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!!