Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cats On The Move

While we're all a bit stressed out about this move, I can't help but worry about our three feline companions. Everything I've read tells me that moving is highly stressful for cats especially. Dogs do a much better job at getting used to their new surroundings. But we have cats and we better start looking forward to that extra challenge.

There are so many websites and articles devoted to moving with your cat and getting him acclimated to his new environment. One website tells me not to pack in front of the cats. A former neighbor of ours used to travel a lot. Whenever she brought out her suitcase, one of her cats barfed on it. Now that's a statement. Another article says that seeing the rooms in their familiar house empty can make cats feel unstable. We've emptied out rooms before to clean carpets and the cats seemed to think it was great fun! What an adventure!

I already know that our three - Cosmo, Ozzy and Moxie - are going to hate the travel part. Luckily we'll only have to drive for an hour or so to get to the new house, but none of them have ever ridden this long in a car. Well, that I know of. And they all HATE riding in cars, although to varying degrees.

Cosmo: REALLY, REALLY hates cars.
Ozzy: REALLY hates cars.
Moxie: Kind of doesn't like riding in cars.

We've decided that we are going to divide the cats up and take one each. I'll take Moxie!! Oh yeah, one website tells us not to put your cat in the back of the moving van. What? Someone would do that? Another says to play classical music when you're transporting the kitties. Hmmmm. Yet another advises us cat movers to ignore their howling while in the car. Uh huh.

One of my favorite pieces of advice is to communicate with your cat on a regular basis and include him in your plans. Also you're supposed to "send your cat thought pictures of your new home". This was a gem. But I might do it.

My biggest concern is getting our three kitty friends used to our new home. From what I've read, this can be extremely tricky. Many of the articles I've read offer very good advice about confining the cats to one room in the new house where they can just chill out. This will be their room for a while so it needs to have everything in it to make them comfy, like their litter box, food, blankets and toys. OK, we can do that. Then after a few days you can start to keep the door open. There are also products that can help to calm your cat. One is an actual plug-in thing that you put in their room. Who knew?

The thing that scares me the most is that this acclimation period can take up to six weeks!

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Very Moving Experience

Finally, after 14 months of our house being on the market, it seems that we will be moving! It's something we've been planning for several years now. We just didn't anticipate putting our home up for sale during the worst housing market in recent history. Here's a quick timeline of our house-selling attempts:

4/08 House goes on the market. Bad housing market? Who cares! Our house is FABULOUS. It will be quickly snapped up by a lucky buyer!

10/08 There have been only 4 showings during the past 6 months. Fabulous or not, no one seems interested. Take house off market for three months to enjoy holidays. It's tempting to totally stop cleaning the house during this period.

1/09 New real estate agent. We're hopeful. Reduce price. By a lot.

4/09 We have several showings during the first couple of weeks of April alone. This is encouraging. Finally an offer, but it falls through when potential buyer decides she must file bankruptcy.

6/09 Lots more showings. What's going on with the market? Another offer in late June, but we are extremely cautious.

7/09 Looks like fabulous house is finally sold. The appraisal went well, the inspection is over and all of the "problems" are being fixed as I write this. I will be so glad when the haggling part of this sale is finally over. Moving won't even seem so bad after all of this contract back-and-forth stuff.

Or will it?

Fifty miles is not a long way to go when moving. I know this first hand because about twenty years ago, we moved 750 miles. With a toddler. About 10 days before Christmas. In the snow. And we packed everything by ourselves. Was I crazy? I was like some kind of modern pioneer woman cramming newspaper-wrapped chachkis into a box with a baby on my hip. The strange thing was, I didn't even give it a second thought; it was just what I had to do.

Now, 20 years later, the process seems monumental. We figure we'll have approximately 17,000 boxes of stuff alone. And this is after we "went through" all of our junk and got rid of a lot. Where did we get all this stuff?

But in the end I know that it will be totally worth it. We love the area we're moving to. The new house is wonderful. We'll be closer to my sister and her family and to my brother and sister-in-law's cabin in the mountains. And the cats are so looking forward to it.

By the way, this is not how Ozzy will be traveling to his new abode. We will NOT be packing him. I just wanted to throw that disclaimer in. He just thinks that cardboard boxes are fabulous.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Small Stitching Sampling

As promised, I'm including some actual cross stitch photos today. I love to see what other people are stitching, and I hope that you'll appreciate my stitching as well. I've often chosen projects by seeing other stitchers' work. There's lots of inspiration just seeing the actual stitched piece.

The first photo, Leaping Cat by La-D-Da, is my current work in progress. I'm stitching it with DMC on 32-count linen. This project is just for fun and it's something I'd like to frame and hang in our new house, er, the potential new house. (We're cautiously optimistic today.) This one's fun to stitch -- all whole stitches, no backstitching, pretty colors. And of course, it features a cute kitty, and he'll look much cuter once I stitch his whiskers.

The pillow you see above is a chart called Square Dance from a New Stitches magazine published sometime in the mid-90's. This is probably one of my favorite things that I've stitched. I used 14-count navy blue Aida for the background and something called Aida Plus for the cream color squares. Basically I stitched the Aida Plus squares, cut them out and then attached them to the blue Aida by cross stitching them in red. Do they even make Aida Plus anymore? It's great stuff. I just haven't seen it in stores lately.

This is a box with a stitched piece in the lid called "Woodland Flowers" from the book Amish Quilts to Cross Stitch by Jeanette Crews Designs. If there's one thing I'm not, it's a quilter, but that doesn't stop me from thinking that quilts are beautiful. Quilters are true artists. So I figure that the next best thing is to cross stitch quilt blocks. This block is made up of a collection of wonderful colors with a black background, stitched on white evenweave. I purchased the box from a company called Patches 'n Planks which sells gorgeous handmade wood items. This box was made for a good friend for her birthday. I think I need one of these for me. OK, put that in the mental "To Be Stitched" file. Now THAT'S a post for another day!

I hope you like the samples of my stitching you see here. Maybe I've inspired someone? I'll be posting more photos in the future. And other stuff too. Stay tuned.