Sunday, July 09, 2006

Moving day itself - Wednesday

On Wednesday morning, early, I packed the rest of my study. I started on the kitchen but it was too overwhelming. I was really tired and feeling very stressed too.

Our first helpers arrived at 8am. Richard had organised the start of the day well, with three open pickup trucks, the Antidote truck - which is rather bigger - and about 9 students, five guys and four girls, who were going to do the actual moving. The idea was to have half the people at each house, so some would be loading while others would be unloading, and the pickup trucks would drive to and fro.

To complicate matters, a large quantity of boxes we had been storing in our garage for the last eighteen months (for someone from our church who returned to the USA) were being collected by a professional shipping company the same morning.

We started with the heaviest items in the Antidote truck - the piano, which is going downstairs, and our fridge-freezer (for upstairs) and washing machine (for downstairs). Then a steady stream of other furniture and the packed boxes.

It was very tiring, and by mid-morning pretty hot too. I stayed at the old house to ensure that we only moved the items we wanted (we're leaving a few sofas, and there were one or two things belonging to our landlady) and Richard directed operations at the new house. Amazingly, all the heavy stuff was moved shortly after noon, and although the old house looked as if a bomb had hit it, we decided it was better to leave it there. So we all went to the new house, had coldish drinks (the fridge had only been on for an hour or so) and ordered pizza. We were very, very thankful for our assistants - about 18 in all.

And the cats?

Sophia complained a lot, most of the morning, then went to sleep in her favourite basket. Jemima kept out of the way. Tessie watched everything, crying a little. Cleo - the most nervous one - to our surprise kept climbing on or in boxes, being as involved as possible.

At 11am I had to go and rescue Tessie who had climbed into a bookcase on the back of one of the pickup trucks. She was very distressed. Tessie is our fourth cat, the one who had evidently been abandoned by a family with children when she was just a few months old. It occurred to me that perhaps this family moved house and left her behind... which would explain her huge distress, seeing us moving. So I phoned Richard (on someone else's mobile - I don't have one) and he came back, got Tessie in the cat basket, and took her to the new house. He said she cried all the way, but when she saw Tim she was very happy and purred loudly. Tim shut her in his room with food and a litter tray, and she was fine.

After that success, Tim returned in the next truck, with the cat basket, and we tried to get Jemima inside. The first time she struggled and escaped. We caught her again, and shut her in the basket. She started crying, and somehow managed to burst out before they got in the car. Then she vanished.

So the driver of the truck suggested Tim take another cat on his lap, rather than using the basket. Tim took hold of Sophia, and succeeded despite a few scratches along the way. He shut her in Daniel's room.

By the time we were going for lunch at the new house, Cleo had vanished entirely and Jemima was sleeping on the patio, but running away any time she saw me. Clearly I had betrayed her trust. We decided to leave them for a few hours.

We also decided, during lunch, to let Sophia and Tessie out of their rooms. So we closed all the windows and turned on the air conditioning. We were surprised to find that neither of them wanted to come downstairs to the main floor at all... having lived in a bungalow, they had only experienced a few concrete steps outside, and the slippery marble ones in the new house clearly defeated them.

After the helpers left, Sophia did venture slowly down the stairs, with much persuasion, but Tessie wouldn't even try them until much later in the afternoon.

About three o'clock we went back to the old house, and found both Cleo and Jemima inside. Since Cleo likes cardboard boxes so much, Richard put her in one with a few airholes, then taped the top. Tim said he would carry Jemima rather than subject her to the basket again. And we got them both to the new house and up the stairs, thinking they would both stay up there for a while. They surprised us... Cleo ran straight down, as if she had been using marble stairs all her life, then up again, then down again. Jemima was a little more careful, but managed them without problem. However they both refused to talk to us at all, and kept hiding behind boxes or under sofas. By that stage, Sophia was purring and washing, and Tessie following us around the house, so we thought perhaps it took awhile to adjust.

In the evening Tim had music rehearsals at church, and Richard and I were asked out to eat with some friends. We realised we hadn't collected a few essential items like toothbrushes from the old house, so we returned there to find what we needed, then back to the new house where we still had to assemble our bed! This is the pine bed we had as a wedding present 26 years ago, which was in the UK until last October, and has been sitting wrapped up in pieces until yesterday. Thankfully all the pieces were there, and Richard remembered how to do it.

Cleo had evidently decided to forgive us, and started following us around the house wanting lots of cuddles. Jemima continued to hide behind boxes, looking very sad.

Finally, by 10pm,we fell asleep in our new house.

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