Watch Your Step

shoe

Last Sunday I was headed toward a church service in town for an afternoon funeral.  A long time Y volunteer and former member of my church had passed away.  She was a good woman.

I had to park several blocks away and was finishing up a phone call as I neared the sanctuary.

I noticed a couple behind me, so I stepped onto the grass in front of the handsome, wooden double doors that led into the service.

I sort of paced a bit as the conversation was serious.  At 2:55, I hung up.

At 2:55 and 3 seconds, I realized I had stepped squarely into the middle of a HUGE pile of light brown dog poo.  Others were entering the church.  Several glanced at me.  One lady shook her head as if I had done something wrong.

I didn’t poop out here lady.  I just stepped in it!!

There were a few snickers from the forming line, and although I was not the pooper, my level of embarrassment must have indicated that I was.

I limped over to the side of the church and worked diligently to wipe the dung off on the lawn.  When it appeared the majority of the visible damage was gone, I slowly lifted my shoe toward my nose.  About chest high I realized I could not enter the church with this shoe on, I smelled like a stable.  I pondered my options…

  1. Hide the shoe under a bush and go in with one foot exposed. Perhaps people, other than those who had observed first hand, would perceive I had an injury.  I wasn’t wearing socks so I decided it might be obvious that nothing was indeed wrong with me.  That strategy was not going to work.
  1. Go home. I don’t like funerals anyway.  But I had driven quite a ways and had even left the beach the day before so I could come honor this really cool lady who had given so much to others.  Certainly there was something else I could do.
  1. Go in and look around as if someone else smelled like #$%&. I’ve done that before with gas.  It can work.  But it was risky with this kind of smell.  And unlike a poot, it wasn’t going away until I left the building.  No good.
  1. Find a bathroom and pray for the best.

I walked around the building and found a side door I thought I could sneak in.  Unfortunately, this church had an incredible Greeting Team.  There was a very kind woman standing on the inside of the door with a program for the service in hand.  I twisted my face and rustled my hair to make it look like I’d just driven in from far away.  I looked at her glassy eyed and whispered, “Where’s the bathroom?”

She pointed around the corner.

It was a three seater so there wasn’t a lock on the door, all were welcome.  My hope was most people were seated so perhaps I had the place to myself.  Again I removed the shoe.  I wiped it with a damp paper towel – didn’t work.  I wiped it with a wet paper towel and soap: better, but the smell still lingered.  Finally, I put the whole damn shoe under the faucet.  That was when the bathroom door opened and a fifty something-year-old man walked in in a three piece suit.  He looked nice.  Gray pinstripes and nary a trace of poo on his being.

I smiled and acted as if this was normal.  Don’t most guys wash their shoes before church?

He went to the urinal.

I tried to rinse the sink to the best of my ability and quickly tossed the wet loafer on my foot.  I’m sure he could hear my squish as I walked out toward the pews.  HU-MILIATING.

I don’t own a dog mainly because I’m away from home a lot and secondly because I don’t like picking up other’s poo.  But apparently that shouldn’t be a reason.  Because apparently you don’t have to pick it up.  You can just leave it for the world to step in.

Yuck.

 

 

 

 

 

The Dog Blog

She is cute...

She is cute…

 

Four months ago my neighbor walked up my drive. I was outside working in the yard.

“Danny.”

“Yep?”

“This is our new puppy, Penny. She’s just a couple of weeks old. You wanna dog share?”

As we talked, I realized he and his children had purchased the dog without full permission from his wife. He was trying to save his marriage.

“It’s an interesting concept,” I admitted. If I was ever going to have a dog, split custody would be the way to go. You’d have built-in care when you went out-of-town, and you could split the expenses.

I briefly wondered if there was someone who might want to do the same with my kids.

I’ve always felt I was sort of robbing my girls of one of a child’s most precious experiences by not allowing them to have a pet, well save the Hermit crab. Perhaps this was a way to give them what they desperately wanted with only half the pain for me.

We decided that my neighbor would potty train the dog and that we would keep it when they went on vacation in several months. That would be our test drive.

It’s several months, we’re on day 7 of 9, and we’re failing the test.

I have spent the last week of my life arranging my schedule around Penny’s bowel movements. There is only one being on this earth that I’m willing to make adjustments to my schedule for bowel reasons:  ME. I do not like this.

I wake up at 6 AM so Penny can pee. She then eats. My neighbor told me that exactly ten minutes after she eats, we must take her outside because she WILL be pooping soon. The one thing he had wrong is “exactly” ten minutes. It could be less. It could be 9 or eight. Just ask my dining room carpet.

Oh, and just because she poops ten minutes later does not necessarily mean she ain’t gonna poo 20 or 30 minutes after that. Just ask the rug in my living room.

And guess what? I’m out of plastic Harris Teeter bags. Wanna know why? Because when I take Penny out to do her business, I then have to PICK HER BUSINESS UP and CARRY IT WITH ME for the rest of our walk. Yes, I have to pick up her dung, it’s a law in Raleigh. On Tuesday I happened to have an itchy nose. I had the leash in my left hand and bag of her brownies in my right hand, although I sort of forgot. When I reached up to scratch my nose, I realized I had %$#& about an eighth of an inch from my left nostril. I gagged.

At work I was telling a buddy of mine this story and he said, as if he had pondered this on several occasions, “You know Danny, you never see white dog poop anymore.” He then walked out of my office.

He’s right! When I was a kid, there was petrified white dog poop all over our neighborhood. When I’d mow the lawn it would fly out from under the blades.

Never, ever do I see that anymore.  I miss it.

You know why we don’t see it anymore?  It’s because we PICK UP OUR DOG’S FECES! That’s not right. We shouldn’t do that.  It should stay in nature where it belongs.

Although Penny is extremely sweet, and I have enjoyed her, this week has taught me that the Tanner family will not EVER be getting a pet, not even a fish. I don’t want to go outside at 11 PM waiting on a dog to decide which blade of grass to pee on. Twice I went myself in the yard while waiting. I thought that perhaps my example might spur her on; plus it was one less thing I’d have to do once I finally got back in the house.

The beautiful thing about the week is that I don’t think any of my kids will ever ask me if we can have a pet again. They’re as exhausted as I am!

I think I’ll keep my kids full-time. I think I’ll keep Penny on the occasional weekend. That will be plenty for all.

 

 

 

 

Dead Crab Walkin’

coenobitaclypeata2

It’s true, I don’t love animals.  I’d like to.  I try.  And then some dog ends up humping my leg, and I land right back where I was before – one who does not love animals.

They’re cute to look at – sort of like someone else’s baby.

“Oooo.  He’s so frickin’ cuuute!”

Then he poops.  And he’s not as cute.  And he smells like my grandfather after dinner at El Rodeo.

But as much as I am not an animal fanatic, I wish them no harm.  If someone else is feeding them and brushing them and paying their vet bills, I’m good.  I am perfectly happy to sit by dogs at the outside cafe tables at my local pub.  Who doesn’t like to have their crotch sniffed while they eat dinner?  Count me in!

That being said, I think I killed our Hermit crab.

I have tried to blame someone else in the family, but I am the responsible adult.  I must admit my error.

He, I’d call him by name but I don’t think he had one, was 13 months old.  As I washed out his dookie filled aquarium, I have wished him dead.  I actually let him crawl around the kitchen counter in the hopes that he would fall to his death.  He didn’t.  He just sat and watched me scrub.

We left him without food and water when we went to the beach in June.  He’s upstairs – out of site, out of mind.  He survived that 7 day fast. Two weeks later we left again.  But this time, I thought of him.  I filled a bowl with H2O and planted his sponge right in the middle.  When we returned, I think he’d gained weight.

But the next two weeks were busy.  Kids were out of town.  Michelle went to camp.  I seldom went upstairs – there was no reason.

When I returned from dropping Stephanie at overnight camp today, I took some of her excess stuff back up to her room.  When I walked into the bathroom, I spotted him.  He was hanging out of his shell.  He had crawled up to the sponge.  It was dryer than the Atacama Desert.  His little claw was perched, open, pointing toward his usual water source.

I haven’t called for an autopsy, but I feel certain the cause of death was dehydration.

I can’t blame DJ.  It wasn’t her crab, and she’s been at camp all summer.  I emailed Stephanie tonight – I called her a crab murderer.  She’s been living upstairs.  I know he belonged to Michelle, but for goodness sake.  If you walked by a starving Hermit crab, wouldn’t you respond?  Wouldn’t you take the time to soak the sponge?

She can’t be blamed.  She got her braces off this week.  He lived in the bathroom, and the times she was in there she was looking in the mirror, enamored with her beautiful new mouth.

And Michelle?  Yes, she should have reminded meto water him in her absence.  But who can think of crabs when there are decisions to make about what to wear to the camp dance?

So, that leaves me.  I am the one.  I killed him.

I feel so guilty.

 

 

Ricky Raccoon

raccoon

Lisa and I bought a house built in 1955 for the charm. Her grandmother thought we were nuts.

“You could get something new for the same price,” she told us.

“Yeah, but we love this location, and this house has character!”

Tutu was right! It seems like every stinkin’ week lately I’m tossing money into the black hole of charm. DJ’s shower cost $310 to fix! I put it off, the teeny drip, until it eventually mirrored Niagara Falls even though the handle was fully turned off.

And now my air conditioner is on the fritz. That ought to be an easy $7,000 fix!

I bet in 1955 they didn’t have to worry about that, cause there was no a/c back then.  My spoiled kids.   I told them we were going to spend the summer pretending we lived in the 50’s, like in the movie Grease.

“It’s gonna be fun!  Grandma’s making you a Poodle Skirt, and I bought a big jar of vaseline to slick my hair back!  Oh, and no air conditioning…”

You’d have thought I told them we were spending the summer camping in Death Valley.

As if the air conditioning wasn’t enough, two weeks ago when we had a torrential downpour, water was flowing through the roof. Just dribbling in like a fountain. It ruined a rug and bits of the ceiling, on the first and second floors, are now crumbling onto the floor.

Your ceiling on your floor is NOT a good thing.

I climbed my non-handy-man, scared of heights behind up on the top of my house to see if I could figure out where the water might be coming from. It wasn’t difficult to find the hole. There was a 2 foot by 2 foot shingleless circle dug out right above the indoor rain spot.

After consulting with my buddy, a roofer, it was determined that the likely culprit was a raccoon.

I’d always wondered what Jethro Bodine from The Beverly Hillbillies was referring to when he used the word varmint. Now I know.

My buddy fixed my roof, and I have the rug ready to go to the heavy-duty rug cleaner shop because the $99 I spent on Stanley Steamer was like wiping a paper towel across a nuclear spill. It did nothing.

Five days after the roof was fixed, it rained again. And guess what? It leaked again. So, I climbed back out of the window and shimmied back up the roof, and burned the hell out of the palms of my hands because shingles are 320 degrees Celsius at 4PM in North Carolina in the summer. And guess what? The damn varmint had revisited, digging another hole in the lid of my house.

I HATE THIS ANIMAL. I am not a violent person, but the fantasies I’ve had about how I could hurt this creature are disturbing. PETA could press charges simply for my thoughts.

Now, I’ve paid critter control to come out and set a trap on top of my house to try to capture this evil monster.

Why does he want to come in my house? Is it my cooking?

By the time it’s all said and done, I will have spent over a thousand dollars simply because Ricky Raccoon has a shingles fetish.

If Critter Boy can’t catch him, I’m buying a shotgun and night vision goggles. I’m getting his ass, one way or another.

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Sunday Post 122: Fun-sucking Father

I think part of being a great father is really trying to put yourself in your kids’ shoes, trying to get into their psyches, working hard, hard to understand.  Too often, I miss that mark.

We were at the beach this past week with my extended family.  Each year, mid-week, we head to Calabash for seafood.  There are about six restaurants down there, I think they all serve the same food.  We go to the one my grandfather took us to when we were young.  It didn’t matter which beach we went to in North or South Carolina, he’d toss us all into his Lincoln Continental, which was equivalent in size to a 15 passenger van, and trek us down to Captain Jacks.

“It’s the best seafood on the east coast and cheaper,” he’d point out.

“But it takes three hours and two tanks of gas to get there and back,” we’d complain.

“It’s worth it.”

When Granddaddy Tanner made up his mind to do anything, there was no reasoning.  You just jumped in the back of the car and cracked the window so as not to choke on the smoke from an always lit cigarette.

After our family works ourselves into a gaseous fried food trance, we head to the year-round Christmas shop right up the road.  This year it started before we could get back to the car, Michelle turned on the full, annual, sales pitch.

“Dad, can I get a Hermit crab?”

Anticipating her move, I was ready for battle.  “Absolutely not,” I barked.  “It’s a ridiculous waste of money.  Don’t even start with me.  The answer is no!”

This year I would be firm from the get go.  We had three empty cages in the attic back home from conch pets of years’ past – nameless memories of nothing.  The little boogers don’t do a thing except sit, eat and poop.  You can’t pet them.  You can sleep with them.  You can’t take them for a walk.  We should release them all back into the wild, not paint their shells embarrassing colors with the Christmas shop’s owner’s fingernail polish.

“But daaaad.  I really, really want one.  I’ll take care of it this time.  I’ll feed him.  I’ll play with him.  I promise.”

“NO!” my voice got louder, “YOU CAN’T PLAY WITH A HERMIT CRAB!  Get a pet rock.”

It’s my brother’s fault, I thought.  He let his kids buy these damn varmints every single year.  My kids now think it’s the norm.  He such a pushover!

I looked at DJ hoping for an ally.  “You went through this stage.  What is it that compels every Tanner child to have this insatiable desire to own an oceanic crustacean?”

“Dad.  You won’t let us have any animals.  Maybe if we had a dog or a cat or even a bird, your kids wouldn’t be obsessed with getting a crab.  It’s all we can shoot for!”

“I guess you’re right.  We all need something to take care of.”

“Yeah.  And as a ten-year old, it feels really good to be able to purchase something alive that’s within your price range.  You can buy it, set it’s house up and care for it – all on your own.”

“Hum.”

I thought for a minute and the light bulb went on.

“Michelle, come here.”  She drooped over anticipating my next harsh words.

“Honey, I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have reacted so negatively to your crab request.  It was wrong of me.  If you want to buy one with your money, I’ll support you.  You have to take care of him, but it’s your decision.”

“You don’t really want me to get one, do you?”

“It’s okay.  It’s your decision.”

You would have thought that I told her she could have a pet giraffe.  She was so excited.

Maybe I was a pushover.  Or maybe, after a ridiculously knee-jerk reaction to a simple request, I got my wits about me.

I do that all too often.  My kids call me the fun-sucker.  That’s not who I want to be.  I want to add fun, not remove it.

How do we, as adults, so often forget what it was like to be a kid?  Our kids just want to be loved and to give love.  They want our time – a dad who hates cold water to be in the pool with them.  Or an animal that they can shower with affection and care for on their own.

And yet, so many times we rob them of the opportunity.  What was I thinking?

Animals? Grandchildren? Ahhh!!!

Posted by Danny

It hit me this past week.  I am going to have to raise my grandchildren.

We were at the beach which means an annual argument about purchasing Hermit crabs.

I’m not sure if other families have this issue; I sense it’s only us. I believe it is a genetic condition. My oldest niece started it about 15 years ago. I have her to thank.

When we go to the coast, we eat seafood in Calabash, NC. It’s where my grandfather took us. At times we’re staying two hours away from Dockside Seafood Restaurant – doesn’t matter, my father insists that’s where we go.

“It’s good food and it’s a great price.”

All true. Although if you’re driving three vehicles 240 miles each, I question if there is true savings.

On the corner near the restaurant is an enormous nic nac shop. On the porch is a cage, maybe four feet square in width and four feet tall. It is packed with Hermit crabs. Their shells have all been painted by a local “artist”. There are flowers, Picasso type designs, even Spiderman Hermit Crab – so very, very tempting.

Although we have two at home who survived the past 12 months, according to my kids it is imperative that we have more.

“We are NOT getting more crabs,” I insist. “What joy do they bring? You don’t like them in your room because they are loud at night – so they take up prime real estate on the bathroom counter. You don’t play with them – in fact, all they do is sleep. When their cage starts smelling like crustacean poo, who cleans it out? That would be me. No — No. No. No.”

“But dad…”

“You never take care of your animals. Why don’t you play with the ones you have?”

Although DJ didn’t pushing for one this year, she pointed out that her crab immediately changed shells when she got him home last year. “He left the flower designed shell I picked out and moved to the ugliest shell we had – I didn’t like him after that.”

He was probably a dude and embarrassed to be stuck in a tulip.  I wouldn’t want to live in a house with a garden painted across the front door.

I then began to toss out all of the animal failures the Tanner’s had endured:  “What about your hamster Stephanie. You never played with her.”

Miss Piggy bit! Would you play with something that draws blood on a regular basis?”

“What about the guinea pig? No one played with him.”

“If you recall, I didn’t want a guinea pig. I wanted a hamster. Mom made me get JW. Therefore, we never connected.”

That’s when it hit me.  I suddenly had the realization that I was going to have to raise my grandchildren. If my kids found fault in their child, they would simply turn its well-being over to me.

Panic grabbed my chest. I felt the car closing in.

“AAAAhhhh! What if you treat your children like you do your pets? I am not going to raise your kids. I can’t do it.”

I could see it clear as day:

“DJ, where’s my grandson?”

“Oh, well you know dad, we really wanted a girl. I guess he’s still up in his room; haven’t checked in a few days.”

Or

“Stephanie, what’s that smell?”

“I’m not changing diapers, that’s gross.”

Or

“Michelle, is that your baby screaming?”

“That’s her – but she bites.  We don’t pick her up anymore.”

I don’t know if I can do it.  I mean I’ll be 15, maybe 20 years older than I am now.  I may not have the energy.  I’m supposed to be through with diapers. 

Oh Lord – give me strength.

NO PIGS ALLOWED!

Posted by Danny

We are not getting a doggone pig!

I can’t believe I told the girls that my friend got a pet pig for her birthday.  They’ve been hounding me for an animal for years.  I need a pig like I need a gaping head wound.

I did NOT change my i phone background to a photo of a pig as DJ contends.  When I turned it on yesterday (in a business meeting), there it was –  a swine staring me in my face.  I was startled!  I almost snorted.

DJ has it all figured out.  She knows exactly where it will live, what it eats and how much the food will cost.  She even reminded me that female pigs have periods – NOT a selling point!  Can you imagine?  How do you handle that?

She claims they are very smart and can be trained to use a litter box – but the idea of a box of hog poo sitting in the corner of the den is also not a selling point.  Nasty; just nasty.

I will say, however, that if I was going to get an animal, it would be a pig.  How cool would it be to walk one of those around the block?  Lisa started collecting pigs years ago – we have them throughout our house.  We also have fifty or so pig Christmas ornaments.  If she were alive and found out a pig was a viable pet, there is no doubt in my mind we’d have one.

I wonder if we could try one out?  Unlike a dog, if it didn’t work, we could always just serve it up for breakfast.  I probably have a sausage maker in my utensil cabinet but just can’t identify it.

No!  We’re not going there!  I can barely take care of myself – much less three kids and a sow.

(Posted by DJ:  Broke into Dad’s blog account…we ARE getting a pig!)

The Jungle That Is Stephanie’s Bedroom

Posted by Jesse

Most of the times I’m flying solo with the girls, I pride myself on being fairly entertaining. Not tonight. I was a tad weary from a long day and a late-breaking sports story that had me phone-watching for much of the evening. Working in sports, I hesitate to refer to anything I have to work on as “big” or “important”, but…people do like to talk sports and these people several means to communicate and, well, a lot of people used those means to ask me tonight what the hell happened to Butch Davis. If you have no idea who Butch Davis is, I currently envy you a great deal.

 So when a crisis broke out, I knew I had to spring into action with twice the usual exuberance to make up for my lackluster performance the rest of the night. After going upstairs to change into pajamas right before bedtime, Stephanie returned in tears. This itself was not the crisis, expecially considering earlier in the evening Steph had admitted that fake crying was a skill she traded on. (DJ, who may miss this post because she’s at camp, will be happy to learn this: remember the time you hit Steph with your dance bag and suspected she was embellishing the injury a bit? She was.)

Apparently the source of the tears was an animal on the looose. Not a stuffed animal mind you (though lose track of her stuffed moose and I guarantee you there will be tears, REAL tears, and lots of them), but a real, live animal. The missing creature? You guessed it, one of the vaunted Decapod Crustaceans that came back from Myrtle Beach.

My first move was to assess the tears.

“Are you crying because you’re worried your hermit crab is gone, or are you worried it’s running around your room?”

As suspected, it was most certainly the latter. And in fact, that’s not an unjustified paranoia. As has probably been chronicled on the blog before, Stephanie once had a hamster get out of its cage and bite her on the nose while she slept. Her room is where animals go to party. And bite people. That’s how we ended up with a hamster cage under a blanket behind a couch under lock and key in the unifinished, unvisited part of the basement. Poor Steph.

“I don’t care if my hermit crab is dead I just don’t want it crawling around my room!”

“I don’t see how that thing could have gotten out,” I said, examining the empty shells in the glass cage, doing my best Lenny Brisco impersonation and trying to determine if this nimble crab really could have scaled a glass bowl.

“Oh yeah, they definitely can,” offered Michelle. “My friend Kimmy had one and it got out and they found it a week later crawling on the stairs.” Glad she’s here.

I offered the sleeping downstairs option (no sweat off my back since “downstairs” means “Danny’s room”), but with uncaged animals and little girls, it is most definitely a “once bitten, twice shy” situation. Stephanie was not convinced that the hermit crab would not seek her out for retribution for being taken from his friend in Myrtle Beach. The crab had to be found.

It was about this time Stephanie recalled that she had been playing with her pet with a friend and, perhaps, could have left him outside the bowl. I confirmed this was highly likely, but the point remained: we had to find the monster crab that was threatening to terrorize the night’s sleep. And I needed a night’s sleep.

So I got down on hands and knees and after an extensive, exhausting 11-second search, was able to locate Priscilla swimming in the dust ruffle. Problem solved. Night saved. But just to be safe, everyone’s sleeping downstairs tonight.

Did something just move in the corner?

Our Decapod Crustacean

Posted by Danny

We’ve avoided animals like the plague in our family.  Lisa grew up with a dog that had bad gas.  I with a cat named Bunny who had an identity crisis.  And one day when I was in about 9th grade, I got to see my first X rated event when Reagan, our neighbors tom cat, raped Bunny in our driveway.  I did all I could but I just couldn’t stop him.  She never was the same.

One trick Lisa discovered was to give a kid a token pet to appease them.  Two started out with fish.  Our second phase was to give them something they could hold – a hermit crab.  We didn’t really have a phase 3.

DJ got her first when she was about six or seven.  Stephanie followed several years later.  This year, when shopping near Myrtle Beach, Michelle spotted an enormous cage filled with the nasty boogers.  I bet there were 150 of them – climbing all over the place.  One of them changing his shell so you could see his entire body – something I’d never encountered in my years as a crab owner.

I quickly acquiesced to her request hopeful that this would put off the dog conversation for another six to eight months. 

All three girls decided they had to have one – but I was only bankrolling Michelle’s crustacean.  The other two were on their own.

They stood and stared at the choices.  It was overwhelming, like having to pick out your baby from a lineup of cribs.

These days, the store owners have folks paint the crab shells to make them more appealing to the prospective owners.  Which to choose?  They all seemed perfect in their own little way.

The one with a flower on its shell?  How about Superman?  The fuchsia with neon green stripes looks like a winner.  Personally I liked Goliath – the largest one in the cage.  His legs sprawling down the one limb that spanned the axis of the cage. 

“That ones too big dad.  His pinchers could really hurt.”

I went to the counter to ask who would open the container and fish out our choices.

The stout, grandmotherly checkout clerk informed me that the cage was not locked.  “YOU get it out sir.”  The implication was I ain’t sticking MY hand in there.  I’ve seen what can happen.

“So I just open it and get the ones I want?”

“Yup.”

They decided on their pick:  for Stephanie the bright pink, DJ wanted Spiderman, and Michelle the one with the dainty pink flower.  I mustered up my courage and wound my arm through the hole – watching Goliath with one eye and my own prey with the other.

Stephanie’s was wild – a poor choice she thought.  “I’ve changed my mind daddy.  I want a calmer one.” 

“Me too,” DJ echoed.  “Spiderman looks angry!”

“I don’t like mine either – I think he’s dead.  Look, he’s just sitting there.”

I go in again.  “Are you sure this is it?”  The decision were made.

“They need extra  shells, a sponge and plenty of food” my checkout friend informed.

Yeah, you’re all about helping now aren’t you?  Clearly grandma was working on commission.

On the way out the door, each one made a last-minute swap.  My patience and bravery were about to expire.

In the car Stephanie informed me that her crab and DJ’s were cuddling…or mating.

“Do they really…” DJ didn’t finish her sentence.

I was glad.  I didn’t need to have that conversation with the grandparents in the car.

Hamster For Sale

Posted by Danny

Not only are we not a pancake family, but we are also not an animal family.  I did have animals when I was growing up.  Our last dog was Booger.  My parents let me name him.  I was in 8th grade.  I thought it would be funny to hear my parents say the word booger.  And even better, my genteel mother yell, “Here Booger Booger, Booger, Booger!” from our back doorstep when it was time for his dinner. 

My mother in-law felt sorry for our kids, who had been pleading with us for some form of pet, so she gave the girls an aquarium for Christmas one year.  Fish I could handle.  We filled the tank but quickly realized that they were disappearing.  Finally, one fish was left, Mary.  She had been eating her friends.  I started calling her Velma Barfield (Death Row Granny back in the early 80’s).  When she finally died, the kids fought over who got to flush her down the toilet.  There were tears everywhere.  I finally let a visiting friend push the handle.  “If I can’t flush my own fish when she dies, I never want another one,” one replied. 

 “You’re breaking my heart baby, you’re breakin’ my heart.”

Lisa eventually caved and bought a guinea pig.  It had brown and white patches all over.  We named him JW – for some reason Lisa thought he looked like John Wayne.  The kids lost interest in the pig on day 7.  He seldom left his cage after that first week and grew to be the size of a small dog.  I pushed, pulled, prodded and reminded about feeding him and occasionally changing his urine filled cage.  He was the bain of my existence.  We’d had him three or four years when he died.  It was last spring, not long after Lisa’s passing.  I came home and there he was, stiff as a board.  I was concerned about the girls’ reaction to his death.  Would it be too much after all they’s been through?  When they got home, I delivered the news.  Michelle looked at him, said, “That’s gross!” and immediately ran up to her room to play with her dolls.  Stephanie said, “I ain’t touching him.”  DJ’s response?  “Now can I get a hamster?”  I think they were ok.

I carried him to the yard and dug a hole.  It was a big hole and took some time.  And the person who cleaned his cage, complained about his smell, and threatened to give him away?  What was my response to JW’s passing?  I, yes Danny Tanner,cried like a little baby.  In defense of my manhood, I would argue that I was just not emotionally together at that time.  That’s my justification; I hope it is true. 

Bites like a doberman pinscher

Our current pet is a hamster.  Stephanie received Miss Piggy last Christmas.  Lisa agreed to it – now I am raising it.  A week after Santa delivered this neat gift, Stephanie ran to our bedroom at 2 am sobbing.

“Mom, Dad, something bit me.”

“What?”

“Something bit my nose.”

“Stephanie, nothing bit your nose.  It’s 2 am.  You had a nightmare.  Do you want to crawl in bed with us for a little bit?”

“My nose is bleeding” she wailed.

I turned on the light and sure enough, there was a bite mark on her nose and a bit of blood.  What in the heck could it be?  The hamster is locked tight in a cage.  Could it be a rat?  Perhaps a squirrel?   As much as I wanted to turn over and fall back to sleep, with two other kids, I had to go check things out.

I grabbed a fly swatter and headed to Stephanie’s room.  I’ll be danged if that hamster hadn’t maneuvered out of the cage, scaled down a three-foot dresser, scurried across the floor, climbed up the bed skirt and bitten Stephanie on the right nostril!  And yet, she was nowhere to be found.  I shut the door, stuffed a towel under the bottom and returned to bed. 

“Lisa, you’re not going to believe this one…”

And like JW, that was one of the last times Miss Piggy came out of her cage. 

A friend came over Friday evening with his son.  The boy headed to the basement.  Next thing I know, blood.  Jesse tried to take Miss Piggy out of her cage on Monday to entertain our housekeeper’s grandson, Miss Piggy bit him too (he hasn’t admitted that he was dumb enough to pick Miss Piggy up, but Julie told me.)

So, for a very reasonable price, you, yes you, can have a biting hamster.  I’ll even deliver her at no extra charge.

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