Cross country moving is hard.
While I can technically say that I now live in Seattle, the reality is that I am still in that in-between place. I’m not homeless, but I don’t have a home. The move is still in process (saying “in progress” seems a bit too optimistic) — and at this point I feel like it is a process that will never end.
It’s been nearly a month since my boxed-up apartment in D.C. was loaded into a truck and driven away … somewhere. When is it scheduled to arrive? … Someday. That’s right, I still do not have my belongings, and no specific date has been given as to when I can expect to see them. I’m living in an empty apartment with an air mattress and some new furniture that, rather than making the place look warm and welcoming and excited about the promise of the home it may become, makes the apartment look sad and lonely, mirroring my own feelings at this point of my journey.
After weeks without a real home, without my belongings, without any rhythm of a normal life, I am truly beginning to lose my mind. The physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion is pretty soul crushing.
I keep reminding myself that this is only a temporary in-between phase — like a purgatory holding space and place before I move forward to embrace my exciting new life here in Seattle. I knew June was going to be a shit show and braced myself for the challenge. I just didn’t expect the uncertainty to run into mid-July.
The Journey Begins …
So, let me fill you in on how I got here. I officially pulled away from D.C. with a car packed full and a dog ready for
adventure sleep. I left the cats behind with friends, certain that a solo cross-country drive with three animals would be more than I could realistically manage.
The drive ultimately covered 15 states (#dcstatehood) and nearly 3,500 miles. Pippa and I first went to South Carolina to spend a few days with my grandmother, before beginning the four, 12+-hour-days trek west towards Seattle. We stopped in Indianapolis, Fargo and Bozeman along the way — drives that were long, but surprisingly manageable, if you interpret “manageable” to mean that I face planted on the bed seconds of arriving in the hotel room and was deeply asleep for the night within minutes.
Throughout the drive I kept thinking “one more day”. Meaning, I could manage one more day because it would put me that much closer, or I would actually be in Seattle, or I would be moving into my apartment (where my stuff was certain to be arriving at any time!)! Yay! One more day — no problem! But the mantra that guided me throughout my drive, “you can do one more day!“, is slowly shifting to, “I. cannot. make. it. one. more. fucking. day“.
… Then Takes Me Back to D.C.
Pippa (the best most wonderful dog ever) and I arrived safely in Seattle, and we moved my two suitcases and my air mattress into my new apartment. Knowing at this point my belongings had not even departed from the east coast (and let’s all pause to commend me for not throat punching anyone / everyone as a result of this news), I was presented with a window to head back to D.C. to pick up the cats.
I cannot begin to describe the guilt I felt leaving the cats behind. I only cried once throughout this move — and it was when I had to say goodbye to Pixie and Dash, putting them into an overwhelming situation that I was really not sure how well they would manage. While Dash seemed like his same old self when we were reunited, Pixie did not fare as well. She had lost weight and had an infected / impacted anal gland (just google it).
In other words, Pixie confirmed that I am a terrible person for abandoning her. She also completely ignored me for days to really drive home that point.
The cats certainly had their revenge on the flight home. They screamed the entire flight. Six hours. The loudest possible meow they could muster, every two seconds. EVERY. TWO. SECONDS. After not getting any sleep on the red eye and departing for the airport at 4:00 a.m., you can imagine how I felt when we touched down in Seattle.
The Animals’ Revenge
I immediately called the vet upon our arrival in Seattle, wanting to be sure Pixie was all right. Luckily, her vitals were all good and the vet wasn’t concerned — her anal gland wounds were cleaned out, medication was provided, and we were sent on our way. Sure enough, she quickly began to perk up and look and act more like her old self. The side eye looks stopped, and I am finally getting purrs out of her again — her way of letting me know that I was sufficiently punished for the abandonment.
But then, it was Pippa’s turn.
When I travelled back to D.C., Pippa stayed with a dog sitter I really liked, and she seemed to have a great time when I was away. Unfortunately, at some point either during her stay or afterwards, she ate something or was exposed to something that caused a full on vomit / diarrhea explosion.
Not once. Not even twice. But FOR 12 HOURS.
I cannot begin to tell you how much watery dog diarrhea I cleaned up throughout the weekend. I clogged the toilet multiple times due to all the soiled paper towels I flushed down. Just hours after returning from the vet with Pixie, I was back at the vet with Pippa for meds, hydration and special food.
Who needs that extra $400 anyway??
If you think I was lucky that this episode happened before all of my belongings arrived, think again. Pippa managed to explode on my brand new rug — a rug that had been delivered the day before and was still in the process of unrolling to its flattened state. For the record — there is nothing like trying to clean out a wet and spreading dog diarrhea stain when you have no cleaning supplies or anything other than paper towels and water to sop up the mess. (hooray for there being a Petco within walking distance from my new apartment!).
And Now … We Wait.
So that is where I am with the move, aided by wine and the local dispensary. The most accurate timeline the movers provided for delivery of my stuff is “July” — so this could legitimately go on for another week or two.
So how am I? I am tired. I am tired of an air mattress that is soft when I wake up and needs to be re-inflated every night (or every nap). I am tired of takeout food and plastic utensils and bottled water. I am tired of no furniture and wearing the same clothes every day. I am tired of a lack of routine. I am tired of feeling lonely due to my lack of interaction with people. I am tired of not knowing if my life will ever be normal again. I am tired of feeling like this may in fact be my new normal. I am tired.
Cross country moving is hard.