The Raleigh World: Apartment Tour

All right, folks. This apartment is as put together as it’s gonna get for now, so it’s time to show y’all where The Boys and I are living.

Here’s the view from the entryway.

apartment entrance
The entry to my apartment

Right off of the entryway is the bathroom. There are two doors leading to the bathroom, one from the entry and one from the bedroom. You may be thinking how convenient that is, so guests won’t need to access the bathroom by going through the bedroom, but you’d be missing the true value of this. And what is that value, you ask? Charlie and Clancy can now chase each other around and around and around the apartment!

bathroom-2nd view
A view of the sink area of the bathroom.
The tub/toilet area of the bathroom

This tub, tho.

I have a HUGE tub!

On the other side of the entryway is the dining room, but I’m using it as my office. It’s barely controlled chaos, right now.

Technically, the dining room, but it’s my office. Pls ignore the chaos.


The kitchen:

A view of the kitchen.
kitchen-second view
Another view of the kitchen

Having a dishwasher again is a life-changer! I had no idea how much I missed having one until I got one again.

The bar area:

A view of the kitchen/bar from the living room

Yes, I have placemats attached to the wall. Charlie is an exceptionally messy eater.

And the living room:

living room
Living room

I’m not going to get new furniture for it for awhile. Part of the reason is not spending money, but the other part is waiting until I get a feel for this space. I brought the old chair/stool from Alameda, so I have something to sit on, so I’m not in any big hurry to buy anything.

And the bedroom:

bedroom view
view of the bedroom from the window

Another view of the bedroom, showing the hallway leading to the bathroom. The doors on the left are the closet, and across from that is the laundry closet (holy crap, talk about another life changer, being able to do laundry without leaving home!).

Another view from the window of the hallway leading to the bathroom

So there we have it. A quick tour of…of…what the hell am I calling this now? For now, it’s home, even if I don’t have a name for it yet.

Turning Life Off And On Again

I’m caught between wanting to establish a routine and needing to power down and reboot.

The routine is important for me and for the cats, so I can establish good habits, and so we all know what to expect from our day. For example, Charlie EXPECTS to be fed around 6:00 a.m. and I EXPECT he will behave like an obnoxious jerk until I shuffle into the kitchen and toss some kibbles in his dish. But when you are this adorable, you get away with being a jerk.

These two
Too much adorable with these two!

And then there’s my body, which is reminding me that the last six months have been the most intense ones that I’ve lived through since my mother’s death. And my body has been telling me to tap the brakes a bit, while I finish processing all of the feelings about being in–and leaving–the Bay Area, the drive across the country, and the fact that I am now living 3,000 miles from where I had lived my entire life.

So, now that the boxes are unpacked and recycled and the apartment is as put together as it’s going to get right now, I’m trying to honor these needs as best I can. Some days that means grabbing a nap. Today that meant researching and writing a proposal. My main priorities right now are making sure I make time for moving my body around, meditating, and cooking fresh meals, because when life starts getting really busy these self-care habits are the fastest ones to get left behind if they haven’t had a chance to take root.

I did manage to get over to the DMV Monday morning to get my driver’s license changed and I registered to vote, so I’m starting to assimilate. I think I have to wait until my permanent license comes before I can get Luna registered. Oh yeah, this happened yesterday:

40005 miles
It only took 13-1/2 years to hit 40k!

Clearly, I need to get out more often.

As the week heads toward the weekend, I have calls to make and a proposal to finalize and send and weather forecasts to review so I can determine whether I need to find a real winter coat now, or if it can wait until next winter.

Speaking of winter, here’s a photo that I took near the apartment a few days after the snowstorm.

snow landscape
In some areas near my apartment the snow took a while to start melting.

The Raleigh World

This is the true story, of a strange lady, who picked up her life and moved it across the country, to see what happens when she stops being Cali and starts being Raleigh.

I have no idea why my brain kept wanting to work the intro to The Real World into this move, but it wasn’t going to shut up about it until I wrote it down, so here it is.

I was offline for a bit because posting was kind of a pain to do from my phone, especially if I wanted to add photos, so I waited until I could get my internet set up.

I got the internet turned on and my stuff got here on Monday. Jared and Josh from Superior Moving Systems got my stuff into the apartment on Tuesday morning (they were great and I highly recommend them, if you’re moving in the RDU area–just make sure you get THIS company and not the other Superior because that other outfit seems a bit shady). The contents of the Relo Cubes shifted a bit during transit and though there are some dinged shelves, nothing was broken. And I know you all were worried, so I’m happy to report that the cat trees were completely unscathed!





boxes boxes boxes
So. Many. Boxes.

I spent the last few days drowning in cardboard. I’ve got pretty much everything that was in cardboard unpacked and I tossed the empty boxes into the back of the Subaru and took them to the cardboard recycling bin at the complex. I still have a ton of stuff in plastic bins (mostly photography stuff). It is unsightly, but it is not something critical that I would need to deal with immediately.

Oh, and this happened.

snow-covered Subaru
Dude! Where’s my car?!?

It was like Nature said, “Oh, hey there! I heard you’ve missed having Real Seasons, living in the Bay Area. HERE’S HALF A FOOT OF SNOW FOR YOU! Enjoy!”


So I did get to finally enjoy a snow day, grateful that I did not need to travel in that weather. And, based on appearances, most of Raleigh shut down during the storm. And since I wasn’t going anywhere, I powered through unpacking the boxes. Once I got rid of the empty boxes and could access the entry closet again, I pulled out the vacuum and gave the floors a cleanup (I have faux hardwood in the office/dining room, kitchen, and living room. There is tile in the bathroom and carpet in the bedroom).

The Boys and I are slowly getting settled in and adjusting to chilly weather and having dogs as neighbors. So far, so good.

Here are some more photos I took of the storm, for your viewing pleasure.

snow people
We had some short-term neighbors move into the hood
snow person
I think this poor snow person needs a chiropractor.
snowy farm yard
The critters were tucked safely in their barn.
snow scene
Took a snowy walk around the apartment complex.
icicles on a car
As the snow slowly began to melt, icicles formed along the bottom of my car
Vicster in the snow
First snow I’ve seen in a veeeeery long time!

Day Three In Raleigh

Yesterday afternoon I unrolled the yoga mats and did my first practice in the new apartment.

I had to get up around 2:30 a.m. to confiscate the Boys’ ping pong ball.

The air mattress may have another leak in it. I heard Charlie digging around on it a couple of times yesterday. We’ll all be glad to get our furniture early next week. It definitely will be nice to have something to sit on besides my Zafu cushion and the air mattress.

I’m glad there is a Harris Teeter grocery store nearby. It may even be bikeable. I picked up some groceries and went to the JC Penney store at the mall across the street for some slippers that I can wear out on my porch.

There is a railroad nearby. Just close enough to enjoy the train whistle, but not so close that I need to hang onto my dental work (*cough*Jack London Square*cough*).

The temperature is in the 20’s. Clancy will climb in my lap or otherwise snuggle close at every opportunity . Charlie has turned into an under-the-covers cat. I’m figuring out how best to program the thermostat so I don’t have a $200 electric bill. Also, I will probably need to buy an actual coat.

Alameda To Raleigh: Day Six


I just drove from California to North Carolina.

With two cats.

And one very understanding and awesome friend.

We got to the apartment a bit after 3:00 this afternoon, but not before driving through the heaviest rain I remember driving in. In the 13-1/2 years I’ve had Luna, I never once had the windshield wipers on full speed. Today I had to use that speed several times (including my trip back from Target).

I’m exhausted and we don’t have internet set up in the apartment yet, so it’s a short update.

Clancy and Charlie were awesome again, though Clancy has some issues at altitude. He didn’t like climbing in Arizona and he complained through the Smoky Mtns.

I’m doing my first load of laundry…IN my apartment, while I tap this out on my phone and drink lavender chamomile tea. Clancy is curled up next to me and Charlie is over ALL of this bullshit and has buried himself under the covers on the air mattress (and he has always hated being covered up!).

Road tid-bits: too tired to remember them now.

I’m grateful for: Corinne, completing this part of my journey, the two sweetest cats in the world, doing my laundry without leaving home, my Subaru, sleep.

An image of a speedometer and odometer that shows a trip of over 2,900 miles

Alameda to Raleigh: Day Five

Yes, I had to look that up because I’m not even sure what day it is anymore.

Today was all about the rain and trying to keep the tarp secured. Solid rain all the way from Memphis until we were about 20 minutes west of Nashville, with a billowing tarp that was making me hella nervous. Once we got past Nashville, we stopped at a mall for a break and to fix the tarp/bungee cords and to better strategically place the large jugs of water. We did well because that tarp did not move at all the rest of the trip.

We hit rain again about 40 minutes out of Nashville and it was steady the rest of the way to Knoxville. As an added bonus, while climbing through the hills, we hit some dense fog. Nothing like being on a completely unfamiliar road in pouring rain AND dense fog! I white-knuckled it for a while.

Since today was supposed to be a much shorter drive (5-1/2 hours vs 7-8 hours), I was excited that, for once, we’d be at the hotel before 6 pm. Then I saw the sign that we were entering the Eastern Time Zone and there went that hour. So, yet again, we got to the hotel around 6:00. Corinne reheated our leftover Indian feast from last night and we enjoyed the rest of it for our supper, after getting settled in the room.

Charlie seems to have found a hidey-hole in the room. He may be behind the bed, or he may have got himself under this nightstand as well. I know he didn’t get out of the room, so I won’t be running around the neighborhood in the rain. Clancy has been back and forth between me and Corinne for snuggles. This was the second day without drugs, and they were quiet the whole way!

I’m hoping tomorrow we can get an earlier start, partly to stay ahead of the nasty cold winter storm that’s following behind this rain, and partly to get to the apartment before the office closes for the day. Probably means I should make it an early night tonight.

Tid-bits from the road: As I was loading the car this morning, a lady with her small dog came out of the hotel and said, “I think we’re following you. Didn’t you lose your cat?” I told her where we finally found him and we chatted for a bit. It turns out she and her husband are coming to the southeast from Pacific Grove (near Monterey, CA). We all agreed that trying to live in California has become unsustainable. They’re looking to make their retirement money last, and I’m looking forward to being ABLE to retire at some point.

I will never understand the mentality of drivers who can freakin’ SEE that we are either in a line of traffic, or I am attempting to pass a line of traffic, but they tailgate anyway. Settle down, Beavis!

No really, WHAT IS THE DEAL with all of these Adult XXX Mega/Superstores around here?

Alameda to Raleigh: Day Four

After last night’s drama, today was relatively peaceful.

I elected to skip the gabapentin dosing for Charlie and Clancy since trying to pill them created a lot of stress (not to mention some bloodshed on my part). Without the drugs, the Boys handled the 7+ hour drive like seasoned pros (they are telling me they might write a travel blog for kittehs). Charlie complained a few times, but no hyperventilating–and no accidents from Clancy.

I was still feeling pretty exhausted from last night, however, Clancy was up and at ’em at 5:00 a.m., wandering the room and meowing. So I was awake at 5. Since I had decided against drugging the cats, though, I didn’t feel under pressure to adhere to any timetable, so I gave them a tiny bit of dry food and I honored my body’s need for some more sleep.

We were underway a bit after 9:00. Oklahoma City was still pretty windy and I couldn’t get the tarp over the bed of the truck on my own, so I decided to just take my chances that decent weather would hold through to Memphis.

1704 miles
More than half way!
Welcome to Arkansas
This was a nice visitor center!

Other than OKC choking a 4-lane major highway down to one or two lanes, the drive was uneventful for the most part, until we were approaching Little Rock, AR. That’s when we hit spritzes. Spritzes turned to sprinkles. Sprinkles turned to rain. I made the call to pull off to a gas station where we could get undercover to put the tarp on. It took Corinne and me a couple of tries (had to pull back off of the freeway a couple miles after we got back on I-40 and the tarp started to blow off). The second time I finally found the rest of the bungee cords, so we bungeed the hell out of the tarp, and I made sure I tucked it as far under the heavy stuff as I could, then weighed it down with my little step ladder, my luggage cart, and the two large bottles of water I keep on hand for emergencies. Those held the tarp in place all the way to Memphis. Naturally, the rain mostly stopped after we got the tarp in place, but we did run into fog for several miles.

Arkansas fog
foggy travels east of Little Rock

We got to the hotel and Corinne found and plugged a couple of likely hidey-holes while I undid the tarp and got the big bin and my suitcase out of the back of the truck. She also ordered us a wonderful Indian dinner (dal, saag paneer, and basmati rice are my comfort foods!), while I settled the Boys in with their supper.

As I write, the Boys are both conked out on the bed with me and, despite rain, we had a very good day!

#ClancyKitteh in repose

I am grateful for: Corinne, Charlie, Clancy, how nicely they are re-bonding with Auntie Corinne, the run of good weather that we had, the extraordinarly lovely folks at the LaQuinta in Oklahoma City, who were so happy we had found Charlie and alerted their staff to a “new” hiding place, and that the last two drives will be around 5 or 5-1/2 hours each.

Other random bits: Seeing my first tumbleweed since childhood in New Mexico. Seeing the first ghost town of the trip in Cuervo, NM. Overhead traffic signs in Memphis programmed to say that the traffic was slow because of rubberneckers. A sign as I entered Oklahoma that cautioned that hitchhikers might be escaped inmates. Seeing more California license plates in Arkansas than I’ve seen since leaving California. The prevalence of Adult XXX Superstores in this part of the country. Making it all the way to Arkansas before seeing any billboards supporting Trump (and I still haven’t seen any bumper stickers).

Alameda to Raleigh: Day Three (extra)

Lost in the panic of a missing cat last night was a rather amusing happening.

Monday morning I went out to pack the car, only to discover that one of the jugs of water I brought from Alameda hat tipped in the back seat. All of the towels and our old “couch blanket” were damp, as was the seat itself. Some of the towels dried out in the bed of the truck on the trip to Albuquerque. Others didn’t, even being left overnight (I was too focused on getting us buttoned down for the night to check if the hotel had laundry facilities). Yesterday morning, however, I decided I couldn’t deal with the towels that were still wet and decided that our time together had reached its end. The blanket was dry enough that I strapped it down on top of the large bin in the bed for the journey to Oklahoma City.

Last night, when we arrived, I noticed that the blanket was nearly dry, but not quite. Corinne found the laundry room on the third floor, but when I got there I found I’d need more change to use the dryer. Since the room was empty, I set the blanket on top of one of the dryers and went downstairs to get change from the lobby. The front desk associate was helping someone with her reservation, so I waited nearby.

Imagine my surprise when I suddenly see my blanket out of the corner of my eye. Wrapped around the waste of a strange man.

“Dude, why are you wearing my blanket?” I asked.

He said he had got locked out of his room.

The front desk associate looked up and said, “That’s YOUR blanket?” I nodded, still kind of bemused, because this is totally something I’d expect to have happened back in San Francisco, but not in OKC.

At this point, the other associate came out. “I TOLD you I was on my way up,” she said to the man. She had a key in her hand and they went upstairs.

The woman at the counter and the associate couldn’t believe that the guy would just take my blanket like that. A few minutes later, the other associate returned with my blanket. She apologized profusely and said that the guy was not even naked, he had shorts on. Guess he was just shy?

Whatever. So instead of just drying it out, I got extra change and washed that damn blanket in hot water and then dried it, while we were getting underway with the whole Charlie hoopla.

Such an odd, drama-filled evening. At least the pizza was still good, even though it was cold before I had a slice.

Alameda to Raleigh: Day Three

The cat-pilling didn’t go much better today, though I did get most of both in Charlie and one in Clancy. My fingers paid the price, though. Ouch. I was concerned at the lack of litter box use (for #2) and worried that Clancy would have another volcanic blast. But we needed to get going, so I bundled them in their carriers and hoped for the best.

I have to say, compared to yesterday the drive was pleasant and relatively uneventful. I saw my first tumbleweed since I was a kid somewhere outside of Tucumcari, NM. I thought I’d stop in town and try to find a restroom and a cup of hot tea, to get me through to Amarillo, TX.

No Child Is Safe billboard
Billboard seen in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Del's Restaurant sign
Stopped here to use the restroom and grab a cup of tea to go.

Soon I crossed the border into Texas. While I wasn’t necessarily expecting wind turbines, Texas otherwise looked pretty much how I imagined it would.

Texas Turbines
A view of the many fields of wind turbines in Texas.
Roadside Church
A sign advertised an inspirational rest stop and I could see this huge cross half a mile away.

We breezed right through Texas and into Oklahoma (the advantage of traveling through the Panhandle and not feeling like you’ll NEVER get through Texas). No photos of Oklahoma, because it is hella windy and I needed both hands on the wheel. It looks quite a lot like Texas did, so far, though Oklahoma City seems pretty metropolitan.

Hit OKC right at rush hour, which was a bit nerve-wracking being unfamiliar with the area and trying to find the hotel and coordinate with my friend on getting her from the airport. While she found a good deal on a Lyft ride, I settled into the room with the cats.

Naturally, Charlie went into hiding: I figured he had found his way behind/under one of the beds again. Corinne arrived and we decided to order a pizza because we were both hungry and I was dead sick of Wheat Thins and bananas.

I was bothered about Charlie, though, and decided to flip over the mattresses and check the box springs. He wasn’t in or behind either of the beds. I checked behind all of the furniture that it looked like a cat could get behind/under. Nothing. I started to fear that he had somehow escaped while I was dealing with the luggage cart, even though I had been so careful to make sure both cats stayed in the room. He COULDN’T have gotten out without me seeing him. Could he?

For the next three hours, we had a search party looking all over the hotel for him. I roamed the neighborhood a few times, shining my flashlight under cars, under bushes, in ditches and sewer grates and making multiple appeals to St. Gertrude of Nivelles. Charlie was gone and my heart was shattering. But he HAD to be in the room. I remembered we had looked at the nightstand earlier and noted that it had “fake” drawers. I started to wonder if it was a solid block, or if it was hollowed. I moved it away from the wall and…

A very naughty kitty!
Charlie had me searching the neighborhood for HOURS, when he was in this nightstand in the room the whole time.

And thanks to Charlie, I am at over 11,000 steps for today.

I’ve often said that cats get nine lives because they steal so many from their humans. That Brat Bastard owes me three of them tonight!

Tonight I’m grateful for: Corinne, the LaQuinta staff, my Twitter/Facebook/Instagram family who helped me when I was frantically looking for Charlie, Charlie for not being gone, St. Gertrude, and pizza.

Here’s hoping the rest of this week is cat drama-free.