We've been talking to the girls about this trip for a year. You'd think they would be ready. Sahara (who will not answer to any nicknames at all, a family tradition that she ignores) complains, her voice constant and loud. Raven, whose name has been switched to Monkey or Miss Monk for a variety of reasons, quietly stares at us with a deep seated suspicion borne of the belief that a car ride leads only to the vet. We promise them sunshine and lollipops, but they aren't convinced.
Monkey darts past us and burrows her way under our bed. Now, ours happens to be a king-sized monstrosity with wooden sides only a very small child (or cat) can squeeze under. Judging from the dust balls, not even the Merry Maids have been able to get under there with a vacuum hose. Miss Monk has scratched a little pocket into the box spring. With a nice sharp exacto knife, we manage to make the rip larger, but she simply burrows totally out of reach. However, she purrs to let us know she's pleased with herself.
An entire frustrating impossibly long hour later, several litres of gas keeping Sahara and me warm, and Monkey strolls out into the hall. Vince quietly follows her, down the stairs where she finds the doors shut, up the stairs where she finds the doors closed, and finally into her master's arms. (Who am I kidding with the "master" monicker?)
We're on the road to Florida! The girls sing joyously - or should I use piteously? - for a few kilometres and then...silent resignation.
We approach the border with a little bit of trepidation. We've got our passports, the house rental contract, and the vet's papers, ready for inspection. Luckily there's not much of a line up and we slide up to a booth very quickly.
Yes, it is. Might have been morning if Miss Monk...
"Afternoon," Vince says.
"Where are you folks headed?"
Folks. Such a...well, folksy kind of word.
Always answer the question. Provide no more detail unless prompted.
"For how long?"
"Do you have more than $10,000 with you?"
"Okay." Hands back the passports. "Have a good time."
You didn't even ask what the huge tent in the back seat is for!
Right away, there's the toll booth, after that a twisting left, and we're on I75 headed south. The girls are still silent. Vince and I are grinning like Cheshire cats.