Whenever I leave the house alone I expect to come to dirty dishes, laundry, toys strewn about, etc. I do not expect to be introduced to a new family member when I walk in the door. Especially if the new addition looks like “Ben.”
Please allow me to back track a bit. I left early Saturday morning to meet a good friend for coffee. I set out clothes and gave instructions about morning activities. My husband had to take my daughter to dance class. Easy peasy. She was already dressed and I put her tap shoes in the car. They go to dance. They come home. It is that simple. How could he possibly mess that up? Well, I didn’t figure the 30 minutes he had from when the class began and ended. I usually sit, shoot the s**t with other Moms and wait. He couldn’t do that because moments before they arrived my daughter had, once again, asked for a pet hamster. She has been begging once a day and once a day I tell her, “No.” We have a dog. The dog is her pet. If she grows up to be a lonely spinster she can get a hamster and 95 cats. I will pick up dog poop with a thin shopping bag, but I draw the line at cleaning tiny hamster turds. Well, my husband cannot say no to her. He didn’t grow up with sisters. My daughter is the only granddaughter on both sides of the family. There are a total of 11 grandsons. He caved when my daughter batted her eyelashes and begged, “Please Daddy, can I have a hamster?” Her sweet voice drowned out my screams in his head.
I had a wonderful morning. We enjoyed coffee and hit a few stores. I even scored “The Sleepless in Seattle” CD for $1.99. I was this close to buying Richard Marx, but had a flashback to a school dance where I was, once again, at the concession stand during a slow song. At the time I didn’t know the trick to getting boys to dance with you. The trick was sleeping with them and having multiple abortions. Silly me.
I felt refreshed. There was a bluebird on my shoulder as I skipped into the house. Then, I saw a box of food. It wasn’t dog food, but was clearly for a pet. (Bang. The bluebird is down. I repeat, the bluebird is down. ) “You didn’t!” I said to my husband shooting darts from my eyes. No, they were fire darts. Fire darts with metal shards. And glass. Fire darts, with metal shards and glass. I was pissed! We have had this discussion before. My stance was pretty clear. He nodded and grinned playfully. After all these years how did he not know I would lose my mind? “I cannot believe you did that!” I marched upstairs to see my two youngest playing with the rat. There was a purple cage sitting on a shelf in my daughter’s room.
I am sure I could have handled it differently, but I was furious. I demanded my husband take it back to the pet store. The children started crying. Of course, I was the bad guy traumatizing the kids. For the love of God, they have known this guy for one hour. I explained that Daddy made a huge mistake. The tears stopped when I explained that the rodent poops in the cage and they will have to clean it.
My husband accompanied me to the pet store with receipt in hand. The cashier could not understand why I was upset. I wouldn’t expect someone kissing an iguana that was climbing on his chest to get it. (I am not making that up) Apparently, the store doesn’t give refunds for live animals. I guess we should’ve killed the bastard. So, I had to walk around the store like a winning contestant on Wheel of Fortune circa 1980’s. I will take the grandfather clock for $55, the coffee table for $40…. We brought home two glow fish.
The children quickly forgot about the gerbil and everyone was singing “Zippity do dah.”