The Raleigh World: One Month In

North Carolina flag
North Carolina

Today marks one month since Dos Gatos Locos and I rolled into Raleigh and began making a new home here. As with the day we arrived, today’s weather is warm-ish and rainy (thank goodness it’s light showers and not nearly the gully washer that greeted us).

We are settling into life in North Carolina: the apartment is coming together and I’ve taken care of a lot of the bureaucratic whoop-dee-doo involved with moving to a new area (I still have some business stuff to sort out). I’m beginning to make some car trips without needing to fire up Waze. I am able to restock cat food and litter and keep my fridge and cupboard stocked without getting lost or resorting to having them delivered.

Most of my weekends have been taken up with setting up the apartment and setting up my freelance business, but I have ventured around the Raleigh/Cary/Durham area a couple of times1. I’ve joined a couple of meetup groups and am making my way as a dyed-in-the-wool introvert through this networking stuff.

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Mill House

Other things that I am slowly becoming accustomed to include:

  • having “Miss” appended to my first name: I’m glad I go by Victoria now and not Vicki because I’m not Tiny Tim’s wife and being called “Miss Vicki” used to send me round the bend when I was a kid.
  • styrofoam food containers (quelle horreur)
  • directions: west means AWAY from the (nearest) ocean! Seriously, I need to etch this into my windshield!
  • weather: as much as I mentally prepared for hot, humid weather, I neglected to prepare myself for prolonged cold2. But we weathered *cough* the cold (and the surprise snow storm) and my electric bill wasn’t nearly as high as I had steeled myself for.
  • a winter scene on a nearby street
  • manners3: Last week as I approached the door at Starbucks, I hesitated because the way the light was hitting the area, I didn’t think the guy opening the door would see me and we’d collide. He came inside, saw me and leaped back to the door to hold it open. “I’m sorry,” he said softly. I wouldn’t have thought anything of him not holding the door, mostly because I didn’t expect him to have x-ray vision, so I was a little shocked that he not only jumped back to get the door but apologized for not holding it in the first place. I regained my own manners enough to smile and thank him as I passed through the door.
  • people complaining about rush hour traffic: unlike the Bay Area, I doubt they have to turn on the metering lights at 05:30 a.m. around here. Come to think of it, I don’t think they even *have* metering lights here.
  • parking: as in, you can do that here without driving around the block for an extra six miles or needing to take out a home equity loan to pay for an hour or two of parking downtown.
  • time: Oof. The first couple of weeks here I thought I was doing well with the time change but these last couple of weeks have been a struggle. I also tend to forget that my people back on the west coast are now three hours behind me (so sorry for the texts and FB messages at 06:00 a.m., darlings!)
  • neighborhood farm
    Y’all. These are some of my neighbors🐄🐑🐐🐓
  • peace: I live less than ten minutes from the airport and I rarely hear aircraft. I rarely hear traffic, other than the nearby railroad (and a train is blasting its horn as I type this). And there is a FARM right next door! Instead of 24/7 sirens now I hear goats and a rooster.
  • ease: People here don’t go out of their way to make things difficult. Even the DM-freakin’-V was the easiest and most organized experience I’ve had at a DMV since I left Oregon. I didn’t make an appointment for obtaining the driver’s license or the registration, and both times I was done and out of there within an hour (car registration took 10 minutes).

So that’s a snapshot of the first month of The Raleigh World. I’m grateful that I’m able to ease into this new chapter of my life and that the Boys are adjusting well to their new surroundings.

It’s been a lot change. And I’m just getting started.

Doesn’t matter that I need to get up and do stuff. Clancy is comfortable on my lap, so here I sit.

1Okay, fine: the second excursion was a driving tour of Morrisville/Cary last Friday because I decided to not use Waze for the trip home and I got on the westbound freeway instead of the eastbound. But what the hell, it was a lovely day out and I made a couple of mental notes of places to return to.

2After living in the Bay Area for 24 years, cold is anything under 55 degrees.

3The manners seem to dissolve once folks get behind the wheel of their cars, however. HOLY CRAP have I encountered some asshole behavior on the roads!

Leaving Neverland

Reflecting on life in the Bay Area
Reflecting on life in Neverland

One month ago I crammed my Subaru to the rafters and Dos Gatos Locos and I left “Neverland”.

(Aside: I frequently refer to the Bay Area—and San Francisco in particular—as Neverland, because it always has been a place that allowed for play and experimentation, no matter what your age or background. Up until a few years ago the “Neverland” aspect of life in the Bay Area was benign: There was a sort of “take a penny, leave a penny” community spirit. Neverland started to become malignant a couple of decades ago, as dot-com money came in and dispassionately began wiping out communities and the security that comes with community, and worsened considerably over the last ten years.)

So anyway, I started to write about leaving Neverland about a year ago.

Check that.

I’m pretty sure that I began writing about this four or five years ago. Because I knew then that I had stayed at that party for too long, but I was so emotionally paralyzed that I couldn’t even think of moving. Hell, the thought of even going to the grocery store could send me into a full-on stress meltdown.

But even a year ago, when I tried again to write about leaving the Bay Area, I just…couldn’t. And it was frustrating because I had visions of this E-P-I-C journal/blog. But it just wasn’t happening.

Sans the epic-inspirational-internet-sensation journal, I started making my way across the country. The first three days of the trip provided plenty of time for me to bounce around against all of the surfaces of my mind, while I drove. Somewhere between Amarillo, TX and the Oklahoma border, I realized that the reason why I couldn’t write about the process of “conscious uncoupling” from the Bay Area is because I need distance.

Miles and time.

So now I’m good on the miles part, but the time? Hrmmmmm…

I’ve made it a priority of my yoga and meditation practice to leave enough space to process the experience of living in the Bay Area, with the understanding that this is a big job. I was there for more than 24 years: the longest that I’ve lived anywhere in my life.

It was never easy, especially since I don’t come with the backing of a trust fund or a six-figure tech job. I did make a life there, though. I began collecting those pieces of myself that I had dropped, like breadcrumbs, throughout my childhood and young adulthood and I started to form MY life. But the stress of trying to keep a roof over my head in one of the most expensive housing markets in the world eventually suffocated the fire I had built. All of those pieces were still there, only now they were buried under layer upon layer of protective anger, which grew worse over the last several years in the Bay Area.

Around the time of the Great Recession about a decade ago, the atmosphere in the Bay Area thickened with a hostile stench, like sewer gas in San Francisco. Just like there are corners of San Francisco that don’t smell like sewer gas, there are pockets of human kindness (and I certainly tried my best to keep that part of myself in the light). But it’s hard to feel anything other than anger towards an area when every day I saw working people who were homeless (the lucky ones at least had a car they could sleep in), in a city that criminalized being broke. A place so malignant with a sense of entitlement that tech bros wrote open letters to the mayor bitching about homeless people.

So, yeah. Safe to say these first weeks away from the Bay Area will be spent peeling away more of those layers of anger. Those layers will go in one stack. There will be other stacks: for the great friends I made there, the fun times, the heartaches, the art, the education.

All of it was necessary for me to get here.

And as I shed the layers that stifled me, those important pieces of myself will breathe again, and that oxygen will fuel the fire from which my creativity and brilliance will rise.

To be continued…

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 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

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.

Alameda to Raleigh: Day Two

Fam. This has not been our best travel day. I pray it’s our worst.

6:00 a.m. Time to give the Boys their pills. Neither one will eat a Pill Pocket, even an empty one. So I spent 15 minutes wrestling with each of them, trying to pill them the old-fashioned way (open mouth, shove pill in). I got one down Charlie, and I thought I got one down Clancy, but it looks like he managed to reject both as I later found the first one that I thought I had successfully administered.

9:00 a.m. I planned to meet up with a friend for coffee in Flagstaff around 11:00, and this was just pushing the time a bit (it’s about 2 hours between Kingman and Flagstaff). I stopped to top off the gas and, as we pulled away from the gas station I could smell it. Yep. Despite the fact that the litter box had been available up until the moment I put them in their carriers (AND Clancy had pooped already), Clancy managed to take a big, sploodgy, crap in the carrier, necessitating me pulling into the nearest strip mall lot to clean up the carrier.

11:00 a.m. I had plugged the address of the place I was to meet my friend into Google Maps and hit Go for directions. Slight issue: The address I was given was to a gas station, NOT Starbucks. And my phone was just about dead. I called my friend and, after several minutes, we figured out that I was given 1688 WEST Route 66 instead of 1688 EAST Route 66.

11:30 a.m. Had a cup of tea and a nice chat with my friend. Given my stress level already, it was a balm for my spirit.

I-40 in Northern Arizona
Do they still publish ‘Arizona Highways’ magazine? I loved it as a kid!

12:30 p.m. Topped off the tank again and we were underway for Albuquerque.

The Boys were more quiet today. In fact, Clancy was so quiet I was worried about him, so I checked him when we got to Gallup, NM.

12:45 – 1:30 p.m. DO. NOT. FUCKIN’. RAIN. Ran into sprinkles here and there. I have a tarp to put over the bed, but it was dry out this morning, and it was one more thing to have to do this morning, so I skipped it. (It looks like my luck may be running out with dry weather, though. 🙁 )

3:00-ish p.m. WTF is it with old white dude drivers? They are universally assholes on this trip.

5:45 p.m. Got to the hotel and unloaded the car (I have a LOT of stuff to unload, so this is no small deal). Started to settle into the room and I was so happy to see BOTH boys eating the can food!

Clancy and Charlie eating supper
This was a relief, however brief before the wiggling into holes started.

6:00-ish p.m. Heard odd noise from under the bed. It didn’t take me long to figure out that Charlie had found a hole in the fabric under the box springs and had worked his way inside (Simon did that with our old bed years ago. It was his favorite hidey-hole.). I went back to the front desk and explained the problem and they offered to try a different room. The first alternate room also had holes in the box springs AND smelled strongly of urine. Found holes in the box springs of the second room. Third room, no holes in the box springs. HOWEVER, there are plenty of other ways that the Boys have found to get in/behind the beds. I have spent the better part of the past hour stuffing towels and pillows into these holes.

It is now past 8:00 p.m. and I am just now sitting down to my “dinner” of Wheat Thins and an avocado. But I can see both cats, so that’s good.

I’m hoping that opening the door to the closet will be enough to keep the Boys from wanting to find more hidey-holes so I can get a decent night’s sleep.

Other stuff of note from the last couple of days:

  • I was thinking about the mountains between Barstow and Needles and my memories of them. Both from my childhood, riding in the back seat of Grandpa’s Lincoln, and these are mountains that I frequently see in my dreams.
  • Driving through Arizona also brought back a lot of childhood memories. In my mind, I was replaying Grandpa’s Mark Lindsay 8-Track tape (with the song “Arizona”, of course). There is a lot of beautiful scenery, and there is also a big billboard with a picture of Obama with a “Hitler” mustache, just to remind me of where I am.
  • Luna is finally living her life purpose (Subarus are made for the road, not short grocery store trips).
  • I got to the Continental Divide for the first time in my life. Elevation ~7,000 feet. That explains the ear popping (and possibly why Clancy was so quiet, perhaps he was affected by the elevation).
  • I’m grateful for friends, the kindness of strangers, and cruise control.

8:45 p.m. Charlie seems to have found his way into another hole. GOD DAMMIT!

Well, Sh*T

Most of you know by now that Dos Gatos Locos and I are planning a cross-country move soon. I debated how I’d get them from one coast to the other, before deciding that we’ll all go together in the car (Charlie doesn’t handle separation from me very well, so it seems less stressful on him for us to drive together, rather than me being gone for 10 days driving the car across the country, then flying to California and flying with both of them back to the east coast.) I’ve acquired larger carriers for both of them, but I’ve held on to the smaller carrier for their vet trips. That way, the red carrier is associated with vet visits, but the blue carriers aren’t. I also bought Feliway spray for the carriers and the car, and am about to start test trips soon, to get them used to being in the car.

It happens that both boys have their annual exams around this time of the year: Charlie got a clean bill of health a couple of weekends ago. Tonight was Clancy’s turn. Where Charlie is timid and hyperventilates at vet visits, Clancy becomes possessed by demons and turns into a growling, howling, hissing asshole. They’re also due for fecal tests, but I wasn’t able to get a sample before we left. That’s okay, though, because Clancy provided a TON of samples in the carrier on the way to the vet’s office! Which he managed to stomp in. Repeatedly. I think he may have been trying to fling some at me from the back seat. (For the record, he’s never had an accident in the carrier.)

Once inside the exam room, the vet tech sent the carrier to the back for cleaning (BLESS THOSE ANGELS AT THE VET’S OFFICE, HOW I WILL MISS THEM) while she asked me the usual questions (eating/diet, any vomiting, is he peeing okay, pooping…well we had our answer there already).

While we waited for the vet I tried to clean Clancy off, which went about as well as one would expect from a cat who is pissed off and wants to remain covered in shit because THAT’LL TEACH YOU TO TOUCH ME, HUMAN. He was as nice as can be, as long as he and I watched the birds and other passers-by outside the window together. But we’ve all seen that horror film, right? We know Mr. Hyde was lurking, ready to rear his evil stinky head.

The vet came into the room and we assessed how dirty Clancy was (it was mostly in his toes at this point). “Well, we’ve certainly seen a lot worse,” the vet said. She petted Clancy before trying to examine him. He did all right until she wanted to listen to his heart and lungs. O HAI, MR. HYDE! But the doctor is a pro and she managed to complete that, look at his teeth (a bit of gingivitis, but his teeth otherwise look good) and felt his innards. And this year it only took one vet tech to hold Clancy for the vet to get him his rabies shot (last year it was me, plus two vet techs and it still took about 10 minutes before we were able to hold him still long enough for the jab).

Clancy got his clean bill of health and we were on our way home. Now you know what happened on the way home, don’t you? YOU SURE DOODOO!


When we got home Clancy and I went straight to the bathroom so I could clean him and the carrier. Charlie insisted on hanging out with us, but immediately regretted that choice, once Clancy got out of the carrier and smeared poop everywhere. Charlie leaped up on the toilet lid hoping to escape the biological war that had broken out, but still sorta wanting to be involved. Clancy was (quite understandably) very angry with me as I wetted paper towels down to clean him off. (I thought for about .00005 seconds about giving him a full bath in the tub, but decided I prefer keeping the flesh on my arms, torso, and face, so we went the wipe-down route.) Much hissing, swatting, growling, and howling ensued and then Charlie started growling at Clancy because Clancy was growling at me. I explained to Charlie that Clancy couldn’t help pooping and I understood that he’s upset with me right now and he should just love his brother. Both of them calmed back down and I sent them out of the room while I disinfected the surfaces and scrubbed out the carrier.

All is calm now. I’ve got Clancy as clean as I can get him (he’ll take care of the rest on his own), the carrier and bathroom are wiped down. Charlie has had his asthma inhaler and both cats have had their dinner. (Clancy seems to be the only one of us whose appetite wasn’t affected by all of the drama.) Usually, as I’m preparing their meals, Charlie and Clancy entertain themselves by performing Gato Lucha Libre in the kitchen. While I got their dishes out, Charlie started to head-tackle Clancy but immediately pulled back, with a look on his face that said “I WON’T WRASSLE YOU BECAUSE YOU SMELL LIKE VET’S OFFICE AND POO!” He also considered asking me to feed him away from his brother, but decided to eat in his regular spot after all.

So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fire up the essential oil diffuser and have a cup of lavender chamomile tea while I order another three dozen containers of Nature’s Miracle wipes, about 500 potty pads, and every li’l tree car freshener Amazon has in stock for that cross-country drive.

Mister Four and Mister Six

Clancy turned four (I think) around the beginning of June (maybe).

And Charlie turns six (I think) today (possibly).

Why don’t I know? Because both of these boys were abandoned by their previous families. Charlie was left behind when his family moved out of their home, and Clancy was found hanging out in back of Popeye’s in Oakland. From what the rescue group and veterinarians could tell, Charlie and Clancy were young cats when they were rescued, but they were not kittens. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ they get birthdays some time during “kitten season” and I try to give them their own month. Simon was May, Charlie got July, and that leaves June just for Clancy.

There should be a special place in hell for people who abandon/dump their pets. But in the end it worked out pretty well for the three of us, I’d say. Whatever age My Boys are, I love them and I’m grateful for every single day that we have together.