It was dead, dark middle of the cold winter night when I heard it. At first I thought it was the screeching of metal. Maybe a horrendous car accident had taken place on the street outside my bedroom window, but then no, there it went again.
SCREEeeecccchhhhhh. Followed by Screech Scratch Screech Scratch Screech Scratch. A cross between a yip-yappy dog and nails on a chalkboard.
I got up to investigate.
The sound was coming from Child #2's bedroom. His door was open and from inside his room came the death knells of a hamster wheel. Even though the hamster cage sits on Child #2's nightstand, right beside his head, he was sound asleep, like a little cherub.
I, on the other hand, was not feeling so cherubic.
The hamster stopped running long enough to go to the cage door to great his favorite midnight treat giver. "It's not happening tonight, Ninjy," I said and glared at him and his squeaky wheel.
Almost like he understood me, he hopped back on and the noise that had pulled me out into the dark and cold started up again.
I kneeled down, eye-to-eye with the hamster. Actually his eyes were open wider than mine, and tried to readjust his wheel. He looked at me, kind of like a puppy holding a leash and when I was finished he hopped back on.
For two blissful seconds the wheel was quiet and then the noise started again. I re-readjusted and this time it ran smoothly right up until I got back into bed.
I made another cold, dark trip down the hall to my son's room and hissed, "You're finished with wheel time, Ninjy!" The instrument of my torture was disconnected and I went back to bed where I cuddled up under the covers and worried the wheel would somehow topple over on poor Ninjy. I could envision the tears and recriminations when my son awoke to a crippled hamster.
On my last trip down the hallway it dawned on me. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. This is what it means. Literally.
Last night I made a point of reminding my husband to grease Ninjy's wheel with vegetable oil. We all slept peacefully. And by we, I mean me,because everyone else in my house sleeps like hibernating bears.
Which brings me to my Friday question. What kind of wheels are squeaking for you this January? I hope they aren't as literal as mine.