Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We Made It...

Wow well that was an adventure and a half just to get here!  Where to begin...
I suppose with the ordeal of moving everything into storage.   Murphy's Law was in full effect, as it had been during our whole last week in Toronto.   Stress levels were *just* beginning to level out after getting back from Ottawa with all the proper stamps and signatures for the cats.  We were pretty much all packed, save a few loose ends, garbage and a few old chairs etc..that the landlord agreed to take care of.  Fitting all of our "lives" into a few bags, we really did follow the "take only what you need to survive" train of thinking.  Well, mostly.  We *did* pack a few frivolous things, but they fit in our luggage so why not?!  

We had a van rented for a few hours, and estimated a couple of loads for storage and we had a  small load to drop off at a couple people's places.  Then we were an hour late getting the rental, due to crazy circumstances.  THEN it began snowing (it was already evening).  Yup, we left the morning after the first winter storm.  We got the first load into storage, had packed up the second load and they found out the storage place was now CLOSED.  In hindsight, of course we should have checked to see if they had specific hours or were open 24 hrs before booking.  But we got all turned around in our schedule because of my Ottawa trip so we didn't think of it.  Our friend (who also is with us now, as him and his wife helped us bring the cats) said it was okay to keep it all at his place and they'll move it when they get back.  Then we still had to do the final trip to a couple of people's places.  By the time it was all done and the van returned it was about 2am.  We had to be at the airport by 6:30-7am.  Sleep is for the weak.  We kinda snoozed for an hour, after a picnic dinner of leftover cheese, crackers, apples and wine.  Then it was time to scoop up the kitties into their carriers and be on our way.  I felt really bad that we didn't have time to clean up the place better.  We were working until about 4am trying to sort out the rest, last minute stuff that's always there when you do a move.  I honestly gave up as there wasn't anywhere else to put (or take) anything left behind.  It was all junk or half-opened bottles of fridge stuff.  Still, our landlords were super great and I didn't want to have to leave it that way:(  Guilty feelings followed, and still linger...

What it looked like outside as we were piling into the cab to the airport.  
We got to the airport later than we wanted to, of course.  The cats actually went into the carriers quite easily, compared to the vet trip the week before.  By this I mean I have no *new* scratches or bites.  But Yin proved to be the stressed out "get me outta this cage!" cat for pretty much the whole trip.  They were quiet whilst moving about through the checkout.  One of our bags was slightly overweight so we spent a few minutes shifting stuff around so we didn't have to pay the extra $100 fee.  Instead we only had to pay $20, which we expected as we did have an extra bag to check.  One of our friends had a bag of ours as "their" bag, but we still had three checked bags.  Oh well, we got to bring all the things and didn't get stopped by customs in Toronto or CR.

So, you know how you have to go through security, and put all your bags on the conveyor belt to go through the x-ray?  Well.  Traveling with 4 cats made that experience quite interesting, and also insanely stressful.  Actually, I was so tired that I was kind of on autopilot, which really helped level off my stress so I didn't freak out.  We can't put the cats through the x-rays.  So we have to take them out of the carriers, carry them to the other side of the security poles, and wait for the bag to come through before putting them safely back into the carrier.  I'm super glad I brought a towel.  Did I mention one of my cats used to be feral?  I'm a pretty good cat wrangler, though I haven't really used those skills on a daily basis in a couple years, since I quit working at vet clinics.  Being sleepy helped me because my automatic brain knew what to do and I just took it for a matter of fact, like "oh, this is what I'm doing now..okay.".  I got Yin around and back into the carrier.  Then I turned around to go back to do the same for the other cats.  One of the guards stopped me and told me I can't go back.  The look on my friends' faces were sheer panic...no way they can guarantee the safety of getting the cats out, holding them still and putting them back in.  I pleaded with the guard, and the other guard saw what was going on and said it was okay, that after I got all the cats back into their carriers I just had to go through the super body scan security machine.  Fine.  I can do that.  So as quickly and efficiently as possible when sleep deprived and stressed out, I got each cat safely through security and back into their carriers.  

We made it to the gate within minutes of boarding.  Whew!  Yin continued to fuss during most of the flight, but I had her under my seat so I could keep an eye on her.  The other cats were pretty much frozen the whole time:/  Not ideal as I'm sure they were scared outta their wits, but better than them ALL screaming.  

As we landed, I then worried I would have to repeat the cat wrangling going though the final security check.  This time I was a bit more stressed, having had a little bit of sleep.  So we get our luggage, get through customs with no problems and head to the final security check.  As we approached the conveyor belt,  I motioned to one of the guards.  I showed him my fancy expensive paperwork for the cats, and said in my limited Spanish "Cuatros gatos" as I pointed to the papers and the cat carriers behind me being held by Dan and our friends.  His eyes widened as he looked at them, said "Cuatros?!", and slightly amused by my attempt to communicate, he waved us through saying (in English) "quickly, quickly".  I said a huge relieved "Gracias!" and we put the luggage on the belt and walked through with the cats, safe in their carriers.  On the other side, the paperwork was stamped and we were set.  It was only at that point where I finally breathed a sigh of relief.  We're here.  We ALL made it.  

Now, I don't want to make this post too long..it's been six days since we got here to Costa Rica, and five days we've been in Nosara.  Stuff has happened (nothing bad), but I'll save that for tomorrow's post.  It's taken this long to secure a decent internet connection (more on that later!) so that's why I haven't posted sooner.  Suffice it to say there are puppies, kittens, cats and dogs, all living together (mostly) in peace.  Our cats are still secluded in one room, and are slowly getting used to the smells and sounds!

More to follow.  I'll leave you with these pictures :)

Our first day living at the rescue, we acquired 4 new kittens and 3 pups.  Soon they were happy playing together:)  Happy to say the pups have all found homes and the kittens are being fostered by an awesome supporter of NAC 

A couple days after being here, we were finally able to make it down to the beach for sunset.  Then we all had a lovely dinner at a local beach restaurant

Only *some* of the many kittens here right now that are up for adoption.  Interested??  

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