From the first time Ella asked for a pet, I have sworn up and down and backwards that we would never, ever have a rodent in the house. That meant no hamsters, no gerbils, no guinea pigs, no rats. I loathe rodents, even “cute” domesticated ones. There’s just something about their rodent feet and their rodent tails that gives me the heebie-jeebies.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Lily made this announcement last night at dinner: “Guess what! I have the best news! I won the gerbil lottery!!!!” My heart fell, and I understood how a townsperson in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” must have felt drawing the black stone.
Instead of death, winning the gerbil lottery means that Lily gets to bring home the class pet, Fluffy, for the weekend, the long-extra-day-off-school weekend.
Lily is beyond thrilled. She loves, loves, loves animals of all shapes and sizes. Fluffy is in definite danger of having Lily hug her and squeeze her and call her George.
I, however, am not so thrilled. I will spend the weekend making sure the kids don’t let Fluffy escape and make a break for the sofa cushions. The creature could live the rest of its life in there quite comfortably.
My other fear is that it will get into the sofa and have babies. When Lily heard me say that, she rolled her eyes and said, “Fluffy needs to have been around a boy gerbil for that to happen.”
Fluffy got sent home with an exercise ball that allows her to roam the house. Having a rodent roll past my feet while I’m working is not my idea of a good thing.
If you need me, I’ll be sitting on top of my desk to work until Tuesday when Fluffy goes back to school.