Pets — I hate them.

VSM and I allowed The Good One to purchase a hermit crab while we were at the beach with my family.  I blame peer pressure.  Two of my sisters did it so I had to do it.

Apparently I do not succumb to the peer pressure to do drugs, but peer pressure will cause me to by shelled pets.

So we bought the crab and all of the crab crap that you have to have to keep it alive.  About three days after we bought it, me and the boys were visiting my sister (VSM had flown home), and The Good One came to me and said, “Hey, Mom, what do you think it means when a crab’s claw falls off?”  I said, “Well, I don’t know but I can’t imagine that it’s a good sign.”

Turns out it means they are stressed.  I’m grateful that humans do not drop appendages when they get stressed.  I would be appendage-less.

About a day later The Good One said, “Hey, Mom, my crab lost another claw.  Do you think it’s going to die?”  I replied, “Likely.  I can’t imagine he’ll be able to live without his claws.”

The Good One did not appreciate my candor.  He also did not appreciate it when the crab died a day later.

Want to know how you know when a crab has died?  You’re in luck because I know the answer to this.  You can tell when a crab has died because it will smell like 2,000 dead fish that have been rotting in the sun.

The Good One can be a bit emotional and had what I would describe as an emotional breakdown over this dead crustacean.  I tried to be sympathetic, but he uses sympathy as a means to weasel more crap out of me, so I also had to be practical and explained that while I understood his sadness, he had only had the crab for a few days and he needed at least not to wail and weep and rend his garments and eat sackcloth and ashes or whatever the heck it is they did in the Bible when they were upset over their dead crabs.

After some convincing, he agreed to calm down as long as we could keep the crab and bury him when we returned to Texas.  I said yes.

That was the wrong answer.  You see, I was in Virginia visiting my sister after our North Carolina vacation, and after spending a few days there I was going to head to Pennsylvania for a week with my parents before heading back to Texas.  That meant I was going to be traveling with a dead crab for approximately two weeks.  I double wrapped the crab bits in sealed sandwich bags and put them in a larger sealed bag and stuck the whole mess in my van.

Want to know what a dead crab that has been double wrapped and sealed smells like after it’s been sitting in a small container inside of a hot minivan for a few days?

You’re in luck because I know the answer to this.  A dead, double-wrapped crab that has been sitting in a small container inside of a hot minivan smells like 2,000 fish that have died on top of an equally dead and equally rotting cow that has been smothered with feta cheese.

On the drive from Richmond to Pittsburgh, every time I left my car and then re-entered, I was assaulted by the smell of death.  As you would imagine, this made my drive super great and full of awesomeness.

When we arrived in Pittsburgh, I promptly explained to The Good One that I was not going to be able to drive any further with this decomposing pet and that we were going to have to bury it in Pittsburgh.  He seemed to be okay with that.  Most likely he was tired of gagging every time he got in the van.

Well, this Saturday we finally came back to Texas and The Good One somehow managed to convince my mom, who traveled back with us, that he needed a new pet and wanted a lizard.

Today we went to the pet store to learn about lizards, and I learned that having a lizard is not as simple as getting a lizard and sticking it in a terrarium.

First of all, lizards, as you know, carry salmonella.  So if I agreed to a lizard as a pet, I would basically be agreeing to allow my son to play with a raw chicken cutlet.

In addition, the terrarium of the lizard has to have two thermometers, one on top and one near the bottom, because the terrarium needs to have two different climates.  Then, if that weren’t enough, you have to buy UV and UVB lights.

That brings us to the food requirements of the lizard.  They like to eat live crickets.  But you can’t just get crickets. You have to get properly sized crickets and put them in another habitat.  But you can’t just stick the crickets in the habitat and then feed them to the lizard.  First you have to gut-load the crickets.  This requires you to buy special food to feed the crickets.  Then you have to dust them with some vitamins before you can feed them to the lizard.  So basically you have to purchase and take care of some very short-term insect pets so that you can feed them to your long-term reptile pet.

This seemed to be a lot more effort than I was willing to put forth so I said no to the lizard.  Then The Good One said he wanted a gerbil or hamster, but I have a very strict no-rodent policy because under no circumstances will I ever touch the fecal deposits of a rodent.  (Google Hantavirus if you need an explanation.)

I told The Good One that these small pets were more work than a dog and that when our dog finally died, then we could get a new pet.

The Good One asked me how much longer our dog was going to live.  I told him that I had recently Googled the life expectancy of her breed and the maximum age was about 14 years.  As she is now 16, I’m hoping she’ll drop any day now.

Yes, I’m heartless.  You knew this.  Don’t act surprised.

The Good One seemed pleased with this answer and went about his business and seemed to drop the pet obsession.  About an hour later he came out of his room, crying in despair that by asking about how much longer our dog was going to live that he was somehow wishing that she’d die and he felt horribly guilty.

I comforted him by explaining that I wished our dog dead nearly every day, and since God is obviously punishing me for my lack of compassion by allowing her to live to infinity, that he didn’t need to worry about his thoughts possibly causing her death.

I told him that someone on our street was giving away puppies and that when VSM got home from work, he and The Good One could go look at the puppies and just see what they looked like just for fun.

VSM got home and they went to look at the puppies.  Right before they left, I told VSM that they were just looking and VSM reiterated that they were only looking and under no circumstances were they bringing home a puppy.  Somehow our signals got crossed because 20 minutes later the boys showed up with a new puppy.

I instantly got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I have a three-year-old who refuses to potty train.  I have an elderly, blind, deaf dog who is seeking to win the world record for longest living canine by flat out refusing to die.  And now I had a puppy that needed to be housebroken.

I went to the store to buy some puppy things, came home, saw how sweet my son was playing with his new puppy and then I instantly felt sick.  VSM and I had a brief talk where we discussed our communication breakdown and he and I made a deal: He’d take back the dog and I’d break the news to The Good One.

Needless to say, The Good One was rather pissed at me for a while.  He cried and wailed and told me he’d never forgive me, and I was okay with that because at least I no longer felt like vomiting every time I saw the puppy.  My mom talked to The Good One and made him feel better about his very brief experience as a puppy owner.  He apologized to me for saying he’d never forgive me, and then I made him some popcorn with peanut butter M&Ms and he seems to have forgiven me.

Oh, and tomorrow I’m probably buying a damn lizard.

Happy birthday to me.

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6 thoughts on “Pets — I hate them.

  1. Awesomeness all Around 🙂 happy happy birthday sister!!! Oh and how about the Good One a “Pillow PET” 🙂 miss ya

  2. OH NO! I totally told my daughter she could have a hermit crab for her birthday…maybe there’s time for me to get her to change her mind…I gotta come up with something 2,000 dead rotting fish does not sound like something I want in my house.

  3. Everything in this post confirms all my feelings about getting a pet (besides fish) for my children. Especially a puppy. I have been changing poopy diapers/and or potty training a child for nearly 7 years, and I have another two (at least) before I’m done. No more fracking poop.

    Good luck with the lizard though! Be careful what kind you get. Geckos drop their tails if they are stressed. Sometimes the tails grow back. Don’t ask why I know.

  4. Would you listen to me? A tarantula is 1000 million times less work than a lizard and by the way, lizards live like 35 years. Rose-haired tarantulas stay smallish, only live 5 to ten years and only need to be fed once or twice a week and they don’t need two climates. They don’t even really need a heating lamp except in the winter time. Easiest pet ever and after about a week, the nightmares about it escaping go away completely and you’re not even worried about it escaping because if he does, you’ll just grab him, scold him all, “DENNIS!”, and put him back in his terrarium.

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