Holy crap doesn't even cover it. Oooh boy, my heart is still beating so fast!!!
My buddy Vinnie from ServiPest came and assessed the situation. We first blocked the pipe from the wall, hoping to trap Rocky just in the pipe, and take the pipe outside to let him out. No go. He was somewhere between the stove and the pipe. So we made his world smaller by unscrewing the pipe from the stove, quickly slamming a hardcover book (Kevyn Aucoin's Face Forward
) over the hole where the pipe had been attached to the stove, so now he was just in the stove. We were going to trap him as he tried to escape through the stove door, but it's a double door, and you have to open both doors to get inside. So we looked at the log feeder, which opened on the stove top. Vinnie said that was our best chance, got on his "work gloves" and said he'd have to grab him and bag him to release him outside. I shut every door to contain the kitties, got my Mom out of the way, and held my breath, when all of a sudden Vinnie said, "he's out" - Rocky had escaped! And the chase began. Rocky ran toward the front door, couldn't get out, ran down the hall, no exit because of the closed doors, then ran into the kitchen toward the sliding glass door. He jumped at it a few times while I struggled with the stupid lock, and finally, I got it unlocked, opened it, and.....out he ran!!!!!
Next on my to-do list - get a chimney specialist to clean it, cap it, repair the chewed up flashing, and seal the ash disposal door where the existing door had disappeared.
So glad I didn't have appointments today,
but Vinnie warned that Rocky might be looking to nest, and he might be back, so this is something I have to do immediately - I never want to do this again ...