Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I Don't Think They Like Us, Part 1
When I moved out on my own, I adopted a Pomeranian that, strangely, loved to eat lipstick. Seriously, I would secure it in a zipper pouch inside my purse and this determined K-9 would gnaw through the fabric to get to it, leaving stained fur and carpet and zero instructions on how to clean that up.
As time passed and we were blessed with children, we decided against pets. We now had other lifeforms to try to prevent from eating random objects and to stop from pooping on the floor. Cute, yes. Blessings, yes. We know all that. But determined to injure themselves, and it's my job to supervise--that's children in a nutshell. So the pets, um, well, they disappeared. We did have a beta fish for a while. It died.
But the children are getting older and want pets of their own. "We'll take care of them. We'll feed them." Lies, bloody, lies. But yes, a pet. They should have a pet.
Problem--we live in a cracker jack box. People in the 40s were smaller and apparently, not fond of privacy. But we're in a great school district, so what do you do? And our landlord, who is very fond of the original hardwood floors, doesn't allow pets. Even if he did, we are crammed in here as it is. I can picture it now--a floppy-eared, chocolate lab sliding across the floor, colliding into the large screen television. Nope, we need something smaller.
The Boy (4) has been exposed to a guinea pig in his classroom. He talks about it constantly. I spoke to the teacher. "Oh, yes. She loves children. And your child adores her."
Enough for me. Ta-da! We are getting a guinea pig.
Hubs asks, "What do you know about them?"
"Nothing. And you?"
Let the research begin. The Hubs and I are both nerds. Off to the Internet to learn more about these odd looking rodents, which they call pigs, which look nothing like pigs. Oh, we would learn later why they are, in fact, pigs. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Near the end of our research, we learned they do better in pairs. Now, we needed not one, but two of the furry rats. We would be smart. We would save up. We were only going to the pet store to hold one, and see if we were ok picking them up. That is all.
Being the geniuses that we are, we took the whole family for this exploratory mission. The guinea pigs were housed in an open-roofed cage in the middle of the store. There were about six of them all huddled inside of one pink house in the shape of an igloo. I swear I could hear them chanting, "We are not the pigs you're looking for."
The Hubs ripped the house off of them like a tornado. Dorothy and Lollipop Kids scurried. All except one. He remained still. Brave soul.
"That's what we need. One that is not afraid. The Boy can be rough. We need one that's durable," said Hubs.
Hubs lifted the pig from the cage and handed him to The Girl (8). Let the squeally, giggly noises begin. From The Girl, not the rat. He couldn't care less.
I spotted a brown and white one with the cutest face, eyes much too large for its skull. I held it close to me, and he whispered, "Protect me from the others."
It was done.
Hubs found a saleslady and asked the question that would seal our fate, "What all we do we need?"
I swear that woman touched everything in the piggie aisle. Hay, feed, bedding, a chew toy."Why do they need a chew toy?"
"It's this or the furniture," she said.
I put the chew toy in the cart.
"Do you have a cage?" she asked.
"No," we said in unison.
Well, we were going to need a large one, because we were buying two of these furry critters. Their new deluxe, two story apartment was relatively larger than our house.
This cart is full. We could buy a registered cocker-spaniel and obedience classes for what we were about to shell out on these New Guinea Rats. A sane person would have abandoned the cart. A sane person would not have brought the kids. The Hubs and I are not known for our sanity. I stared into the faces of my children, who both looked up at me like Puss-n-Boots from Shrek. Their eyes seemed to beg, "PLEASE!"
Mission failed. We were out numbered. And let's be honest. I'm still holding Tiny Tim, and he's clinging to me for dear life. To the cash register we go.
I swiped the card, and the young boy handed me the receipt. He said, "If one of them dies before ten days passes, bring them back with the receipt."
I clasped my hands over the poor pig's ears. "He's not a carton of milk," I proclaim to the clerk.
That boy was smarter than me.
TO BE CONTINUED...