Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Our first night at home

After several days of moving stuff, Hunter and I made the move ourselves as of last evening. I slept better last night thanI have in a few months, despite it being on a sleeping bag thrown over a still-plastic-wrapped mattress. The place is in total chaos but I have a coffeemaker and my toothbrush, and Hunter has his food and water, so we're okay for right now.

Hunter is also coping well with his first day alone in the place - the ugly couch delivery was this morning so I had a chance to go back and check on him, and both times I left he was more interested in getting back to his cheesy Kong than in my whereabouts. I'm sure it helped that I brought him over several times these last few days.

I love my big windows and my warm wood floors and my clean carpets and my nice new kitchen appliances and a great shower with oodles of hot water - I am officially sold on city water with unlimited use! Unpacking and sorting will take time but I feel like we've landed safely and in a place we can call home for a while. We have a lot to be grateful for, main among which are all of you dear friends. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Moving day, again

After a weekend spent moving things to the new place with Dirk & Kari (all the stuff they had stored for me) and with Michele & Chuck (all the stuff I had shipped from back East), today is the big moving day. At least I think it is - my boss Deeta's son Brady (home from college for the week) left here this morning with the U-Haul truck and I haven't heard a word since. I figure if he was dead in a ditch someone would have called us by now, so my assumption is that my storage locker out in the Valley is currently being dismantled and all that stuff will appear in my living room by tonight. I'm also sending him on side trips to pick up a few other pieces that have wandered here and there.

Deeta said to me this morning that if it would feel better to me to go along out there with Brady, it was okay for me to be gone from work...I said why in the world would I want to do that when I could hand him $200, a gas card and my house key and let the magic happen!?!?!?

With the money I saved on movers, I have bought a truly ugly couch which is delivered on Wednesday. On Friday, it's out to the Valley to pick up the Grand Am where it's parked at George and Becky's, and getting snow tires put on it. So then I can drive it back here to town. By Friday they should also have the programming done on my fast internet connection - the phone company had an incredible deal on local/longdist/DSL and I should be able to pick up that equipment and take it home to hook up. On Fri or Sat, Mary Ann and John are bringing a few more furniture items over. On Monday morning, the TV dish gets moved. (On Monday night, Keith will not be speaking to me unless he's managed to get his own dish by then - the same phone company has a great deal on all of the above plus a dish install.)

And with that it's all over except the unpacking, which with FOP deadlines looming and a trip East for the holidays (hey, didn't I just leave there?) I figure the unpacking will start sometime in January.

In comparison - Hunter visited the place yesterday and pooped in the yard, so he's all moved in.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Moose encounter

In 23 years I've had many encounters but never felt seriously endangered or without some escape, never been faced with a direct and protracted attack until tonight, in the dark woods as we took our usual quick trail walk for last outs before bed. It was terrifying. We are unhurt and I am bewildered as to how that is; not sure how we are even alive except for my bullheaded dog, who fought and chased and fought some more - on the one hand it maybe saved us both, but I also couldn't get him to break off and come back to me. It went on for about 15 minutes, up and down trail and through the snowy woods, and somehow in that black spruce forest bog with tons of stumps and deadfall, his leash never snagged on anything--that would have been the end of him. Hunter took six charges that I was able to see, and successfully cut off both of the charges that came at me. Now I know how it feels to think death is coming in a few seconds. It actually feels kind of awful, although there was kind of a stop-motion calm the second time she ran at me, when I thought okay, well, then this is how it ends. Left my stomach back on the trail.

Once they had fought and chased back and forth quite a while, the moose walked up into someone's backyard and Hunter didn't give chase - she came back and charged him again once, but I think she was sick of it, I think he was sick of it, and I know I was sick of it. Once Hunter began to look back at me a little more frequently I felt that he must not perceive her as an extreme threat, so I carefully made my way through the snow up to where he stood - still closer to her than I wanted to be, but we were getting close to streets and traffic and I was afraid I'd never get him back if I didn't act soon - and got him by the leash and led him home.

I would expect that sort of aggression from a moose defending young, but from the distance we covered in this, I don't think that was the issue (and to walk home we would go back past where it started, and I think a mother wouldn't have let us do that). I wonder if it had been harassed by either people or dogs earlier in the day and when we stumbled past her it was just the last straw.

What I didn't expect is that it would go on and on, but that was probably Hunter's fault - had he turned tail and run, she might not have chased him far, and I might have had an easier time retreating too. But that's okay - any safe outcome is okay. The second time she ran at me I was in an open area with nothing to hide behind, I saw her front hooves start coming up high, everything in my head got quiet for what seemed like a long time as I realized those jackhammers were going to land on me with at least 600 pounds behind them - and then there was just a black flash in front of me and she wheeled and went after him instead.

I also learned that a woman screaming for 15-20 minutes gets no attention from anyone in the houses along that trail. I love the city.

Friday, November 05, 2004

We have our landing spot for now

I rented a house today and we move in on the 20th. It's a small, zero lot line home on a quiet street not far from where we're currently housesitting. Although I never wanted to live in the city, this area is where I feel most comfortable. It's a good location in terms of just trying to pull myself in, conserve and be small... It's just .8 mi to Kari & Dirk's house, 1.4 mi to Keith's, 2 mi to the large parkland area where we walk daily, 2.5 mi to the FOP office and 3.5 mi to work. The young woman who owns it has just bought and moved into the house next door, and done a lot of work on this place to retain as an investment property. Everything is new inside - new sheetrock, new carpeting upstairs and new wood and tile floors downstairs, new kitchen appliances, new bathroom tile and fixtures. It's just plain NEW and she did all that herself. It has a fenced backyard with a little berry patch and a garden spot (well, it's -5 degrees here tonight and we had sixteen inches of snow this week, so the garden spot is theoretical). There is a lighted, newly carpeted 4-foot crawl space under the whole house so plenty of storage.

It's small, but the floor plan is open and sunny with large southern exposure windows. I've had a stressful time with this decision, scared because it's way more than I wanted to pay and it will be a tough stretch. However, I have work opportunities in a second job if it turns out that I need it to make the rent. But it's good for Hunter and I know it will be good for my mom to feel secure and comfortable when she comes to spend the next several months here. And the two of them are why I decided to do it. A lot of work remains for me to get all my stuff that's scattered here and there over 50 mi, move in, and then figure out what else needs doing.