|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|
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.
|Train Station in Kristianstad Sweden (taken when I arrived)|
|Kristainastad Train Station|
I have been through this process before. When I moved last year I took three truck loads to the local thrift store as well as a number of things that ended up in the dumpster. Ten years ago I was introduced to the work of Karen Kingston and her book Clear Your Clutter with Fung Shui by a good friend. At that time in my life I started to see a connection to my life and the clutter accumulating in my life. I have begun seen clutter as an outward expression of my inner world. For ten years I have been in the process to declutter my life only to find that it is full of clutter again. I have really taken a serious looked at the relationship I have with the things and objects I keep accumulating in my life, that is until yesterday
With each object I am selling, giving away or throwing away I have asked myself what is my relationship to this particular object. So far I have identified three different relationships I have with the objects and things in my life. I might need this thing or object someday so I hang onto it. I have a memory that is associated with the object or thing that I do not want to forget. And last of all the object is something I use in an activity that I really enjoy.
I might need something someday so I hang onto it. Most of the objects in this category were not even fit to give away and should have been thrown away when their usefulness ended. I had a pair of dress shoes that had holes in the soles and were no longer fit to wear. This is a relationship about the fear of scarcity, that I will never have enough.
I have a memory that is associated with the object that I do not want to forget. I would like to believe that I will never forget those memories but I know better. I have worked in nursing homes before and seen many old people that have very little memory before they pass on. Once again this relationship to objects is based in fear, a fear of loss.
The object is something I use in an activity that I really enjoy. It is not the object that I enjoy but the activity that the object is used in. In this case the relationship has been one of misplaced connection. The true relationship is in doing things I love.
Consumerism has become a demon that haunts me. It consumes me with my possessions. Understanding my relationship to objects and things helps exorcize the demons from my life. This is the beginning of shift from the perspective of objects possessing me to one of me having objects for a specific purpose.