“…there is a possibility of seeing some sleet or snow here today. I kind of figured that winter on the east coast does not leave without flipping over another table and smashing a few more bottles on the way out.”
Okay, so here in Raleigh winter just sort of tipped over a couple of chairs and sloshed some wine. The Nor’easter saved its punch for, well, the Northeast. There really wasn’t enough snow to build a snow person, but I probably could have made a snow hood ornament for the car, had I felt like it.
Even though we got just a skiff, it was enough to close down schools early as a precaution, which is good (as one parent put it, you don’t really want teenage/beginning drivers on the road when it’s snowing/sleeting). For the workplaces that didn’t get to close early, the commute home was a miserable mess.
Dos Gatos Locos still aren’t sure what to make of big puffs falling out of the sky. I probably should have brought in a little snowball for them to investigate. Though, come to think of it, both of them lost their damn minds last summer when I dropped an ice cube into their water bowl, so maybe it’s best that I didn’t introduce snow yet.
The snow (ha! Grammarly is flagging this and insisting I change “snow” to “show”. It’s not necessarily wrong; just not what I’m going for here.) ended last night not long after the evening commute. None of it really stuck to the roads nearby, though the wet pavement froze overnight. Our parking lot looked like a skating rink until the sun finally hit it.
The calendar says we have one more week of winter. I guess we’ll pick up the chairs and clean up the wine and hope that we’ve seen the last of its drunken brawls.
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.
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!
This tub, tho.
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.
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:
Yes, I have placemats attached to the wall. Charlie is an exceptionally messy eater.
And the 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:
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!).
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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!
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!
Most of our stuff started toward Raleigh earlier this week, and the Boys and I air-mattressed it for a week.
Today it was our turn to hit the road. I had worked right up until Thursday (note to self: don’t do that next time: give yourself a week buffer, for goodness sake!), and Friday and Saturday were both balls-to-the-wall with last-minute donation and disposal runs. I had hoped for a rest day, but it was not to be.
We were up at 4:45 this morning. I spent far too long fighting to get the sleeping bag rolled up and in its bag before I noticed that the tag on the outside of the bag said to cut it off so the bag could open enough to fit (durrrrr!). Since the gabapentin needs to be administered to the cats 2-3 hours before the “trigger” event, I gave them their Special Treats, and made myself a cup of tea. I did my yoga practice and took a shower and finished cramming stuff into the car. Unfortunately, that took longer than expected and we were not underway until 8:00.
The drugs kept things pretty quiet in the back seat for about half an hour, then Charlie started meowing. I decided that this is simply part of the soundtrack of this trip and didn’t try to quiet him. He eventually quieted on his own, and throughout the drive, both boys would meow back and forth for several minutes, then settle down again and sleep.
Since this was the longest leg of the trip I kept the stops to a minimum (just gas, stretch, and restroom). I do have a small camera that sort of works as a quasi-dash cam.
Outside of Bakersfield I saw two MUNI busses (1 California line) pass heading toward the Bay Area and isn’t it just like MUNI. People will have to wait hella long for their bus to show up, then there will be two in a row.
We made it to Kingman in just over nine hours and got checked into the hotel. Clancy seems to have taken this all in his stride and ate supper without needing persuasion. Charlie, however, seems to be processing his anxiety by wandering around the room and testing all of the little places he can hide.
So now we are all buttoned down for the night. I’m about to go to bed because not only do we have to get up early in the morning, I’ve lost an hour from Pacific to Mountain time.