Monday, March 23, 2009

Traveling with cats and packing ... again!

I moved close to a hundred times - I think - overland and overseas - and yet it is the first time I'll move my stuff using USPS.

Because I am not taking any of the furniture this time (I am making a deal with my landlady for them, since it is far easier to rent a furnished condo that it is to rent an unfurnished one - overpriced that it is - in the current economic crisis ), few household goods (practically only cats' stuff: their toys, beds, to which they are accustomed, dishes, etc.) and not yet sure if I'll take a car - but that's another post.

I am taking cats - all four of them - and have found a way to fly them all myself, at once, to Atlanta (due to family's health issues I can't yet go to Florida as planned): on Delta and Cape Air, so I don't have to drive to San Juan.

OK, flying four cats costs me four times more than my own ticket (I wonder why: the two small ones will be stowed under my sit - in one container, small enough to fit there, yet large enough to allow them to nap huddling together - as they love to do anyway, while the two larger - and considerably older ones - will be sharing another, larger, container, being shipped as luggage in a pressurized, air conditioned compartment of the airplane) plus the added expense of four health certificates issued within 10 days of travel.

Here again: nobody asks me to bring a health certificate for myself, as if people could not spread infectious diseases, but cats, who spend all their time inside - save for the balcony - they are indoor cats - need to prove they are healthy!

Also, my two older cats are experienced international travelers and have their European "cat passports" - electronic chips with detailed information on them and their guardian - under the skins of their necks. The two Puertorican youngsters don't have those, yet - they are not going to Europe - at least not yet, so they need collars with identifying info instead, in case they somehow got lost somewhere.

This - long - weekend is all about packing. I found out that the USPS takes suitcases, provided they are locked - and it is a good thing, since with two containers of cats I can only take my computer with me as a carry on and no more than one suitcase as a checked luggage.

So most of my clothes and linens will fit in them. Books - except the huge, so called coffee-table editions - I plan to stuff all in large size flat rate boxes, thanks to advice from Jeff, who used them for heavy, yet small, tools, when he and Katrina moved here, and thanks to Miri, who mused recently about fitting a 50 pound of ceramic clay in each of them.

Larger shipping boxes I found at Home Depot, at prices lower than U-Haul on the mainland. There I also found stretch wrap and bubble wrap, but no packing popcorn and I decided to take my flat screen TV with me.

But supposedly Office Max has it, so off I go to Mayaguez Mall to look for it and also to look for locks to my suitcases. Perhaps Wall Mart? Or the stand where they make spare keys? (Office Max had packing peanuts, different kinds, different size bags, rather pricy, but.... A key making stand next to Wall Mart had a good selection of locks, including suitcase locks)

If I don't find it, an employee at Home Depot suggested that they have one and two inch wide foam panels, which I can cut to size to cushion my flat screen with - it looks like it might work, so I shall see.

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