The Great Escape

There was a fair bit of excitement here at the Gleason household last night, but everything ended up OK. Jennifer took TJ (our 20-month old) outside to enjoy the nice evening, and I had gone up to the bedroom to change clothes after work. Luckily our window was open – I heard Jennifer yell, “TJ let Rosie out!”

Rosie is our little orange tabby cat, and to be frank I really probably could not care less if she ran off into the wilds of Kansas City’s northland, never to be seen again. I say that now, but I might feel some remorse. Maybe, but I doubt it.

So Rosie was let out into our back yard and immediately ran under the deck. Our deck is not very high off of the ground – less than three feet – so it’s tall enough for her to run around under there with ease, but we can’t get under there. For a few moments I had nightmarish visions of me essentially dismantling the entire deck to try to get her out…but with my luck she probably would have just ran off over the fence right after I pulled out the final screw.

I grabbed a broom from the garage and made my way out back. Jen found that if she stood on the south side of the deck she could see all the way through, and watched as Rosie took her sweet time enjoying the sights and sounds of this amazing new world. Rosie has not been outdoors since we got her almost three years ago, and she was only 9 months old or so then so her range of outdoor experience is somewhat stunted.

Jen would watch Rosie go out one side of the deck and then try to run around and catch her while I swatted with the broom to try to keep her from getting back under the deck. NO GOOD. This just scared Rosie and made her even more erratic. Jen and I switched positions then, so I could watch and direct from the yard while she used the broom as a noisemaker to flush Rosie out, like some kind of beater at a fox hunt. This seemed to work, but we just couldn’t jump down from the deck fast enough to catch her.

By this time both of us were pretty well peeved, but TJ thought this was a fantastic game. He’d run around the deck just laughing with little-kid glee, especially when one of us would jump or run or swat or when Rosie would poke her head out or (more frequently) run back under the deck. Jen was pretty well ready to commit Rosie to memory and just let her stay out there, but I had one last thought.

I went around to the front side of the house and got the garden hose, turned on the spigot and made my way back to the side of the deck. I took careful aim and started shooting – not full blast, because I didn’t really want to end up with a completely soaked cat. No, I wanted to make Rosie WANT to NOT go back under the deck, and the best way I could think to do that was to dampen the ground underneath it.

I was putting my plan into action but realized – too late – that I had not accounted for a wild card. From out of nowhere a little blond blur dashed in front of me and right into the stream of water, and before you could say, “sopping wet child,” TJ was soaked…and loving it. He laughed and laughed and laughed…and while I wanted to stop and laugh with him, I still had a feline extraction to facilitate.

I turned up the pressure a little and finally Rosie decided that she had enjoyed enough of the rich bounty of the outdoors. She meekly came out next to Jennifer and practically begged to go back inside. Meanwhile, TJ was doing everything he could to ensure that there was not a single square inch on him that was left dry. I will admit that I was an enabler – it was a pretty warm evening, so I did spray him a little more but then we finally made our way indoors to towel off and change into dry pajamas.

A little while later we all went downstairs to watch Top Gear on the DVR. TJ absolutely loves cars, and he will actually sit and watch quite a bit of Top Gear – especially when they are doing road tests or power laps. This time, though, he climbed onto my lap and pretty much just fell asleep – a good hour and a half before bedtime! We did eventually wake him up, fearful that such an early slumber would lead to a very early morning, but it was final proof positive that we’d had a very exciting evening.

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