Thursday, August 08, 2019

Venturing Forth for the Very 1st Time

We were in dire need of fresh fruit and veggies, cream for our morning coffee and that food from whence the gods doth flow - yes, I speak of Ben and Jerry’s ‘Cherry Garcia’ ice cream. I went grocery shopping this afternoon. 

Turner Valley has a ‘convenience’ store, but no grocery store so I ventured to Black Diamond, a tiresome 3 kms (1.8 miles) distant. This is about half as far as to my neighbourhood Walmart in Calgary, and at least ten times more pleasant. The two-lane highway between the two communities meanders between forest and bluff on the one side and the sparkling Sheep River on the other. Traffic is light and except for a short stretch of maybe 1/2 km the speed limit is 50 kmh (35 mph). 

As you approach Black Diamond there’s a horse barn and a very large house that looks like a horse barn with big windows and a front porch. Horses graze around both. 

The grocery store itself is wonderful, on several counts. First, there are ‘farmer’s market style’ counters of fresh fruits and veggies displayed outside the entrance, fresh fragrant peaches, nectarines, cherries, blueberries, melons, rainbow chard, green beans, fresh corn, beets, and too many others to list. Second, the store is small, so I don’t have to wear myself out traipsing around a football-field-sized store - yet they have a larger variety of products than the Walmart! Third, they have an in-house bakery! It smelled divine when I walked through the door. 

There were lots of women my age, which I consider a big plus. I saw a woman of my age wearing a great Tee which said, “Oh shit. Did I just roll my eyes out loud?”  I laughed my way around the store. I need one of those.  

When it came time to check out there was no lineup. In all from leaving our driveway to returning home, my grocery shopping took an hour. I’m going to love living here. 

Monday, August 05, 2019

He Screamed for Four Days

The screaming started when Ian put our striped red devil, aka Hobbes or Beelzehobbes, in his crate for the drive to our new home some 40 miles (63 km) distant. Smokey was his usual chill self, as long as he could see me he was okay, though he meowed a few times and panted now and again. Hobbes never shut up. The caterwauling, no pun intended, went on mile after ear-splitting mile. 

Tony tried to comfort him, but he would not be comforted. In his entire life, he’s been in the car to come home from the cattery and to go to the vet’s for an annual visit where the unspeakable handling by a stranger happens, also needles and a thermometer up the bum. You wouldn’t like it either. He’s always a bit huffy afterward. 

After an hour and 15 minutes, we finally pulled into the driveway of the house. First things first. We took the cats to the room which will ultimately become my studio, put out the litter box, food and water and opened the crate doors. Smokey came out immediately and began an investigation of the room. Hobbes retreated to the back of the crate and kept screaming. We closed the door to the room and went to help unload the things we’d brought, like our beds, dresser, chairs, the basic necessities of living day-to-day. 

Through it all the piercing screams continued. Checking, Hobbes was still cringing in his crate, sounding like some demented car alarm that would not shut off. Ian loosened the top of the crate and took it off. Hobbes looked around and seeing a corner behind the litter box, made for it, where he hid. And screamed. 

He didn’t want to be touched, or held, or talked to. He was completely terrified, poor baby. While he’s spunky and full of mischief when he feels safe he’s basically a timid cat who is easily frightened. Even normally, an unexpected noise will send him rocketing to hide under the bed. 

We moved on the afternoon of Wednesday the 31st. When he was still screaming and had not yet left the room where he was first placed by Saturday night, I made a decision. I take a mild muscle relaxant/tranquilizer when my back muscles throw a tantrum and won’t relax enough to let me lie down and sleep. I know that it’s safe for cats because one of our old cats took it for years. So I broke one of my 5 mg tablets in four quarters, crushed one of the quarters and added it to his evening meal of Fancy Feast. 

A Relaxed Beelzehobbes
He gobbled it up and 45 minutes later he strolled into the hall and began an inspection tour of his new home. He hasn’t screamed since. I feel terrible for letting him suffer such anxiety for so long. But he isn’t holding it against me. Our bedroom is large enough to place our twin XL beds next to each other, making a king-size bed. Lots of room in the bed to share with two very happy cats. 

Right now our decor is Early 21st Century cardboard box. We still have to shop for furniture. But all in good time. The place is lovely. Ian has repainted my studio and the kitchen cupboards and new hardware for the cupboards is on the way. One wall in our bedroom needs painting, the living room needs drapes, and there’s wallpaper to hang… so much to do. 

First on the to-do list is to recover from the move. I am well and truly knackered. Until then I’m enjoying the wind ruffling the leaves in the silver birch just outside the front window, the breeze coming in the windows, and the sun in the back garden.  Oh, and no more screaming cat.