My daughter that is. Permanently. She’s finished grad school with a 3.67 GPA and has her Masters in Social Work. She’s talked about moving to Texas for a few years and has been planning for several months. She’ll be living with her boyfriend who isn’t from Texas, but coincidentally was transferred by his company down there last summer. Funny how that works.
So, the plan was for us to leave Monday morning and make the driver in two and a half days. Being the male chauvinist that I am, I was not going to let her drive 2,000 miles by herself. Well, not totally by herself, she’s bringing her cat. Yeah, two and half days in the packed Toyota 4Runner with a cat. The first order of business was to find pet friendly hotels. La Quinta has a lot of them, so that’s where we booked. The first night in Salem, VA, the second in Pearl, MS. Which is where I’m sitting right now typing this.
Thanks to Pack Rats most of her belongings should be in Texas tomorrow while we’re still driving. Hopefully.
That’s the background for the tale of the trip.
Yesterday morning we got up at 4:30. The plan was to gather up the cat and put him in his carrier, have breakfast, put our stuff in the car and head out by 6:00 AM or so. That was the plan.
What is it about cats that gives them a special sense when something is going on? Like a trip to the vet and they disappear an hour before you are going to pack them up. In this case, all three cats did a disappearing act, even the two that aren’t going anywhere. We found the little guy once, but he scooted away. We found him again, but he scooted away. We found him a third time and I almost had him and he disappeared. Almost literally. We spent almost an hour looking for him and then stopped for a while. We had breakfast. I went to the refrigerator maybe half a dozen times, opening and closing the door. I finished breakfast and put everything away, opening the door a number of times again.
Now it was time to look for the little guy again. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the cat jumping onto a counter top. Jumping DOWN. From the top of the refrigerator. Where apparently, hiding behind a couple of those soft coolers, he watched me eat breakfast. At this point he must have become bored with making me look like an idiot, because he let me catch him and put him in the carrier.
Mrs. EMS Artifact took a picture of our daughter, just as she did on her first day of Kindergarten. Then we got in the car and hit the road, only about 20 minutes behind schedule and right into heavier than there should have been traffic. We finally got to the interstate and clear of the traffic.
Driving on the highway is boring for the most part. We drove, hit construction, drove, hit more construction. Those people in New York State and Pennsylvania really love road construction. We were somewhere between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre when my daughter’s smart phone decided to reboot for no particular reason. Only it didn’t. Reboot, that is. It froze on the start up screen no matter what she did. This is a bad development since we were on the road and of course Verizon no longer has either replacement or loaner phones in any of their company owned stores.
Being the resourceful guy I am, I suggested we get lunch and then find a Verizon store to see what we could do. Which we did. What they could do was, since the phone was still under warranty, send us a replacement. Not only that, but they could send it to the hotel in Pearl, MS where we would be in 24 or so hours. One of the nice things about the 21st Century. This took about 40 minutes to arrange and then I decided that she needed an emergency phone. No way was she going to be without some sort of phone while we were on the road. Call me an over protective dad. Feel free, I’ll just ignore you. I asked the nice guy at the Verizon store where I could get a throw away phone. He pointed back over his shoulder and said, “Walmart”.
That took another half hour while I asked a sales guy for the cheapest phone and plan, he set it up for us, and I made sure it worked. Then we were on the road again.
Boy, Pennsylvania is big.
So is Virginia. We finally made it to Salem about two hours later than the plan called for, but we made it. We got the little fellow (Fred, BTW) into the room, followed by dinner for us. The cat is none the worse for wear, apparently does not hold grudges, and found a nice spot in the room. Fortunately for me, the room was small enough that there was no place for him to hide. He didn’t even put up a fight when it came time to leave this morning. He mew somewhat pathetically, but he quickly quieted down and napped most of the day.
Today’s adventure will go up today, although I must say that compared to Day 1, it’s pretty boring. What wasn’t boring was the conversations we had while driving. For those of you who know me well, my daughter is pretty much a clone of me. Well, a very pretty clone, at least she doesn’t LOOK like me. She has the same sense of humor (for which I thank my mother) and thinks along the same lines of logic. Politically, we’re not much alike, but I see glimmers of reasonableness under the piles of liberal think that she had dumped on her in school. Once she has established herself in Texas and in her work life, I think some of her idealism will go away. Not all of it I hope, but some of it. Too much trust and compassion is not necessarily a good thing, but she’s going to have to learn that on her own.
Too my friends who wonder why I drove through their area without calling, I apologize. Even with out the Day One adventures factored in we were on a tight schedule.