BY Stephen Thompson

My wife has been kidding with me to write an article about mail-order decorating. This week I finally took her seriously and I figured I might as well have a little fun. It won't cost much, only $49.98. What roughly fifty bucks will buy me will be much more than a Decorative House Number Plaque from Miles Kimball. Oh no, I plan on getting hours and hours of entertainment out of this baby. (If E911 has come to your home during the last year and changed the address, you might relate to how this could be entertaining.)

The House Number Plague is available in black, hunter green or brick red with 3" high gold numbers. The fun begins early in this order. You see, I'll never get Patti to agree with me on which numbers to use. Years ago her address was Rural Route 8, Lot 21. When that changed, Patti reluctantly, in the name of progress, accepted the new 2101 street address...figuring that once she had a street address, it would always stay the same.

But no, fate played her a cruel hand. Ten months ago we cam ehome from work and found a new address, the number 2816, nailed to the house next to our old street number. Taped to the door was a note from E911 saying we had one year to notify people sending us mail of our new address, "after which time the post office will no longer deliver mail to your old address." Patti had had enough.

I won't go into all the calls she made. I'll just share with you what finally stopped her cold in her tracks. While she was talking to the postmaster at the main post office on Thomas Street, E911 came by and changed the Post Office's address! I guess she figured if the U. S. Post Office couldn't stop E911, (and they tried!) then the Post Office wouldn't be much help to her either.

I'm counting on mail-ordering my way out of this mess. On page 2A of the same Miles Kimball catalog there is a picture of Personalized Garden Stones. "The laser-engraved stones bear a name or message of your choice. This $39.98 stone is 12x7 1/2" and features an enchanting floral relief." I know exactly what I'm going to order. The first line is going to spell out, "Always" and the second line will read, "2101 Jim St.".

Let E911 mess with that.

For those of you who work for E911, I offer my condolences. When I called your administration office Friday evening to have someone explain how the new numbers are chosen, the lady who answered said, "Sorry, I haven't figured it out myself, yet. You'll have to call back Monday and talk to Mary." Duhh.

E911, I've heard you're making these changes to help standardize addresses for a faster response to our emergency calls. God knows, if you can shave seconds or minutes off the time it takes to find us in a life-or-death situation, all this aggravation and change may well be worth the trouble. For the rest of you, though, who feel as Patti does, I recommend you call 842-4194 and have Mid-South Nursery & Garden Center have Rough Rocks make a rock message just for you. All I ask is - when you put your address on it - place it in your flower bed. Please, please don't hurl it at E911!

Stephen Thompson is an Allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Questions, comments and inquiries are welcome at P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802.

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