Friday, March 2, 2012

The Brady Bunch Experiment

Moving is hard. 

Especially the way I do it, which ought to be captured via time-lapse photography.  Kind of like glacial movement, lichen-growing, or the compounded interest I'm earning on my many, many investments.

For those of you playing at home, I began splitting time between my house and The Boy's last April.  It started with me and Jackson (my high-strung and highly vocal dog) heading out to the woods on Friday nights and returning to our place in the 'burbs Sunday evenings.  It was a great arrangement, except for my two cats Kip and Cali, who had to spend their weekends seething and staring into space, respectively, in relative silence.  Occasionally, I'd spend a Friday night at my house in the event I had Saturday in-town stuff to attend to-- but on the whole, I started thinking of D's place as my weekend home in the mountains. 

Sometime in late April, I was granted a drawer.

Shortly thereafter, I took the drawer ownership as an opportunity to go buy duplicates of all hair and make-up necessities, including (but not limited to) creams, powders, gels, mousses, products, brushes, combs, mirrors, balms, appliances and various accoutrements.  The whole toiletry packing and unpacking thing had grown quite tiresome and I lived in fear that I would awaken Monday morning to find that I had left something crucial (mousse, eyeliner) at D's.  And if you know me at all, you know I'd call in sick before showing up at the office with air-dried hair or unlined eyes.  The horror.  Several hundred dollars later, I was all set.

I loved being at D's house...but it had never really accommodated a girly-girl prior to my arrival.  As he once remarked, none of his drinking glasses had ever even been contaminated by the ever-present and dishwasher-resistant scourge of lipstick prior to my occupation.  So clearly we all had to make sacrifices.  I became nomadic and now responsible for laundry and cleaning at two houses, and he became adept at pre-washing glasses and removing wine stains from the furniture and carpet.

Before too long, Friday through Sunday just wasn't enough as we left the early stages of infatuation and moved right into the "I can't breathe without you" phase.  So now Jackson and I were heading out to the woods on Thursday evening and I wasn't returning to my house until Monday morning, and that was just to drop Jax off before heading to work.  It was wonderful, except for my cats, who now engaged in an all-out war for my affection Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night.  There was cat drama of the highest accord... plotting, grooming, stalking, chasing, biscuit-making, hissing, pfft-pffting, and enough subterfuge to make me feel like Pinky (or was it The Brain?)... and I felt horribly guilty.  I was also fairly certain that Jax was taunting them with woodsy adventure tales featuring large amounts of shellfish and bragging that I loved him more, as was clearly evidenced by my active and weekly cat-snubbing.

This continued for some time, with D and I getting more comfortable together and talking more and more about cohabitation...and my house in Lakewood serving as nothing more than an incredibly expensive cat storage device.

Finally, we decided it was time to conduct what we thought of as "The Brady Bunch Experiment."  This entailed packing up the cats and taking them out to the woods to introduce them to Gus and Boo, Derek's yellow and black labrador retrievers, respectively.  I kind of thought Jax could serve as an intermediary, since he already knew everyone and had such a calming demeanor (and that, my friends, is what you call "sarcasm"-- because that is one hyper dog) .  You know, he'd say something like "Gus, this is Kip.  He enjoys plastic bags and sunbeams.  Kip, Gus enjoys drooling and waking up at 6:30 a.m." 

So the weekend before Thanksgiving, we all headed into the mountains.  Two very angry cats that had been unceremoniously stalked, trapped and stuffed into traveling crates, then transported for 45 very loud and mewling minutes out to Derek's house...and two labs who had no idea they were getting new and very miffed siblings. And Jax, who just wanted to eat pork products.

Cali (my girl cat) was definitely the Jan Brady of the bunch:  Quiet, lacking self-confidence, prone to wearing afro wigs to parties in a relentless search for her own identity.  Kip was decidely the Peter Brady, quick with a joke, a fan of pork chops and apple sauce, and always looking for a get-rich-quick scheme.  Gus, aka "Mr. Perfect," served as Greg Brady-- captain of the football team, good with the ladies, and deserving of his own bedroom (largely due to a flatulence issue, if you ask me). Boo was definitely Bobby Brady, bringing a little goofiness mixed with a large dose of bon ami, and a fresh freckled face.  And Jax? With his golden locks, prissy demeanor and obsession with all things sausage-- well, he was definitely Marsha Brady.

Clearly we were missing a Cindy...and that was okay.  Cindy was so fucking annoying and who needs a new Shirley Temple anyway?  That's my role.  And no doubt between 2 houses, 2 adults, 3 dogs and 2 cats, we needed an Alice.  But this was not to be.  Although Jackson did make a strong and deeply-felt case for the necessity of Sam the Butcher.

And worked.  Kip immediately became a dog and ran with the pack around the living room.  Cali hid for approximately two weeks, as was her nature, and then surprised all by joining us on the couch to watch movies one evening. Gus and Boo were very curious about her and so respectful of her shyness, they immediately seemed like the big brothers she never had (although she's the eldest by 10 years).  And Jackson mostly ran around, barking and peeing on things, just like Marsha Brady.

Our little family was complete. 

And happy.

And shedding copious amounts of hair-- and that was just me.

So we knew it would work.  And one night two months later, after none of us had made the trek back to the 'burbs to what had now become just a very expensive furniture and emotionally-charged momento storage unit, we decided it was time to put my house on the market and move from the "I can't breathe without you" stage fully into the "Holy crap, there's no place to put all my things" stage.

That happens tomorrow, after weeks of packing.  I'm excited.  And nervous.  And exhausted.  And quite frankly, covered in pet hair. 

But now we're finally the Johnson-Ogg Bunch... and we found a name for our tractor:  Cindy.


  1. I love this! Your animals definitely come alive with this one. And, you provided such vivid and accurate descriptions of each of them!

  2. Thankth, Aunt Nithe Lady!

  3. I was describing your blog to RBJ...he cut me off and asked if you had posted a photo with all of the animals....he loved it!

  4. Love that Cindy !
    Best wishes to the johnson -ogg ( jogg) bunch
    Look forward to the adventures of jogg