Travelchick

My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Traveling with Cat in Car: Partial Success Pt. 1

Miss Ami herself, all calmed down

As if I hadn’t learned my lesson the first time, I decided to try traveling with a cat again. And this time it was for 3 entire days. Well, it’s not as if I had much of a choice. I was moving from Washington state to Michigan and I could: A) leave my cat behind, B) try to transport her by plane, or C) bring her with me in the car. A was not considered, it was the wrong time of year for B (apparently they won’t take animals on planes if the temperature is below a certain point?), so it all came down to C…

I did my research beforehand. There are prescription sedatives, Benadryl, cages, carriers, nail caps, nail clippers, leash tricks, friendly pheromones… It seems everyone who has ever traveled with a cat has their own recipe for success. Having tried the cat carrier option before and been quite unsuccessful, I decided early on that I would not try to cage my feline, but would hold her in my lap. Previous trips to the vet across town using this method had been somewhat satisfactory, though Ami (that’s my cat’s name) usually ended up crying the whole time, hyperventilating, and trying to escape the car with that wild-eyed look that only a traumatized cat can give you. When I talked with my vet about the trip, she told me that usually cats will be quite upset for the first day of traveling but will then get used to it. I hoped this would be true in Ami’s case, but seriously doubted it. In order to help her relax, I decided to give Kitty a good dose of Benadryl before we started driving. This was to be a service to her. As a service to the furniture in our new home, I bought baby blue Soft Paws nail caps and applied them to her front claws (she hated this).

On the day of departure, when the car was packed and the boyfriend and I had naught but to wedge ourselves inside and force the doors shut behind us, I sought out my cat, Benadryl bottle in hand. While the boyfriend, and my roommates looked on, I situated Ami on my lap, poured some Benadryl into the little cup, and dumped it down her throat. At this point what had been a fairly objective and clinical procedure became a wild and gory free-for-all as all pandemonium broke loose! Fur and claws flew in a frenzy as Ami desperately attempted to escape what was no doubt the most cruel torture ever inflicted on any feline ever. I knew I must hold onto her lest I never ever see her again, and in doing so I suffered deep lacerations on my hands and wrists from her blunt back claws! By the time I was able to subdue her on the ground, my blood was mixing with Ami’s fur, she was foaming at the mouth, and spectators were looking on in horror!!! As you can imagine, it was a gruesome sight. I am ever so glad that I had read from the accounts of others that Benadryl will make cats foam at the mouth or I might have feared for her life. She really did look quite awful. Usually a cat to hold herself with pride, Ami looked quite beaten and dejected, a matted little mess on the grass. I instantly regretted putting her through such torture. The boyfriend kindly held onto her while I found bandages for my hands. A couple of the cuts were really deep and hurt like crazy.

Unfortunately, we were already late in leaving, so I only had time to bundle Ami up in an old towel, attempt to wipe the foam from her mouth and the blood from her fur and get into the car.

To be continued….

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Car, Cats, Moving, Pets, Transportation, Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Countdown

WELL, everyone! After countless months, weeks, and endless excruciating days, I have finally finished a task that at one point literally felt insurmountable. I have defended my thesis, merited my committee’s approval, and after minor revisions will have my thesis paper ready to print. AAAAAAH! The relief is palpable, the peace is thick. My blog has been silent for the past few days (weeks? I have no idea how long I’ve been holed up) because I have lived and breathed my thesis! But now, it is DONE!!! I won’t try to describe my jubilee because the description would never be adequate. Suffice it to say that I feel I am a beginning a new life with the burden of a huge unfinished project behind me FINALLY!

On to the next thing. And that is moving. In six days. Aaaaaaaaaah! Ok, not really. There is no panic here. Not tonight, anyway, because I’ve been carefully preparing for this for awhile. I have a lot to do this week, but the tasks are, for the most part, relished. They mostly include preparing the car, whittling down my belongings one final time, eating up my food, bidding farewell to friends, stuff like that. My boyfriend arrives late Friday, we pack the car Saturday night, and we head out early early Sunday morning. I can’t wait to chronicle our mega road trip: 3 days, 2200 miles, 1 cat, 1 bird….. Oh, and all my earthly possessions.

6 days….

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Car, Moving, Travel, United States, Walla Walla | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tentative Moving Dates and Moving Sale

So. The groundwork is being laid, the plans are being spun, and things are taking place! I now have a couple of tentative moving dates, everything being dependent upon when I get my thesis finished and ready to defend. The first, and preferred date is February 28. The latter, second-rate choice is March 14. I’m praying for the 28th, so we shall see! I’ve begun packing and downsizing in earnest. I actually have 3 large boxes of books stacked in my room, ready to transport. They were recently ousted from my bookcases, which are now sold, as is my bicycle, a picture, a CD tower, a set of plastic drawers, and 3 chairs… I’m preparing to sell everything else in my big moving sale, coming up a week from today on the 7th. It’s going to be HUGE! …Unless everyone buys my furniture beforehand. I listed everything big and bulky on the school’s classifieds and didn’t expect much to happen, but I’ve had so many responses that I actually had to make a list and schedule for showing everyone the goods or, as one enterprising customer stated, my wares.

I’m feeling equal parts sadness and excitement as I watch my belongings trickle out the door (the excitement is aided by the cash that appears in my hand upon their absence) and I’m working hard to balance the two emotions. On one extreme, it feels great to rid my life of all the excess stuff that tends to accumulate when you stay in one place for awhile and self-medicate through hard times with surplus material goods. I sometimes dream of carrying my possessions on my back and walking through the world without the worry that things tend to breed. On the other hand, sometimes it’s those very things that can negate worry. It’s nice to have plenty of blankets when it gets really cold or to realize that you do, in fact, have that weird item that you need for your random hobby project. Nothing that I have is really worth much in a monetary sense, but some of it is nevertheless very special to me. After awhile, though, the stuff of life just builds and builds until I long to see the other side of the spectrum.

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Detroit, Travel, United States, Walla Walla | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mr(s). Clean

It might take me less than 1.66 years to become this....

I’ve always been a person who likes neatness, cleanliness, order, and organization. In my first apartment I just happened to have a roommate who was even more fond of neatness, cleanliness, order, and organization than I. Belongings left in common areas for more than 2.2 hours would magically appear in a pile in front of my bedroom door, once a week cleaning was of supreme importance, and I swear that she would clean the bathroom after me sometimes when she might have thought I didn’t do a good enough job. All of this sort of solidified the neat clean person in me and I became a beast (for those of you who realize that I’m exaggerating, try not to blow my cover). My next roommate was quite the opposite of the first, and suddenly I was experiencing a reversal of roles as I played the cleaning Nazi to my unsuspecting new comrade (no pun intended). :S (She later became more conscientious about household chores than I, for which I do not wish to claim responsibility)

Thankfully I have been able to temper my preferences after years of learning that when living with others, their style of keeping house may not coincide with my own (and reminding myself that I’m not married to them, thank goodness), and that that’s ok! (The differences part, not the married part, though that really is ok too… I’ll just quit now…)

When I move to Michigan, however, I’ll be living on my own without roommates for literally the first time in my life. Without the necessity of tweaking my insanity in order to coexist with other women sharing my kitchen, I have semi-terrifiying visions of myself turning into a hyper-vigilant neat freak, bent on keeping every speck of dust in its rightful place. I can only imagine how my cat would suffer with her long luxurious fur which might look a little dusty to a wild cleaning eye. There would be benefits, of course, such as the gleam in my boyfriend’s eye as he gazed with approval on the evidence of my superior housekeeping skills, but do I really want to go there? Giving in to the neat freak psychosis would make living with someone else again all the more difficult. I’d really like to plateau somewhere between Anal Angie and Sloppy Suzy. My worries about this aren’t tempered at all by my recent frenzy of organizational escalation. People, the other day I, seriously, I organized all my shirts, sweaters, and dresses by color in the order of the rainbow!!! For some of you this may be normal, but I have NEVER done it before. If I start alphabetizing my drawers, I may have to check myself into the psych ward. I lie awake at night envisioning my new home and in my mind it’s the vision of perfection and cleanliness. This vision blocks out the fact that I have pets, am clumsy, get lazy, and am easily distracted.

On the other hand, and this is much more comforting, perhaps the renewed urgency for organization is a symptom of moving. I do believe it’s a lot easier to know what I have and where it is, and to decide what I do and don’t need to haul across the nation, when it’s all nicely organized, alphabetized, colorized… Is anyone with me on this? Before I go on a trip- before I even begin to pack for a trip- I feel a deep deep need to clean and straighten. Then it’s so simple to pluck certain items from their natural habitat and pack them neatly away into their suitcase. I have a friend who’s boyfriend seems obsessed with deep cleaning the car before taking a roadtrip, so I think I may be onto something here. My mother also spends the wee hours of the morning before any trip doing everything she can possibly think of to do that she has written on a massive list (and it will make your head spin around in perfect circles). I must have gotten some of that genetic material from her. Recently this phenomenon has been directed toward my clothing, but I expect it to spread shortly to other areas of my living environment, maybe to my food pantry (that’s an extremely glorified term for what I have) or (oh NO!) bookshelves! I’ll keep you updated. It’s always my dream, though, before embarking on any kind of travel, to achieve ultimate organization and cleanliness… a goal that always seems just barely out of reach….

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Moving Mojo

For a few days this week I was like the Roadrunner being chased by Wiley coyote as I planned and packed for moving! I sold things, I threw away things, I cleaned things, I packed things, I gave away things, I smelled things, I fixed things, I looked at things, I imagined things… I stayed awake at night thinking about my plans for packing things and getting rid of things and unpacking things and not breaking things. I thought about and acted on moving all the time.

And then, suddenly- I came to a screeching halt. And this is not okay. Why? Because I’m flying to Michigan for a week and I have to bring 2 suitcases full of things that will then permanently reside in my boyfriend’s closet until I make the move and place them all in my new dwelling. I need to think carefully about what to bring and make the most of the available space so that I’ll save space in the car later on. I’ve packed about one half of a suitcase, I don’t know what I’m wearing for the week I’m there, my room is a disaster zone, my dishes are piling up, my cat has figured out how to unlock my door, I need to go shopping, my bed is barely made, I need a shower, the house needs a once-over, I’m hungry, and my parakeet’s cage needs cleaned. I have one day to do all of that, but all I’ve accomplished so far is standing clumsily in the middle of random rooms focusing on nothing in particular. Just now I got a load of laundry out of the dryer and was supposed to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer, but instead I sat down and began writing this…. oops.

What’s happened to me?! Well obviously, I’ve lost my moving mojo. Obviously. And now I need to get it back. After a long and painful period of confusion, I have formulated three simple steps for doing just that. They would work not just for me but for anyone:

Step 1: Stop writing. Some things that may seem important (like writing a blog about moving) might actually be counterproductive to the main goal (moving). Quit doing that stuff!
Step 2: Eat some of Keri’s enchilada casserole (for energy). I know most of you don’t have a Keri to make you some enchilada casserole (and I pity you), but the point here is to take care of any important biological needs (eat, use the bathroom, blow your nose, take a shower) first so that you’re not constantly distracted by them as you’re trying to recapture that mojo.
Step 3: Get back to work, slacker! Simple, though harsh. The number one cure for not being in the mood to get stuff done, to kick some moving butt (or whatever butt) is to just. start. doing it. 90% of the time when I know I should be doing a frenzy of something but all I feel like doing is sinking into my pillow, actually starting will get me in the mood fairly quickly (and then just try to stop me, but that’s another topic).

Let’s see if I can follow my own advice today and regain my moving mojo 😀

January 14, 2010 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting Down with Downsizing


So when my boyfriend and I first decided that I would be moving to Michigan to be closer to him, I warned him that I would need some kind of large U-haul to transport my vast treasure hoard of belongings. “I know it doesn’t look like it, but I have a LOT of stuff!” When you stay in the same place for three and half years you will not believe the amount of STUFF that accumulates in dark corners and endless closets. I really thought I’d gotten my point across until somehow he convinced a reluctant me that it would be more cost effective and still feasible with regard to space if we bought a large van and drove it from Washington to Michigan, where we would then sell it again. Voila! No money lost! I realized that I wouldn’t be able to move much if any furniture using this method, but I agreed that it was a good idea. I felt a little bit claustrophobic at the thought of forcing my precious belongings into a reduced space, but I dealt with it.

Fast forward to today… and I am now planning to move across 3 time zones in a car. That’s right, a car! What can you move in a car??? I really can see the benefits here: less gas spent, the opportunity to simplify my life, and the ability to drive something besides a van around once I reach my new home. Still, though, I must self-soothe regularly to keep from freaking out and reverting to daydreams of a huge U-haul trundling across the desert with my possessions virtually rattling around in it. A car is a vastly different thing. I am only mollified by the suitcases-full that we have already managed to transport ahead of time during our visits back and forth to one another. This weekend, in fact, I am stuffing another two suitcases full of things I will (hopefully) not need again before moving day and putting them and me on a plane to The Motor City. What do I put in those suitcases?! I panic slightly at the thought that after this trip, everything I still own will need to be stuffed into a mid-sized car. Either that or it will have to meet the fate that many of my belongings have already met in a big pile with a sign on top proclaiming “FREE”. I swear that fully half of my wardrobe has made it out to the curb. I gave up one of my comforters, several roles of hoarded wrapping paper, and eleven pairs of shoes. Ok, ok, these doesn’t sound like painful sacrifices, not yet, but I cringe when I imagine what I could be forced to discard as moving day looms (my favorite teddy bear, my hottest pair of shoes, photo albums…). I’m terrible at space estimation, so as I look around my room I have NO idea what’s going to fit and what isn’t. Oh, did I mention I have a cat and a bird??? The birdcage alone will take up a few square feet of space and litter boxes aren’t tiny.

Most of all, I want to pack up RIGHT AWAY, am ready to move, ready to start my new adventure, ready to know for sure if my special dessert plates are going to make the cut or not, but I have unfinished business in this town before I can move on. Therefore, against all internal persuasions I put down the suitcases for the time being and turn my attention the never ending thesis…

I know, however, that tonight while I try to get to sleep my mind will be racing, doing a mental sweep around the apartment. What can I get rid of and not miss? Will THAT fit in a car?! Will anyone think I’m crazy for taking THIS and not that thing over there?

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Another Type of Travel

the state which is soon to be my new home...

Finally an update: Travelchick fell in love! Yes, he is a wonderful wonderful man. And yes, that’s why there haven’t been any blogs in the past few…. months (blushing), even the promised ones regarding Lester and such. Yes, I am feeling sheepish. But you know how new relationships tend to take up all your time and all your energy, how everything else kind of fades away into the the distance as you ponder the magic of the wonderful new human you have discovered. It’s really quite wonderful.

My next bit of news: I’m moving! Yes, this northwestern girl is moving to the suburbs of Detroit. Walled Lake, Michigan, to be exact. Travel will include a one-way road trip across most of the United States with a parakeet and (oh no, not again) a cat! It should be interesting…. From Pacific Time to Eastern Time I go! I want to blog about my move and all the interesting, annoying, frustrating, flabbergasting, exciting, hilarious things that are bound to happen along the way. It’s a different kind of travel since it involves permanent relocation, but travel nonetheless!

Oh, and the Lester blog(s) will be published at some point in time. I do have some fabulous pictures to attach 🙂

January 10, 2010 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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