with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

The Mystery of the Stargate Coasters and the Pears

Box and coasters representing the gate from Stargate - photography by Lorelle VanFossen.This is a story about the mystery of the Stargate Coasters and the pears.

The story begins with Stargate episodes on Amazon.com. It probably begins further back, but that is where I will start.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping for the first time in my life. My mother, once a chronic insomniac, continues to be jealous of my ability to drop off anywhere, no matter the noise or distractions. If I need sleep, I sleep, anywhere, in any position, at any time – except for naps. I’ve never been a napper. She’s attest to that. With changes in my body the past two years, my system is slowly stabilizing and sleep is returning, but it has been a battle.

A science fiction fan, a few months ago I started spending my sleepless hours snuggled up in bed watching reruns of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe on Amazon.com, taking advantage of their Amazon Prime membership and Amazon Instant Prime Videos. Unfortunately, Amazon continues to make it extremely difficult for members without an iPhone or Amazon Fire. Android continues to be ignored, even though it is the fastest growing mobile OS worldwide.

A slip of the finger and I’ve purchased an episode or season. This leads to time wasted going to my desktop computer and contacting them for a refund since these are available for free.

The storyline expands with our housemate and his preparation for moving to Canada. In preparation for his move, he ordered computer equipment and materials he will need in his new home, as anyone would when preparing for a big move and life change. Along with Christmas presents, daily visits from UPS, FedEx, and other shipping companies have been a daily routine for months. The boxes pile up and are sorted and divided up when we get time.

Enter the pears. Several weeks before Christmas, she starts nagging me about a box she sent me for the holidays. She tells me there are pears in it. A couple years ago she sent us a box of Harry and David mouth-watering pears that we gobbled up in days. I expected this was a welcome repeat.

Knowing we were going to be going away for Solstice week to Breitenbush Hot Springs, and the weather changing to snow and ice, I became a bit paranoid about the box of pears. And she kept nagging, “Are the pears there yet?”

I left a note with my neighbor about the pears, asking him to check our mail for a notification or to move the box of pears into the house if they arrived while we were gone. I was so worried that they would be left out or stuck in the post office for five days freezing or rotting.

Returning from the Solstice break, no box of pears. More nags from my mother.

What did arrive among all the boxes was one box of Stargate Coasters from Amazon.com. While wonderful, they were $50 and the billing address listed my husband. There was no note, no sender.

While I love the coasters, I would never spend fifty bucks on coasters, no matter how much I was a fan. Star Trek, maybe – no, even then. I’m too cheap. I admit it.

Brent thought they might have been sent to me from my Amazon Wish List I feature on as a way for fans to say thank you. I’d have never added this to my Amazon Wish List. Still, I checked it.

Without more information, I assumed that one of my accidental clicks to purchase a season of Stargate brought coasters with them. I hit my Amazon.com account looking for the accidental purchase and found three accidental purchases of episodes and seasons that hadn’t been refunded even though they were requested. I had to contact Amazon about that, and about the coasters, trying to identify the source.

Since the billing address was Brent’s name, he also went through his Amazon purchases and account looking for Stargate coasters. Nothing.

Christmas Eve a package with my mother’s return address arrived. YEAH! The pears.

I opened them to find they were not the delicious Harry and David pears. They were plastic pears. Christmas pears as in the partridge and the pear tree Christmas decorations. Nice, but disappointing. We had been so eager for the fruit.

I called my mother to thank her on Christmas Day, finding the words to graciously thank her for plastic not real pears. I’d sent her a handmade square pillow I’d quilted with an Asian Fan pattern. I’ve been working on a special quilt for her for over five years, collecting Asian fabrics from around the world as I traveled. It’s not done and I wanted to send her a “preview” as a pillow for her 75th birthday and Christmas.

She went on and on about the pillow, about how much she loved it, how perfect it was, how did I know she needed something like that, and that she was sitting on it right then and there.

Sitting on it? Sitting on fabrics that cost me over $20 a yard?

“My dining table chairs need to be reupholstered and padded. I sink down and my feet don’t touch the floor, and it cuts off the circulation in my legs. This pillow is perfect! How did you know? Didn’t you intend it for this purpose? Did you mean I was to just look at it?”

I just smiled and sighed. “No, it wasn’t just for looking. I’m glad you found a good use for it.”

What can you do.

She also explained that the pears were not my real Christmas present. I still had another box coming. “I ordered it weeks ago, so it should be there by now.”

After Christmas, the hunt for the box she sent started in earnest. I went to the post office and picked up more packages and asked them to search for a box from my mother’s address. Nothing. I checked with the neighbor, just in case he had picked it up while we were gone. Nothing. I went through all the packages for our housemate, nothing.

I also started nagging Amazon.com about the Stargate Coasters.

My mother copied the entire shipping path and emailed it to me. The box should have arrived two weeks before.

I finally asked her if the box had been shipped from her or from the place she ordered. She gave me the company name of the supplier.

You got it. It matched the Stargate coasters.

I should have known. My mother has an amazing ability to make the simplest of things complicated. This isn’t always a bad thing, but I should have figured this out earlier.

She told me that she remembered me describing how I turn the front entrance of my house into a Stargate every year with Christmas lights. She thought the coasters would be a nice touch to keep the Stargate theme going inside the house.

Cup with cat on it sitting on a Stargate Coaster next to computer mouse on desk - photography by Lorelle VanFossen.The Stargate coasters are now on my desk in the Cat House (the name of my office building) with a cat mug on it filled with my favorite green tea.

The mysteries of the Stargate coasters and pears now resolved, and a new year with more mysteries ahead of me started.

Welcome to the crazy of my life.

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