With heavy hearts, we left our apartment (and Sarge) behind and made our way to the hotel. I'm sure for some people, a temporary displacement would be resolved by booking a suite at a luxury hotel, or perhaps an impromptu Hawaiian vacation. For us, it meant 4 nights at the Extended Stay in Woodland Hills.
When I considered accommodations, I thought first of price. Then, of amenities, and concluded that because the Extended Stay's rooms had kitchens, they'd feel more like home.
Now let me tell you about how the room was not like home, beginning with its stench. Devin picked up on it right as we entered the stairwell. "Um, I don't think the room stinks like this," I offered. Technically I had taken a peek at the room when I checked in the night before, but I was hurried and very tired so it's possible I wasn't really paying attention.
We opened the door to our room. "No. This smells worse." After opening the windows and surveying the place, it was clear we could not stay in this establishment. It wasn't that the room was completely disgusting (though there was a mysterious splatter on the TV screen), but it was seriously depressing.
Because payment was required in advance, I prepared for a battle with the front desk. But I was also tired and downtrodden so this was how I put up a fight:
"We booked our room for four nights... but we don't want to stay here."
The clerk wasn't terribly surprised. I bet this happens a lot. She immediately went about processing my refund. Then, we hopped nextdoor to the Comfort Inn, where things smelled fine, the TV was crystal clear, and as an added bonus, they served free breakfast every morning. Things were looking up.
I should point out that during the whole morning's nonsense, Oscar was being a perfect angel. I can only imagine how much worse it would've been had he been bitching and moaning like his parents.
Once we'd unloaded both cars, the room was definitely "cozy." We tried our best to make it work by setting up the pack n play and a little changing station. Oscar's stuff was well situated. Our stuff was scattered all over the room in blue Ikea bags.
The rest of our Saturday was spent avoiding our hotel room. We went to Babies R Us, then Wal Mart, all the while calling everyone we knew, hoping to get roped into some plans. Fortunately, Erin and Steve came to the rescue, when Erin returned my call. We promptly invited ourselves over for dinner and chit chat. Also, I inadvertently got her 3 year old daughter addicted to Cheetos Simply Natural White Cheddar Puffs.
If you aren't addicted to them, then you obviously haven't tried them. They may have been the highlight of my weekend.
Sunday morning, in an effort to not completely throw off Oscar's schedule, we woke up bright and early, and went downstairs to score our free breakfast. He sat in my lap while I ate and watched the news. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied someone reaching for my plate.
That's the funny thing about him these days. He went from being able to do basically nothing, to spontaneously showing off new talents. All I can say is "Hey, when did you start doing that?"
The weather in the valley was hot and sunny. A perfect day to head to the beach. So we packed up, stopped at Target for some beach supplies, picked up subs, and took the scenic route through the canyon.
As we rounded that final bend, we were confronted with a wall of thick gray clouds. The thermometer in the car indicated a good 20 degree drop in temperature. Why? Why? Why?! Oh right, because that's how this weekend was just going to go for us.
The one good thing about going to the beach on a horrible day is that there's minimal traffic and parking is a breeze. Everything else is just unfortunate.
We plopped down our stuff and commenced eating sandwiches in the cold air. Oscar hated pretty much everything about this activity. It was bright out -- that kind of white sky bright that happens on overcast days -- and so he was having trouble opening his eyes. To make matters worse, his idiot parents bought ill-fitting sunglasses for him at Target because the obviously baby-fitting ones weren't as cool looking.
We attempted to tough it out for the next hour, before throwing in the towel (literally?) and heading to Aunt Katie's pool... back in the sunshine, back in the valley, where we belong.
But why don't we cut to the chase? I know you're not here to gaze at many many pictures of Oscar. You're here for answers. What happened to the dumb cat?!
On Monday afternoon, once we were allowed to reenter our building, I drove home at lunch to look for signs of Sarge (or, let's be honest, a carcass). I didn't spot him in any of his usual places, but I did notice some chomps out of the food we'd left in a bowl out back just in case. So, okay, inconclusive.
It wasn't until Tuesday morning that we finally packed up and made our way back home. Late Tuesday afternoon, Devin IMed me that he'd spotted Sarge in his usual spot on the wall out back, meowing his little head off, but not making his way back inside. He's alive! And as annoying as ever.
Since then, he's been around. Just tonight I finally found him on the bed for the first time since the whole incident. Mostly, he's been hiding outside, coming in for brief shifts to eat, shout ceaselessly at the top of his lungs, and weave in and around the chair legs in the dining room.
This effing guy.