Cat on a Hot Tin Route

Frequent Flier Feline.

11 months ago…

“Nope.” Lance shook his head, like he was angry that the thought had even crossed my mind. “It’s not going to happen. You take her or she stays here.”

This was one of our first of many fights about our move to California. Perhaps an omen we should have paid attention to?

At this point, we had submitted our resignation letters, ordered a Door-to-Door moving pod (recommended!), and plotted our cross-country drive from It’s Always Sunny Philadelphia to actually sunny California. After a few months of throwing applications into the electronic wind, I got a job in Riverside, a significant suburban area inland from Los Angeles.

Things were going pretty smoothly until we got to the problem of Kitty. There was no way she, as an elderly little feline, was going to make it 3000 miles over five days in our little Ford Fiesta (also recommended!).  How were we going to get Kitty to California?

Lance probably saw this as a golden opportunity to give Kitty the ol’ heave-ho, considering her white undercoat essentially destroyed two chairs. But, c’mon, she’s furry family and there was no way I was leaving her behind.

Thankfully, good fortune presented itself: we had to be back in Philadelphia a few weeks after our move for the wedding of Lance’s brother. Afterwards, we’d both fly back from Philadelphia, thus creating an easy way to transport Kitty west, like a fuzzy Manifest Destiny.

Problem was, Lance and I were taking separate flights, Lance leaving a day later as he said his goodbyes to his Philly family and friends. His flight was a straight six hours from Philly to Los Angeles, whereas mine had a two-hour layover in Denver.  Obviously, Kitty would travel back with Lance, as the total travel time would be less than seven hours.

“If she goes with me, she’ll get a urinary tract infection!” I cried.

“Good,” said Lance. Lance could not foresee a future where he was responsible for taking a cat on a plane. To him, it was a non-starter.

So I begrudgingly took Kitty to the airport, paying US Airways’ $125 pet travel fee to carry Kitty into the plane’s cabin, where she would sit under my seat to Denver, then connecting on to LAX. Oh, no room for any personal items underneath your seat because of your pet? Well, too bad, because if you have a pet you somehow also lose the right to a carry-on bag too!!!! SCREW YOU, ECONOMY TRAVELERS!!!–major U.S. airlines.

After about four hours, Kitty and I landed in Denver, where of course tornado sirens were going off every few minutes. Ugh. Though Kitty’s little travel carrier was lined with lots of pee pads, I was positive we couldn’t afford a significant delay without an ammonia-scented accident.

Our two-hour layover slowly increased to two-and-a-half, then three, then four as the weather wreaked havoc on the flight schedule.

And then the Bad Thing: our flight out of Denver got cancelled.


Finally, we were placed on stand-by for a later flight out to LA. My nerves had caused me to drink excessively so of course I was dragging my cat into the men’s room of the Denver airport every 25 minutes (maybe I had a urinary tract infection?).

“I’m sorry, sir, you’ll have to pay the pet fee again,” the attendant at the gate counter said as we got cleared to board the later flight.

“What? Why?” I stammered, frazzled, angry and tired. “I paid the pet fee already on my last leg.”

“Yes…” she went on, “But since you were on a US Airways flight and now you’re boarding an American flight, you have to pay again.”

“Are you kidding me?” I said. “Your two airlines merged. It’s the same ticket number. Are you saying that even though you’ve merged your reservation system, you haven’t merged your ‘pet fee’ system and therefore I’m stuck paying another $125?”

“That’s correct, sir.”

“You do realize that’s ridiculous, right?” I was, at this point, outwardly indignant, which I don’t get all that much.

Finally we got on the plane. Of course, throughout the entire, near 17-hour trip from door-to-door, Kitty was an incredible trooper and slept most of the time, never peeing in her carrier once.

We made it to California in one piece, though a little worse for the wear. Lance would arrive the next day and things, in flux over the weeks leading up and through the move, would finally level out.



The Itch List


13 months ago…

Lance and I always had The Itch to cut ties with Philadelphia. Like most cities in the Northeast, it’s dirty, full of trashy, abrasive people, and overcast about eight months of the year. When I moved to Philly from Michigan for grad school, my relocation was intended to be temporary–I ended up staying for love (SICK!).

Heck, Lance has even tried to escape Philly before.  For some reason, though, he decided to live in the only places worse than Philly, Delaware and Baltimore, and was eventually sucked back via the City of Brotherly Love’s unbreakable gravitational pull of “youse” as a collective pronoun.

Early on in our relationship, when things were getting serious-er (ooh la la), Lance and I starting stringing together lists of places we’d like to relocate at some point, cities or equatorial island chains that seemed streets ahead of Philly.  It would only take a strong enough itch to leave for us to finally scratch.

In rough chronological order of conception, here’s our Itch List:

  • Chicago: Google Maps, Google Maps on my screen, which is the fairest city I’ve seen? Y’all, I love Chicago–it has the metropolitan feel of New York while being as clean as Toronto (gotta love those Canucks). Just ignore the horrific murder rate.
  • Las Vegas: Though Lance imagined a life of glitz and glamour, neon lights and Showgirls re-enactments involving pools and pushing people down stairs, I pulled the plug on this possibility real fast, for obvious reasons: Vegas is terrible.
  • New York City: there was a brief moment where Lance and I thought maybe we could swing the Big Apple, since NYC is the epicenter of the world, basically.  Then our friend told us she paid $3500/month for a 350-ish square foot apartment in the Village and we laughed and laughed…
  • O’ahu/Kaua’i, Hawaii: Maybe some day, but right now it doesn’t seem super realistic, being one of the most remote places in the world and all.

And then there’s California. To people native to the East Coast, California is either where the streets are paved with gold, or where a bunch of crazy whackadoos have bizarre gubernatorial recall elections featuring Gary Coleman, the Terminator, and porn stars, all while bracing for The Big One.

We’d been to SoCal together once before, and enjoyed it for what we saw–San Diego and, of course, Disneyland. But last winter, when Lance went on a trip to Palm Springs without me (don’t worry, friends, he was with a proper lady), he called me on his first morning there and said, with palm trees and mid-century modern architecture all around him, “We have to move here.”

And for some reason, this time after years of talking about it, we finally scratched that itch.

Since U Been Gone

Lance and Jeff

Remember the season 2 finale of “Alias” where, after fighting the genetically-warped clone of her dead roommate, Sydney collapses only to wake up in Taipei two years later. What?! And Vaughn is married, that son of a bitch! WHAT?? And Sydney has a mysterious scar on her torso which we later find out is from where a secret society was harvesting her eggs for…

OH JESUS. I should’ve just stopped watching.

What I’m getting to is that, well, Lance and Jeff and Lance+Jeff is/are back after a long, semi-amnesiac hiatus. A lot has changed in the year or so since we last updated, but, like network TV shows, things are also exactly the same.

Over the next couple of posts we’ll be “in media res”ing this shizz, filling in the gaps on what’s been happening. Unemployment! Going broke! Disneyland! Cross-country moves! Cats on planes!


For those of you just joining us, let’s introduce you to our cast of characters:

Lance: stylish Broadway diva, loves a good cocktail and all things tropical. Easy on the eyes. Smells good (usually.)
Jeff: reserved unless he has a strong opinion about something, which he will then not shut up about. Scored a hot piece of ass when he married Lance and is forever grateful.
Ripley Doodle
Ripley: A dopey ragamuffin.
Kitty Boo
Janney: a/k/a Kitty: a cat who barfs on sofas that cannot be cleaned.

Recurring guest stars to follow.

Now that you’ve got your foundation (you may also want to check out some “prequel” material to bone up on The Story Thus Far), we’ll start recapping our journey west (I really want to use the joke-y title “Westward Homos” but I hate that word even if it’s clever) tomorrow.