Monday, May 30, 2011

Three is perfect...

I was looking at the calendar today and realized the boys are now over six months old. I know it doesn't sound like much, but my mind adds the words, "and we're all still alive".  It's been a lot of fun watching them grow and learn.  They truly are thinking pets and you don't have to strain to see the wheels and gears turning.

The decisions to get these guys were as multilayered as their personalities. One of the biggest being how many is the right number.  They're social creatures and, while some do well alone, I didn't feel it humane to get just one if it meant risking possible misery for him in order for me to realize I needed another. That meant this venture began  knowing there would be two ferrets from the start.

Fast forward and we're home - two ferrets chosen supposedly from the same litter along with a few hundred dollars in cages, food, toys, carriers, etc. The most important part of that "etc." being a book called "Ferrets for Dummies".  Knowledge is by far our best tool and anything that simplifies the information makes that tool the best of the best.

Sam and Jake were settling in nicely, but their personalities were very different.  Sam wanted to play and play...and play...and play...while Jake wanted to explore.  For those who aren't familiar with ferret behavior, this translates into Jake getting pummeled every few steps he took. Their idea of play means attacking each other - and you if you're not careful - then rolling, bouncing, hopping, biting, flipping and tumbling with each other even if the receiver isn't willing. Meanwhile, I'm cramming as much of the dummies book in as I can when I read that three is the perfect  number of ferrets to own as they DO bond with each other. It went on to confirm that you should expect to have more than one because of their social nature, but should you have only two and one should die, the one left behind could quite literally die of loneliness.

Of course this prompted the Schoolhouse Rock diddy "Three Is a Magic Number".  For those too young to be familiar with the reference, Schoolhouse Rock was, in your terms, the bomb!!  You could only see it on Saturday mornings during the cartoons that only ran  from about 6:00 a.m. until noon and because of it, kids who grew up in the 70's can quote the Preamble to the Constitution, we will never forget what a conjunction is, and we know what it takes for a bill to become a law.  We may have to sing all of this to you, but it's knowledge and as I said before, it's a tool.  I can honestly say that whoever made the decision to stop running Schoolhouse Rock was a douche who can take credit for dumbing down our society just a bit more.

But I digress..."Just get another one," says I.

After reading on though, I find out there's no guarantee an older ferret will bond with a younger one especially if he or she was with the deceased a very long time. CRIPES!!! This information coupled with the fact that within just a week or so, Jake just looked miserable - this was also due to the fact that he had parasites we didn't discover for almost another month - the decision was made.  Caleb was a ferret of necessity.

At first I felt horrible because Caleb was two weeks younger and it almost felt like he was just Jake's decoy.  Sam was pouncing and bouncing on the kit like he was getting paid for it.  By this point, it was evident that Sam was growing, but Jake wasn't.  His little bones could be felt when I held him.  I started feeding him Duk Soup and worrying over every move he made.

Fast forward another month or so. We've gotten parasite treatment. Jake's still on the super high protein diet and it's apparent Caleb is too as he's ballooned up to be bigger than both Sam and Jake put together.  Their personalities are still developing, but Caleb and Sam enjoy roughhousing regularly giving Jake a much needed reprieve. However, there are times when he wanders into their sights and is brought into their play momentarily before requiring rescue. 

Caleb and Sam are rough and tumble buddies who, at every opportunity, tag team Jake at every opportunity.

Fast forward to now.

Jake, smaller and sleeker than his brothers, is a spitfire, bouncing off the walls - sometimes quite literally. He's recently begun to poof into a bouncing ball of fur with a head and feet, while bobbing, weaving and dancing at anything and everything that moves. No more watching from the sidelines, he's spring loaded whether he's playing or exploring. 

Sam is still an explorer, but he's developed snuggling and kissing tendencies. (A special thanks must go to @Samuel_Clemons for all of his advice!)  He usually has just two interests - playing and exploring, almost always more so of one than the other.  Exploring means guaranteed's okay, I didn't need that shoe...or those coasters...or that pen...

Caleb is the most vocal of the three, filling the room with the happy sounds of his laughter while poofing into a fuzzy ball, hopping, bouncing and dancing.  I'd just call him fluffy, but he's downright fat. It's earned him the nickname "Fatmandu" which he often answers to.  He's large enough now that you can feel the vibration in the floor when he hops.

Watching the three of them twist and roll with each other on and then off the couch, perfectly balancing play with exploration, I realized three really is a magic number.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mr. Trump's Wild Ride

After parading himself in the center ring of the media circus like an attention starved, foul-mouthed child for months with claims that he was going to run for president, suddenly here Donald Trump was again, proudly strutting like a sickly peacock, spreading his mange-riddled feathers in a last ditch effort to be noticed at least once more before death.  When this roller coaster ride of his started, it was evident that we'd be taken along from the WTH?! beginning to inevitable tragic end.  It just wasn't evident whether it would be our tragedy or his. 

I was just finishing one of the many articles covering Donald Trump's announcement...or un-announcement as it were, when I took another look at his hairpiece...prompting this tweet: 

No sooner had I hit the "Send" button than the phone rang.  I didn't have to look at the caller ID to know it was Buffy.  I barely got the common salutation out of my mouth before she was rattling on and on. 

"I saw your tweet and the answer is yes...yes it did!" she shrieked, giddy with laughter. "You wouldn't believe what the damn thing eats for breakfast...oatmeal and lamb chops! Who the hell's ever heard of a combination like that!" 

"What??" There was no disguising the surprise in my voice.  

I'd learned from experience that when Buffy spoke with such confidence, questioning the validity of her outlandishness was just a waste of time.  After over a decade of friendship, she's proven countless times that the unbelievable really can be true - enough so that I knew she spoke the truth now.

"I know, right?  It's absolutely disgusting - especially watching it eat! Blech!"

"Buffy, um...what the heck is it?" Even I could hear the distortion of my face in my voice.

The line went silent and I could see the realization on Buffy's face in my mind.  She'd just had a light bulb like many before it and probably many to come when she realizes she's shared information that was supposed to be kept private.

"Um...well, I don't think I'm supposed to say anything...but," her voice trailed off before she whispered, "it's kinda like his brother. Think of it as his Siamese twin.  His name's Dorian."

I'd heard, repeated and created many a Donald Trump hairpiece joke, but like always, when the truth is this odd, everything ceased being funny about least for the moment.

My eyes narrowed as the comprehension that she was hiding something else slowly rose to the surface.

"What aren't you telling me, Buff?"

"Well...I'm not really supposed to say anything," she said, hesitantly. "But, did you notice that his most recent picture looked a lot like Mr. Toad?"

I pulled up the picture again...

Lo and behold...there was quite the resemblance.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Jake wins

As some of you may know, Jake was sick for quite awhile and during that time, he wasn't very energetic.  He didn't eat as much as the other two and was less than half the size of his brother Sam when we went for treatment. During this time, a lot happened. 

He was on a special diet to bulk him up. It didn't take long to see that his younger brother, Caleb had been sampling Jake's food as he's grown to be almost four times Jake's size in no time.  Jake spent a lot of time being small, weak and tired. He played with the big boys now and then but, had to be separated from them when it came time to go back into their house because it just wasn't a good idea. 

He learned that I would rescue him - even at times when he didn't want to be rescued. We finally worked out a system - if I think he might need help, I simply call his name and if he does need help, he'll run to me - which is my cue to rescue him. If he doesn't need help, I become an obstacle for his pursuers, making it work in his favor no matter the situation.

It seems that he also spent a lot of this time watching his brothers run, dance, and play with longing in his eyes.  He'd play until he just couldn't play anymore, then run to me where he'd be rescued and watch his brother's continue from a safe distance before being whisked off to spend some quality time with a dish of his favorite blend of baby food, meat stock and ferret food.  In no time at all, his tiny belly would be full and he'd seek out the comfort of his pirate ship where he'd curl up, asleep before his brothers even entertained ideas of taking a nap.

That being said, Jake had been in a mood for several days.  He had gradually been snuggling less and wiggling more. His sleek frame, although outweighed by Sam at least 2 to 1 and by Caleb at least 4 to 1, was faster and more agile than either of his siblings.  He'd spent a lot of his recovery time learning Sam and Caleb's weaknesses...and in what seemed like no time at all he was ready to use them to his advantage. 

His first order of business was to wear Caleb, aka Fatmandu, out by antagonizing him into a chase then spend the next five or ten minutes out running and out maneuvering him - not a difficult task.  As soon as that was accomplished, Jake set to work attacking him at every turn, wearing him down even further.  Once he'd convinced Caleb he wasn't as lucky as he might have been feeling when he stepped out of the cage earlier, Jake turned his attention to Sam.

Of course, as always with Sam, things were a little different. 

Jake found Sam working on his newly acquired truck and calmly approached him, gaining his second wind.

"We can do this the easy way or the hard way, Sambo.  It's completely up to you," Jake said, pretending to be interested in Sam's work.

"Yeah, hold you see that right there? Think it'll go faster if I take that off?" Sam asked, totally focused on his own passions.

With that, Jake realized that he'd won...and went off to do his very own victory dance.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oooo! Pretty!

"Sam!" my voice resonated with the familiar shock that Sam so often inspires.

He raised his head from the bright, glittery pink tube he'd been diligently working on, eyes calm and inquisitive. Looking at me so nonchalantly that for a moment I actually questioned whether I was catching him red-handed, or pink-handed in this case, or if I were rudely interrupting him.

"Yes?" he asked simply.

I picked up him and the tube, tossing one in the trash and escorting the other into the bathroom for a quick wipe down. I was already making mental notes:
  • Don't leave your purse where he can reach it.
  • I wonder how much he actually ate.  Hope it doesn't make him sick.
  • Crap, I've got it on me too!
  • Is that glitter in this stuff?!

Every morning, after I get ready for work, I spend time with the boys.  I snuggle them one by one before patting them off to go play and dance, always beginning with Sam.  He's admired my make up every morning for as long as I can remember. 

We'd already had the conversation about our differences from our hands and feet, our height, my lack of dancing and napping skills.  He knew that we're different and actually celebrated those differences, pointing out that they compliment each other. 

Standing in the bathroom, wiping his little hands and face, I couldn't help but ask, "Sam, what in the world possessed you to try putting on lipstick?!"

Finally, after he'd had his fill of the strawberry flavored lip gloss, looked around the bathroom before he answered, "Got any blueberry?"

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I need to try...

This is quite possibly going to end up being a slightly more serious blog entry...a "Come to Jesus Meeting", as my aunt used to call it, for myself.  For those who have never heard the term, there really are no religious connotations to the actual's more of a "Get Your Crap Together" see?  Something we all have in common: We've ALL had "Come to Jesus Meetings" at some point in our lives - either it was your parent(s), teacher(s), boss(es)...I'm adding the plural options because some of us quite frankly have to have the same meeting multiple times before the message sinks in.  Another old adage comes to mind: If one person tells you you're an ass, you can shrug it off.  If two people tell you you're an ass, you may need to ponder it.  If three people tell you you're an ass? You need to get yourself fitted for a saddle.

If you haven't noticed, digression is just one of my specialties. I have honed it almost to perfection.

Back to the meeting:

My wonderfully, beautiful friend @Samuel_Clemons inspired me, as he so often does...this time to get back on the blog horse because this stuff isn't gonna write itself...and I should know!  I've spent entirely too much time, distracted.  If there's one thing I've learned about digression - it's both a blessing and a curse.  The great part of it though, is that if you really work at it, put the effort in that I've failed to do recently, it can work to your benefit.  If you don't, it can have disastrous results, causing you (in this case, me) to do really stupid things like neglect those (in this case a list of folks) you care about.  To those neglected, I so humbly apologize...and thank you for being a true friend (insert true weight to this word here) and pointing it out.  Can I promise that it will never happen again?  Probably not because sometimes allowing digression to be a curse can be fun...and with minimal effort.  But I can promise that if you are willing to point it out, I'm willing to try my best to correct it and put it back on track.

*Insert smarm here...hold the onions*

Saturday, April 2, 2011

And the cabbage didn't say no...

"Don't tell me I'm crazy, Buffy...I've probably scarred Sam for life!" I half-screamed into the phone.

Buffy had been trying to convince me that it was all in my imagination, but what does she know, right??

I had spent the day sharing my favorite Shel Silverstein poems with the boys and Sam had shown particular interest in one of my favorites, The Bagpipe Who Didn't Say No.  It wasn't long afterward that we were in the kitchen, putting together yet another delightful meal for Jake when I noticed Sam's preoccupation with, of all things, a head of cabbage.

I really did try not to eavesdrop, but it's a small kitchen and it simply wasn't possible.

" you come here often?" Sam asked, the hope in his voice apparent.
Of course, the cabbage didn't say no.

"You smell absolutely you mind if I nibble just a bit?" he asked shyly.
But the cabbage didn't say no.

His first nibble and the cabbage rocked on the counter top, rustling the bag it was in, stopping Sam in his tracks.

He rushed to the other side of the cabbage.  "I'm not hurting you, am I dear?" he asked with concern in his eyes.
And, again, the cabbage didn't say no.

At this point, it was my parental duty to make sure he didn't get tangled up in that plastic bag due to enamored distraction.  Diverting Sam's attention with snuggles, I removed the cabbage before putting him back on the now empty counter. He instantly began looking, frantic with concern.

"Do you want to see me die of loneliness, cold and alone without you, love?" he called out to his unseen love interest.
*sigh* But alas, the cabbage didn't say no.

He continued to look, sniffing the counter and air for just a hint of her scent and just when I feared he might never get over the loss, he crossed the back of the sink. In no time at all, he was scaling the cantaloupe he found there, hope in each step.

"Are you opposed to comforting a ferret on the rebound?" Sam asked with sorrow in his eyes.
And the cantaloupe didn't say no...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

And we're back...

I know I've been away for quite awhile, but there's been a lot going on that has required my attention.
Jake with his bear giving his "don't make me come after you" look.

Jake was busy developing his OCD for all things rubber and with it, I got the opportunity to meet with his alter ego - Mr. Hyder.  Mr. Hyder likes to hiss, his eyes are crazed and my sweet, nosey nuzzling little man turns into the ferret version of The Incredible Hulk.  Well, that is if the Incredible Hulk liked to steal and chew anything made of rubber he could get his hands on before hiding them in an undisclosed location.

Caleb: "Don't you wanna hold me? You know you do..."

Caleb began trying to establishing his place in the pecking order while perfecting cute.  He's come a long way from the stumbling little bundle he was just weeks ago.  Now he's holding his own with Sam, alligator rolling him every chance he gets.  It seems humans aren't immune from his dominance dance either.  If riled up enough after a bout with Sam, he seeks out the closest human in the room and the dance begins.  He hops sideways toward his target, his body getting fluffier with each lunge forward. If the human isn't paying attention, he will leap into the air, chest bumping their calf before landing on the floor and doing a flippy, half-twist with a hop and then dancing away.

A bucket of Sam is a lot more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

Sam discovered the stairs and the wonderful, secretive world of the second floor.  This has caused more than one red alert moment - the first of which was a sleep filled voice yelling, "What's Sam doing upstairs?!" quickly followed by, "AAAARGH! SAM! You spilled Dr. Pepper all over me!"  Sam was, of course, given a treat for reinforcing house rule #3 (no food or drinks on the second floor) after being escorted back downstairs.  This instantly created his new favorite game Race You to the Top...needless to say, he always wins.  I think he's cheating somehow.

Caleb greeting Carter as Sam plans a sneak attack.

Sam's equivalent of rabbit ears over Carter's head.
They all met Carter, the Shar Pei/Chow Mix who taught Sam that not everyone runs away when they get bit.  Negotiations with Sam to be a stunt double for Carter began. I keep trying to tell Sam that the difference in their sizes is a factor, but he doesn't seem to think so.

Casa de Fert
We had a few wardrobe meetings, which were actually somewhat successful - to the persistent go the spoils! A sombrero with a ferret sized Mexican blanket was added to the inventory. There was some construction that had to get underway - not only did they get a new house, but there are some creative projects taking place as well.  It's amazing what you can do with cardboard, glue and a little imagination. There are SO many blog entries just waiting to happen.  That being said, I'm here now so let's not waste time with whining..
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