September 14, 2012 by Last Star blog
This week we are away from the boat taking care of one of the last chapters in preparation. We are taking Patricia’s little red VW Bug to Florida for it to stay in my mom’s garage. It will live for a year tucked away from the elements. The drive down yesterday was a brutal sprint. We left the marina at about 5:30 AM and arrived at my mom’s at 10:00 PM after approximately 1100 miles. We traded the cats from my truck to Patricia’s car about mid-way when we were getting gas so everyone would have a change of scenery and company.
I nearly lost Mini crossing the Potomac on 495! Early on they were roaming the entire truck incessantly and while crossing the bridge she elected to climb over my shoulders (naturally) and down my left arm and up the armrest of the driver’s door. I keep the GPS in the lower left corner of the windshield and it was giving her some trouble negotiating the turn between the end of the door’s armrest, the steering wheel and onto the dash. Now mind you all this activity is just a bit distracting while driving in DC traffic in pre-dawn darkness while crossing the bridge just slightly above the legal speed limit. I don’t think the insurance industry’s actuaries have a column or a formula for this sort of stupidity. As Mini realized that the GPS and wheel and the slope of the windshield were creating a difficult situation for her, she elected to back up and re-trace her steps out of there. In doing so she put her foot on the power window switch for the driver’s window. Well the Ford explorer window does not hesitate in going down and when depressed once it will go all the way down unless you stop it. The sudden rush of wind and noise got Mini in the kind of state of mind that only a mindless cat will get into in a situation like this and she decided to back up faster to get out of this situation. Well it was now a race between how quickly the window will go down and if Mini could back right out of the truck and onto 495 in a blur of black and white fur to bounce once or twice before passing beneath the wheels of Patricia’s car following close behind. Please bear in mind that the top of the window goes down at a normal rate but the SIZE of the gap opening between the “A” pillar and the window was growing at an amazing rate. My mind went through three steps; the first was WTF? The second was OMG, as in oh my God Patricia will think I threw her out; the cat and I are both screwed now. And the third thought was sweep the cat, as in take my arm and leave no doubt about the next fraction of a second and outcome of this awful development. My left arm was on the door’s armrest and in one sweep I palmed the back of the cat and heaved her across me, the wheel, the dash and the cat bounced “gently” off the passenger door window (that window was closed and moments before I was under the impression the cat was trying to get to the other side–problem solved for everybody). While Mini was getting out of the foot-well of the passenger side I was calmly raising the window again on my side and now battling a tornado of cat hair swirling around the car from the +70 mph maelstrom from the lowered window. Patricia says that cats will shed when stressed; if Mini knew how close she came to becoming a road-pizza she would be bald. I can still see in my mind’s eye that clumsy cat backing up to her death while that gap was just growing wider and wider while the wind noise increased adding to her fear. The life of a ship captain is tough, even tougher when you have to play hero at Oh-Dark-Thirty and get no credit for my cat-like reflexes. I think I’ll start a pool or an over-under on Mini’s longevity or chances of survival.
The rest of the day was not nearly as exciting thankfully. The highway is still a barren wasteland of fast-food and Cracker Barrel restaurants. For those familiar, the “South of the Border” at the NC/SC border on I95 has updated a bit since last I passed through. Patricia and I are now experts in truck-stop protocol and the use of “Cat” scales (nothing to do with our two felines) and the proper placement of your steering and drive axels. So again we learned something new. Anyhow I’ll post this tomorrow via the wifi in my mom’s common-areas of her complex as her own home is a barren wasteland in regards to anything technical. She’s probably the only person in the country with a HDTV and no HD capability; she has the basic cable package which is 3 local channels from SW Florida, QVC, Univision for all the migrant workers (illegals) and the Weather Channel, tonight is Packers/Bears and I’m writing this post! I don’t suspect we’ll have much else to add in the next few days. The return trip will find us all in the same car and that will be much better as we can talk, sleep and watch car hair float around the entire truck.