or "Why the Nagles Camp With a Hamster"
At the beginning of the summer, on the eve of our first camping trip of the season, I mentioned to you all that we camp with our hamster, Biscuit. Yes, you read that correctly, we take our hamster camping with us every single time. Many of you inquired, when you were done laughing, why on earth we'd take our hamster camping and I promised I'd tell you the story. I've decided that this, our last camping trip of the season, is the perfect time to tell you why we camp with our hamster(s).
Two and a half years ago, we took the children to an indoor waterpark for a little winter vacation. We were going to be gone two nights and barely three days. Buttercup begged and begged, "Oh, please Mommy, can't we bring Nibbles and Winnie with us?" "No, Buttercup, they'll be fine while we're gone." "But, Mommy, what about the cats?" she wailed. I responded with a mini-lecture on how the cats have never bothered the hamsters and there was no reason for that to change during this trip. [You can see where this is going, can't you?] So, we headed off for our mini-vacation and left Nibbles and Winnie behind.
After a fun trip, we headed back home. Buttercup ran upstairs to her room, eager to see Nibbles. Instead of Nibbles, however, she saw a massacre of hamster bedding and hamster cage parts all over her room! It was horrible. Apparently, Jane, our shelter adoptee, didn't know the rules about leaving the hamsters alone, even when the people were gone. Fortunately, there were no blood spatters or hamster parts anywhere. We quickly searched for the missing hamster, wanting to be certain that the adults were the one to find it (assuming, of course, that it was deceased). We couldn't find it anywhere. She was inconsolable.
Now, what you might not know about me is that I am seriously in tune to the noises my home makes and, for whatever reason, I've managed to find every single hamster that has ever "escaped" its cage. Without a body, I was beginning to suspect that Nibbles had outwitted that bad Jane. I sent everyone out of the house and let the house settle down. Then I listened and listened some more. Finally, my listening led me to the back corner of MY closet, where that wily Nibbles had stashed so much food she would have been fine for weeks. Apparently, she'd been heading back and forth between our room and Buttercup's room the entire time we were gone, dodging cats the entire time. Needless to say, Buttercup was thrilled we found Nibbles intact and went on to live a long hamster life.
Unfortunately, my credibility was shot. The next time we headed out of town and I tried to say, "they'll be fine", she looked and me and told me that I'd said that the last time and look what happened. Nibbles wasn't fine. Even though we were tent camping, we had two hamster cages! "You can't leave Winnie behind! She'll be sad."
Now that we're down to one hamster, Biscuit comes with us. Buttercup is happy, Biscuit is happy, and Superman and I think it is just funny.
We leave the birds at home, though.