When the Engineer and I were house-hunting, we had a wish list. We wanted a garage for his motorcycle, an in-unit washer and dryer that were not coin operated, a cat (not included with the house, but we wanted the option to get a feline friend), and a mailbox in which we could not only receive our own mail but have outgoing mail picked up (our old apartment complex didn’t have an outgoing mail slot, so we had to go to the on-campus post office).
We got some of the most important things on our list. The Engineer’s motorcycle is safely tucked in our garage, and we’ve already run several loads of laundry in our Very Own Laundry Room. Unfortunately, though, the cat is not allowed.
And at first it seemed like we didn’t have a mailbox.
We noticed a bank of locked mail slots at the end of our street in our little townhouse/apartment community. The keys we received from the realtor included a mail key, so this seemed a likely spot for our mailbox to be. On our way out on an errand one day, we pulled over to see if we could find our mailbox. There were four sets of boxes, numbered from 1 to 14 over and over.
Our house number is above 1200. We have no other unit number for it.
We texted the realtor, but she just told us the mailbox was at the end of our street, which we already knew. She didn’t know what number it was.
We resolved to flag down a neighbor the next time we saw them, ask which mailbox was theirs, and extrapolate from there. But we kept missing them in our comings and goings.
Finally, we stood together in front of the bank of boxes, trying the mail key in as many boxes as we could before someone drove by. None of them worked. One of them even tried to eat my key.
Then, at last, on his way to a meeting today, the Engineer spotted the mailman himself at the mailboxes. Pulling over briefly, he explained that we had just moved in and didn’t know which mailbox was ours. He came home triumphant.
“I found out which one is our mailbox!”
So we took a stroll up the street, stood again (less suspiciously this time) in front of the boxes, and ceremoniously turned the key in our box: Number 11 in Row 3. Sure enough, on the inside of the little metal door was our house number and our last names.
And right below it, etched in a little metal lid over another slot: OUTGOING MAIL.
We had to hunt it down, but we sort of got our wish after all.