I cooked dinner last night. It was a very simple meal, rice with broccoli rabe, tofu and carmelized onions but it was oh-so-satisfying. I think the kitchen, aside from pot rack and, oh, the oven, is pretty much set up. It’ll get some shuffling around as I figure out where I want things to make cooking easier, but meanwhile, it is nice to have one functional room.
We’re going shopping today so Rob can pick up the things he needs to finish the oven–which has a broken door–and so we can get some other household things. My project is to give all the doors functioning doorknobs and latches. At the moment, we have to put a chair against the bedroom door to keep the cats out at night. I’ve also got some shelving to build.
Here’s today’s batch of photos. Some of them are blurry because in order to get the camera far enough away I frequently have to hold it against the wall and can’t see what I’m shooting.
We spent today hanging out with Kevin and Shawna. Actually, we started the day by sleeping until almost noon. Only ten minutes remained of the morning when we got up. Shawna had pancakes for us.
Rob and Kevin pulled our bikes out of the truck today (they were on top) and we biked along the Lake Wobegon Trail. Man, it was nice to stretch my legs. The ride is beautiful. There was a giant patch of ladyslippers by the side of the road which my mom would have been gaga over. I wish I’d had the camera on the bike ride with me.
The cats seem fine here. In fact, all guilt that I have felt about keeping them cooped up in the truck has vanished. Maggie has spent the entire day sleeping in one spot. And Marlowe? He found a spot on an empty shelf which is smaller than the carrier he’s been riding in. He’s spent today sleeping in there. He had a brief nose-sniff with Roo, their golden lab, but has otherwise been content to stay in his cave.
We’re planning on hitting the road about 8:00 tomorrow morning and head for Racine.
We arrived in Avon at around 8:00 local time. Rob’s brother, Kevin and his wife Shawna greeted us. We have been plied with wine and Shawna’s delicious cooking. I took a shower and feel much more human.
The cats are ensconced in our room. They seem have settled into the routine nicely. Maggie tends to stay in the “upstairs apartment” which is the open carrier on top. Marlowe alternates between the downstairs and “the cave,” which is the area under our seats. I moved a bunch of stuff to the rear of the truck, since we weren’t using any of it, so that he had more room to hang out. He still gets freaked out by being outside during the day, but last night was hankering to go out. We had them both tied to our luggage inside the tent until we got settled.
Today, I even got them both to play a little bit with string. I don’t know what they make of the whole trip, but they are being remarkably adaptable.
We’ll see how well they let us sleep tonight. I am dragging and looking forward to a day of being stationary. We’ll stay here in Avon until Monday, when it is off to Wisconsin.
We are at a gas station in Peever, S.D getting ready to cross into Minnesota. It is 5:06 pm local time.
I promised to tell you about our misadventures from yesterday, so this is what I wrote up while we were driving.
It was dark when we crossed into South Dakota. One of the interesting things about crossing a state line is that the quality of the road one is traveling on changes dramatically. So, as we crossed into South Dakota all the reflectors disappeared, the white line showing the edge of the road disappeared and the color of the road became almost exactly the same as the shoulder. Without my brights on, it was very hard to see the road. I did not feel comfortable traveling more that forty-five mph.
Everytime another car approached, the road beyond them completely vanished. I learned to watch the angle at which they approached to get a guess about what the road would do when I got to it. Occasionally, there would be reflectors by the road, but not where you would expect them. There might be a curve and then three reflectors on the straightaway.
At one point, as a semi approached and the road vanished again, I saw a quick reflection in his lane. I had time to think, “My god, is there a cyclist on this road?”
And then I hit a deer.
A herd of them was standing on the road. What I had seen was the reflection of one of the other deer’s eyes. The one I hit materialized in my headlights as if it had beamed into place. I can only assume that the semi also hit one.
We stopped, confirmed that there was no serious damage to the truck. There wasn’t–one of the advantages of driving something so large, I guess. After this, I slowed down still more as the road got twistier.
We kept trying to call the campground to cancel the reservation, but could get no cell signal. Though it meant that we didn’t get to the campground until after 11:00, we still went for it knowing that if we got behind, that today would be even longer.
Unfortunately, they stop registration at 11:00. So, though we had reservations, we had no idea where we were supposed to be. I finally found a bag with our name on it that contained a map to our site. It was hard to see the site numbers, so we decided that I would sit in the truck while Rob looked for the campsite.
While I was sitting there, someone came out to complain about the noise of the diesel, so I shut it down. Someone else then came up to demand to know what was going on. Though I was now quiet, he wanted me to move the truck away. I figured the smart thing to do would be to take it back to the main parking area and just pack the tent and cats to the campsite. He assured me that the road went straight through.
He was quite wrong. So, while Rob was looking for the campsite, I got stuck at the end of a deadend road. I tried turning the truck around, and hit a rock–no damage, since I was going extremely slowly, but enough to convince me to stop the truck where I was.
We were next to a cabin which had no cars in front of it. There was a large grassy area. At this point I decided to screw finding “our” site and to just camp in the grassy area. I walked back to get Rob and we set up the tent. Of course, since we were at the end of a dead-end road, it was completely dark. The truck was facing away from the grassy area, so there was no way to use the headlights to set up. We worked with the glow cast by the overhead light in the back of the truck. Our nightlight, once we set up the tent, was supplied by the screen of my laptop. Ah, technology.
We got up at five this morning and hit the road. Mt. Rushmore wasn’t open yet, but is clearly visible from the road. I’ve got to say that it’s more impressive from the side than from the front, but there’s no safe way to pull off and take a photo there.
The road since then has been unbelievably straight.
The new moving truck holds everything we were planning on taking, including bicycles and Rob’s motorcycle. Whew. We backed the new one up to the old one in front of the Chelsea’s house and carried stuff straight across–some things did get offloaded so we could control weight distribution–but it went so much smoother than yesterday. A shady street and a ramp beats sun and stairs any day.
A hearty, hearty thank you to the Chelsea household, Mick Daugherty and Rick Lovett for their help carting everything across. They totally saved our hiney.
The house is totally empty except for the cats and their acoutrements. We pick them up in the morning and hit the road. The plan is to leave at dawn and go straight to Salt Lake City instead of doing an overnight stay in Boise. Whee! At least the solstice will give us lots of daylight driving time.
We are almost gone. Around 6:30, we finished loading the truck. I paused after the truck was loaded to play my violin in the empty living room. Wicked reverb.
It’s 10:00 now and we are about to leave the house. We decided to hire a cleaning service to do the cleaning, but it took us awhile to sort and organize the remaining items. The truck wasn’t quite big enough.
A hearty thank you to our helpers: The Chelsea family, Aimee, Merilee, Kate, Mick, Yani, David, Sam and Cindy. We couldn’t have done this without you guys.
Next on my agenda–a shower.
Tomorrow we’ll take some things to the storage locker, load the ice chest, put the cats in their carriers and hit the road.
Today was full of ridiculous amounts of stress, some related to the move, some not. Ever have one of those days that just makes you want to eat your own brain? Yeah. It almost makes me forget that I got to do fun stuff today too.
Aimee came up so I could take her to the yarn store on Alberta today. Everytime I’m in a yarn store I want to knit something and then when I try knitting I get bored out of my mind. I know other people love it, but it just makes me restless.
Rob and I went out to dinner tonight at Bernie’s Southern Bistro. We got a gift certificate from my realtor for recommending him to Christina. I’d gone to Bernie’s once before and been underwhelmed. Alas, tonight my experience was repeated. Part of it, of course, is that I grew up with really good Southern food–allow me to introduce you to my mother and you will understand why I am hard to impress–but the rest of it was just that it wasn’t all that well balanced. Rob was not impressed either. It’s not bad, mind you, just not what the ambiance wants you to think it will be. Still it was nice to get out of the house.
And now, I return to packing and labeling things for the yard sale. I am looking forward to the road trip. It’ll be so peaceful with the open road, Rob, and two cats–wait.
So, we continue to be worried about Maggie because her appetite is still poor and she is moving very cautiously, like an old cat. Now granted, she is old, (17 years) but she usually spry and kittenish. It’s strange to see her act like she’s stiff or tip over like she’s lost her balance. So, today I looked up metronidazole For veterinary use, which is the medication she was on.
â€¢ Dogs and cats: Symptoms of overdose of metronidazole include the gastrointestinal signs (anorexia, vomiting) and neurologic signs including depression, ataxia, disorientation, head-tilt, tremors, bradycardia, rigidity, stiffness, and seizures. Neurologic signs may occur due to acute overdose although they are more commonly seen in animals that are on long-term moderate or high doses (oral doses greater than 66 mg/kg/day). Signs of chronic toxicity often begin 7-12 days following the start of treatment. After the drug is discontinued, it may be several days to two weeks before these neurologic signs begin to diminish.
After I dropped my computer off, I stopped by the vet’s today. I wanted to pick up a syringe to shoot water down Maggie’s throat, hoping that it would help with everything. The vet came out to talk to me, because I was a little distressed about the pilling the cat ritual. I explained that Maggie seemed to have stopped eating; her bowl was completely full when I went down to feed them this morning. Since the cats only get fed once a day, it was fairly suspicious.
The vet nodded, “If she’s not eating; then you may need to bring her back in.”
“I don’t think she’s getting sicker; I think she’s depressed.”
Across the waiting room a black cat yowled as if someone were killing him right there. His owner tried to reassure him, but the cat didn’t speak English. Neither does Maggie, so I can’t tell her what the vet said–that if she doesn’t finish the antibiotics, she could develop a super-resistant strain of stomach bug.
“I know.” I nodded. Years ago, I’d wanted to be a vet; I hated being the neurotic pet owner now. “It’s just that I feel like I’m making things worse.”
“Well, if the half-tablets are too large, try cutting them into quarters and see if she’ll take it with some soft food.”
I blinked. “Half-tablets? We’ve been giving her whole tablets.”
Looking down at her chart, the vet said, “Half tablet every twelve hours. Fortunately it’s a very mild medicine, so it’s not dangerous.”
It still made me feel ill. I mean, misreading medication like that could have been fatal. “So, instead of having three more days, I have six more days?”
“Right. But if we can get at least seven days of antibiotics and if the symptoms have stopped, then it’s probably safe to stop the pills. It’s better to finish the round, but if it’s making her miserable you can stop after seven days.”
I thanked her and biked home with my handy syringe. Rob was waiting for me, so we could do her morning pilling. I told him what the vet said and then I grabbed the bottle of pills.
The label said, “One pill every twelve hours.”
One. Not half. I called the vet’s office, related my story and learned that the label was wrong. So, on the one hand, there’s a measure of relief, because I didn’t misread the instructions. On the other hand, I’m ticked. I mean, hello? It’s lucky that it was a “mild” medication because I could have hurt my cat.
The half-pill is, surprise, easier to get down Maggie’s throat. The routine goes like this. I butter the pill and then we stick it in the freezer (thanks, Christina), which helps keep the coating from melting. I grab Maggie and swaddle her in a towel, sitting on the kitchen floor. Holding her on her back, I brace her while Rob pries her mouth open and shoves the pill back as far as he can. She cries. He squirts water down her throat, which forces her to swallow. It does seem to help.
Both pilling sessions went well today. But–but we have to do it for twice as long as we thought we did. Or…or we quit after seven days. And poor Maggie has no idea why we decided to start torturing her.
I biked down to have lunch with Jay Lake today. When I left the house, it was on the cool side, so I had on a fleece and a windbreaker. The sun came out as I was traveling and by the time I hit the first traffic light, I needed to take off the fleece. By the time I got to the second traffic light, the windbreaker went away.
After lunch I headed down to the Portland Spirit to do a little web stuff, which fortunately did not take long. It was so lovely that I biked around on the waterfront when I got out of there. I also stopped at a gelato place on the way home. Mmm… sweet cream gelato.
And then the best thing of all. Rob grabbed a mirror and reflected a sunbeam on the floor for our cats. Witness the hilarity.
To celebrate the good weather, we had dinner on the front porch. Not surprisingly, I am sunburned. This is makes me strangely happy.
So… I’m looking at the page about importing pets to Iceland, and it also contains “instructions for importation of deep-frozen dog semen to Iceland.”
But besides that bit of oddness, it turns out the rules have changed since I last looked. It is now four weeks of isolation, instead of six, and they have a facility in Reykjavik. When we looked into it before, the only facility was on an island in a fjÃ¶rd in northern Iceland. This seems doable.
I’m sure you are wondering if this means we are moving to Iceland instead of NYC. Nothing has changed, we’re just looking at all our options.
So, Iceland is back on the table again. Potentially, Rob would be going there on May 1, I would be moving to NYC on the 7th, arriving about the 17th, partially unpacking and then joining him in Iceland for six months.
Or not. It’s also possible that we won’t go to Iceland at all.
Or that he’ll go and I will stay in NYC the whole time.
Or that we’ll both go on the May 1 and someone else will move us into the apartment.
Then there’s the question of where to put our cats if Iceland happens.
The short form of this is that although I’ve got plenty of material to write about, it almost all makes me feel stressed and reminds me that I should be packing instead of writing about packing. Sigh.
I did have a lovely, lovely time at Norwescon. I loved hanging out with Stephen Segal, Lisa Mantchev, Cat Rambo, Jennifer, Gordon Gross, Spencer and Chrissy Ellsworth, Patrick Swenson, Cherie Priest, M.K. Hobson, John Pitts, Ken and Jen Scholes (though not enough), Jay Lake…. the list goes on and on. I’d link to you all, but I should be packing.
Highlights of the convention: the Sesame Street monsters, meeting Kathy Watts, the Liars’ Panel, breakfast with Cherie Priest, Talebones Live, seeing the Earthling mockup, everyday at the Ellsworths’ and Easter dinner at the Pitts’ residence.
When cats walk or climb on your keyboard, they can enter random commands and data, damage your files, and even crash your computer. This can happen whether you are near the computer or have suddenly been called away from it.
PawSense is a software utility that helps protect your computer from cats. It quickly detects and blocks cat typing, and also helps train your cat to stay off the computer keyboard.
My cat Maggie is sitting on my lap while I write for the first time since Monday when Zamboni arrived. Zamboni is a very well-behaved, but exuberant black Labrador. She hasn’t met cats before, so her natural reaction is to lunge and back.
We’ve been bringing Maggie downstairs and praising Zamboni is she doesn’t lunge or bark. Today I carried Maggie down, and Zamboni only whined and sniffed, then wandered off and lost interest. That’s great progress, so Maggie can sit in my lap while I work again.
Yesterday morning, Christina’s movers arrived to move her things into the house. We had in mostly cleared for them, but I don’t think any of us anticipated the scale of the furniture when it’s transported into a 1907 house. Things from California are big.
Our cats have taken to living upstairs; we’ve moved the litter box and their food up there. Zamboni, Christina’s dog, is afraid of stairs, so is living on the first floor. Everyone seems to be okay with this arrangement so far.
Our neighbor, Mark, invited us all over to his house for lunch, which was so very, very nice. He knew our kitchen would be in disarray.
Then it was back home for more packing or unpacking. In the evening, Rob and I went down to -e-‘s house for birthday party for Yanni. Walking down the quiet streets in the snow was wonderful. And there’s still snow on the ground today. Hurrah.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]