Wednesday, April 30, 2008



This is just a reminder that even though I'm doing most of my writing here on our road trip blog, I'm still posting to CKL's HotSheet on many other topics, including trash heaps, movies, comics, and springtime. Perhaps you will even see some posts about cheeseburgers.

If you don't want to miss a single word, you can subscribe to both blogs using this combined feed. Yes, I did make that using Yahoo Pipes, and I am not responsible for any ruptures in the fabric of spacetime that may occur if you add it to Google Reader.

Dinner tonight:

This is our second and final night in New Mexico. We stopped here just to see Carlsbad Caverns, and it was totally worth it. (Photos and videos coming soon. I know, you can't wait.) Tomorrow, we head east for a full week in Texas.




It's an hour later and it smells bad.

You want to know what I think of "New Mexico?" See title above. That's what I think of New Mexico. And what kind of name is that for a state anyway? They really couldn't come up with anything more original than "New Mexico?"

Apparently it's an hour later here because of this human thing called "time zones." We were actually already in a different time zone when we went from California to Arizona, but because Arizona doesn't do something called "Daylight Saving Time," you add one hour but then take one away, so the time didn't actually change.

Humans are weird.

And the smells. Let me tell you about the smells. We drove through hours of them yesterday. I hear that human nostrils get "fatigued" and they become inured to scents after a while. Well, we cats aren't so lucky. Everywhere we went, a new smell wafted into the car. I'm glad I don't live on a farm. Not only does every animal have a unique odor, every animal's poop also carries a distinct bouquet. It is a neverending parade of stenchfulness.

Anyway. Our new mini-house is really just a single room plus a bathroom. Compared to this, the last place was the freakin' lap of luxury--we even had a fireplace there. But the bed here has a great feature: the fabric covering the frame on the bottom has several openings, so I can crawl inside and hang out there. It's like a little hammock. Great for napping. And HIDING. Lot of strange noises here, too.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Powers of Ken

The last few days in Flagstaff have required some adjustment on our part, not only to the high altitude and dry climate, but also to the size of things around here. We could see that it was big and flat while driving in, but it wasn't until we started visiting places that we got a real sense of scale.

Back in the seventies, Charles and Ray Eames made a short film called Powers of Ten which shows the relative sizes of different objects, from the sub-atomic level (10-18 meters, the size of a carbon atom's nucleus) up to the entire observable universe (1024 meters). It's informative and well presented, but no amount of book learning can compare to life on the street. Or in the desert.

The Grand Canyon, where you can see nearly two billion years of geology in a single vista, is almost incomprehensibly HUGE. It's an average of ten miles between the South Rim and the North Rim, but us city slickers just ain't used to seein' all that wide open space. I sure am glad we bought these binoculars.


Going down the powers-of-ten scale, it was almost possible to wrap my head around the Barringer Meteorite Crater after a few hours of staring into the abyss. There are a few human-sized structures visible inside it, including old mining equipment and part of the fuselage of a small plane which flew down to escape the high winds (up to 180 mph on the rim) and couldn't get out again, but it's still 550 feet deep--almost as tall as the Washington Monument.


Finally, the pueblo ruins in Wupatki National Monument were actual dwellings, and we were allowed to walk around inside several of them. Just being surrounded by those walls and feeling the size of those spaces is remarkable. People actually lived here, over 800 years ago. Being that close to the artifacts makes it easier to imagine, but it's still far away in time and way outside our experience. Beyond our ken, as the Scots might say.


More photos later, including some large panoramas. (Funny story: I was so excited about the pueblos today, I actually filled up the memory card in our digital camera before lunch. Then I realized that card was only 256MB, and replaced it with the 4GB card from our camcorder. We don't usually take a lot of pictures, obviously.)

Dinner tonight: The best pizza in Flagstaff, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.


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So there's this thing called "static electricity," which apparently happens a lot when the air is dryer than normal. Ever since we got to this new place, half the time I rub up against the humans, I get a little shock. It usually doesn't bother me too much, especially since they're careful when petting me. It just makes a weird crackling noise. It even happens sometimes when I'm on the fuzzy blanket on the bed! Who knew?

Anyway, this mini-house has great windows. They're really tall, so I can see all the way down to the ground (we're high up on the second floor) and pretty far out into the distance, where the ground tilts up into the sky to make these triangular peaks called "mountains." And it must be pretty windy outside, because the trees are always moving around. It's fun to watch, but it's sunny in the window too, so I get pretty sleepy and doze off quite a bit.

The humans seem very excited about whatever they're doing outside. Today they came back with this reddish-orange dust all over their clothes. It didn't smell very interesting, but I guess it came from some old buildings which they thought were super awesome. I wanted to hear more about the tiny lizards they saw running around, but since I'm stuck indoors, I guess I'll just continue breaking rubber bands and playing with them. They're elastic! Or elastics, I guess, if you're British.

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Now We Know...

... My exhaustion is the altitude. All the websites I read say that altitude sickness kicks in at 8,000 feet. At an average, the altitude in both Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon is 7,000 feet. But we dropped down about 2,000 feet to go to the Wupatki National Monument and I was fine.

Good thing, because the pueblos are amazing! We had some hiking and climbing and crawling to do. Some of those pueblo doorways are pretty short.

As Ted White, the ranger and Japanese Language Interpreter at Wukoki ruins told us, "It's pretty amazing to stand in an 800-year-old building and know that it was probably the tallest structure in the United States for hundreds of years."

I was also impressed with the Nimbus 2000 he was using to sweep away the footprints of all the naughty people who went off the path.

But now we're back in the hotel in Flagstaff, and I get out of breath bending down to pick up a cat. The less-than-helpful altitude sickness websites also tell me that the only real cure is to go to a lower altitude.

That's not really an option. I am going to the Grand Canyon tomorrow. So instead, I guess I'll take the other bits of advice: don't exert, drink plenty of fluids, and eat carbohydrates. I guess it's not all bad. I love it when I have an excuse to be lazy.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

This Place is Exhausting

We're in Flagstaff now. And I've been exhausted since we got here. I'm not talking about your thank-goodness-I-finally-get-to-go-to-bed exhaustion. I'm talking constantly-out-of-breath, blurred vision, body-weighs-too-much, can-barely-walk-upstairs, slept-12-hours-but-I-need-a-nap exhausted. Toss in the constant headaches, minor nosebleeds and cracked dry hands, and I'm just not a happy camper right now. Not that I'd ever actually want to go camping.

Anyway. That was how I felt yesterday when we met our tour guide for the Grand Canyon. I was barely able to drag myself to breakfast. Physically, I was miserable. But once we arrived in the park, the experience was worth every second of discomfort.

All those people who tell you that a picture cannot even give the slightest idea of the experience are absolutely correct. I'm not one of those people who can sit and quietly enjoy a view. I get bored too quickly. But I can tell you this: 30 minutes at an overlook is not enough. With every step, you see something different and amazing.

We'd take a tiny walk up a hill. I'd be gasping for air, alternately seeing everything double or having tunnel vision, and I just couldn't make myself stop to rest. Everything was amazing. And I only had 30 minutes to look around before we had to get back into the van to see the next place.

Everything is so amazing in fact, that it's difficult to believe that it's real. Every time we stepped up to an overlook, I had to get a good grip on the handrail so that I could orient myself to something where I could recognize the scale. At one point, we looked down on nine miles of the Colorado River--and it was just a fraction of the view.

Now I understand how Bob and Stella, a couple who was on our tour, could say, "We come back every couple of years. You get to need to see the Canyon again after a while."

I'm not at all religious. But then--looking at something billions of years in the making-- I was aware of the tiny tiny, short-lived creature I am in this world.

Maybe this exhaustion is dehydration or an unlikely altitude sickness. I'm pushing water, iced tea, and Gatorade for the next couple of days. And I'm going to take naps whenever I'm tired. I napped in the car while Curtis wandered around Riordan Mansion park and then made him take me back to the room for a four-hour nap while he visited a meteor crater without me.

Whatever is causing this exhaustion, it better pass soon. Because we're going back to the Grand Canyon on Monday and I want to be able to walk all day.


Friday, April 25, 2008

From Beach to Canyon

It took me some time to figure out why Windows Movie Maker was crashing and to make it stop (hint: del qedit.dll), and then some more time to download proper background music over the hollow reed which this hotel calls an Internet connection. But finally, here it is, video from the first leg of our trip:

Today, we had a fantastic but tiring time at the Grand Canyon, thanks to American Dream Tours* and our guide, Daniel Maust. Photos will be up later, even though they don't do it justice. There is absolutely no substitute for being here in person.

Dinner: Yesterday's leftover chili and corn salad over brown rice. We thought about ordering a pizza, but it just seemed like too much work.

* Yes, I know their web site sucks. Their vans aren't pretty either: plain white, with the company name and DOT number painted in small block letters on the front doors. It's a small, family-run business, and they don't spend money on extravagances. They just do one thing very well.


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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We're in Arizona

Short post tonight. Long day of driving. Cats are doing well, very actively exploring the new hotel room (we got upgraded to a large studio with a fireplace).

I'll be posting video later, from the "chase camera" on our dash. We got some nice views of rocky landscapes, and even saw a tiny little bit of Route 66, including the Roadkill Cafe in Seligman, AZ:


Dinner tonight:


Yes, those are Cheez-Its in our tomato-and-rice soup. We'll go grocery shopping tomorrow.

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Overheard at Breakfast

(while watching entertainment news show "The Insider" on the hotel dining room's TV, a change from the news channel that's usually playing)

CKL: I can't decide if this is better or worse than Fox News.
D: (confused) Isn't this a commercial?
CKL: (beat) I guess that would be "worse" for you.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I wonder a lot about what these humans do outside all day. Well, maybe "a lot" is overstating it. Mostly I wonder why they're not inside sleeping or playing with us or feeding us. What could be more fun than that?

Well, apparently they like to spend their time walking around and taking pictures of things. I don't really see the point, because their pictures don't smell like anything, and that's what's really interesting about other places! Humans are weird. They weren't out very long today, and they didn't come back with many pictures, though they did smell like pizza and sand and salt.

Yesterday they actually brought back a whole bag of stuff, including some pictures on flat cards (not just on the computer like they usually are) and little plastic bricks. It seems that they were at a place which has tons of these little plastic things, arranged into shapes to look like other things. That might have been interesting--I love climbing on stuff!--and I would have liked playing Godzilla and chasing birds around the miniature cities, but I probably wouldn't have enjoyed all those children running around.


The day before that, they came back with some really interesting smells! They had gone to a "wild animal park" where lots of different creatures live. I didn't recognize a lot of them, but a few of them smelled like cats--lions and tigers, apparently. It turns out there are much bigger versions of us that live outdoors and get to sleep on top of cars and rocks. Seems a little dangerous to me. And what about when you want some privacy? I prefer having lots of indoor spaces to hide when necessary. Supposedly these "big cats" are predators at the top of the food chain, but dude, you're still living in someone else's park.

San Diego Wild Animal Park

Two days ago, they brought back the biggest variety of scents, including flowers and some dust and stuff that smelled really old. I mean really, really old. Apparently that was from an exhibit about an ancient Roman city called Pompeii that was buried by a volcanic explosion that preserved a lot of artifacts. I don't really know what all that means, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have wanted to be there for that! Volcanoes are noisy.

Balboa Park

After three days of running around, they seem to have come to their senses a little. They slept in this morning, and played with me for a while tonight! Otherwise, I spent most of the day looking out the windows. There's been a film crew staying at this hotel the whole time we've been here. I think they're shooting a documentary. And there are lots of birds!

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Monday, April 21, 2008

San Diego Recaplet

Having a great time, wish you were here, etc. Photos will be online after I finish organizing and captioning them. And I believe Jasper will have something to say about our souvenirs.

Meanwhile, here's what we've been doing for the past few days:
  • Visiting Balboa Park, where we enjoyed the local flora, saw the "Day in Pompeii" exhibit and some Roman soldiers at the Natural History Museum, then played with sound and ferrofluid at the Science Center;
  • Walking all over the Wild Animal Park, home to lions and tigers and many encroaching jackrabbits; and
  • Strolling through Legoland, where Miniland USA offered a scale-model preview of our upcoming road trip.
Tomorrow, it's sleeping in to rest our tired feet, and then off to Coronado, which is supposed to have some great views of the ocean.

Dinner tonight:



Sunday, April 20, 2008

$212 a Day

Again, as much for our records as anything else:

We've budgeted $50,000 for the next 32 weeks (starting April 14th) of our road trip. We know it will be cheaper for us to live in an apartment in Portland than it is to stay at various hotels while traveling, and we've already carved out $5,000 of our savings for the last five weeks of the year. We want to have a proper home for the holidays, so our road trip will end no later than November (probably mid-October, to allow us time to find a place and move in before Thanksgiving).

So that gives us approximately $1,560 per week to spend on the road. Let's call it $1,500 to make estimating easier; we'll shoot for that, and still have a $2,000 cushion for all the more expensive places.

Two-thirds of that weekly budget will go to lodging. Room rates will vary depending on what part of the country we're in and where we're staying--for example, we know these first few weeks in California and at the Grand Canyon will be pricey, but we'll make it up later. $1,000 divided by 7 days is approximately $142 a night, but including the typical 10% room tax, our target price for lodging is $129 a night.

That leaves $500 every 7 days, or about $70 each day, for food, fun, and gas: the three other major categories of things we'll be spending money on. We plan to track our spending on a weekly basis (using Google Spreadsheets, natch) so we can see if we're over budget and adjust accordingly. Fun will probably be the most flexible. There's nothing wrong with having a lazy day indoors with the cats, playing games and watching movies or TV.

Note that this budget only accounts for credit card purchases--we'll pull petty cash as we need it for incidentals, which may include parking or laundry or tips, and which we expect to be infrequent.

We think that's all doable. We'll be using our AAA discount wherever possible and looking for any other deals we can find (hello, Marriott Rewards points). Feel free to post your suggestions in the comments. And you should really let us know if you spot a math error anywhere above...

Dinner tonight: TJ's casserole (last night's leftover stew plus couscous) with mock mimosas (last night's leftover white wine plus orange juice). Inexpensive and delicious!



Torture is unconstitutional.

Yeah, I know feline-Americans aren't yet recognized as citizens. That'll change soon enough. We have a plan. That's all I'm saying. And when we get our full rights granted by law, some things are going to change. For one, it will no longer be legal to torture your cats by allowing strange people to come into your residence and mess with the furniture.

When the humans left yesterday to go out and have their fun, they locked us in the playpen. Which wasn't great to begin with. But then this strange woman towing a huge plastic cart bursts into the room. I was drinking at the time, and I was so startled, I kicked over the dish while I was scrambling to hide and spilled water everywhere. And of course Jasper also has to hide in the one good spot, inside the tube on the scratching post, so we're both jammed in there while this woman tears the place apart. I swear I've never heard so much noise before. It's like she was looking for hidden treasure or something.

Anyway, the noisy woman finally leaves, but now the sun is shining through the window and all over the playpen because the humans rolled up the blanket. What, do they think we like being exposed to the elements? So Jasper and I stayed holed up inside that tube until they got home. It wasn't ideal, but it wasn't as crowded as you might think. Cats are fuzzy. We can squeeze into some pretty tight spaces. Like under the bed. Which is where I wanted to be.

So that sucked, but today was a little better. The humans let us have the run of the mini-house while they were out today doing who knows what (but I suspect it involved animals of some sort because boy, did they smell funky when they got back). And they pulled the blanket down over the playpen, so I had some privacy while using the facilities. Seriously, there are birds outside. I don't want them watching me use the litter box.

Mostly, I stayed under the bed. Jasper roamed all day, except when it sounded like one of those noisy carts or other humans was coming to our door. Then he was briefly sensible and hung out with me. No one else has come into the mini-house, but they really need to do something about all these strange noises we hear outside. I don't know what's going on out there, but there are way too many people way too close to our door.

Oh yeah, that reminds me. Happy Passover.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Playpen Redux

We arrived in San Diego last night, and both cats were much more perky than at our first hotel stop. The Feliway we sprayed all over the room may have helped. This is them last night, waiting while we unloaded and unpacked all our luggage (a good 45 minutes of huffing and puffing):



We just managed to coax Bayla out from under the bed (she was down there all day), and she's now joined Jasper in checking out the sights. We're on the third floor of this Residence Inn, and Jasper has enjoyed looking out the window ("cat TV") all day long. Bayla just likes sniffing around inside the suite and rubbing her face on various things.

Dinner tonight: After a Trader Joe's run for supplies, D cooked up some gnocchi in marinara sauce with red and orange bell peppers, chicken & turkey sausage, red onion, and herbed goat cheese on top. And now we have leftovers!


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WE HAVE WINDOWS!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!one!!!!!eleven


I do not know what is wrong with these people.

I mean, seriously. First they ran around for weeks stuffing everything in the house into cardboard boxes, and then they took all those boxes away. The empty house was pretty weird, but I could have lived with it. I like staying under the bed most of the time anyway.

But then they put us in this cage in the back room and took apart the bed, too. I should have known, right? I'd been suspicious of that thing ever since they brought it into the house a few weeks ago. It's very similar to the "playpen" they had in the other house, where they'd stick us every once in a while. I don't know why. Humans are weird.

So we're in the cage--and I admit, it was amusing to watch Jasper freak out and run around in circles--and we hear all these strange noises, and then they stick us in the bathroom while they do who knows what else, and finally they cram us into a bag and dump us into the car. At least they put us in that green canvas crate that I like. And there was a litter box. I did think about peeing on something, but they were making an effort.

Anyway, we spent a couple of days in a strange, dark room--kind of like a mini-house--that smelled like dust and all of those smelly liquids humans like to spray on things to remove dust. They kept us locked in the "playpen" most of the time, but let us out at night. I tried sleeping on the bed, which did have the nice fuzzy blanket from home, but I ended up going under the bed eventually. It's just nicer down there.

After they finished whatever they were busy doing outside the room, they packed us up again (a 90-minute ordeal, with us in the bathroom) and then we all sat in the car for what felt like hours. I mean, really. HOURS. And we must have traveled pretty far, because I smelled a lot of strange plants and animals. I am so glad I'm an indoor cat.

So now we're here in another mini-house. It's bigger than the last one, and not so dark, and it smells more like cats than the last one. Jasper likes sitting on top of the playpen and looking out the windows. I like hiding under the bed. I hope we get to stay here more than a few days before we're relocated again, but I'm not optimistic.


What We Left Behind

This is as much for our own records as anything else:
  • Our Nintendo Wii is spending its summer vacation with Uncle Ken and Aunt Jerry.
  • Our electric piano was going to stay at Acorn's after the Midnight Madness Game, but Elena will get more use out of it.
  • Cary has a box to collect our P.O. Box mail.
  • Sean and Crissy have a bigger box for all our other mail, which we're forwarding to their address.
Everything except the piano can be mailed to us later, and Cary says he needs to drive up to retrieve one of his own keyboards from Portland anyway. We have great friends.

Dinner tonight: Microwave-made polenta with most of a can of tuna (the cats got the rest mixed with their wet food). Quick, easy, and filling after a long day of driving from San Jose to San Diego.



Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yesterday: Dealing with Drugs

If you read CKL's entry from yesterday, you already know how we spent our afternoon and evening. Yesterday morning was all about trash. A full Prius-load of trash. In less than an hour, however, we were done at the dump. Everything was gone except for two Ziplocs full of mostly empty bottles of expired or otherwise useless medicines.

A decade or so ago, doctors stopped telling me to flush expired and unwanted medicines down the toilet. Since I wasn't sure what to do with them, the easiest thing was just to throw them into a bin until further information was forthcoming. For my last few moves, my bin traveled with me, and I just kept tossing in the pill bottles.

This move I didn't want to waste any of our precious pod-space on a bunch of medicines that had either expired, were meant for an animal that I no longer had, or that would poison me if I actually took any of them. Time to deal with the bin.

It seemed likely that the City of Mountain View might have set something up for disposal of medications. When I called on April 11th, I learned that they did. March 10 was the City's medicines drop off day. This was unfortunate, but I was undaunted. I requested the name of someone I could call about my hazmat. The nice lady directed me to the Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste program.

The office was already closed, but the phone tree was more than happy to talk to me. It told me that, though I needed an appointment to drop off Household Hazardous Wastes, I could make the appointment online. I don't recall a mention of the URL, but Google and I were able to solve that problem. A minute or so later, I was online requesting my drop-off appointment.

Sadly, the next available appointment day was in the week after we left the Bay Area.

Plan B: check with pharmacies. Surely some of the ones I went to had a recycling program. I looked around Los Altos Drug when CKL and I picked up Bayla's medicines. I couldn't find a recycling bin. I went directly to a human on my next attempt, and phoned the Safeway pharmacy. The pharmacist told me that Safeway does not recycle drugs. The CostCo pharmacist told me that CostCo does recycle, but only if the prescription bottle came from CostCo. The pharmacist at the VA didn't answer the phone.

Plan C: have friends drop off the drugs. I played out the conversation in my head, "Hey! So, I know you spent most of you free time for the last week helping me pack for my move. H0w about you also drop off a couple of Ziplocs full of pills at the dump? You can make an appointment online."

Uh... no. Plan A needs a revisit.

Mail might work. While both the web site and phone message for the Santa Clara Household Hazardous Waste program refused to give an address, a person might be more forthcoming. He was. I hadn't even finished the first sentence of my hard luck story before the nice man with the County said, "Go to Leiter's at 1700 Park Ave, San Jose. They'll recycle for you."

Sure enough, they do. It's as easy as dropping a bunch of bottles into bin.

So, if you have some medicines that need to leave your house, remember Leiter's Pharmacy. They provide recycling as a service to the community and its water table. Heck, you might even want to buy something while you're there.

If they go out of business, you'll have to make an appointment with the County Household Hazardous Waste program. Or wait for the next year's community drop off day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Haircuts

In many cultures, getting a short haircut is symbolic of beginning a new endeavor or journey. Army boot camp, Joan of Arc, retiring Samurai... you get the idea.

Dinner tonight: Left Bank in San Mateo with our friend Christina. She didn't care for the halibut, but the cheesecake was a big hit.



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

300 Cubic Feet of Stuff

Above: D supervises Mark, from the aptly named Above & Beyond moving company, as he packs all our worldly possessions into a 6'x7'x8' "ReloCube." He and his crew, Ollie and Steve, moved everything from the house into the U-Haul truck in about 20 minutes (sometimes carrying over 100 pounds of books at a time) and had the storage container fully loaded an hour and a half later--including travel time to the ABF terminal. It pays to have professionals on the job.

While sorting through all my paperwork over the last few days, I came across things I hadn't seen in almost seventeen years. The bank receipt from when I opened my credit union account, freshman year of college. A souvenir poster from the opening of the Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton, January, 1998. A short story manuscript with handwritten workshop comments from Ursula K. LeGuin.

A lot of it got thrown away. All the bills and any documents with personal, financial, or other account information went into two big boxes which our friend Chris helpfully volunteered to throw into a shred bin at his office. In the end, only a fraction of what we started with ended up in that storage container. As D previously blogged, we spent the past week giving away a lot of stuff to various people, and we understand that even as our ReloCube is on its way to Oregon, a larger quantity of the stuff we shedded is on its way to Senegal.

It's difficult for a packrat like me to admit, but my stuff is not my life. I actually thought I might be having a mild panic attack a few days ago, when I was short of breath and having chills, but that turned out to be an actual illness with a 101° fever at one point. I'm better now, though D spent the better part of today coughing up half her lungs.

Anyway. I used to feel physically sick at the mere thought of losing any of my stuff, including and especially data, but I got over that after two major hard drive crashes in which I lost a lot of old emails and journal entries. I still like to save memorabilia--ticket stubs, toys, Playbills--but I'm not as OCD about it as I used to be.

It also helps to have a point of comparison. Our cats, Bayla and Jasper, were royally freaked out yesterday when the movers came tromping in. We'd been keeping them in the bedroom so they'd be safe from all the other people coming to take away stuff, but the movers had to take the bed, so the cats went into their playpen in the back room, and they were not happy about it. We'd been letting them roam the whole house at night, so they knew things were going away, but I can't imagine what it must have been like for them to realize that their whole world was being taken apart.

They seem to be adjusting pretty well, though. Both cats were in their customary places on the bed while D napped this evening:

Our rule for packing was that we'd only keep the things we couldn't replace easily or inexpensively. In theory, that meant we'd only be packing expensive hardware (like the HDTV), things with great sentimental value, or irreplaceable/hard to find/one of a kind items. I still maintain that my laserdisc collection meets all three of those criteria.

Dinner tonight: Rigatoni e Spinaci and Penne Calabrese, two of our favorite dishes from Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too, paired with a lovely Penfolds 2002 Shiraz Cabernet that Loren and Suzie brought back from Australia.


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Monday, April 14, 2008

Playpen, Deployed


The aluminum pan holding the cat food is courtesy of tonight's dinner from Chipotle. Also note Jasper's cat grass on the bottom shelf, and our favorite atomic clock on the dresser.

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The Plan (Plans Change)

A few weeks ago, while D and I were planning for our road trip, we test-packed the Prius with all the supplies we thought we'd need for traveling around the country. Note that more than half of the stuff we loaded into the car is for the cats:





The actual configuration, which we figured out this afternoon, is a little different: the purple luggage got packed into our ReloCube and is now on its way to Portland. In its place are two smaller bags. And the three cardboard boxes which were supposed to sit on top of the collapsed playpen turned into a small cat perch/scratching post and a single plastic bin for our kitchenware.

We currently also have three extra bags/boxes of stuff, including food out of our former refrigerator, which we won't have in a few weeks. The theory is that as we become more experienced travelers, we'll know what things we can and can't live without, and what things are easily replaceable at the next stop.

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We're officially out of the house in Mountain View and have traveled with our cats 10 miles to a hotel in San Jose. We have many people to thank for this achievement:

  • Our fabulous friends, who packed everything we wanted to keep, and taught us that plastic wrap is an invaluable moving aid.
  • The same friends, who hauled our unwanted stuff to the curb/their houses/garage sales and otherwise just made it disappear.
  • All the people who stop in the street when they see a "Free" sign.
  • The people of Senegal, who took everything we had, no matter how broken, and then sent a representative back on Sunday to see if we had anything else.
  • The Junk General, who recycles thing that even the Sengalese ladies didn't want.
  • Mark and his team from Above and Beyond, who are masters at Tetris-fu.
  • Gloria and Nandi, who kept our house liveable, and then made it look like no one ever lived there.
  • Our cats, who are busy exploring the hotel room (when not hiding under the bed. )

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

T minus 10 days and counting

Now that The Game is over, it's time for D and me to get down to the business of packing up for big move to Portland, which includes an extended road trip around the lower 48 states. We leave on April 17th, the garage sale is on Sunday the 13th, and the cleaners come through on Monday the 14th.

We've definitely got our work cut out for us, but some friends came by today and agreed to take our couches off our hands. And tomorrow we'll be taking photos and updating our FREE STUFF listings. That's right, I said FREE. We need to get rid of it somehow, and we'd much rather know it's going to a good home than drop it at Goodwill or into a landfill.


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