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2006-08-03 - 10:35 p.m.


Greetings from the middle of Wisconsin. Oh, the many excitements we've covered in the past few days. K successfully flew to Vancouver for a day and moved everything into the flat and returned on a redeye on the same day. The helpful moving company has denied all responsibility for their errors, and have even gone so far as to claim that our move to Canada was not international because, and I quote, "Canada doesn't count."

We have been through about four different iterations of border crossings. Our first was the most hostile and rude (see previous entry). But now we have dealt with the friendliest of former US military dudes who wanted to practice their German - our entire crossing actually took place 'auf Deutsch' on two occasions, much to our astonishment. On one instance the gentleman asked us about the carrots we were bringing into the country, completely unconcerned with the two live mewling animals in the backseat.. It has confirmed our suspicions about how completely random border crossings are - a power-hungry ex-marine-type can exercise whatever power he or she wishes to claim. Alternatively, the border guards can be respectful and helpful. Which experience do you think I will remember ten years from now?

We have also now traveled three day whole days with the cats in the car. The first day was a disaster - the second was horrible - but today we may have lept across another hurdle. No more accidents in the car, no more frantic panic attacks while sitting in the cages. They are not happy but they are accepting. By the end of today, Lyra was stretched out upside down on her back in her cage with all four paws in the air. Mizzy was sound asleep in a little black ball that made it impossible to distinguish head from tail. They are now roaming in circles through our hotel room, exploring each corner for the fifth and sixth time.

We have already driven about 1000 miles since yesterday morning. We left the River at about 9am in the astonishing heat, and paid a visit to cousins who live near Ann Arbor, Michigan. I hadn't seen these cousins or their family for about five years - they are the children of my conservative uncle (with whom we do not spend alot of time...). I gather that they also run a rather conservative household. This makes some topics of conversation off limits, which leads to some discomfort because I can never quite relax and be myself. At the same time, my cousin - who is in medical research - has a huge heart. I appreciated the warm welcome for both me and for K, whom they had never met. Right down to the fresh roses in our guest room. It was very nice.

Today we are delving deeper into the adventure of the Midwest - complete with a massive thunderstorm with straight line winds (the kind you only get in the midwest) and a massive traffic jam on the outskirts of Chicago (the kind that sadly are experienced fairly regularly in every urban area in the country). K is not so patient with traffic at a standstill. But we made it, and experienced our very first truckstop dinner - K had the trucker's breakfast special which involved a three-egg omelette stuffed with hamburger, a pile of hash browns, and a huge stack of pancakes. sheesh.

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