Monday, April 30, 2012

Cat About Town

When you're moving 1700 miles, the first question a lot of people ask is, are you giving away the animals?

Our answer: Emphatically no!

We will be moving with 4 cats, 3 dogs, a turtle and a tortoise. The fish have been for the most part rehomed, which was an emotional journey of itself, but I was seriously worried that they would not survive the trip. I located some homes, and they went off to them and have been doing well.

Of course the dogs are used to traveling and should pose no trouble.

Turtles are silent, I can't imagine there should be much trouble with them in the car.

Cats, on the other hand... Cats are a whole different ballgame to travel with. I have traveled with cats long distances before. Most do really, really well in the car after the first couple hours. However, our cats now are not normal cats. Bella hates being confined. Period. She hates it. She also hates change of any type. Neptune gets so severely car sick that I can't take him more than 8 miles without him getting violently ill. So we're taking precautions with this trip.
What trip?

We have been slowly desensitizing the cats to different aspects of car travel. They're eating in crates every night, and we have a particularly cozy crate equipped with blankets located in a sunny window where they sleep, and occasionally the door gets shut.

A couple have gone for car rides, just short times to get them used to going into a kennel and ending back up where they started.

We are also using Feliway, which is a cat calming spray. We have used the diffusers when on vacation, and it helped tremendously. For the trip we ordered the spray, and also a collar that has the same ingredients. The collar will go on Neptune who is the most stressed cat in general, and who also gets extremely car sick. Since he'll be riding in proximity with the other cats I'm hoping they'll all benefit.

In addition to that, I've ordered Spirit Essences. These are flower essences that were developed by a vet. Jackson Galaxy on My Cat From Hell, uses these in all the cats on his program. After talking to the company (very friendly and helpful people) I ordered Changing Times and Travel Helper. We are currently starting to give Bach's Rescue Remedy, but when these arrive, we will switch to these remedies instead.

I've also trained Neptune to walk on a harness and leash. He's really bonded to us, and hates to be left home. I'm hoping that a harness will allow him to occasionally get out to exercise safely when we walk the dogs.

If nothing else, the preparations make me feel a little better. It's going to be a memorable trip, I'm aiming for it to be memorable in a good way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Life

Sometimes you just gotta say, 
"I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm alright.
I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home
I don't car what say anymore this is my life!
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone!"

"Keep it to yourself it's my life!"

Or maybe I'm just listening to Billy Joel too much while cleaning the garage this weekend...

Friday, April 20, 2012


Life is funny.

Just when you think you're going to be somewhere forever, and that life will never change because it's too hard, too complicated, and too intertwined, someone snips one of the connecting strands, and the whole spiderweb (or tangled skein of yarn, let's go with that, it's more fitting) shifts. Then change becomes, if not easy, at least inevitable, possible, and exciting.

All of this started really two years ago. We were on vacation in our beach cottage, and like always, we started talking of how nice it would be to stay there. That there was something that felt right. But then again, there were the kids. We couldn't leave the kids. And the jobs, leaving jobs is tough, especially in this economy. And family. Leaving family out in the frozen tundra is hard. The last day of that vacation, just for fun, I was looking online to see what house prices were, and found a little house on a lake about a mile from where we stay. The house was charming, on a lake, and withing walking distance to the beach. I showed everyone saying, 'what a perfect house, on a lake, next to the ocean'. It however was priced high, and we weren't moving. We came back home and life returned more or less to normal.

Then came 2011. The winter had been horrible, one of the worst anyone remembered. Frigid cold, massive snow, and it went on and on. We began to talk of California with my brother, and his family. What if we all moved? There were complications of course, one kid was scared of earthquakes, some of us would need new jobs, but others wouldn't. Maybe we could figure it out. Something was working on untangling the skein, and the yarn seemed maybe salvageable. In January, my work situation drastically changed, and the first big tangle was undone. I had loved my job and my co-workers and in one fell swoop it was gone. We started to research California, and planned a trip over the summer to get one kid over their fear, and to see the areas we were looking at. Then in May, Kevin went on a fateful horseback ride and broke his hand landing him out of work, and eventually out of a job. Another section strangely untangled.

California though didn't feel quite right. We talked of renting instead of buying but the prices for rentals are really high. What felt right, was going back up north, to the evergreens, mountains, quiet towns, and ocean beaches. We all felt at home there. When we came back in August, we planned 3 days at the beach. On the 2nd day, I looked up houses again. For no reason, there was no way this would work. We were moving south if anywhere. But there it was again. The little house on the lake, with the beautiful view, right next to the beach. This time much less expensive, though still more than we'd want to pay. This time though, I called the realtor. We explained we were really window shopping but asked if we could see it anyway. She had one opening before we were scheduled to leave town.

We showed up at the door, sandy from playing on the beach, everything loaded for our trip out of town, and raced through the house. The house which was really 2 houses, joined through the garage. The house with a charming boathouse that could be converted to a fiber art studio. The house that not only was on a lake, it was on a lake in which motors weren't allowed, and which had a wildlife preserve across from it. The house that was on a quiet dead end road that when we drove down it had chickens walking across it. The house where the nearest neighbor was the real estate agent who happened to have a poodle.

But we weren't looking to move to the beach. It was nice little fantasy. Instead, we returned to the Frozen Tundra to settle back into the real world. We got Ramses to keep the days busy, and school started.

It became clear the kids were growing up, and didn't need us as much. And then, another untangle. My brother had decided not to move to to California. They were going to move closer into the city instead. At least 20 miles away from us. The kids would become a rarer thing. Meanwhile the job market was dismal here for Kevin, and we were coming on winter. We began to talk about what if. What if we just did it. Moved to the little beach town. Mom could eventually retire there, we could live there. The little house on the lake was so tempting. But there was no way we could move before the summer. The little lake house had dropped in price again. There was no way it would still be available. Still, the yarn was unraveling even more. There were complications, but there was also an end in sight. The wound ball in my hand was bigger than what was left tangled.

We began to look at other places on the beach. We watched the economy, the jobs, studied the area. We also had someone else go and look at the little house on the lake again. We told the realtor we were waiting till April when we'd make another trip to the area and decide. We told each other, we'd think about it in February, we'd decide what we really wanted to do.

And then it happened. Early February, the realtor e-mailed. The people wanted to make us an offer. They were reducing the price another 17,000 because of cancer. They knew we were interested, and was wondering if we would take them up on this so they didn't have to deal with the house, and everything else. This brought it square into our price range, half of what it had been 2 years previously.

So we did it. On the caveat we had nothing ready for a loan, we hadn't even started looking into that area. But we did it, we signed a purchase agreement and decided to let this whole thing play out.

The rest of February, and all of March is a whirlwind until the day that we got a notice that the sale had gone through, no more paperwork was needed, and the little house on the lake was ours. Somehow, even though it felt like we hadn't done anything, everything had been untangled. It felt like it was meant to be. Like there was a magnetic pull saying THIS is where you belong. Make the way clear, and it will happen. Often in life you feel like you're forcing situations to fit. Kind of like getting into those too tight jeans you wiggle, force, and insist it fits, but in reality it doesn't. This time it all fit. This time, everything fell together in a way that is eerie. Why are we supposed to move there? I'm not sure. Yes, we've always wanted to move there, yes, it feels like home, but there is something more. We are supposed to move there.

In 4 weeks, we will be at the little house on the lake. Of course the emotional entanglements are still here, and still working their way out. Those take time, previous moves have shown me that. Some are angry, some are sad, some think we've gone insane. A few are happy. But, the little house on the lake has plenty of room for visitors, and in this day and age, you're never really that far away from friends and family, and the road will still work, the planes will still fly, and did I mention the little house on the lake not only has room for visitors but will welcome them with a warm bed, a cup of tea, some yarn, and peace? You may have to share your yarn and tea with a cat, but hey, that's a small price to pay to look out at this.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Signs of Spring

There are signs of spring all around right now. Of course, there's still a slight chance of snow before May 15th or so. After May 16th the chances decrease significantly. In the meantime though, I am enjoying the pretty spring trees.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cat Corruption

No way my innocent puppy could be responsible for this!

No way!

I blame Bella. See her up above with that yarn wrapped around her paw? Caught in the act! Or maybe it's mine. I did throw out her yarn art stash in a frenzy of cleaning. Whatever the case, she convinced Ramses to steal this yarn and give it to her. Yarn that had been delivered today via a Ravelry trade. I barely had even squished the skein and off it went on a joyride resulting in this mess. Oh well, I needed a skein to untangle. Not!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How To Change a Neon Sign

We have a neon sign above our house. It's blinking and flashing for all to see. Sure, you may not know it's there, but it is. The reason you don't see it is because you aren't a homeless hungry animal looking for a dish full of food, a warm bed, and a person to take care of you.

The problem lies in the types of animals we attract. Over the years, we've gotten blind deaf dogs, ugly disease ridden cats, mean cats, ugly cats. Ok, maybe no cat is really ugly, but frankly some ARE prettier than others. Would it kill the sign to read: Disease infestations we'll treat, but please be attractive? I'm not asking for much. I'm just for a PS:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door"

PS - Pretty fluffy cats and poodles preferred

The sign follows us from house to house, and evidently there's also one on the car, since animals have found us in parking lots, and stores as well. Many find new homes, others never leave. Mercury was a starving sick cat who never left of course. So was Neptune. Really, I can't understand people who go looking for a cat, all I have to do is merely think 'boy things are peaceful around here' and one appears on our doorstep.

Case in point. A week ago a little tiny calico cat was sitting on our rocks outside. Thinking nothing of it, we left her alone. When she came back the 2nd day I fed her and also gave her a quick exam (she was a purry happy patient). I decided her weight was ok, she probably had a home. Over the next week we saw her every day, wandering around. We didn't feed her, or encourage her in any way. And then 2 days ago, I walked outside to have the little cat racing up to me purring away. But this time she felt markedly skinnier, her ears were dirtier, she had a cut on her neck, and looked a little dehydrated. I fixed up a room and brought her inside where she drank a bunch of water and slept for over 12 hours straight.

I have posted found ads, and looked around but no luck so far. Just in case we simply found a cat someone is frantically looking for.

No, she has no name, or picture yet. She's not officially part of the family though she's now much brighter, has been wormed, ears cleaned, wounds cleaned, and is pretty thrilled with the situation.

But really. Another short haired normal looking cat. Aren't there any long haired fluffy strays?