Friday, July 20, 2012

Round and Round, with Love We'll Find a Way, Just Give It Time (Get It? By Ratt?)

Have you ever looked around at where you are in life… at the circumstances that surround you and just think, “Lord, I have no idea how I got here?”  

That’s where I am right now.  

I mean, I know myself.  I know my limitations.  I know what I can handle in this life, and yet somehow, despite all of this, I still find myself here, in this most unsettling territory.  

How on earth did I, Jamie Jo Spalding, become a rat owner????

Remember Phoebe's rat babies?

Those of you who know me well know that I’m not exactly a fan of animals.  It’s not like I hate animals – I haven’t made PETA’s most wanted list, I don’t belong to the Michael Vick fan club, Sarah Mclachlan isn’t singing that heart-wrenching song about me.  I don’t dislike animals.  I’ve just always maintained a you-don’t-bother-me-and-I-won’t-bother-you stance.

Probably cleaning up after some animal
I’ve pretty much always felt this way.  Growing up, my family had horses.  I can count the number of times I rode them, or even touched them for that matter, on my two hands.  Over the course of my childhood, other than the horses, we owned several dogs (we had one CRAZY dog.  His name was Snuggles or Cuddles or something deceptively cute that masked, for a moment, the fact that the mutt was an absolute psychopath), a couple of cats, a few birds, a bunny, and a snake.  I felt very little affection for any of these creatures.  Well, except the bunny.  And he ran away… well, hopped away.  Maybe that is what broke my heart and ruined me for all other animals.  

I don’t go nuts over pictures of kittens.  I hate movies with little talking animals a la The Incredible Journey.  I hate, repeat HATE going to the zoo.  It’s hot.  It smells bad. And how many times can you ooh and aah at a giraffe? 

So, there you go.  I’m not animal friendly1.

Ok, I USED to love this animal.
I also USED to wear pepto-bismol pink pajamas

And it’s worse with rodents.  Once, on an elementary school field trip, a squirrel actually bit the thumb off of a kid from my school!  Okay, I wasn’t there, but that’s what I heard.  So, yes, I run and squeal when I see one… a squirrel, not a thumb.  In high school, a boyfriend2 (who obviously didn’t know me as well as he should have) bought me a hamster for Valentine’s Day.  I was so freaked out that I finally let it out into the wild blue yonder of my backyard.  I was slightly horrified a few days later when we had a freak Spring blizzard.  A few times over the years, we’ve had a mouse in the house, and every time, I threaten to stay at a hotel until the problem is resolved, but usually just find myself jumping up and down in snow boots and screaming at the top of the my lungs, just to make sure the coast is clear before I enter a room.

All that being said, WHY did I just willingly bring a large rat into my house?

It’s like this –

Every year at Vacation Bible School, Jay and I come up with some little scheme to encourage the children to bring in nickels, dimes and quarters to support our missionary projects.  Last year, for example, we said that one of us would take a pie in the face.

This year, we said on day one that if the girls raise more money, Jay would have to kiss a mouse on the last day.  If the boys raise more money, I would have to kiss it.  (Jay PROMISED me that the girls would win.  Every day, when I, completely covered in goose bumps, started to cry about the upcoming smooch, he would reassure me that my girls would come through – and they did.  The kiddos raised nearly $400 total, but the girls edged out the boys in the end!  And thank the Lord they did, or else I would have taken off so fast, there would have been a Jamie-shaped hole in the church wall!

Pucker up, honey!

Anyway, Jay and I stopped at Petco this afternoon, and Jay ran in to drop four big bucks on a feeder mouse so that we could settle up with the kids on the last night.  I waited in the car…

Then the text came.

“Rats are half off.”

I replied.  “No.”

“But they’re so cute.”


Finally Jay called me and asked me to come in.  Fast forward thirty minutes, and we’re at the check out lane, dropping $50 on rat supplies and signing up for a PAWS card so that we can save money on future rat supply purchases.

How did this happen?

Oh well, welcome to the family, Squeaks.  Keep your distance!

Got goosebumps yet?

1 None of this applies to our dog, Dandy, that we had from 2001-2005.  I didn’t care for her at first, but she grew on me and I fell in love.

2 If said boyfriend happens to read this blog and didn’t know about the FREE THE HAMPSTER PROJECT, I’m so sorry.  I blame that heart-breaking bunny!

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