Due to a recent family illness, my cats and I have relocated to the beautiful — yet often drizzly — Oregon Coast. Los Angeles gave me a 90-degree send-off, which endowed the move with qualities akin to walking through quicksand in the NINTH CIRCLE OF HELL. Thank the Lord for Oz’s support and the kindness of my friends, kindred spirits all. And had it not been for my sister, who flew in to help on that last day, I may have set my hair on fire. As a result of all of the art and jewelry-making supplies, plus regular stuff I managed to collect over 20+ years, we crammed a 10-foot U-Haul as full as we could get it and still were able to roll the door up and down without too much of a struggle.
With my two cats riding shotgun between us, we hit the open road, spending the first night in Ventura (having left town in the early evening). By the time we got to Northern California the next evening, STORM WATCH 2011 (or some such thing) was in effect. This basically amounted to a light drizzle. It felt wonderful. We spent the second night in Benicia (really cute little town, for those who’ve never been).
My cats seemed to be enjoying themselves — so many hotel rooms to explore. And thank God for those pet-friendly places. The Best Westerns we stayed in have the beds sitting on boxes so the critters can’t get underneath to hide. But there are still plenty of things to jump on. By night two, my male cat, Stevie, having slept in his carrier all day, had stored up massive amounts of energy and started running around, meowing with abandon — at 3 a.m. So much for a good night’s sleep!
Making a long trip like this into a conversation marathon is practically undoable. At least for us. I mean, who has that much to say? Really? Watching the scenery glide by is nice, but thankfully we brought some audio books to distract us from the odometer. By the time we reached the Oregon border, we were well acquainted with Julia Sweeney and Carrie Fisher. Bless them.
We stayed the last night of our journey in Ashland. It was the first time I’d stayed there without going to see a play. Of course, I had a whole evening’s worth of entertainment courtesy of Stevie, who amped up his act to grand finale status. So I stayed up much of the night, cat on lap, working on an assignment that was nearing deadline, hoping to give my sister a chance to sleep so that at least one of us could drive the following day.
We made it in one piece (speaking figuratively, of course, since there were actually four of us plus my stuff and the truck). After an arduous unload (I wonder how many calories we burned…) and a final assist on a couple of heavy pieces from my sister’s husband and his friend, our adventure was complete.
Of course, for me, the fun was only half over. As I write this, my “studio” is a catastrophe — boxes and, let’s face it, STUFF everywhere. “But I’ve already made several trips to Goodwill, the library and have donated to the Viet Nam Vets and the SPCA!” I whine in my defense. It looks like a few more trips to Goodwill are in my future. But that’s OK (I keep replaying what my friend, Linda, said like a mantra: “It’s just stuff…”). I figure 20-some years of life crammed into a 10-foot truck isn’t bad, really. In the past month I’ve let go of a lot of stuff. At first, it hurt. But the more I let go, the easier it’s gotten. Of course, there are things I’ll never want to give up — but not as many of them as in the past. Maybe it’s midlife crisis, but letting go is starting to feel good. Let’s see, what next…. maybe I should cut my hair or just shave it all off? Losing weight would be nice. I guess it’s like purging. Starting fresh. And besides, the extra room will come in handy for more jewelry-making supplies — like the torch I just bought!