Monday, August 6, 2012

The Hamster Diaries

A few months ago I wrote a post about pets. Should we or shouldn't we, pros, cons,  that sort of thing.

The responses I got led me to believe we were not cut out for life with fuzzy creatures. Best stick to fish and frogs. But then the frogs and fish died and I was staring down the muzzle of Child #2's eighth birthday trying to come up with a creative gift that didn't involve batteries or screen time.

"Maybe we should get him a hamster," I told my husband.

"I thought you said hamsters were cannabilistic rodents," he said.

"I know, but we'll just get one so we can avoid the whole cannibal thing."

He told me to go to the pet store and make sure that I was really okay with having a hamster, which I did. They were cute little furry blondish creatures. Despite my abject fear of all rodents I thought, maybe, just maybe, a hamster would work.

The night before Child #2's birthday my husband was dispatched to the pet store and returned an hour later with all things necessary to hamster life.

We put together the cage. I inspected the little plastic ball and food dish. The hamster was still in a cardboard carton, scrabbling around as we slid the pieces of metal together and filled the bottom with hamster shavings.

"Wanna see him?" he asked me. I  nodded and he opened up the box to display this:

"What is that!?!" I said. "It looks like a rat."

My husband looked at me, a little offended. "It's a teddy bear hamster, exactly what you told me to get."

"It's just so brown and ratlike."

My husband rolled his eyes and deposited our ratlike hamster into his new cage where he proceeded to rear up on his back legs, wrinkle up his ratlike nose and wave his ratlike little paw/claws in the air.

We set the hamster on the kid's art table and for the next two hours while I worked and my husband watched T.V. the hamster ran on his little wheel.

That night before I went to bed I double checked the hamster's cage to make sure he was locked in tight. It might seem like overkill but the idea of a ratlike hamster running wild in the house was enough to give me nightmares.

In the morning the hamster had proven not to be Harry Houdini and Child #2 was delighted...really delighted, which has led to it's own set of unforeseen complications.

Hope you can stop by on Wednesday to read part deux of The Hamster Diaries.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just don't kill it by accident if it ever gets out!

Connie J Jasperson said...

You have embarked upon a journey into that no-man's-land of pet-parenthood; one which may well end in tears.

My youngest, Meg, once had a gerbil - George. George Gerbil lept to an utimely death and a funeral was to be held. We lived in an old farmhouse at the time, and the kitchen floor dipped in the corner, so our table had a slight lean to it.

Unfortunately the only casket we could think of for George was the 'circular cardboard casket' - a toilet-paper roll.

While we were getting everyone together to go out and bury the rodent, He was actually getting more exercise in death then he'd ever gotten in life. Every time I turnned around he'd rolled off the table!

Eventually we did get outside and the poor old thing was properly buried. We had a wake for him with cake and sodas. It was a good wake - My child was sobbing her eye's out, I was stifling my maniacal laughter and the neighbor's twins were there for the food.

Kristen Wixted said...

I just broke down and got my child #2 a fish she's been asking for for a year.
Everything's okay so far.
I should post on where the cat sleeps now. Kind of funny.

Carol Kilgore said...

I lifted my feet off the floor and onto the base of my chair as I read this. Just so you know. Not fair to make us wait for Wednesday :)

Tonja said...

If it gets out and you don't want to touch it, you can scoop it up in gladware and deposit it back in its cage. It's best if you don't scream while doing this. (Our dear departed hamster bit me when I screamed.) It will get out - it's just a matter of time.

Jemi Fraser said...

We tried fish a few times ... not pretty. I hope the little guy enjoys his new friend :)

Joanne Noragon said...

I once visited a house where dogs, cats and hamsters roamed freely. It was a short visit.

Emily R. King said...

Ha! What a journey. I wonder if you can get a camera for it like they have for cats. Wouldn't that be a fun video to watch!

Johanna Garth said...

Alex, good advice. I was tempted to set a mouse trap.

Connie, I love the image of the toilet paper roll casket.

Kristen, I can picture the cat curled up right below that fish bowl.

Carol, right there with you. Lifting my feet up off the chair while I wrote this post.

Tonja, fortunately my kids are not nearly as squeamish as I am. They have no problem picking it up.

Jemi, enjoy is not the word! :)

Joanne, my visit would have been equally brief.

Emily, already on hamster videos!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hope the little furball works out. I've had both hamsters and rats as pets. The hamsters were smelly and they bit, while my rats were sweet and rode around on my shoulders.

Jenny S. Morris said...

Oh man. I can't wait to find out what happens to the hamster. He is a little cute.

I have a hamster story from when I was a kid that involves remote control monster trucks and burials in the backyard.

Nicki Elson said...

Oh no - unforeseen complications! Hehe, looking forward to your next entry. We ventured into furry-pet-land with a bunny, and it FREAKED me out the first night he learned to hop out of his hutch.

Morgan said...

Love it. Can't wait for part deux! ;)

Scarlett said...

Johanna, I laughed out loud when I saw the photo of your newest member of the family! (Knowing your aversion to rats and all.)

So... what's her/his/it's name? Hermione? Harry? Voldemort? (:

We have lots of animals round here. Among those that have come and gone, a dwarf hamster with an attitude and a rat named Daisy. I prefer the rat. Hamsters are a bit more unpredictable.

Looking forward to more laughs from part deux! Until then... Viva la furry rodent who will undoubtedly Change Everything!

Chuck said...

You have now bonded with a rodent! A break through perhaps on the furry creatures thing. I know I couldn't live without my dogs!

dolorah said...

They're still a rat to me. I didn't mourn when my sister's hamster finally kicked the cage. No, I didn't kill it, I was to grossed out by it to remind her to feed it :)


Talli Roland said...

Must admit I'm not a huge fan of hamsters either but I'm glad Child 2 was delighted! :)

Shell Flower said...

Where's part II? OMG, I'm going to have to wait all day at work to find out what "Ratty" did. Torture!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I think it's good for kids to have pets. I had a dog when I was growing up, which I loved very much. It can keep kids entertained for a long time, and it teaches them responsibility because they learn to take care of the pets.

Misha Gerrick said...

I never liked rodents, but sort of fell in love with dwarf hamsters when my room-mate got one for us at university.

Still, I was always nervous when I had to hamster-sit. I always had a mental picture of stepping on Tilly if she ever escaped on my watch.