The joy of receiving surprise packages

I have always loved getting packages in the mail. As a young and impressionable child, I remember opening our mailbox one sunny afternoon to find a thick envelope addressed to me. I hesitated unsealing it. Was this some kind of mistake? Who had gone to such extravagance? What noble benefactor had dispatched this obvious treasure to a child of such humble means?

Inside, there were five colorful gumballs sealed together in a clear plastic sleeve. There was also a letter from the NutraSweet Company detailing their fantastic new artificial sweetener. NutraSweet wanted me to enjoy these free gumballs. On them.

Because they loved me.

From that day on, I wrote letters to every company I could get my hands on who offered free samples. Our mailbox was quickly overrun with introductory-sized deodorants, shaving products, and make-up. I remember how my older brother, noting the return logo on one particular package, cried out:

“MARIANNE! Why did you send in for free KITTY LITTER? We don’t own a cat!”

Who cared? I was the only 10-year-old hoarder of free samples in all of Tinley Park. Besides, hoarders always have cats.

When I became a mom of three back-to-back-to-back babies, the power of the post took on a whole new meaning. I could not physically manage my bulky infant carrier and two toddlers while shopping for a new bra. Much-needed necessities arrived courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service and Fed Ex. Even though I recognized the return addresses and could guess what was hidden inside, the ten-year-old within was still smitten.

Nowadays, it is much easier to go to actual stores and pick up needed items. The packages have greatly dwindled. Yet when I arrived home from carpool pick-ups last week, an odd-shaped box greeted us at the front door. It was wide and very thin. I wracked my brain and couldn’t recall a single purchase warranting these unusual dimensions.

I was giddy.

As the kids bickered over who would ultimately claim possession of the empty box, I used my minivan keys to pry it open. Surely this was some sort of rare artwork left to me by a lost aunt? Or could it be a prize from one of the bazillion online contests I am always entering? Or maybe it was diamonds. Because if you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big.

It wasn’t diamonds. Or art. Or even free samples of Secret. Instead, it was this:

The LDR 5123410 Power Deluxe High Force Cup Ribbed Toliet Plunger.

In black.

And I had ordered two.

With its “positive bowl seal for high capacity force against clogs,” I knew diamonds could never hold a candle to my awesome new plungers. Once you have battled an overflowing toilet (courtesy of a child using way too much toilet paper while suffering through the flu), you will understand. I would have given my kingdom for the LDR 5123410.

For the record, I was not compensated in any way, shape or form for this post. But if those people at LDR want to send me a couple of new toilet seats, that would be fine by me.

I’ll be watching for them in the post.

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