Friday, May 17, 2013

Road Trip Zoo Move Day 1

Grovetown, GA to Smyrna/Nashville, TN - 362 Miles

We got up around 7a, got right to work cleaning and packing and loading the truck. Cassandra came over to help mid-morning and stayed until we pulled out of the driveway. Phil also came by and helped load the truck for about an hour. 

The walk through with the landlord was originally scheduled for 11a, but Sunday afternoon it was pretty clear that we wouldn’t even be close by then, so I called and rescheduled for 3p. As the new deadline loomed, we were pretty certain that we weren’t going to have everything out and clean by 3, but the landlord showed up right on time anyway (of course)! He was very understanding and is only keeping enough out of our deposit to replace the bathroom door, two window screens, and some blinds in the front room (a few were destroyed thanks to Bento and Rousey). These were all costs I expected and am happy to incur to not have to deal with the repair/replacement myself.

We finally pulled out of the driveway around 6p but still then weren’t actually on the road. We had to make stops at the vet for Chou’s prescription cat food and some Alprazolam prescribed for Bento, at Atlanta Bread Co for food (for me and mom since our car went to the vet), at Arby’s for food (for Scott & Andy with the truck), at Walmart for an air mattress (for Andy) and the Budget rental location to pick up the towing dolly.

The towing dolly was an adventure all in itself, the instructions are printed on big labels that are pasted to each of the wheels, but the bottom half of them has worn or torn off. It took some maneuvering but the Civic was finally loaded on the dolly and secured for travel.

It was 8:30p when we pulled on to Highway 20, heading west.

The three cats were in their carrier and didn’t make a sound. The two dogs are in the back with a baby gate rigged up between them and the front seats (this was a necessity, all the quick stops we made trying to get out of town were a little hampered by a dog jumping up in to whichever front seat had been vacated). Stinkerbell was riding in a soft sided carrier that she had spent all day in while we were finishing the move-out.

Our progress was decent and reasonably uneventful, we were originally planning to stop at a friend’s house in Smyrna, TN (just outside of Nashville). We made a stop at a rest area to let the dogs do their business, at which time I gave Bento an Alprazolam (Xanax in a doggie dosage). The prescription said 1-2 pills every six hours for anxiety, and he was wound pretty tight after seeing us empty the house and then be cooped up in the car for several hours. At this stop I also let the cats and Stinkerbell out of their respective carriers, Stink took up residence in my lap, and Maui decided he wanted to be there, too. Stink wasn’t thrilled with having Maui sitting on top of her, so she scrambled out from underneath and climbed up onto his back. She laid down, straddling him like a cat straddles the back of a couch, her tail dangling in his face. He didn’t seem to mind too much. Then Minx decided she wanted to be in the front window on the dash, so she climbed up next to the steering wheel, stepping on the windshield wiper/wash/turn signal stick, filling the windshield with cleaner and wipers working furiously.

The next stop was at a gas station, to fill the truck and top off the car. While stopped there, we had a quick pow-wow and decided that arriving at a friend’s house at 2a and THEN setting up a tent and finding all of our things did NOT sound like fun.

Mom did some research on her phone and called the La Quinta in Smyrna, reserving us a room with two queen beds. We pulled in around 2:30a and soon decided it would be beneficial to have a second room, as Andy was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and there was not enough room to put out his air mattress.

I had decided the cats would stay in the car, they have a litter box, carrier and blankets, and the big water-cooler style water bowl stays in the car. I fed them and bid them goodnight.

In the motel, Bento was getting more and more hyper, trying to escape out the door, jumping up on both beds, looking out the window. I thought that maybe eating dinner would calm him down some, but first I gave him another Alprazolam since it had been 4 or 5 hours.  I served the dogs dinner, with their usual twice daily dosage of Benadryl. 

About 10 minutes later Bento started falling in to things and stumbling. As his body stopped cooperating, his mind was wound tighter and tighter, shortly the poor dog was high as a kite. Pupils the size of dinner plates, but legs that moved like they had 15lb weights attached to each foot.  He was confused and desperate. 

He tried jumping up on one bed, then jumping down (collapsing in a heap on the floor every time), jumping on the other bed, etc. Stumbled back and forth to the door, pushing it with his nose so it moved in the door frame, making a noise not generally acceptable in a hotel at 3a. 

By this time, I was so exhausted I could not handle the stress that came with accidentally over-medicating my dog.  I started to have my own panic attack. 

Panic attacks for me aren't hyperventilating, they are vomiting and diarrhea. I spent the next six hours trying to control myself, after having established that Bento wasn't likely to die from his experience (I called the vet) but it would have to wear off.

I finally got to sleep around 9a Tuesday morning, and slept for two hours.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Countdown: 2 days and ARGGGGHHHH.

"I don't think the oven is supposed to have flames in it."

A couple of hours ago I felt really good about the progress we made today, but things have gone downhill a little bit since then.

We got up around 9:30 this morning and went to pick up the moving truck at 10a. We're renting a Budget 24' truck and a towing dolly to pull my car. It took a little while to get all the paperwork and details taken care of, but soon HusBean drove the truck back to the house and I purchased two wardrobe boxes to hold my hanging clothes and a few of his.

Once we both arrived back at the house (just a couple of miles from the truck pick-up location) we maneuvered the truck at the proper angle into the driveway, pulled out the ramp, and started to get organized.

Shortly after, Carrie T. arrived and she really got us moving. We made a battle plan for loading the truck and got started.

The first two items in the truck were our two large wooden armoires.  Once they were pushed all the way to the front of the truck, we realized that if we turned them around we could fill them full of stuff, which is probably one of the smartest things we did all day! I'm a little worried that it's not all going to fit, as it is I think we're going to have to get rid of some things, both giving them away and taking them to the dump!

Cassandra came to help a little bit later, bringing cold drinks and some snacks, too. With the four of us working, we managed to load up all of the furniture except for the king and full mattresses, the washer and dryer, and the chest freezer.

We also got all the boxes that were previously packed loaded out. Cass and Carrie both had to leave mid/late afternoon, and they left us with the task of packing the rest of our stuff. Carrie's instructions were to finish packing the ENTIRE kitchen.

We sent Carrie home with a bunch of food from our freezer and pantry, I'm hoping to get the freezer emptied and defrosted tomorrow morning.

Once we came back in the house I realized that I probably should have wrapped up my ankle this morning. It was sore and more than a little swollen. We decided to take a nap, so I iced and wrapped the ankle and laid down with HusBean and the dogs to get a little rest. This was pretty short lived, as HusBean was feeling anxious about getting things done.

He got up and started on the kitchen, I rested for about a 1/2 hour and then joined him. He had started the oven on "Clean," the house was starting to get a little smokey so we opened some windows and turned on some fans. I looked over at the oven and said "I don't think the oven is supposed to have flames in it... right?"  We turned the oven to "Off" and fortunately the flames were suffocated out quickly.

We got a few more boxes packed up and then I made a quick trip for froyo and diet coke. On my return I was a little cold, sore, and stinky, so I thought taking a shower would be a fabulous idea.

Apparently we are having a water pressure issue. My shower was like standing under a leaky hose. When I washed my face I had to hold the handheld faucet about 3" from my face to actually get the soap rinsed off. Ridiculous!

The dogs are handling things pretty well, they are sticking close to us when they can, but not doing to much whining or having anxious behavior.

My ankle is still puffy, and my feet hurt. I'm tired. Most days I can ignore my Fibromyalgia symptoms to a manageable degree, but today I may have pushed it a bit too far. I think I'll go to bed soon and just try to get up early and get going.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Yes, We're Moving! (Countdown: 3 Days & a Wake Up)

Some of my new readers hadn't heard about the move yet, so this is the official informational post.

HusBean and I and our six animals are moving to Portland, Oregon. We've lived in Augusta, Georgia for almost 5 years, and were in Key West, Florida for 2 years before that.

I moved to Key West from Vancouver, Washington (it's considered part of the Portland metro area) to be with HusBean (then just boyfriend) after only having seen each other in person a total of 16 days. We had dated long distance for 5 months and got engaged shortly after moving to Florida.

HusBean is a former United States Marine, and has a GI Bill that he needs to start using in the next three years or it will expire. 

The plan is that he will go to school and get a Business degree, I will be working as an Escrow Assistant at a title company (I was an Escrow Officer previous to my move to the East coast).

We're planning to take Homeward Bound Hot Sauce big time, and Portland is a great place to do it. In addition  to that, we both grew up there and have long-time friends and many family members there or nearby.

We've really enjoyed our time in Florida and Georgia, and made some wonderful friends and connections that we will greatly miss. We fully intend to fly in on our fancy black hot sauce jet (pepper on the tail) to visit.

It's time to go home!

Countdown: 4 days & a wakeup...

Today was long. I woke up with a knot in my neck/shoulder that really wore me out.

Up at 8:30, did some laundry/dishes/packing stuff, then took the dogs to meet Cass and her dogs for a walk around the Frisbee golf course. We took it slow since my ankle is still a little tender, but I had wrapped it for stability, so we still got a little exercise.

I've been trying to sell as much hot sauce as possible before we leave, the more we sell the less we have to pack and transport! All that selling means packing and shipping, so I took a trip to the post office today to send two boxes, and a third will be going out tomorrow.

I've changed our address with USPS, our cell phone carrier, and other relevant parties, I'll give the utilities our new address when I call to shut off service after we leave.

We still have to make a trip to Home Depot for a new bathroom door (a story for another day if I haven't told it already), a mailbox, and a few window screens.

One of the major chores is getting ALL of the laundry clean, this also entails the Great Sock Matchup. Between HusBean and myself we probably own over 100 pair of socks, they have slowly been getting separated from their mates over the last few years. Today I believe I rounded up the last of the Single Sock Bins and they are all being washed. Probably half have been sorted and the rest will be as they come out of the dryer. Any socks without mates will either go in the trash, be used as cleaning rags, or turned in to dog toys!

I've gotten probably 8-10 boxes packed up today and I think I'm going to call it a night.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Countdown: 9 Days

Or, according to my former-Marine HusBean: "9 days and a wake-up!"

I had the best of intentions for today, I set an alarm and got up at a reasonable time, planning to meet Cassandra and run/walk the dogs through the Frisbee golf course at Patriots Park. We were making great time and enjoying dodging what little drizzle dripped through the tree cover.  Then I twisted my ankle on the far side of the park. I managed to hobble back across the park (the shortest and flattest route) and headed home. Also, driving a stick shift with a twisted left ankle is no good.

Once I got home I found an ace bandage and a package of frozen tortellini and put my feet up for a little while. It's already swelling and bruising. Ugh.

I've managed to hobble around and get some boxes of books packed, making headway on laundry.  Was hoping to do a fitting on the vintage floral sheet sundress but thinking I may wait on that until tomorrow just for the driving.

Bento is pretty anxious about the move, he is staying pretty close to me, making sure at the very least he is in the same room as I am whenever possible.  He's taking some calming tablets made from all natural ingredients, I think they're helping but the Dr. has also given us permission to give him Alprazolam. I may get that prescription filled for the trip if he seems exceptionally frantic, but likely he will calm down once we're on the road and he sees he's not being left behind.

I'm taking a little break from packing and laundry to eat something, yesterday I went all day and had only had a mug of coffee, a string cheese, and a homemade pickle. 

HusBean is making me scrambled eggs and vegetarian sausage.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Pest Toast

This post is testing my ability to navigate the mobile Blogger app in preparation for our cross country trip!

(Pic is of dessert from my farewell dinner. Because who doesn't like dessert?)

Countdown: 12 Days

This last Saturday, I went kayaking with my friends, Cassandra, Darren, and Dani. We participated in the Benderdinker, a local annual event that starts at Riverside Park, travels upstream on "Betty's Branch" (the little blue line) until it reaches the Savannah River (where the blue dot is), travels downstream on the Savannah to where Betty's Branch comes in (down by Fury's Ferry Rd), then back up the Branch to the park.

There were probably 400 boats registered and I have no idea how many that just showed up and put in the water.

It was raining when we headed out in the morning but had cleared up and was beautiful and sunny by the time we finished the paddle.

I used sunscreen everywhere but on my ankles, and off course burned them. *facepalm*

On Monday of LAST week, Stinkerbell got out through the back door (the dogs had pushed it open) and disappeared for an entire week. I created the above info graphic and it was shared on Facebook over 220 times!

This last Monday evening I was just sitting down to a lovely farewell dinner at Edgar's Grill with the ladies from my Local Helping Local group. I happened to check my email on my phone and saw that I had a message from someone that had FOUND my skunk! She gave me her number and I jumped right up from the table and ran outside to call her.

She confirmed that she had Stinkerbell, and told me she lives just a few houses down. I told her I would call my HusBean and send him to fetch her right away.

The story, according to the gal that found her (posted as a comment on Stinkerbell's Facebook page):

"I am SO glad you're home with your mom, Stink! When I saw you yesterday trying to curl up in my shrubbery, I thought you just needed a moment to rest... but when the thunderstorm hit last night and you were wandering around my front yard looking upset and unsure, I just had to give you some shelter, wild or not!

I hope the blanket under my car was warm enough in the garage for you, and I'm glad you ate some of the food I brought... I've never fed a skunk before, and I had to do a bit of googling and rummaging through my fridge.

Thank you for proving that my friend Rusty Banks can and does scream like a little girl when charged by a cute little skunk while initially helping me to usher you out of my garage (before I knew you were lost!) -- and again for being kind enough to not bite him or scratch him when he caught you back up to get out of the mud until your Dad came by to pick you up.

I'm just thankful my neighbor saw your posting! Otherwise I would've tried to get you back out into the wild! Again -- I am so glad you're home and safe, and I hope to hear about you eating well and gaining some of that weight back. I hope you had a good adventure, but for your mom's sake AND her heart.... stay home!!"

 We got her home and started feeding her (she was quite skinny) and snuggled her up in a blanket. The next day she had a bath, which she was not particularly impressed with!

Stink has been eating all her meals, and feeling frisky enough to chase The Chou (cat) and Bento (dog).

I'm giving her a high-calorie supplement with her meals, hoping it will fatten her back up a bit.

We are in full-blown pack mode now, I've started sorting through all of my clothes and packing them in long-term storage vs. keep at Mom's.  HusBean has sorted through most of his clean clothes, we still have to tackle the rest as they come out of the dryer.

I'm scheduled to pick up the moving truck on Friday morning, the 10th. Two of my girlfriends have volunteered to help that morning, they are both very hard workers and I am grateful for their assistance!

HusBean is off today and tomorrow, working Saturday, off Sunday, then scheduled to work 3-11p Mon-Fri next week. I'm hoping he'll take Friday the 10th as a vacation day.

Today is all about packing and laundry, hoping to sneak in a dog walk.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

18 Days...

HusBean is off work today, so I'm taking advantage of this by getting him to help me move and load up some furniture I will be selling at a consignment shop. (*side note* - I backed his car in to the mailbox this morning... he's not happy about this.)

In theory, we have guests coming from DC that are supposed to arrive late tonight, but there is a possibility that they will be stopping overnight in Charlotte, NC first and coming here tomorrow. I'm actually ok with that, it will give us a little more time to finish shoveling the random stuff that needs packing out of the guest room!

I finished some major sewing projects yesterday and now am down to one that has to be done before we leave. It is a sundress made from a vintage floral sheet (an idea seen by my client, on Pinterest). It's a fun project but will take a little adaptation of my current pattern (changing the neckline, re-sizing a little).  I'm hoping to get started on that tomorrow.

I got started embroidering the sneakers last night and should be able to get them finished up today, ready to ship tomorrow or Saturday morning. I like to embroider while sitting on the couch with the dogs, watching TV. It's a little down time but I'm still being productive.

I'm hoping to get my teapot collection and a lot of the not-immediately-necessary kitchen stuff packed up today, in addition to packing/wrapping/prepping any furniture that I've managed to empty (bookshelves, dressers, etc.).

I will also probably take some time to walk the dogs with my good friend Cass, who has five dogs of her own.  We usually walk them about 4-5 times a week, often along the canal that runs parallel to the Savannah River. Those days it is a 5-7 mile walk, which is great for us AND the dogs.  Other days, we do a hike/jog/walk around the Frisbee golf course at a local park.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Countdown Begins... Again! - 19 Days

In 2006 I moved from Vancouver, Washington to Key West, Florida at the behest of my then boyfriend (now HusBean). 

I started a countdown of sorts then, detailing the various details that needed to fall in to place in the time before I left the West Coast. 

As of today, there are 19 days until we pull out of the driveway here in Georgia, headed West. 

I have reserved a 24' Budget truck and towing dolly, we will be towing my Honda Civic behind the truck, and driving the Honda Element separately.  My Mom and our good friend Andy are flying out on May 11 to make the trip back with us. 

The menagerie will be in the Element (two dogs, three cats, and hopefully 1 skunk if she shows up by then), which should provide for plenty of comical entertainment.

The house is not packed, but I have started sorting everything in it into X categories: Keep/Long term storage, keep/take to Mom's house, sell, donate/give away, and garbage!  I obtained a packing tape kit from a U-Haul store that has several color coded rolls, each printed with a different room or "fragile", "open first", or "storage."  These will prove very helpful when loading the truck in an efficient and logical manner!

In the numerous times that I've moved, I've found it helpful to start with all the sentimental stuff and decor. Make it look less homey and it will be easier to dismantle! I've taken almost everything off the walls, and have been gathering up framed pictures and memorabilia. 

Today we sorted through the garage, double checking to make sure that Stinkerbell was not trapped in there somewhere, but I also threw some things away and did a little pre-sorting of what is out there. Fortunately I had sorted/packed the majority of the fall and Christmas decor, into labeled clear plastic bins of various sizes.  Those can then be packed, several at a time in larger cardboard boxes, labeled for long term storage. 

I do have a few sewing jobs to complete before I pack up my machine, but I'm hoping to get those knocked out in the next week.

I also have two pair of sneakers to be embroidered, and a few other pair that may arrive before we leave. 

We are also trying to inventory the contents of our pantry and deep freezer, we're throwing a buffet/fundraiser/party on Cinco de Mayo, planning to cook up a bunch of stuff that wouldn't do well traveling for a week, then feeding it to local friends for a suggested donation. 

Chaos and Turmoil

I've decided I need to get back to blogging, if for no other reason than we are moving back across the country in a little under three weeks. Some may remember the initial trip, heading east. Now we're headed back, but with more animals.

The house is in total disarray, I have taken on several sewing clients/projects that need to be done before I depart, and of course there is all the cleaning, packing, organizing, etc.  All this made more difficult by stress.

The key stress factors both entail loss; almost 2 months ago my best girlfriend here in Georgia (she had also been renting our guest room since October) was killed in a car accident. She was the passenger and the driver's blood-alcohol level was .165.  The other loss is that our pet skunk Stinkerbell has been missing for almost two full days. She has gotten out of the house once before, but came back in just a few hours.

I am packing, cleaning, sorting, looking for a skunk, grieving my friend, and being excited about our next evolution.

From time to time I am featured as an interviewee or guest blogger over at Human In Recovery, under the Monthly Manic Mondays with Marisa theme.

More to come!