was just too perfect. With her lawyer father and powder blue convertible. I couldn't stomach her. And she played that old trick that all Alpha Girls play, she surrounded herself with seemingly inferior people. In Nancy's case her dopey boyfriend Ned, and her two best friends, Bess, who was "pleasantly plump" (read: fat) and George, the tom-boy (read: future member of the wrestling team). Nope, Nancy Drew was not for me. But Trixie was awesome. She had cool older brothers and great friends and they had a secret club with matching jackets and they helped the poor and underprivileged out, and still managed to find mysteries and get into scrapes. Because that's what young teenage sleuths do, they get into scrapes. My dad would read a chapter a night to me out of two of the books and I read the third on my own. Fast forward 25 years and talk to Laura, who had the not so enviable task of organizing my book collection, and you can see exactly what Trixie lead to.

I still have all of my Trixie Belden books, except that the collection isn't complete. I grew out of her before getting all of them and it's been a little bit of a heartbreak to me. Enter Joan. What can we say about Joan, except wow, and maybe can I take a nap now. Because Joan is a wee little pixie spit-fire who loves tag sales. Joan is Amanda's mom and during those golden days of being roommates (with Amanda, not Joan) she learned about my incomplete Trixie Belden collection and vowed to find the rest of the books for me. And she has stuck to her promise. About every few months I will get a package from Joan containing old copies of Trixie books (And sometimes clothes. The woman can not stop herself from a getting a good deal.) It is always really thrilling to open the package and see which ones she's found. They're usually books that I have already except usually from a different printing of them, which is just as exciting. They've actually started reprinting these books and I could certainly go on line and find dozens of copies of the ones that I'm missing but that would mean that I'd have to tell Joan to stop looking. And I believe, and I'm sure that Amanda would agree, that the hunt is what really gets Joan going. I couldn't deprive her of that. And that means that I still will get surprise packages. Win-win.


Laura said...

So I have Uncle Kim and Aunt Vicki to blame for having to organize your books?

Heather said...

A lesson to all: You should never turn down a package from Joan.
I've learned from the experiences of others that it's always random and exciting. And that makes everyone smile. :-)

Amanda said...

I'm so glad to hear that you have received multiple packages from my mom. She has called frequently to get your address, but I was never sure if she had just misplaced it or was actually sending something. It was probably 50/50.
The hunt is really what makes it for her and you will probably end up with three of each volume before it is all over, but when you are 60 you will probably get a final package containing the last book you've been missing. Hopefully you will still find her packages endearing by then. I know I do!

Valerie said...

I couldn't agree more about Nancy Drew. I remember the very moment she lost me. She was chasing (or being chased, I can't quite remember), and the writer took the time to point out that despite this potentially life threatening situation, Nancy and her stupid convertable stayed under the speed limit. How am I supposed to identify with a charecter like that?
I'm excited to hear about an alternative heroine, because I do like reading about girls (just like you and me) getting into jams (jams = the same as scrapes).

Anonymous said...

This is crazy. I searched bloglines for Trixie Belden and stumbled upon this post. I said almost exactly the same thing about Trixie vs. Nancy in my blog's "about me." I have the complete collection of Trixie Belden thanks to the advent of Ebay...though packages from a friend would have been much more fun!

I'm jonesing for the office too.

What a fun post to read!