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FedEx At Last

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments


In Still More Snow, I wrote about FedEx’s inability to get a package to the house by this past Wednesday (Christmas Eve) that had arrived in Seattle last Friday evening. But wait, there’s more. That was just my package, with presents for Gail and Joel. It turns out that Gail was waiting for two more packages from FedEx, with presents for me. And I had ordered yet another package, with food I hoped we would have for Christmas, but I never got a tracking number with notification of shipment, so I didn’t know whether it had shipped or who the shipper would be.

With three, or possibly four, packages buried in the belly of FedEx, I called their customer service number this morning (the day after Christmas) to see if we might go to their Seattle facility to pick up the packages. The woman I reached said yes, FedEx hadn’t delivered anything in Seattle all week. I gave her the three tracking numbers, she confirmed that all three items were here in Seattle, and she said she would send a message asking them to hold the packages. I also called the food company to see if they had shipped our food, with the thought that I could get the fourth tracking number if the shipper was FedEx and pick their package up too. But no one answered. I might have called too soon, at 8:59 AM.

I was excited by the prospect of taking control of the situation, getting the packages once and for all, and not having to worry about FedEx’s problems. Plus, as a bonus, I realized that the FedEx facility, on Alaska Street just off Airport Way in Georgetown, was near Stellar Pizza.

Georgetown, I should explain, is a commercial/industrial neighborhood south of downtown, along I-5 just above Boeing Field. I have had little reason to go there over the years. But two Augusts ago, I drove down to Stellar from work to join a party in honor of our carpenter and friend Bert, given by Toth Construction for his 10th anniversary with the firm. Almost the entire Toth crew were there, plus Gail, and eventually me. They had all but finished the many pizzas they were sharing, but there was a little for me. And I grabbed a menu to learn more about the place, thereby discovering their extremely tempting sandwiches. I’m always on the lookout for a great meatball hero, and this sure sounded good: “Open-faced hot hero, topped with marinara, parmesean cheese, Mama Lil’s kick-butt peppers, red onions, and mozzarella cheese on a demi-baguette.” Since Joel loves meatball heroes too, I figured it wouldn’t be long before we’d make the journey down there to try it.

Well, here we are, 17 months later, and yet to get to Stellar. Today was our chance. We’d go to FedEx, stand on whatever huge line they would have, get our 3 packages, wonder about that fourth shipment, and then head to Stellar. I woke Joel up at about 10:45 AM, told him the plan, and he agreed to join us. While we were waiting for him to get ready, I happened to see a FedEx truck backing into our driveway and pulling out, using the driveway to make a u-turn. My heart sank. They’re out today! And I stupidly called to tell them to hold the packages. But, hey, at least we would go to Stellar.

Fifteen minutes later, with Joel still not moving, I proposed that he could stay in bed and we’d bring a sandwich back for him. He said no, he’d get up. He showered, and then just as we were about ready to go, the FedEx truck pulled up in front of our house. The guy spent some time in the back of the truck. I opened the door to see what would happen. He emerged from the rear. With 4 packages! They were all for us. I had the tracking numbers ready, in anticipation of our trip to the facility, so I compared with the boxes and they were a match. The fourth box, of course, was the food shipment I was waiting for. Madeleines from Donsuemor, the famed Berkeley madeline maker. We had the sampler: 24 Traditional, 12 Lemon Zest, 12 Chocolate, 5 Dipped, and 5 Dipped Chocolate madeleines. I was hoping they would come while Joel was still around to eat them with us, and here they were.

So that’s the good news. But, the thing is, we were within 2 minutes of being out of the house. And if Joel had said forget it, we would have been out as much as half an hour earlier. We would have driven all the way to Georgetown, stood on what was likely to be a horrifically long line at FedEx, all for nothing. I would have completely lost it. I was so relieved that we saved ourselves the trip. Still, why couldn’t the customer service woman I spoke to have warned me of this danger?

Time for Christmas, round 2: the opening of the boxes. Clothing for me, books for Gail, books and a CD for Joel, madeleines for all. Next, time for lunch. Where to go? We got in the car, agreed that we would get pizza, but with no consensus on what that meant. For over a month I have been wanting to go to Tutta Bella, but with Stellar in mind, Gail didn’t want that Tutta Bella’s high-end pizza. She was thinking more of Stellar’s traditional American pizza. Nonetheless, she suggested yet another high end place, Via Tribunali on Capitol Hill, which Joel had been to a number of times over the years, but which Gail and I had never tried. I’ve never been willing to go because it’s small, hard to park at, and has long lines, from everything I’ve read.

We finally agreed to drive to Stellar after all, given that that was what we all had in mind, but by now we were heading in the wrong direction for getting on the freeway. Instead, we took local roads all the way south, through the snow and slush and mess, hitting Pioneer Square, driving past Qwest Field and Safeco Field, and then getting a tour of all the industrial enterprises along Airport Way. Finally, we came to the long viaduct that takes cars over the dozen or more train tracks, came down to ground level, and were at Stellar, squeezed in between the tracks and I-5.

And it was closed. Closed December 24, 25, 26. Sigh.

Now what? All the way back to Capitol Hill for Via Tribunali? I was determined to find something in the neighborhood to justify the long trip down there. Joel and I searched on our iPhones for nearest pizza while Gail drove. Vita. That seemed to be the closest. Just off Airport Way, a little south of Stellar. By now we were a ways to the west, so we had to double back, past Stellar again, and then down. We passed the small cross street that Vita was supposed to be on, didn’t see anything, made a u-turn, turned onto the cross street, and there around the bend was some sort of pizza place. It looked pretty quiet. The sign said closed December 24, 25. Maybe we were in luck. And on closer inspection, it wasn’t Vita after all. It was … Via Tribulani! The Georgetown branch, one of three, along with Capitol Hill and Queen Anne, with Fremont due to open soon. Life’s strange sometimes. And sometimes things work out when you least expect them to.

The place was quiet, 3 other tables taken. We had the house salad, the house red wine, and two pizzas, the Dante and the Salame, selected from an extremely abbreviated lunch version of the dinner menu that you can see online. The Dante has prosciutto and lots of arugula, plus a light tomato sauce and some sliced mozzarella. The Salame has pepperoni, melted mozzarella, and a little tomato sauce. Everything was great. A superb meal, well worth driving to Georgetown for, even if we would have been at the Capitol Hill branch a half hour earlier. It was more fun this way.

We still need to try Stellar’s meatball sandwiches. Maybe tomorrow.

Categories: Family, Food, House
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