I thought the squirrel call from Pascagoula, Mississippi was pretty funny. But there has to be some kind of prize for the call we got this morning...
Right away, like I always do when the phone rings, I noticed the caller ID: "NC call." In this day of cell phones, sometimes the guy down the street is calling from another state, so I didn't really think a whole lot about that. And then the caller identified himself as a soldier in North Carolina. Hmmm.... well, perhaps a little unusual, but we do occasionally get phone calls from all over the country, so still not unheard of. But the conversation that followed.... Definitely one of a kind!
After establishing that he had indeed reached the chimney sweep, he informed me that his fiancee lived in an apartment complex in Copperas Cove and was plagued with a cat problem. ????? Surely I didn't hear him say cats??? Surely it was just our
bad dreadful connection. I turned up the volume on the phone. I plugged my other ear with my finger. I concentrated on his voice and listened intently. And sure enough, he kept talking about cats...?!
I still thought I must be "mishearing," and after awhile of this I tentatively asked, "Are we talking about...CATS?" I wanted to ask him if they were coming down her chimney, but the customer is always right, so I refrained. Finally I said firmly, "This is the chimney sweep." I thought that might jar something loose, but no. He pleasantly agreed and let me know that he had seen "Animal Removal" on our website. AHA! Now we're getting somewhere.
I took the opening and just as I began to point out that "Animal Removal" refers to animals, usually dead, that are captive inside of chimneys, I heard him drawl, "Oooooohhhh, I'm reading on down the page and I see that. I'm sorry I wasted your time." Whew! That was easy.
But instead of hanging up, he continued, "Do you have any idea what she could do about the cats? There are five strays forever wandering around her parking lot, and she is deathly afraid of them, and she can't go to work, because they are out there just waiting to pounce on her."
All I could think of was the obvious: How about calling Animal Control? His reply, "I've already done that. They said she could come and get a cage, and after the cat is caught they will come and pick it up." It may take awhile, with one trap, to catch five cats, but good, bad, or indifferent, that's the way it works around here. I can personally vouch for that. Do-It-Yourself animal control at its finest. Not a good solution in this case, though; she doesn't actually seem to want to do anything herself. Her involvement seems to be limited to calling him, wherever he may be, and he is a little too far removed to participate in any significant sort of way.
My next suggestion was the other obvious: Didn't you tell me she lives in an apartment complex? Tell her to call the manager and let them deal with Animal Control. His answer to that was, "Yes, I guess I am going to have to call the manager."
I replied, "Yes, I guess you are, and good luck to you!" That's what I said.
What I wanted to say was: So...I'm catching on to a problem here, and it isn't the cats. Are you sure you want to marry this woman? There you are, doing your duty, halfway across the country, and she is calling you to deal with some stray CATS?! What is she going to do when you are halfway across the world in Iraq? She may have to make her own phone calls then, and do ya think she can handle the stress? You want my advice? Perhaps you should reconsider and find yourself a girl that's not scared of cats.
For my part, I may consider changing my phone number. :-P
As I relayed this little story to C the next day, she offered one more idea: Take a can of tuna a few houses down the road, and leave it on the porch. All in all, that sounds about as good a solution as any.