We have returned to Long Island from our wintering in Hilton Head a few weeks ago, and life sure hasn’t stopped so that we could relax.

First of all – our trip home was nerve wracking as we had our new kitties with us who were untested for long travel. I worried for weeks prior to leaving about all the things that could go wrong. Traveling with Phantom and Shadow was not easy, but they were more calm and quiet in their older age. Since we did not know how this would play out, we purchased little harnesses for the kitties so that if we had to have them out of the carriers (like for a cat box break), we could control them easier with leashes. One can’t do that with a collar, as it’s not good to pull against a small kitty’s neck, besides the fact that most collars are “break-away” in style, and would easily pull apart if pulled.

We test drove the new harnesses a week prior to leaving. They were not amused and spent countless hours trying to get out of them, by backing up (thinking they could back out of them), rubbing up against a wall (thinking they could “rub” them off), and hopping around (thinking they could shake them off!). Finally they settled in, thinking they if they went to sleep, they’d wake up and the harnesses would miraculously have disappeared. Ultimately they did get used to them … sort of!

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1. Felix – check out those sad eyes…!
2. Misty – sleeping the harnesses off
3. Felix and Misty – sleeping

The trip itself was a lot less traumatic than I’d imagined, and we made it back in one piece, though all of us – including kitties – were exhausted. Felix had one huge kitty tantrum at the Maryland House, when he went on a meowing jag, and flung water and his carrier “mat” all over the inside of the carrier. We gave him a “cat box” break, but that was not the problem. In fact – once out of the carrier, he begged to return there to his “safe haven”. Once we got back on the highway, he settled in again, probably exhausted from said tantrum! Misty also scared us once, thinking she was actually dead! She had pulled her carrier mat up over top of her, so she could not be seen, and was so sound asleep that she didn’t rouse when we stopped the car. We shook the carrier and she finally opened her eyes with that “wtf” look on her face – no worse for wear.

However, there was no rest for the weary once arriving home. In short: the house was not as we had left it. In all fairness, the hassles were nothing we couldn’t handle. Many who have withstood tornadoes would trade their tragedies with the small inconveniences we endured. But – we were tired from our travels, and it seemed worse than it was.

1. First of all — we had our upstairs painted while we were gone. The furniture and other possessions had been moved around so they could do the work. We had an idea this had happened, and our cleaning person not only cleaned the dust from those rooms, but got the furniture back in the correct spots in both rooms. However, there was more when we arrived. Nothing was plugged in. Phone cords had been disconnected – then stepped on – so that they could not be reconnected easily. Possessions were not in their correct rooms – or missing. Some things are STILL missing! Pictures had been removed and scattered about the house and had to be rehung, including installing new hooks. I’m not sure we’ll have a job like that done while we’re gone, or we need to be more accepting of how we’d find the house…

2. Our house was burglarized in early January, and the perpetrator came in via our computer room window. Our security system paid for itself, as the alarm went off after only a minute of him being in the house, and after taking almost nothing, he left via the window where he entered. Again, the person who cleans our house returned the room to “order” and worked to clean all that black finger print dust off objects (or threw out the things that could not be cleaned). But – again – stuff is not where I’d left it, and things are still missing, even a few weeks later. Despite the confusion, I am eternally grateful to my cleaning gal for all that she did.

3. Our swimming pool’s liner was leaking when we closed up for the winter, but it was worse when we realized that it also included the pool steps, which also needed replacing. That job could not be done until the weather got warmer, so it was barely started when we arrived home.

As the weeks have gone by, we now feel more at home in our house — including the cats. The pool is nearly done and our two upstairs rooms now feel like home. It was also fun watching them claim their new habitat, so that now they have new favorite places to sleep and play.

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1. Misty
2. Felix
3. The two cats together on the back of the couch in the living room

It was clear that Felix and Misty had never encountered stairs before in their short little lives, and Felix didn’t quite “get” what gravity would do to his method of going down and he literally fell down the stairs. The “what the hell just happened” look on his face after that happened was priceless. They both learned quickly, and I can’t believe how fast they maneuver the stairs now.

They love our pantry – looking for good things to eat!

“Felix, The Pantry Pest”

Just as we thought it was safe to come up for air – “life” had to interject yet another wrinkle. My mom – at age 89 – fell and broke her hip. She made it through the surgery with flying colors to get a steel rod inserted. She did not need an entire hip replacement, as it was not a complete break – just a fracture. She is now in a rehab facility, and hope and pray that she does well there. She will need motivation, however, as it’s a lot of work to come back from one of these breaks. But I think Mom is strong and has the ability to do this, but there still is concern. Another wrinkle is that their house is not well suited to someone who is disabled, as they do not have a bathroom or bedroom on the first floor, so time will tell how this will play out, and how – and if – our plans for this summer will be impacted. Mom — and her husband will need support — how much support and what kind will depend on how well the rehab goes. I feel for my mom – and her husband as they go through this. It’s said, “getting old is not for sissies”. So true…

The title for this blog entry is most appropriate as the ending sentence: Life Happens When You’re Making Other Plans. Life sometimes unfolds as it will, without any concern for your desires or previous plans. In these situations, the best you can do is roll with it and respond in the best way you know how. However, I keep wanting to say, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”