D-day Minus four

No sagas, reveries or wry observations today folks.  Tonight’s post is purely to catch up.

We hosted 45 friends and family at an open house on New Year’s Day.  Last night, we went to dinner and played Beatles Trivial Pursuit (not for the faint-hearted) with six friends whom we hadn’t seen on New  Year’s Day.  I have one or two visits planned over the next day or so, but most of the goodbyes have been said. 

Long-distance movers have visited to survey my belongings, take inventory and provide an estimate.  Looks like just under 12,000 pounds.  But I have been giving them a worst-case moving scenario, including furniture I probably won’t take, so maybe we’ll squeeze in at only five tons.

One mover, very practical, looked at the bumper-to-bumper parking on my up-the-block-from-a-school street favored by the teachers and asked if I would be able to talk to my neighbors and get them not to park.  “Figure,” he said, “we’ll need about ten car lengths.”

I may have to hire a different kind of muscle for that. 

Another mover came in, looked at the strapped up bundles of boxes UPS had left in my entry and living room and laughed, telling me it was “a drop in the bucket compared to what you’ll need.”

After three estimates we’ve decided not to pack ourselves, but to focus on what I’ve talked — and written  — about all along, which is weeding.  Since My Hero has offered to run our moving sale, the weeding has been much easier.   We’ve weeded the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, the TV room and the linen closet completely.  The computer room and sun room have gone through the first pass and will get the second tomorrow.  Great progress has been made in the attic’s dark, dark room — and brought the discovery of Soon-to-be-Abandoned’s dinosaur comforter, which we didn’t realize we still owned.  We all hugged it briefly before consigning it to the trash heap.

Even the basement is beginning to empty out.  We’ve identified about 60% of its contents by eventual disposition: moving, moving sale, or dust heap.  There have been some grungy, yucky finds, and oaths have been uttered under Mr. NYer’s breath.  Vows have been made to never let this (the mindless accumulation) happen again.  And there’s a lot of stuff that can’t be moved.  Turns out you can’t move flammable liquids (reasonable), aerosol cans (understandable), or nail polish (huh?) via long-distance movers.   The movers all come with attractive presentation folders with helpful  moving tips.  Consider taking these items yourself rather than sending them on the moving van:  furs, fine jewelry, bonds, coin collections, important papers, gold bullion.  Do not pack frozen food or fresh produce.  Roger that. 

Soon-to-be-Abandoned, who seemed to slump about the same time I did, has emerged from his funk and begun taking charge of his own stuff.  He’s coming around to the “travel light” philosophy, beginning with his hair, which he had shorn for the first time since entering college seven years ago.  After packing one book box and feeling its weight, he told me that he’s reassessing which books he really needs. 

Mr. NYer gave up another bunch of LPs.   I threw out make-up that I bought to cheer  myself up, most likely because there wasn’t a shoe store nearby, and which I will never wear, since I rarely wear makeup anyway.  There’s only so much you need in your case for those occasions when you’re onstage.   The grey wig I bought for character roles lies in a box; it is not Alabama-bound.  I keep passing it thinking it’s one of my cats.

Speaking of cats, Mr. NYer and I successfully got Lunatic Cat to the vets.  We have two cats.  The older is a mush who doesn’t mind being picked up or handed to complete strangers.  As long as he is fed, he is happy.   He doesn’t like travel, but if you want him in the carrier, well … your will be done.  And then we have the Lunatic, an 18-month old who can read minds and believes everyone is out to get him.  He does not like to be picked up and has no intention of being put into that cage.

We adopted the Lunatic when he was a year old.  A woman who already had somewhere betwen five and 23 cats fostered him for a year but felt she couldn’t keep him permanently.  However, she has remained attached, deeply attached, and leaves messages on Mr. NYer’s cell phone every two or three months, weepily asking for news.  She thoughtfully included a three-page hand-written letter with the Lunatic when she put him up for adoption, and she noted that he was a bit skittish.  Later she admitted that it was so difficult for her to trim his nails that she resorted to sitting on him.  No wonder he runs when people approach.

A few months ago the Lunatic needed booster shots, so Mr. NYer scheduled a vet’s appointment.  I called on the way home from work and asked how it went.  “It didn’t,” Mr. NYer told me.  “I never got to the vets.”   Although he managed to catch the Lunatic, Mr. NYer had failed to wear protective gloves.  A few scratches and one major bite later, the Lunatic was deep under the bed and refused  to come out.

We rescheduled on a day that we would both be home, and placed the carrier in the living room a day ahead of the visit.  To limit his escape routes, we closed all the bedroom doors.  Mr. NYer rubbed himself with organic catnip.  The Lunatic knew what was up, I don’t know how, and zipped about the house, caroming off walls, doors and furniture.  Both armed with bath towels, we lunged and captured him, only to see him slide out and zoom off at 90 miles an hour.  Twenty-five minutes later, he ran into a corner where I was able to lean down, grab him by the scruff and life him up in time for Mr. NYer to wrap a towel, like a straight jacket, around his legs.  We then stuffed the entire package, cat and towel, into the carrier and checked for bleeding.

At the vets, of course, the Lunatic was a model of good cat behavior.  He was docile, but clearly terrified, and when the vet concluded the exam, he actually walked back into his carrier. 

We have put off thinking hard about transporting the Mush and the Lunatic, but the vet gave us drugs (for the cat), and we think we’ll live through it.  He warned us NEVER to let them out in the car. 

So that’s where we are.  We know the cats can be caged; one of them will most likely be sedated; and we will endure two or three days of hell with them on the road.   The lucky mover who gets the job will pack up less stuff than we have now.  We’re concentrating not on packing but on lightening the load.  This week, I will gather up the clothes and personal belongings I’ll need for the next couple of months and, in just four more days, we will hit the road for Alabama. 

Oh my.


3 Responses

  1. Once, when I was about 8 or 9 we decided to take our cat with us to Mass for Christmas (from SI). I decided that she would like a comfy box for the trip so I found an old electric blanket box from the basement, took out the clear plastic panel that covered the hole on the top (so you could see the color of the blanket when you bought it) and covered it with a lattice of stapled-in cardboard strips. Load the car, catbox into the back seat (with me), start the car, drive off.

    I think we got about a mile up the road before some crazed creature from the Gates of Hell clawed through the lattice (and much of my flesh) before coming to rest – howling profusely – on the rear window deck. (I’m not sure if her head didn’t actually rotate all the way around at some point…)

    Anyway, it was on to Plan B…

  2. How exciting!

    May I ask the color of the Lunatic and the Mush? I have a cat-loving friend who believes there is a connection between cat color/markings and temperment, and I’m testing her hypothesis.

    I too have a paranoid kitty, whom you met. She may not be quite as bad as the Lunatic, but she is both extremely perceptive (e.g., able to intuit that I’m getting ready to go out of town a day in advance so that she can hide in the the deepest dark of the basement so as to avoid “the box”) and supremely spiteful (e.g., climbing the curtains while looking back over her shoulder at me when I’ve been on the phone too long and she wants her dinner). She is also a biter, though she does pull her punches. My cat-loving friend comforts me with her breed-is-destiny theory–it’s not that I’ve messed up the “training” (if such a word can ever be applied to cats), it’s that her true nature is flowering.

    • The Lunatic is grey and white; the Mush is black and white. We were told that the Lunatic’s father was a Russian Blue, but our vet scoffs at this. Their markings are almost identical except that, where one is grey the other is black.

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