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Friday, March 03, 2006

Hamster Dance

Quite a few visitors yesterday seemed pissed at me for my take on the fine dining experience my family shared Friday night. I think some of you missed the point. I wasn't bashing the guy or trying to be derogatory by any means. I think it's pretty cool that anyone can speak more than one language.

The funniest part for me was thinking, "This guy must think we are fucking nuts to want to give our daughter a bowl of sour cream to drink." Anyhow, sorry if I offended any of you in yesterday's post. I am definitely going to pass on telling the story of the night we had Chinese.

Back to the Q & As

Last week I invited readers of Home Fires to ask me questions. So here is another segment of answers.

Chris wants to know what makes me laugh no matter what kind of day it has been. Choosing just one memory when I have been blessed with so many is really hard. Since you can read a little more than a years worth of favorite memories here on the blog, I'll just share one of those that has yet to be told.

Before I begin, know that everyone in my family is an animal lover. (I feel like I have to post a disclaimer now.)

One year for Christmas, Mr. Lane bought each of the kids a hamster. I was against the gift, one: because they are rodents, two: because the kids were 1 and 3 years-old, much too young to care for them, three: they looked to be a boy and a girl and the girl looked to be knocked up.

Mr. Lane didn't talk to me about the gift. It was a surprise. Meaning, there was no way to talk him out of getting hamsters. They were there, at our house. I was less than thrilled.

The old man was right. The kids thought hamsters were the coolest little critters around. Their little fingers tapped the plexiglas repeatedly, trying to wake the nocturnal beasts. Lane 2 was just learning how to talk and called them "key cass" because she thought they were kitty cats. Lane 1 was happy to name them after characters of one of his favorite Disney movies (The Rescuers) Bernard and Bianca.

Every morning, Lane 1 would wish them a good morning, "Hi yiddle hamsirs. (little hamsters)" (tap, tap)

Bianca soon turned on everyone. She was pregnant and had a major attitude. She bit the hand that fed her, mine. She never wanted to be held or petted. She began to turn on Bernard. She bit his ear so hard one day that I could have given him a diamond stud to wear in the hole.

We bought a second cage, which we should have done initially because hamsters are solitary dwellers. Of course, we didn't know that and the fine folks at the pet store never told my husband. Live and learn I guess. We kept the cages side by side so they could still see and smell each other. Not long after providing Bianca with her own dwelling, she popped out 16 babies. Really, 16. We saw the miracle unfold before our eyes. "Dare's anuver baby," (There's another baby) Lane 1 declared each time.

Her work was done. All the babies were out and clean and trying to find a nipple. It really was amazing. That is until she began eating them. I sent the boy out of the room. Thankfully, he didn't see what exactly was happening. In the end, she ate four of them.

I later lied to my son and said we must have miscounted as she had the babies because there were only 12. "No Mommy, I sawed dem. (saw them) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 'cuz I can count. Where'd dose uver babies goed? (Where'd those other babies go?)"

It took days of convincing him that we counted wrong before he would let it go. A couple of weeks after they were born I started finding homes for them. I called everyone we knew and told them to ask everyone they knew. It took about a week but I found 12 suckers, I mean, 12 caring people who wanted a hamster baby.

The last one to get a home was a male. He had been trying to get busy with his mom so we thought it best to put him in his dad's cage before he got his mom pregnant. We still didn't know that hamsters live solo. A day after putting him in the cage with his dad, we learned the hard way. The son killed and was eating his dad. We were mortified.

By now, I imagine, Chris and the rest of you are thinking, holy shit, this is so not funny!! How exactly can this memory make you laugh every time you're down? I'm getting there. Promise.

We shielded the boy's eyes from the grizzly scene and thought of ways to tell him Bernard was no longer with us. There was just no way to tell him he was mauled by his son.

The killer hamster from hell was going to a little boy, Thomas who I was babysitting. His mom wanted us to keep the hamster a little longer because she wanted to build a giant habitrail in her son's room before she brought it home.

I took Lane 1 and Lane 2 to the park while Mr. Lane cleaned up the crime scene. When we came back home the boy hamster cage wasn't in sight. I looked at Mr. Lane as if to ask where the hamster was. He shook his head at me with a dismal look on his face. I carried Lane 2 upstairs and put her in her crib. I told Lane 1 to play in his room. I shut the bedroom doors and went back down stairs to find out what was going on.

Mr. Lane had a paper towel ducttaped around his thumb. "What happened and where's the hamster?"

"Lo, you aren't going to believe this."

"Try me. What happened?"

"Well. He's with his daddy now."

"Goddamnit. What did you do?"

"It wasn't my fault. The fucking thing bit me and it jumped out of my hands and landed on the floor and broke it's neck."

Talking quietly through my teeth, I said, "If you weren't dicking around, it wouldn't have broken it's neck. Now how the hell am I going to tell Thomas he doesn't have a hamster?"

"I'm sorry, Lo. I was just trying to get Bernard's body out of the cage and that other hamster grabbed hold of me with his teeth. I yanked my hand out of the cage and the little fucker was clamped onto my thumb. Hard, Lo. Like I couldn't shake it off. Ya know? And when I took my hand out of the cage it was dangling there off of my thumb, and that's when it fell on the kitchen floor."

I knew hamsters were a bad idea.

Anyhow, the next day, Thomas came over. He didn't noticed the cage and hamsters were gone until lunch time. When he asked where his hamster was, Lane 1 in the most consoling way, wrapped his arm around Thomas, rubbed his shoulder and said, "Thomas, I am sorry to tell you diss (this) but your hamsir (hamster) is dead."

Thomas welled up with tears and asked what happened. Before I could get a word in edgewise, Lane 1 continued, "My daddy was dickin' around and him broke him's neck."

In my mind, I still see my 3-year-old baby boy consoling his friend. I still hear his cute little voice and his mispronounced words. It always makes me smile, no matter how hard of a day it has been. I learned a valuable lesson through that experience, kids are tuned in like they come with radar. They hear things no matter how quiet you think you are.

Have a great weekend everyone! Send your hate mail to because, after all, it was all his fault.