Well, with a little less than a week to go before I move to Toronto, it’s time to go over that Toronto checklist:

FIND SOMEWHERE TO LIVE:  Nope.  I’ve already bemoaned Toronto’s not-so-production-friendly accommodations situation.  And, since that post, not much has changed.  Hope those production offices are comfy.  And pet friendly!

FIND A CAR TO DRIVE: Nope.  I’ve been so busy searching for furnished rentals online that I haven’t even gotten around to looking into a car rental.

INFORM AIR CANADA WE’LL BE FLYING WITH TWO DOGS IN-CABIN NEXT WEEKEND: Nope.  I was able to do everything online EXCEPT register my dogs.  This, apparently, can only be accomplished by speaking directly to an Air Canada representative.  And good luck with that.  “The average wait time,”the recorded message informs me, “Is forty-five minutes.”!  It’s been that way for the past TWO WEEKS!

FIND A SUITABLE DOGGY DAYCARE FOR THE GANG: Nope.  I’m looking at two possible candidates, but won’t decide on one until I’ve had a chance to check them out personally.

FIND SOMEONE TO ACCOMPANY ME WITH A SECOND DOG ON THE FOLLOWING WEEKEND’S FLIGHT: Nope.  I had plenty of offers for next weekend, so I’m hoping people will be in a flying mood two weekends from now.  Anyone interested in a return flight to Toronto, business class?

ESTABLISH THE TEAM: The writers’ room starts spinning next Monday and, outside of Paul, Alex, myself and, (I assume) Rob, it’s still uncertain who’ll be in there with us.

TAKE DOWN THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Check!  Done.  Today.

I was up for most of last night angsting over the prospect of flying cross-country with the dogs.  I brought the soft-sided carriers out of storage and started getting the pooches used to the closed environment – tossing in a treat to get them inside, tossing in another treat to get them to duck their heads so I could zip the sherpa closed, then tossing them a final treat for being good sports.  Jelly, Maximus, and Lulu seemed fine for the two minutes or so they were inside, but Bubba went ABSOLUTELY NUTS, scratching and rolling, barking and crying.  I think he may be claustrophobic.  Is that possible?  I am so screwed.  We’re looking at a scheduled 4 hour and twenty-five minute flight!  That’s not including the times enroute to and from the airport as well as the inevitable departure delays.  I AM flying Air Canada after all.

Looks like I might have to invest in some children’s gravol.

Allow me to unwind with some pics of my recent Vegas trip –

I thought she looked cute, but Akemi prefers oversized sun hats with big honkin' sunflowers on top.
Outside the Venetian hotel. In the next James Bond film, I want to see a high speed gondola chase through the hotel's canal.
We received this lovely parting gift at the conclusion of our dinner at Joel Robuchon.

The raspberry (?) pistachio cake it contained.
Which we made short work of the following morning.
I love Vegas. It's so subdued.
Ceiling of the annex between Bally's and the Bellagio.
Ceiling of the Bellagio.

Joe's Stone Crab! We went twice.
I'm not a fan of key lime pie, but I LOVE the version served up at Joe's Stone Crab. So much so that I have seriously considered ordering in the past. They deliver!
Restaurant in the shopping plaza adjoining the Aria. I'd be too nervous to eat here.
Akemi makes a quick call in the Cosmopolitan lobby.
The chocolate fountain outside the Jean Philippe Patisserie.
Some of the unbelievable selection. Check it out. Rose macarons! I haven't seen those outside of Tokyo!
Intense: dark chocolate mousse, chocolate cremeux, and chocolate glaze. Yes, thank you! Rich, dark chocolate through and through. None of these airy fairy gelee's or light creams so prevalent in other so-called patisseries.
Snickers Cake: almond dacquoise, peanut crisp, caramel, milk chocolate mousse. As awesome as the dark Intense was, this was even better. Sublime.
The view from inside the shop. Screw the Venetian. Next time, I'm staying here. IN the pasty shop!

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Lisa R
Lisa R

I do not envy you a bit–all the last minute stuff. It’s good you were able to get away when you did. Loved the LV pictures especially the Snickers cake. If I ever get out there to visit my friend, I’ll have her take me there.

Have a good night!!

Alexis
Alexis

More desserts. You are so mean! They look so delicious.

Jenny Robin
Jenny Robin

Unsolicited advice from the Bossy Shawoman:

1. Visit your vet to get drugs for your dogs so they will travel better; yes, pets can get claustrophobic and easily distressed

2. Spend some time looking up at that Bellagio ceiling – it is Chihuly – an expansive glass sculpture by the artist whose last name is Chihuly – gorgeous beyond words

3. I’ve never known you to be so delayful (I know it’s not a real word, and I know I don’t actually know you); suck it up and take care of what you need to take care of as soon as possible. Moving across the continent does not need to be any more tense and stressful than it already is; it seems like you’re writing yourself into a corner just to see if someone will come to your rescue at the last moment. Take action now.

This Tough Love experience brought to you by the IShouldMindMyOwnBusiness Corporation, and from viewers like you.

Sean D.
Sean D.

Hi Joe,

More great pics. Thanks for sharing. smile The food looks good, too, and all of it this time. razz (Some of the food you’ve posted pics of in the past has looked rather “interesting” though for the most part the stuff looks pretty tasty.)

It sounds like you have a hefty list of tasks dealing with the move. Now that I’m receiving my Dr. degree this May, I’ll be in similar shoes either this summer or this upcoming fall. With some pretty significant tasks like you have listed there, it sounds like prioritizing them could help with plowing through them.

Anyway… question:

What is the name of the new show that you’re working on?

Thanks! grin

Sean D.

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

The Bellagio pictures were beautiful. The key lime pie would make a good addition to your “dessert” party (formerly known as the chocolate party).

I would suggest getting a mild doggie tranq. from the vet. It might round out those pesky claustrophobic edges on Bubba. Poor pups are in for stressful times. So, please give them a hug for me.

Georgina Scott
Georgina Scott

Joseph friends of mine relocated from the UK to Toronto about 2 years ago. They have two Siberian Huskies. They stayed at the Town Inn Suites until they found a place of their own. Not sure how convenient it would be to the Studio for you but may be worth a look.

http://www.towninn.com/

It has corporate and long stay rates. I believe they said to ask for Christine at the desk.

Hope you can find something

Will miss SGU and great stories.

Sg1efc
Sg1efc

“Bubba went ABSOLUTELY NUTS, scratching and rolling, barking and crying. I think he may be claustrophobic. Is that possible?”

Have an 8 year old white german shepherd. He is not caged trained or used to cages. Went down to my brother’s in Roanoke, left BobCat in a new cage for an hour and a half and he tore it and himself to shreds. Pulled down 3 of the soldered wires from the roof and had stabbed himself in the face with them, blood all over the carpet, bed spread, sheets, walls and doors. Not a pretty sight & speaking of sight, no idea how at least one of his eyeballs was not hanging from one of the wires. sad

Was thinking about taking him with me if I end up relocating to Australia, however my business partner said my dog would end up killing himself trying to get out of the carrier during the 20+ hours flight. My brother found the below website. Reading the many informative posts, coupled with the fact that my brother called and emailed them and seems satisfied that they do truly care about dogs’ welfare, I will order their electronic no bark collar as soon as I get some money. They recommend it to help prevent a dog such as mine from starting to get upset when he is put in a cage/carrier.

Don’t know how long training would take as I’m sure that all dogs are different. Based on my dog learning very quickly 7 years ago that the radio fence shock is unpleasant for him, this no bark collar might take less than a week. Wouldn’t just put it on him and think that he’d be ready for even a couple hour flight until after a week or so, to make certain he understands that as long as he keeps calm, he won’t get shocked.

Seems like it is worth a try for my dog at least:
http://leerburg.com/815.htm

Leerburg’s website does have a lot of informative info to read. Best wishes to you and your pups on your journey. smile

Ponytail
Ponytail

TAKE DOWN THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Check! Done. Today.

Good! Finally! And don’t forget that stocking!

Great pictures! They are all so pretty.

Gilder
Gilder

MAILBAG Q: What WAS the inspiration for the “Ursini” name, anyway? Doubt you had heard of Ursinus College before I mentioned the coincidence.

AIRLINE SUGGESTION: Try calling in early business hours, Eastern or Central time. Your hold time may be much shorter, and you’re more likely to reach a veteran agent. (I’ve worked two travel call centers.)

Susan TTT
Susan TTT

And here was me thinking “meow” “meow” “meow” “meow” cried pathetically all the way to the vets surgery was annoying and heart wrenching.

I am sure that you will find a solution to your problem.

smile

Gilder
Gilder

I see on the InterWebs that Joe’s Stone Crab /Las Vegas is NOT the same as the Joe’s Crab Shack franchise. That’s a relief; the latter specializes in noisy surroundings and servers.

Gilder
Gilder

Thanks for the Vegas restaurant reports. Our plebian tastes would probably lead us to Scarpetta, Joe’s Stone Crab, and the patisserie. Where is that last located, BTW?

The long-awaited estate sale has gone better than expected. So now I REALLY have to book Vegas for late March–early April.

Jack Toner
Jack Toner

Ok I’m really late to this blog so can someone please answer this for me:

Who is Akemi? Is she Joe’s significant other?

Just curious, thanks!

Tim Lade
Tim Lade

Too bad you are not flying from Edmonton…I’d do it a heartbeat and I’m free next weekend! Drat. smile

Narelle from Aus
Narelle from Aus

The vet may have something that could help Bubba with the trip by making him watch his paw go back and forth with a rainbow trail for the duration of his time confined.
Any chance of organizing a lease car through business? That way you get a nice car (because you need something to transport pooches) and if your system is anything like ours, comes out before tax.
If I was anywhere remotely close to Vancouver I’d offer to help. I do a lot of flying so meh, what’s another 10 hours of radiation exposure wink
Good luck.

DP
DP

Maybe Bubba could get acclimated to the carrier if you put him in there w/ a cuddle buddy. They’re den animals, or their ancestors were, so sharing a tight space w/ a friend should be cool w/ them.

You might end up better off shopping for a doggy day care and longer term accommodations from an extended stay hotel or whatever you have lined up. It’ll be easier to get your head around the commute and neighborhoods from there.

Moving is stressful!

michael
michael

Joe,

Glad you enjoyed your time in Vegas. Hopefully you didn’t run across any Wraith.

About your problem, my offer still stands, let me know by email if you can’t find anyone to help you with the dogs for the weekend of the 26th, as I may be able to work something out.

fsmn36
fsmn36

Yikes. I’m a procrastinator (even when I’m trying, as you have been) but I’m biting my nails out of nervousness for you! Good luck.

Your pics, and those pastries, look AMAZING though. What a fun vacation for you. So now the question is…as someone who reads Anthony Bourdain…do you hate Vegas as much as he does? grin What were Akemi’s thoughts (and had she been there before)?

crayonbaby
crayonbaby

You seriously need to hire an assistant. At least temporarily. I can tell all of this is driving you crazy. We don’t want you to end up with some stomach issues again. As one worrywart to another, I should know. I’m sure you’ll find a way to get all the pups to Toronto.

I think I just added five pound just by looking at those desserts.

ganymede
ganymede

The SECRET to AIR CANACRAP Phonelines:

I’m not sure IF this will STILL work as it has been a WHILE, however, WHAT I *used* to do to AVOID the 45 MINUTE “WAIT” — If they still have a Menu Option for: TRAVEL IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS — Then PRESS THAT BUTTON!! That might get you down to a 10 minute wait…

BTW, have you thought of offering anyone in TORONTO to deadhead to Vancouver, stay in your Guest or Movie Room overnight, become BFFs with the Pooches, and then back to YYZ?

John S
John S

You have nothing organised because you are too busy eating and creating this blog..

Debra
Debra

Joe, I would never ever recommend drugging a dog who is flying OTHER than in a cabin. Call your vet. Get drugs, but get a trial on for TODAY to see how he reacts (as some respond the opposite!). Once drugged, put in the bag to let him acclimate to both drug and being confined in it.

If that works, drug him for the flight. I not, you are screwed. Okay maybe not. But if he flips, ask vet for different stronger drug.

Not to add more concerns, but are their weight down enough and is there any wiggle room by the airline if one is over?

Whining Wolf
Whining Wolf

Hi there Joe ! smile

Nice to read that you´ve enjoyed ya trip to vegas. thanks 4 sharing the pics, the desserts look out unique and like pure pleasure, so i can say that they support my appetite & creativity in cooking and baking;)
I´m quite new here reading ya blog but 2 do that increases my mood. I have 2 smile by reading about the gang (nice description 4 ya pets, i ask myself who of them is the leader?) I saw the eleventh episode of SGU season two and i say it in one word : AWESOME! Hope the story can be told until the end – if not i´ve the possibilty to jump out of a window, that would pains less than canceling the show 4 ever;) Best wishes 4 u and your gang, ya friends & family – stay healthy and cheerful smile

Deni
Deni

Hi Joe, what were you doing in Vegas when you have so much to do? Oy!

Just a quick comment on tranquilizers. Even with the dogs traveling in-cabin, I’d be very concerned about giving anything to any brachycephalic breed.

Joe’s Stone Crabs is the best! Their key lime pie is amazing, but you can find many as good in Miami smile

Good luck to you in your searches this week, Joe. I suppose you’re just going to have to stay on hold for 45 minutes if that’s what it takes! Or get Ashleigh to do it for you. smile Just keep those pups safe!

Scigirl
Scigirl

Dogs can suffer from claustrophobia and it can be pure torture for them when confined to carriers. However, as others have mentioned, many can stand some medication to reduce the anxiety. I had a cat who was claustrophobic and the vet actually prescribed Valium for it!

Much sympathy on this stage of the move. I just moved into my new house a month ago and the sheer agony of those final weeks when everything was still up in the air haunts my nightmares like Marley’s ghost…