Tuesday, August 26, 2014

There Are No Sides

Resident John West (L) hands a rose to a police officer, showing his appreciation with help in cleanup efforts in Ferguson, Missouri, August 19, 2014. Photo: REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

One of my friends is in love with a police officer. She has been struggling with how to respond and process the events in Ferguson, but she is doing so from a slightly different angle than a lot of us. None of our struggles or contemplations are more or less valid than the next and, obviously, the families and friends of those involved are the ones who are being forced to endure the most pain, but I feel like the perspective of my friend is unique enough to use as a lens to explore some of the issues.

My friend is not immune to or unaware of the scourge of racism in this country. She is not hard hearted, and she can relate to and respect the views I expressed in my previous post about Michael Brown, Travon Martin, and all of the other young non-white males who have been taken from us violently and far too young. She is also sensitive to the harsher criticisms of law enforcement in this country because she knows better than most that many of those aren’t fair either, and it hurts.

I sort of know where she is coming from. My many connections to the military has put me in the position of having to hear people make snap judgments and sweeping generalizations both in general and when something in particular happens. It hurts on a personal level to have people condemn all the members of an entire profession because of the acts of a few, both alleged and proven. You know that isn’t what your partner, your sibling, or your friend is like, but people just go ahead and make harsh statements anyway. You want to defend the people you care about as well as all of the many colleagues you know to be like your loved one. You are deeply and intimately involved, but you aren’t quite ONE of them so you aren’t sure what you can say or do, and there isn’t a clear support system for you. You turn to your friends, but you aren’t always sure that they get it either – especially when one (like me) says something that makes it harder for you to tell exactly where they stand.  Where is there steady ground? Is this going to happen to the person that you love? If it DOES turn out that the person in a similar position to your loved one actually DID do what they are being accused of – by law or public opinion – then will people think that negates your overall stance or, worse, is somehow an indictment of the character of your partner, family member, or friend?

It occurs to me that it is probably exactly these sorts of feelings, this sort of unsteady ground, that is being experienced by people on all “sides” of this situation and many more like it.

For my friend, and I hope I am characterizing her position correctly, there is no simple or straightforward viewing of this tragedy. There are victims, but there may not be any villains. I’m not sure if she understands that this is my view as well, nor am I sure that my words are clear or sufficient enough to explain the complexities involved in the situation, her views, or my own. Hopefully you will forgive my clumsy and inartful articulation.

As I stated in that previous post, I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. I am inclined to wait for the results of the federal investigation before I condemn the actions of anyone. No, I don't automatically support Officer Wilson or assume his total innocence. I also don't automatically condemn him or assume his total villiany. My support of depicting Michael Brown as an overall good kid who, like the rest of us, may have made mistakes doesn't undermine my stance that judgments about the exact events leading to his death are premature. Whether he did something wrong, whether the officer did something wrong, whether they both could have done better, or whether the whole situation was a tragic outcome spurred by a larger societal problem that made them both victims -- none of that would make this kid a bad kid who deserved to die... and if the roles were reversed I would say the same thing about the officer. I regret any premature (because at this point they are all premature) condemnations of Officer Wilson, too, and I find it appalling that assumptions about his guilt have forced him into hiding and put his safety at risk. That isn't right either, and I doubt it is any more in keeping with Michael Brown’s memory than rioting or looting – which is to say, not at all.

My support of the humanity of one party does not negate my support of the humanity of the other.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, I won't believe that the findings extend to all law enforcement officers. Some are bad, most are good -- all groups represent the society they come from. This truth also extends to all parties involved.

I do think that we have real issues with race in this country. I do believe that young non-white males face frequent judgments and assaults that undermine their dignity, safety, and very lives. A simple look at the numbers will tell you that they are much more likely to be incarcerated for offenses that white kids are usually only slapped on the wrist for. Stop and frisk, a program that was only recently halted in New York City, unfairly targeted minorities. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t right. Many law enforcement professionals I know would tell you the same thing.

And I am pretty sure that my friend would as well.

What she would also tell you, though, is that police officers are frequently killed in the line of duty. Every day they face situations that could end in tragedy. Most of them do their best to sort through those situations and confrontations as best as they possibly can. Most of them became police to help others. Most of them try to deescalate situations, stay calm, and be fair. Most of them are just trying to keep us all safe… but those aren’t the ones you hear about.

We want things to be straightforward. To be simple. For there to be victims and villains and nothing in between. We don’t like the shades of gray, the muddled tones, or the fog of fast moving and emotionally charged events. It is for this reason we are so inclined to turn people into caricatures.  We cast aspersions on people’s character before we know the facts and we simplify them down to cut outs to fit our over-simplified narrative and view. In so doing, we strip them of their humanity.

I’m writing this because, in writing what I wrote before some of you may have misunderstood my stance and placed me somewhere on the spectrum that I don’t actually want to be – not because I don’t still viscerally feel and believe every word I said, but because I don’t want to be placed on one side or another.

Why don’t I want to take sides? I don’t want to take sides because I don’t think that there should BE sides. As my friend said, a young man died and another man has to live with that and that is a tragedy any way you look at it. I don’t want to be on a side because I want to be all in. Right in the middle with all the rest of the people trying to figure things out and fix the root causes of these tragedies. Something is wrong here and I don’t think that it is the fault of any one group.

If I have to blame someone, then I want to blame myself. I am part of the problem. I sit here in my comfortable life protected from the dangers faced either by minorities or law enforcement. I don’t talk about the problems in our justice system even though, yes, I do strongly believe that there is a need for reform. I also don’t do anything to support the majority of law enforcement who are great people trying to protect all of us. I don’t talk about race because it is uncomfortable. I hold myself righteously above those who have to make split second calls on too little information when lives are on the line, be they law enforcement or every day folks. By failing to do these things I am helping and serving no one but myself.

I want to change and, yes, I want everyone else to do the same. I want to have the discussions about race, militarization of law enforcement equipment, snap decisions, and oversimplifications of other complex human beings for my own cognitive ease. I want to talk about the sensationalization of tragedy, infotainment, and the inclination to try people on all sides in the court of public opinion. In fact, I want to talk about what is behind the push to create, and then choose and dig into, sides.

There are no sides. Not really. Not if you want to stand for truth, justice, and human dignity. We’re all in this together, as messy and muddled as that makes things. We all need to allow for the beauty, ugliness, and complexity of humanity in all its forms.

I think that my friend, who possesses a sharp but insightful wit, put it best when she said: “I’d like to get to the point where we can hate someone because they are an asshole, not for their uniform or melanin level.”

I probably wouldn’t have written in that way. I would have softened it a touch. I would have paraphrased someone else I also admire by saying that I would like to get to the point where we can judge someone not by their uniform or the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. You’ll note, though, that the point is exactly the same and, quite frankly, the incisiveness of her words probably has more impact for most of you than my own attempts at poignancy.

I feel like my words are crude and inadequate to the topic and task at hand. I feel like there is a whole lot of work in front of us. I feel overwhelmed, sad, and very tired. I also feel like this is something that I am going to have to keep trying my best to do. I hope you’ll join me.


The New York Times, in an article that was otherwise contemplative and measured, said that Michael Brown, the young man who was shot and killed in Ferguson on August 9th, was “no angel”.

People are, understandably, upset about that choice of words. Indeed, even the author of the article said that he would change them if he had another edit. I can understand that. How often have I wanted another edit?

The truth is, though, that sometimes what is written without the edits is the truest portrait of the world at large. Why did it seem necessary to say that this young man, shot multiple times and left for hours on the pavement where he died, was no angel?

Michael Brown was 18 years old. He was about to start college. He was known as a gentle giant who had faced some challenges and worked hard to overcome them. Or, depending on the news outlet, he was a kid who got into trouble and barely managed to graduate. Both versions of him are true, because the facts are the same in both tellings. The difference is in the emphasis – and it is in the emphasis where we learn more about the person telling the story than the person the story is about.

I took the death of Travon Martin very hard – much harder than one would probably expect of a thirty-ish middle class white woman. I still sometimes cry about it. I, therefore, mostly avoided coverage of the events in Ferguson. (An act that, in and of itself is indicative of my privilege.) I have avoided talking about them.  Why? Because events like these break my heart. A young man died. That is a tragedy any way you look at it. I don’t know, exactly, what happened. I was not there. Rushing to judgment and condemnation is exactly what causes so many similar calamities. Regardless, though, an unarmed 18 year old – just a kid, really – was shot multiple times and died. Whether he responded to the officer aggressively, whether it was a scuffle that was borne out of anger or confusion on either side… whatever happened, it is tragic.

But apparently some reserve the concept of tragedy for “angels”.

I have a son. Not biologically, I am not that fortunate. I have a nephew who I love like a son. I consider us quite close. I think he would say the same, if pressed. He’s 17, almost 18, so he’s not always the most effusive or expressive with his feelings.  The loss of Michael Brown, like the loss of Travon Martin before him, has caused me to wonder – what would be said about my boy if something were to happen to him?

When various media members talk about Michael Brown being “no angel” they point to things like his difficulty in school, his connections to kids who may or may not have been in gangs, his love of rap music, his occasional drinking and some time marijuana use. When they talk about Travon, they point to his suspension from school and his occasional marijuana use. Michael may have shoved someone on the day he died, he also struggled with the officer who killed him – though the exact nature and cause of that altercation remains in dispute. Travon, too, was in a physical altercation on the night of his death though, again, the exact nature and cause remains in dispute.

I wonder about my nephew. He has gotten in some trouble over the last few years. His grades have, at times, slipped. He is friendly with all kinds of kids who have been involved with varying degrees of trouble because, like Michael, he just gets along with a lot of people.  He sometimes has a temper, and I expect that he intermittently uses an aggressive tone or posture. He owns hoodies, and he puts his hood up when it is raining. He likes rap music, a preference that apparently causes revocation of “angel” status. As far as fights go, he’s been involved in one or two – something that, as far as I know, was never attributed to either Michael or Travon.

With all of those marks against him, what would be said about him if, God forbid, anything similar to what Michael or Travon faced were to happen to him? I just don’t know. The truth is, though, that the reason I don’t know is because he is white. If he weren’t…

Why am I writing this? This blog is supposed to be about happiness, right? It’s supposed to be funny or inspiring. Well, I apologize if this is all just a bit too heavy, but the truth is that I am not feeling very funny or inspiring. All that keeps running through my head is the name that I use when I refer to my nephew…

I call him Angel. He is my angel. He always has been. He always will be.

My nephew is thoughtful, kind, intelligent, witty, charming, hardworking, insightful, respectful, and sweet. He visits me frequently. He does the dishes without being asked. He makes me laugh, and he makes me think. He plays with my cats and checks up on me when John is away. He is a good kid. He brightens my days, and he makes the world a better place by just being in it. He occasionally does things that I would rather he didn’t. He doesn’t always make the wisest or most effective choices. He isn’t perfect, he is a teenager. Even more, he is human. He is still my angel.

Michael Brown and Travon Martin were angels too.

My blog is called “I Try: The Additive Property of Happiness”. This isn’t a happy topic, but it IS one that requires a whole lot more trying. We need to try to treat people better. We need to try to acknowledge our privilege. We need to try not to rush to judgment. We need to try to do better by our kids. We need to try to look at ourselves as members of society. We need to try to ask ourselves what we can do differently to make things better, and then we need to try damn hard to do it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Move, Part Three

So last time we ended with John settling the cats and I in for the night at the Drury Inn in Grove City, OH.  As with the trip, onward we go.

Columbus to Champaign – Urbana
After some consideration, we decided to make the second leg of the trip a little bit shorter than the first. We knew that we would all be tired from the first day even before we knew that we were going to get off schedule. After having survived the day before, getting to sleep on a real bed for the first time in a few days, and knowing that the day before had been even more unpleasant for the cats than we had expected – it was a very good thing that we had decided to keep the second part of the trip relatively short.

Of course, to start the trip we first had to round up the cats, give them their medication, and put them BACK in the carriers that they had been stuck in most of the day before. This is, of course, fun for the whole family.

Each cat presents their own challenges. Buddy, for example, is a hider. He once hid for hours in the back of a recliner not once making a noise as we moved all around it. THAT fun time led to the “Happy F*cking Anniversary” incident of 2007 that, if you’re lucky, I might tell you some day. I am on to Buddy, though, so I now start each new hotel stay with a survey to determine where a cat can hide – keeping in mind that a determined cat can get very high and, also, make himself fit through very small openings. So, the poor cat looked very comical as he tried to hide between the bed skirt and the solid base of the bed… especially AFTER he got his medication. I figured the medicine was kicking in when I saw him with just his head under the bed skirt – Buddy’s usually a bit brighter than to think the Ostrich Maneuver is going to work for him.

Fuzzy, on the other hand, doesn’t really think to hide. He pretty much assumes that once we get to any particular place then we are going to stay there forever and ever.  The challenge with Fuzzy, then, is that he resists everything that isn’t food, cuddles, or brushing. Even brushing is sometimes not acceptable. Unfortunately, though, Fuzzy is also the cat who gets sick more often (usually triggered by seasonal allergies) and who gets anxious when so much as a chair is moved. He is, therefore, the cat that we have to give medicine to more often… but he resists it like a patient in a psych ward. There is flailing, jerking about of the head, vocal protests, and, finally, refusing to swallow the pill even when it is in his mouth and his mouth is being kept closed. He has held pills in his mouth refusing to swallow them for a couple of minutes – which is a long time to sit with a pill on your tongue. Once that ordeal IS finally over with John and I give him a treat and go do other things while the medication has a chance to kick in. It is only after a few minutes that we will even attempt to put him in his carrier – otherwise that can be a whole other type of resistance… the acrobatics are impressive, as are the grips of all four paws trying to hang on to the outside, but ultimately the result is the same. We’ve actually gotten pretty good at it regardless of whether or not Fuzzy is medicated… but if he’s going to be medicated anyway then why not just skip the added drama.

Once we got the car loaded again, the trip to Champaign was pretty uneventful. We had already gotten through the mountains, the traffic was fairly light, and the weather was nice. There really wasn’t anything of note that happened… which is exactly what I think a lot of people in Ohio and Indiana say fairly frequently. (Not that Wisconsin and Minnesota are much higher on the excitement scale.)

Once we got to the hotel in Champaign – another Drury Inn because of their fantastic pet policies and customer service – we were fairly alert but, once again, happy to be out of the car. The cats spent most of their time looking out the window and John and I spent most of our time updating our Facebook statuses. We were all pretty tired, though, so we made it an early night.

Champaign to Eau Claire
Tuesday was largely similar to the day before. Buddy tried to hide between the nightstand and the wall but, alas, was not successful. I always feel a bit bad for him at this point since I know that he is trying his very best to hide via some sort of kitty mind trick that will prevent me from seeing him... and I feel like he is extra dejected when it, once again, does not work. Fuzzy resisted his medicine, but was ultimately prevailed upon to recognize that resistance was futile. I think that this is partially because  the day before he had accidentally managed to trace a tooth across John's finger -- drawing blood -- as he  was flailing (Fuzzy, not John)... we were all a bit more cautious this subsequent attempt.

If you’ve ever driven through Illinois, as I have many times, then you know that there is literally nothing to talk about. Nothing at all. It is mostly flat and long and not terribly exciting. The most notable things are the windmills, which I do like. Windmills are, in my opinion, a great invention. Unless you're Cervantes, though, you're really grasping for material if you're writing about windmills, so I'll just move on.

Once we crossed into Wisconsin, nothing much changed really. Southern Wisconsin looks remarkably like Northern Illinois. The difference being that we were more familiar with the area... and there are a lot more cheese shops. Once we got near Madison, though, John’s parents were nice enough to drive to meet us at a gas station on our route – just to say hello. My most favorite thing about John’s parents, and there are several things I like, is how much they adore John and his sister. I, also, adore John, so we always have that in common.

Other than that… we hit some rain around Black River Falls.

Yeah… this is boring stuff, but I feel like I just need to wrap it up.

In case you can't read it, the sign says "Eau Claire Co"
Eau Claire
Once we arrived in Eau Claire, we got our keys and, before I could even contact him, Monopoly Son (MS) had already sent me a text. He came over almost right away, and we were thrilled to see him. I almost cried, but managed to hold it together. I did hold him a long time in a hug, though. He tolerated that very well but, as I suspected, he was rolling his eyes to John – which just makes me laugh. He then helped us unload the truck enough so that we had an air mattress to sleep on.
At this point I am basically just devolving into reporting a timeline. Even I am bored, so I’m going to wrap this all up by saying one last thing:

Our friends came out in force on Wednesday to help us unload the truck. It was a stark contrast to what we had to do in Virginia. I would like to thank Lissa (who helped me out on Tuesday night as well as checking on us on Wednesday), Emily and Henry who kept us company throughout the day, Theresa who came in her interview clothes and impressed me with her ability to haul things while wearing heels, my mom for coming to say hello, Wolfe for being a mini-hulk and moving champion, Monopoly Son for coming again to help us on Wednesday, Dan for coming over after work to help with the REALLY heavy stuff, and Christine for popping by to say hello and help where she could.

I’ve been trying to settle in since then. I have made marginal progress but, like any other difficult task, it’s a process. I hope to be all unpacked by the time we move again. :)

That is all. If you read all the way through, congratulations! You can get a sticker if you report your accomplishment on Facebook.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Move, Part Two

Continuing on from yesterday’s account, we now enter the next phase.

The Road
Anyone who has taken a long road trip knows that it can be a fun experience… but really only if you can stop and do other fun and interesting things along your route. Anyone who has ever taken a road trip with a cat knows that you pretty much have to keep moving from point A to point B with very little dilly dallying. Cats hate both dillying and dallying on road trips. This is understandable since road trips require them to sit in their carriers – otherwise comfortable and secure places, they become cat prisons any time they actually have to go somewhere.

Don’t even ask me why I don’t let them walk around the car – number one, it isn’t safe for them should there be an accident and, number two, if they are allowed to move about freely there WILL be an accident. Besides, every so often I have to stop for gas, to use a restroom, or to stretch out the sharp, vicious pain in my leg and neck… if they aren’t in their carriers what, exactly, is to stop them from bolting out of the car and on to the Pennsylvania Turnpike? Not a damn thing. Something similar happened to a cat I knew when I was a child – it was the woods of Northern Wisconsin rather than the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but the results were the same -> the cat was never found. Transport your cats in carriers, people!

This photo isn't actually from the trip as I was too busy
 driving to take pictures. This beautiful photo was
taken by my friend Bekah.

The Seating Arrangements
John had the pleasure of driving the Penske truck, which is always such a breeze to do. It’s always a fun opportunity to play the game “Cheat Death” with the people who cut you off, won’t let you merge, or sit in the spot right behind you where you can’t see them. I, on the other hand, had the exciting experience of driving the car with my feline companions which, again, if you’ve ever done it you know what a fun experience it is to be driving down a highway while two cats sing you the mournful song of their people.

I complain but, to be honest, the cats were extremely well behaved. It helped that we broke the trip into three days so they didn’t have to spend as much time in their carriers. It also helped that we know how to pack them in their carriers, and their carriers in the car, that they feel fairly secure and comfortable. Mostly, though, I think that it helped that they were high. That’s right, both of them were on anti-anxiety medication. I don’t recommend this approach unless you’ve had a vet evaluate your cats to make sure they are healthy… but we did do that and it made everything a whole lot easier on everyone.

Virginia to Columbus
If you’ve read Part One, then you know that we got a late start on Sunday as we labored heroically to finish loading the truck and cleaning the house. We had hoped to get on the road around 0930 but didn’t manage to do so until, if I recall correctly, about 1430 (2:30 PM). What’s worse, since we had to be in and out so much, and since there was nowhere left for the cats to hide to feel safe (since everything was packed), we had to put them in their carriers around 1300. They were in the air conditioned car, but it would still be an awfully long time in the carriers for them. I still feel bad that they had to go through that, though it was undoubtedly the safest and most comfortable option for them at the time.

We weren’t on the road 10 minutes before someone decided that it would be a good idea to cut across three lanes of traffic directly in front of John. That was fun. The first of many games of “Cheating Death” that John would get to unwillingly play with multiple daredevil drivers over the days to follow.

Note: "7 h 24 min" doesn't apply to moving trucks 

Boredom, So Much Boredom
We weren’t even out of Virginia before the boredom started to get to us. At one point I just grabbed a handful of brownie out of the small pan that had been packed in the car. At another point I just tried to entertain myself with mouth noises. I know what you’re thinking – “Why not just turn on the radio, freak?” Well, I DID try that, Judgy! There was nothing on but talk radio and country or, in other words, NOTHING ON that I could listen to without ending up clawing at my ears. I was, therefore, extremely grateful that John had the presence of mind to get off the highway for a bit. He initially said that he had done so because he wanted to check on me, but with very little prodding he admitted that he had wanted to check on me because he, too, was bored out of his mind. Apparently he had, at one point, started entertaining himself by making mouth noises (the freak!).

To curb the intense boredom that made us contemplate what it would be like to just direct our car into oncoming traffic – you know, just as a thought experiment – we decided to hook up our head phones (with mics) to our phones and just talk to each other the whole way. More than just keeping us from causing a horrific pileup in the Appalachians for want of a change, this also allowed me to serve as a buffer and a set of eyes behind the truck. When we needed to get over, I did so first and let him in. I was also able to help him feel a little safer because he knew what was going on behind him – or what craziness was about to pass him in the other lanes.

The Endless Drive
The trip to Columbus was the longest portion of the trip – or at least it seemed that way to me. We managed to only have to stop a couple of times. I can’t remember how many because they all just run together. I do remember that we stopped at one of the islands off the Pennsylvania Turnpike to get gas, but I only remember that because of the fact that I had developed a limp. Apparently it’s not great for your body to spend a couple of days doing heavy lifting in high humidity only to follow that with having to sit in one position for hours on end. The muscle cramp in my right leg (turns out you can’t use cruise control when you’re the buffer for a moving truck) had developed a life and personality of it’s own. I named him Steve. Steve didn’t want me to get out of the car and go for a walk. I nearly face planted directly into the washer fluid next to the gas pump. It’s a good thing that the handles on those wands are blunt because otherwise I imagine that the story would read something like this:

Woman Impaled to Death on Pennsylvania Turnpike, Cats Look On

The Rain
Don’t fret for us, Dear Reader, it wasn’t all mouth noises and leg cramp induced near death experiences! Not at all!  We also got some weather to keep things interesting for us up there in the mountains. If you’ve never experienced it, mountains often sort of channel rain down a particular path. This is true even for the relatively smallish mountains that are the Appalachians. The rain moves around the lower parts of the mountains rather than going over. It’s a whole meteorological phenomenon that I didn’t pay enough attention in physical geography class to remember the name of. Anyway, it’s basically the path of least resistance.

Do you know what else follows the path of least resistance? If you said “everything” then you are actually pretty technically correct. You’re also a smartass because I am obviously going for a particular answer. The answer I was looking for was “roads”. If you said roads, you are correct… but if some part of you wants to tell ME that you said roads all along, then you are probably a suck up.

So, there we are, partway up a mountain with a truck containing all of our belongings when the heavens decide to open up a torrential downpour. It is in times like those that you are even more grateful that you got a Penske truck versus any other of the subpar competitors (you know what you did, U-Haul, and you know it can never be forgiven!). Why? Well, probably at least partially because the brakes and wipers are in good condition… but I was going for “Because it is a brighter yellow than Big Bird”. I was very grateful for the bright yellow at that point because it allowed me to see a watery yellow blob out my window as we continued to drive to a point it was actually possible to pull to the side of the road.

Wrapping Up the First Day
Eventually the rain passed and we were able to continue on. On through the end on Pennsylvania, on through West Virginia, and, finally, on through the first leg of Ohio. We finally got to Columbus around 2300 (11 PM). The cats had been in their carriers for 10 hours. John and I had had a series of long days. We were all completely wiped out. We were all extremely grateful to get to our hotel.

Now, you may be asking why we didn’t just stop sooner if we were worn out. Well, you clearly have not ever traveled with pets. Only certain hotels accept pets, and not all of them are particularly nice about it. So we had to get to Columbus to get to a pet friendly hotel.

It is here that I must sing the praises of Drury Inn and Suites. You should all stay there if it is ever an option – especially if you are traveling with animals. They only charge an extra $10 cleaning fee and they are just very decent about how they treat you and your animal. What’s more, there is a door between the seating area and the bedroom, so when your cats want to be up and moving about after a long day of restricted movement they aren’t doing so on your face as you try to sleep. Also, I am not sure if it was the extremely long day (or the several long days leading up to it), but the bed in the Drury Inn in Grove City, Ohio was so comfortable that I fell deeply asleep within a matter of minutes of crawling into it.

Of course, I couldn’t go right to sleep. First we had to get the cats in the room, set up their litter box and get them their food, search and block any possible kitty hiding places while they ate, and set up a little den for them. (Cats, especially Buddy, like to have a den to hide in to feel more secure. I like to provide this – partially because I can make it comfortable and partially because I can deconstruct it and get to him/them when it is time to load up and leave again.)

We were also, of course, starving. John, being ever the good husband, managed to make a midnight run to Wal-Mart (only option, folks).  To hear the full Through-the-Looking-Glass nature of THAT particular experience, you’ll have to talk to John. Suffice to say, though, that Wal-Mart after midnight often reveals a certain preservative-laced taste of humanity.

But who cares? I was hungry and exhausted so he found a way to get me food so I could go to sleep.

That seems like a good place to leave this story. I thought it would be a two-parter, but apparently we’re looking at a Trilogy. That’s fine, all the best stories are trilogies and, honestly, if you’re still reading this then you’re probably mad enough to get through another installment.

Stay tuned for: The Move, Part Three!