usually smashes parcels significantly/

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Mystery Box?

Hang around long enough and, eventually, even the highly improbable happens. The humans are cleaning out the pantry today. I know! I was shocked too! They have discovered a suspicious Mystery Box way up at the back of the top shelf.

Sleipnir’s Fetlocks! No one knows how long it’s been up there. If it was supposed to be refrigerated, I think I want to be in the next county when it’s opened!

Norns save us. Look at that postmark date! This thing has been up there forever. More to the point, look at the price of postage! You certainly can’t mail a box for that anymore. Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly wants a great deal more than that nowadays!

Let me just weave a little Protect Against Stinkage spell here and we can start solving the mystery… It’s one of those boxes, where the flaps tuck into the sides. They completely flummox the human female, but I know how to open them.

One side done…

The box has been breached. The contents are hermetically sealed.

Sigyn, remember the out-of-datedness and potential putrefaction. Spell or no spell, you might not want to be standing up there when I unzip this plastic bag.

Seriously, sweetie. You’re going to want to get down from there. I promise, you’ll be able to see what it is a lot better once we get the baggie open.

Unzipping in 3…2…

I decided I wanted a better look before I opened the bag. Inside the plastic bag is a paper bag, and whatever is in the paper bag has given it lurid purple stains

I have a bad feeling about this…

Oh. There’s a note!

“Plant Material–Roots. Lithospermum incisum, Fringed Puccoon.” Are we sure this note is in English?

Ah. The Mystery is partially solved. The human female says she has long suspected that the roots of a local plant, Lithospermum incisum or Fringed Puccoon (a ri-DIC-ulous name!) would make a good natural dye, because they leave purple stains on herbarium sheets when they are pressed and dried. At some point in the dim, dark past, someone she mentioned this to gathered a quantity of roots and mailed them to her so she could test her hypothesis. But, being a botanist of very little brain, she buried it away like an absent minded squirrel and promptly forgot all about it.

Sigyn? Sigyn, where are you going?

“Off to research dye recipes!”

Why do I get the feeling that there is going to be some very messy, potentially very stain-y hypothesis-testing going on in the near future?

Time to go hunt up some old clothes. My cloak is wool, and wool takes natural dyes very, very well. The last thing I need is to end up looking like a grumpy eggplant.

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Adventures in Carcinization

Sigyn, come quickly! I hear there’s another mystery package!

Uh, oh. When things arrive in “body bags” it is never a good sign. What has Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly done this time?!

The gray plastic-bagged parcel inside hasn’t fared any better.

It looks as if it was torn open and taped back together. I have no idea what’s inside, and the human female doesn’t know of anything on order, either. It rattles a bit, but not in the exciting way that tiny vials and tubes of beads do…

Odin’s eyepatch, that’s not good!

It seems that the human male ordered the female a new pet as a surprise, and the seller put it in a small, flexible box, inside a plastic bag, and the postal machinery was just too rough for the poor little fellow.

What were they thinking?! I know crabs can regrow lost appendages, and this shelly decapod seems spunky and defiant, but it seems a pretty large ask to expect the unfortunate creature to recover from the loss of four of its appendages. If nothing else, it is doomed to crawl in circles until those walking legs grow back.

Still, it’s a dull man who can’t find the good in a situation. While Sigyn heads off to see about arranging accommodation for our new housemate, I will examine some other options.

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Mischief Update, Retiree Version

I bet, mortals, that you all thought I would get *soft* after the human female retired, not having students and vendors and shippers and faculty to make mischief with, didn’t you?

It amuses me when I’m underestimated…

There is plenty to do to tarnish the humans’ “golden years.”

First of all, the humans still have to deal with Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly. In a bold move of compound inefficiency, a large Purveyor of Books in New York City, at the human female’s sister’s behest, mailed two books to the human male for Yule in early December. I convinced them to utilize a hybrid, two-carrier approach. Their shipper handed off to Usually Smashes in the middle of December, at which time they vanished from this plane of existence. The vendor doesn’t know where they are, and they wouldn’t tell the sister who the first shipper was, nor will they replace the volumes until they have been missing for a month. Usually Smashes has them listed as “in transit” and refuses to do anything more. Will the human male have his books before the month is out? Who knows?!

The human female mailed a box to the Floristy Friend in a different city and I promptly hid the tracking receipt. She mailed some yarn to the Knittery Friend in the Big City to the South before Yule and tried to check its tracking. Usually Smashes directed her to text the tracking number to a certain other number, which yielded no results other than a return message, hours later, that incurs fees to read. Over the weekend, the human female tried to mail a box to another friend in the northwestern part of the state, hauling the goods, a sharpie marker, the address, and some packing tape with her, only to find that a) on Saturdays the nearest post office is only open between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. and b) when she brought the goodies and a flat-rate shipping box home from the open lobby of the closed post office and packed things up to take to post office #2, I packed up the sharpie in the box. It will make a weird, if useful, addition to the contents of the box…

Nor are the humans now exempt from dealing with the University. Yes, the same University that sent out a widely-distributed email telling everyone who was tested for plague on campus in recent days that they may have received a false negative and that they all needed to go and have antibody tests done. This was followed shortly by an, “Oops! That was a mistake!” email, and now no one knows what’s going on. I’m not tampering with tests, you understand, just comminications.

And then there is the whole “insurance thing.” The humans were eligible to continue their University-provided coverage, with the billing handled by a third party. The first bill for each of them came at the end of the first month of retirement and was for two months, that one and the next, with another bill following each month. Then they each received a letter that the University was going to be taking over the billing in January (handoff orchestrated by me) and that retirees could have the premiums deducted from their pension checks, if they filled out the proper forms. Which was all well and good until the humans got muddled when each of them received a letter from the third party saying that they had missed a premium payment and Were In Danger of Losing Their Coverage. After spending the better part of two days on hold with the Third Party, the male was told, “Oh, we’re not handling that anymore; talk to the University.” The human female contacted the University and received a speedy response: “Oh, a bunch of letters got sent out in error, send me copies of what you have and we’ll sort it out.” That was several days ago now. The humans still don’t know what, if anything, they owe, who they might owe it to, or whether they’re actually covered.

The human female tidied up her windowsill plants (too lazy to repot them yet, but the defunct ones were jettisoned and the others relieved of their dead foliage) and left a space on the broad dining room sill serve as a feline vantage point. The furry beggars insist on sitting in the window anyway, but now they can do it without knocking stray Saintpaulia specimens to the floor. I have taken advantage of this avenue for kitty mischief, encouraging not one but both to get up in the window and shove the plants even further afield. Moreover, I have taught them to use this as a vantage point from which to bat at the bird silhouette that keeps avians from crashing into the window, swat at the nearby ficus, and play patty-cake with the palm tree in the corner. Taffy, especially, likes to work out her naughtiness on the plants and is quite immune to verbal reprimand, gentle “swats”, lobbed shoes which carefully miss, and being put in time out. The squirt bottle works, if you can catch her with it. All in all, it’s a good way to distract the human female from her writing. In all of the hubbub, last week the ficus went over completely, scattering soil and leaves all over the floor. That was fun.

I’ve been helping with craft projects also. The human female sewed soft cloth roll-up holders for fountain pens for the human male and two of their friends. Clever design and not to difficult to sew, but more entertaining for me since I saw to it that on roll #2, the dark green thread ran out completely with four inches left to sew and no more in her thread box. She had to remove the bobbin, wind some of it onto a second bobbin, and then use the second bobbin as the top thread. Of course, after she finished sewing the roll, she found not one but two spools of dark green thread. On roll #3, which was a different color, I arranged for the thread to break about every eight inches. Ehehehe! That spool is going in the trash! Or maybe I’ll distract her and she’ll forget to toss it and the next time she tries to use it it will all happen again…

Then there was the failure of the potatoes to bake satisfactorily in the pressure cooker, the leaky bedroom window, the jury summons, the property tax bill, and the leftovers that froze in the back of the fridge…

So, yeah, not bored.

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A Very Useful Parcel

The human female has received a parcel, courtesy of Usually Smashes Packages Significantly.

It is from her mother, an amazing woman who has been known to send edibles. Cookies usually come in boxes, though, and not padded envelopes, so probably this isn’t snackable. Pity.

No, Sigyn, I don’t think we need to wait for the human female to open it. What if it’s something important and time-sensitive? We should open it at once!

Bubble wrap! We can have fun popping that later. For now, let’s just get to the goods!

I’m still hoping for edibles. It could be a long candy bar. You know, like a Toblerone, only better because no nougat.

Rats! Plastic and fabric. Definitely not edible. Sigyn is excited and seems to recognize this thing, but I don’t know what it is.

It unfolds to something very colorful.

I see people and flowers and architecture…


It is a decorative fan. This is a good present.

One, the human female can employ it when she is feeling over-warm. Given that, even though it is September, daytime temperatures are still flirting with the high nineties, it will probably get a lot of use.

Two, while she is using it, no one will be able to see more of her stoopid face than her eyebrows.

I have a thank-you note to write.

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Surprise! Not.


The human male, feeling sad that the human female received a subpar Lamborghini instead of what he originally intended, went online to the Large River and ordered the toy set.

It’s in transit.  She should have it by now.  Let’s check the tracking, shall we?

where is nick fury

Ehehehehehe!  Woman, I’m involved.  You might as well give up hope now.

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I Sense A Theme Here

Earlier this week, I spoke of Yule parcels which met with misadventure en route and did not arrive.  However, one package, sent by the human female’s up-north Auntie, has managed to arrive.  Come, my love, let us examine this parcel!


This Auntie often sends baked goods.  Mmmm…  The human female says we may open it and see if anything needs refrigeration.


What do you think, Sigyn?  Fudge?  Fruitcake?  Maple syrup or candy???  The best time is the minute before you actually look, because then it could be anything.


I see glass!    But what is that shifting, tinkling sound?


Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  This does not bode well at all.


Norns’ nighties!  Was Thor here doing Mjolnir practice?  Or was the horrible Hulk on the premises?  I have seldom seen anything so comprehensively smashed!  I asked Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly to bang up the box a bit, just to frighten the mortals, but they can’t even do wrong right and have delivered a pristine box with a catastrophe inside.


Mortal, be sure to remember to write a thank-you note for this thoughtful gift.  Here, I will dictate:

“Dear Auntie,

“Thank you for the amusing jigsaw puzzle.”

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Holiday Secrets and Mysteries

It’s very near Yule, and yuletide secrets abound!  What is everyone buying for me? What did the human male buy for the human female this year?  What did the human female get the human male?

Whatever it is…it seems to have gone astray.

where's David's book

Ehehehe!  She ordered four things.  Three of them were sent to a pickup hub rather than the house and arrived just fine last week.  The fourth, not so much.  Between the Large River in South America and Unrepentant Package Squashers, that thing is well and truly lost.  The online tracking is still showing the above.  The latest email the human female has received says, effectively, “Well, this is a tad embarrassing.  We’ll see if we can’t hunt down the package that traveled hundreds of miles and made it all the way to your home city and was out on the truck for delivery—and then vanished.”

She tried calling the Large River, and they said, “Sorry.  Our system shows it could still arrive.  If it hasn’t shown up by the 18th, then we’ll talk.”  How long do you think I can string this out?  New Years?

Another mystery:  Why didn’t they send all four items in one box on the same day instead of two boxes one day apart?  The better to serve you!

That’s not the only parcel that was wandering around out there with the human female’s name on it.  Behold the masterpiece that was the tracking for the gift ordered for the human male’s mother:

Mom’s sweater1

When Fex-Ex hands off to Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly, the results are delicious.

I updated that before it finally did show up:

Mom’s sweater

Three words for you, mortals:  Bricks and mortar.

Will anything arrive in time?  I’m not telling!

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Mail has been rather sporadic lately.  Sometimes I just tell the carrier they can take a day off.  No one really needs their mail-order medicines or the latest quilt fabric catalog, do they?

The other day, though, I arranged for something a little more dramatic.

squashed po

Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly swears that the collapse of a sorting facility in the Big City to the South “won’t affect mail deliveries at all.”

If you believe that, I’ve some lovely acreage in Muspelheim you might be interested in.

Still, perhaps they are telling the truth (for once), because this managed to arrive for the human female:

jury summons

Isn’t that hilarious?!  Sometimes I make myself laugh!  Remember, mortal, it’s a legal document!  You have to report exactly where–and when!–they say, or you’ll be in big, expensive trouble!

And I know what you’re thinking.  If you show up in your pajamas and slippers, they’ll fine you two hundred dollars!

Ehehehehe!  Let’s see you wriggle out of this one.

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Hobby Hijinks, Part I: Messing with the Mail

Everybody ought to have a hobby.  Sigyn collects glass paperweights and keeps trying to learn to knit.

My hobby is meddling with the human female’s hobbies.

For instance, she and the human male love to travel.  They spend hours, sometimes, planning trips they may never take.  Do that often enough online, express even one iota of interest in a tour company’s offerings, and you’re on their mailing list forever.  I’ve seen to it that the humans are inundated daily with email and web-based ads for cruises, tours, and flights.  (My best work is that one offer that promises $400 airfare to London.  It sounds fantastic, but you only get that price if you fly through Istanbul and take a 24-hour layover.  Ehehehehe.)

Sometimes I have snail mail show up at the house, too.   Thanks to some careful rerouting, this brochure, however, looks as if it has tangled with something a bit more vicious than a snail.

Wolverine, maybe.

Behold the cover!


That is a first-class dog-ear, right there!  Someone took pains with that.

There has also been a “helpful” application of tape to the poor, shredded cover.


More down here on the bottom.


By the Bifrost!  Look at these interior pages!


Tsk, tsk, tsk.  (Ehehehehehe)


The back cover has fared no better.  Though the actual cruise line is probably more careful than our ham-handed postal person–and the ships are no doubt more sturdy than this sad catalog– this whole shreddy mess has rather tainted the idea of a European river cruise.

Into the recycle barrel it goes!

Along with the human female’s dreams of cruising down the Danube…

>|: [

In Which Infiltrate Another Branch of the United States Government

It’s been strongly suspected by many for a while that I have a hand in the running of the Infernal Revenue Service.  (I’ve been slowly and steadily siphoning funds for my takeover of the realm.)  Now I am ready to announce openly that I have taken control of Usually Smashes Parcel Significantly .

And the mail-sorting equipment is functioning juuuuust the way I want…

mangled mail

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