I'm in too good a mood to deal with a question like this. I don't believe anyone can make my life miserable. That is something only I control.
Even God couldn't make Job hate his life.
Instead, let's talk about care packages! Because mine got to Zee today - a mere 24 hours late for her birthday!
And as I'm getting ready to send her a second package, let's review what I've learned.
- Brownies are good. They can make the journey, arrive mold-free, and please many tummies.
- There are two customs forms. Be-ware.
- When using flat-rate boxes, as long as it doesn't weigh more than 70 lbs, you can really fudge the weigh portion of the customs form.
Now for me, the stressful part of sending the package wasn't what to pack, it was how to address it. The customs form is daunting, and you feel like even the slightest error will result in your package being thrown into the Atlantic (or Pacific, whatever...).
In case anybody else had these same stresses, I will put them into easy steps:
Step 1: Supplies
I love how everything you need is free at the post office. Above is a customs form and what I shall affectionately refer to as the "customs baggy." Find your favorite post office (watch out for the mean-spirited ones...) and just ask for some. They should know what you mean by "custom baggy."
You need the customs baggy, customs form 2976-A, and a flat-rate box. They currently have ones that are specifically geared towards soldiers. Oh, and you'll need tape. Lots of tape.
I might be mistaken, but I believe that these ship for a lower price, but don't quote me on that.
Step 2: Putting it together
Tape box together. Fill box with stuff. Tape box closed. Tape all corners. Tape all seams. Tape anything that looks at you wrong. Tape your heart out.
Step 3: Attaching Customs Form
Now if you like, you can fill everything out with pen in hand, and for that check out Skip Cares on how to exactly fill out the form. Very handy. Of course, no information on how to attach it to the box. **Ahem** Enter free baggy.
Place the customs form in the baggy, then attach baggy to the closed box. (Just to be clear - before you put the forms in the bag, your copy of the customs form is the very bottom one. I made that mistake the first time.) Make sure that the soldier's address isn't covered by the baggy, of course. Other than that, it's not crazy important exactly where the customs forms go. But preferably, it will go on the opposite flap of the address box.
Do not seal the customs baggy. Those puppies will be doing a lot of coming and going before it's finally sealed to go to your soldier.
From there, take the box to the post office, pay $12-something, and it's off! Easy as pie!
How could it get easier?
Why, hello sexy USPS.com! How are you today??
Step Easy: Click-And-Ship
Perhaps you are like me and work in a place where the mail carrier comes to you. Wouldn't it be easier to just go to work than to fight the lunch and post-work lines of the post office?
The answer to that is yes.
Apparently Click-And-Ship works both domestically and internationally, so it's essentially kicking ass every day.
To start, just go the website and set up a profile. Free. Easy. Amazing.
You'll see the Click-And-Ship option on the front page after you log-in. Go for it, All-star.
Now using Click-And-Ship for a care package is considered domestic. For further information on how to fill out the form, click the handy-dandy picture below.
From there, assign an approximate weight, approximate value, don't click batch, and continue on.
The next page wants you to select the type of box you are sending. If you can't figure this part out, God help you.
The best part of this, as you'll see this last screen, is that by using Click-And-Ship, they're actually charging you LESS than they would if you went to the post office in person.
Enter your card information, and "pay and print."
Use tape generously to adhere the shipping address label and the bit that says you paid. Do not tape over the barcode.
USPS is sweet and wants to know if it worked correctly for you. And if the labels and customs form didn't print correctly, it won't charge your card.
Finally, go back to the main page and select "customs forms." Then select the form 2976-A for APO/FPO. Fill out the information just as you did for the shipping address. For the recipients phone number, I listed my own. And in case of non-delivery, select "return back to shipper."
Contents - Gift
Total Weight - Make up BS
Delivery Type - Airmail/Priority
On the next page, you start adding items. You don't get many, so try to cram two or three items onto one line. Abbreviations work; generalizations don't. Be specific as possible.
When you are through with the process, it will print several copies. One is for you. Can you guess where the others go?