Sunday, August 20, 2006

From the cat's perspective

This week has been hard on all of us. Champs' back and shoulder are beyond sore. My right heel is done in. Poor Sweet Girl just wants school to start before she dies of boredom (I mean it - I haven't found a box of her toys yet, so her world has been reduced to watching us unpack, helping when I can find a small job for her and playing with the amazing collection of McDonald's Happy Meal Polly Pocket toys she's collected since we left Minnesota).

However, if the cat were to posses the power of speech, I think he would have the most interesting story to tell. Since he doesn't, I'll just have to reach into my powers of empathy and tell you what we've put this poor animal through. It isn't pretty.

Prior to our move, I consulted with our vet about poor Gus. This cat does not travel well. The vet's office was only three blocks away from home and that short ride nearly sent the poor animal over the edge the few times he went. He would caterwaul the entire way there. Funny me, but I got to thinking that if I didn't enjoy the music the ballistic cat provided for a three-block ride, I really wasn't going to enjoy his company for a 550 mile ride! Thankfully, my vet agreed and prescribed a nice kitty downer. (Sidebar: At about this point in the story, people usually say "oh, benadryl, right? That's what they gave my cat to calm it down." No, my vet understood and proscribed a very real, very strong sedative. I really like that man.)

Since the house would be open all day Friday while we packed the moving truck, my mom came over to get Gus on Thursday. By now, I had packed half his stuff and reduced him to the "little" combo water/food bowl and the kitty carrier had been out for a couple of days, so he knew something was up (yeah, the growing pile of packed boxes probably tipped him off as well). Both mom and I agreed that six miles probably didn't warrant pulling out the stash, so she enjoyed (yes, I am an optimist) Gus' serenade on the way home.

On Friday, Gus was very clingy to my mom, thinking that I must have abandoned him or something. She said he barely let her sleep Thursday or Friday nights since he kept crawling up onto the bed and trying to sleep on her pillow. Silly cat; he didn't seem to realize her head was already there. Actually, I've noticed that fact seems to rarely deter any cat, does it?

On Saturday, we called mom before we left the hotel and she drugged the hungry and thirsty cat (nothing after midnight when you're drugging your cat, you know). Just like a surgery, "Operation CatMove" was underway. Our vet had said to give the cat a quarter of a tablet and if he didn't settle down in half an hour, give him another quarter tablet. He didn't, so we did. That cat didn't know what hit him; he was walking sideways and couldn't seem to focus. That seemed like the perfect time to start the trip, so off we went. We loaded Gus into his cat carrier (always a feat in mechanical engineering, since he hates that thing) and strapped him into the front seat.

Gus still serenaded me for the first 20 minutes of the trip, but it was very soft, as though he had switched from the hard rock station to easy listening. Eventually he settled down to sleep. Now, our trip should have been 10 hours. Unfortunately, we had truck problems, so when 6 hours of kitty nirvana had passed, we were still only 100 miles out of Minnesota and were getting the truck fixed. So I let the cat out to see if he would do his business. Yeah, right. Of course, I couldn't just let him walk away, so I put him on a leash, which he didn't like at all. He was having no part of the kitty box. All he wanted was to get back into his carrier. So, we gave him more drugs and let him go back (I think this will be the only time I ever see that cat voluntarily get into his carrier). We got back on the road and it was all good until the 12th hour of our trip, when the drugs wore off. Remember, the trip should have taken 10 hours. It took 15. I got three hours of one pissed off cat doing his best Alanis Morrisette impression in the front seat next to me. Yeah, that was one jagged little pill, all right.

Finally we arrived and you would think the poor cat's trials would be over. Not so. If you read my previous blog post, you know that we had to wait nearly a week for our house to be ready in order for us to move into it. So we stayed at my mother-in-law's house from Sunday to Friday. Not a problem except for two things: Grandma Nee doesn't enjoy cats much and she has a bird. This meant that, except for carefully controlled visits, Gus lived in one room of the house for a week. Needless to say, this didn't go over too well with the cat and he would sing about the injustice of it all every time we got near his doorway. I'm amazed he didn't wear out his meower, to be honest. Finally we got enough in the house that we were able to bring him home on Friday night. It was just in time, too. He had stopped eating and drinking, probably in protest or maybe out of boredom.

Now that we are home, Gus is in a place where he can roam freely, eating and drinking at will and taking the Nancy approach to drugs ("just say no!"). Of course, with all the boxes and upheaval around, not to mention a plethora of new smells, he is on full investigative mode 24/7. I haven't actually seen a lot of him, and he hasn't forgiven me enough to be willing to snuggle down and purr for me. Oh well, he'll come around. Eventually he's gonna want those ears scratched, and only Mom knows that one special spot.

All in all, he did really well and we survived. Now that we're here, though, I am wondering if we can find a vet just a block away...

Here are some comments from this post:
kenju said...
Hello! I love the new look for the blog, Blond Girl, and this post is very well-written and entertaining! Welcome back - it seems a very long time since we have seen you around at Michele's. She sent me!

colleen said...
Well, I'm glad the cat's off drugs and your moved in even if your shoulders are sore. Michele and are saying HI.

Carmi said...
I'm so happy that Gus is settling in and that he's past the kitty drugs phase of his life. When we moved - first from our little apartment to our first house across town, and then later to a city far, far away - we struggled with what to do with our beloved cat, Shadow.
The move across town was tough enough. We resorted to vet-prescribed kitty valium when we moved to a new province.
He, too, made the trip without too much damage, and was a happy part of our life for many years thereafter.
Congratulations on getting the worst of the move behind you. I'm so excited for you all!

princssis said...
Can you imagine the cold shoulder you'd be getting now if you had left Gus here for a month? I'm glad he's survived the trip and I'm sure he'll acclimate to his new surroundings quickly!

Geekwif said...
Glad to hear Gus is happy now...well relatively. Hopefully he'll be back to his purring self soon.

utenzi said...
You're an amazingly tolerant family, Blond Girl. I doubt Gus would still be with me! My girlfriend is like you though--and her pets (3 cats and one dog) are treated far better than I am. (dammit!)
It's good that Gus can finally get himself comfortable in a house once more. Poor Gus!

Linda said...
Oh my, I DO remember those days with my kitty. While I miss that kitty dearly (the ex got custody), I don't miss those dealings at all!
Good luck - Gus will come around and love you again!

Shannin said...
Love the new blog look - very you!
Sorry to hear Gus had a less than enjoyable trip. And to think I was the one who needed the Valium with a vodka back to get two dogs from Los Angeles to Minneapolis.
Glad you are getting settled... Thinking of you guys!

Tracie said...
I'm glad to see you back!! Sorry that Gus had it so hard, but don't worry-he will be back purring for you in no time.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Oh, WHERE do I begin?!?!

Hey all! Blond Girl is in the HOUUUUSSSSSSEE!

We are here safely in Illinois, but we have had a CRAZY week! First, I must give thanks and Kudos to Geekwif, who made this wonderful template for me as a gift. The exact type of gift I am not sure of; it is either a going-away present or housewarming present - but in anycase, she worked with me to give me exactly what I wanted and reflects my personality perfectly. Isn't it beautiful?!?!

Now, as for all our travails getting to our new home. Here's the looonng story short (Reader's Digest version, I promise!):

* Friday: We worked till about 6:00 getting everything done. We loaded a 26-foot truck with everything we owned and said goodbye to Robbinsdale, MN. Our eternal gratitude goes to our friends Mark, Steve, Paul, Dan and Tammy for the help. We would not have made it without them.
* Saturday: After a minor insulin scare (I realized I was out until my new insulin would be delivered to our new home, but my mother-in-law saved the day), we got on the road at about 10:00 a.m. Champs drove the truck and I drove our car with Sweet Girl tucked in back and a meowing, drugged cat riding up front (I still don't think Gus has forgiven me). What should have been a 10-hour trip became a 15-hour fiasco, thanks to a disabled truck. We spent a LOT of time in Eau Claire, WI getting the truck serviced (twice!) and finally arrived in IL, exhausted and disheveled, at 1:15 a.m.
* Sunday: After a nice breakfast at a local pancake house, Champs, Sweet Girl and I headed over to the rental house to clean before our friends and family arrived to help unload the truck. As I was cleaning in the kitchen, something was bugging me about the house. It soon became apparent that what was bugging me was... Bugs! The house had a very bad bug problem. The refrigerator had three dead bugs in it and one live one that wanted me to shut the door. The cabinets had little bugs crawling all over inside. The next door neighbor had a pest-control truck, so we went over and asked the man to tell us if what we thought we were seeing was valid. Turns out the kitchen and bathroom were infested with German Cockroaches (or "croaches", as Sweet Girl calls them). We packed up the few things we had pulled off the truck, called the landlord and told him we were not moving into that house. I explained that we would either need a better, bug-free house or we would need our money back. Later in the day, he met us at another available rental house which is beautiful. It's got more space, a family room with a fireplace, a brand-new refrigerator and kitchen floor, tons of storage space and a much nicer neighborhood - for only $70.00 more per month. So, we rented that, instead.
* Monday: Of course, with the house still being worked on, it wouldn't be ready for us until later in the week. The truck needed to be returned, though, so we unloaded everything into the garage of the new place (with invaluable help from my brother in law, Tank, and his friend, Eric. They are the ones who did all the update work on the house for our landlord). Then we went to return the disabled truck and sign a new lease - then contact everyone to tell them the change of address. Champs applied to SuperValu and hopes to have something come of that soon.
* Tuesday: I had a second interview with an Ameriprise Financial Advisor as a part-time para planner/project manager. I will meet with them on Monday to discuss final offer and compensation details, so my job seems to be settled, though I will still be looking into a few other things as I go.
* Today (Friday) and beyond: The house is finished and we started moving in today. Princsiss came and helped us clean; in fact, she got our stove looking stellar, but worked like crazy on it for hours. We joked that she'll be playing "the stove card" for a very long time to come anytime she needs or wants anything from me. We've got all the furniture into the house now, but this won't be the normally organized move that I am used to. The garage is a mish-mash of stuff, so it is going to be very interesting indeed to make sense of it all. Sweet Girl starts first grade on Wednesday, 8/23 and couldn't be more excited.

So there it is, in a nutshell. I left out tons of details. In the end, though, God is so good. We got a much better house than we had planned on, and we don't need to share space with "croaches". Hopefully we'll be completely settled in a month or so.

Here are some comments from this post:

Star said...
Boy, did you accomplish a lot. Glad to hear from you. Sounds like things are going well.

Ginger said...
LOVE the template!
Sounds like you've been having that wonderful, chaotic time that always goes with moving. Ugh. I'm always so happy when the things are at the new place and the settling begins. Glad you got into a much nicer place.

Linda said...
boy oh boy...I thought *I* had some moves from hades! At least you were able to get another place right away for a decent price. We just moved to Kansas, and it took us 10 days to find a place that wasn't WAAAAAAY overpriced. I spent a year in Germany prior to that (although my household goods only spent 6 months, traitors!). yeah...moves from hell just SUCK.
Glad you're getting settled and finding a home (and jobs).
Michele sent me today, but I think I'll be here regularly, I like how you write.

Geekwif said...
I must admit, I sort of skimmed this one because...
a) I know all (or at least many) of the details you left out, and
b) I got the email and read that one thoroughly.
I had to laugh when I read, "The house had a very bad bug problem." Okay, from what I heard, that is the understatement of the millenium!!! Just struck me as funny seeing as how you are not the understated type. :)
Missing you and your girl, though it's funny – I think we've talked more in the past week than we did in the entire month before that.
I hope you are unbelieveably happy in your new home. Wait, I take that back. If you're unhappy, maybe you'll come back to me...hmmm.
Nope. I can't do it. As much as I want you here, I can only hope you are happy where you are.

vanx said...
It was five years ago this month that we sold our home of 16 years and moved into our home of....five years. What an incredible experience. It was the beginning of big changes in my family's life. Some good, some bad. At any rate, the change was a symbolic juncture in our life. I think most big moves are.

srp said...
Here from Michele.
That moving with the U-haul can be so trying. My stuff is all in storage as I stay with my folks and I keep saying that when things work out and I again have a home, it will be like Christmas opening up all the boxes.
Good luck.

princssis said...
I know it's been a crazy week, but you've made it through and ended up with something better! A better neighborhood, house, school. What else could you ask for?
I welcome you here, but now you need to change your location on the sidebar to your new state! I know you'll always have Minnesota in your heart, but I know, with time, you'll bleed orange like the rest of us!!! Hee-hee.

utenzi said...
Holy Carp, BG. You and your family have been through a lot this past month. I hope the job change works out great for both of you and that your daughter loves her new school.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Signing Off for a Few Days....

Hello friends!

Well, the big move is almost here. Today was the last day at our jobs for me and Champs. Sweet Girl is at Grandma's for her last "overnight" in Minnesota and Champs and I are finishing up the packing. Our friendly computer is about to be lovingly nested in packing material, so I have to sign off for a few days. Tomorrow we load the truck, Saturday we drive all day and Sunday we unload. I'll be back to my blog as soon as I can be, on that you can bet... and, I might have a little surprise!

In the meantime, I want to say "thank you" to all of you who have offered up your best wishes, prayers and help. Every word means the world to us. If you've left me a comment with a "good luck" message that I haven't responded to, be assured that I've read it and I will respond soon. I haven't yet just because I've been running at mach 3 to get everything done! :-)

TTFN - my next post will be from Hometown City, Another State (otherwise known as Illinois)...

Here are some comments from this post:
princssis said...
Awaiting your arrival! Hope the packing and driving all go well! We'll see you Sunday!

Geekwif said...
Have a good trip. I'm gonna miss you!!!
(Guess I better get to work on that "surprise", huh?) ;-)

HolyMama! said...
hi! looking forward to that surprise. happy homewarming, blond family!