Category: mailbox

Going Postal

old mailbox
Old Mailbox

Not all mailboxes are created equal.

At least, not in my neighborhood. When I lived in Texas, my mailbox was a nondescript, local hardware store product mounted on a steel pipe driven into the ground. When I moved into my house, there, I had to buy my own because the former occupant took the mailbox with him.

Things are different in Georgia.

There are lots of people from all over in the Atlanta area. Many are from places where there is so much snow and ice that having grass in a yard is considered a major accomplishment. When these people move to Georgia, they discover a long growing season, garden supply stores, Lowes, and Home Depot, stores with shelves heavily laden with yard stuff.

They also sell decorative mailboxes. My neighbors are from all over, and have beautiful yards and decorative mailboxes.

When we moved into our Georgia house, the previous owner left his non-decorative mailbox because it was ugly, and the wooden post was anchored in concrete. After a while, the wooden post rotted through and fell down. If your mailbox is on the ground, the mailman will not give you anymore mail until you fix the problem.

This happened to me after a couple of years. My solution was to rush to Home Depot, get a new wooden post, and jam it into the ground. I was in a hurry, and did not do the concrete thing.  Over the next twenty years, my mailbox developed a rustic lean, and I decided to see how long it would take to rot and fall down.

The neighbors did not criticize me, much, about my cruddy, leaning mailbox. Some of their kids laughed at me, and one of them offered to help me install a new one. I think his mother put him up to that.

The post never did rot all the way through, probably because it wasn’t embedded in concrete, and the soil around it drained the water away from the post. The only reason I had to replace it was because it had to be moved to make way for a tree that was being cut down.

When I went to Home Depot to get a new mailbox and post, I told the salesperson that, 1) I didn’t want to dig a hole, and 2) I didn’t want to use concrete to support it. Not only am I lazy, but I am a lot older and handling digging tools is not right for a respected gentleman of my age and standing.

The new wooden post has a three-foot length of angle iron driven into the base, with two feet available to be driven into the ground. Uh oh, it leans even more that the old one. The ground is wet and soft this spring, and my new mailbox post is leaning at about fifteen degrees off vertical.

This “no concrete” thing is not working, this mailbox

Just the other day, I asked my neighbor if her son would help me put in a decent mailbox. She smiled and said, “Of course!”

I sure do have good neighbors. Maybe this will keep them from going postal.

If The Post Office Goes Out Of Business…

Do I still need that mailbox on my curb? Why, of all times, is the US Postal Service talking about curtailing service? Last weekend, I had to install a new mailbox, and now am suffering from the leaning mailbox syndrome.

You see, it all started with my concern about a couple of pine trees that were next to my driveway. In Georgia pines are not considered real trees, but more like weeds in the tree family. You cannot get rid of the things, and when a good wind comes along they are likely to fall on your house or car. Even with insurance, you are still in for a world of hurt with your insurance company as you try to get new dining tables, carpets and china out of a pine tree experience.

So, I contracted with a fly-by-night tree company to get four pine trees out of my yard. When they finally showed up on a Saturday morning, they yanked my existing mailbox out of the ground, and propped it against the garage door because it was in their way. My precious mailbox had been in the ground for twenty years doing its job. It was partially rotted, and did not re-install very well.

In my estimation those tree guys cheated me out of at least two years worth of mailbox life before I had to replace it. My trashy looking mailbox was the subject of some controversy in the neighborhood, but I refused to go all decorative. I was going for the mailbox longevity record.

I went to Home Depot and had a pow-wow with a clerk who was an expert on mailbox installations. I was anti-digging and anti-concrete. Lazy was a word to describe my attitude. My new mentor went right along with the idea, and I wound up with a no-dig mailbox post, along with a new black, shiny mailbox. All I had to do was to drive a steel stake into the ground, and fit the top of the stake into a pre-drilled hole in the bottom of the  new wooden post.

Yeah, sure.

Equipped with hammer and level, I commenced the job. Let me say that there is no way to keep a steel stake perfectly vertical while pounding the hell out of the thing with a hammer. Plus, the heavy cedar post seems to make up its own rules when it comes to a lean/no-lean attitude.

Yep! My new mailbox leans to one side. Of course, this is extremely embarrassing because all my neighbors have nice, perfectly vertical mailboxes with cute little wrought iron or otherwise decorative posts. Gheeez!  What a bunch of anal retentive perfectionists.

I guess I will have to wait another twenty years to replace this mail box, or the US Postal Service can just go out of business and I can yank the damned thing out of the ground.