Classic Obie8/9/09: Obie's a conflicted cat. He wants hugs and love, but he doesn't want them. He wants to play, but he wants to sleep. He wants to hunt, but he knows he's not very good at it. He's grumpy, but affectionate. He's hard to figure sometimes, but one thing is clear. Obie has bad karma.

Obie needed extra anesthesia during The Surgery because one of his testicles was down in his thigh and the vet had to hunt for it. He's always getting stepped on. He approaches to rub my ankles at the exact moment I execute a yoga maneuver that gets him kicked in the head. He sprained his tail once.

There's more, but we'll get to that. We all awoke in the new house this morning much refreshed. The cats were calm and hanging around when Becky, Ted, and I went for breakfast.

Obie wasn't around when we got back. He wasn't in Laurie's barn. Around sunset, we started looking for him and I heard mournful yeowing coming from one of the downspouts on the north side of the house. Ginger was sitting on the roof over that downspout, looking concerned, but Ginger wasn't doing the yeowing.

I pulled the grate off the sump at the bottom of the downspout, expecting to find Obie therein, but alas, no. Instead, he was stuck in the adjacent drainpipe, which is at the top of a run of at least 100' of 10" drain tile and a pipe that svelte Bob maneuvers in easily. Obie probably saw Bob go in and out and thought to try it himself. Obie is bigger than Bob, though, and perhaps found himself in trouble and figured out the only way out was forward. He was probably there all day. The drain tile steps down to about 4" at the sump box. Obie couldn't go forward, couldn't turn around in the 10" pipe, and couldn't or wouldn't back out. Nothing to do but dig down to the pipe and see what the options were.

I grabbed a spade and a garden fork and all three of us took turns hacking through the rocky backfill down to the drain tile. Obie yeowed. Dirt and rocks flew while Becky shoveled and I pried out rocks. Ted pulled his reciprocating saw from a box somewhere in the mess of half-moved-in crap in the garage; Obie's karma is good enough that the saw is here at the house and not down in Silver City in one of the self-storage units, waiting for Tuesday's move.

We exposed a couple of feet of pipe behind where we figured Obie ended. Ted carved a hole big enough that Obie could get out of on his own if he had enough sense to back up, which he didn't. I could touch Obie's face by reaching into the pipe from the sump end and got good bite when I did, so I put the garden fork in and gently pushed him back with it. Ted could reach his hind feet from the hole in the pipe and got a good spraying for it while Obie hung on for dear life with his front claws as Ted tugged on his rear legs.