Moving Day Stage 1
Sad Farewells and Cat Update

An Empty Apartment

category_bug_journal2.gif It's late afternoon on Wednesday as I write this in an airport hotel, and I'm exhausted. Everything I own in the world is on a truck presumably on its way to Oregon. My feet are killing me - this is the first time I've sat down since 5AM.

The three moving men did an excellent job of emptying out my apartment. They worked non-stop from 8AM until just past noon and it can't be easy carrying heavy objects down a narrow staircase. But no one complained and they had a solution for every problem, including removing doors to get the larger pieces out.

My feet are tired because there was nowhere to sit. So I watched, answered questions and made coffee runs for us all.

Poor Ollie the cat was locked in the bathroom. Of course, he wasn't happy about it and then, THEN I locked him in the bathtub behind the sliding glass door when anyone needed to use the loo. Enough of you are cat owners (or sympathizers) that you know what a stressful day it was – and still is - for Ollie.

When he was released from the bathroom, all his favorite sitting and snoozing places were gone - just bare walls and floors everywhere. His food and water were in the wrong place, and there were no toys in sight. Then he was shoved in a carrier, stuffed in a car only to be let out in a small, strange room that smelled nothing like home. He's still under the hotel bed.

But I'm repeating what I told him last week: suck it up, my furry friend. We're movin' on and there's just this period of a week or ten days you have to get through until we settle down again. Try to do it with some grace.

God, cat's are hard to please.

All this is just filler, a place to put today's Elder Story since I have no useful insights or lessons learned from hanging out with the moving guys except that they work a lot harder than I ever have.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Madonna Dries Christensen: Linked Through an Autograph Book


Ronni, your description of Ollie's discomfort was heartbreaking. I've moved quite a few cats in my time and, boy, did your post bring back memories. I predict both you and Ollie will survive. I just hope you can get him out from under the bed in time to catch your plane.

Boy is this ever the time for meditation and yoga. Just remember that this is a hotel and you don't have to make the bed, clean the bathroom or any other of that stuff. Think of it as a mini vacation to refresh you before all the unpacking takes place. Lots of good luck Ronni. And if you didn't do it yet--get those pills for Ollie.

The move seems like something to endure. However, it's probably life's last voluntary move and the entire process deserves to be savored. For instance, I hate my job but I know it's probably my last "big time" job and I try to tell myself why not try to enjoy it, while it lasts for just a year or two more. Hard to do this, I know, whether it be a last move or a last job, somehow, it's a right of passage.

make that a rite of passage! I blame it on my breakfast wine. A glass of wine in the morning is good for the circulation; Just one.

I'll bet the moving guys were a joy to watch though, weren't they? They always make it look so simple and effortless - no banging into things or yelling at each other (..."no I said move to your left!".."look out, you'll scratch the paint!"..."ouch, let's put it down for a minute my back is killing me..")
Yes, this won't be the favorite chapter in poor Ollie's life. But just remind him that it's character-building.

Moving sucks even with a family to "help" and you're doing this on your own without flinching! I wish I lived nearer from time to time. I'd get YOU a coffee. I'm sure that Ollie is just being a drama queen and trying to make a real meal out of the whole move. Good luck with the next step!

transition times are always so stressful. being in that limbo state, none of the familiar security points in place. Kiss Ollie for me! Poor guy.

Re: packing things you may need during transition: nothing to do w/being older. This can happen to anyone who is moving. It is the situation: moving and the stress which tends to put a person in a nether world.

Of course, having been packed for 6 years and just recently thinking i was going to move and packing much of the last bits I am constantly wanting things that are now in boxes. Boxes that were once well labeled but now, who knows what is in any particular box having been unpacked and repacked endless times. of course, this is all my own doing. ugh.

sending you peace. remember to breathe.

We moved across country with two cats and one of them would cry all night in the hotel room because of those same feelings Ollie has (and you expressed so vividly).

We were so tired from driving all day and then couldn't sleep due to all the wailing.

for Ollie, you might want to try some Rescue Remedy, it is a homeopathic mixture you can get in the good pet supply shops. It really seems to work on stressed out animals. You just give them a couple of drops.
There is also a plug in version of a calming mixture that releases something into the air that calms. I haven't tried that one but I can vouch for Rescue Remedy. When we had to travel a lot by car with 4 felines I had one that would work himself into a frenzy and then throw up. On the first trip I tried Rescue he was surprised to find he didn't have to do it and we made the trip (1.5 hours) for the first time without a puking episode. Much to my and his relief.

I'd call that a useful insight just for the experience. Whenever we have taken cats, it's just as you described and it always causes me grief for them because nobody has pets who doesn't want to make them happy. Sometimes it cannot be. When we had to make this trip to Arizona, they started hiding under the bed at the farm as soon as they saw suitcases coming out. They didn't want to go and we didn't make them but I sure miss them.

I don’t envy you for what you’re now going through, but what’s ahead would seem worth the trouble.
Now if we could just explain this all to Ollie. Cats are amazing, and I would not want to be without one.

Both of you could probably do with a "hash" Brownie or a funny cigarette about now. :) I'm with you in spirit, Ronni.....hmmmm & with Ollie too. Dee

You are on your way! Bon voyage!

Happy landings!

Poor Ollie. He must be so frightened about the upheaval in his nice secure world.

He has no choice but to suck it up and once he is in his new home with the familiar things to smell he will be okay.

My daughter's cat was a basket case in a car and yowled the entire trip. Most unnerving.

Like Rain, I've given an anxious cat Rescue Remedy and it does seem to help.

I am thinking of you both as existing in a kind of necessary slowed down state til you can re-emerge as yourselves. That usually happens to me with any cross country trip, but this is so much more drastic...

Rest now if you can, before the work begins again on the other side of the country.

Amusingly, I get to spend this morning helping move an older friend's granddaughter out of her college dorm and into her summer apartment. I'm not nearly the equal of the moving men.

I am a little worried about you...the weariness in your "voice" was coming through loud and clear. And a good rest is a long ways down the road yet.

I've said it before, will say it again (with affection), you're one tough broad, and nobody handles "bidness" like you do.

A spoonful of sugar this morning to both you and Ollie.

Even though I know this is a monumental task to undertake alone and with a large insecure kitty, I STILL envy you the adventure!

You may want to think your last sentence above about the moving men who "... work a lot harder than I ever have."
I used to think along those lines, too, but came to realize that the "brain" work you and I and many others (men and women) do is just as hard as the "brawn" work that a big, husky male does. And I had to get over that sort of thought, too.
Bet money that few men and women of any age work harder mentally than you and I do. I'm 73 and can still outwork any two "brain" workers half my age.

To correct the typo in my first sentence above ... I meant to say "re-think your last sentence..."

When you get to the other coast have the movers bring you in a chair first thing. Protect your feet and your sanity by sitting down.
During our moves I have always had a card table chair at hand. Makes a world of difference.
Then make up your bed first and leave everything else until you are more rested.

Having moved with THREE cats, I can assure you that you will be forgiven. Eventually. Kitties certainly know how to hold a grudge, don't they?

Best wishes t5o both of you in this incredible adventure.

This is an elder story. This is important. This ties you to all of us and our cats with a certain pazazz. Yes, chair first so you can sit and direct. Yes, make sure they leave the middle of your garage empty, so at the last you can pull your car in, shut the door and be home.


Much love to the two of you. You will survive, as the song goes, and see another, better day. Only you can make the trauma of moving so funny.

I, too, am always impressed by movers--how knowledgeable--and incredibly hardworking--they are.

Just curious: How many "pieces" on the inventory? My last move was 219, and I am trying to get the total below 200 as a "personal best" for next time. (I am guessing because of the load time that you are around that number).

Ollie in the bathroom is what I always do, too, and they HATE it, but what can you do? My good friend and neighbor moved recently, and her cat leapt from the second-story porch in an attempt to escape the moving uproar. Luckily, he was unhurt, but this is big-time stress nobody needs on moving day. So don't beat yourself up for doing the right thing!

Pro movers--what a difficult way to make a living! I've moved often enough through my husband's USAF career, and from/to such different locations, I've become curious about their lives. I wonder what the average time-on-job might be and what the Number One mover's injury might be. What's the course of a career in that field, from van owner/operator, through dispatch and scheduling, etc. And the packers! I've seen such professional pride among packers. Being the professional, that's what we bloggers call "a whole 'nother blog post"!

Rest up, both of you.

Oh boy, Ronni, I SO hope we don't have to move any time in the near future, especially if we still have our three beautiful but spoiled cats at the time. We're trying to come to terms with the fact that at some point (when we're MUCH older, we hope!) we may not be able to care for three, which is difficult to contemplate. We're very much cat people and too many cats are in need of good homes.

As you well know cats are very much creatures of habit (as are my husband and I). They hate change--they simply hate it! We've made several local moves over the past 30 years with different cats, and it's always a few weeks until they settle down and accept their new home--but they always do. If you can find something Ollie recognizes when you arrive at your new home (his bed or a favorite toy), that may help him adjust.

Just keep repeating the Julian of Norwich meditation: "all will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well."

Great idea on having the movers unpack a good chair first. I'll need to remember that one.

Also remember that cats pick up on our emotions. If you are fretting too much about Ollie, he'll be fretting because you are fretting!

I have been wanting to move back to my home town in Mass for years, so when I read that you were making your move to the other coast where you grew up I followed your blog with much interest. I currently live in Minnesota, and for the past 25 + years that I've lived here I have always felt out of place. What I have found out over the years, no matter how I try to persuade myself that I couldn't afford it, or I wouldn't want to start all over with home, friends job, etc.. is that my heart yearns to be in the place it feels most at home. I'm 53, I have about 6 more years of teaching until I retire, and following your journey has given me hope, if Ronnie pick up her life and move it across country well so can I. While reading the blog entries about your move I could hear the frustration, concern, stress and worry, but observing your process from the outside you made it look easy. You really did. I applaud you for risking comfort and security and following what ever motivated you to move. As for Ollie, yes he'll be out of sort for a while but your presence and voice will bring him a sense of security. Listen to me project. Truth is I have no real idea if we can bring any kind of comfort or security to cats when their life is turned upside down. I have two cats my self and I look forward to helping them through their move back east when the time comes. Ronnie good luck, I hope your travel is safe and uneventful, for both of you, and I look forward to your reports from the other coast.

Remember that Mary Tyler Moore opening song, when she throws her hat in the air?

Your move kicks that song's ass.

It's you and Ollie, heading off to a new life.

No stopping you now.

Thinking of you. To paraphrase John Denver:

It's a long way from Portland to Portland,
It's a long time to hang in the sky,
It's a long way from an old home to a new one,
Sweet hellos overlapping sad goodbyes,
Sweet hellos overlapping sad goodbyes.

Years ago, we thought about upgrading our house. We looked at several, but couldn't work any enthusiasm. It finally hit us that we couldn't face what would have been our seventh move in ten years. No one can appreciate how emotionally exhausting a move is until they've done it a few times. Just keep telling yourself that a month from now you'll be settled into your new home.

We've moved a lot, and my greatest hope is that we never have to move again.
We had to move a cat from Switzerland to Portland. She was pretty miserable, but she adjusted well to her new home and had a long and happy life.

I admire your courage, and the commitment to follow your heart's calling. All the best to you in your temporary space, and in your new home. You deserve it!

I'm thinking of you during thie crazy, hectic, tiring...but exciting time Ronni. I admire you so much for making this move at this time in your life...I honestly don't think I could do it. You are wonderful. My love to you...and give Ollie a little squeeze from me. Good luck in your beautiful new place sweet friend. Love, Joy

bach's 'rescue remedy' is not just for animals, it works very well for humans also! for changes 'walnut' is good.
you're in the middle, it's not for long.
yeah, a chair, and make up your bed first. all else can follow.
happy trails to you!

You say "All this is just filler" But I love your filler. You have such a way with words :-) It is fun to hear what's going on with your move. Thanks!

I'm thinking of you as you make this move to L.O. Good-luck. And let me know when you get settled and are ready to have lunch with my dad.

I second Donna, Ronni: This is an inspiration, hurried posts and all. One of my biggest regrets is that I never lived anywhere away from Buffalo; your move makes me face the fact that I could change that if I really wanted to.

And, possumlady, thank you for that julian of norwich quote.

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