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Want a happy and balanced life? Its in the mail
The cellphone cases, shoes and wooden briefcase are four things that Steve Eaton received in the mail in recent weeks. He says needed each of them to keep his life on track. - photo by Steve Eaton
Its 19 degrees outside, and I keep walking to our mailbox to check to see if my package has arrived.

I believe you should always have something coming in the mail if you want to live a happy and balanced life. You can talk about the importance of family and health all you want. What good is it having a happy life and good health, however, if you dont also have something coming in the mail?

This year, Barb, my thoughtful wife, decided to buy me something I really wanted and needed. Its a handmade, carved wooden iPhone case featuring the Seattle Skyline. When I unwrapped the present, we discovered that they had mistakenly sent us the San Francisco skyline iPhone case. It was nice because it featured a tiny Golden Gate Bridge to remind me of all the disaster movies Ive watched, but it wasnt the same because it didn't have the Space Needle.

The people who make these cellphone cases are real people who handwrite notes to their customers on their packing slips. They felt very bad about the mistake and immediately mailed us a new cellphone case. I have a tracking number, and Ive been watching it make its way across the United States.

I just heard a knock at the door and discovered it was not my package but a good friend of mine and his kind and patient wife. They brought us tasty treats, which was a surprise because they usually eat healthy food and watch Al Gore movies. I had just finished a one-year, wife-imposed ban from eBay by purchasing several things I really needed, including another wooden briefcase. I showed it to them.

Well, Steve, that is once again a remarkable briefcase. What do you do with them again?

Then, the husband showed me pictures of this cool little cabin they rented for their family over the holidays. It was located in the great outdoors. The family went hiking and climbed up dangerous cold rocks and cliffs for fun. Our family does almost the same exact thing, except we cant afford to rent a cabin and we stay indoors to avoid falling off large cold rocks and cliffs.

I remember thinking that getting a visit from these two good friends was way better than getting some dumb old cellphone case in the mail. But then I found myself looking out the window over their shoulder to see if that dumb old cellphone case had arrived.

You see, I have a hunch that this cellphone case could be the missing ingredient in my life. Its true, Ive had this feeling before, but I have never before had a wooden Seattle iPhone case coming in the mail.

I have purchased lots of cellphone cases. The last one I bought was huge. It is in the shape of a spray bottle and most of it sticks out of my coat pocket when I walk, sending the subtle message to people that I am a very clean person who likes to talk to spray bottles. The Seattle case might be different because it could send the message to people that Im normal, which could change everything. I need that.

I have a gift for knowing exactly what kind of stuff I need in my life. In fact, I have a running list in my head of important things I really should have. I had to pressure my wife to get her to create a Christmas list. She stayed up until after 2 a.m. in mid-December searching the Internet just to come up with a sad little list of six things she might want for Christmas. She angrily told me the next morning that she would never do that again.

I have been sending her ideas for possible Christmas presents since August. No one had to twist my arm. She has a hard time getting in the spirit of things each year because she is always preoccupied getting stuff for other people and decorating the house.

Since I started writing this, my new iPhone case has arrived. Its impressive. It looks like a grownup cellphone case. The other day, my spray bottle cellphone case fell out of my pocket into a snow bank. When I discovered it was missing, I retraced my steps and immediately found it. No one had picked it up because discarded cleaning bottles are not considered as valuable as smartphones. It looked like trash. Now when I drop my cellphone in the snow, people from Seattle will snatch it up immediately. I have something valuable that will bring me respect. I need that.

Yet I have this nagging feeling that I really need something else more. The other day, I bought this used pair of very expensive running shoes off eBay for $8. When I put them on, however, they were so small that I had to take them off in the car on our way to the gym because they hurt my feet when the car hit bumps.

I was disappointed. They are the kind of fancy running sneakers that the fit, popular kids wear in my gym, and I wanted to impress them. So, I carried my shoes into the gym to show them. This would teach them a lesson for laughing at me over my spray bottle cellphone case, I thought. I found shoes be a nuisance during the workout, however, because I had to keep picking them up and moving them as I exercised. They might be good sneakers to look at but when put to the test in a workout, I found them lacking.

So, you must agree what I really need to do is buy a new pair of sneakers. If you have cool shoes you can just leap in the air and run fast, and green drops of sweat come out of your body. I saw that in a commercial. That would be cool. If I had the kind of sneakers I could actually wear on my feet, I could even go out into the great outdoors and climb up cold, dangerous rocks.

No, on second thought, maybe I just need another new wooden briefcase. I could use the new briefcase to carry around my ill-fitting shoes. No one else, and I mean no one where I work out, carries their workout shoes around with them from station to station in a wooden briefcase. I would finally fit in.

A wooden briefcase for my running shoes what could be more practical and life changing? Of course, thats what I really need. If I had that, everything in my life would fall into place.

Now I have something to really look forward to. Its Saturday night. I wonder if it would arrive on Monday if I ordered it now. I sure hope so.
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