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?

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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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