Sunday, July 25, 2010


When dealing with parenthood and children in general the fine art of bargaining often comes into play. Also known as bribing we like to use the less mercenary term of bargaining but really it's a give take thing where the parent may really not care much what they have to give to get the desired results. Mind you the age of the child must be taken into consideration. When said child is very young the object of the bribe is normally not terribly expensive. A Polly Pocket or Littlest Pet Shop whatnot is all it takes but it must come often and be pretty instant in the younger years. We used this ploy when the kid was 5 and we really needed her to stop sucking her thumb. When she was an infant we tried every pacifier on the market but she insisted on the thumb. It's easier to ween the paci, trust me on this one. As the child got older the stakes went up as did the time. When trying to get over the thumb sucking she got a bribe once weekly for every week she didn't suck her thumb. In the 1st grade she needed to be at a certain reading level or she would not pass the 1st grade. The bribe was the Nintendo DS. She missed that first goal but we gave her a second chance. In order to play DS games you have to read directions, if she couldn't read there was no use to owning one right? The next time her teacher tested her she passed 2 levels and went beyond her goal. She got her DS.

We have an only child, for the most part she gets everything she wants. At a price because nothing in life is free. We're mean parents like that. I also don't want to raise a trust fund baby, she can pay her way through college just like her momma did and not spend the whole time partying and pissing away her family's money like I watched many a co-Ed do. Not my kid.

So this brings us to the give take bargain as it stands now. The rat thing. You remember the rat thing? I don't want the rat. I thought the kid wanted the rat. Well here's the deal. She wanted a guinea pig or a turtle. Her cousin wanted a rat. Since she follows what her cousin does she got a rat too. Now don't get me wrong, she loves the rat and plays with it and talks about it all the time. But I don't think she's in love with the rat. If you know what I mean. Her grandmother told her that she'd try to donate the rat to the local school's science program once she left. The kid said she wanted to keep the rat. The husband said we'd take the rat. The mom (me) said the grandmother would have to pay for the rat to come home. And when all was said and done the grandmother balked at the $75 price tag to get the rat to said home. Don't get me started, I did a lot of research to figure out how to fly a freaking rat across state lines at a decent price. Trust me, this is way cheaper than flying any other warm blooded animal ($330). The rat counts as a lab animals, hence the lower price.

I talked to the kid this morning, we chatted about this and that and I eventually asked her if anything had been decided about the rat. Short answer, no. I don't think the kid was keen on giving the rat to the school. Until I started bargaining. I told her that if she could find a good home for the rat that we'd get her a guinea pig when she came home. Trust me when I tell you this is the lesser of 2 evils. Guinea pigs don't stink the way rats do. Not even close. I think they don't live as long either. Double bonus! I made sure she knew I was adamant about her needing to find the rat a good home. That's a MUST. I did also mention that we already have a guinea pig cage here at the house. I bought it for the chinchilla before I bought his monster 2 level mansion. That he only uses 1 level of. I took the second level down last week to put 2 vivaruims on top of the cage. I'm pretty sure the chinchilla hasn't noticed yet.

So yeah, she likes her rat a lot but she'd like a guinea pig more. Momma latched onto that bargaining chip like you would not believe. We may not have to acquire a rat and this would be good. Very very good. Let's just see if grandmother gets on the ball and finds that rat another home. Cross your fingers, I really don't want a rat.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The pet rat

You know how I said that we weren't going to add anymore pets to the house that weren't in an aquarium? Because I am just sick of the mammals in this house? Well yeah, don't you know the kid, the husband and the mother in law are on a mission to subvert?

2 weeks ago the kid and her older cousin (he's like 14 I think) were sent to the San Diego Humane Society summer camp for a week. A camp that, I'm assuming, familiarizes kids with not only all of the types of pets they foster there but the plight they are in because of irresponsible owners. At least this is what I hope they were trying to get the kids to come away with. I see no other reason why the HS would have a kids summer camp. Well it turns out the mother in law adopted a rat for each of the grand kids. 2 males. 1 that bites (the cousin's, thank gawd) and the other that my kid just dotes on (hers doesn't bite). Last week she called me to tell me she was teaching hers to dance. I asked her how she was teaching Oreo to dance. She said she didn't know but that she was. OK, sounds good to me. She also refers to Oreo as a 'she' but because of what they had available and/or her cousin both of these rats have balls. Hey, if it works, run with it.

Needless to say I was less than pleased to find out their grandmother had adopted rats for them. I mean I don't care if her cousin gets one (his mother won't let it in their house either) but I had no desire to buy a plane ticket for a rat. Seriously, oh fuck no. The kid then begs me to let her keep the rat. She knows that I'm bringing back frogs on the plane and doesn't see why she can't bring her rat too. This is a fair argument but not realistic. I'm not telling the airlines I have frogs in my bag, just security. The rat would be impossible to hide and lord forbid someone notice it. Not good. Vermin are looked at in a slightly different light than a frog half the size of your pinky nail.

Yesterday the kid tells me her grandmother doesn't plan on keeping the rat once she leaves. She was told the rat would be given away. Alright wait just one minute here. Why send her to a camp that is trying to teach (I would hope) responsible pet ownership if you were just going to dump the pet after the kid leaves? And tell her this before she even leaves? I'm hoping I'm missing something in the translation and she was actually told something else. Because in our house (and we were doggie foster parents you know) we don't adopt any animal we have no intention of keeping. That just isn't right. Setting poor examples much? I told the husband this and he said we should let her bring the rat home with her (not on the plane, Southwest doesn't do pets). I told him that he'd have to be responsible for the upkeep because I think rats are nasty. They stink. Bad. Plus those feet, and the tail? ICK. There are a few 'pets' I don't do. Rats and ferrets. Why? Their feet and tails are gross and oh, they stink to all high heaven. The dogs smell bad enough as it is, a rat is going to make me less than happy. I'm thinking the kid will figure out real quick that keeping that cage clean will be the difference between mommy letting it stay or finding it a new home.

Hey, I didn't adopt the thing, don't expect me to be sympathetic to it existing in our home. And I'm not paying to have it shipped either. Grandmother had best pony up to the responsibility that should be hers. I did, however, research it and figure out the best way to go about shipping a rat. I am not without connections in the world of such oddities...

OK, rant over. I'll let y'all know how this pans out. I don't see good results any way you cut it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Long time no blab

Once again I've been remiss in keeping you guys up to date. Summer has been less than exciting (which is really fine with me) but that's no reason to keep from blathering useless drivel to you guys. SO lets see... update on the kid? She's doing faboo out in San Diego. Yes, she is very responsible with the phone, calling us when both her grandfathers had birthdays to make sure we called them and wished them a happy birthday. Girlfriend is on it. So far she's gone to Northern California, camping at a cabin up there, Fisherman's Warf, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We are both insanely jealous of the kid. She also has gone to at least 1 week of camp, at the San Diego Human Society. I didn't even know they had that available but it's absolute perfection for my kid and her animal oriented lifestyle. Here's the real kicker, she and her cousin both went to the camp and you know what? Their grandmother let them both adopt a pet rat. Ick. I happen to be a rodent lover, I even bred chinchillas (still have one)for awhile. There are 2 I don't like, 1)hamsters, those fuckers bite and 2) rats, I hate their tails and feeet, they gross me out. The good news? She's leaving it there (much to her dismay and my delight). I know it's horrible of me to not encourage her adoption of an animal since we are all about adopting animals and what not. I mean we have a friggin zoo here already, what's a little rat? Yeah, NO. I may culture bugs to feed my animals but I don't want any more mammals. DONE WITH MAMMALS. Unless I give birth I don't want anymore warm blooded animals in this house. The rat stays in California. On the (maybe?) up side I do get to meet said rat. My dad wants me to come visit so he's paid for me to come out for a week before the kid comes home. I'll be staying with friends and visiting, then escorting the kid home. Yup, no solo flight back for her which makes me happy.

I will also be smuggling 3 frogs back with me on the flight. And by smuggling I mean I will have them hand inspected by airport security but I'm not telling the actual airlines that they are in my bags. It's my own 'don't ask don't tell' program. I figure it'll probably work better for me than it does the military and if it doesn't I have a back up plan. Always have a back up plan when breaking the law, good rule to live by.

I have finished, or rather, my minion finished the vivarium for the to be smuggled frogs. It's much smaller than the other one I have since the frogs are that much smaller. I am still debating whether or not I'm happy with the way it came out. I wanted the huge green and red plant in it but it dominates the bottom of the tank. That wouldn't be too terrible but he set it up with a dripping wall (in the center back, you can't really see the water flowing) and all of the dirt on the bottom made for a bog. The return for the water is seated in the dirt in the front of the tank so it's kind of meant to be a bog but to get the water pump working right I had to add more water. Resulting in more of a swamp. I wasn't digging the swamp. So I moved the dirt to the side (to be dealt with later) and put gravel in the bottom for a kind of creek bed. It worked and I'm pretty pleased with it. Not exactly what I had in mind but I'm flexible!