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Road trip vignette — Part Three: Getting There, Being There, and Getting Back

July 22, 2010
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Two-fisted happiness at Ryegate rest area.

Our road trip from Tacoma to Clarkston last weekend, I reflected at one point along the way, was fun in the sort of way that we used to have fun in our law school years and during our early years after. It’s the sort of fun that’s fun because it’s spontaneous and scintillating because it’s done on time that feels stolen. This trip was spontaneous, an adverb we’ve not appropriated to ourselves for years, between my husband’s work, my health, and the house arrest imposed by our diabetic Cat. The axiom of my life for the past 12 years has been, I’m really very spontaneous, as long as nothing upsets my routine.

We set out on almost no notice a week ahead of our tentatively planned departure. We imposed our whim on the Cat, who completely blew his cover and turned out to be a brilliant traveler. He goes into hibernation mode after a few mewling episodes, and refuses to emerge from his cat transport unit until he feels we are safely indoors somewhere. I brought all of his diabetes supplies along, his insulin traveling in its own little cooler, and his glucose levels were as they typically are, with no symptoms of acute stress.

Because all of our friends at our destination point have animals of their own, and Coolidge has demonstrated nothing but enmity toward other animals in the past, we decided to stay in a Super 8, where he was welcomed without a deposit or additional charge. I brought his comfort food as well as his usual food, and his litter box, complete with broom and dust pan, and preserved his routine pretty well in all but environment. It seemed to make little difference to him whether he slept in a chair at home or in his carrier in the car. We brought our own food along as well, since my limited diet doesn’t permit easy eating in restaurants, and found that it was fun to be camping at the Super 8 with our cooler and microwavable dishes and their refrigerator and microwave. None of the furniture in our room was even close to waist high, so it took some fairly uncomfortable cantilevering to eat, but camping is full of mere flesh wounds. It was difficult to sleep off the flesh wounds, because the window unit air conditioner sounded like a C-17.

We had plans to get together with some friends who were also staying in Clarkston, but we had to cancel them because we arrived later than we expected, having driven around to preview some houses we planned to view the Monday following. Eating dinner later than usual, I developed a migraine and begged off. We saw each other in church the following day, and joined them and several others for lunch afterward. Fellowship time on this trip was at least as high a priority as scoping out neighborhoods and houses.

Lewiston, ID

The drive home was beautiful; we took the longer route to save time. This paradox was practical because Snoqualmie Pass had one lane closed, and the entire pass would close for an hour in the evening. So we took Chinook Pass and drove through Rainier National Park, where visitors in shorts and short sleeves frolicked in July snow.

I appreciated the sight of our home as soon as we walked in the door. It was pretty, bright, and clean. Of course it was clean, I recalled ruefully, because we had spent all of Friday preparing it for a showing the dolt realtor didn’t bother to cancel when he sold his client another house.

Whether we remain in our present pretty, bright, clean house, or move to a new home in Clarkston that would doubtless require years of prettying, brightening, and cleaning, we have embarked on a happier and much more free and simple stage of life. More on that in the next installment.

Home again, Coolidge, the Covenant Cat, reasserts dominion.


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