I think the time was around 3 pm. I had stolen away to my room for a lunch break, as I am prone to do when I want to eat my Ramen noodles alone in the lap of luxury. The screaming started sometime around the first bite, as it is prone to do. I gave some thought to ignoring it entirely, but let me tell you a couple of rules of parenting: If ONE child is screaming, it's probably okay to eat your lunch. If NO children are screaming, do not eat. Go immediately and find out why. If MANY children are screaming, it has a 50% chance of being a real thing and you can probably snag a bite or two but then run once you get near the children, just in case there are news media in your yard.
It was the cat. The stupid, stupid cat was stuck in a tree. Now, listen, I'm kind of a cat person, in that cats might be the animal I hate the least. I like their furry aloofness and their comfy rainy-day approach to life. I enjoy seeing a glorified throw pillow stroll casually from one sleeping location to the next. I am not, however, one of you, who love your pet and put her in the Christmas card and care deeply if she lives or dies.
We are a little more like:
But we have these dadgum kids, and I love them. So it was my job to get the cat out of the tree, or at least to make a college try. Luckily, I had an enormous amount of moral support from the Man of God, who was late for a wedding and yelled "Good luck!" as he peeled out of the driveway, and also I had almost unlimited advice from the peanut gallery. "Just GET HER DOOOOWWWN," they wailed. "GO UP IN THE TREEEEEEE and GET HERRRR!"
You guys might not realize this, but I am height challenged. I can't even reach the dishes in my own cupboard. Also I am completely uncoordinated and have not climbed a tree since the first grade, and also I am terrified of heights. Also I don't love this cat. So I hauled ladders around, but none of them were tall enough, and so then I thought, I bet I can get her to jump to the roof. I tried to sneak upstairs but was immediately detected and then 3 of 4 children all watched in fascination as I opened the window from their room to the roof and leaned out. I could FEEL Tristan getting ideas.
Since I have extremely helpful children, Toby took possession of my phone for documentation and the other children leaned heavily on my back, ensuring that we would plunge to our deaths together. Toby will have video of me falling out the window, I thought to myself. It was a dark place. Plus the stupid, stupid cat would not jump to the roof 2 feet below the branch, so the plan was abandoned.
Next I went to the alarm panel and set our very loudest and most frightening notification for that window, because, come on.
Then I went back outside where everyone was gathered, cheering Misa to "JUMP!" which, luckily, she is too stupid to understand. I found another ladder, covered in black widows and brown recluses and terror, but I couldn't get it to open, because I don't speak Home Depot. "Just open it!" the helpful children cried, "Just click that thingy and open it and get up the tree and save the cat RIGHT NOW!!"
Finally I thought, well, I haven't died yet, so here's one more way, and I leaned the ladder against the tree and climbed the ladder, again, mostly concerned with not dying in front of my children for the sake of a cat. As you will see in Toby's documentary, I saved her, only to be clawed ferociously across my wrist as a thank-you.
In the end, we still have a cat and Tristan has discovered several interesting possibilities for fun and excitement. Send pills.