Leaving Connecticut – Part Two

20 Aug

Hi Friends -

Getting ready to leave Connecticut was so exhausting, you guys, that I had to give it some time before I told the stories. This time I’ll give you a taste of what it was like to leave my first forever kennel. Dad says this was bitter-sweet for him because the condo was the first home that he bought when he moved from his family kennel. I really don’t see the big deal, but he says most twenty somethings rent their kennel and Dad was proud to be in a position to own his. (Yes, your human twenties is late to be on your own, but we all know Dad is let’s say…”special” Woof.) Let me say this,  it really was a nice home, it had just become too small for our family’s dreams and we needed to stretch out in a big  “Dane – S” sorta way!

This all started pretty much as soon as we decided we needed a change. If you knew the Dane size load of things that had to be thrown in a dumpster you’d be shocked. We didn’t even think we had that much stuff crammed into the kennel. Dad worked really hard getting everything sorted into piles of keep, toss, donate and sell. Dad would go down into the land of the basement monsters and come up with bin after bin that could go to the dumpster. He sorted for hours at a time. When he’d find an item he thought was in good condition and needed to have a new home he would put it on the Internet and hope it found a home for a reasonable price. As time passed many of the items in the keep pile got shifted to the donate and sell piles. Even more time passed and the family settled on moving out west to Oklahoma. Dad knew this meant that once again he’d need to sort; after all, when you move that far it is reasonable to move as little as possible. The cost to ship what you haven’t touched in years, but may use some day does not keep a Dane fed, or in stuffies for that matter. Dad kept saying that he wanted to be done, and if someone would take everything he’d give it all away. I really thought that as the move date came closer and closer my bowls might just end up in the dumpster too. Of course that didn’t happen. (My favorite stuffie did, but that has been atoned for.)

There was a while where I thought Mom had given up and was tired of the place being a constant mess from upgrades to the kitchen and bathrooms. She left Dad and I and didn’t come back for DAYS! Dad kept telling me not to worry but I have to watch out for him. She has never been away overnight before!! It turned out he was right; she was just in Oklahoma looking for our new kennel. Mom looked at so many places to find just the right one, and she did find one they made an offer on, but it was already under contract and she didn’t know. She came home only to find our new kennel on the Internet. Lucky for us there is a great contractor in the family who looked at the home for us, this made Dad happy, and  he bought the house sight un-seen (except for Internet pics, and we know how sketchy those can be!).

Around the same time as starting the process of buying the Oklahoma kennel we put the Connecticut one on the market. Things started out amazingly well, and we received two offers to buy on the same day! Mom & Dad thought to themselves that they had perfectly manifested these offers and were very relieved! Of course I advised that they take the higher offer, which was well over their asking price, and wanted to close on the day before we planned to leave. Now, this sounds wonderful, right? Well, it could have been, if the buyer hadn’t wasted two weeks to find personal reasons to rescind. By that time the list offer was no longer interested, and we had to go back on the market.  We did get another offer rather quickly, but it meant we’d have to carry two kennels for a while. I really don’t know how Dad can lift kennels and carry them? They seemed to be pretty solidly attached to the ground, but that is what he kept saying.

Before we left for Oklahoma we had “professional” movers come and they took all of our stuff and put it in a big truck. I’m not real sure about this you guys, but Mom says it is the way to go when you take that much stuff across the country. My biggest concern was they loaded my bed and stuffies into the truck! I guess it’s fair for me to wait with the rest of the family but I don’t like the thought that maybe someone else is playing with MY toys! I wish I could say that the packing of the truck went smoothly, but I can’t. The problem was that we needed to shop price first and Realtor recommendations second. This outfit appears to have farmed out our contract to people who showed up late, understaffed, and apparently dog-gone tired. It took them several hours longer than it should have, even splitting the load-in to two days (Dad gave them his only key so they could finish before dawn and they locked him out by leaving the key inside rather than in under the mat.) and leaving items behind that they were told ahead of time were to be on the truck.

Dad tried very hard to stay on their “good side” by making a gentleman’s agreement with them. He gave them items in the house in trade for them taking a couch and chair out to a dumpster. This seems wonderful, except for the fact that they broke their word in the end, leaving everything right where it was. (This added to our costs by having to pay others to do the haul-away for us; we were already on the road!) I didn’t understand that the truck wouldn’t be there when we arrived almost four days later, but I guess it doesn’t work that way. As we’re writing this the truck still has not arrived (It should be here tomorrow) and the company  does a very bad job at communicating with it’s customer’s. If Dad and I worked this way we wouldn’t be allowed in public, ever! I’m sure I’m putting this much nicer than it needs be, but take my word, it has been a nightmare of an experience. (Editor’s Note: They arrived Monday, the day after this was written. The gentlemen unloading were much more professional. We will tell you all about that to come.)

I wouldn’t want to end on negatives so I’ll change the subject and jump around in time a bit to tell you a little of what it is like to drive 1300 miles, in two cars with human puppies, basement monsters, and Harry Potter movies all the way to our new home. I can’t lie, it was stressful and tiring for Mom & Dad but they have both made the trip before so they were prepared. Being that they’d be in separate cars they did some smart things like taking almost four days to drive rather than two, and they got GMRS radios to talk along the way. This really helped in traffic, or when one car needs a restroom. (It really was a safety item I was glad we had.) Mom did a great job of scheduling rooms to stay in along the way as well as stops to see family who live along the route. Dad says meeting family was great, but Winkie and I loved the hotel beds the most! There was even a day when I didn’t want to leave the bed they slept in, so Dad gave me breakfast in bed! He says it’ll never happen again, but he loves me so much that I would be surprised if one day, maybe on my next “gotcha day” he treats me.

Breakfast in bed

I’m sure Mom (my editor) will fill in a few more details for you but I gotta get out to my new yard for zoomies!

(Editor’s Note: There will be a post all about family visits to come. Next post will be about traveling with animals.)

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Leaving Connecticut: Part One

9 Aug

Hi Friends -

Life has been very busy for me lately and I’ve been laying here on Mom & Dad’s new bed thinking back, so I’m going to try to catch you up on some fun times we’ve had over the summer in the next few posts.

This story is going back to the final week or so in Connecticut. There are a couple of places that are a must see when you visit the Hartford area that Dad wanted the human puppies to see before leaving on our new adventures.

Mark Twain House and Museum Hartford, CT

Mark Twain House and Museum Hartford, CT

On this particular day we visited the home of Samuel Clemens. He ended up being a quite a famous author and humorist who wrote under the name Mark Twain. I learned that he was born in Missouri in 1835, which gave him the setting for Huckleberry Finn and wasn’t even famous by the time he decided to move his family to Hartford. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t rich either. The money they used to build their Connecticut mansion was in fact his wife’s. He did earn a great deal of money on his own through his writing and speaking engagements, but lost most to bad investments, most notably a typesetting machine that was probably puppy steps from being great but was prone to failures which cost him $300,000. That’s nothing to bark at and is still a lot of money today!

So where did his Nom de Plume come from? Well two places really. Mark Twain is a river boat measure of water depth. When the leadsman’s line sank to the two fathom knot (a navigable 12 feet of water), he would call out “Mark Twain”. As it turns out Samuel “borrowed” the name from another writer, Capt. Sellers who had passed and “could no longer need it.”

As we toured Mr. Clemens’ home we took in the sights of hand painted parlor walls, their pattern looking very much like what would only be done in wallpaper today. There were gas lights, where many families still relied on candles, and the rich wood tones throughout. All of this was interesting to my family because as you may know they are kinda book and history nerds. We moved at a nice slow pace throughout the tour but Dad noticed that I seemed a bit uneasy, it wasn’t noticeable to the other in the tour, but Dad knows my best and expects it at all times in public. He and Mom say the best compliment to a service dog is when people say, “Oh, I didn’t even notice him.” Dad took Mom’s advice and stopped correcting the small whines, or unexpected small moves left or right since nobody even so much as glanced our way. (Editor’s note: They glanced over every time Dan corrected because he made more noise than Casper, so I told him to STOP!) Dad took note that I was quite uneasy in the parlor as well as in the children’s room and the Master hallway. He said it was like a fly was on my butt, or someone kept bumping me. I was much calmer in the servant’s area and even wanted to try the brass sink for a drink of water. Dad laughed at me when I stuck my head into the bowl expecting the tap to turn on my command; it didn’t, I think we should have asked about that but it was a tight spot and we moved on rather quickly instead.

The most notable room in the house is of course, the billiards room. This happened to be Samuel’s favorite room. He spent much of his time here entertaining his male dinner guests late into night. When he wasn’t playing a game he was sitting at his writing desk, in the same room, where he penned his most famous works. As the guide spoke I felt comfortable enough and just decided to lay down. Dad looked down at me and wondered out loud to Mom, why I would choose to lay down on the job. The guide overheard the comment and told us all how much of an animal lover Mr. Clemens was; apparently he, and his family had dogs and several cats, just like my family. Soon after, we headed out side and I felt the need to move quickly past the back of the house, so fast in fact I forgot that Dad was holding on and I dragged him right into Mom! We finished the tour outside, by the carriage house. This gave other members of the tour a chance to meet us and they all commented how great I was to have on their tour. We chatted with some longer than others and even found those that agreed with us when it was suggested that I might be picking up on spirit energy and maybe even Sam himself was in the billiards room welcoming me to rest a bit. The home is as interesting and eclectic as his writing, and I would definitely recommend a visit the next time you are in the area.

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