Ons Huisdier, Part 1

What? Where are we going?

The days of living in a swanky hotel had finally come to an end. Not by choice, but because Liz’s company would no longer foot our bills. I wasn’t unhappy about leaving the diorama of what a €250 per night hotel room was supposed to look like. I was a little unhappy that the apartment we found (check back soon for that thrilling adventure) wouldn’t let us move in until early September. I was very unhappy that I had no plans for where to live in the interim. Good job, Marc.

Surely there are some nice, affordable hotels. Dreamer.

Hmm, maybe there are some less nice, cheap hotels. Dummy.

Okay, well a quality hostel will be a fun budget alternative. Idiot.

Fine, as long as “no bed bugs” is the only demand, no problem. Stupid idiot.

My naiveté apparently knew no bounds. No hotels or hostels in the greater Amsterdam metropolitan area were remotely affordable. Well, Amsterdam was fun while it lasted. Guess it’s time to move back to the US. I honestly thought I’d last a little longer than this, but here we are. Every possible option exhausted. The entire world conspiring against me. Fine, I didn’t like you stupid tall people anyways.

“Are you crying, Marc?”

“What? No. Stop staring at me. I was just thinking about a time I got something in both eyes.”

“Are you looking at flights back to the US?”

“What? No. I was just planning for Christmas.”

“Why do the dates say this week?”

“Oh, like you have another solution?”

Turns out she did. And, it turns out she’s a mentally healthy person who doesn’t construct fatalistic scenarios in her head and then extrapolate to the nth degree. Braggart. Her “brilliant” idea was to go to Prague and stay at a hostel rather than pay through the nose in Amsterdam, thereby saving a few euro, traveling to a new place, and allowing us to move in to our apartment when we get back. Well, well, well, isn’t that convenient? All the pieces falling into place, wrapped up in a neat little package. At this point I’m not even sure where the sarcasm is coming from. It was a good idea. Not quite as good as wholesale abandonment of the move to Amsterdam, but she’s got promise.

Alternatives abound!

Aha! I found a hole in her perfectly laid plans. What about Julia? We can’t take that pain in the ass with us to Prague. Unfortunately, the temporary glee of pointing out problems in your girlfriend’s plans is quickly squashed by the reality of having to fix them. So began the mental calisthenics of what to do with ons huisdier Julia, our pet. Three minutes later, exhausted and lost, I turn to the warm and comforting embrace of the internet. Google gave me 576,000 results for “cat sitting amsterdam.” It gave me 4,640,000 for “humane cat killing.” Just saying Julia, you’re lucky I love you, because options clearly exist.

We narrowed it down slightly. The choice was between two cat-sitters peddling their services on the internet and a “cat hotel” a few minutes north of Amsterdam. Our logic: The “cat hotel” will have other cats. Julia hates other cats. We’ll have to rent a car to get there. We don’t want to drive. How can we take anything called a “cat hotel” seriously? It costs €10 per night. The cat sitters cost less. Cat sitter it is. I bet McCain has nightmares about that level of candidate vetting.

Inhumanely unfunny.

Should we really be leaving Julia with a lady advertising on the internet to take care of cats? After emailing her, we learned that she didn’t even own cats. But, she is fond of them. And she’s cheap. And she’s conveniently located. And, would the internet lie? Nothing has ever been misrepresented on the internet, ever. So, Silvia simply HAS to be a straight shooter. No flaws in our logic.

I’m not one to give much credit to animals being overly perceptive, but Julia did seem more pissed-off than normal on the morning she was to be shipped off to a stranger’s apartment. Placing her in the cat carrier was truly a joy. Luckily, I’d clipped her claws a few days earlier. That’s right. On a good day, I can definitely outsmart a cat. I’m very cunning.

Cat food? Check. Cat litter? Check. Cat toys? Check. Towel Liz and I slept with to comfort Julia with our stink? Check, we’re not monsters after all. Responsibly-researched cat-sitter with references and background check? Close enough.

After meeting ]Silvia, I felt a little better about the situation. Julia took to her pretty well and the apartment seemed pretty cat-proof. Silvia had a balcony that led into a garden, which was a problem because cats are insufferably curious. She assured us it would stay closed. Done and done.

We were off to Prague and Julia was with a new friend. What could possibly go wrong?


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