Friday, November 15, 2013

My Screaming Paparazzi

When I enter the room they scream.  No, not my fans (thanks again to all five of you).  Not even my crazy boys.

I'm talking about the guinea pigs.

Seriously.  They see me and start screeching.  Do you know how disconcerting it is to be recognized by over-sized rats who raise a high-pitched alarm to all other creatures within a two block radius?  I used to take offense, overly worried that a family pet might not like me.  (Clearly I have self-esteem issues.)  Then I realized that they do this vocalizing as a form of appreciation and begging.  They know that I am the one who makes sure they've got food, water, hay, and a clean cage.

If you have kids, you have immediately and correctly deduced that this was supposed to be their job and their responsibility.  You just know that they swore a promise to always look after these cute, vulnerable, little balls of fluff.  They very nearly swore on their mother's grave - oh, wait, that's me... and my sons will surely kill me with their lack of initiative one day.

So I go in and take care of "the girls" as we've come to call them.  They stand up on their shelf with their little paws and noses pressed against the bars as if to say, "Hello dear lady, we do so love that you bring us a spot of fresh veggies and crisps.  Please ma'am, we want some more."  Yes, they sound like Oliver in my head - another issue I'll have to hash out with a therapist someday, but just go with it for now.  I am the one to close the window when it's getting chilly, to remind the boys that the water bottle is nearly dry, and the poop has been piling up at an alarming rate.

Which brings me to my next issue: the cleanliness of their living conditions.  I actually researched guinea pig bedding options when a friend mentioned that I could do away with the ridiculously overpriced shavings and switch to reusable fleece "bedspreads" instead.  There is a market for this kind of stuff.  I kid you not.  People make piggy blankets for like $70 a pop.  But there are also YouTube how-to videos for those DIY pet owners.  That would be me.

So I dragged my boys with me to the fabric store.  Man, even that sentence sounds boring.  Yes, I forced them to be involved in this scheme of mine to furnish our guineas with visually stimulating, yet absorbent new materials.  Yawn.  They pointed at the two closest options and we left as soon as possible.  But the most important material I had to purchase online.  "Zorb" is like a miracle cloth that can hold an inordinate amount of liquid - think Sham Wow, but without the irritating pitchmen.  People use it to make homemade diapers for their kids.  (I said "people", not me!)  You sew this stuff to the fleece, the guineas love it, and appreciatively soil it all to hell. Then you remove the whole shebang and throw it into your washing machine and voila!  Fresh pen, no pee-stained paper globs to deal with, easier cleanup all around.  Right?  Well, there is still the matter of sweeping up the mind-blowing amount of little poops they produce.  Guess who ends up doing that part.  Oh yes, that would be me again!

Initially I made two blankets, and then realized that we needed to cycle through these things at a quicker pace.  My kids' friends come over to hang out and play video games and they're very nice to pretend that they don't mind the offensive smell coming from the guest room.  My boys call this the "GP room" and we used to joke that it stood for either guinea pigs or grand parents (when they visited).  Now it's really just the "Geez, pew!" room.

So I went online and ordered more Zorb.  Right around the same time I got black rubber gloves for my son's Halloween costume.  We also got a new shock collar for the dog and an orthotic neck-support pillow.  Hmm... I can just see the blushing confusion over at Amazon, thinking there's some kinky stuff going on over here.  Let's see them come up with some suggestions now!  Hey, it's what my screaming fans demand!
We're rock stars today!

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