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RIP “Mr. Rat” – Part III in the Series “You Had to do WHAT?”

So our pet rat died last night. I know, I know, a rat? Yes, a rat, and he was a really nice guy, and heck, he had been very helpful with getting us through a tough time with Seoul Man.

Our journey to “Mr. Rat”, whom I originally named GW, definitely warrants to be part 3 in my ongoing series “You Had to do WHAT?”

Here is Part 1

Here is Part 2

So about 2 or so years ago, something really rattled Seoul Man one night and it caused quite the horrible sequence of terrible sleeping events. When it started (I am thinking perhaps a night terror) he became petrified to be alone in his room. We had to resort back to being in close proximity until he fell asleep again, even laying down in the hallway, but he would wake every hour or so in a panic. Having the attachment issues we had in the past, we just go back to how we handled things then as to not cause any regressions. Eventually the panic went away, but the night time wakings didnt, but it didnt stop him from waking us up. What began as “Im afraid” turned into “OK guys, Im awake. Entertain me!” Ummmm no…..

I of course began to lose my mind, as sleep deprivation is not one of my strong suits. But then I had an idea. If he had “something” in his room to keep him company, he wouldnt need us, right? Makes sense, right? To say that when I said I was going to get something like a hamster for Jack (he was around 3), I received SOOOOO Many “You’re crazy’s”! “Ugggg, you have enough on your plate’s!” and my favorite, “Its not going to work’s” – even from my husband.

I never felt SO HAPPY to announce on Facebook that EVERYONE ONE WAS WRONG! I think I even prefaced it by saying BITE ME!

So yes, my hamster idea worked. When Jack would wake up at between his then usual hours of 1:30 to 3:30 am, he would go and talk to “Hamster”! If he wasnt talking to me I was happy!

We picked out Mrs. Hamster from a local non chain pet store. She and her girl friends had just arrived, and I picked her because she came right to the glass of the tank to say hello. I opted for a Teddy Bear Hamster as I needed to make sure that it was big enough for a 3 year old to handle. She was really awesome. VERY friendly, VERY social and VERY Cute.

Then one day, about a week after we had her, I went up to Jack’s room, and there was no longer 1 hamster, there were about 13. If you heard a faint scream in your neck of the woods, even half way across the country, that was me. She must have been preggo before I got her, or else every one of those babies were going to be named Jesus. I called the Pet Store, and they said “If you can keep them, it would be better. Then bring them in when they are older.”

Ummmmm No…..Sorry……no more babies in my house please. PLUS, if you already are unaware, hamsters have a tendency of EATING their babies when they are stressed. I could see it now. Child walks into room and beloved hamster is chewing on one of her children. Cue the mental sequence in the child’s head associating me to chewing on him ANNNNNNND we are back to non sleeping.

So, no, I packed up Mommy and her babies and back she went. I was not happy to hear screaming from the cage on the way there, thinking that Mommy was eating them and I was listening to the murder. Thankfully, she didnt. The screaming was just that they didnt like the movement from the car.

We said Bye Bye to Mommy and I felt bad, but again, NO BABY EATING IN MY HOUSE.

So, now I have a void in the child’s room. It was NOT going to go back to the 1:30 to 3:30 am routine of “entertain me!” Yeah, no…not happening…

I wasnt going to get another girl hamster because god forbid I have another mystery pregnancy. My heart couldnt take it. So the only boy hamster they had was an older and somewhat ornery fellow. I didnt care. If he could sit there and listen to a kid talk to him every night, he could chew my fingers off every time I cleaned his cage.

So we had “Hamster” for a couple of months, then “Hamster” died.

OK…..bad luck with the hamsters….BUT GOOD LUCK with my strategy, as my sleepless child felt safe in his room with someone in there with him….

I needed to find a replacement, but was NOT going to do another hamster. I decided to let little child pick this one out.

For those familiar with my child, he has an amazing affinity with creatures big and small. He just “clicks” with them. (See this if you dont believe me).

So we set out  for ANY animal he thinks would be a good fit to keep him company at night.

He could have come home with an elephant if he wanted to, as I didnt care as long as it let me sleep!

Oh, but the ONLY thing I just cant do are snakes. I am PETRIFIED of SNAKES.

We first went to the pet store we got the hamsters from. We went cage to cage to cage, looking at bunnies, ferrets, guinea pigs, ground hogs, hedge hogs, lizards, frogs and turtles. Nothing. “We go to different store?” he asked me.

Ummmm…..OK…..so off we go to Petco. Same thing……”We go to different store?”

Then off to another store where I felt so bad I wanted to take everything home, but again “We go to different store?”

Soooo off to Petsmart, the only other store I could think of. We walk in, look around, and I say “did you find something?”

“This! This! I WANT THIS!”

With his eyes fixated on the glass tank, I looked in it and my stomach sank. Yes, he chose the rats. Now, we had just went EVERYWHERE and he saw rats, but NO, he wanted one of THESE rats.

“Are you SURE this is what you want?” “How about these cute guinea pigs?” “NO NO NO THIS ONE”.

Now, you have to understand the my child was EXTREMELY speech delayed at the time. At 3 he had the expressive language skills of an 18 month old. He says to me “Open this up and pull out the tank and pick that one” as he is also trying to open the display to take one out.

Ok Ok Ok…..I think I feel sick.

But to make matters worse, he isnt pointing to the fuzzy, kinda cute, multicolored ones…..he is pointing to the NAKED, HAIRLESS ONE. I think I almost passed out right then and there.

I said “OK, fine, but we have to make a compromise. I just cant do the naked ones.”

Thankfully, he picked one of the others.

So I asked the sales person about what I should know, and was actually kinda surprised to hear that they are very intelligent, very social, and VERY CLEAN. So if you didnt associated the name of “Rat” to the object, its sounds like the perfect pet!

I reluctantly agreed and the rat the child picked out was placed in a box to take home.

Can I tell you, that he was probably the easiest, nicest guy and YES, he was VERY CLEAN. Actually the CLEANEST pet we have probably ever had. We named him “GW”, but as we got to know him, we just called him “Rat”, because frankly, he was too nice to be associated to a rat. (Political statement)

Excited Kid

See! He was kinda cute!

Sadly he passed on sometime overnight. I hope he had a good life with us. I felt bad he didnt get out of his cage much, but frankly, he liked hanging in his house and shredding cardboard boxes. I discovered that pet rats such as these would become snake food when someone would come in and “feeder rats” were unavailable, so even though he didnt like to come out, it was still better than being dinner.

He was surprisingly a picky eater, to which I would tell him “ummm, you are a rat, you should be eating everything I give you!”. But most importantly, he was a good friend to a kid and was helpful in getting over the “Santa Reign of Terror” episodes, as well as other scary times. For the most part we are over the 1:30 to 3:30 am wakeups, but every once and a while, I would hear a one sided conversation. Hopefully we wont regress….

We’ll miss ya buddy! Thanks for teaching us how to not judge a book by its cover.


“You Have to Shave her What????”

Part 2 in my series:

“You had to do WHAT?” If you missed Part 1, click here!

I have had such horrible writer’s block of late. I have a few posts sitting in drafts, but I just couldnt put it all together into something coherent. I CAN however probably pull this story out of my butt though with ease….

Ok, so I have a Boer Goat Doe. She could be personified as “Brittney from Glee”….pretty girl, short on brains, lives on her own planet, etc.

Soda, as I have named her, is the only one who has managed (on a few occasions) to get her head stuck in the hay net, has managed to not move out of the way when the horse is walking, had (notice the past tense) gotten her ear tag stuck in something causing her to tear her ear (prior to me taking her), has hurt herself playing with the dog, etc.

I have also witnessed her on numerous occasions occupying herself by seeing how far she could twist her head as a means to see how far around she can see. Think putting a sign on someone’s back and them spinning in circles trying to see it, minus the sign.

So anyway, now you get an idea for what my ditz goat is like.

Ok, so she gets this INSANE boofy winter coat. I swear she is part alpaca or something. But, and its about her butt, sometimes its hard to be a woman. Because of her anatomy, when she urinates, she gets urine on her boofy coated butt, then lays on the ground, and gets dirty butt. I think if I followed these procedures, I would have a dirty butt as well.

So the vet recommends that I shave her butt. Oh joy.

This shouldnt be too hard, right? After all, she was so great when the horse stepped on her tail and ripped the top off, and I had to rush her to the vet, in my Jeep, with my 1 year old, and I had to get gas, and I had a goat in my Jeep, at the gas station, sitting in the back, with my 1 year old, and she had to have stitches put in, and then antibiotics and ointments, and then back in my jeep, with my one year old, driving on the LIE, stopping at lights, with a goat in my Jeep.

So I go and hook her on a leash and tie her to a tree and I give her some hay just for herself. This should be easy. Earlier in the day I went to Petco to get a pair of clippers and it was a store wide discussion group as to which shears would be the best at shaving a goat’s butt. So I go and hook up my new clipper to an extension cord, venture over to little miss, and turn on the clippers to begin my work.

Well….little miss, who was munching quietly on her personal flake of hay, hears the hummmmmmmmmmmm……turns around as I am inches from her butt, and COMES AT ME HEAD FIRST. Thank <insert deity> she doesnt have horns. So I get knocked down and am completely confused by the situation. I get back up, attempt to approach her rear, and THIS time she turns around and goes at my head with her hooves! Now, if you can see from the below picture, she is wider than she is tall. I have NO idea how she managed to get up that far. (And yes, she is wearing a Wiggle’s Party hat. No one would take one for the team for Seoul Man’s 2nd Bday, but she happily wore the hat).

So after she realized she could, in fact, reach my head with her feet, she just continues to keep going at me, now with added BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!  As long as those clippers were in my hand, she was a weaponized unit of intense fury.

I think at that moment I thought her eyes turned red, I dropped the clippers and ran away. I did. I admit it.

OK, so how am I going to do this. I have to trim her bum. I mean, I know if I were in the same situation, I would want someone to do the same for me, right?

Obviously, clippers equal goat rage, so I have to dump them. I go and grab the scissors from the barn. DONT WORRY, NOT scissors we would use in the house. Scissors for like, cutting the string off the hay bales….

OK…as she is happily munching on her hay, I apprehensively walk up behind her. She seems ok with that. Alright, she is letting me pet her, and she is continuing to eat. Sounds good to me. So, taking a pose making me eye level to her rear, and staying there as to appear “normal” for a uncomfortable bit of time, I go in for the cut. I quick grab, snip, then ran away as fast as I could covering my head with my hands as to avoid a possible wrath of hooves. As I ran away, I looked over my shoulder and she didnt flinch. She didnt care. She just kept eating.

OK, I guess this strategy works. So I re-approach cautiously, crouch down to be eye level with goat butt, wait to ensure comfort with the situation, grab-cut-run….repeat….

The whole process took a good 2 hours….but in the end…..I could see an end….and although I was a bit beaten and bruised….the  mission accomplished…

Stay tuned for the next feature “You bought a WHAT?”

You Have to Clean His WHAT???

Since I didnt post a blog yesterday, I am going to double up today and I am going to start my “You Had to do WHAT?” Series.

As folks may or may not know, we have quite the gaggle of creatures here in our home. Some people say “are you nuts”? Other people say “how do you do it”? Then entirely different people say “It’s such a great thing that you have all this going on because it is really good for your son and he will learn respect and responsibility, etc”. I agree with those folks.

All in all, I have to say, its really NOT TOO BAD! So we have 2 dogs (BIG DOGS) in the house, and a parrot, and a rat. Outside, I have my horse, his 2 goat friends and a koi pond. (Oh, I have inside fish too). The dogs require lots of vacuuming and can be just as attention wanting as a certain 5 year old, but when they bother me I can send them outside. The parrot is good for one sided conversations, and thankfully, is quite independent and enjoys her alone time. (Parrots are USUALLY VERY needy and attention seeking and will often resort to damaging behavior such a feather pulling, but mine is quite happy with some alone time. As a matter of fact, when I used to have my home office in the room I have her in, she would scream at me to leave. Nice, right?) She makes a BIG mess, but I have worked out a system where I can clean her every 2 weeks and she is happy and I dont need the Humane Society called on me. She is due for a serious cleaning right now as a matter of fact. Rat, he is the easiest of the bunch and he is quite content hanging in his cage, ripping up empty Keurig K Cup boxes and shredding rolls of paper towels. I will explain at another time why we have Rat, as we so lovingly call him.

Now, people think I have my hands full the most with the gang outside. But in all seriousness, I only have to devote 20 minutes to a 1/2 hour a day cleaning out their stall, picking up manure, dumping in dumpster, feeding,watering, etc. I keep things very clean and Seoul Man is actually quite adept with a much rake, so I have some help.

I DO however, enjoy making people think that having a horse and 2 goats is a difficult task, especially when dealing with health related maintenance. My personal favorite is declaring on Facebook that “I am going out to worm the horse and the goats! Who wants to watch?!”. From the responses I receive, I think people genuinely believe that I am embarking on a gruesome task that involves rubber gloves, intestinal tracts and entrances and exits. In reality, all I am doing is taking a tube syringe filled with apple flavored taste and putting it in the corner of their mouth and squeezing the handle. Thats all. But its funnier to make people use their imaginations. Oooops, I guess the cat is out of the bag.

BUT, I do have a few tasks that, as horse and goat owners everywhere, DO have to do, and this is where I begin my series.

So, horses…..MALE horses in particular…need someone or something to clean their…um……man parts. If you want to know why and what, just google “Sheath Cleaning”. The man parts of horses acquire a substance, that when in the wild, and breeding with the ladies, cleans itself by….the act itself. Gelded (neutered) horses and/or horses with no access to the ladies have no way for their parts to get clean, and if left untreated, can actually lead to some serious issues. So basically, it is up to the horse owner, or the vet if you want to pay the money, to take care of it.

Now that I have given you the basis for what the need is, let me share with you my first experience doing this as a first time horse owner. Ahhhhh……the memories…..Dont worry, the actual process has very little humor in it. The process leading up to it is more humorous and embarrassing than the procedure itself.

Indy and I had been horse/horse owner for about a year when I discovered that “he needed a cleaning”. After speaking to other horse people, it was highly recommended that instead of using the soap made for doing such a thing, I would be better off using KY Jelly, as the soap if left on due to inadequate rinsing, could create irritation and burning, whereas as the KY did the same cleaning job but is safe to leave on if it doesnt come off. OK….sounds like a plan.

Soooooo……I go to CVS to get the supplies I need. 1st I go to the rubber glove isle, and grab the only pack available – a box of 500. With box of gloves in hand, I go to the grocery section, and grab myself a pair of those yellow, up to the elbow, dish washing rubber gloves. Yup. I am double and triple gloving.

Next I have to go down “that” isle, to grab the KY. It was recommended that I get two bottles, as that should do the trick. So with rubber gloves in hand, I stand in front of the assortment of lubricants displayed for me. Uggggg, the didn’t have KY brand. They only had the CVS brand. If I was going to buy 2 large bottles of lube, at least let it be the name brand and not the generic, as I not only appear bizarre as it is, I don’t want people to think I am cheap too. To add insult to injury, they only had the warming kind. Well, at least after all of this, I hope the horse would have the decency to at least call me the next day.

I grab the two big bottles of lube, and have the box of rubber gloves under one arm, and the elbow length gloves in my other hand and off to the register I go. I should have went and grabbed any other embarrassing items that often cause mortification upon purchase (i.e. Fleet Enemas, laxatives, Feminine itch cream, Maxi Pads, Pregnancy Tests, etc) but instead, as I stand on line waiting to be called next, I quickly grabbed the closest thing I could find that may add some “normalcy” to the purchase and distract the cashier from the combination of items the cheap skate weirdo is about to hand her. A Three Musketeers Bar. Yup, that will do it. I’m good to go. No….No I am not. “I’LL TAKE THE NEXT CUSTOMER OVER HERE” the newly opened cashier yells…..Yup….Its a guy…..A teenage guy…..

I put the items on the counter and quickly add a pack of gum. Oh crap, that just made it worse. Now Im a weirdo freak with bad breath. Standing their completely separate from my body, I blurt out “Its for my horse”…..3 strikes, Im out….

I couldnt get out of there fast enough and probably made the post customers/closing conversation of the night.

And no, Indy didnt even buy me dinner….not even a phone call the next day…..I think I did catch him smoking when I was done doing what I needed to be done…..thanks….

On the next installment of “You had to do what????”:

“You Had to Shave her What?”


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