Getting Packages From Strangers (Engagement Bands/Travel Wedding Rings)

“Amanda is knocking on some strange man’s door to get a package,” Mom said to George. We were on the phone, George was in the room with her.

“You make me sound like a drug runner,” I said.

***

A few weeks ago a first-year teacher who’s engaged to her college sweetheart and I were on the playground together. Another engaged teacher asked about wedding plans. First-Year said, “I didn’t know you were engaged, Amanda!” and grabbed my left hand, looking for a ring.

“It’s on this one,” I said, showing her (as nicely as possible) my right middle finger.

Why?

I explained that when I was 13, my mother gave me this Claddagh ring because my father’s mother’s side of the family is Irish. Since I didn’t want an engagement ring, we were using this if anyone asked. We’d be getting Claddagh wedding bands and retiring this ring on our wedding date.

I didn’t say that I have major ethical issues with diamonds, the fact that only a woman gets an engagement ring, that engagement rings became popular when laws against a man dumping his fiancée came off the books, and that we’d rather get him a green card.

She patted my hand. “Well maybe one day you’ll get a diamond.”

Missing the point, First-Year.

***

A few weeks ago, I was pricing our chosen wedding band. I found it all over the internet at a wide variety of prices. (Diana can attest to my shock at the wide range of prices, because we were chatting online while I was doing this.) I found the ladies ring for $279, $324, $429, $359, $450 and $268. Same exact ring, same size, same gold.

At one of the not-marked-up-500% sites, I also found our band in sterling silver. I pointed this out to Good Man, not thinking much of it.

“We should buy a cheap, crappy ring,” he said. “I have never worn a ring, I think I need to get used to it. If we buy cheap, crappy ring, I can get used to it.” (I am starting to suspect Good Man likes the word “crappy.”)

“Do you really want to spend the extra money?”

“Yeah, you should get one, too. Then we will have matching engagement rings and we can make sure we both like the style and fit. Yeah.” Good Man jabbed his finger in the air, “And then, when we travel, we can wear our cheap, crappy bands and leave the gold ones at home!”

“You know,” I said, flashing my right hand at him, “this is a ‘cheap, crappy’ sterling silver ring and we’d decided to use it as an engagement band.”

“Oh,” Good Man said, his voice growing soft, “and it’s so precious and beautiful…”

***

So we ordered the rings. And they were delivered last night. I discovered this this morning, when I checked the tracking number. Only…we certainly didn’t get them.

I looked at the order and wouldn’t you know? I had inverted two numbers in our address. (They’re sequential numbers, which made it really easy to do.)

I used the address to reverse number lookup a phone number. I called the number and! Nobody answered. I left a message and! Nobody called back.

I emailed Good Man and! Told him what had happened. I asked him not to be mad. He wrote back, “I’m not angry. It’s gonna be okay. Take it easy.”

During lunch I called Good Man again. “It’s just a mistake, we can buy other rings. Everything happens for a reason. If we had not bought these silver rings, it would’ve been the gold rings that went to the wrong address. Don’t worry.”

After hanging up with Good Man, I called the number again, even though I was figured if he’d gotten my message, he would’ve called and! A man answered!

“Hi, do you live at?—is this?—my name is Amanda and I think I accidentally had a package delivered to your address yesterday.”

“What’s your name?” I repeated it and the man said, “Oh yes, I have it in the house.”

“You do? Can I pick it up around 3:30?”

“Sure. No problem.”

I drove over after school, and I happened to be talking to Mom on the phone. “You’re going to some stranger’s house?”

“Yeah. Good Man knows I’m going. Heck, my boss knows I’m going.”

“Well…don’t go inside.” (Gee, Mom, really? You did raise me well, you know. Although…you wouldn’t know it from the wrong address/fire events of late…)

“I’m only a mile away, how about you stay on the phone with me?”

“Oh, that’s a good idea.”

I knocked on the man’s door, and told him who I was. “You have my package?”

“I don’t have your package,” he replied.

“What?” I could feel the panic rising in my voice. “But on the phone! You said you did!”

“Just kidding,” he said, reaching for what I guess was a mantel, “here it is.”

“Thank you! Oh thank you!”

In Action

Claddaghs