Starting yesterday evening Danna and I could hear a cat somewhere meowing. Often this is our cat Frankie, who frequently gets stuck in the bathroom or closet -- he's not the sharpest tack in the box. But Frankie was asleep on our bed, so we chocked it up to a neighborhood cat that was howling in our vicinity.

Today we were on our way out and we could hear this cat meowing again. It was very loud in the garage, and we quickly sumised what had happened. A cat had entered our crawl space and was under our house. Our garage is essentially in the basement, and we could hear this poor cat crying through the trap door to the crawl space.

I unscrewed the cover to the crawl space and there sat one very pissed off orange tabby. Even after bribing him with cat food he wouldn't come out of the crawl space -- what's wrong with this cat? After looking at him for bit I had my answer: the insulation in our crawl space is tethered to the floorboards above by a web of twine. Somehow the cat had become intertwined in this stuff and was completely stuck. I was back in a flash with a pair of scissors but I had one problem: I only own a short step ladder, and the enterance to the crawl space is about five feet off the ground. I couldn't reach!

I dragged over the large yard waste can, climbed up on it and balanced precariously. I could just reach the cat. As I did this the thought went through my mind that this was not the safest thing to do. I should have listened. One more reach and I could almost free that back leg and...the yard waste can slipped out from under me.

Instinct took over and as I fell I reached out to grab something. The something I grabbed was a full propane tank on the shelf next to me. Two thoughts went through my mind before I landed: the first was how much that propane tank was going to hurt when it hit. The second was what kind of damage the tank was going to do to my car, which was directly under me.

As it turned out, the propane tank hurt quite a bit. It smacked me dead in the face, leaving a bump on my forehead the size of a golf ball and two chipped teeth. Luckily the tank and I fell at similar speeds so it didn't hit me terribly hard. The car turned out to be very lucky too. The propane tank glanced off the headlight cover and scuffed it and a bit of the front bumper. Had it been three inches higher it would have put a nasty dent in the hood.

Of course, this scared the crap out of the cat, who bolted back into the crawl space and got yet more wound up in the twine. I tried calling animal control, but "they don't climb ladders" so I was on my own. I finally borrowed a ladder from a friend, and while a white-knuckled wife stood at the bottom keeping it steady I finally got the cat cut loose of the twine. He bolted without so much as a thank you.

So much for a leisurely Sunday afternoon. I can't wait to see the look on my dentist's face.