Well - not really MacGyver... there were no explosions or chases.
Seth and I had gone to bed last night around 11:30 or so. Evan was on the phone. With a girl. That he met at the unschooling conference we went to last year. Let me repeat that: my son, 15-year-old Evan, was on the phone. With a girl. This is a new development. But not unexpected. Last year, we went to a park, and Evan was swinging. An entire school of kids came in - their school is right next to the park, so they use it for recess. Within 15 minutes, he had 6 giggling middle school girls around him, asking questions about homeschooling. And giggling. He's a cutie. And smart. And engaging. And funny. He's had some friends that are girls, but this *feels* different.
Anyway. MacGyver. OK. Around 1:00, Evan asked if I knew where Peanut Butter was. I had let her out earlier, and I just then realized she hadn't asked to be let in. Evan said he heard a kitty yowling. I was in bed, so sleepily told him if he shook the cat food bag, she'd come running. He came back a few minutes later - our kitty was on the neighbor's roof! I went out, and sure enough, there she was. She had obviously climbed a tree and jumped to the roof, but the distance and narrowness of the branch made a return jump intimidating. (I'm guessing, here. But it seemed that way.) I walked around the house, to see if there was another way she could get down. Nope. We don't have a ladder. I was sure the neighbors had a ladder, but I wasn't about to wake them up at 1 in the morning. I know that cats who get up will eventually find their way down, but I couldn't leave her there. She was so pitiful! We tried to encourage her to come down the tree; she'd stand at the edge of the roof, reaching one paw towards the branch, meowing. I tried to think of other ways to get to her - the roof isn't that high where she was. I thought about taking one of our bookshelves out there (an empty bookshelf, waiting for books that are still in boxes from our move!), but realized that wouldn't be stable enough.
Suddenly, I remembered! We had a small ladder that had been on the boys' bunkbed. I knew it wouldn't reach the roof, but maybe it would put me high enough that she could jump to my back or something. We took it out there, put it against the side of the house... and it didn't work. The roof has quite a large overhang. It didn't put me high enough, and I was mostly hidden from Peanut Butter, under the overhang. Thank goodness the house is vacant! It was owned by a woman's mother, and her mother passed away just a few months ago. She comes over just about every day to maintain it, but isn't ready to do anything else. So our bumping and climbing wasn't bothering anyone. So, now. Hmmm...
I looked at the tree. Called to PB some more, who kept reaching that little paw out, then going back. All this took about 45 minutes or so. Then I saw it! If I could get that ladder in the tree, it could reach across a branch, and reach the roof! It could rest there, making a bridge from roof to branch. I pushed the ladder up in the gap... push... reach... push... almost. And I wasn't tall enough! I had my arms as stretched as they could go, and was holding the ladder by the bottom of the side pieces... and it wouldn't quite reach. So, Seth went to get Evan - who was still on the phone! My child is nearly 4 inches taller than me, I figured he could reach. We switched places - well, I didn't talk on the phone, but he grabbed the bottom of the ladder... and it didn't reach. I got our recycling bin, which is made of sturdy, thick plastic, Evan stood on that - success! The ladder's top was resting on the roof, and the bottom was resting on the branch. It was a good 8 or 9 feet up in the tree. It took just a minute for Peanut Butter to step out on the ladder, run down to the tree, then climb down. Yay! I felt so proud.
I went out this morning, and saw no damage to the tree, or the plants under the tree. Peanut Butter is curled up on my lap and Evan is fast asleep after his marathon telephone session.
I have no photographs of our adventure - I was participating too much to even think about that!