Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Gerbil Chronicles, Part 1

Oh the life and saga of a normal American household. At least I think I am normal. Somedays, I gotta wonder.

Mom to 4,including a new baby, diagnosed with Graves Disease and new home school mom to 2. I think I should write a book - it would be a family drama and a comedy, sometimes even a dark comedy. Oh, yea, back to the subject line, gerbils. How the mind wonders….
So about three weeks ago we get this great idea to buy the girls a new gerbil - one for Katelyn, one for Ashley. I specify my needs to the pet store, “two girls please, we don’t want to teach that lesson yet!” I say with a laugh.

Fast forward 3 weeks. Last night, Goldie had gone missing! Gone, vanished from thin air!
”Ashley, was the cage locked tight?” I foolishly ask.

“Oh, yes Mommy, I checked.”

Ut oh, I thought. Dead gerbil. Life lesson. Here we go.

Now my dear huaband had ran off as he usually does when life lessons happen. So, it is up to me to clean out cage and find stiff gerbil. Yea for me. Screaming baby upstairs, my two year old is fingerpainting with the toothpaste in my bathroom, two hysterical girls, and one missing or dead gerbil. Joy. So, slowly I start weeding through this mass of nests that the gerbil had made. Yuck. I kept thinking, one of these handfulls I am going to find that stiff little bugger and the life lesson will begin. Hours go by (Okay, minutes but you know how it would have felt…) no gerbil.
“Mommy?” Ashley looks at me with those great big blue eyes of hers, filled with great compassion, and concern. “Um, do you think if the lock wasn’t actually tight that she could have gotten out?” Yeah. Not tight. Didn’t we cover this already?

Search begins. If you were a gerbil where would you hide? Among the piles of dirty clothes, left out toys, school work? Hmmm. “Girls, clean your rooms and maybe you will come across her. I am outta here.”

Now, in the meantime,my eldest daughter, Katelyn for some reason has wet/dry vac in her room. “Mommy, gerbils like tubes, maybe Goldie ran up the tube?” Dumb idea, I thought. “Katelyn, just do as I say and get your room cleaned,please?”

I sneak upstairs, grab the cell phone and call dear hubby. “Missing gerbil.” I report “Get some mouse traps. I will put them down after you guys leave to go camping and dispose of dead body before you return. I will tell them the gerbil left the building and lived to a ripe old age outside in the yard somewhere. I do NOT want a missing rodent scampering through my house.”
I hear hysterical noises coming from downstairs.

“What in the world??” Katelyn flies upstairs, BEAMING. “Mommy, guess what?” I roll my eyes, now what?
“What Katelyn,and why aren’t you cleaning your room?” In other words, I don’t want to hear anymore about the rodent running loose in my house!

She brings her arms forward and shows me the missing rodent. “I found her!” Yes, and guess where she was? Yup, thewet/dry vac. Oh boy, humble pie. “Uh, Katelyn, I guess you know gerbils better than mommy. You were right, Mommy was wrong. I am sorry and good job!” I go puke. I hate to admit I am wrong,especially to little kids and husbands. Let’s face it, sometimes nine year olds know what they are talking about. I won’t tell them if you won’t! We will keep it our little secret!

I call my husband. “Nevermind, crisis over. Rat has been found. Don’t need mousetraps.”
Fifteen minutes, life is back to normal and quite. I go outside to greet David in the drive way. The door flies open - hysterics again! What now?????

“Mommy!!!” Ashley this time, excited, big smile. “Come here, come here!”

I go reluctantly to Katelyn’s room. Proudly Katelyn opens the lid to the vaccuum canister. I peeked down…. four of the smallest, ugliest pinkest babies you ever saw. That little rat had four more little rats! Aren’t they sweet? Yeah, they’re bright bubble gum pink, bald, UGLY, wiggling and whiney. We put them in the cage with Goldie. Locked tight. Reunited. Oh how precious.

We all look in the cage. Katelyn is boasting at what a gerbil hero she is and how right she is about everything. I take a big sigh of relief. The only hard lesson here - keep the gerbil cage locked.

I peek adoringly into the cage again, secretly relieved that mom has her pups back. What does she do? She pushes them out of the nest and does a baby dance over them. Like they weren’t even there. The pups are screaming, she is dancing. OWE - on the neck, oh turned over now a belly stomp. A whole new lesson begins.

Okay, people, have you ever had a rodent that had babies? These new mothers are vicious! I had them when I was little and you would be admiring the cute little pups one minute and the next the mommy would literally bite their heads off. YUM. I am panicked. I told the pet store I wanted no babies. I wanted a virgin gerbil. They assured me this thing was a baby herself. That was 21 days ago. Gestational period for a gerbil is 28 days. Something wrong here. I have avirgin rat and miracle babies. Oh yes, I will make millions!

Okay, so that theory is wrong, so she was defiled before we got her. Do I take her outside and stone her to death? Tempting.

So, here it is 24 hours later and everybody is still in one healthy piece and she seems content with her babies. So, if by chance she doesn’t decide that they talk back, whine about their homework, or keep a messy room and eats them (that is one solution I hadn’t considered before with my own children, but with gas prices and food costs going up, well it may be worth considering)

I plan to call the pet store and give them a little piece of my mind, and four gerbils. Maybe I will charge them $10 apop like they charged me. Maybe I will wait until they have all mated and give them the four-fer one special they sold me!

Oh, I also have four precious kittens that are approaching their 6 week birthday. I had considered giving each kitten a baby gerbil for their 6 week birthday… Now where would I put a candle?

Oh a day in my life….

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