Monday, March 03, 2008


So my 17 year-old likes animals. Cats, rats, bats (none yet), birds, horses, bunnies, hamsters, the list is as long as Noah’s bill of lading. About five years ago, she whined, begged pleaded, negotiated and finally got a parakeet. The “new” eventually wore off of “Eddie”, and we had an ill-tempered budgie that flung birdseed all around the kitchen.

Then she lobbied for a rat, and finally we let her buy one with her money and the promise that A) she would not let it get out of the cage (short-lived) and B) she would keep the cage clean. We added the last caveat to the contract after she failed in that regard after acquiring a rare Russian teddy bear hamster from her cousin who grew weary of the chores involved with owning a small rodent.

Well, the rat “Cheezer” and “Eddie” were pawned off on some willing patsies, er, families who vowed to love, honor and obey the needs of their avian and rodent-ish charges, respectively.

Along about Thanksgiving last year, the same lass began a campaign for yet another hamster, that she would acquire with her then-boyfriend. She kept teasing that he was going to buy it for her. My reply was along the lines of “he can buy it for you, keep it at his house, and you can visit." We didn’t really want another repeat of the previous experiences when rodents crossed the threshold on purpose, invited even!

She continued her play that she had this hamster, sometimes it was in her custody, others it was at his place. She would also ask if, hypothetically, I would get mad if she had a hamster in her room, but she didn’t but she really did, but she didn’t…but she did, not really, she didn't.

Mind games. I didn’t know what to believe. She would occasionally ask what I’d do if there were a hamster, then quickly deny it, then act as though there were something hidden in the bathroom closet, then when I went to look, she made a giant faux dash to conceal the contraband.

THEN the twelve year-old began the ruse. There is only so much of this a dad can take.

I have even sneaked into the freshly cleaned out closet to try to spot some evidence. There was a little wad of what looked like paper towel or paper litter and it had a chewed look to it, and smelled of rodent. I didn’t tear apart the closet, but looked fairly quickly all over, with no apparent signs of animal life. Only the nagging gut feeling that there was something being concealed from me.

Friday night, I spied the original prankster filling a blue drip bottle at the bathroom sink; the kind of drip bottle that small rodents drink from while trapped in a cage. That was it.

“OK, where is it!”

“What? I don’t have anything” she giggled with indignity while shoving the watering device into her shirt.

“The hamster, “Butters”, I know you have it here, come on. Tell the truth. I am tired of being lied to.”

Clack, her door closed. She came out about three seconds later with her hands loosely clasped, laughing almost hysterically. As she opened her hands, what appeared to be a dust bunny was moving around, and I caught sight of an eye. As my zookeeper approached, I recognized that it was indeed a little gray hamster. So cute, so deceptive.

The girls couldn’t believe that I hadn’t found them out when I checked in the closet and begged me not to tell their mother-unit. I told them that they could have their little secret rat, but if I walk by the room and even catch the faintest whiff of rodent, Butters will have to find a new place to live.

With the information now in hand, something else began to become crystal clear. Nearly every night, I would hear the frantic barking of our Pomeranian, Duchess, from my daughter's room. My usual response was, "Make that little knucklehead shut UP!" Little did I know, it was the dog vying for attention. Perhaps she was just wanting to play with and perhaps taste the tiny thing that was cuter than her (matter of opinion), and at the very least garnering more attention than she was at any given second. While they were showing me the little beast, the dog was begging and barking and whining and staring a hole in the hamster. I wanted to strangle the little dear.

Well, last night, as my wife was looking in all the closets for spare coathangers, she saw the cage in the closet, and did a Muppet Show double take. Yes, she saw movement in there.



She didn’t say to get rid of it, but we agree that if she kept it clean for 2 months, she may be able to keep it clean for longer. But then the adrenaline of secrecy would not be present to keep her level of commitment at its highest level.

We shall see.


Anonymous said...

Dude, if it ever comes down to it ... when you are desperate and tired of the squeak of a not so well oiled wheel that runs at all hours of the night, get it's little hamster ball, put Butters in it, put food in it and turn him loose. Let him be FREE!

You never know, might see him in Alaska.

But then again, he'll die in about two years, hamsters don't live very long. And who knows, might get lucky and he might move out on his own?

Desiree S. said...

Yeah I found out when I asked Katie what that sound was coming from her closet at night and early in the morning. Apparently the hamster is nocturnal and like to run in its wheel at night. I'm suprised ya'll didn't hear it. Hahaha

Rob V. said...

Aw, come on Dad. Ease up on the girl and let her keep any and every animal that may tickle her fancy. Reminds me of the time my daughter Kimberly talked me into letting her keep a stray cat. Snowball was a very cute cat, that also turned out to be very pregnant. In fact, the few years we had Snowball she was a kitten factory. Few years later Kimberly went through a turtle phase and our back yard became a turtle farm. Still vividly remember buying cartons of crickets from a bait shop and placing turtles in the bathtub and watching them catch and eat the crickets. It's quite a sight. Never knew turtles could move so quickly. Found out that turtles also love to eat snails -- shell and all (maybe coz snails are crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside). Oh the things us dads have to go through for our kids.

aA said...

actually, miss des, they are crepuscular!

look it up. Rob is the wordy guy!

Rob V. said...

"Crepuscular" (def) "Becoming tipsy from eating Crepe Suzettes soaked in cognac." What's that got to do with hampsters?