I am halfway home. Arrived in Toronto last night at about 8 pm and by 10 pm I was ensconced in the Travelodge at the Toronto Airport. Why, you ask, did I not take the connecting flight to Vancouver, which left at 11 pm?
Some of you know, but others may not as I have not blogged about them, but I adopted two Jamaican kittens from the Jamaica SPCA. They were emaciated and would likely not have survived as kittens in Jamaica are valued less than throw-away dogs. They have been wonderful friends to me and to my friends. Usain and Veronica are now fat and ready to become Canadian cats - I keep telling them to grow more fur. They will either have a new family or join their older brother and and sister, Whittington and LizzyBetty, who I cannot wait to have back home with me.
Yes, I am fulfilling by family's fears and becoming the crazy cat lady. I simply could not abandon them: cannot save all the cats in Jamaica, but can save two. Also will continue to support the JSPCA and Animal House Jamaica.
Back to the Travelodge . . . Could not make the connecting flight because Canada Customs requires a four hour window for inspections and that means I miss the last flight to Vancouver. Also, Toronto Air Canada Cargo no longer has overnight services. So, after two hours of paperwork at both Air Canada Cargo and Canada Customs - fortunately it was all in order, with appropriate health certificates, export permits, import permits - and a taxi fare that we do not even want to discuss, the three of us arrived at the Travelodge.
Kittens were unsure and a bit spooked, though arrived healthy and alert. And they were happy to explore hotel room, using the "facilitates" (I brought a cat box and litter in my luggage), eating and drinking water. We were all tired, so had a good sleep: me on the bed, they under it.
After getting the coffee going and turning on the TV news this morning, I opened the hotel room door to see if there was a newspaper out there. Usain bolted. I immediately went after him and easily picked him up a few doors down: he must realized it was a false start and no sense going any further. I quickly realized that I was standing on the 5th floor of a hotel hall, room locked, no key, and a cat in my pyjamas. (Please excuse the misplaced modifier, but if you know your Groucho Marx you will understand . . . ) Fortunately, and unusually, I was wearing pyjamas.
Do you have any idea how busy an airport hotel lobby is at 7:30 am? Everyone is checking out and heading to their planes. There I was, barefoot with a Jamaican cat under my arm. The clerks were all busy and I simply got in line. People were very polite but they were not too ready to engage - hey, I am back in Canada. Wondering if they thought I had confused the coming Christmas season with Halloween? Or if I was the one who had escaped, not Usain.
The Travelodge does not have a concierge, etc. However it is pet friendly and I got a seniors discount, so I was okay to wait. Finally, I spoke to the gentleman at the counter and explained the situation. With neither pause nor humour he asked me if I had identification. Really. I momentarily thought of explaining that if I had had the forethought to go back in the room for my identification, I would likely have taken the key instead. I just as quickly reconsidered that this would not be a fruitful dialogue. How often does this hotel experience a women, complete with bedhead, standing at the counter with a cat in her pyjamas? Anyway, they found a spare person who escorted me to my room and I showed him my ID. Veronica was pleased to see both of us safely returned from our morning adventure.
Soon to start our next adventure and last leg on the trip, Toronto to Vancouver . . . stay tuned.
Did not take Veronica long to be her curious self.
The bolting Usain.
Tired after a long trip . . .
Nothing like a good wash from your brother to settle things down :-)