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The Envelope

A few months back, Elaine handed an envelope we had received in the mail. She asked me politely, "Can you take care of this!" I was already in procrastination mode and laid the envelope on the counter without giving it a second thought.


Days later, Elaine found that special place on the counter where I hide things I don't want to deal with. She found the envelope. "You haven't taken care of this letter, as I asked you."


Me: I'll get to it, just put it back on the pile.

Elaine: When?

Me: When I have time. Elaine: When you have time! You don't have a job! You always have time.

Me: I know all of that but I'm trying to give my back a rest. Elaine: Please take care of the letter.


I can't explain why but I opened the envelope. I waited another month or so, but hey, I opened it! It was about twenty pages of a survey issued by the United States government. Some of the questions were very invasive. I felt a severe case of procrastination coming on. All twenty pages went back into the envelope to be hidden from Elaine.


I learned in eighth-grade civics class the Federal government counts inhabitants living in the United States every ten years. This count was to take place in the calendar years ending in zero. That would give me eight years. I had plenty of time.


Turns out I was wrong. (I can't believe I just wrote that.) A couple of Saturday evenings ago, Fourth of July weekend to be exact, Ivy was home and noticed a man in our driveway working on a computer tablet on the hood of his SUV.


Ivy: Monner, someone is here. There is an old dude with a tablet in the driveway. Me: He's probably looking for directions. Old Dude: (actually my age, so he will now be called the young guy with a tablet) Do you live here? Me: Who wants to know?


The young guy with the snow-white hair and wrinkly face produced a laminated business card, complete with his picture, identifying him as being from the census bureau.


Guy: Did you receive a census in the mail?

Me: Yes Guy: Did you fill it out and return it? Me: No

Guy: You are lawfully required to fill it out and return it.

Me : Yeah, I read that.

Guy: Can I ask why you didn't?

Me: Well, to be honest, I have some experience here. We went through its before. Years ago the Census Bureau sent out a couple of young women. (Can I say young women?) They filled out the papers and then our yaks chased them down the driveway. I wasn't home. I would guess Elaine enjoyed it more than the young women. (Can I say that?) I knew if I didn't fill it out, the bureau would send someone out and they would fill it out. And look around, here you are!


Use this as a public service announcement, it is much easier and faster to let them fill it out. Help them, but let them do it.


Guy: Shall we sit down?

Me: No, my back hurts when I sit for long periods, but you can sit if you would like.

Guy: I'll stand. May I have the name, rank, and the serial number of everyone living in the house. (paraphrasing)

Me: Well, that's where it gets confusing. We have a set of twins that get mail here and sometimes live here.


The guy decided they don't live here. See why I procrastinate, how was I to know if the twins live here.


Guy: Are you a citizen?

Me: Yes Guy: Where are your people from?

Me: America

Guy: No, your ancestors? Where are they from?

Me: My parents were born in Colorado and Wyoming, that's in America!

Guy: I'm putting down America. Did you collect any agricultural money from this property? Me; We sold a few eggs.

Guy: In terms of dollars, how many eggs?

Me: About fifteen dollars

Guy: Fifteen dollars? Me: We don't really sell eggs, but we will if people ask.


I would say we had a good time. The old dude laughed a bunch and seemed to be enjoying our chat. He ended up giving me (unofficial) advice on Social Security. I was having a great time. We don't get many unannounced visitors on the Fourth of July weekend.


If you receive an envelope from the government, you don't necessarily need to follow my path, but bear in mind, by filling it out your community gets free stuff. Yep, that's what the old guy told me. Free stuff.


God Bless you guys. Buy yarn! Pray for Ukraine. Get free stuff!


Our crazy lives!


Monner

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