Adventures in Moving with Bob and Kathy

February 16, 1999

Hello Everyone,

Hope everyone had a happy New Year, Merry Christmas, Hannakuh, Valentines and Ground hog day.

Bob and I just thought we would bring you up to date with the sordid details of what's been happening at the Rude Ranch lately mainly that we are moving. Yes, you read that right, we have decided to throw caution to the wind, pull up stakes and head for larger quarters.

In order to give a proper perspective of this story we should probably pick up where we left off with Adventures with Bob and Kathy The next generation, most of which took place in December, 1998. Here's what has happened since then:

Cali, our death defying kitty was spayed with no problems, although the vet was less then impressed with her vocal abilities. Apparently she was somewhat dissatisfied with being placed in a cage and promptly told him so. Cali earned herself another trip to the vet when she ran off of the landing at the top of the stairs on the third floor of our house. She fell about 35 feet, hitting a couple of walls on the way down. We figure at this point she has used up at least 5 of her nine lives.

Cali, our death defying kitty

Now on with the story:

As mentioned earlier, Bob and I have been looking for a bigger house and more land off and on for a couple of years. We thought we had found that piece of land several months ago, but turns out we ran into an unscrupulous Oconnor, Piper and Flynn realtor. In January we decided it was now or never and decided to really commit (or have ourselves committed) to finding a house. We decided to put our house up for sale. Now if you've ever tried to sell a house, you know there are certain things you can do to make the house more appealing: the least of which is to have the house incredibly clean, picked up, smelling good, with the beds made, towels folded and a minimum of clutter. Our house usually failed on all counts. Lets face it: the only way we were going to sell our house was to move out first.

Fortunately, we had a place to move to: the two bedroom condo in Crofton, Md that I lived in before buying this house. The family that was renting it was moving during January. (No we didn't kick them out, they had already given notice.) The timing seemed right, so Bob and I decided to move into the condo while we were trying to sell our house (aka the Bowie house) and look for another house. We were also still working at Uncle Nicky's (Bob's sister's restaurant) and the Save a Life animal shelter. Again fortunately, we had enough stuff to be able to minimally furnish the condo and still make the Bowie house look fully furnished. (Ok sometimes it is an advantage to have a lot of crap.). As an added bonus, we could fix the place up while we were living there --- at least that was the game plan.

What we found at the condo, our new house was interesting. Apparently Bob and I aren't as big of slobs as we thought, or we managed to pick up really sloppy tenants. We also made another discovery: kids + cherry kool aid + light colored carpet = red carpet. (This will soon be known as the Rude Carpet Theory.) Ok, so we had to replace the carpet and clean the place --- no, fumigate the place. Still we thought we could live there while we were looking for our new house, so, the carpet was ordered, the condo was gutted, scrubbed and painted, then we started cleaning and packing at the Bowie house.

Eventually the "big" day arrived. On a day that was carefully timed, planned and choreographed gone hopelessly awry, we started to move the Rude Ranch. The game plan was: I would go to the condo, finish painting the bathroom, and supervise the installation of the carpet while Bob stayed at the Bowie house and steam cleaned the carpet there. We figured these tasks would be completed by mid afternoon, and we would then begin the migration of both furniture and animals to the condo. (Hey, it sounded good to us) Anyway on my side of things, I discovered that carpet installers apparently need to take a lot of bathroom breaks. I was reminded of this approximately every 5 minutes, usually just long enough for me to get the paint roller back out and climb back up on the counter, ladder or whatever I was using to boost my height at that point.

In the meantime, Bob was busy steam cleaning the Bowie house. Now we know a lot of people steam clean their carpet and its not a big deal. However, Bob had an additional force working against him --- Boomer the min pin. Remember we found Boomer wondering in the middle of the road a few weeks before. Boomer still wasn't sure about his place at the ranch to begin with, and now the world he was only marginally sure of was suddenly moving without him. He definitely had a few anxiety issues. Boomer decided to deal with his issues the only way he knew how: he started marking everything. We guess he figured that if he couldn't be there to guard his stuff, at least others would know he was there. He started peeing on boxes, walls, bedspreads, at one point he even tried to "mark" a cat. Ghost really wasn't pleased with this idea. So now, once Bob had gotten the carpet cleaned, he had to go back to get all of Boomer's "contributions".

In the mean time, back at the condo, I finally managed to kick the carpet installers out of the bathroom long enough to finish painting it. Now the only problem was that the installers weren't exactly moving at the speed of light in terms of getting the carpet down. Matter of fact, it was amazing how long it was taking them considering the rooms were square, there were no steps and no furniture in the way. At least I was becoming well versed on everyone's love life (or lack thereof).

Eventually it was late afternoon, the carpet installers were still installing. They were inching their way towards the last room (the dining room) when they made a startling discovery: they were 8 inches short. How did I want to deal with this? (Apparently they didn't think strangling them was a viable option) Well what did they think? I wanted them to finish the job with a piece of carpet the right size, not something pieced together from their mistakes. They would have to come back and finish the job in two weeks. They were grumbling about the inconvenience until they took one look at me, apparently by then I had a slightly crazed look in my eye.

By now Bob was on his way to the condo with a load of furniture and Boomer (he didn't trust Boomer enough to leave him at the Bowie house). At this point all I can say is that its amazing how fast carpet installers can move when threatened with the possibility of having to help move furniture.

Once the furniture was unloaded, we still had to get the now mystified and somewhat cranky Rude Ranch cats. As anyone who's ever tried to get a somewhat uncooperative cat into a carrier for transport knows, this operation comes in a close second to giving a cat a bath in terms of the cat's view of evil monsters from hell. Multiply that by 10 cats and we were going to have the equivalent of a skunk wondering into a crowded softball field -- complete, utter chaos would be an understatement. We also did some quick math: we had 10 cats. We had 7 kitty carriers. No matter how you looked at it, it wasn't going to be pretty. But, the house was going to be put up for sale the next day and we had to be ready. (After all Bob and I are optimists, so we might get lucky and have a showing).

In order to start getting the cats into the carriers, we prepared ourselves: we lined the carriers up in the garage, we put on our heavy jackets and gloves, we checked on the local blood supply for our respective blood types. Our game plan was to quietly pick up each cat, lovingly carry said cat into the garage, then stuff the cat in a carrier. Using this method, the rest of the cats wouldn't be terribly suspicious when we picked them up. (Once again, Bob and I are optimists) Then we started. Abbey, Blackie and Blue, the foster cats were easy, they were already secluded in a room. They were also all put in one carrier. (Yes Bob got to carry that one). Three down, seven to go. Ghost and Mama, both being of the more trusting nature were the next to be stuffed. Tia grudgingly allowed herself to be put in a carrier. Now we had a problem: we had 4 cats to go and 3 carriers. We decided to put Maggie and Cali together, in addition to being the two smallest, they also played together a lot, meaning they probably wouldn't kill each other in the carrier. Of course our problem was, we'd catch one cat, get her in the carrier, then have to get the second cat in. Sounds simple doesn't it? At least after the third round of kitty tag team Cali was starting to look a little tired. We finally got both in the carrier by throwing catnip, treats and a can of tuna fish in the carrier. Lastly, we had to get Billie and Ashley.

Anyone that's ever met Billie and Ashley thinks that these two are beautiful, loving cats. (Ok, some people know otherwise, afterall, Billie Jo did con the pet sitter into hand feeding her sardines that one time) However, getting these two into kitty carriers is something akin to playing roller hockey without protective gear. Ashley usually requires the towel butt drop method, (Grab cat. Wrap in towel. Stand carrier upright and wedge up against wall. Drop Cat in butt first. Slam door shut. Seek medical attention for wounds) which usually means the you will only lose a pint or so of blood. However, once in the carrier, this cat can produce the most unhuman and uncatlike vocalizations known to man, and she does it rather loudly. It was decided, Ashley would be the last to be loaded. Now we just had to get Billie Jo.

Stuffing Billie Jo into a carrier can sometimes take on aspects of all out gorilla war fare. Usually we have to close all doors in the house, trapping her in a room, preferable one with out carpet. Then we need the protective gear. Then we need the kevlar based towels to wrap her in. We also usually need to call the local police station ahead of time to let them know that a murder is not being committed at the house. Did I mention we also bought a special top loading carrier for her?

Eventually everycritter was loaded up and on their way to the condo. At least by the time we got there we were able to move the critters in under cover of stealth and darkness. You see technically we were only allowed to have a maximum of 4 pets in this neighborhood. Anyone watching us move in could probably notice we were a bit over that limit. We figured if we got caught we would use one of two excuses: Most of the cats were just visiting, or well its really the same cat, its just the different lighting makes his/her coat look different colors......