Quite the mixed bag today has been, I went to court (more on that later), I signed a lease (more on that later too), and I worked from home. Since ET and I are leaving this apartment soon, the management company has been showing the apartment during the day. Not a big deal, strangers walk around the apartment, all the windows are opened, all the lights are turned on, doors are opened and closed and if you're lucky enough to be around, you get to field questions.
About an hour or two after the showing of the apartment was over, ET looks up from the couch and asks "Where's Buddy" (a.k.a. Fatso). After looking in all of the usual hiding places, she grabs a can of food and taps the lid and listens. A faint meowing is heard. She opens the closet door and taps the lid again. Meow, meow, meow. I think to myself "no way in hell is that cat in the closet, so I hold the can out the window and tap, tap, tap. Meows are coming from outside of the bathroom window. Our bathroom window opens onto this tiny area between two buildings, and is rarely opened because the view sucks, and we don't stink up our bathroom too much.
Not entirely sure where the cat is, I go to the other side of this little area, in the buildings stairwell and open the window, climb out, and poke around for Fatso, a.k.a Buddy, a.k.a Missing Kitty #1. I can't see Fatso at all but I can hear him. I tapped on the hood for the ventilation shaft and I hear meowing. I tap again, meowing. Reaching my hand around under the hood, I hear more meowing but I don't feel anything.
Thanks to a flashlight and mirror loaned from a friendly neighbor, who's more earthquake prepared than ET and I, I was able to look down the ventilation shaft. and I see Fatso's stupid little face, all the way at the bottom.
Running down to the basement confirms two things, this cat is stuck, secondly, he's stuck in the ventilation inlet to the heating system for the building. Stupid cat. While I continue to investigate possible exit strategies, something Fatso clearly hadn't considered, ET is on telephone duty. First we call the management company, who are characteristically useless, then it's on to the fire department's non-emergency line.
When the calvary (see: firemen) arrive, the first thing we do is rip the hood off the ventilation shaft to determine whether we can fish the stupid cat from the depths, which after removing the hood, turns out to be about 15ft. To add insult to injury, there are a couple pieces of wood fastened into place at the top, preventing any beings larger than a 12 pound stupid cat from fitting down the shaft. Looks like we'll have to attack it from the basement, and be "we" I mean the firemen, I'm useless.
The good boys from the SFFD find a seam in the sheet metal where the shaft attaches to the furnace and using some basic tools (pick) and their hands, are able to tear back some sheet metal so I can poke my head in the bottom of the buildings furnace, only to see our stupid cat, a.k.a Fatso, a.k.a Buddy, a.k.a Missing Cat #1, as far away as possible, entirely unwilling to exit the dark bowels of the furnace he's occupied for nigh three hours now.
I explain to the firemen, that I can probably handle it from here since they likely have "real shit to do", but they are unwilling to budge, waiting on "verification" of the cat; they had not actually seen the cat at all up until this point. I shove my head back in the furnace, this time with an arm and grab Fatso by the neck and drag him, against his will, from the furnace to greet the four smiling faces of the SFFD's finest (and ET).
The firemen are kind enough to seal the now warped sheet metal enough to hold the system over until the management company can repair the damage, and after thanking them they were on their merry way, ideally to save somebody's life, but most likely to watch Real Housewives of New Jersey back at the station while they wait for something to catch on fire or some stupid cat to poke its head where it doesn't belong.
Fatso's favoring his hind-legs a little right now but is all and all in good condition. I want to say he's learned his lesson, but I'm certain he hasn't.