Monday, March 9, 2009

Tales From the Hamster Cage

Ah, March in Minnesota.  The time of year when you realize that God has a sense of humor.  The snow melts - only to be replaced by a fresh two feet of snow hours later.  The beginning of Daylight Savings Time means more daylight at the end of the day - but also totally messes up the kids' sleep schedules.
Last week, I had spring fever and tried to assuage it by heading off to the local Home Depot to buy seeds.  I'm bound and determined that this year I'm going to have a proper garden again, something I haven't been able to do since 1) the children sucked up all of my free time, and 2) the perfectly-sized, perfectly-soiled garden plot was turned into a humongous septic mound and I had to start over with a new patch of soil, which is still much too heavy to properly grow root vegetables.
I potted the seeds while the kids helped dug their fingers into the dirt and sprinkled seeds all over the kitchen table.  Now we're anxiously waiting for the first sprout to appear.  Seed Sprout Watch 2009 is the biggest thing to happen in our house since we got a hamster.
Speaking of that.  I'm starting to wonder if getting a hamster was such a good idea, after all.  A few days ago, we let the hamster out to play and decided to forego the exercise ball.  You know that little grate thing that's on the front bottom part of refrigerators?  I kind of forgot that when we bought this new fridge, that grate never fit right and would pop off every time we opened the door, so we ended up throwing it out, thinking it wasn't totally necessary anyway.  Turns out it's very useful in keeping small rodents from going underneath the fridge.  So under the fridge Johnny went.  I got the flashlight out and shone it underneath, and could see a couple of black beady eyes shining at me from amidst of the piles of dust.  Hoping that it was Johnny and not some creature from the bowels of hell, I tried to lure it out with tidbits of lettuce and yogurt snacks.  No dice.
I ended up taking the back panel off the refrigerator and extracting him that way.  The upside is, it was a good opportunity to vacuum up the dust colonies, and the fridge runs much quieter now.  Who knew?  I thought that recommendation to vacuum the coils once a year was just a scam run by the vacuum cleaner bag companies.
A couple of days ago, we again took Johnny out to play.  This time I'd learned my lesson and put him in his exercise ball and warned the kids that there was to be no kicking, throwing, or rolling the ball under any circumstances.  I guess I forgot to mention that the ball was not to be opened without my supervision.  I had my back turned to the kids while I folded laundry, keeping tabs on the situation by hearing alone.  I misidentified the "click" that turned out to be the sound of Sam opening the ball, and only realized what happened when he proudly said, "I let Johnny out!" 
I turned just in time to see the hamster high-tailing it for the baseboard heater.  By the time I pried the front off of the heater, he was nowhere to be seen, and the most likely assumption was that he'd disappeared down the hamster-sized hole which contained the water pipe leading to the furnace.  With a sick feeling in my stomach, I started picturing my future - which included a telltale stink each time the furnace would run.  I turned and explained to Sam that Johnny was gone.  Understandably, he got very upset and started to cry.  I felt terrible, but there was nothing I could do short of knocking out the floor and a good part of the wall, and demolition was not on my to-do list that day.
Maybe fifteen minutes later, we found Johnny cowering behind a box on the other side of the laundry room.  We all heaved a sigh of relief, and I think it's safe to say Sam won't be letting Johnny out to play anymore.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Oh geez...that hamster sure is keeping you busy! I hope your seeds sprout soon, and that you can keep up with the garden this year, I know you've missed it!