We took last week off, my first real vacation from my newish job. It is reassuring to know I can take time off without having to do a ton of work out of the office. My old job demanded I work every day; I'm not sure why I didn't parlay that into a full time work-at-home situation. Anyway despite the presumed free time, we were unbelievably busy the whole week.
As we do every six months or so, we wanted to go to Costco to stock up on supplies, mostly cat food. We also wanted to hit up a variety of other stores like Target, Home Depot, Ikea. For this you need wheels, so after spending a lot of time comparison shopping, we rented a Uhaul van again. Every time we think about trying Zipcar, economics always stops us. It just doesn't seem cost effective when the Uhaul place is so close. This journey may have turned the tide though.
Since we were getting the van we thought we should also book some spots at the new ASPCA Spay Clinic. We used it in May and knew there were more cats to be done in our friends' yard. So we booked 8 spots (for 5 ferals plus 2 of our own and another friend's kitten). We knew there were also kittens in the colony, so we prepared for another round of feral kitten taming as we had done last summer.
First we had to go to Costco. I noticed that Google Maps says we live closer to the Rego Park Center Costco than the Brooklyn Costco. Mindful of the whopping $1.59 per mileage charge, I decided we should see about this slightly closer option. This Costco is in a new shopping center in Queens featuring a parking garage with a roof just barely high enough to get the Uhaul inside. Parking isn't free here but it ended up only being a couple of dollars. Plus because it was a Tuesday there was hardly anybody there!
This Costco is all on one floor (unlike the Brooklyn location), so it was totally overwhelming. We had to ask where the cat food was, because to just wing it could mean walking for 20 minutes before finding the stuff. We stuffed the van with stuff and made it out in record time. I highly recommend this Costco if you're in the area, although I don't know what it would be like on a weekend. But I can't imagine it could be worse than Brooklyn.
Trapping went very well and in a couple of days we had netted 6 adult cats and 8 kittens (one more kitten would be caught later in the week). Some of the kittens seemed old enough to fix so I called to see if I could get more spots at the clinic. Miraculously they were able to accommodate all of them! The new clinic is in Glendale, Queens, about a 10 minute drive from our house. Best of all, there's a pet food distributor right next to the clinic (K9 Caterers) so when we came to pick up the cats we stopped there to get more supplies as well.
We ended up keeping the van for an entire week. It just didn't seem to make sense to pay for car services to drop the cats and traps off on Saturday since round-trip costs for car services can quickly add up. Plus we had made it most of the week without getting a ticket (the van is technically a commercial vehicle which is not supposed to park on residential streets overnight). So we also hit all the other places we wanted to go, including a sobering trip to Build it Green NYC.
We drove all the way up the coast of Astoria to Build It Green to find some better quality doors for the house, and something to replace our lame homemade countertop. There were so many doors we couldn't even begin to process it. And the counters were either way too expensive, too short, or too homemadey. We decided we might be able to build something ourselves at least as good. One of these days.
The van ended up costing basically $85/day, all inclusive. I think that still works out cheaper than a Zipcar of similar size but cutting ever closer. The per mile charge used to be 99 cents, so a 60% increase in that price really made a difference. I know lots of people say they like Zipcar because there's less hassle and line-waiting (and you get to pick a car instead of a towering cargo van). But I'm getting used to the van, and the guy at my Uhaul place is very accomodating. Some friends of ours got a zipcar the same week and had to run around a lot at first becuase the previous renter didn't return the car on time. They got upgraded to a BMW but I wonder how often stuff like that happens.
So the ferals have been released and we know have 8 kittens at various stages of tameness, plus 2 ginger tomcats who are tame but seriously lacking in housecat skills. We're working with them to get them to an adoptable state, several of the kittens are borderline so I'm hoping to move them quickly. The tamest ones will be available this Sunday, July 17th at Muddy Paws pet store in Williamsburg. Spread the word, there will be lots of kittens there, including ours. Look for us at these weekly adoption events this summer, follow North Brooklyn Cats for new event details as they coalesce. Meanwhile, think about how some fresh-from-the-street kittens will brighten up your dreary existence!