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Thursday, June 09, 2005

This is my entry for Blogging for Books #12...
A time you metaphorically took "the road less traveled", and made an unpopular or uncommon decision. I took the road less traveled alright - the way no one else even thought about trying, which made it very uncommon... and when you read about it, you'll know why it was so unpopular.... Unpopular, but way necessary. Alright then, off you go...

Chauncey got out again!

Damn cat.

My “baby daddy” flew the coop once again. Yesterday around 11:30, "someone" left the door opened AGAIN and the 10-year-old asthmatic Siamese headed for the woods. This would make it twice in two weeks. The first time he got out was last week when one of D's friends accidentally left the door opened, and Chauncey was found three days later in a crawl space inside a family’s garage down the road. This time, it was Papa D who left the door opened. And boy oh boy, both Papa D and D himself were absolutely devistated.

If you can’t see Chauncey, you can usually hear him because of his asthma. He sounds like Darth Vader. That’s how he was discovered in the garage. He stuffed himself back into the crawl space and a little boy said he swore he heard something in there. The family didn’t believe him until he made them go sit and listen. It wasn’t long before they could tell something was in there but it sounded more like vacuum hose than a cat.

So yesterday when we heard Chauncey had taken off again, Earl and I went over after work to start a search party. D was already to started looking, but Papa D is much too old to walk that far. So the three of us made way through the wooded backyards, shaking the cat food box and yelling for kitty. We ended up at the garage where he was found last time, but alas, this time he was not there...

Instead, we discovered a girl walking her dog, who when asked, pointed to a Siamese on a porch across the road - and son of a gun, it was Chauncey. We high tailed over to him but he ran in fear from us. At one point, I almost had him cornered against a fence full of goats, but he escaped me. I know, I should have dove, but he was too quick and dodged under a thorn bush. D and Earl were bringing up the rear, and I pointed to the bush with a “he’s in there” glance.

With that, Chauncey darted into a bigger bush… which was about an acre long. And it was ALL rose bushes.

Of course the one day I decide to wear a white tank top and my nice capris, I have to crawl through bushes… Well, anything to get the father of my cat back. I mean there was never a question about it. This cat was going to be home with D by the time the sun went down. End of story, no questions asked.

So off I went and started making my way through the bushes. It wasn’t long before I was crouched down on all fours trying to hack through the jungle of branches with my bare hands. D and Earl were doing the same from other directions, and wouldn’t you know it, we spotted the chocolate cat. Of course, he was the same color as the maze of thorns, which made it particularly hard to see him. So instead, every once in awhile we all had to stop moving… and just listen for the wheezing…

There were only two directions we could give to one another: He’s moving “towards the river” or he’s moving “towards the road”. Neither final destination was good, so we wanted to get him while he was in the middle of the two.

We lost him over a dozen times before we started to doubt our capture plans. Apparently ‘grabbing’ him was not going to be as easy as we thought. At one point, I was only 4 feet from him. He was sitting in the meatloaf position and starring straight at me. I whispered to him, trying to act calm and quiet. Chauncey has known me for years and he knows my voice, so it was surprising how afraid he was acting... That, or he was just ignoring me because he simply didn't want to get caught. It wasn’t more than another couple seconds before he turned around and disappeared. This was starting to look hopeless.

And it was HOT under all those bushes. I was sweating my ass off. My glasses kept slipping down my nose and I was afraid to wipe them on my shirt for fear that I would stain it… what was I thinking… there was no hope for my shirt anymore anyway. My hair was caught in multiple branches and strands of it were leaving trails behind us like breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel’s path. My bare arms and calves were being sliced and diced and the deeper into the bush we got, the thornier it became. Soon enough, I could not put my knees down anymore because there were thorns in the ground, so I pretty much had to just scrunch down like an itty bitty Russian dancer so I could walk with my feet. Now THAT’S a work out.

We would each get so close to catching that cat, but at the last minute he would always see or hear us and change direction. Finally, we had to go back to D’s house and figure out a new strategy and drink cold refreshing beer.

Earl made a homemade crocodile noose out of an extension cord, duct tape, and a broom handle. We tested it a few times and it worked like a dream. I had a can of tuna fish and a flashlight, and D had the cat carrier. Considering Chauncey bit D last time when D went to get him out of the garage, the cat carrier was essential and none of us could believe we didn’t have it with us during our first attempt.

We wandered back to the bushes and started our search again. Now we had absolutely no idea where he could be. We assumed he was still in the with the thorns, but where? After only a few minutes of scoping the area, D found Chauncey resting on a log like nothing was wrong and he was just a wee bit tired. D chucked a piece of tuna at him which bounced off his head. He seemed annoyed by this and headed further into the brush.

As the guys headed out in the direction Chauncey was going, I was convinced this cat was not going to go far from the spot he was originally sitting. He looked too tired to go too far. And sure enough, he hadn’t moved but a few feet when I spotted him again. I yelled out that he was still there in the same area, and the guys started to make their way back... But Chauncey could hear them crunching on sticks and started to move farther back into the thorns.

I see him… and he’s moving again… towards the river,” Earl exclaimed.

Again, the guys began to move out, trying to predict the cat’s intentions. So did I… so I stayed put. “He’s not going anywhere”, I thought. I started making my way under the bushes to where he had been sitting before. I felt like a fox trying to squeeze into a little chipmunk hole. I wanted to just burst threw all the branches, but there was no way. I could see a little opening in the center of the gigantic barbed mess and thought that would be a perfect place to ambush a Siamese. “I need gloves and a hedge clipper,” I yelled out. Within 5 minutes, someone threw me my supplies.

Amy’s in deep”, D said to Earl.

To which I responded, “Yeah, I’m going into the heart. If I don’t come back in 5 hours, come find me”.

I couldn't take everything with me, so I traded my can of tuna for the flashlight. The gloves were very large on me but they would work, and I snatched the clippers and started severing a tunnel about 3 feet high into the center of the bush. After about 10 minutes of cutting and chopping and yanking the evil spikey devils out of my way, I was in the nucleus. And that’s where I sat.

And sat.

And sat.

And sweated. And sat some more.

I heard Earl to my left and D to my right. “I see him,” Earl said. “He’s headed back to the center of the bush.”

That was my cue. My arms were killing me. The scratches were burning and my legs were cramped from squatting for so long. I had to stretch them out. I pushed around a little spot with my sandal so I could sit without getting a thorn in my ass. Once I got settle down, I looked up and there was a little chocolate head making his way into my trap.

He didn’t see me. He didn’t hear me. This was my chance.

I wanted to say something to Earl and D so badly. I wanted to tell them HE'S RIGHT HERE, but I kept my mouth shut. I was quiet as a spider waiting for the moth to hit her web...

He was taking his time and stepping gingerly through the mess of vines. The guys were still talking back and forth, which was only helping me stay incognito. Chauncey came within 3 feet of my sweaty grasp when he glanced at me, disregarded it, flashed a double take, and then paused… that was the moment he realized I was a person instead of a bush. He twisted around 180 degrees to dart…

And I knew it was now or never. I had no idea if I could catch him. My gloves were too big, I had very little room, and my position was weird. I had every reason to believe that he was going to squirm right out of my grip, but I put all that doubt behind and just went for it. I lunged and grabbed.

And I got the little bastard.

I was flat on my belly in the prickly earth while my right hand had him securely by his arm. My left hand lay across his neck... which would do me no good in a matter of seconds so I immediately re-adjusted to clench behind his scruff. I was dumbfounded that I had caught him at all, and stopped for a second to check his disposition. Old chocolate thunder was wheezing hard with mouth wide open and his eyes were BIG, but he was not trying to bite me.

I got him!” I announced. I sounded as shocked as I was excited, like I had just landed the fattest bass in the lake. “D, get the carrier… hurry please.

They had no idea I was even near Chauncey. So my announcement was a surprised to all. I heard D coming closer so I assured Chauncey everything was okay and knocked the thorn out of his nose with my pinky. That’s when I realized the burning pain in the soft part of my inner arm. I couldn’t see it, but I knew the mother of all thorns was attached to my skin, and both the thorn and I were attached to a branch. I squeezed my grip a little tighter, being careful not to hurt him, and pulled my arm. My skin stretched and stretched but the thorn hung on for dear life. I tried again, but still no go. Finally, I laid my forearm across Chauncey, got my thumb free, and I yanked that bitch out. I let out a sigh of relief and began to refocus. I had to somehow turn the two of us around so we could be ready for D when he got back with the carrier. But even though I had rolled onto my hip... turning completely around without the use of one’s arms is not as easy as it seems... .

So we bounced.

We bounced three times and hurled ourselves up and around so we faced the other way. Now, we were ready. But my hands were getting numb from gripping so hard... “Hurry up with that carrier, D!” … I was gripping so hard because the gloves were so big... And the fingers were bending backwards as my hands sunk deeper into the palm of the glove.

I am NOT letting you go, Chaunce.” I said to him as he began to squirm. “Not a chance, buddy. I will sit on you if I have to.” Just then D threw the carrier into my tunnel. I flung my leg around, kicked the door open with my foot, shoved his little body in and slammed it shut.

D popped his head through the tunnel. “Holy shit! How the hell did you get back there?

I wiped the sweat off my forehead and took a deep breath. “I knew he was coming back here. All five or so times he took off, he didn’t go more than a few feet from this area. So I had a feeling he would come sneaking by eventually… And when I saw him coming, I really didn’t think I could do it... but I knew if I didn’t catch him now, the sun would be going down soon and we were never going to get another chance... So, I just gave it everything I had.”

D shook my hand. “Thank you”, he said.

So after 3 ½ hours of hunting for Siamese, we finally made our way back out of the bushes. I held Chauncey in the carrier like he was a trophy I just won. My hair was a great big ball of frizz and sticks. I was bleeding from all areas and my shirt was now a beautiful shade of sweat brown. I had muddy knees, cut up feet, and my fingertips were throbbing from thorn pricks. The muscles in my legs were quivering from squatting so long. I had stepped on a board with a 3 inch nail sticking out of it that went straight threw my sandal and missed my toe by a centimeter. My butt was covered in mud and had leaves stuck to it. I was soaking wet and my glasses were smudged with dirt and grime...

And I felt AWESOME.

The cat was going home where he belonged, D was happy again, Earl called me a hero, and I could go home and tell Q that his daddy was safe. All was good again in the world.

As we walked back to D's house, we stopped to show the concerned neighbors our prize cat. Chauncey had certainly made a name for himself and there was no doubt in anyone's mind who this cat belonged to. There was a small crowd waiting at D's house, ready to welcome us all home. Papa D smiled warmly and gave me a great big Thank You, Amy... And that was all I needed. Now they all could rest easy.

They all told me I should be a professional animal catcher when I grow up and called me "trapper"...

So I threw Earl’s crocodile noose in the trunk, just in case we needed it on the way home or something. You never know when there’ll be an animal that needs-a-catch’n. And when there is, I'll be ready.
I have a connection!

I had to stay home today from work so that the repair guy could come fix our DSL. Seems it was a problem with a port on their end. But as I sat and waited for him to finish up, I found myself getting sucked into daytime TV…

Do you know how much help is out there for me? I can get a career in medicine at the Citone Institute in only 9 months. If I get injured in an accident, I can get the money owed to me from a zillion different injury lawyers. If I have unexpected expenses, I can make one phone call and get the money I need regardless of my credit history. If I need a new car or truck and have $89, I can go home today with my new vehicle. And if my 13 year old daughter is cheating on me with my boyfriend and I expect she is doing drugs and prostituting herself while I stay home watching her baby, I can call Maury.

Wow. I had no idea there were so many out there who cared…. And not too mention watching a bunch of talk shows makes me feel REALLY GOOD about my life...