Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Road Tripping it with Pets

Hello Tuesday! (At least I think it's Tuesday- the days are starting to run together). I come to you this morning from Flagstaff, AZ in a state of utter exhaustion. Today is going to require more than my fair share of coffee. One cup down- fifty to go(I'm only half kidding). I would rather be sleeping. I SHOULD be sleeping. But our sweet little kitty, Kruncha, disagrees. 

When we started planning our road trip to Napa, we knew we would be traveling other our 2 huskies, and the cat. So, we obviously took great pains into making this as comfortable as possible for them. We bought a skybox to store much of our luggage to make extra room in the van. We bought a cat carrier that was small enough for Kruncha to ride up front with us. We routed our trip where we could stay in pet friendly hotels along the way, booking pet boarding where they couldn't stay with us. And the list goes on...

The huskies are great travelers for the most part. They are excited to go anywhere and everywhere with us. No one gets car sick. The worst thing we have to contend with them is the massive amounts of fur that end up on everything (and I mean everything) in the car. And they add a bit of humor to the car ride. With all the space we create for them in the back, they still have a hilarious and ongoing game of "who gets to sit with their head between the front seats". It starts by Jags (our male husky that is as dopey as he is large) generally plopping himself across the floor behind our seats, stretching from end to end. Then Nico(our spunky,  problem solving intelligent female) gets stuck behind him and can't reach us. This drives her crazy, so she begins "talking" to us and jags incessantly. She'll lean over jags and sometimes just sit on him to get her head between our seats. Sometimes she convinces him to move, and she is quick on the draw to dash up to her desired spot. Not too long after, jags muscles his way up and will literally push her out of the way (we have also witnessed him sitting on her if she won't move). The game goes on and on. 

A first for us in travel is taking our cat along. Our kitty is sweet with us but is one of those that is skittish with everyone else. He hides when anyone comes over. Some friends have never actually seen our cat. Needless to say, we were worried about how he would do with this road trip. 

The first car ride from Houston to Tyler started exactly how I thought it would with Kruncha meowing LOUDLY in his carrier for much of the trip. He settled down though, and has really been quite pleasant and easy going for most of this trip. He has been quite chill in his carrier and has gotten comfortable in the hotel each night. Luke and I have commented many times on what a pleasant surprise he's been to travel with. 

Then yesterday happened. 

It was a long, long day. 4 hours to Dove Creek to see Luke's brother and his wife. Rest for a couple hours there. And then another 5.5 hours to Flagstaff(which took us 6.5 hours with the stops along the way). We let Kruncha out of the carrier in Dove Creek to use the litter box and stretch his legs. But the day proved to be too long for him. We were serenaded with the loud, sad meows for about the last hour of the trip last night. When we arrived in flagstaff, I hurried him in to get him settled. And he seemed to settle down, until about 3am.

That's when the really loud meows began. And never stopped. And got louder. And never stopped. Food? He had it. Litter box? Yep. The only thing I could do to stop it was to pet him. And even that didn't work for long. So, I'm up earlier than I expected or wanted to be today. At least the kids slept through it. Hey- at least he gave me some inspiration to write a blog post about it. 

If giving a feline review of our hotel here, I guess Kruncha gives it a paw down. (I don't know why- We actually really like this place). I hope, really hope, that this isn't a sign that he's just had it with the trip. We have 3 more nights of hotels. I'm praying that this was a fluke. 

Ironically, as I finish this post, he has finally settled down. The only sound I hear is the ringing in my ears  from 3 hours of MEOWWWWW!

Cup of coffee #2 down. 49 to go... 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Sport of Ultimate Purging

With this move, we were faced with the ultimate task – to get rid of enough belongings for our downsize from a 3400 sq ft house into something half that size. I am not one to get attached to “stuff”, but I still tend to accumulate more than needed. I knew this would be a monumental project for our family to decide what goes with us and what we needed to get rid of.  But, it was a project that I was up for and excited to begin.

The purge started with the easy stuff, those pieces of furniture that we had found spaces for but really didn’t have a use for – that old breakfast table that now only had 3 chairs that had found a place in the gameroom, the baby glider and ottoman, an old recliner that was slightly busted up and had started smelling like dog(thanks to Nico treating it as her perch), the list goes on. We put together a quick garage sale to get them out of our house. Success!

Then, the moving companies came in to inventory our stuff and give us a bid to use their service. As I walked the house with each representative to let them know what goes and what would not go, I came to the sad conclusion that we still had too much to take – way too much to take. How did we accumulate this much? Our house seemed so empty when we moved in, and now we were busting at the seams. Even AFTER our garage sale.

So, the second stage of purging began. It started with a list(I LOVE lists to keep me organized) labeled “The Ultimate Purge”, and I named each room and area that needed a purge. Each time I completed a room, I would check it off. Obsessive? Maybe. Did it help me see how much I had done and how much was left? Absolutely! 

Room by room, drawer by drawer, and cabinet by cabinet, I combed through. Suddenly things that even I had wanted to hold on to just no longer seemed so important.  We sold some, gave away some to friends, and donated quite a bit. It became a game of sorts. How much did we really even need? Could I clear out that entire entry way table’s drawers and decide that nothing in there was really even needed(the answer to that was yes)? The real surprise for me were the bags of things that we threw away – for example, the expired medicine(an entire trash bag full!). I’m sure the trash pickup just loved us over the past several weeks. Each trash pickup day, we had a multitude of bags, boxes of stuff, and broken furniture on that curb waiting for them.

It took quite a bit of time, but at the end of it all, I feel so liberated that we were able to get rid of so much.  I mean, really, we don’t need that much when you really get down to it. And you know what? We still filled up most of a moving container on loading day. Somehow I think a third purge might happen when we start unpacking in Napa in July. I can’t wait!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Preparation and Goodbyes

So, this is the very first post of this blog. I decided to start this blog to chronicle our family's grand adventure that we are embarking on. If you are not aware, we are relocating from Texas to Napa, California. Excited doesn't begin to describe what we are feeling. This is not the first time we have wanted to make the move out to the West Coast. We almost moved to San Diego in 2002 but didn't do it due to our engagement(we decided to use our money that we had saved on our wedding instead). A dream that didn't materialize, it really seemed that it we wouldn't get the chance again as our roots have grown deeper in Texas. So, when this opportunity came up for Luke's career, my answer was Yes!

These past few months have been a whirlwind of selling our house, selling my business, finding a house in Napa, and preparing our belongings here to get ready for the move. All of this has been done with Luke traveling 50-75% of the time. Oh, and also with keeping up with the kids' crazy spring activity schedule.  And, I must say, I think we have managed this process pretty well. Has is been easy? No. Have I handled it with a smile the whole time? um...not at all. I am a pretty strong, positive person, who is very organized and a fantastic taskmaster. And even I caved and felt defeated to the process on MANY occasions. It was impossible to think about the big picture during these months without feeling incredibly overwhelmed and huge amounts of anxiety that would wash over me. But, when that happened, I was would take a breath(and maybe drink a glass of wine), and force myself to just focus on the next most important task.

So, here we are. This is the week that the packers and movers come. This is the week that we've been working towards for the past few months. What used to seem so far off is HERE! The last few weeks have been full of goodbyes and closure. Going away parties for us and the kids. Final Dr appts for all, final lessons for the kids(piano, dance, baseball, etc). Squeezing in every moment possible with our family and friends. It seems like we're saying goodbye wherever we turn.  I have been making a big effort to get Dylan and Paige together with friends as much as possible. My heart really hurts for them as they say goodbye to their friends(especially for Dylan who hates goodbyes on just a regular day - this is torture for him). 

But the flip side is that we are all about to experience a new part of the country together - as a family.  And that anticipation and excitement outweighs the rest of it. Let's Do This!