Friday, April 22, 2011

Buyer's Remorse: Hamster Shopping

Wednesday brought a startling revelation.

Either I love my children very much or I am an idiot.

There is no other rational explanation for me being in the small pets section of two local pet stores late Wednesday afternoon, searching for the perfect hamster for my 10-year-old daughter and her siblings.

Me...the one who despises rodents.

Me...the one who singlehandedly wiped out a rats nest labyrinth under our mudroom last summer.

Me...the one the family screams for when a field mouse is discovered scurrying through our rural home.

Yeah...that guy.

I used to be the head of a household that stood firmly against tiny furry creatures with tails.

Now everything has changed. Black is white, up is down and our home is rodent-friendly.

I was the last line of defense. And on Wednesday, looking at my daughter's excited face, I caved. Big time.

The unfortunate chain of events started several weeks ago when Grace, 10, and Emma, 13, decided they wanted a teddy bear hamster.

Grace, who had a much different understanding of hamsters than I did, planned to dress the creature in a tutu.

As someone whose hands still bear the bite scars of an ill-fated ownership of hamsters Star and Harold while living in Presque Isle in the early 1990s, I wanted to see just how Grace would manage that feat.

I also wanted to see how Grace, a girl whose pants pockets have scorch marks from the money that quickly burns through them, would be able save the cash needed for the adoption.

I guess I underestimated Grace's desire...and her negotiating skills.

Within weeks, she had half of the money she needed. She then was able to get the Bank of Emma to buy into the venture.

Even younger brother Jack supported the effort.

Jack earns 10 cents for each pair of socks he matches - a task no one in the family wants to do and is thankful someone else does. After one industrious Sunday morning, he contributed a few dollars to the cause.

Mom scored a used hamster habitat for $5 as well as bags of wood shavings and other small animal paraphernalia from friends whose guinea pig went to his final resting place.

And then, on Wednesday morning, Emma and Grace had a vacation week babysitting gig that earned them enough to buy their rodent...er, hamster, and its accessories.

As the planets aligned, we went shopping...first to PETCO, where we struck out, and then to PetSmart, where Grace found the companion pet of her dreams...a cream and white fluffball with a plump body and tiny stub of a tail.

Part-owner Emma wanted to name the critter Fuzz; Grace wanted Lucy. The compromise? Flucy.

Flucy the chubby hamster now lives in Grace's room, the sole occupant in a dwelling full of bling and doo-dads.

We're hopeful her presence may entice Grace to abandon her squatter's existence in Jack's room in the coming weeks and join her.

As the dust has settled on this purchase, I have realized a few things:
  • I am a sucker.
  • Grace is to me what kryptonite was to Superman.
  • Plumpster Flucy is the best of all the small pets we have owned in the past nine years (beta fish, parakeets, hermit crabs, etc).
She's low-impact, she keeps the kids away from the TV and, most important, she's quiet.

I think we'll keep her.

Besides, I still need to see her in that tutu.

4 comments:

  1. Too funny!! This post made my morning ;o) Let me know if Flucy needs matching bling with the tutu!! It could be a whole new line - lol!!

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  2. Oh, in case you were waiting for responses... you love your kids very much - not an idiot!

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  3. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Nan. Somedays, you just never know ;)

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  4. WELL I WAS GLAD TO READ THIS..JUST THIS AFTERNOON I WAS TOLD BY VANNA BOUT YOUR NEW HOUSEMATE.
    SHE CAN PLAY WITH ELANOR..THE TEDDY BEAR DWARF HAMSTER I GOT SUCKERED INTO BUYING 3 MONTHS AGO....LOL
    PS WAIT ON THE QUIET THING TILL SHE GETS THE "WHEEL"!

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