Seriously, there was a mole in our house. I am not talking about the saboteur kind of mole portrayed on the TV show hosted by my imaginary boyfriend in his younger years. What, you didn't have faith in me I could work Anderson Cooper into a blog about a rodent? Oh ye of little faith...Google it! My little Andy was the host of the reality show called "The Mole" back in the day. But back to my story...
So about 2 weeks ago I was sitting on the couch watching TV. Chuck walks in with a clear plastic box and says, "look what I found". I look over and I see what looks like a cat turd in the box. I asked why he brought it in and he said because it was crying, I couldn't just leave it there. Crying? What? Turns out it wasn't a cat turd, it was a newborn rodent, less than an inch long! I need to get my glasses fixed. Mary Alice, our dog ate my glasses. Chewed through the lens and everything! I swear to God my eye doctor thought I was making up a lame excuse as to why I wasn't wearing my glasses, that was until I pulled the eyeglass carcass out of the case...
So Chuck takes the little creature into the kitchen to show the girls. The 3 of them start "oh-ing" and "aw-ing". Great, I think. Now I'm in for it. They want to keep! For Christ's sake... So five minutes in they have it in a plastic little critter cage and are You-Tubing how to feed newborn mice. So here is my husband, who if he found this little animal a few weeks later when it was full grown would have set a trap to kill it, is now hand feeding it milk from a paintbrush. Keep in mind, Chuck is NOT a fan of the dog or cats or companion pets in general, yet he has told the girls we can keep this little, fetal looking rodent. I am thinking, OK, so we keep it but to what end? Are we going to keep it forever? Are we going to let it go after we nurture it back to health only to be set free and later eaten by Mary Alice. She does not have a refined palette by any means. She has been known to snack on field mice, multiple moles, a baby bunny and oh yeah-sh*t. Actual sh*t! She pulled one of Emily's poopy diapers out of the trash and ate a fist sized lump of crap before I could get over to her. You think for one second she would hesitate before devouring a fellow "pet"? Plus, by the time the creature, who now has been named Penny-Cookie is able to be released it will be domesticated...even if he escaped Mary Alice's wrath, it wouldn't survive. There isn't going to be milk soaked paint brushes in the wild for her to suck on. So I guess we (meaning me) is in it for the long haul. Yay!! (said in mockingly triumphant voice, with my arms half-heartedly raised).
OK, so if you know me at all you know I don't do anything half-assed. Well, maybe exercising. That I mail in. I think I told you all about the time I was trying to get into shape for my wedding and I really wasn't feeling it one day so I changed into my gym clothes in a liquor store parking lot and drove around with my face leaning towards the vents with the heat on full blast. By the time I got home I was all red and sweaty giving the appearance of a solid workout. That may or may not have happened more than once. But I digress....when it comes to taking care of my pets that is a different story. I remember years ago one of my friends told me when she died she wanted to come back as one of my pets. What up Shannon?!! So it was now on me to keep this thing alive.
I ask for advice and I am told I need to keep it warm so I fill a little water bottle with warm water and replace it every few hours. I also find out I need to "help" it pee and poop. So as I am wiping it's tiny ass with a warm paper towel I start to contemplate my life and where did it go so wrong that I am sitting alone in my kitchen at 2 in the morning wiping some rodents ass trying to get it to sh*t on me? Hmm. Really? Who was I or what did I do in a past life to deserve this? Was I Genghis Khan for f*ck's sake?
So we are one day into running our animal rescue center. I go to Target to get something and I inexplicably find myself at Petco purchasing a teeny, tiny bottle and cat formula. I know full well it is not a cat, but I am thinking it is closer to a cat than a cow. So maybe cat milk is better for it than cow milk? That decision would of course come back to bite me in the ass. Oh and I decided it was a mole and not a mouse. It's eyes were funky and when I did a google image search of baby moles
it looked just like one, plus, we have a crap ton of moles living in
So we are on about day three of the rescue mission and my time in the NICU is really starting to show. I am feeding this thing every two hours....I am diligent about maintaining its temperature even providing modified kangaroo, or skin to skin care....I would hold it between my hands trying to keep it warm but there is no way in hell I would put it on my chest!! The thing was so tiny it would get lost in there and probably crushed by one of my boobs and how would I explain that to the girls? Then I notice Penny's belly and I don't like the looks of it. It looks distended, dusky and then eventually you can see a black blob under the transparent skin. Great! I gave the baby mole NEC. I tuck Penny-Cookie back into her blanket, warm up her water bottle and put her back in the cabinet. Oh yeah, so we have to keep her in a safe spot away from the cats and dog so Chuck puts her in the cabinet with our drinking glasses. So while we are saving one beings life I may just be endangering all of ours by exposing my family to the hantavirus. At one point Anna spiked a fever with no other symptoms...I was prepared to tell the ER to call Dan Riskin from Monsters Inside of Me, that we have an episode for him...
So we get home from picking the girls up at school they want to feed Penny. I tell them sure. Poor Anna gets the critter tank down and makes the discovery. Poor Penny is dead. Great! I didn't even want this thing to begin with and now I am the one home that has to help them process the death and listen to them sob. I get accused of killing it--why did you give it cat milk and not mole milk? Yeah, like that was the deciding factor in it's demise. Anna decorates a jewelry box to bury Penny in. Sara goes on and on about how this is the worst day ever and instead of validating her feelings I remind her the day Grandma died was maybe a little worse. That went over like a friggin fart in church! While sitting in the midst of this chaos I go off into my little happy place in my mind...sitting at Cafe Zurich at the top of the Ramblas in Barcelona, drinking una clarita without a care in the world. That is short lived because now we have to have a funeral and bury Penny. Chuck comes home, digs a hole next to our dead cat and bury the rodent. The irony is not lost on me and I have to stifle a laugh.
So we all settle in and sit down for dinner. Our nightly tradition is to go around the table and talk about the best part of our day. I remind them that even on the saddest days there is always something to be thankful for. Sara and Anna pass, Chuck and I mutter something corny and then Emily proudly announces her favorite part of the day was when Penny died. Serial killer in the making? Perhaps. Sh*t stirrer? Absolutely!!
I know my kids were upset that Penny died, but, I feel like there were some great life lessons--they learned about responsibility, if you take something on you see it through, that all living creatures, no matter how small, deserve a chance and that sometimes, no matter how badly you want something to work out it just might not work out the way you plan.
So it has been about 2 weeks and Sara and Anna have adjusted and have used this experience as a positive. But just last night Emily asked me if I was still sad that Penny died and I said yes. I asked if she was and she gave a resounding "NO"! I guess two out of three ain't bad.