M. Giant's
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010  

Lucky 13

Trash and I just looked this weekend at the credit card statement from the period when we were on our road trip, and it tells the story of our journey a lot more efficiently than I’ve been doing. It starts with a fill-up at home, then goes on to list hotels, campgrounds, Sonics, Waffle Houses, and tourist attractions, regularly punctuated by gas stations whose cities look like the tour t-shirt of a rock band that had to hit twenty cities in a week and a half but was afraid to fly.

The billing period ends on the day after we got back, and that day shows only two entries. One is for the car wash where I took the truck before driving it back to my parents' house, with 2,500 more miles on it than when we started. The other is for PetSmart.

When M. Edium and I were having lunch with my folks, he informed them that from there, we were going straight to the pet store and he was going to get a turtle. His mom and dad had said he could. Which, in his defense, we had.

Let me emphasize that we do not simply bend to his every whim. Only when he shows us that he's serious about wanting something and it isn't a short-term thing, when he proves that he wants to be responsible for it, do we give in. In this case, he had to prove his seriousness by requesting multiple trips to the pet store to visit some animals before buying any of them. He also had to give plenty of love to his existing pets, to show he wouldn't forget about them. He'd been agitating for a new pet for months, in the most mature and reasonable ways available to a five-year-old. Which is not to say he doesn't have whims. Sure he whims. This wasn't a whim. Which is why he now has a new pet but not a surfboard.

Plus we left his favorite snugglies in a hotel in Indiana, so that gives him a lot of leverage. Even the fact that they arrived at our house in a FedEx box that morning before he woke up only cuts so much ice.



At the pet store, buying a turtle turns out to be a little intimidating. You need a tank, and you need this funky light, and you need this weird food, and of course you need this little slow-moving green dude who looks like a petrified Panini sandwich. All of it costs about half again what M. Edium has saved (you're damn right he's using his own money), and the whole thing is more than what he wants to take on, so he decides to look at hamsters instead. I fully support this decision, because hamsters -- especially the dwarf hamsters that have caught his eye -- are cheaper, lower maintenance, and have more affordable homes that will actually fit on his dresser. Better yet, unlike a turtle, they're not going to outlive his interest in them. Or indeed M. Edium himself.

The sales person advises against M. Edium's first choice on the grounds that they're speedy little critters, and when she explains that the Winter White is not only less likely to escape but also turns white in the winter, M. Edium is sold. I have to admit, I kind of want to see that myself.

So maybe it wasn't the best idea to bring home a pet that's several links on the food chain below the pets we already had. But we immediately implemented ironclad safety procedures. The hamster is almost always in his cage, where the cats can't get at him. We open the cage door only when M. Edium's bedroom door is closed and the cats are on the other side. When the hamster has to come out of his cage for its weekly cleaning, it's in the bathroom, again with the door closed and a towel stuffed in the gap, and he stays in the cardboard box we drove him home in. I don't even let the cats chase the hamster when he's in his exercise ball, which was 93.6% of the reason I agreed to getting a hamster in the first place.

But I'm happy to report two things. One is that M. Edium's hamster wish wasn't a passing whim. The other is that almost three months after coming home, the hamster is still alive.

Meet Bucky.

posted by M. Giant 7:04 PM 2 comments

2 Comments:

although getting them a ball and watching them tease the cats is always a good past time. If you dont have a timid hamster.

Sara

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 30, 2010 at 5:24 PM  

Let me second that. My brother and sister-in-law got a little black dwarf hamster that used to love to run the edges of the rooms in his exercise ball, tormenting both the cat and the dog! He seemed to realize that they couldn't get to him, and he would approach them if they didn't give chase!

By OpenID SharonCville, at October 1, 2010 at 1:33 PM  

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