If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.
Moving Day #1 was easy. Which should have had me prepared for what happened on Moving Day #2. But it didn’t.
The truck driver who is driving our stuff out to Washington showed up on time at 8 a.m. The movers (two of the three guys who were here packing the day before) showed up abotu 45 minutes later. But that gave me time.
Time to do what you ask? To find my missing cat. We have several animals, including two cats named Jake and Sadie. We needed to have all the animals put into two rooms so that there was no risk of anyone getting out while the movers had the doors open. Dogs in one room, cats in the other. Dogs are really easy to get into the room. You just tell them and they go.
Cats don’t operate that way. Jake is easy to corner into a room because he’s totally food motivated. Sadie was born a
feral cat and if she thinks there is any way that you are going to pick her up or that she is going to be corraled somewhere, she wants no part of it. So after being locked in a room the first day, Sadie sure as heck wasn’t going to allow me to do the same to her the second day.
I fed the cats in the morning and, of course, my foodie Jake was easy to lock in once he heard the food. Sadie, on the other hand, took off running toward the basement. I followed her because the last thing I wanted was a loose cat in the house when the movers were coming in and out. She saw me, so headed back up the stairs and I again followed her.
But it was then that I lost track of her. I looked everywhere: behind the furniture, under the furniture, in the fireplace, behind boxes–I even went back to the basement to look for her. No luck.
So the movers arrived and as I held back tears, I let them know that there was a cat loose. I figured that she’d hide and not move a muscle until whatever she was using as cover was picked up to be put in the moving truck. Then, she’d hightail it somewhere else, but that I’d hopefully catch sight of her. I was hoping that she didn’t try running up or down the basement stairs only to be met with another mover. You see, the only thing that scares Sadie more than the unknown outside world is unknown strangers… and especially male strangers. So I had a feeling that she’d choose to run outside instead of trying to run by a strange man. And if she ever made it outside, there was no way I was going to get her back. She’d be gone for good.
So Huzzy and I manned the doors and would periodically try and look for the missing calico. I had a radio interview that I had to do at work at 10:15 in the morning, so I headed to work for a couple hours, expecting that there would have definitely at least been a sighting of Sadie by the time I returned. When I got back a couple hours later, Huzzy was manning the side door and all the doors in the house were open. He said that Sadie had not been found yet.
I looked around the house at the absence of furniture and boxes knowing that she should have been sighted by then. The worry and frustration of a missing cat and the sadness of the upcoming separation of Huzzy welled to the surface and spilled over my cheeks. Through the tears, I told Huzzy that the movers were not going to be allowed to leave until the cat was found. The last thing I wanted to do was unpack a dead cat months later.
I knew that if she had been mistakenly taken into the moving semi that she’d be terrified and would probably be meowing in the truck. I could go in alone and in the quiet and start talking to her and she’d finally talk back.
I decided to take one last look around the house and re-checked everything. Including the fireplace. Which is where I found her. Sadie had managed to wedge her self into the corner of the fireplace and was camoflaged because only her calico parts were showing… which blended perfectly with the bricks. I picked her up (one of her most hated things in life) and took her to the room where the other cat was being held. She clawed me and meowed pitifully the whole way but there was no way I was going to let her go. She actually tried to jump down into the room in joy… since that room hadn’t been touched by the movers and was familiar.
That should have been enough stress and strain for the day… but it wasn’t. After going to hug Huzzy in relief, I asked him if the dogs had been let out since breakfast (they go out when we get up and then again after breakfast… then they are set for the day until the evening two or three let outs). He said they hadn’t, so I started with the youngest dog, our deaf Great Pyrenees puppy, Skah, who is 15 months old.
I took him by the collar and, after checking to make sure the fence was still intact and closed, let him go outside to potty. I called him inside (okay, yeah he’s deaf, so I guess it would be better to say that I “signed to him” to come inside). He took a great big run up the ramp and after noticing that I had missed my grab for his collar, promptly took off for the wide open side door.
I hightailed it after him screaming for Huzzy to come and help. Knowing that he was not only a puppy who was enjoying “freedom” but also a deaf dog who couldn’t hear us calling him or hear cars coming, I started panicking. I didn’t run behind him because I didn’t want him to think that I was chasing him. So I ran in the street parallel to him while he ran across lawns and down sidewalks. I told Huzzy to get the truck because I wasn’t sure I could keep up with him for long (he was running really quickly). He started slowing down to check out things at the neighbors, but was still moving quickly.
Then I got lucky.
Skah decided to try to check out a backyard that had a dog in it. He went to the side of the house and went up to the chain link fence. But there was the house blocking one side and a stockade fence blocking the other. I knew that he had a lot of space to try and dart around me (it was about 10 feet of space) but I was ready to jump on top of him and tackle him.
But I didn’t need to do that. He saw that I had him pretty much cornered and gave me a look of, “Oh crap. Jig’s up. I give up.” And he walked right to me to let me grab his collar.
I walked him home as I panted the entire way (I really need to start running again, or I won’t make it through DCOIC when I do the reserve Navy officer mini-boot camp later this year). I pretty much collapsed after that.
I was done. PCSing had nearly killed me that day. And I haven’t even told you about our resident ghost showing up. That’s for another saga in the PCSing story. It’s a funny one, so wait for it!