I am an inveterate snoop.
You would not want me for a neighbor. You would peer out through your curtains and notice me gawking at your house, possibly taking furtive pictures.
As I walk Riley to California (Street), I study the houses along the way. For a while, I was studying them for landscaping ideas. After we got a landscape plan (not yet implemented), I stared at front doors. Now that we have picked out a front door (not yet ordered), my obsession has moved on; now I want to know how you get your mail.
Our current front door--the one with the peeling veneer and the warped wood--has a mail slot. It's plain, made of some kind of metal, and it looks pretty beat up. Rust--perhaps from when someone left the sprinkler going--has dripped from it, streaking and darkening the wood below.
Still, I love it. I love having a mail slot, having the mail slide safely through the locked door onto our porch. This has been particularly important since the Christmas quilt was stolen off our doorstep in December. Our packages might still be at risk, but our bills, circulars, pleas for money from Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, theater tickets, birthday cards, and occasional checks--never.
On Saturday we went to a door place and picked out a door. (A different door place, and a different salesman.) It's a pretty nice door. It will not cost a million dollars, nor $20,000, nor even $5,000. It's spendier than we had hoped, but wooden doors are spendy. This one is made of simple fir, with three vertical windows of beveled and colored glass.
I hadn't realized how much is involved in picking out a door. You pick out the design, and the wood, and the stain color, and the type of glass, and you've only just begun. You still have to choose handles! And locks! And hinges! (Imagine having an opinion on hinges.)
I told the salesman that I wanted a mail slot cut into the door.
He said that we had chosen a beautiful door, and he didn't think we should mar its integrity by cutting a hole in it.
At first I agreed, but then I went home and thought about it. I don't think mail slots are ugly. And besides, we have big windows on the front of our house, and there is, frankly, no room to hang a mailbox.
So I used the very next Riley-California walk to see what other people do.
In our neighborhood, most people have mail slots. Some are in the wooden doors, some are in the storm doors, and some are cut right into the front of the house--right through the stucco, or the brick. This is something we are not inclined to do. Cutting a hole in the 100-year-old front wall of our house seems like folly. Better to tamper with the integrity of a spendy door than the integrity of an entire house.
Some people have metal mailboxes on posts next to their door. These, I decided, are ugly.
Other people have fancy faux-French-or-English mailboxes hanging off their front wall. These, I had already determined, are far too big.
One house had a plastic mailbox; it looked like a Coleman cooler. That, I decided, was far too ugly.
And a few houses have no discernable way to collect mail. Do they rent post office boxes? If we did that, we would simply never get any mail ever again; we would never remember to pick it up.
The salesman will be coming to our house on Thursday morning to measure and take our order. We have to decide in the next few days. Doug is thinking mailbox. I'm thinking mail slot. What are you thinking? (And if you're thinking, "Man, she sure can prattle on and on about nothing at all," sadly, you are not alone.)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I am an inveterate snoop.