First, I’d like to say how nice it was to see Greg Williams and Erin at the Village today. It’s always a pleasure to see either of them. Thank you Erin for your interest in my blog.

So now onto our regularly scheduled post…

Many of you out there have been following my long-standing quest to replace the three-quarter length black nylon Banana Republic coat I lost almost a year ago. I wrote about my loss in my post entitled “Lament for a Coat“. You might even know that I tried to find a similar coat on Ebay. My search lasted for weeks before I stumbled upon one that was my size.

When it came up, I was determined to win the auction. I told everyone I knew that I was going to get my coat back. When the time came for the auction to end, the price went up astronomically. It was way beyond what I was willing to pay, even given my obsession. I let the coat slip past me. I was bummed for days.

After a while, I got back on my horse and kept looking. A few days later I found another coat, same style and size. The only problem was that the seller had taken it off the auction with no explanation.

I e-mailed him my story and asked him to re-consider selling the coat. One entire month went by before he responded. In the meantime, I had resigned myself to having lost the coat for good. His e-mail gave me hope. He told me that he had been wearing the coat until he found a replacement. Now that he had another coat, he was ready to sell. Unfortunately, others had sent him similar e-mails inquiring about the coat. He told me that I should make him an offer.

I gave him a very reasonable offer, but nothing crazy. After a week or so, he contacted me again. He had chosen me to sell the coat to. Now, I could have easily been jumping for joy, but I knew it’d stupid to be that happy way before I had the coat in my hands. This purchase was going to occur outside the auspices of Ebay and I would not fall under any of their protection schemes. Anything could happen before I got my coat.

I agreed to purchase the coat after making sure the collar was the right type. By now I was getting the impression that the seller was a stand-up type of guy. His e-mails were always courteous and professional. I think he might have even understood how much this coat meant to me.

Meanwhile, I told not a soul about this. No one. Everyone I knew understood I was always looking for my coat. They’d ask me if I’d have any luck. I’d always say no. I didn’t even tell my closest friends whom I usually tell anything about my life. I didn’t want to jinx it. Eventually, one person did find out… Sarah. One night she came to my room lamenting the poor and fraudulent ways of Ebay purchasing. She had just begun to use Ebay and a mailing snag delayed her first purchase. I told her not to worry because it usually worked out and that’s when I told her my secret. I swore her to total secrecy. Of course the next day at dinner she starting blabbing about it and I had to swiftly kick her underneath the table. I wasn’t very subtle about it because Rhonda asked me, “Are you trying to kick Sarah under the table?”

Privately, I chastised Sarah for talking and I made her feel shame. Ha ha ha… anyways, I sent the payment via Paypal and waited for confirmation. The next day, the seller told me he sent the package via USPS Airmail. This was November 16th.

I waited about one week before I got antsy. I checked my mailbox everyday after that, usually several times a day. Sarah would ask me about it and I would have to tell nothing had come. After two weeks I started to get worried. I e-mailed the seller and asked him to re-confirm the address. It was bang on. I phoned Customs Canada. They told me there was a huge backlog of mail items to be processed. Bummer. Nearly four weeks in I phoned Customs Canada again. They told me whatever backlog existed had been cleared. I was referred to Canada Post. So I phoned them. I was told that any item mailed from Indiana to Vancouver would have arrived by then. I started checking the on-campus mail depot on a daily basis.

I was feeling very dejected about this. I e-mailed the seller again. Wisely, he had sent it with insurance. I told him that we’d probably have to start a claim and that he should get the receipts ready. He replied he would but that he was dismayed it had turned out like this.

By this time my exams had ended and people were leaving for the holidays. On December 16th a ton of people left. The next morning I checked my mail. There was a note in my box, “There is a special package waiting for you at Mailing Services. Please present this card when you arrive.”

It had to be it. I nearly ran over to the mail depot. I kept my joy in check since anything still could happen. It could be the wrong size, colour, or style. I gave them the card and I was handed a medium-sized box. There was a Customs Canada sheet on it. It read, “Processed on December 16th”. Either Canada Post took a month to deliver it or Customs took a month to process it. Mofos.

I took the box home and placed it on my bed. I took off my Taiga jacket and put it aside. I grabbed a pair of scissors and took the pointy end to the pieces of tape on the box. For a moment there, I felt like Det. Sommerset at the end of Se7en when the box gets delivered. Anyways, I took a deep breath and then opened the flaps. Whatever it was it was wrapped in a plastic see-through Gap garment bag. It was black.

I pulled the garment bag out. Inside it was a black, three-quarter length nylon Banana Republic coat. I quickly looked the things that would make or break this deal… the buttons, the collar, the stitching, the lining, the pockets… it all passed inspection. This was the coat I had been looking for.

Almost cautiously, I slipped it on for the first time. It felt like an old friend had come back to see me. For the next twenty minutes I sat and walked in my room with it on. It was all good. I went on a short walk with it to the SUB and returned. I then took it off and hung it in my closet.

I returned home for the holidays soon afterwards and I wore it maybe a handful of times there. I returned to UBC and then it got extremely cold. Everyone came back from holidays and I waited for the right time to debut my coat. The cold pushed that day back several times until Tuesday night.

It was Bryan’s birthday outing for dinner and the weather was warm enough for me to bring out old Betsy. Some people noticed the coat while others did not. I tried to be low-key about it because after all, it’s just a coat. Albeit a coat that I’ve been looking for for months.

There’s no doubt I am glad I have it back and to be honest, it’s a nice looking coat.

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