Or maybe it was a barely-three-mile halting jog and I had to skip breakfast altogether...
...because this is what Jason and I spent the following 45 minutes staring at when I got back to the house after my run:
Are you seeing it?
Look closely at the curved branch of the tree, letting your eye travel three-quarters of the way down the length of that branch.
Do you see it now? That little bulge perching precariously and yet with dignity and disdainful haughtiness intact?
Still no? Well, here it is a little closer:
Maybe Jim the Cat has been doing too much reading up on turkeys and their untimely demise at Thanksgiving. Maybe he read too many heartwarming tales about the Thanksgiving Pardon and started getting ideas, fearful that it wasn't just turkeys whose lives were in jeapordy.
But for whatever reason he saw his moment of opportunity when I heaved myself across the threshold of the house like so much wobbly cranberry sauce. Jim the Cat made good his escape (Lam #2, for those of you keeping record) as I careened, gasping, through the front door.
The situation was further compounded by the fact that it was 6:45 a.m., and in our neck of the woods the weather's been frosty and wet. So when I tried to convince the cat that it was in the best interests of his health and longevity to retrace his pawtoes down the length of that dratted tree this very minute, he started sliding precipitously downward:
If I had been in a better frame of mind (or breathing normally and getting the mandated oxygen levels to my brain), I would probably have enjoyed watching what happens when a feline of the species sees that he's lost that all-so-important control over his environment and starts slipping and sliding while suspended 15 feet above ground. Saucer eyes, wild scrabbling, general terror and pandemonium... And that was just me. You should've seen Jim.
But, if you're wondering, it's not all that fun: standing (more or less, that is. Remember it was 10 miles, people. TEN!) in workout clothes as pools of sweat -- I mean, glints of perspiration -- slowly freeze into icicles all over your too-quickly-cooling body. It's what happens when you imagine you've pounded out 10 miles of cross-country terrain at a blistering rate of 6 minutes a mile and then stand stupidly at the base of a tree for 45 minutes watching Cat square off against Angry Squirrel Whose Territory Has Been Impeded Upon. If I get pneumonia from trying to rescue a stupid cat, I swear...
Anyway, I swiftly contemplated and then declined the opportunity to add Tree Climbing as the finale to my stimulating morning workout routine.
Instead, I might have made the suggestion it was time to call the Sanford Fire Dept. and put our tax money to good use.
And Jason might have spat, "Over my dead body" or something along those lines. (My heartrate was still kinda high, and the blood pounding in my ears made this wierd sort of whooshing sound in my head that made it hard to hear. I think it's normal though.)
So we continued our current course of dubious action, which primarily consisted of plaintive, cooing noises to encourage the cat to come down, alternated with daggery glares. At the cat, mostly, but I think I caught a few accidental barbs from Jason. It must be that I was standing in the way of the crossfire...Uhhh...even though the cat and I were in opposite directions, now that I think about it. Hmm.
Well, accidental, like I said. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I dragged Jason out of a warm bed to deal with the "emergent cat" situation. A situation that, I might add, was degenerating quickly.
I think I started hissing at Jim. Delirium.
And did I mention I was starting to collect frostbite?
Finally we compromised. Jason grabbed a ladder from Jesse's yet-unassembled swingset. I grabbed a rolled-up section of our carpet remnants, and we started a new tactic to cajole Jim into our loving arms before Jason brought him down with a shotgun.
Voila, magic carpet ride. Aladdin, eat your heart out.
Once safely back inside the confines of his prison walls, Jim contemplated what could have been.