On Moving, New Homes, and a Harrowing Incident Involving Cat Poop

We made it.

From our home of 17 years in Arizona to our new place in Minnesota, our move is complete.

Currently we’re residing in the house we’re in the process of buying. The owners agreed to let us rent until closing, keeping us from having to move a second time (my gratitude knows no bounds). And I’ve so much to tell you, I don’t know where to begin.

So to release my crowded thoughts and frozen fingers, I’ll start with the view from our sunroom, which we have designated my writing room…




And now for a brief recap of our trip here. Picture us in a car with one 13-year old arthritic dog and one very anxious cat.

Shall we begin?

Last Day in Phoenix

The city decided to turn off our water a day early. We were nearly done loading the car, but I hadn’t cleaned the house yet. (Yes, I know I’m under no legal obligation to leave the house clean. Even so. I clean.)

Fortunately I had two packs of Scrubbing Bubbles Flushable Wipes. Which I couldn’t flush, but whatever. They got the job done.flushable wipes

You’ve not lived until you’ve mopped an entire kitchen floor with bathroom cleaning wipes.
Use this information carefully.

First Stop, Flagstaff

We purchase “calming treats” for Merricat and stopped in a park for me to take a call. After three treats (the last one I shoved down her throat), they took affect and Merricat became… well, not a happy traveler but a more compliant one.

Merricat drugged

Fast Forward to Nebraska

Now why would someone fast forward to Nebraska?

If you’ve ever traveled through Nebraska, you’ll know it’s flat and boring and nothing ever happens there. And that’s where you’re wrong.

The eastern portion of the state (perhaps others, I don’t know) is quite lovely. With rolling hills and charming farmhouses.

Nebraska hills

Not a place you expect a crisis to occur, but occur it did.

I’m telling you, until you’re trapped in a Toyota Corolla with a pet cat who just pooped, you don’t know the meaning of panic. Quick as a flash, Husband pulls over, doors are opened, fresh air sucked in… soiled pillow removed.

As an indication of our love for humanity and all creation, I want you to know we did not leave the soiled pillow by the side of the road.

Per Husband’s suggestion (he nixed my idea of burning it), we sealed it in a plastic bag and threw it in the first trash can we came across.

Back in car, Dog looking out window, Cat acting like nothing happened.

Merricat and Freckles

Stupid cat.

Minnesota at Last

The next day we arrive to our new home in Little Falls, Minnesota.

The listing agent for our house, Donny, is there to give us keys. He tells us about a band concert in the park that evening. They do it once a year; we happened to arrive on the right day.

The park is walking distance from our house (truthfully, most things are walking distance from our house) and the band, all local, was quite good. For some reason we expected something along the lines of an old-time Sousa band, instead we heard selections from Van Morrison, Chicago, and Steely Dan.

Rock the park

The park – Maple Island Park – is lovely. The Mississippi flows through it (the slogan for Little Falls is Where the Mississippi Pauses) and there are walkways and bike paths throughout.

By one of the bridges we came across a young girl trying her darnedest to catch a duckling.

“Last year my uncle caught me one,” she said.

I asked her if it was all grown up now.

“No. It died. That’s why I want another.”

Duck photo

Don’t worry, she didn’t catch one.

Days 1 Through 7

We beat our moving “pods” here. Meaning we’re without belongings, but worse yet, without internet. We buy an air mattress at Wal-Mart and a table and chairs at a thrift store. A neighbor (Jerry) offers his truck to haul the table. Another neighbor (Buddy) mows the lawn for us.

We get our internet fix at the library and coffee shops and occasionally by using our phones as hotspots. Husband orders cable & internet. Router and Modem are on their way.

Day 8

Two of our three pods arrive. Several church members come to help us unload.


Afterward we gather our chairs on the front lawn and have pizza.

We slept on a real bed for the first time it over a week. It was glorious. Still no internet. That bites.

Day 9

The third pod arrives. This one contains Husband’s motorcycle and both our bicycles, all in perfect condition.

Packing cube

Still no internet. I’m bereft.

Day 10, Arrival of Modem and Router

Remember the scene in the movie 2001, when the ape people stare at the monolith in awe and wonder?


That should give you an idea of what Husband and I looked like when we saw the soft light emanating from the router.

Now, one would think that since I was without internet for a whopping 10 days, I should have accomplished a lot.

Like, maybe, I don’t know… unpack things?

Sadly, no. From the looks of this place, you’d think I sat around and stared into space the whole time.

Well, no. Not into space. Just my backyard.


From my writing room.



PS: The call I took in Flagstaff was a job interview for a position at the hospital near our new home (you guessed it, within walking distance). I start on Monday.

46 thoughts on “On Moving, New Homes, and a Harrowing Incident Involving Cat Poop

  1. What an adventure. Good work on getting a job so fast and the commute sounds perfect. Just one question on the writing room – how are you ever going to get any work done with a view like that?

    1. Apparently Indeed.com really is all they claim to be. I set up my resume a month ago and before we left AZ I had a job! And the commute is a dream, though not sure what it’ll be like when the snow flies. On the other hand, better to walk it than drive it?
      The view has definitely been a distraction. Perhaps I’ll become jaded in time. 😉

    1. We were so “on alert” for when the dog needed a pit stop, never once considered the cat! Fortunately all have recovered and Merricat has not missed the litter box since. Even after being moved three times, as we try to find the best place for it in the new house!

    1. It wasn’t listed as a side effect, perhaps they should warn a person? 😉

      The whole area is filled with views, that’s the truth of it, but without a doubt the view from my room is my favorite. 🙂

  2. Sounds wonderful except for the cat poop! My grandparents lived in Nebraska and we drove out many times when I was little. If this rolling hills were there then I don’t remember. It is very flat! Congratulations on the new job and the lovely home. Gorgeous sunroom/writing room and backyard 😊

    1. Thanks, Diane!
      We lived in Kearney for three years (it’s where our kids were born) and I could have swore Nebraska had nary a hill. This is the first time we drove through this particular part though. My husband and I kept looking at each other and saying, “This is Nebraska?!”

          1. And eastern Colorado is just as straight and flat as Iowa – have done that drive more times than I care to remember. Getting ready for another Tucson to northern Michigan cross country trip. Any recommendation for books on tape to get us through it?

            1. Oh man, that’s a long haul! You’d probably get through a whole series on a trip like that.
              I think Alexander McCall Smith is up to #18 in his Ladies’ Detective series! 😉

  3. Praying for energy for you. A new job, unpacking, organizing, getting to know a new town and new neighbors and friends. And taking the time to let us know what’s going on with the move.

    BTW, we experienced the kitty move including being reminded why we never kept a litter box in the house. With our move, she got away and stubbornly laid down under a car. It took us an hour and a tribe of people to catch her again.

    Congrats on the new job, the new writing room, and the ability to move into the home you’re buying while waiting for closing. You’re on a roll.

    1. Oh, thank you so much as it’s energy I need! On the plus side, I’ve been sleeping darn well lately. Pretty much out before my head hits the pillow.
      In spite of the poop incident, traveling with Merricat wasn’t the worst we experienced. Cats just don’t travel well, do they? Dogs settle in eventually, some even enjoy it. Our last dog would happily jump in any car with an open door, one time even the Animal Control truck that was picking up a stray! 😀

  4. Bienvenue chez vous! A writing room, a writing room, a writing room!!!! Everything else just sort of passed me by (fortunately including the cat poo). And congratulations on the job. And everything arrived. And the people sound lovely. And …. it will be wonderful. Truly and utterly wonderful. This new place. This new ministry. It will be wonderful (with bumps because bumps make the smooth so much more welcome). And breathe ….. 😊

    1. Oh yes, we all need bumps and I’m sure they are coming, but right now I’m feeling rather charmed. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket? … Nah. Winning would only change things and I love where I’m at too much.
      The writing room is truly marvelous. I’m not at all surprised you were distracted by it. I have that problem too. Every time I try to get a room unpacked and in order, I find myself drawn back to the sunroom and staring outside. It’s a hardship, but I’ll struggle through. 😉

    1. Well, it’s called a ‘three-season room’, but we’re told the elderly woman who owned the house made it a four-season with the use of a portable heater.
      Then again, she was a born and raised Minnesotan, sooo…

  5. I am so envious of your writing room. I am still relegated to an infinitesimal corner of a den in our house that is used as the universal dumping ground by one and all. (I compose next to a dusty treadmill that was last activated during the signing of the Versailles Treaty.) But enough about me. I am thrilled that you seem to be thrilled, and that’s the important point. Go forth and conquer…

    1. So I arrived here to respond to another comment and discovered that the response I left for yours (WHICH I WROTE AND YOU’VE NO PROOF OTHERWISE) has somehow vanished. It was a long, heartfelt response, filled with gratitude and well wishes and soft chewy nougat. Alas, it’s no longer here and I’ve no ability to bring it back, so instead I’ll say: Thanks! 😉

  6. I have two cats…I know that smell…and reading this just reminded me I didn’t clean the litter box yet today. Happy posting from your writing room. It’s lovely. I enjoyed reading your blog this morning.

    1. Put the litter box in the right location and it’s easy to ignore. I took the other path and put it in my writing room, meaning I CAN’T ignore it. 🙂
      Thanks for the kind words — I’m honored to be part of anyone’s good morning.

      1. Mine’s in the basement, so it is often out of sight, out of mind, but I have two cats and so I am pretty good about clearing it out once a day.

  7. So you have experienced how no signal backs up the inbox and how easily stuff gets lost. Like this post! Even though it’s old news (except for the job! Congrats!!) I enjoy taking the trip with you.

    1. Thanks Roo!
      The job was a surprise, I seriously had no idea I could find something so quickly. Kind of overwhelmed with how much I have to learn, but everyone is super nice so I know it will be great.
      I know what you mean about things getting lost in the inbox. I feel like it’ll be years before I dig myself out!

  8. C.J., What wonderful news all around. I think the cat poop was a good omen – kinda like a seagull crapping on your head. (Say “Thank you, stupid cat.”) Your yard looks tranquil and your WRITING ROOM !!!!! Roxie wants to know about the calming cat drugs you’ve obtained (hopefully legally) and would like to know where she can get some. She has some cat poop of her own to trade for them and wants me to assure you her stuff is potent and will bring you extra good luck.

    1. I never knew that a seagull crapping on your head was a good omen, but hey, I’ll take it!
      Tell Roxie that the calming cat drugs are herbal and totally legal, at least at this point in time. When we get around to it, we’ll send you some brownies laced with them, flavored with tuna, of course. No poop needs to change hands… er… litter boxes. 😀

  9. Hope you’re enjoying the midwest! I miss the green, but not the snow. Hope fall is as beautiful there as it is in my homestate Indiana! By the way, it’s a trek for you guys, but in Parke County Indiana, which is a county near where I grew up, they are known to be the covered bridge capital of the world. There’s a festival coming up too. It’s called The Covered Bridge Festival. You can enjoy the bridges year round though. 🙂

    1. Autumn is working out to be a stunner for us, but then I think anything would wow us after living in the many shades of brown that was Phoenix. 😉
      Thanks for the tip on the covered bridges. We have some family over yonder we’ve been thinking about visiting, a little sight-seeing would be nice.

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