Elana got to sit in a puddle of urine; I got five hours of shrieking cats. That was our drive to Cleveland.
First, the urine wasn't hers. The Boy had been running around in varying degrees of nakedness all morning, and during one of his bouts of "no pants" time also found himself in the front seat of the minivan, which in his defense is shaped just like a toilet if you have the imagination of a two-year-old. We at least were able to find an old diaper pad, which meant that not too much of the piss soaked into Elana's shorts, but that is the kind of thing that you tell yourself in a desperate attempt not to cry. Try it: "Hey, at least my shorts aren't completely covered in piss!" See, it just doesn't work.
Thinking I was getting off easy, I carried the cats out to the car. One was boxed up already, and because we couldn't find the other box, I was just going to let the easygoing one chillax with me in the cab of the moving van. She'd cuddle on my lap, maybe look out the window with her little paws on the glass and nose leaving wet marks behind... it'd be adorbs.
That particular thought balloon got popped by venom-coated kitty claws of freaked-out vengeance, as did my face as she Wolverined her way up it. My very well-meaning mother-in-law tried to help, as Elana was getting the kids strapped into the pee-van at the time, but (a) Spike doesn't trust Robin as much as she trusts Elana, and (b) Robin's not a big animal person, which you have to be in order to reach right into the spin cycle of razor blades that is a terrified tabby. I may have been a bit overly terse when I instructed her to get my wife. At the time, I had multiple puncture wounds that still had the things that did the puncturing inside them, so I only feel a little bit bad about that.
Luckily for me, a neighbor had iodine, because cat claws are right up there with toilet seats in terms of things that you don't want to lick or have shoved inside your body. Luckily for the cat, another neighbor had a box. And duct tape. Elana just went ahead and took care of that, and if she got scratched while doing it, had the good grace not to complain about it.
So she got to drive from DC to Cleveland in a pool of The Boy's urine, and I got to listen to a chorus of angry cat howls for at least five of the seven hours. They did quiet down on occasion, usually for long enough that I'd juuuuust started to let blood return to my knuckles on the wheel before some bit of road grit would skitter down the undercarriage, sending them back into a howling tizzy all over again. At one point, the truck in front of me started losing some kind of blue, padded cloths, sending them into the roadway. The instinct here is to avoid that stuff, even after running over the first one to no effect, so that meant that I took the van over the rumble strips. Let me tell you, kitties do not like rumble strips.
We made it to Cleveland, where I more or less fell into a coma for several days. On the first day here, I tried to help a ninety-year-old neighbor lift her broken, 400-lb garage door with predictable results. She tried to pay me as a consolation prize and then tried to offer me food, because the Midwest and ninety-year-olds are a little weird like that. Several days later, I'm starting to feel quite a bit more myself (i.e., grumpy and unhelpful), which is a funny thing to say at five o'clock when you are sitting in the kitchen in the dark only having had the two or three ounces of leftover coffee from the day before because you don't want to run the grinder and oh god no wake up The Boy, who bee-tee-dubs didn't eat his dinner last night and got up at least eight times complaining that (a) he was hungry, and (b) he wanted teal fingernail polish. No, better to just let him get some sleep.
Sometimes, for Father's Day, all you really want is an hour or two of peace and quiet. And, like a good father, I know that the only way that's going to happen is if it starts at o'dark thirty.
It's been a busy couple of days, and I'm looking forward to settling into a bit more of a routine. Elana has to study because she's got a job offer contingent on passing her national board exams in PT, so we'll need some kind of a schedule. I should probably also look for jobs; the unemployment people get tetchy when you don't do that.
Those needs do fly in the face of all the fun that our kids are having. There is a ton of stuff for the kids to do here, and I think even on the most boring day that we've been here the kids got to go on two walks and visit a farmer's market. Admittedly, said market had only one farmer, but she did have a brownie with Reese's Pieces, so that turned out all right. They've also been to the art museum (verdict: awesome, both because it was apparently great and because daddy got to stay home and try to sleep) and the pool (verdict: two out of three kids agree that it's awesome, but Little Sister, who has no real respect for authority figures and a dislike of loud noises, thinks that lifeguards and their whistles are bullshit), and we have at least a playground on the agenda for today. The Botanical Gardens will probably show up on the radar soon, plus more pool (sorry, Little Sister), the Children's Museum, the Zoo... actually, I'm getting tired just thinking about it. I'm kind of a homebody, really, so all the activity is tiring me out. Maybe I can teach them to play video games? All the sun can't possibly be good for them; The Boy is paler than me, if you can believe that.
All in all, things are good. I may have my work cut out for me explaining the proper term for the fizzy stuff in a Coke bottle, or how to pronounce "Monticello" (hint: apply the well-known English rule where when you add "o" to the end of a word starting with "c" the "c" becomes a "ch" sound), but hey, you can buy whiskey at the grocery store, so if all the friendliness gets to be a little too much, I know where to get help.