Friday, August 3, 2012

An unexpected gift.....Philadelphia (Part 7)

Nearly as soon as I got there, my grandmother told me that she wanted me to have all the "Blue Willow" dishware that she had in her curio cabinet.
Wow.  What an amazing and completely unexpected gift!
So unexpected that I had made no preparations in advance for getting all these dishes back home.
Her gift included 7 dinner plates, 6 salad plates, 6 soup bowls, 6 dessert bowls, 7 cups and saucers, 1 very large serving plate, 1 divided vegetable server, 1 gravy boat, and 2 (taller) coffee mugs.

I was really so thrilled with all these pieces because I am an informal collector of all things "Blue Willow" and did not have several of these serving pieces.
We also use the blue willow as our everyday ware and had had a few plates and bowls broken over the years, and were needing to add to our inventory!
She told me that as she purchased these dishes, piece-by-piece, that she had thought of me.
She mentioned this to me on Sunday (I think), and I pulled everything out on Monday to look at it all, and by Tuesday was feeling that I had to do something that DAY about it because my flight home was the next day.
I thought I could just ship everything home, but as I began thinking about wrapping each and every individual piece, I began to see my time with my grandmother dwindling away and the expense going up as I would have to purchase all the packing materials!
So I thought I would just take it to a UPS store and have THEM wrap and ship it for me.
But I had no idea how much that would cost.
NO idea.
After several calls and two trips back and forth to get everything weighed, the total cost came to.......
More than the value of all the dishes combined!
The folks at the UPS store tried helping me figure out how or if I could manage just carrying all the dishes onto my flight.
That would mean checking my duffle bag for $25 (considerably less than the $200), but carrying two boxes of dishes that weighed a total of 50 pounds.
I could see myself walking through security with all that, walking all the way to my gate, and then carrying it all on the plane.
I called the airport to ask if they offered assistance to people who needed help getting stuff to their plane, but I didn't get guaranteed answers.
One lady even told me that the attendants at the that gate were hired by American Airlines and were not required to carry stuff on the plane for people. 
I could see myself getting those two heavy boxes to my gate (after paying for a cart ride), but then struggling in front of a crowd of people to lift and carry these two boxes onto the plane and muscle-screwing them up into an over head bin.
I had a car to return, a shuttle to ride, and a LOT of walking to do to get to that plane.
My prospects were looking bleak.
By 5:30 on Tuesday evening, I finally decided (after talking with my husband about our options) that I would carry on ONE box of dishes (cramming everything else into my duffle bag so I didn't have to check anything), and I would ship ONE box.
The most important and unique pieces I carried with me, and the everyday dishes I carried to the UPS store for them to pack and ship for me!
My grandmother was just amazed at how complicated this all became and she wanted a picture of me wearing my duffle bag like a back-pack and carrying that box of dishes!!
She was also concerned about how much the shipping was going to cost and when I showed her the receipt for just over $100, she insisted on helping with the shipping!!
Thankfully, every. single. piece made it home to my house safely!!
We are using it every day, and it is such a sweet reminder of my grandmother's generosity and her eye for fun, colorful things that brighten up a kitchen!!
Thank you, Grandma!!

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