R.I.P. Old Big Box

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Our Old Big Box

I’ve never understood the thrill of destroying someone else’s property. Even when I was a teenager, I never vandalized anything. Perhaps it was the work ethic I was raised with and the fact that I began working as a babysitter when I was just 11 and got a “real” job at the local Tasty Queen when I was 14.

I understood how hard people had to work to have things.

That’s why it always takes me by such surprise when we’ve been the victims of vandals. When I got up Saturday morning, I headed for the table, looking for the mail (and in particular, some checks that are owed me). I had a full list of “to-dos” and errands to run while Dale was home from his 70-hour week for a couple of days.

He asks, “Did you get the mail yesterday?”

Dale always picks the mail up on his way in from work and since he began his new schedule working a part time job and his new full time job, that means he picks it up well after midnight, long after I’ve gone to bed.

He knew I hadn’t been out on Friday and I don’t make a special trip up the road to get the mail. “No, why would I have gotten the mail?”

“Our mailbox is gone.”

Now, I was not only on overload from everything we had to do while he is home, but coffee deprived and confused as well.

“Gone? Are all of them gone?”

“No. Just ours. I couldn’t see it anywhere in the dark.”

It was there when he stopped after midnight on Thursday night and missing by midnight on Friday night.

I moved from a little cranky to enraged.

What if my checks were in the mailbox when it was stolen!?

I called the post office and found our carrier was still there. He told me that he had seen a big rural mailbox beaten and crumpled in a ditch about a half-mile down the road and when he got to our row of mailboxes, he realized it was ours. He didn’t deliver our mail and still had it in town. Who knows why he didn’t pick up our mailbox – it was clearly marked without our address and name – or even bother to call us when he returned from delivering the mail to let us know on Friday. Our contract mailman does as little as possible to get by, he won’t even bring packages down our road, although the post office says he must unless we’re more than 2 miles away. This is why we need a large rural mailbox to begin with, if we don’t have one, I would have to take time away from my job writing running to the post office to pick up packages my clients send, or other things that just don’t fit in a standard sized box.

I asked him to leave the mail at the post office and told him we would have a new box up by Monday.

We had this happen all of the time in the city. Kids and baseball bats. Our neighborhood would awaken, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning to our mailboxes littering the streets. After a half dozen mailbox replacements, we finally purchased this clunky, ugly thing, but we never had to buy another mailbox.

Still incensed, I added another line to the to-do list and another $40 unexpected expense for another big rural box to the budget. Just what we needed when I’m trying to get us caught up.

We found out later from a neighbor that someone had hit the entire row and ours probably got stuck on their vehicle and was drug down the road. It wasn’t very neighborly of someone to come along and pick it up on the road and just take it instead of returning it to us.

I doubt whoever did this even realizes it’s a federal offense to tamper with mailboxes. Or even care Dale will be working over 5 hours today paying for it, and one of our other bills will have to wait. Or even gave a thought that yesterday, on one of his two days off, with other maintenance projects I cannot do waiting at the house, Dale had to spend time affixing a new mailbox. Only this time, it is securely fastened, anyone who wants to drag it away will have to take all 15 on the row.

Have you ever been the victim of vandals or theft?

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28 Responses

  1. metal man says:

    Can any type of metal be recycled? Of course, I am sure they can in one way or another, but will recycling centers pay you for any sort of metal? Even steel? I have a crazy amount of stuff in my backyard that I would totally be willing to drive down to the nearest recycling facility if I knew for a fact they would offer me cash in exchange for it.

    • Welcome to Living Large, Metal Man!
      It just depends on the recycling facility. Some will even take old appliances (although ours will not). I would suggest you call your local recycling facility or take a trip there to find out what exactly yours will take.

  2. M R G says:

    caught a couple of punks bashing my mailbox – chased them down the road – put the fear of God into them! (made them go to church!?!?!)
    Told them if they were not in church I would put them in jail. One was on probation, the other on parole. I knew one’s dad; thought of what I would want someone to do for my son. So far, I do not think they have been in trouble again!

  3. We’ve never had anything happen to our mailbox or any mail stolen, but my husband feels better with a P.O. box for his business mail just in case. It’s a pain, though, as he has to drive into town, try to find a parking spot to pick it up. I don’t understand the thinking of people who destroy other’s property, I wasn’t raised that way and try to respect other peoples things.

  4. How truly bizarre to have your mailbox missing! (And that this has happened before.) I find this so unsettling, Kerri! I kind of like the look of your old box, too. It would be kind of neat to have it outside the Little House as a kind of hallmark.

  5. Linda Mason says:

    I can’t think if I have written on your blog or not but here I am. We have a little 12 x 28 barn shed that we are converting to our little house. Some wiring done, some insulation done and a toilet. But, we are living in it and use out little 15 ft. travel trailer to shower and wash dishes etc.

    Sorry to hear about the mailbox. We are in the process of getting out own little acre of land and will have to get a mailbox too. Ours is in a rural area also, so hope we don’t run into that problem. Hopefully we will be getting onto our property by the end of the summer. That is our plan for now. It is just money, money, money. Never is enough and we are doing this on a cash on hand basis, so it is taking awhile. With down payment, septic, water, power pole etc. it is a trick to get it all together.

    Keep posting and I will keep reading. Thanks

    • Welcome, Linda! Your little house sounds awesome! You’ll be thankful once it is done and you are in it debt free, I wish we would have taken that route! Good luck with everything and hope to “see” you back here joining in the conversations.

  6. Vandalism in general astounds me. I’m sorry to hear about your mailbox.

    Ours got snapped off, post and all, by one of the road maintenance guys … a couple times. If we call the road/bridge office, they’ll usually come replace it.

  7. V Schoenwald says:

    Sorry for the type o, I need a shot of coffee… or go back to school

  8. V Schoenwald says:

    Many times.
    I live in a drug infested trailer park, and I DO NOT have my mail delivered here, too much mail was stolen from my boc when I moved in and the Post office would not put in a locking mail box at all. I have had a box at the UPS Store and have had it for about 8 yrs, as I did graphic design and custom hand needlework and beading for designers all over the world, so I had to be very careful about receiving packages, so there at the UPS store, they come safe and sound, and are protected, and signed for until I get there. The only thing that gets stuck in my craw is the fact that I have to spend 95.00 a year to have this box, I share the box with my parents so we split the cost, but even my elderly parents are not safe in their neighborhood, they have had mail stolen and placed somewhere in somebody else’s mail box, go figure….

  9. phillis godwin says:

    So sorry, Kerri. Know that it is a real headache.
    Love & prayers.

  10. Kim says:

    I’m an anomaly, I know, but I’ve never had a mailbox damaged or anything taken from our property here in Arkansas… our garage doesn’t even have a door on it (old stone garage, normal garage doors won’t fit it, we’d have to have a custom door made and it would cost a mint).

    Someday I’m sure we’ll regret being so casual with leaving things in the garage and yard, but as of yet, we’re unviolated. (knocking on wood)

    Now in Florida, we had a leafblower stolen, trees trimmed by a drunken handyman hoping for some booze money, and (the worst) a two-year-old AC unit stripped out to sell the copper as scrap. NONE of that was fun.

    • That reminds me of when I was little, Kim. No one locked their doors anytime. We went on vacation one year and came home to our house ransacked. Turns out the kids behind us had come into the house and helped themselves to food and some of my toys. That was the beginning of locking the doors while away.

  11. MarthaandMe says:

    I have a mailbox story that is weird in a different way. Our mailbox is in a bank of identical mailboxes across the street. Before we moved here, a private drive with houses was put in across the street and they put up this bank of boxes and the previous owners of our house agreed to have their box in it.

    Last year we weren’t getting our paper, which goes into a slot under the box. I called the paper and the manager came out and came to the door, angry, saying the paper was out there.

    The people on the private drive had reorganized the mailboxes and added another bank of them on the other side of their drive. They changed the numbers on the boxes without telling us, moving ours down in the bank of boxes it was in. So for a whole week I was thinking I had no mail and no paper, when it was all in a different box. I’m so accustomed to just going to my box that I don’t look at the number. I was pretty angry that these people (whom we have never met!) just moved our mailbox without telling us.

    • Oh, that is crazy! It’s also illegal. A year ago, we had our row of boxes moved from the very dangerous curvy road onto the dirt road so we wouldn’t be taking our lives in our hands getting our mail. My aunt first had to have a petition drawn up and have ALL of the neighbors sign it saying they wanted their boxes moved. We also had to wait for the head of the state postal service to approve it. My aunt was just saying yesterday how big of a PITA it was.

  12. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    Kerri, I certainly understand the frustration of rural mailbox destruction. I had a number lost due to being beat up and rammed. The last one was anchored to a large Bois d’arc post, so if rammed so would be more likely to do damage to the vehicle. At my current location I chose not to have mail delivered to the house and instead have a PO box. If not collected, the mail just waits for me. This has worked well and there are boxes they leave packages in. This has worked out well for me and gives me peace of mind.

    • Sounds like you’ve come up with an alternative system. I’ve been hoping that more of my clients would go to electronic pay, it is so much better than waiting for checks anyway.

      • S.A.B.L.E. says:

        In the spirit of recycling, if it’s not too beat up, maybe your big old box can be turned into a bird house, a flower/plant holder for your front step, or even a trash can.

        Keep Smiling!

        • Susan says:

          Love the idea..

          • This would be wonderful. However, we didn’t find our old Big Box. By the time we were told it was in the ditch next to the road about a 1/2 mile from our dirt road, it was gone. I didn’t think it very nice of someone to come along and pick it up – especially when our name and complete address was on it – but I’m sure they realized they had a $40 mailbox, or good scrap metal. I wish them well with whatever they do with it.

  13. Susan says:

    sorry about your mailbox, but glad to hear your mail was not stolen…real shame about your lazy mailman.

    We have had mailboxes rural and city destroyed.
    Truck tires stolen right in the parking lot of the apartments we lived in Groton,Ct back in the 70’s. They took all 4 and dropped it on the ground. We didn’t know anyone and had to walk to a tire dealer and roll new tires home (not to mention 2 young kids to tag along) and then have a tow truck come to lift our truck to put the new ones on. And two vehicles broken into right in our driveway where we live now. Busted the windows out and took the radios. Have had my house egged and TP’d. It is really maddening when other think they have a right to your things or can destroy them. And like you said the expense and hours you have to work to replace or repair them.