Maggie and Seth Settle In

by Keith Turner on June 21, 2013

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Happy Maggie and Seth cuddling on the bed

After two long days for Maggie and Seth arrived at their new home.  Maggie settled right in.  It took her only a couple of minuted for her to decide that she was happy in her new home and started purring.  Seth on the other hand was a little apprehensive.  He spent some time checking the place out but still seemed unsure about his new surroundings.

Maggie after a bath

After I was all unpacked then it became time to deal with the cats.  Horrid smells surrounded both cats after spending two days in the carrier.  Maggie got bathed first.  She complained the entire time.  Seth on the other hand keep licking my hand while giving him a bath.  I had not given either of them a bath since we left our last apartment.  Shortly after his bath for what ever reason Seth felt comfortable in his new home.  He started purring.  He started to do all the things he does when he is a happy content cat.

Seth after a bath

There is a big window in the living room that both cats like to sit in front of and look our over the world.  Both cats have become purr monsters again.  There is a balcony they can go out on.  Seth has shown though that he needs supervision since he has made what looks like an attempt to escape below.  Two happy cats is all I was hoping for after such an ordeal to get them here.

Seth enjoying getting to know a new plant
Maggie enjoying her view of the world

My Epic Journey to Sweden

by Keith Turner on June 20, 2013


Sunday night I went to bed late setting my alarm for 5:00 a.m.  I can not tell you what happened at 5:00 a.m. all I know is that at 6:30 I woke with a start to find a text from Vanim telling me to call him when I got through security.  I was out the door in 10 minutes and to the airport in 20 minutes but I arrived too late to catch my flight.  The lady at the ticket counter wanted to reroute me through another city to Copenhagen.  I had to explain to her at least three times that I had to go through Washington since my cats were on there way there to meet up with me.  Eventually she found a way to get me to Washington DC Dullies Airport on time.

I was to fly from Salt Lake City to Chicago, from Chicago to Washington DC Dullies, and finally from Washington DC Dullies to Copenhagen.    In Chicago I had 50 minutes to get from my plan to the other side of the airport.  I ran from terminal C to terminal D and arrived just in time to make the flight.  From Chicago I was flying into DC where I was to meet up with my cats and check them into the Scandinavian air flight to Copenhagen.  I was concerned about the amount of time so I called United PetSafe to see if Maggie and Seth could be left at the baggage claim in the airport.  The person I spoke with on the phone told me they would be in the Baggage claim office.

Upon arriving in DC I went straight to United Baggage claim office.  Maggie and Seth were not there.  The supervisor spend 20 minutes trying to track down the cats.  By the time they were found there was not enough time to pick up the cats and catch the flight to Copenhagen.

It was at this point that I began to realize the complete breakdown on the part of United Pet Safe, the arm of United Airlines that transports the pets on the planes.  First of all Scandinavian Air thought that United was going to deliver the pets to the plane.  United PetSafe thought that my final destination was Washington DC despite repeatedly telling them that Copenhagen was my final destination.  United PetSafe never deliver the pets to the baggage claim, but to the cargo hold area of the airport, a completely separate area from the airport.  When I called PetSafe earlier that day they should have never told me my pets would be in the baggage claim area of the airport.

When I found out I was not going to make my flight to Copenhagen I tried to rebook my flight.  At the ticket counter I was told that all the flights to Copenhagen were full for the next three days by the SAS Representative.  The United baggage claim supervisor had told me that they would reschedule my flight it SAS could not so I went over to the United ticket counter.  The manager on duty had experienced so many issues with United PetSafe that he did not question my story but agreed to help me, put me and the cats in a hotel for the night and help us get on a flight to Copenhagen.

They had no problem finding me a ticket but had issues trying to get the cats routed to Copenhagen.  PetSafe was refusing to take any responsibility and therefore to reroute the pets through United Petsafe meant paying an additional $1,000 to get them to Europe on the first leg of the flight.  I would also be required to contact a different company to move them from the United Flight in Zurich to a SAS flight in Zurich who dealt with pet importation issues.  I did not have paperwork to move my pets through Zurich.  I certainly did not have the money to get them to Zurich and neither did I have the money for the other pet transportation company to transfer them from United to SAS.  Eventually it became apparent that dealing with the PetSafe people was not going to work.  At the end of the day United reserved a flight and turned control over to SAS.  After spending two hours at the United ticket counter nothing was resolved.  The United Supervisor asked me to come get him at 3:00 p.m. when he came back to work and he would walk with me over to the SAS counter and help me get on the flights I needed to.

I then took a taxi to the cargo area of the airport to pick up Maggie and Seth.  That is when it became apparent to me that if I had been told the correct place to go to pick up the cats I would have most likely made the flight.  It would have been close but we could have done it.  It took the taxi less than three minutes to get to where the cats were at.  I waited 20 minutes in the baggage claim area for them to locate the cats.  At the PetSafe counter they asked for my Identification.  I was then informed that I was required to have identification with an address on it that matched one of the addresses on the shipping document.  I had put my father’s address as the American address and Vanim’s as the destination address.  My driver’s license had my old Utah address on it which I no longer lived at.  When I dropped the cats off at Salt Lake Airport I was not told this.  If it had not been for the baggage claim supervisor calling around trying to find the cats and therefor making them famous before I even arrived to pick them up the PetSafe people might not have allowed me to pick up my cats.  I was told that without a matching address on the identification they were not allowed to give me the cats but that they would make an acceptation today.

We arrived at the hotel where I was finally able to let the cats out of their carrier.  I was about ready to cry from shear exhaustion and stress so overwhelming that it was almost unbearable.  I was so stressed to the point of feeling nauseous.  I managed to eat half a hamburger by shear will power.  I knew I needed some food in order to make it though the next 24 hours.  In the hotel room I had no cat box for the cats to use to go potty.  I took them on a walk outside but they still would not go potty.  Some of you know this but I had trained my cats to use the toilet at one point.  The next morning Seth finally climbed on the toilet and used the toilet.  I was supper happy that he still would use the toilet.  Maggie on the other hand waited to use the paper in the pet carrier so it had to be changed out again.

Seth using toilet.

I arrived back at the airport by 9:45 a.m. that morning.  The SAS ticket counter did not open until 2:00 p.m.  I called SAS to just insure that all was ok.  They informed me that I would have to make arrangements with United PetSafe for the fist part of my flight because it was a United flight.  I almost started crying.  I told the customer service representative that I had so many issues with PetSafe that there was no way I was going to let them transport my pets.  All the direct flights to Copenhagen were full and they could not get me on one.  I was also told that they could not help me because United issues the change and I would have to talk to United.

At the United ticket counter I was told that they could do nothing because they had turned control over to SAS.  I was also told there was no open seats direct to Copenhagen.  I explained the entire story to the lady at the ticket counter.  I think that the only reason she assisted me was because I pulled out the business card from the supervisor last night.  After I pulled it out she agreed to see what she could find out for me.  She called SAS.  I have no idea how she did it but in the end she managed to get me a seat on the next direct flight to Copenhagen that left that evening.  I called SAS back.  I got a confirmation that I  had a seat on that flight, which I just want to point out I had been told I could not get on by both United and SAS only an hour earlier.

SAS was unable to confirm the cats but told me to take them to the airport and check them in.  There was no other pets scheduled so it looked hopeful that I would get them on the plane.  When I got up to the ticket counter they were surprised that I had cats because they were not expecting them but they took the information and got things ready to put them on the plane.  I was charged $200 to check them on the plane.  The pet carrier was inspected by TSA and the cats and I were on our separate way to the plane.  Once we arrived in Copenhagen the cats were brought to the baggage area for pickup.  Once SAS was involved it became a simple operation to get the cats to Copenhagen.

plane I flew in to Copenhagen

I was so happy to actually be getting on the plane to Copenhagen.  When I arrived in Copenhagen and I saw my cats had arrived safely I was overjoyed.  It was such an emotional couple of days.  After finding my luggage the cats and I went though customs.  It took less than five minutes to review the paperwork and check the micro-chip numbers matched the paperwork.  The cats and I then found Vanim.  We boarded the train to Sweden and crossed into Sweden without incident.  Then my first day in Sweden began.  That is for another blog post.

Passport Checkpoint
Train Station in Kristianstad Sweden (taken when I arrived)
Kristainastad Train Station


Maggie & Seth – Ready To Go!

by Keith Turner on June 12, 2013

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Maggie & Seth

The final paperwork for Maggie and Seth to fly to Sweden has been completed.  Yesterday we had our appointment with the Dr. Ponce at the Avenues Pet Clinic.  In order to enter the European Union a Anex II form veterinary certificate to EU is required. Also a United States Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals is required to be allowed to fly on an american airline carrier.  After being at the veterinarians for an hour and a half the paperwork was finally filled out.  Maggie and Seth were then checked and the doctor signed the forms.  Just before the paperwork was to be stamped I noticed that my name was not on the forms, so the front page of Anex II had to be redone.  In order to import pets into the EU as non-commercial I have to be the owner of the cats.  I did not want to take any chance that the paperwork would be rejected.  In the end they forgot to stamp my paperwork before I left.

I had to return to the vet this morning to get the forms stamped by the vet.  I then had to take them to the Federal Veterinarian.  There the paperwork is reviewed and if everything is correct the Fed Vet signs the paperwork and they stamped with their seal.  It sure felt overwhelming trying to get the proper information and then get all the correct paperwork completed.  Last month they had to get all their shots redone after being micro-chipped.  The EU does not accept shots as valid unless the cat has been micro-chipped before the shots are given.   Now they are ready to move to Sweden.  It is time to finish getting myself ready to move to Sweden.

Rituals Contemplated

by Keith Turner on June 10, 2013

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Stacked Rocks, Ferguson Canyon, Salt Lake County, Utah

A couple of weeks ago I read an article online at Scientific American “Why Rituals Work”.  For many years now I have utilized simple rituals to demarcate points of transition or change in my life.  Right before my kids moved to Cedar City, Utah last year we preformed one of those simple ritual.  We drove as far as we could up Mill Creek Canyon in Salt Lake County, Utah and then hiked for a while.  Once we got to a secluded spot we gathering rocks putting them into a pile.  Each rock represented a happy memory.  As each memory was stacked on top of one others that pile continued to get higher.  After we had made a small pile we sat there for a moment and just thought about the last few years.

It was something very simple but that simple moment was very profound for the three of us.  The ritual marked an ending of our old life and a beginning of our new life.  Things were about to change for us in drastic ways.  As my kids moved to Cedar City we were no longer able to see each other as often as we use to.  The ritual assisted us in making that transition a lot easier.

The inserted map shows the trail that we hiked:

View Larger Map

I do not understand exactly why rituals work.  What I do know is that they make life transitions easier.  Now that I am approaching a new transition with my kids by moving to Sweden it is time for us to do another ritual.  Since it is easier for us to walk to the Jordan river at the present, this ritual will take some place by the river.  In some unknown way it will help us ease into this new beginning.

Rocky Cliff, Ferguson Canyon, Salt Lake County, Utah

Adjö Guadalupe

by Keith Turner on May 15, 2013

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I left my keys on the stove and walked away for good.  It is now official.  I no longer have any attachments to the apartment in the Guadalupe neighborhood in Salt Lake City.  With a great amount of relief I have very little left in the way of things.  I still have some things to go through and a few things to pass on to friends.  I have decided it is much harder to move when we are having to get rid of most of things we own.  I have risen to the challenge and survived.

In 2006 I moved into an apartment in downtown salt lake city.  I moved in with a suitcase with some clothes, a pillow and a blanket.  That was all I owned at the time.  A year later I moved out with an apartment full of furniture off of it given to me by others.  Sunday I passed on the blessing to a friend’s daughter who moved into her own place for the first time.  I passed on to her most of my furniture.  It felt good to be able to help someone else and at the same time to let go of the things in my life that I needed to let go of.

As the dust is settling a sense of peace and a new sense of freedom is starting to fill me.  There is something to be said for not having a lot of things that take up my time and energy.  In the future I want to be discriminating about what I decide to own.  I feel victorious in decluttering my life.  Now going forward into the future I want to keep my life free from unwanted items and fill it with people and important things.


Goodbye Car

by Keith Turner on May 5, 2013

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I gave my father my car and today he picked it up.  Now it would be nice to just be able to say that and be done with it.  I gave something away and that was that.  But it is not that simple and it may never be simple for me.  I am attached to my stuff.  There was the normal emotional moment of OMG what have I just done.  If I was not moving and forced to decutter my life I might have stopped by now in the declutter department.

I wont bore you with all the detail but it was not easy to get the car on the trailer he was going to haul it home on.  Nothing worked out the way I had planned, which only added to my feelings of despondency.   I returned with him to Idaho Falls spending four hours in the car some of it talking.  We talked over dinner and after dinner.  I was once again reminded of what is important to me.  I spent time with my father.


by Keith Turner on May 3, 2013


There are moments when I feel like putting all that I own into the dumpster.  Even after selling and giving things away I still have more things than I know what do to with.  I have to admit that I really hate moving.  As the time gets closer I feel more anxious about what do to with everything.  One moment I am ready to throw it all away and the next I want to keep what was just put in the to throw out pile.  What to do with it all, that is the question I ask sometimes.  As practiced as I am at getting rid of things it never get easier for me.


De-Possession of Clutter

by Keith Turner on April 30, 2013

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The Declutter of Possessions Party was a success.  I have moved many times.  It feels like there is so many more things to deal with than in times past.  In the past if there was things I did not want to deal with I would put them in a box, tape the box shut, and often the box would never get unpacked.  If I happened to look into the box I would often find if full of junk.

Vanim and I were able to socialize with our friends.  In the process we sold or gave away things.  The best part about the party was socializing with people and meeting people I had never met before.  Everyone left with something that they needed or wanted.  We even got to know one of our neighbors better.

A couple of days ago I watched a documentary called Happy directed by Roko Belic on Netflix.  One of the people interviewed talked about studies that looked at extrinsic goals and intrinsic goals.  Those with intrinsic goals were much happier then those with extrinsic goals.  Helping others, feeling good about what you do, being social are all intrinsic things.  Everything I own is all extrinsic things that can be measured in some tangible way and yet are not adding significantly to my happiness in life.

In The Minimalists blog post for today “You Are What You Desire” they touch upon this issue.  They write “we desire the meaningful experiences and the stuff. But usually the latter gets in the way of the former. That is, too often our material desires get in the way of a more meaningful life.” The extrinsic things in life often interfere with the more valuable intrinsic things.  The Declutter of Possessions party was a success because of the intrinsic things we recieved.  The good feelings of helping others and the good feelings of socializing with our friends, those things that can not be quantified or measured.


image of cats sleeping on chairs
Maggie & Seth tired after a morning of party preperation

Declutter Possesions Party

by Keith Turner on April 27, 2013

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image of shelves with books and videos

Van came up with a great idea to pass on many of the items that we can no longer keep.  Tomorrow we are having a party at our apartment where we can pass on or sell our things.  He has created a Facebook event.  Here is what he posted:

Van, Keith, Seth, & Maggie are moving to a land far, far away. They want to meet a lot of people they’re gonna miss. And they can’t really take everything with them so they are offering up a lot of their stuff as things their friends might want. So this Saturday, when almost everyone is done with their semesters they are having a “come socialize, bring some beer or wine, and buy or take (depending on what it is) stuff home with you”-event. Does it sound like fun?”

I have tried in the last couple of months to sell things on KSL or on Craigslist.  It has not been a positive experience   I had two people who tried to con money out of me.  I had three people who wanted to trade an lesser value item for a more valuable item.  I had someone who attempted to steal my couch.  I really did not like having to answer questions about my personal belongings that I had listed online. It felt like my personal space was being violated.

I have to confess that I am not a deeply committed capitalist.  I am never comfortable attaching a dollar value to things.  I find that there is often an intrinsic value that can not be quantified by money.  In the post “Objects of My Possession” I wrote Upon returning to Utah the first apartment I moved into I had a suitcase of clothes, a blanket, and a pillow.  Everything else that ended up in that apartment was given to me by someone else.  When I had nothing it showed up and now is my opportunity to return the favor.  To be able to contribute to my friends in meaningful ways makes more sense to me than trying to extract the maximum amount of money for everything I own that I need to get rid of.

If you would like to come to our Declutter Possessions Party, please do come.  It will be fun.  No one will leave with empty hands.

Time: Saturday April 27, 2013 3:00 p.m. till whenever
Place: 545 W 500 N Apt 5
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

Moving with Cats

by Keith Turner on April 26, 2013

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image of cats in carriers
Maggie and Seth trying out their new carriers

Moving Maggie and Seth with Vanim and I when we move to Sweden at first looked like a pretty simple task.  We understood that we needed a health certificate from our veterinarian ten days or less from the date of travel.  They also needed to be microchipped.   There were a few other items that we were unaware of which proved to be major issues and have required us to rethink our original plans.

It all started out when I read that some European cities require advanced notice of your pet’s arrival   Copenhagen just happens to be one of those cities.  The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services has the information that we needed.  Guess when I discovered this information? TODAY!  Below is the information that we previously missed in our less than detailed search for answers.

Microchip implantation must occur PRIOR to rabies vaccination. Any rabies vaccination that occurs prior to microchip implantation is not considered valid regardless of whether the animal was up-to-date on its previous rabies vaccines. In this case, the animal must be revaccinated.”

You can also find similar information at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.  If the cats were going to travel with Van then we needed to have them micro-chipped and a new rabies no later than 21 days before traveling.   It turns out that even though the cats are current on all their vaccinations it is not considered valid because they did not have microchips at the time.  After a call the the Federal veterinarian from the United States Department of Agriculture in Utah I was able to get even more information about exporting our pets to the European Union including the requirement that they have to put their stamp of approval on the health certificates or the certificates will not be accepted by any European Union country.

The consequences of this are both more money and more time in travel for Maggie and Seth.  The first leg of the trip is on United.  They require that the pet arrive two hours before the plane leaves.  Their facility in Salt Lake City that deals with pets opens at 6:00 a.m.  My plane leaves at 7:41 a.m.  The facility is not open on Sunday.  So in order for them to arrive at the Washington Dulles International Airport on time for me to check them into my flight on SAS they have to leave on Saturday.  They will fly to Texas where they will stay at a kennel for two days. On Monday morning they will be flown to Washington where I will pick them up.

I am usually better at researching and finding relevant information.  This is a case where I failed to do my due diligence.  The definition of due diligence according to the investopedia website is: 1. An investigation or audit of a potential investment. Due diligence serves to confirm all material facts in regards to a sale.  In this case I failed to do the proper investigation into the requirements to export my pets to Europe and all the material facts involved.

Lesson learned.