Moving into my New (Old) House

The last thing I really needed was a cat underfoot as people were rapidly moving things out of the apartment. It wouldn’t be good for them, and it really wouldn’t be good for Miao-Yin. This, in my opinion, was the worst part of the entire moving process.

On Saturday afternoon (1 June 2002), I returned to the apartment to gather the cat’s things, and then gather the cat. Gathering her items was easy — a shopping bag, her food dishes, food, combs, brushes, and so forth. Then came the fun part: Getting Miao-Yin in the kitty carrier.

It seems that most cats actually like kitty carriers … at least until they’re locked inside them. Miao-Yin doesn’t even like going inside hers. When Chris first brought her home from the Humane Society, he told me of how much she yowled the whole way — the cardboard box hadn’t really been her thing. After a while, Chris had the joy of taking Miao-Yin to the vet (for checkups, etc.), and had to use the box. Somehow, he managed to get her in.

Eventually, Chris bought a proper kitty carrier. Miao-Yin wouldn’t even go near it at first. Chris hit upon the idea of putting her food dish inside it so she’d have to go in. Brilliant move — and it worked very well. It wasn’t to hard locking her inside, even though she’d always keep her hind feet outside the cage so she could back up if someone tried to close the door (never worked, she’d always end up inside).

With all this training in mind, moving Miao-Yin should have been easy, right?

Rule #1: Cats always know what you’re going to do before you do it.

What should have been a 10 second job turned into a 20 minute epic ordeal. A battle between man and beast for dominance. A realization that trying to put a cat into a carrier is like forcing a water balloon into a Coke bottle.

But I eventually won, but not before one of Miao-Yin’s rear claws slashed the very heel of my left hand. Luckily, it was at an angle, else I might have needed stitches. She yowled the whole way, sounding as miserable as possible. She wanted it abundantly clear that she did not want to be in that carrier.

When I finally released her in the house, it felt like returning a rehabilitated animal to its natural habitat. She slowly put her head out, looked, sniffed, and then bolted downstairs and disappeared. She was still exploring the basement when I brought down the litter box. The first thing she did when she saw it was use it. I’ll assume that’s a good thing. (At least, I haven’t been finding little presents all over the place.)

With Miao-Yin squared away, I finished assembling the barbecue (see [[Annual General Meeting, Taking Possession of my House]]) and put it off to one side. I figured we’d need the kitchen space. I then left Miao-Yin to investigate the house on her own, and returned to finish packing.

I had been packing all week, when I got home from work. It looked pretty straight-forward, and there was nothing that set off alarm bells for me. It was now only just over a day before things started heading out the door. I didn’t have that much left. I didn’t see a problem.

Which is probably why I didn’t think much of it when Stuart and I went out for dinner and to see a movie. (As an side note, the Jack Astor’s restaurant chain has basically hit rock-bottom. From previously having the best staff in the biz, they’ve all become inattentive, distant, and boring. As much as I hate to say it, I won’t likely go back. As it stands Stuart and I didn’t even eat there — we left after they left us waiting in the booth for 20 minutes.)

When I got back, I had to finish packing. And I did. Around 7:00am. (Chris, for the record, we have way more stuff than we thought we did.)

That allowed me some precious sleep time. Not that I got a lot — I was completely wired on Coke and adrenaline, so what sleep I did get was quite fitful. At 8:30, I pulled myself up off the couch (the last time I’ll ever sleep on them, I’m happy to say) and looked outside. The previous day’s forecast had been partly cloudy, with a 40% chance of rain.

The 40% lasted all day. (I felt like I was living in Vancouver again.) At least it didn’t snow…

At 8:50, I went over to feed Miao-Yin, and then up the Northeast to get the moving truck. (One of the last ones in the city on what seems to be the busiest moving days of the year.)

At 10:05am, I arrived at my apartment, having picked up Tamara from her apartment, and met up with both Fritz and Doug, arriving with their McDonald’s breakfast in hand. Tamara promptly bolted off for breakfast, while I started to try and organize. Over the course of the next hour, Teak, Rose, my cousin Darren, Stuart, Darren’s and my Uncle Mike, and Kaz showed up to assist (though Teak had to run off and pick up Kaz).

At first, the move was slow. Because I couldn’t book an elevator for 10am on a Sunday, we had to grab whatever elevator came down. Figuring this was not going to be an easy move without a dedicated elevator, we packed what we could and kept going. Luckily, as I was emptying out the second load into the lobby, I spotted one of the maintenance workers in the building, and begged to lock off #3 elevator so we could move. He was more than helpful, and that got us moving into high gear.

Fritz, Doug, and Tamara moved items from the apartment to the elevator. Darren ran the elevator, and helped unload at the bottom. The rest of us moved items from the lobby to the truck, and reorganized everything inside. The process was far easier than I ever could have imagined. (And a lot easier than moving a certain cat, let me tell you.)

By about 11:20, we’d worked our way down to the really large and bulky stuff: the beds, the TV, and the couches. That’s about when things started going awry…

I had called on Friday to see what bookings I could get for Sunday morning. The person I had talked to said that no bookings were available until 3pm (which was far too late for my liking). I asked if all the morning slots were taken — I was told that you couldn’t book before noon, and had to wing it if you wanted. I said I would, and was told if I found a maintenance worker, I could lock of #3 (and so I dispel the belief that I’m really intelligent when I asked the maintenance worker to lock off #3).

But…

Someone forgot to tell the weekend manager, who promptly freaked all over Fritz, Doug, and Darren (Tamara and her mother were organizing Tamara’s things at her apartment). Threats of taping the door, calling the cops, and going to court started circulating. (Needless to say, I’ve never really been a huge fan of this particular manager.)

When the manager arrived at the lobby, I did a hasty explanation of what happened, and that I’d forgotten to pay my June rent (which was true — I had). She simply told me to go to the office when I was done. For a moment, I felt like I was in grade school again…

The move complete (five minutes ahead of schedule), I explained in detail the manager what had happened. It seemed that she understood, and was more than happy to take my money for June. But the grief was finally over and done with — the apartment mostly emptied, and the two worst couches that I’ve ever had were disposed of.

Then we were off to Tamara’s, where we acquired a mini-freezer, a small couch, bed (mattress, box spring, and frame), dresser, several boxes of dry foodstuffs, more CDs (as if I didn’t have enough for four or five people), and various other things. The truck (a large cube van) was full. We had to resort to putting the couch and my bike into Uncle Mike’s pickup truck (which, thankfully, had a cab over the bed).

Then it was over to the house. Luckily, either the rain, the Sunday, or some fluke of nature freed up parking spots in front of the house. It was a minor thing to park the truck and start unloading. Of course, that’s also when it started to rain harder.

Figures.

But in about 30 minutes, we emptied both trucks, and filled the living room, dining room, and kitchen with a lot of unrecognizable stuff. It’ll probably take Tamara and I about a week or two to sort all that out. A lot of it are Chris’ things that I offered to store while he lives the high life in Japan. The fun part will be figuring out which is his.

The actual move finally over, we celebrated with the most traditional of most post-moving repasts: Beer and pizza.

Surprisingly enough, Miao-Yin weathered the move-in a lot better than I thought she would — I fully expected a lot of cowering in the basement from all the activity. But it didn’t seem to bother her too much. She spent most of her time at the downstairs stairwell, but regularly poked her head out to see what was going on. I already believe the move will be good for her.

There are a couple of side-effects. First, I’m dead tired. (The not sleeping thing on Saturday probably didn’t help.) And my legs are about ready to declare themselves distinct societies and separate from my body. (In shorter terms, they hurt. A lot.)

But I don’t care. I’m in the house. A little tidying, a little cleaning, and it’ll be a completely comfortable, liveable space. And that’s all I really wanted right from the beginning. The road might be long, windy, littered with potholes, but ultimately it goes somewhere. But admittedly, this is one time where the destination is more appreciated than the journey.

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