The day before we moved, I cleaned the everloving hell out of his apartment. It doesn't matter how long someone has lived in a home, cleaning when you move out is disgusting. I scoured showers and mopped floors and cleaned the rugs, ceilings and baseboards. The cabinets got a wipe down and the pantry was the recipient of a very tired once-over. I felt bad, but there was a lot of stuff that couldn't go with us. There just wasn't any room. Everything we could take with us had already gone to Norman in a truck and everything we could take would just have to fit in Grey's Hyundai.
One thing I really like about Grey living in an apartment complex is that whenever I took an item (which I cleaned) to the dumpster, I would put a note on it like "free" or "works" or something like that and within an hour, someone would claim it for their own. So the vacuum, kitchen table and bookshelves, a television, humidifier and a bunch of records all found a place to be that wasn't a landfill. And my yoga mat. The yoga mat hurt the most.
Grey worked most of that day, then went to get the car serviced for the trip. We had planned to get out of Tulsa and head for Norman early in the afternoon, but the car service was backed up and we didn't leave until almost 7 that night. We didn't have time to pick up the trailer that night, but decided to go first thing in the morning as the store opened at 7 am.
I had experimented with medicating Eleanor. I called my veterinarian for advice and he gave me some ideas beyond prescription medications. Our first attempt at calming her down for car trips between Tulsa and Norman had no effect. The natural kitty calm down stuff had no effect except perhaps to piss her off at the thought of having to take medicine she doesn't like. I tried Benadryl next. The liquid stuff made her foam at the mouth so on the next trip, I gave her half a pill. The pill not only made her foam at the mouth, but she also threw up multiple times in Grey's nice new car. One of the times she threw up (I caught it because I don't want it to get on his car) she puked so hard she also pooped on me. Poor, poor kitty. That was a tense, stinky ride. I started to despair. We tried just keeping her in her carrier. She urinated. Twice. I called my vet and he gave me acepromazine. It's an antidepressant which mostly makes her sleepy enough that she doesn't care what's going on around her. And this did the trick. Once I figured out her dose, I learned her routine and made sure that she slept at my feet- where it was cool and where she couldn't see out the windows to freak out- for the majority of the trip.
We got a late start on the first day. The Uhaul place didn't have the tow bar thingy that we needed, so we had to go to Autozone to get one. For what it's worth, I absolutely detest going into a parts store. They treat women like idiots and it usually takes me 10 minutes to get someone to listen to what I actually need. As I was in a hurry, I dispensed with the charm and five minutes later, the dazed store manager got us what we needed and even put it on the car for me. I sort of feel sorry for him, and I think that Grey gained some linguistic respect for my waspish tongue. Anyway, we got the trailer, threw what was left of our meager possessions in the back, drugged the hell out of the cat and left by 11 in the morning.
The whole trip took 4 days and it went like this: At 55 miles per hour, we passed almost nobody. People sped by and looked at us funny, since a 4-cylinder car should perhaps not be towing a trailer up and down the interstate and over hills. Every single pull-through scraped the trailer on the ground. We switched off driving and got used to turning with twice our regular length behind us. On the mountain passes, where elevation was up to 6,300 feet, we often traveled with the air conditioner off and at 40 miles per hour. We went through Kansas, West to Denver, then North to Buffalo and through Montana. Then over one more mountain pass in Idaho and home to Washington. We learned that signs pointing out "chain up" areas meant that a 5-7% grade incline was coming up. We slowed down and rooted for our car, Silver, to make it over the pass, praising lavishly at the crest of the hill. It became our favorite game. With that and the funny voice that Grey does for Eleanor (he sounds suspiciously like Edith from All in the Family), the trip was on the balance, not such a bad thing.
My hips and back started to hurt. I would sit for hours at a time and only get out to pump gas or run into to a rest stop. To be sure, I would run, stretch and otherwise try to get blood flow going in those brief moments but it became somewhat grueling to just sit down. Thank goodness that Grey didn't mind stopping frequently. Well, he minded, but he did it without complaining.
Missoula, Montana was the highlight of the trip. It was our last night and we had been on the road for three days. Besides the breakfasts included in the hotels (thanks to Grey's wonderful pre-planning and reservations), there hadn't been a sit-down meal for the duration. After driving over the stark beauty of the continental divide and testing out the strength of the car's engine, we were ready for a break. We checked in to the hotel (I highly recommend Ruby's in Missoula) and headed to a place in one of Grey's travel books called "Silk Road". It's a tapas bar with international food. You can also buy some of the spices. We had Moroccan tapas, Mediterranean, Ethiopian.. oh it was good. For road-weary travelers, hunger added its own flavor. The people next to us were a young English major and her paramour. She kept him in thrall with her plans to move to New York and maybe just get a crummy job doing copy editing for The New Yorker magazine while she waits for a book deal or some other such nonsense. In the meantime, she encouraged the young man to just take a test to become an English teacher since it's a pretty simple job.
Good lord, we were also held in thrall!
The food was out of this world. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when they brought us the cheese plate. There was this cave-aged smoked Gouda that just sort of melted in my mouth. They only brought two slices of that so as I ate half of mine, I eyed Grey's. He wisely guarded it as he tasted the Camembert. There was a vegetarian stew with dates and eggplant and a fried ravioli with pesto sauce. Delicious! Like I said, we were tired and hungry and grateful not to be in a moving vehicle.
Finally, after seven hours of driving the next day, crossing two time zones and several mountain ranges, we pulled into Ellensburg, Washington. An idyllic little town of about 30,000 people, it is surrounded on all sides by small and large mountain ranges. There is little wind despite the claims of the townspeople and plenty of sunshine. Our house, a duplex of which the other side is the property management office, is a turn of the century two story Victorian with no air conditioning, is charming. the town is charming and life here is.. charming.
But more on that later. For now, we walk to the grocery store, the university and the downtown area. We have an upstairs and are settling in, ordering some furniture and trying to figure out how two grown-ass people used to having free reign of the house suddenly having to share and compromise. So much more to do...
|The Mighty Eleanor|
|Our New Digs|
|Everything We Own In The World|