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What’s In Those Boxes?

Friday 30 November 2018 - Filed under Writing

It was a cold day in late November. We had our first snow. Several Christmas presents were due. My husband, adult son, and I—all blind—try to track arrivals and schedule them so we know who should get the mail or intercept the UPS guy. It isn’t always possible to get it right. This was one of those days for us. The shippers don’t always deliver as scheduled, and worse yet, something could be backordered.

Out of seven packages expected over a three-day period, four arrived on the same day. We couldn’t use the KNFB reader, Seein AI, or opticon because someone might see a return address that would give away the contents of a package—can’t afford AIRA ’til the Christmas bills are paid!

We lined them up on the kitchen table. After lots of laughs and some healthy shake, rattle, and guesses, we thought we had them separated. Should we have saved the whole project until sighted help was at hand? Probably, but we’re the adventurous types, and gladly took on the challenge of doing it the fun way if, in some respects, the hard way.

Guess what? We got it right. Nobody opened a box that contained one of his/her own intended gifts. Here are a few helpful hints gathered from forty-six years of marriage, family gatherings, and raising two blind kids.

  1. Train your hired or volunteer help not to give away secrets about what you’ve bought for your honey or the chickadees—easier said than done.

Kathy was sweeping the front steps when the FedEx truck arrived. “Roger, your carpet cleaner is here, come help me carry it in!” They just mean to help, but…

  1. Make sure that really is Christmas wrap, and not the birthday paper you bought to wrap your mother-in-law’s scented candle. Then make sure the printed side is out, otherwise you’ll probably have all white packages.

  2. Have someone check for price tags, you can’t always feel them. It’s best to do that at time of purchase if possible. But if you buy them online, they may or may not have tags.

  3. Whether you wrap your own gifts or have some help, be sure to not only tag them in print, but use some system for your own identification. Braille labels or Pen Friend labels work well. A little piece of Dymo on the corner or on the bottom is hardly noticeable. You can use a regular tag with Braille and print if the size is right. If you have several presents of similar size for the same person or people, you can use a coding system with a letter of the alphabet or a number beside the recipient’s name on the tag. You then keep a corresponding chart that tells you what’s in the box.

  4. If several presents arrive on the same day and you aren’t sure who ordered them, wait for help to read mailing labels unless you’re brave, out of time, out of help, or have the right amount of Christmas spirit for an adventure like ours.

2018-11-30  »  Marilyn Brandt Smith

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