Yesterday I officially moved from Jackson to Clarksville. I'd been in my new room several days already, but this time was official, because this time I brought the cat.
The day started well. It was my last Sunday at my church in Jackson, which I've attended for four years and which has been a home and a family to me. I sang, I saw lots of friends, we worshipped - it was great. Packing went fine, too (except I forgot the tea kettle!) Even getting Conrad into his box was less difficult than usual.
But the trip itself was... awful. Terrible. Well, it could have been worse: we didn't have a wreck and nobody died. But nearly everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
I had a pretty tight schedule to begin with; it's an almost-three hour drive. I left at noon and had to be at the school (20 minutes from my room) at 4, minus the cat, for choir auditions. So I was already stressed, knowing I was in a time crunch.
Then the cat started hyperventilating. He's only ever been in the car to go to the vet, and he's normally okay with it -- a little meowing, but nothing major. This time, though, we got ten minutes down the road and he was completely freaked out. Crying, scratching at the door of the crate, panting. (I've never heard a cat pant before and that freaked me out!) I thought perhaps he was overheated; my AC doesn't work very well and the sun was hot. So I pulled over at a gas station and tried to get him to take a drink. He didn't want water; he got out of his box and hit on the floorboards, under my feet, and cried some more. There was nothing to be done about that, so I put him back in his crate with a struggle and a half-full bowl of water, and we went on. I drove as fast as I legally could, figuring the sooner we arrived the sooner he'd be out of his misery.
At some point in the next hour I took a curve a little fast and my 32 oz. cup of lemonade slushy went over. I made a wild grab for it and narrowly avoided running off the road. It was too late anyway. So there we were, stressed driver, stressed cat, and 30 ounces of lemonade (less slushy now) soaking into the carpets. And the bag of food. And my computer bag. I shifted everything I could and kept driving.
About fifteen minutes later I hit a road block. They were doing some kind of work on the road ahead and a policeman was diverting everyone back the way they'd come. So there I was with a distressed kitten and no road map, blocked from the only route I knew. Attempt to follow the policeman's rough directions failed miserably. A hasty call to my mother produced alternate directions and we were on our way again, at least 15 minutes behind schedule and now seriously frazzled.
Ten minutes later my hubcap fell off. I saw it go... but it was a busy road and no way to stop and get it. Besides, I was late.
We arrived at last... crying cat, me close to tears, and the whole car smelling like weak lemonade. After that I was fully prepared for my choir auditions to be a disaster, but fortunately they went well and I made the choir. That went a long way to salvage my day... but my car is still minus a hubcap and full of lemonade slushy, and I'm pretty sure I'll never get Conrad into his crate again.
Still, it could have been worse. But I'm very glad it wasn't!