If you've been following the story (and likely on the edge of your seat, with bated breathe for the big finale, like most of America), well, be thankful Scotty is in preschool today and I have time to type this up. 'Cause the ending is totally worth it.
Incredibly, Scotty slept through the Amazing Smith family's entire visit. This includes a skirmish between the children that may or may not involved scratching. I'm not sure who was the perpetrator and who was the victim, but the minute the cry erupted from the house, Courtney practically backflipped off the ladder (great form, nice landing - she's a former gymnast) to separate the kids. Jenny reluctantly came down from the ladder using her ninja prow-ness and did not break a single bone, despite my massive anxiety as I steadied the ladder. Seriously, these people just shot to the top of my list of "Must find/Make camp with" in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Incredibly helpful, skilled folks.
We headed to the park for the rest of the afternoon and came home to not only find the cat still in the tree, but a small crowd that had gathered under the tree. Apparently, all of our neighbors wanted to make sure we knew there was a cat in our tree. I was starting to feel like a pregnant woman who got the same questions over and over again - yes, I'm pregnant. It's a boy. Due in April. We know there's a cat in our tree. He's our cat. Yes, we have called everyone under the sun who could possibly remove him. No, people are incredibly unhelpful. Thanks for your concern. (FYI: totally not pregnant. Just wanted to confirm that. Simply using it as an example). Even the mom at the end of the block who has the super cute two-year old little girl came down. I've always felt like she was a bit snubbish (not snobbish, just snubbish - you know, like she keeps snubbing me despite my friendly waving). It was nice to chat with her, although I fear I just confirmed her beliefs that the people who live in the greyish-brown house with the pot of dead mums are serious whack-jobs.
You can't win 'em all.
My very sweet and wickedly funny friend Katie had the serious misfortune of posting a comment on Facebook page that brought her front and center into the situation. When I (mostly-jokingly) asked her if she had a tall ladder, she replied, "Yes, we do." Whoa, back up the bus. Seriously? And she was willing to share it? We chatted later in the night and ascertained that yes, they have the ladder but no, we do not believe it is high enough to reach Zigmund. Plus, she had done some research and discovered pillow cases and/or a cat carrier with a pulley-system are usually necessary for a high-tree cat rescue. Bravo to Katie for putting in 100x more effort than I did. I just kept pacing and yelling encouraging words to the cat throughout the day. Google was the farthest thing from my mind.
So I readied myself for a long night of Zigmund howling outside. The poor, pitiful creature looked miserable, but the idea was wait and trust, right? I can do this. Wait. Trust. Bugger me.
And then Katie called back three minutes later and informed me that her husband Ryan already had his shoes laced up and was on his way over. He also did not subscribe to the "wait and trust" method either and couldn't stomach the idea of Zigmund alone, cold, and hanging from a branch. Quite honestly, this is probably one of the most unselfish gestures I've ever heard of. It was dark and windy. This man had no ties to this cat but was willing to spend his Tuesday night climbing trees? For our cat-in-law? God bless this man.
Ryan also happens to be a detective with Las Vegas Metro, which made Scotty's entire night (and possibly his life). No squad car and no lights or siren, but he did have a very tall ladder AND a pick-up truck. Hello, new best friends.
And so, Rescue Attempt #2 commenced. With Ryan up in the tree and Brian at the base, Scotty ran around in the yard screaming, "Office CHEESE! Officer CHEESE!" (add "cheese" to anything and toddlers just die) while I shouted helpful advice like, "Careful!" "Are you sure you know what you are doing?" "Oh god, please don't fall!" The men finally came to the conclusion that the ladder was about 15 feet too short and Zigmund was not budging.
What did everyone think of using a board or piece of plywood, from the roof, to allow Zigmund to traverse it safely? How do we get on the roof? Do we have any plywood? Would Zig even cross the "bridge"? Should I go and trademark the term "cat bridge"?
The boys scampered off to look for wood and "roof access." Allegedly, they were unable to get on the roof from the outside. So after locating a piece of peg board in the garage deemed strong enough to transport the 13-pound fur ball to safety, they then moved upstairs to the attic. As Brian stood on the stepladder, Scotty kept grabbing at his ankles, demanding he climb the ladder as well. Frustrated, Brian finally shouted, "Can you please get him out of here?" at me with a dismissive wave of his hand.
I glowered at him.
Here I had been the #1 guy on this rescue mission, the person leading the charge, since CatGate 2013 broke. And now I was being sent downstairs to tend to the child? How much more gender-defining was this mission going to become? Should I start sewing a blanket to catch Zigmund? Bake cookies? Gather some berries?
Sulking, I took the boy and headed downstairs to finish our fajitas. The men continued their trek into the attic, likely breathing in asbestos, while I waited for a leg to come shooting out of the ceiling. As Scotty and I sat glumly at the table, a loud meow broke me out of my pouting.
From the garage into the family room, looking slighly more puffy than usual and smelling like rosemary, in sauntered Zigmund. Just cool as a cucumber. A rosemary-infused cucumber.
And just like that, CatGate 2013 was over.
We're not sure if he jumped (there is a large rosemary bush directly under the tree), or simply came down the giant ladder that was left resting against the base. Either way, Zigmund was on solid ground and the men could return from their away-mission in the attic. And I could go beat some clothes against a rock.
So what did we learn from CatGate? I'm still trying to figure that out. Maybe the whole "wait and trust" thing does work. Maybe a carefully placed 20-foot ladder was the trick. Or, maybe Ryan, the cop with the heart of gold, was right. Because in his words, "maybe Zigmund just needed to know someone cared."
Editor's note: Katie and Ryan, you are definitely on my list if/when the zombie apocalypse happens. Phenomenal effort, excellent use of skills. Thank you!!