I Just Moved Here Today

It’s my first day in Portland, after a grueling three-day journey with a traumatized dog and cat, in a 16-foot rental van full of my meager possessions, hauling a trailer with my Subaru on the back.

I white-knuckled it the whole way both literally, through every conceivable kind of weather the western United States could throw at my ridiculous caravan, and figuratively, the responsibility of the tiny, perfect lives of my traveling companions weighing heavy. I drove through wind, snow, torrential rain, fog, sleet, and for a brief moment, hail. We were all affected. Eden the Dog didn’t eat enough or drink enough water even though both were offered. I finally ended up soaking her food in water so she’d get a bit of both. Winter the Cat hasn’t peed in about 72 hours (that I know of) and I feel sure she must have contracted some kind of bladder infection if she doesn’t go soon.

The first day in the truck Winter was completely silent. The second day she howled for the first two hours straight as I clenched my teeth and drove through torrential rains in the dark between Cortez, Colorado and Moab, Utah. The third day, from 3:30 am to 7:30 am she screamed at me, pouring her unadulterated opinion of the whole situation into every note, and rightfully so. I felt every howl and wail like a penance. Eden, terrified by her little sister’s tirade, tried to cower under my legs repeatedly while I drove my 2.5 total tons of vehicles as recklessly as safely possible through mountain passes in an effort to get to Portland in time to meet the movers.

But after a few adjustments to the schedule, things worked out…she said with an artificial smile. Rest assured that’s not what I’m going to put in my personal diary.

To summarize, it felt like a nightmare, through which I was helped by the support of a couple of key friends. I’ve never been a pessimist (which kind of sounds pessimistic when you say it that way), but I was convinced that so many things would go wrong. I was desperate to be prepared for every eventuality. I caught myself in the truck going through “What’s the worst thing that could happen” scenarios and inventing a lexicon of catastrophe. But in the end, we all survived. We’re a little skinnier, we’re a little worried, but we’re here and we’re OK in the sense that we have a roof and heat and food and water.

Internet is questionable. Seriously, fuck you Xfinity.

So, while we’re not super personally OK in the immediate moment, we’re relieved of the immediate horror of driving the fucking carnival train. I mean, we’re alive, but we’re all shaky and scared, hunched over and panting from the effort. We have some scabs that just got ripped off, and now they’re bleeding drippily.

Thank Baphomet for carbs. I’m indulging tonight to replenish three days of unintentional fasting, with apple salad and ravioli and bread and wine. I can run tomorrow or the next day. Today is “watch the guys unload my shit” day, and “sit in an Italian restaurant and people-watch and replenish your soul” day.’

Eden ate a lovely big dinner of refrigerated kibbles and rice tonight. She gets it. Dogs always do. The relief of the owner is the relief of the kindred spirit pup. Eden feeds on my emotions. She always looks to me for guidance.

Winter will take longer. She’s always been a standoffish creature, always keeping herself at arm’s length from me, loving to be scratched and pet, but only on her terms. The most remarkable thing happened on this trip, though: when I let her out of her crate each night, she explored the hotel room and then cuddled into my side in bed, and purred. She purred so hard. She knows I belong to her, and that affirmation was everything to me in those moments. She’s such a brilliant, funny, fierce girl. I love them both with my whole heart.

I’ll stop now. Doesn’t matter that I’m at sea level, if you eat next to nothing for a couple of days the wine goes straight to your head. Time to get home to the littles.

Love, Ghost readers. Lots of love to you. I hope that whatever Struggles you’re dealing with, every Thing that’s happening to you where you wish you would wake up from the nightmare, every Situation you find yourself in where you think the only way out might not be through, it might mean The End of you, I beg you to breathe and reconsider. I’ve been there, just now. Please give it a little more time. You’d be surprised how things change for the better, even in tiny ways. Remember to be grateful. It works. The darkest hour before dawn never seems as bad in the light of tomorrow’s day. This I promise you. ❤

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