If I haven't made it clear enough already, I'm a big-time procrastinator. I even have a black belt in it. And several trophies. ;)

So when it came to getting my entry prepared for the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest, I vowed to not make the same leave-it-too-late mistake as last year. Golden Heart 2006 resulted in me staying up 36 hours straight, revising like a madwoman, and paying FedEx an atrocious sum of money for a Saturday-Monday delivery.

It arrived in one piece but I barely survived.

Lesson learned, this year I was going to be prepared with a capital P. I looked at the due date and, in a move normally reserved for calculating taxes and coupon savings, I counted back the days needed to ensure an affordable-yet-timely delivery. Then I added a day.

On November 26, I took my entry to the post office. With a guaranteed delivery date of November 30, 2007 -- the last business day before the December 3 closing date -- I said goodbye to the package.

Then I tried to track it.

Unfortunately, Canada Post's tracking system isn't quite as up-to-the-minute as FedEx's. All I knew on Wednesday was that my parcel had entered America. Whether it was trapped in customs or taking in a sale at Target, I had no idea.

On Friday, November 30, the package's status remained unchanged. Last year, something like this would have made me completely freak out, but this year I was confident that it would arrive in time.

It turns out that my entry did arrive: on December 3, 2007. Of course, the only reason I knew that was because I received a confirmation email from RWA stating that my entry had been received. Canada Post was being awfully quiet, so I decided to call them up and see what the words "guaranteed delivery by November 20, 2007" meant to them.

"We guaranteed it, so we owe you a refund," the friendly (yeah, crazy, I know) call-centre representative said. "Let's just confirm your mailing address so I can get a check out to you right away."

"That's it?" I asked, "I don't have to do anything else like balance a chimpanzee on my head or sing in Latvian?" Hey, our postal system lives for weird policies and regulations.

She assured me that it would all be taken care of, and did it in such a friendly way that I wondered if people regularly called them about missed guaranteed delivery times. Or did they just let it go?

All I know is, thanks to my proactivity and preparedness, not only did my entry arrive in time, I had it delivered for free! Plus, I can claim the initial delivery cost on my income taxes as an expense.

How cool is that? I love Canada Post!

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