AT HOME IN HEATH: PRECIOUS COMES HOME TO TEXAS
One of the happiest days of my life was the one on which we decided to move back to Texas. As it turned out, the move was one of the toughest I had to make, not that I had any regrets. The whole thing was just a logistical nightmare. When I finally got back to Texas, and had moved into the rent house I called home for a year, I sent out an email to my friends, to share what happened during the move. The email was over 5000 words long. I’ll just touch on the highlights here.
What Do You Mean You Can’t Fit It All into the Truck?
- When the loading crew came to load, they couldn’t get everything into the truck – and of course, they figured that out after they’d loaded all the non-essentials. Resolving this miscalculation made us a day late with our departure and Bill had to be on the plane to his new assignment, at a very specific time.
- At the first stop for gas, Bill wrapped the truck and trailer around the gas pump. To complicate matters, filling the tank with gas was almost impossible. The automatic shut off would kick in before he could get all the gas he needed. He never did figure that out and when we returned the truck he had to have an employee of the truck rental company come with him to fill up the truck.
- Then there was the day we believed a sign that said we’d arrive at a truck stop about 75 miles down the road. NOT! Bill pulled into a station on fumes, much further down the road, and nearly had a heart attack at the price of the gas.
Meanwhile, Precious was having a Great Time
Before we experienced the joy of leaving a day late, I had reservations at our first stop for a motel which accepted pets. Unsure of how far we would get when we finally did leave, I didn’t make any reservations. At the end of the day, Bill was exhausted from driving the truck and sent me ahead to find accommodations with a parking lot large enough to park the truck. I chose a Holiday Inn, but I didn’t see a sign about their pet policy. Bill and I had been discussing the motels on the phone, as I drove along in my search. He told me not to mention the pets. Just go see if they had any vacancy. We’d cross the pet bridge after that.
I parked my car in front of the hotel and Precious peered through the window as I entered. I expected someone to yell at me, “Get that dog out of here!” Thankfully, you couldn’t see her through the hotel’s tinted doors and the Holiday Inn had a vacancy. By phone, I guided Bill into the parking lot. Then we sneaked in the pets. I carried Precious wrapped into a jacket. She thought it was a fun game. Bill was in charge of the cat.
I fed Precious, smuggled her back out for her potty break and then back into our room. The next morning we crept out for her morning potty break. That’s when I saw a guy with a big bulldog on a leash walk right past the hotel clerk at the reception desk. That’s when I figured out pets were welcome. I laughed until I cried. It wasn’t the first or last time on that trip.
Rain in the Desert
To make everything more interesting, we were almost washed off the road as we drove through the desert. It’s sunny about 80% of the time in Albuquerque and during most of the other 20% of days, it’s snowing. We went through on one of the few days of rain and I’m telling you it came a gully washer. I was all for stopping, but Bill was determined to get to Tucumcari that evening.
There was only one problem. His windshield wipers didn’t work very well and he couldn’t see the signs. So we put our phones on speaker, he took the lead and I talked him through the city, telling him what lanes he needed to be in. It was a white-knuckle experience.
As I drove along straining to see the signs ahead of Bill, my mind wandered to my traveling companion. I’d heard somewhere that animals could sense danger. I imagined her quaking next me and quickly glanced over to see if she was alright. To my amazement she was sleeping soundly. It was the comic relief I needed. Later a friend told me it was natural for Precious to be sleeping, because she could sense no danger as long as she knew her mommy was in charge.
Touch & Go in Tucumcari
The rain ended, but the white knuckles did not. Just about the time we got out of the storm clouds, the sun set in a glorious display. A few miles down the road we hit a construction zone that made the Albuquerque experience look like a kiddie ride. I have no idea how 18-wheelers made it down that road, because there was a concrete barrier on one side of the lane and a huge drop-off on the other. I was having trouble keeping my Jeep on track. I could only imagine what Bill was going through. At least it was a straight shot and I prayed my guts out.
When we got to Tucumcari we were spent. It was the middle of the night, but there was no room at the inn – any inn. Bill parked the truck and trailer in a residential neighborhood and we went looking for a place to stay. We finally found a rat trap in which to grab a few hours of sleep. We recovered the truck and left it across the street from the rat trap. I asked Bill if the alarm was set and he said he didn’t care.
The next morning we figured out just what a dump we’d landed in. Precious was as happy and carefree as she always was, but the same could not be said for the cat. That cat hated being in her carrier and hated even more riding in a vehicle. We knew things were bad when she zipped into the carrier the second Bill opened the door.
We made it to Dallas that day and the trek was over. I still needed to find a home to live in while Bill completed a year-long assignment overseas, but our pets had made it across the country in one piece. I can’t say the same for the truck, but that’s another story for another day.