priority mail.

Our fingerprint kit came in the mail last week. It included a thermometer and a pair of plastic tweezers, both marked "Please return." There were two little envelopes containing four black strips of some kind of substance that apparently got malleable when heated. There was also a sample strip of someone else's fingerprint. Finally, the kit contained a set of very thorough instructions with frequent use of caps lock to emphasize such things as "DO NOT BURN YOURSELF." All of this, plus some business cards and advertising postcards, in one priority mail flat rate envelope.
I spread it all over the counter and looked at each piece. Josh, freshly home from work, but not yet in possession of his post-work beer, was not particularly interested. He was downright grumpy, when really he should have been excited and grateful at the awesomeness of this kit that arrived due to no work on his part.

But he had work to do now. We read the instructions completely before starting, as we were admonished to do in the second step. First, we set sixteen ounces of water on the stove to boil. While that was going on, we soaked our hands in warm water. According to the information, this would cause the ridges on our fingers to become more pronounced.

Once the water was boiling, we divided it into two smaller bowls. We used the enclosed thermometer to determine when the water was between 145 and 150 degrees. Then we put a little black strip facedown into each bowl and waited thirty seconds. The hot water made the black stuff on the strip become moldable. Once it was ready to be shaped, we pressed our full fingers down onto the strip and waited another thirty seconds.
Finally, we ran our bestripped fingers under a stream of cold water for ten seconds. We peeled off the strips and then started all over again. There were four strips for each of us in the kit. We were advised to make and return all of them, that the fingerprint experts would pick out the best impression to use on our rings. Once completed, we packaged the completed strips back up with the borrowed thermometer and tweezers and shipped it right back to Maine, priority mail.
I guess it all took a half hour on a weeknight, and once we got the first set down, the rest were easy. The hardest part was soaking our hands in water while we tried to do other things. It was fun, like a little kitchen science project for couples. What was really neat was the feeling that we were a part of the process of making our wedding bands, rather than just going to the store and picking them out. We really helped! Or rather, he helped make my ring, and I helped make his. I can't wait until 8 - 10 weeks from now, when we'll get another priority mail package containing the fruits of our labors.

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