In my job compiling the daily newsletter for Lehigh Valley Business, one of my favorite parts of the job is finding the “out of the ordinary” story that wraps up the bottom of the email.
I see it as dessert. You've been a good little business person keeping up on the latest important business news, so you deserve a treat – an oddball story you can share around the water cooler later in the day.
Some are inspirational. A recent "out of the ordinary" had a woman save her own father's life on her first day on the job as a 911 operator.
Some are just ridiculous. (I have a headline up on my computer that says police in Pakistan have charged a 9-month-old baby with attempted murder.)
One thing they have all had in common, though – is that none of these news stories have been about me!
Well, until now.
Wednesday night, I returned home after a four-day vacation to Mexico. (It was lovely. Thanks for asking.)
As much as I dreaded leaving behind the sun-soaked beach, I was eager to get home to see my "new" bathroom. My husband and I scheduled a bathroom remodeling to occur while we were gone.
It wasn't a big problem. The contractor is a family friend and my father was going to help. I didn't need to be there.
Or did I?
Because I wasn't there to count heads, I have become my own "out of the ordinary" story.
"Woman comes home to find beloved pet cat tiled into bathroom floor"
Yes, my long weekend away has turned me into a cautionary tale fit for a Weekly World News story, sigh.
When I called my folks to tell them my husband and I had landed safely, my father bragged that our contractor had just beaten the clock to get the project done in time for our arrival. Some unexpected complications had slowed progress, but they worked hastily to lay the tile and got it installed in time.
Then, he quipped: "You know, we worked awfully fast. I'd count the cats when you get home. We didn't see Edgar when we left."
He was kidding, but unfortunately he wasn't wrong.
When we, too, couldn't find Edgar, my husband went into the bathroom and called his name.
A faint "mew" came echoing up from under the floor. Indeed! He was trapped inside. The joke wasn't funny anymore.
To his credit, the contractor rushed over as soon as he heard. But it was OK. We live in a Cape Cod style house with plenty of funky little access panels, and we were able to lure him up into the wall and out of one of the panels with a can of tuna. We didn't have to rip up the tile to rescue him.
He was hungry and scared, but unharmed, after two days trapped in the floorboards. So the story has a happy ending.
It also has a moral. In construction you should always measure twice and cut once. Then check for any meowing before you lay that last tile.