Archive for May, 2011

Playing Catch Up – Part III

We finally made it to the motel, with all the humans and cats still alive, and an hour later were ready to go to sleep. Another problem with this motel, besides the fact they had a firm check in deadline, was they had a very early check out deadline too. I signed up for this and agreed to it when I reserved the room, but because of the detour, it was a major pain in the ass. The next morning arrived way too soon.

Still, we hit the road again, and had a very easy 400 and change miles planned, to get us into Vegas. The drive went pretty well, for a pleasant change. Getting back to more familiar vistas was very welcome. I could feel myself getting more comfortable as we got closer.

Really nice to see some desert.

We made it to the La Quinta Inn & Suites Las Vegas Airport South. Unfortunately, and hour after arriving, we were still not settled into our rooms. As a serious chronic pain sufferer, the move and road trip had been taking a toll. Our rooms were kind of midway from all exits, and not at all convenient. In the 140 room, 3 story inn, they had exactly 3 luggage carts. All of them had been taken and squirreled away inside guest rooms. The staff tried to ignore my repeated requests for help locating the carts. I found out from a long term guest that this is constant problem, and yet, they had not instituted any kind of check out process for the carts. I walked all the floors, but the carts were not to be found in any public areas. After a lot of my annoying presence the staff made a half-assed attempt at finding the carts and also failed. We finally moved into our rooms by using the rolling office chairs to load our stuff up and take it into the rooms. I know that the staff thought we should just get off our asses and carry shit to our rooms, but we really had a very large amount of stuff that wasn’t a good idea to leave outside in the parking lot at that location, and we were really not in any condition to carry it in piece by piece.

By the time we managed to be in our rooms, it was getting pretty late. I needed to hit a grocery store because Indy had not been very pleased with the on the road meals I’d been preparing for her, and her general state of stress wasn’t doing well for her health. Also, the cats were not doing spectacularly. I wanted to get them all something special food wise to entice them to eating a really good sized meal. Then I arranged for the kid and my mother to eat dinner in their room and watch the dogs, while the husband and I went out and enjoyed Vegas a little. My first several restaurant choices were closing, so we ended up just driving down the strip to look for something. We decided to stop at The Cosmopolitan since their flash sign indicated a lot of late night dining options, and we’d never been to that hotel. The hotel has a very popular night club, and the hotel was crawling with young hip people and people who wanted to pretend to be young and hip. We went to The Henry for dinner and people watching. (Is it really a dress if it is so short you crotch is visible?) The meal was enjoyable. Husband had a Midtown Manhattan (Bacon Infused Makers Mark Cinnamon and Fig Infused Sweet Vermouth, Angostura, Fee’s Aztec Chocolate Bitters) which was very tasty, and prime rib. I had a Mambo Italiano (Garlic Roasted Vodka, House Made Bloody Mary Mix, Basil) which was also very good, and an excellent burger. We shared the
Millionaire’s Deviled Eggs (lump crab & truffle stuffing, thousand island dressing & caviar) to start. The next time I’m in Vegas, I think I’ll go try Holsteins. The menu made me drool, but it was way too noisy and crowded for me to venture into on a Saturday night.

The next day we got a late start. We were pretty wrecked from our trip so far, and the time zone changes had not been in our favor for getting on the road early. We headed out of town and soon were reminded why it is important to leave really early on Sunday morning. The traffic from Vegas to L.A. on Sundays is pretty nasty, often further hosed due to accidents or road work.

We dragged our butts into our house later than we expected when we first packed up the car, but we made it. It was really good to be home. We unloaded the crap from our car, and wandered over to a friend’s house for dinner. It was so good to spend some time with them, although in hindsight, probably a mistake. By the time we made it home we were exhausted, and then discovered that the movers had put our bed together wrong, so we couldn’t sleep on it without finding tools to fix it. We were way too tired to find the tools. So, our first night home we couldn’t sleep properly.

The cats were thrilled to be out of the damn car for good, at it was clear that they knew exactly where they were. They settled in immediately, although they were (and remain) annoyed by all the boxes in the way. Indy also recognized the place, I was wondering about that, since she was already had CCD before we left, but we did move into the house when she was “all here”. She even remembered that she isn’t allowed into the kitchen and dining room. Watson, of course, had no such memory of rules against entering the kitchen, which is the land where all good things come from. After a couple of corrections, he was going great.

Ahh, home, sweet home… for about 10 seconds, and then the overwhelming To Do list of getting our shit in order here comes crashing down on my shoulders. Lots and lots of stress, but really, it is good to be home.

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Playing Catch Up – Part II

Last episode of Bitchy McBitcherson had me Cranky in Colorado, so we’ll be starting out there too.

C R A N K Y

Seriously, the damn breakfast room attendant was too busy chatting with another employee to keep the food stocked and when she wasn’t doing that, she was watching the TV, which was on way too loud.

Anyhow, the husband and I chatted and debated between drive two harder days, or three easier days. We opted for the 3 easier days, so I picked a stopping point in 460 miles. We got on the road with a plan of being at the Robbers Roost Motel by about 8:30 PM.

We stopped in Idaho Springs for a late lunch at Smokin Yard’s BBQ. This was good. Surprisingly good. This was, I’d enjoy eating there for dinner good, and random stop mid-roadtrip it was totally amazing.

While we were sitting next to the window stuffing our faces full of barbecued beast, we noticed all this white stuff blowing sideways past the window. Ash? What? Snow?! Yes, snow. When we finished up and got back outside, it had stopped. We took the dogs down by the river behind the restaurant, and gave them some time to stretch their legs.

Watson checking out the river near our BBQ lunch stop.

Then we loaded our stuffed selves back into the cars and began driving.

Within a couple of miles we were driving in a little bit of snow. A few more miles rolled by and we were driving in a full on snow storm.

This was not part of the plan.

Then, the plan exploded like Alderaan. You didn’t need to have any damn midi-chlorians to sense my spike in frustration levels. They closed the highway we were on, with no estimate of when they would reopen it. Our choices were to look for a room where we were, that would take two cats and two dogs, and eat the cost of the two rooms booked in Utah, or to take a long detour.

We took the long detour. It only added an extra 100 miles to our drive, but it was 100 difficult miles through two lane winding roads. Our rate of progress was much slower. Plus, the place we were booked to stay had a cut-off time for check in, and we were racing the clock, very slowly, while trying to avoid hitting large herds of deer and elk.

We finally made it back to Interstate 70 from our painfully scenic detour, and we were exhausted. Seriously, I had reached that state where I needed my passenger to talk to me about what was ahead on the road, because sometimes I could see two roads, and they weren’t going the same direction. I needed a bit of help following the one that was in the same reality that our vehicle was traveling in. Then it started snowing again. Hard. Snowing with big gusts of wind. The snow was mainly blowing straight into the windshield, but then the wind would send it swirling. It was like driving through a Star Tours hyperdrive special effect, and it was making me nauseous. It was at that moment that the cats decided they had truly had enough of each other, the car, and everything. They began screaming and hissing and trying to kill each other, right behind my head.

Am I having fun yet?

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Playing Catch Up – Part I

So, a lot has been happening, and none of that has been blogging.

I moved. I don’t live in Minnesota any longer. We moved back to Los Angeles.

It has been pure hell, but all in all, it is a very good thing. I am glad we made the decision that we did. I’m glad we moved. It’s just that moving sucks.

We knew for a while. My husband gave a month’s notice at work, but they didn’t want him to share the news right away, and while they can’t enforce that, we decided to give them some breathing room, and we kept it quiet for a reasonable amount of time. By the time it became more public, I was simply too busy to blog about it.

Leaving Minnesota was difficult. It was emotionally difficult and physically difficult. I wanted to move back to California, but in the two and a half years we spent in Minnesota, we’d made some good friends. I’d also put a lot of time and heart into working with ACT V. Friends that I made, I can keep. That is what the internet is for. It’s very difficult to continue fostering for an organization I was very happy to be volunteering for, from 2000 miles away.

Speaking of 2000 miles…

ROAD TRIP.

Ugh.

Big. FAT. UGH!

2 cars + 4 humans + 2 cats + 2 dogs + 2000 miles = STRESS

To start things off, when we took the cars in for an oil change and a quick checkup, the mechanic discovered stuff wrong with one of them. Stuff that should be fixed before the road trip, and stuff that cost a bunch of dollars, because it always costs a bunch of dollars when the mechanic says “Well, we found…”

This got us on our road trip later than originally planned.

That, and our own insanity, but that’s another issue.

Seriously, we left our rental house at 11:30 PM. I know, I know, logically it seems like it would make more sense to just sleep there one more night, but it we just needed to go, or we’d find more reasons to linger the next morning.

So, we left our former home a total mess (because we knew that a wonderful friend had our back on dealing with the MN end), and we drove by the house of one of the ACT V people to deposit a final donation of blankets and detergent on their doorstep (much to the suspicion of some neighbors that saw us).

Then we headed out of town…

In a snow storm.

I’m not kidding. It snowed on us on the way out of Minnesota. We pushed ourselves to the point of exhaustion and got our butts to Iowa, so that we had left the state. There we stayed at Microtel Inn in Clear Lake that didn’t charge us any extra fees for the pets, and had a very nice and accommodating staff. Unfortunately it was also snowing and hailing on us in Clear Lake as we tried to unload the cars and get our butts into the room. In order to have enough space in the cars (because we needed room for 4 people, 2 traumatized cats, 1 large kitty litter, 1 cranky old dog, 1 puppy, food for all the critters, and a disturbing amount of wine, not for road trip consumption), we’d purchased a giant duffel bag to keep luggage in.

It turns out it takes about an hour to get 4 people, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and all the stuff the 8 of them need for one stupid night, settled into a motel room.

Did I mention the snowing and hailing? Oh, well also there was horrible biting, bitter, nasty, COLD wind. It was late April. We were dressed (and packed) for early spring. My husband got himself a minor case of frost bite on his fingers unloading the car that first night. Good times.

The next morning I set out our plan for the day by finding a motel that would take the pets and plotting our route. I’d been planning originally on aiming for 500 miles a day, but decided that day to stretch and reserve us a room just over 600 miles away, because of our late start and our race to get to California before we got charged extra by the movers for not being able to meet them on time to get our ginormous amount of stuff back.

So, we were aiming for Sterling, CO and Best Western Sundowner, which charged us an extra $20 to let our pets stay there ($12 for one animal, $20 for two or more), but had a larger room for the price than our other options, and after the first night, I knew we’d do better with a little extra space.

We got on the road planning to be in our room by about 10:30 PM. Unfortunately, it was an extremely windy day, and we hadn’t really perfected our strapping the giant duffel bag to the top of the car technique yet. It took all day to get that technique down. In total, about 3 hours was spent in various parking lots, rest areas (BTW, Iowa has the nicest rest areas I have ever seen.), and wide shoulders, working on that technique. This meant we got to the motel about 1:30 AM.

Watson at one of the rest area stops in Iowa.

Remember the one hour to get everybody settled in the room thing? It takes even longer when you are on the second floor of a Best Western that doesn’t have an elevator. WTF? Also, their free wireless internet sucked frozen possum testicles, or as I like to call them, possnutsicles. I needed internet in order to send a very detailed email to a friend, including floorplans of our house that I’d edited to map out the placement of all of our furniture. The movers had made amazingly good (not good for us) time getting the load to CA, and the path of least resistance for dealing with that, was to have a friend manage the unloading of the stuff. Between the battling with the internet, the super slow connection, and the occasionally drifting off between keystrokes, I finally hit send and got to sleep at 5:30 AM. Then up early to battle the internet again in order to find the right stopping place for the night. By the time we were ready to head out, I was 31 flavors of cranky.

Now we’ll pause for a message from our sponsors. Actually, we’ll pause so I can sleep. You’ll have to wait for another day to find out more about our road trip.

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