Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Know Those Moving Checklists?

They don't work.

I have never read one that advised:
If you are moving a cat, make sure the movers don't pack the cat's regulation cat carrier.

Yes, this is an update in the trials and tribulations of Smudge.

It was Thursday night, and Bob and I were sitting on the couch, which would be taken the next day. The cat was cozy on my lap, but not much furniture or anything else was left in the house.

"Oh no," I said.

"What?" said Bob.

"Oh my God," I said.

"What is it?" said Bob.

"I forgot to set aside the cat carrier. It's been packed," I said.

Luckily, Smudge was oblivious to this trouble, but I felt as if I might be having a heart attack. How could I make such a lame-brained move? I looked into the closet to see if by some miracle the movers had set her carrier aside. No go. They came in like locusts, packed up everything that was not moving, and left in a couple of hours, all while I was going to the animal hospital to get Smudge's final papers.

I sent out an APB to anyone who had a cat or pet connection. And since I had to go back to the animal hospital the next day and since I remembered the hospital had a pet shop, I figured I had a least a start.

Sure enough, the next day I found a cute little Burberry-plaid carrier for Smudge, all for 150 RMB. "Will it meet airline regulations?" I asked.

"You'll need to check with the airlines," they said. Now that's reassuring.

I bought it anyway just to have something and was about to buy a backup one on Taobao, China's online shopping mecca, when another serendipitous thing happened.

A friend came to the apartment to take our orchid. I told her the whole saga. Turns out she just moved to China with a 20-year-old cat. She figures, realistically speaking, that cat is probably going to end her life in China. So she offered to trade with me -- her regulation Sherpa carrier for my Burberry-plaid item. She would still have something to take her old cat to the vet, but it wouldn't need to make airline regulations.

This should work. And how funny that the one person who got my orchid was the one person who just happened to have exactly the right kind of carrier.

And this is a long way of explaining how that night I ended up -- after too many shots of baijiu at our WSJ-sponsored going-away party -- in a Russian nightclub called Chocolate doing some pole dancing.

Sorry -- there is no photographic evidence of this. The Russian oligarchs who were shimmying next to me probably wouldn't care to have photos or video taken, said one of our friends.

I can say this, though. Move over, table dancing. For me there's a new game in town.

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