Bumper animal edition today!
First, the death: poor little Pink Red, the world’s most beloved hamster (for the first week, then ignored and subjected to much eye-rolling for the rest of his short life). One minute he was racing around his cage, hanging upside from the bars as was his merry little wont, frolicking in recycled paper and droppings, the next... “Mummy, come quick, Pink Red is DYING!” The Baby got it wrong, however; he wasn’t so much dying as quite dead. That didn’t stop her from poking him and laughing and playing and fetching her dolls to line up and take a look; nor did it stop me from being swayed by Facebook opinion that he was probably just pretending – apparently, hamsters play possum (ironically enough) when under great stress. Two points to note from this: firstly, if it looks dead and smells dead (and has poo coming out of its bum and a glassy dead-eyed stare), it probably is dead. Secondly: if anyone or anything in my house gets to pretend to be dead because of stress, IT IS ME. (I’m practising the glassy stare as we speak. The poo, not so much.) Anyway, the Boy came off the school bus and was greeted with News Of The Death, and took it quite badly (poor Pink Red – his life of abandonment sandwiched between two bursts of intense masterly attention), and we had a funeral, and the Boy shed tears and had his own quiet half-hour of graveside contemplation. (He also made a tombstone, spelling not only the deceased’s name, but his own, incorrectly. Which somehow feels fitting.)
Next up – monkeys! Yes, my furry little garden-dwelling friends, the ones who spend most of their time working out how to dismember me. The came a step closer to their goal yesterday when they CLIMBED INTO THE BOY’S BEDROOM. I’d like to say that in the Fight or Flight event, I chose to fight – for myself, my children, the cats – but instead I started to shriek and shepherded all living things within arm’s reach into the nearest safe room. Bear in mind that I hadn’t even seen the creatures; I’d sent the Boy up to his room to fetch socks (Come ON! You’re late! We’re late! GO!) and next thing I knew he was at the bottom of the stairs, sockless, and before I could even raise my voice he cut in with “I can’t get my socks because there are two monkeys in my room.” Which, let me tell you, as excuses go is a pretty good one. So I shrieked and shepherded, and shrieked some more, while our fearless helper bounded up the stairs and flung them both out the window by the power of her stare alone. (Or something. Anyway, she did what I didn’t, which was Rid The House of Monkeys.)
And THEN, as if that wasn’t enough drama / trauma for one day (the Boy can’t even speak of it; all he’ll say is that “They just sat there. Watching me.”) last night found me shoe-horned onto the kids’ $100 Ikea sofa watching some sort of crap on NetFlix when I noticed something saunter across the living room floor. IT’S A RAT! I screeched at the Man. Don’t be ridiculous, it’s too big to be a rat, it was one of the cats, he scorned.
Alas, I was right. OH GOD.
So I pegged it upstairs to get (a) the cats, and (b) the baseball bat, and both were equally ineffectual; the baseball bat, because WHO KNEW rats were contortionists? And the cats, because WHO KNEW they are such utter pansies when it comes to rodents? They basically shrieked in fear and skiddadled back up the stairs, where, as far as I know, they have remained ever since. Anyway, long story short, we got the rat out of the house, using a (bendy) broom handle and an open sliding doors, and that, as far as we were concerned, was the end of it. (Apart from the lingering HORROR, obv.) Until this morning, when the Girl skipped in at 720am and gleefully told me that “there’s something swimming in the pool”.... And OF COURSE it was the poor athletic rat who, we summise, had raced out of the house, full of Fear Of The (Bendy) Broom, straight into the pool, where he had swum for 9 hours straight. And so, despite having tried to end his short disease-ridden life not half a day before, we rescued him. And with a squeak - Joy? Gratitude? Fear of flying? - he soared through the air into the jungle. (Where hopefully he’ll be eaten by the damn monkeys, thereby killing two pests with one stone.)
Next up: The Trauma That Was The Apartment Handover. (I’m telling you folks – it’s a laugh a minute here.)