At the Post Office – May I Borrow Your Pen?

Planning to use a priority mail package and the self-mailing kiosk inside, I pulled into the Summerville Post Office. I checked to make sure I had my iPhone in my purse as I have not memorized my little sister’s address. Although I am sure in the town the size she lives in, everyone in the post office knows her.

  1. Package must fit Priority Mail packaging
  2. Package must weigh less than 70 pounds
  3. Package will be weighed to determine the amount of postage needed & mail zone the package is going to
  4. Label may be generated onlinet or at the post office
  5. Carrier may pickup package with notice; Priority Mail package with posted paid label can be put directly in the kiosk or handed to the mail carrier
  6. Other services are available with Priority Mail e.g. tracking, insurance

Yes, iPhone in my purse, but no pen. In order to mail a box Priority Mail through the post office, certain rules must be followed. No way- a woman always has a pen in her purse. Nada- not, no pen. Must be one in my car- I then perform various contortions, looking under all the seats in search of the lone Bic… no luck. Surely I can borrow a pen from someone inside the Post Office – I mean, all we are talking about is a pen, right?

All works well at the Post Office kiosk- transaction goes smoothly and the label to “middle of nowhere” prints without a hitch. I put together the Priority Mail box- adhesive strip works like a charm- now all I need is a pen.

I stand in the alcove looking around, hoping someone will ask if I need some help. No such luck- everyone is scurrying in and out- with determined looks, destinations in mind. I tell myself I am not leaving this post office because I do not have a pen. I take a deep breath. The outside entry door opens, a nice looking lady walks in. I ask her if I could borrow a pen. She looks at me like I am a loon. I back away, ashamed. I repeat this scenario again with the same outcome.

I look inside the inner portion of the PO – the line to the front is 20 deep. I do not mind standing in the line. I just feel ridiculous standing in it only to ask if I could borrow a pen. Ah, I spot an older “friendly looking” man standing at the middle working counter writing something- WITH A PEN. My plan was to hold back, wait until he finished, then ask to borrow his pen for just a second. I waited, he wrote, I waited, he kept writing, and writing and writing- an endless speel of who knows what. I abandon this plan.

I look up- all the people in the line are looking at me- daring me to jump ahead in line. Talk about a crowd mentality. I take another deep breath, walk up to the counter, assertively asking the mail worker if I could borrow a pen. She smiled and handed me the treasured object. By then I was so anxious my handwriting was shaky- I wondered if the mail carrier could discern the numbers. I handed the pen back, thanking her profusely.

I left the post office inner alcove averting the eyes of the people in the line. I quickly opened the outer door and walked briskly to my car. Only after I was safely in my vehicle did I realize I still had the package with me! Ready to just forget it, I made myself get out of the vehicle.

I walked back into the post office to place the now fully labeled package in the mail kiosk. Clank! No surprise here. The kiosk is locked. This usually happens when it is full. What this means is I am going to have to walk into the inner post office area again to hand deliver the package to the front clerks.

I take another deep breath. With shoulders back, I walk into the inner alcove, striding to the front window. In doing so, my purse catches on the edge of a copy machine sitting in the corner. The paper feeder clatters to the floor, the sound magnifying inside the small office.

All eyes are on me. I desperately ask the PO matron to take my box. I turn, ready to run, only to find an older gentlemen repairing the aftermath of my wreck with the copy machine. He expresses his desire to help, as he could tell I was having a rough day! Bless his heart. Seems there’s always a good Samaritan out there.

Cars in the Post Apocalypse World

In the post apocalypse world staying mobile means staying alive. The question is, how should this be done. If you like movies such as the Road Warrior or Doomsday that answer is to use a car to get around the wasteland. This is not always practical, if you decide to use some type of vehicle for transportation here is a little checklist of things to consider before blindly going off and grabbing that Porsche you always wanted to drive.

Can You Fix It?

Automobiles are complex machines with multiple moving parts, and computer and electronic equipment. Even older vehicles still have numerous parts that require precise timing to function properly. Now factor in a post apocalypse environment where all the body shops are abandoned and access to a mechanic will be extremely limited, factor in as well that most people don’t change their own tires or other basic mechanical requirements and you have a situation where cars will break down and be left to rot because no-one can repair them.


There may be refiners here and there that are still working but for the most part fuel will become scarce quickly. While you can find fuel in abandoned cars and gas stations, these are sources that will dry up fast.

Replacement Parts

You might be able to fix your vehicle but only if you have the parts to do it. After scraping other vehicles for parts and tires, you will need to be able to fabricated new ones. Otherwise simply swapping out parts from one car to another will only be a temporary solution.


This is short for high altitude electro-magnetic pulse which occurs when a nuclear weapon is detonated at high altitude. It’s purpose is to essentially fry all electronic devices with a blast radius to effectively wipe out communications and hinder an enemy’s movement on the ground or air. This means that everything in that area that electric is now dead. Computers will be fried, clocks will stop, pacemakers and those on life-support at hospitals will die, and every car, motorcycle, moped, and ride on lawnmower won’t work, unless you spend considerable time replacing key electrical components. Older cars will have a major advantage in that with the right parts they can be up and running again. Newer cars especially in the last decade relay heavily on micro-chips and processors to help with everything from fuel economy, to navigation, to running all the luxuries we take for granted. Newer cars will require a complex overhaul of these systems to become operational again, something many of use simply don’t possess the knowledge to do.

The Road

Roads in many areas will be unusable after a collapse. First abandoned cars will litter the highways and major routes leading in and out of cities, this in turn will make travelling around cities much slower and potentially hazardous as the few roads that are still usable could be blocked off by other survivors looking to ambush you. Mother Nature herself will cause havoc in many areas by causing landslides, flash floods, and other weather effects that will wear roads down and make them impossible to pass.

Lack Of Cars

If the collapse comes from either an environmental disaster such as what’s predicted to happen in 2012, or a nuclear war that destroys most cities and urban areas, there will be far fewer vehicles to choose from. This will also mean that what I mentioned before in terms of fuel, replacement parts, and skilled mechanical persons will be in even shorter supply making the few vehicles that are left wear out that much faster.

For more information or ideas on post apocalypse survival please visit my website The Razors Edge a post apocalypse survival guide.

The Post Nasal Drip Bad Breath

Most people usually associate bad breath with poor oral hygiene. While this may be true in some cases, there are other causes which are equally important but often overlooked. One such cause of it is post-nasal drip. The first thing a person who suspects that he or she has awful breath will do is thoroughly clean his teeth by brushing and flossing, and gargling products that promise fresh breath. However, these only mask bad breath and don’t actually go to the main cause of the problem.

Post nasal drip is caused by the continuous flow of excessive mucus produced in the nasal cavities. Mucus drips down and accumulates at the back of the tongue where it provides food to the bacteria living there. Mucus is made up of proteins which when eaten by the bacteria create sulfur compounds, which we smell as the familiar bad breath. It is this accumulation of mucus at the back of the throat that people who have sinus problems and nasal drip tend to have this kind of breath.

Relief from post nasal drip can be obtained by treating the underlying problem. The goal is to stop the flow of excessive nasal discharged so that the bacteria that causes the bad odor is eliminated or reduced. The sinus problem that causes the post nasal drip must be evaluated and treated by a doctor. To correctly diagnose your condition, your doctor may order a detailed examination of your nose, ear and throat. The doctor may also require you to undergo some laboratory tests, x-ray studies and endoscopic procedures. Depending on the causes of your post-nasal drip, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, antihistamines and decongestants, and other general measures to expel your mucus secretions easily such as not drinking coffee and diuretics, nasal irrigation and nasal sprays.