It all started with the door I had installed between the dining room and the garage this summer to replace that tacky storm door the builder installed 50 years ago. The new steel door has a doorknob lock — key lock on the garage side and tab turnkey on the dining room side.
A few weeks ago, I started finding the door ajar; you know, open just enough for a cat or two to pass through. Once Aloof had gotten himself all the way to the back of the garage and up these mysterious stairs that are built into the wall up to the rafters. Fortunately, he came when I called. Since then I’ve come home to discover the door open and Aloof in the garage a number of times.
It has been quite befuddling. I always make sure the door is closed and the doorknob latch thing has caught. I pull on the knob and try to yank the door open but it won’t budge. I believe it’s secure. However, Aloof sits in the middle of the dining room all day and night and stares at that door and somehow with the power of that dark little mind, he is telepathically opening that door when I am not home.
Wednesday was the last straw. I came home to discover the door open again and Aloof darting inside, but as I got out of the Jeep, my true horror was realized — I heard anxious, high-pitched mewing coming from somewhere in the garage. I immediatedly closed the automatic garage door so no little four-legged furballs would wander into the Great Outdoors and then I rushed to make certain that Pugly and Aloof were indeed both in the house before closing the haunted door.
Once in the garage with the panicked Needy, I tried to determine where he was hiding. I cursed myself for never getting around to recycling the giant pile of boxes jumbled like a big box jungle at the back of the garage blocking me from the steps to the rafters where the previous owners had left doors and trelises and random 2×4 boards. Finally I spied the scardey pants Siamese pacing the crawl space above the dining room — well, I spied two eyes reflecting the bad light in the garage. I tried to instruct him to come down, but as I have always suspected, he is not as intelligent or obedient as Aloof or Pugly. He just made high-pitched mewing sounds and paced back and forth.
So, I hacked my way through the box jungle to the stairs, which I had never climbed in the two years I’ve lived here. Surprisingly there were no spiderwebs. When I got to the top, I realized how much space there is for boxes up there rafters. After I called him fifteen times, Needy came to the opening in the crawl space nearest me, never shutting up. I tapped on the doors that clearly were the path he took to the crawl space and begged him to come to me for about 10 minutes, but his glowing eyes just stared at me wide-eyed as his Siamese mewing grew louder and more anxious.
Finally, I came to the realization that I was going to have to do the unthinkable. Despite my paralizing fear of ladder heights, I would have to climb my Little Giant. I pulled the Little Giant into an upside down “V” and then slid one side out a bit to make it longer so that the ladder would be higher. I did something that was probably incredibly dangerous and wrong, but I felt it was safer at the time. I braced it against my Jeep — so basically if I’d fallen off, I would have broken my back on the top of my luggage rack that used once in ‘96 or ‘97. I climbed until my feet were on the very top of the ladder, one arm was wrapped tightly around a rafter, and while holding my breathe I tried to grab my cat.
Next came a 10 minute fight with the cat. I didn’t know that declawed cats could grab onto anything like that. He managed to get a good hold on the insulation in the crawlspace and I was trying to grab his 15 lb ass with one arm while trying to balance on the top of a ladder and hang onto a rafter while not having a heart attack or an anxiety attack. At some point, I realized that I had to use two hands to grab him so I had to let go of the rafter and balance precariously on the ladder above my Jeep while Needy tried to get away because he’d rather be terrified and starving in the crawlspace than held by a crazy person balancing precariously on a ladder way above a Jeep.
I still don’t know how we got down to the garage floor or back into the house. I do know that my legs and arms still hurt. Needy seems to have gotten over his trauma now, but I still find myself checking to make sure everyone’s in the house every 30 minutes or so.
(Don’t forget to check out Friday Ark.)