So the phone rings while I’m getting the girls ready for school Monday morning. I’m up to my elbows in waffles so I check the voicemail later in the day.
“Hi Christy, it’s your Uncle J.D.”
J.D. lives in Montana and is coming for a weekend visit. He wants to bring the girls something that, “isn’t plastic.” It’s a sentiment I’m totally behind. But he wants to surprise us.
“Do you have enough acreage in your backyard for a pony? No, I’m just kidding–but it is alive,” he says cryptically.
I love my Uncle, he’s the nicest man alive and I share his sense of humor.
I call back and leave the message, “As long as we’re zoned for it, I’m game.” After I hang up I remember that I’m technically in the county and therefore could have chickens…but he doesn’t know that. I could also sell pot, but that’s another story.
So the girls are beside themselves with curiosity, listing every possible animal–including another grandpa. When J.D. pulls up and pops the trunk of his Honda they practically crawl in. I carry the duffle bag in; thinking it smells like Chinese food past its prime. J.D. had a huge box-shaped parcel under a black plastic bag.
After making the girls squirm a few minutes comes the big reveal: three mice, the kind with tails. The girls are thrilled–me not so much. I had hamsters as a girl and loved them; but there’s something about that tail I just can’t abide.
They are cute rolling around in their little plastic balls, I’m learning to love them, but then I notice the smell.
“Yeah, Christy, that’s the one thing about them that’s bad–the smell.”
Later I’m wondering how he sees that as the one bad thing, given he tells me they “have no bladder.” These are “Fancy Mice” he tells me. Apparently the “non-fancy” variety have no bowels…
My Uncle meant well and having raised two girls of his own he knows how to thrill a kid. You also have to take into consideration his background growing up in Montana. Apparently my Dad (his big brother) once talked him into putting a family of baby skunks in a gunny sack because they, “don’t stink until they’re full grown.” Once the girls came home talking about how Grandpa caught a rattle snake to “show them what one looks like.” So the Cada brothers have different standards when it comes to “suitable pets.”
All and all the rodents will provide a great “teaching moment.” They’re out in the garage right now and we’re going to see how it goes. I envision a summer watching them roll around the backyard with my cat trying to figure out how to open the tops of their travel balls. Then come fall I might just help her figure it out.