That Damn Cat

We’d been planning our Great Adventure to Mexico for two years now, but as the departure date quickly approached, we realized that there were a lot of holes in those plans, or assumptions made not based on fact, or decisions made based completely on a belief that everything would be okay. I’d been feeling less and less excited and more anxious with each passing day.

But there was still the overwhelming desire to move away from Portland, where everything has become over-priced and over-crowded. You can’t even take a leisurely hike anywhere anymore without running into issues with trash, parking and inconsiderate hikers.

As we were walking yesterday, Mark brought up the trip.

“I’ve been having a really bad sense of foreboding, the closer we get to leaving,” he admitted. “I don’t know if this is a premonition or fear, but my gut is telling me that if we sell the house, we’re going to be screwed.”

My stomach rolled over. I had been thinking the same thing, ever since we abandoned the idea to go to La Paz and started trying to figure out a new area. Something hadn’t felt right.

He continued. “Tell me again why you want to go to Mexico?”

I thought about it for a moment. “Well… I wanted to go away to somewhere new, meet new people…live somewhere cheap enough where I can focus on my art and writing for at least a year.”

“We can do that and not leave the country… maybe move to the South, where the cost of living is cheap and we can buy a house outright.”

We walked back to the house, mulling this over. It wasn’t exactly a new idea – it had been our first original plan before we took it a step further and decided to get out of the country.

He grabbed a notepad when we got home. “What are the pros and cons of moving to Mexico?”

“Pros… let’s see. It’s not the U.S. Healthcare will be cheaper. People are nicer…”

“You don’t know that for sure…”

“True.”

“Okay, what are the pros of staying in the U.S.?”

“We can work if we need to, so we wouldn’t burn through our savings as fast,” I suggested.

“We know the language and culture…”

“We’re already citizens so we wouldn’t have to go through that process…”

He looked at Loki, asleep on the couch next to me.“We can take the damn cat with us.”

I glanced down at the snoring feline stretched out like a drunken, furry couch potato. A sudden feeling of relief swept through me and I realized that I really didn’t want to leave him behind. “We can take the damn cat,” I repeated. “I can’t believe that’s a pro for you! I thought you wanted to find him a new home.”

My Darling shook his head. “Yeah, no. I was having trouble letting go of all of our stuff, but I really didn’t want to get rid of that stupid cat. He’s annoying as hell, sheds everywhere, but in the end I love him too much. Besides, he’s Crowley’s best friend.”

He started a new list. “What do we need in a town?”

“Hmmmmm…” I thought for a minute. “Well, it should be big enough where there’s some culture – music… art… writing…”

“And some decent restaurants…” Mark added.

“Sushi?”

“Definitely sushi.”

“But not a big city.”

“Or too small.”

“No extremely cold weather,” he mumbled as he wrote.

“No deserts! I grew up in a desert and I want trees and green things.”

“No deserts… You know this rules out Santa Fe…” (My mom had been trying to get me to move out there for years). He stopped writing and looked up. “Have you ever been to the South?”

“Nope.”

“Well maybe the first thing we should do is check it out.”

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