How Stanley is Handling Packing

Brent and I met in April 2013.

We moved in together in December.

That was the first move of… well, let’s count them.

2013: The condo in Sellwood

There was a lot to love about this condo, and a lot to not love. It had all new things, plus air conditioning, and a gas stove, but it lacked storage, and it was small for the two of us plus Stanley. So, we rented it out, then moved…

2014: The townhouse in King

Again, so much to love, and so much to… well, look past. If you could look past the shootings within a two-block radius (which we did, especially at first when we thought we wouldn’t have kids not now not ever), and the vandalism, and the homeless camp in the empty lot adjacent to our house, then what you got was a gorgeous brand new townhouse walking distance to cool places to eat and drink. I loved the open layout. Brent called it a great house in a bad neighborhood, which, in 2016, we exchanged for…

2016: A house with a yard (and a white picket fence!) in Sellwood

We missed Sellwood. Especially after Clara was born. We missed the small town vibe. We missed the neighborhood. And we moved back, almost two years to the day after we moved away (to avoid paying extra taxes, of course!).

So this move, the one we’re currently packing for, will be Stanley’s fourth, not counting the one where he became part of our family in the first place.

What I’m getting at is that he should be used to this by now! I mean really. We always bring him with us, we try to make the moving easier for him, we take him into consideration, but he’s wound up.

There are a few things Stanley hates:

  • Change
  • Big things (and boxes are big things)
  • Other dogs
  • Most people
  • Danger, and he has a broad definition of what constitutes as danger (including: people wearing hats, people on skateboards, people wearing hats while on skateboards)

Really, he has a hard time with this. And so, for the first time pretty much ever, he has started acting out.

But he’s doing it in the most relatable way possible: by eating his feelings.

We don’t have much food in the house, at all. In fact, after my family comes to visit this weekend, we’ll have nothing in our pantry (too expensive to move!) and very little in our freezer/refrigerator. What we do have is pretty much sitting on the kitchen counter.

Stanley is historically not a counter surfer, so keeping food on the counter has not been a big deal in the past.

He did eat something off the counter when Brent and Clara were out of town and Caitlin came to visit, but that was another “what is happening why is she packing up stuff and leaving for the whole day” situation, because again… stress dog.

Over the weekend, I made “what’s in our pantry?” blondies, which actually turned out quite well. I sent some with Brent to take to a board game night, gave Clara one, and had one myself.

I put the rest… on the kitchen counter.

Like I always do.

The next day, we took a load of stuff to Goodwill (as we do), went and did something touristy, and came home.

The blondies, of course, were gone, along with most of the ziplock bag they were in.

Stanley had a tummy ache.

We felt bad for him, cleaned up after him, let him get the extra food out of his system, and moved on.

Then, we bought a few essentials: bread, peanut butter, oranges (orts, as Clara calls them), and… dang it looks pretty stupid written out like this, left the loaf of bread on the kitchen counter.

This time, we left for maybe two hours. Probably not even that long.

Came home.

Bread was gone. He’d gotten better about the plastic, though, and this time, he wasn’t sick.

But okay, lesson learned.

I feel for him. I really do.

This change is hard, and a huge break in the routine.

He doesn’t understand English (aside from a few key phrases), so I can’t tell him that where we’re going is so much better for him. A yard. Actually two yards, but one with a door he’s completely in charge of! A place to play, off leash (which he hasn’t had in ages — see above: you can’t bring a dog who doesn’t like other dogs to a dog park!). A fireplace (of all things, why in Arizona? But he loves fireplaces). An outside that isn’t “ew gross do we have to go on a walk in the rain?” any time of the year.

But we have a ways to go before we get there.

And things will get worse for him before they get better.

So I’m not that mad that he’s comforting himself with bread.

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