Steevesie Road Trips: Not for the Faint of Heart

Aah, I love visiting family. Part sarcasm; part truth. I really do love my family, but something about visiting them brings out the paranoid side of my depression. I can’t help it. I try to help it, but my head does not ever want to cooperate.

Add to that the fact that we see each other maybe twice a year–they’re tight-knit, and I’m…awkward.

Regardless of how I feel about these visits, I still make that drive. I haven’t been to New York in a year,  and the last time I made the trek, crazy Emma Boxer Face was 8 weeks old–she slept in my lap a majority of the way. This time: well, if she had her way, she would’ve still tried to sit in my lap the entire way.

Who doesn’t love a good face squeeze!?

The drive up was mostly spent getting used to this new car dynamic. I used to say, “the more animals I add, the easier the drive becomes!” This was true, to a point: For years it was just Bruce, and then 7 years ago we added Jessie Kittie. She and Xander are basically a bonded pair. Or litter mates. However you want to put it, they spent our rides glued to each other.

Kittens for everyone!

Two years ago, we added Captain Sparklepaws to the mix, and instantly, car rides were that much better. A cat for every kid! There was no more fighting over Jessie, and Bruce was no longer forced to sit on any kid’s lap (which usually leads to a certain amount of torment).

May 2016, we adopted a senior boxer, and Maddie was just the best. She loved car rides, and our only traveling issue was that her old lady bladder required a few extra bathroom breaks, which really just meant the kids got more opportunities to run around. Sadly, Maddie was only meant to be in our lives for a short time, and with her passing last December, Emma entered into the picture.

Fast-forward to Friday, December 28th, 2017. 7:00am. The car packing has begun, and it’s looking good! I don’t always stay on task (what?! Stop! Seriously?!), but things were moving right along! I headed into my Mom’s basement (where the cats spend their visits), and both Captain and Jessie were sitting at the top of the stairs–all good things, since Jessie is the WORST about being caught and put in the car.

Of course, she ran. I didn’t want to scare her, so I kept my distance and tried to coerce her out with food (what big girl can resist a snack). No luck. Out of the corner of my eye, I see her jump up into the ceiling beams, above a light. Her usual hiding place at departure time. If you have never wrestled a 16lb cat, let me tell you, it’s an adventure all in itself!

The only way of removing her from above the light, was to back her out the same way she got in. She wasn’t having it. And then…is that wet? Warm, wet–did she just PEE ON ME?!?! Of course she did!

I got her out, and instantly she grabbed onto a wood beam, and was hanging rather ungracefully from the ceiling, while I tried to wrestle her off said beam. Again, this is one big lady, and there’s no good way of grabbing her. She fought the good fight, but in the end, I was victorious (although I will be honest, multiple times I thought, “would it really be the end of the world if Jessie just stayed here?” I mean, she HAD already peed on me). While bringing her upstairs, she peed on me again, so that now not only was it on my jacket, but all down my pants as well. Do you have any idea how cold it was in upstate NY Friday morning?!

Finally, EVERYONE and everything was in the car. And I was still on schedule, even after having to change my outfit (thanks Jessie). Away we went!

…Except that I needed to stop and get gas. I always do this. “I’ll fill up later,” and then I’m about to get on the highway and realize I have 60 miles until empty, and 800 miles until I get home.

I guess now is a good point to include our car ride seating arrangement: the kids are all the way in the back, sometimes with cats, sometimes without. The cats wander. My goal was to keep Emma happily in the middle row, on her own seat, looking out the window, being chill. I’m hilarious. 3 hours into our drive UP, Emma jumped the barrier and decided she would be sitting on the passenger seat. On our drive back to KY, I accepted it wasn’t worth the fight, and gave in to her sitting on the passenger seat (and sometimes directly on Bruce. He really hates her), and Bruce got to sit in my lap, because he’s about 100 years old and sleeps 99% of the time (actually, he’ll be 12 in February, and he sleeps about 98% of the time).

We were making excellent time, and I expected we would make it home by 10pm–our fastest drive ever! Mother nature had other plans, like lots of lake effect snow around Lake Erie. I was able to bypass it, and we were in the clear once more!

Of course, then we hit more snow in Columbus, Ohio. We were crawling along, and Captain decided he was getting lonely, so he came up to visit his buddy Emma. That, of course, lead to him wanting to nap in a warm place. His favorite location these days: directly behind the pedals! Have you ever tried to fight a cat out from behind your break pedal, while driving in snow?! Probably not. Do you know what’s more dangerous than texting and driving: Cat Wrangling and Driving!

With Captain finally located happily on the floor of the passenger’s side, Jessie decided to make her way up front. Why not!? Let’s all get in on this party! Of course, Jessie likes to chase windshield wipers. Should I mention again that she weighs sixteen pounds?!?! Jabba the Cat on your dashboard is not conducive to visible driving! So once again, I was trying to relocate the jello cat back to a location that isn’t my dashboard.

Which is about when I ran out of windshield wiper fluid. And when we hit 10pm, with two hours left to go. Thankfully, it was also when the snow subsided. My gosh, did I really used to do this 4-8 times a year?!

We finally made it home, after midnight. No children or animals were injured in the great road trip of 2017. I can’t promise I will do it again, without the assistance of Justin.

And then, of course, while talking to Justin this morning, he said, “did you see the 8 month old boxer who is being rehomed? He’s super cute! Stop it, Justin! Does he know who he married?! Animal adoption self control, BE STRONG!