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We don’t use our front door…or the doorbell attached to it. Never really have and we’ve been here 24 years. You readers will understand, then, how a simple ring-a-ding-ding of that bell can send us  (me) into spasms. Who could be coming boldly to our front door expecting to be let in? Must be a salesperson. Or somebody begging for money. Or an axe murderer. Anybody who knows us well knows our guests (the welcome ones) usually come in the side door.  And they also know our security system is top of the line. (Well, top of the line beagle, The Pig.) I learned my lesson years ago when someone was terrorizing us L’il Sis by throwing mud balls at L’il Sis’ bedroom window and we called 911 in a panic. (Turns out it was only a disgruntled ex-boyfriend of L’il Sis and explains a lot about why he was an EX.) The policeman asked if we had an alarm system. We did not. A dog? No. Figuring a dog was easier to operate than a computerized alarm, three days later I got a dog. FYI, it was not easier. I think I’ll cancel the dog and go with the alarm system.

With Crazy D and L’il Sis now settled in, having rearranged everything, sorted, and thrown out extraneous stuff, there is now room in the house to bring in more stuff. Their stuff. And so, they have both attacked the Internet and Amazon with a vengeance. Every other day, stuff comes to the door. Since I am usually the one home, I suffer the trauma of being jolted from my work (or nap) by the ringing of the doorbell. Sometimes I have been warned to expect a package. More often, it’s a happy surprise…usually when I’m in a state of undress or dress nobody outside the family should see. I should simply let the delivery person leave the package and run. But it might require a signature. I’d send The Pig out to sign, but I’m not sure about the rules for beagle signatures. Might not hold up in court.

So there I am, determined to do my duty and receive the package myself as I hastily fling an old ratty robe around my naked self or pull on a pair of jeans, tripping in my attempt at speed and landing in a twisted wreckage on the floor. I hobble down the stairs, annoyed with myself and whichever offspring is responsible for my current angst, and fling open the door to see yet another package, the contents of which will add clutter to my house.

When the recipient of the package arrives home, delighted with his or her new purchase, they wax poetic about the wonders of Amazon. “That was so easy,” they gush. “I just ordered it yesterday and it’s here already. No fuss, no muss, no bother. And cheap.”

“Really? I ask. “You really want to go there? You may or may not have noticed that my leg has a tensor bandage wrapped around it to relieve the pain I experienced when I hurriedly tried to put pants on and tripped, twisting my leg. But don’t worry…several Tylenol later, the heating pad, and the bandage have helped. The beagle almost escaped when I tried to send her out to sign for the package and I had to run after her with my severely damaged leg. And I won’t even mention the near heart attack Mrs. Beeton (the pink parakeet) almost had when the doorbell rang and scared her into flying hysterically around the room. I’ll be billing you for the trip to the vet for her anti-anxiety meds. So you want to tell me again how ‘easy and painless’ ordering things over the Internet is?”

But no matter. We now have a collection of out-of-print books, fine clothes from unique American websites, shoes, precision-designed athletic boots, and exotic replacement parts for Crazy D’s four bikes in the basement. Which leads me to marvel that our civilization survived for all those years having to go to actual stores to buy things. Quaint is what I call it. At least in going to the mall I don’t (generally speaking) twist my leg, expose my naked self when my robe unexpectedly falls open, or lose a dog. And that’s worth something!

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