Day 22 – Journeys, notes

Tomorrow is another regular work day, and then I will be out of town for a few days. This mini trip is no vacation, however. I will be attending a gathering where I will hopefully meet people who will become contacts in my journey to new employment.

But whether it’s this trip, or a weekend away to my family’s, or a 2-week trip to Europe, they all have one thing in common: preparation. It seems to catch me unawares, each time, just how much stuff there is to do before a trip, even just an overnight one. (Though admittedly, if I know I’ll be leaving late the night before and home by or around noon, then what follows does not apply.) I’m the first to admit that my preparations are likely not the same everyone would do in my place. But it’s what I feel I have to do.

I live alone, but with my two sweet love baby furballs. I do not feed my cats dry food as a rule (though on long trips–a week or more–I do purchase the best quality dry food I can afford… it’s easier for the petsitter(s)).  I choose to give them canned or frozen/organic food. So when it’s time for me to prepare for a trip, I get a money order for the pet sitter in the exact amount due her (plus a small tip, the size of which depends on the number of days or visits she has been hired for) (I have written checks, and prefer to write checks for situations like these, but I have been “burned” too many times in the past. I write a check, and the person who takes it doesn’t cash it for weeks. Or M O N T H S.  And how much of a biotch does that make me out to be when I’m calling them a month later asking, “Hey, were you gonna cash my check anytime soon?” I do think that not cashing checks in a timely manner is actually bad social etiquette (or maybe that’s no social etiquette), and I’ve even had words with my beloved father about this matter. But I digress. I’ve decided that’s it’s worth a little extra time and effort (and annoyance, for that’s what it always is) to go to the post office during my lunch hour (when the rest of God’s creation comes out, too, by the way) to make sure that (1) the money is out of my bank account and I can’t unknowingly spend it on something else, and (2) the petsitter (or other payee) can do whatever the heck she wants with it. It’s no longer my problem. (I’m sorry if I sound a little bitter about this. I am. But I can’t use money orders for EVERYthing, so when I have to write a check on certain occasions, I am a little check-shy.)

So I did the money order today. After work (thank you, pay day!), I had to go shopping to get some things for the wee trip as well as for my babies. Now, I didn’t sleep very well last night because my kitty #2 was being a bumnut and she kept acting out, whatever, and I didn’t get much sleep because of it. So now, at 8:45 p.m., I’m literally trying not to fall asleep. Tonight,  before I go to bed (if I can make it, that is!), I still have to (1) lay out the basic wardrobe and things I will be taking with me in my smallest suitcase (I might even try a travel backpack if I can), (2) do the dishes (when I get stressed or really busy, I admit that I do tend to let these pile up, so now I have to rinse them before putting them into the dishwasher). I think that’s enough for tonight.

Tomorrow, besides work, I have to (1) confirm ride to airport, (2) finish packing, (3) set out cans of foods and paper plates for pet sitter/cats (I use paper plates when I am on trips, so that the pet sitter doesn’t have to clean out dishes with dried wet food on them (she’s never there when they finish, and when she comes back, they’re already caked, and it’s just too much to worry about), (4) confirm with pet sitter (we don’t want any last-minute misunderstandings or “oops”), (5) fill up Brita water filter counter pitcher (cats only drink this water… when I’ve used my last Brita filter (that’s a few months away yet), I will transition to the faucet-mounted kind… much less hassle), (6) clean up litter and sweep up any bits of litter on floor (I like it to at least look presentable, though it is litter, come on), and (7) prepare pet sitter note (I do this every time I have a pet sitter come. This involves something like “Hi, Pet sitter, thanks again for helping out with the girls. The food is on the counter, as are the plates. Clean water in the pitcher on counter. Here’s my number, just in case, and here’s the number of my parents, my local friend, who’s also into animals, their vet’s name and number, the address of the vet, the emergency vet, and OH don’t forget that if something happens, their carriers are in the bedroom on the floor and they’re not afraid to be in them so just put them right in and they’ll be safe and cozy and just get them out to wherever is safe and of course don’t forget to call me (you have my number, right?) if something does happen. Please scoop out the litter once a day and dump it in the outdoor trash. Thanks again for helping with the girls! Have a great weekend!)

Seriously. That’s what it’s like, every time. I should just print it up and be done with it. Have it laminated. It would be easier. But no, I write some version of that spiel out every time I go out of town.

Oh– there’s another one: (8) straightening up the apartment before the pet sitter gets here. This one is almost up there (though not quite) with “straighten up your house before the cleaning lady gets here.” The pet sitter is not coming to clean. But because someone will be in my home while I’m gone and I won’t be here to defend myself re: why this is here or why that is there, why there are playing cards all over the apartment (hey, we have wild nights ’round here), I want to at least leave the apartment in a semblance of order. But just barely. Basically that means bed made (comforter pulled up to cover sheets and pillows), everything picked up off the bedroom floor (no unmentionables in sight!), and cat toys picked up. Well, I used to do the last one. Now I just leave it because heck, the pet sitter is coming here to play with them, so she will need the toys, and then they’ll just end up all over the apartment again. So I’m pretty much laid back about this now. Saves me time.

It really doesn’t take hours to do, but because most of it can’t be done until literally the night before I leave, it’s time on top of an already short night, on top of finishing my own packing, and just last-minute trip travel prep.

Oh-I also usually sync and charge my iPod. That Nano baby (with $3 adapter, YEAH!) kept me alive and kickin’ through 2 weeks of air and plane travel in Europe this winter. I love loading it up with audio books. I will probably bring a paperback, as well, just in case.

So, it’s now 9:23 p.m. It’s taken me longer than I’d planned to write this post. A few friends have called a few times, and my baby girl #1 came to sit on my lap and heaven knows everything must cease during these love sessions.

So while I’m sure I started this post with a point, I’m not at all sure what it was. Something about preparing for a journey? That sounds good. Except that I ended up writing about how I am slightly neurotic (no?) about preparing for trips, especially when it comes to preparing the apartment for my pets(itter). I’d rather worry a bit before leaving than after leaving, though I always end up calling the sitter approximately once/day just to ask “How are the girls?”

I’m hopeless(ly gaga over my girls). But I’m thankful for everything and everyone I have, so I really can’t complain. Infinite notes and all.

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