Thursday, October 06, 2005

Val left this afternoon to go to Dallas for one of his graduate classes that meets through Saturday. Being a single parent for a few days always makes me grateful for all the help he gives me with the kids, house, carpooling, etc. Less than a few hours after he left, I became aware of yet another reason to be grateful.

First though, a little background information. Last weekend, our next door neighbor babysitter offered our kids their hamster which her sister brought home from college this summer and left at home. I am NOT a hamster person, but for some reason agreed to let my kids keep Ralph for a trial period. If at the end of the period, they had proven that they could take care of him, then we would consider keeping him. I figured that if it made them happy and they could indeed be responsible pet owners, then I would have to learn to tolerate the hamster. Well, much to my surprise, Ralph was incredibly cute, cuddly, lovable, calm, friendly and just fun to have!

Now back to this afternoon. As I went in Connor's room to put away some laundry, I noticed that one of the tubes to Ralph's cage had come apart. I checked all the other tubes, nooks and crannies of his cage, but he was gone! Before I alerted the kids, I took a thorough look around Connor's room (he needs to clean under his bed!). I couldn't find Ralph, so I called for Michal Kate who was the only one home at the time to help me start looking. We got flashlights and frantically started searching the house. My biggest fear was that we wouldn't find Ralph before bedtime. He suddenly didn't seem so cute and cuddly after realizing he could be on the loose while I was in bed - alone! After looking for ten minutes or so, I hear Michal Kate say in a rather odd voice "Mom!" So I headed towards her and heard her say, "I found Ralph, but I think he's dead." Apparently, we weren't the first to find Ralph.......Zoe (no relation to Brandon Scott Thomas), our miniature schnauzer was! I'm sure you'd rather be spared the details from here on out, but suffice it to say that I have one more thing for which to be grateful to Val - dead animal disposal.

Being the good mom that I am or bad mom depending on your opinion of what we did next, we loaded up the van (after Addie stopped wailing) and headed to the pet store to pick out a new hamster. We discussed on the way that Ralph was one of God's living creations and couldn't be replaced, but since they had proven to be responsible pet owners they could choose another hamster. Within minutes of arriving back at home, I have now learned that hamsters are NOT created equal. Ralph II hisses, screeches, bites, jumps and basically scares the bejeebers out of me! I hot glued all the tunnels together so that they can't come apart (for my safety as much as his). My hope is that Ralph II just needs a little time to adjust to his new surroundings and that within a few days he will become cute and cuddly. I'll keep you updated...

P.S. I apologize to Val for calling him with this upsetting news only moments before starting a test.

P.P.S. On a brighter note, Addie has her first loose tooth!!


Jennifer said...

Um, have I told you the story about my first hamster? My brother and I both got hamsters when I was in the second grade. Mine was a precious little blonde hamster named Bananas. Brett's hamster, Nibbles, was also seemingly precious. Nibbles had gotten a bit agressive towards Bananas, so my dad put a really thick cardboard barrier in the middle of the cage, about 5 or 6 pieces, to keep them apart. We were about to go to Disney World on vacation (the first of many times,) so our friends were watching them for us. Upon our arrival back in Irving, we were informed that Bananas had been EATEN by Nibbles! Nibbles chewed through the layers of cardboard and killed my hamster during the night.

We tried to replace Bananas, but of course none of the hamsters that came after were the same. Nibbles, however, lived a very long and happy life. I doubt he even felt guilty.

DJG said...

Maybe Ralph II is just high on the glue!

SG said...

A day in the life!!! I thnk you did the "sweet Mom" thing to do. Maybe the dog will get Ralph II and because he is so mean this time the kids will just settle for a funeral and their memories sans the trip to PetsMart for Ralph III!

Kendra said...

Ralph II has adjusted well and seems to be sweet. Although he often hides in the middle of the tubes where the kids can't get to him (I know how he feels).

We didn't have a funeral, because it was raining (the whole reason our outside dog was in the house in the first place). I didn't want to go outside to dig a hole and get soaked and muddy and I certainly didn't want to keep the remains until the sky cleared up!

And rest assured, there will be no Ralph III!

Darren Duvall said...

We have a miniature schnauzer as well (Sadie), and they're genetically programmed to kill anything that scuttles around on the ground. It's not even a conscious though. A fairly large spider was creeping along on the floor a few years ago, something our former cat would have found entertaining for half an hour or so. Sadie saw it move, snapped it up in her terrier-derivative jaws quick as a cobra and in three quick snaps ended the career of a, uh, web designer.

She delicately spat out the carcass, then she looked up at me without any apparent awareness of what she had done. It was a reflex.

Needless to say, when we found an injured baby squirrel last year and nursed it back to health, we kept Sadie FAR away from 'Lucky' the squirrel. My kids named it 'Lucky', I preferred 'Stu', but was overruled.

elizabeth said...

My husband left on a business trip right before the stomach virus came to visit our house a few years ago.

He is still paying me back for that one!

Darren Duvall said...

Heh, my wife went to Chicago with a bunch of girlfriends...three days before Hurricane Rita hit.

We only got 4" of rain and no serious power outages, so I don't get any extra credit for that one. She is proud that I didn't call her 10 times a day about the storm, as the other husbands did.

SG said...