I turned around in my bed, propped one eye open to check out the time. 2:10 in the morning. Yeck.
The sounds of the plaintiff caterwauling echoed through the new apartment on our second night. And, I seemed to be the only one awake enough to hear it.
Our cats are quite different, when it comes to moving. Haley, our grizzled female, could care less. She kind of reminds me of a feline version of Rosie O'Donnell. Have food, will travel.
Oliver, on the other hand, is one big orange bundle of nerves. I think it was all that drama associated with his pink noodle about a year or so ago. Ever since then, he associates any change, especially any change involving transportation in a car, with the vet, and starts to freak out.
The minute Corb started deconstructing the old apartment on Thursday, Ollie scrambled under the nearest bed. That night, he didn't come out until supper.
Friday, as we started the actual moving process, was even more traumatic for him. To cope, he managed to find a hiding spot in the little bedroom. He just cowered in that spot, like an ostrich in the sand, trying to ignore the chaos taking place around him.
He was still hiding when Corb went back to the old apartment pick up some additional boxes at around three, after the movers had moved all the heavy stuff, which didn't include fluffy orange cats. Corb couldn't find him anywhere.
He was still missing in action at around seven, when I went back to feed the cats. As a temptation, I started to shake a drag of dry food, which is usually something that gets him to rush to my side and run up against my legs. Not this time.
That's when I started to get worried. What if he had managed to sneak out while the movers were there?
I started to look all over the apartment, calling out his name. I finally discovered him, wrapped up in a white comforter, when totally by accident, I lifted it up and shook it. Oliver tumbled out, looking more than a little annoyed.
Even then, he took one look at his food, sniffed, and walked away.
I decided to take pity on him and let the cats have one last night in the apartment.
Saturday night, that changed. It was time to get them to the new place. So, we bundled Hayley in a blanket and put Oliver in a cat carrier, and started to make the move. Ashes sat next to Oliver the entire way, stroking his paws and whispering words of encouragement.
And after all of that, how are we rewarded for these acts of kindness?
I turned around in my bed and propped one eye open to check out the time. 5:10 in the morning.
Well, at least Corb was rewarded. He ended up with a good night's sleep, and the comfort of knowing his pumas were home.
"Ted, what have you done, here?"
I looked up from the book I was reading in our bed and smiled. Corb was standing beside the Expedit TV unit that he had purchased from Ikea--basically a black grid of 20 cubes surrounding a space for our television.
He spent the time putting it together. I was responsible for surrounding it with stuff.
"I decorated it," I said. "That's what you asked me to do, right?"
Corb held up a copy of "Your Heiress Diary," by Paris Hilton, which had been given a place of honor in one cube. "You call this a decoration?" he asked, wrinkling his nose.
"I call it a necessity," I replied.
Corb shook his head and placed Paris Hilton into an empty box. He then moved to another cube, which contained a framed and signed photograph of Bill Clinton. "And this?" he asked.
"I call it an aphrodisiac," I replied. "You know, if one night I'm not in the mood, I can just look up into Bill's big blue eyes and--"
"All right, already!" said Corb, removing Bill from the cube and placing him in the empty box. He moved over to the other side of the unit, and picked up a framed picture of my beloved grandmother. "And this?" He shook his head. "I do not call THAT an aphrodisiac," he said.
"True," I said. "But a grandmother's love is always true."
Corb grabbed Nana and placed her in the now not-so-empty box. Then he moved back to the unit, held up "The Complete Elizabeth Taylor," and wrinkled his nose again. "Maybe I should have decorated this myself," he said.
Some people are so picky.
And most important of all, I hear you ask, how did the princess adjust to the new apartment?
Josie dropped Ashes off on Saturday morning with Josie, along with a friend of hers. "Want to see my postage stamp?" she said loudly to her friend.
She looked around at the walk-in closet, the bedroom, the private bathroom. "Dad, how could you move me into something so small?" she moaned.
Her friend nodded, trying to be a good friend. "It really is small," she said.
I glared at her. "You are not helping."
"Is it really small?" I asked Josie, later on.
"No, Ted, it's not small," she said. "I'll move in if she won't."
About an hour later, Ashes came into the living room, where I was busy unpacking my tenth box of books. "I'm sorry I yelled at you," she said. "I guess it's not that bad."
"Thanks," I said, softening a bit.
"But can you get rid of the couch?" she asked. "I hate it."
"We'll see what we can do."
"Oh, and the desk. Can you paint it black?"
I nodded. "Yes, we were planning to, anyway."
Ashes nodded and walked away.
That night, we went to the apartment to pick Oliver up, as I mentioned. Ashes moved into the now-empty apartment, looked around. Tears filled her eyes, and she suddenly lay down right in the middle of the floor, hands covering her face.
"I'm not moving," she said. "Why did you move out of here without asking me?"
"We had to, honey," I said. "Theo needed his own space. We had no choice."
"Well, the place is too far away," she said. "I'm not going to be able to come over every other night, any more."
"It's actually closer to your mom's," I replied. "Five minutes closer. Theo and I timed it."
"I hate it!" she said, and stormed into her old bedroom. She walked into the closet and slammed it shut.
"Dad, Ashes is in the closet crying," Theo informed me, ten minutes later.
"I know," I said. "Let her cry in peace."
Before we left, I tried to put my arm around her. "I'm kind of sad about this move, too, you know," I said. She just shrugged me off, and walked out of the apartment.
And that was it. She didn't want to talk about it for the rest of the night. I resigned myself to having a daughter who would hate me over our apartment decision for the remainder of my natural life. It made me sad to think about, because I had really been hoping she would like the things we were doing for her. And maybe, get excited about them? Dare to dream.
Sunday night, around six, as I was unpacking box number thirty five of books, Ashes came out of her room? "Dad, could I sleep at your place tonight, instead of mom's?" she asked.
I couldn't help but grin. "You want to sleep here tonight, again?" I asked.
"Your place has a computer that works," she said. "Besides, the bed here is REALLY comfortable."
Maybe things won't be that bad after all.