You have probably noticed the boxes to the right of my posts. As you can see, they are divided into categories of those living (or have lived) in the Schmitty home; some are humans, most are not.
I have somehow been coerced into starting my own petting zoo.
I am most certainly an animal lover, as are my children; though, unless a kid is a future serial killer, don't MOST kids love animals? I never expected that one day Mr. Schmitty and I would become outnumbered by children much less by animals in our own home.
We started off innocently enough, we really did. A little less than six years ago we introduced our family to a puppy we named Ruby. Our children, who were young at the time, chose her name because of a favorite cartoon, "Max & Ruby".
After Ruby came Izzy (a character from the cartoon "Total Drama Island") the cat. We had no intentions of adopting a kitten but I made the mistake of taking the kids with me to the local pet store when I dropped Ruby off for a grooming. "Can we just go look at the kitties?" They asked. "Sure, but we are only looking!" I replied. Yea, looking.
On a side note, you will begin to see a pattern develop regarding pet names. It seems children's television characters are quite popular or maybe just really easy to reference. As a matter of fact I, myself, named almost every pet I had as a child, Ernie. You know from Sesame Street? There was Ernie the puppy, Ernie the rabbit, and so on, and so on. It was always *Ernie, Ernie, Ernie. It apparently caused my father a bit of confusion because instead of walking the puppy on a leash, my dad used to take the bunny for walks in the neighborhood. In front of the neighbors. With a big, stupid grin on his face. Now that I think of it, it probably wasn't the overuse of the name but the massive consumption of the booze.
But, I digress.
Next came the Beta Fish, each child wanted their own: Esperez (W. likes to make up unusual names for his pets...that boy, forever marching to the beat of his own drum), Simon (after the Chipmunk), and Sam. They all did really well for quite some time and believe it or not, Izzy even left them alone. She simply watched them from time to time.
Sam was the first to go belly up after a playdate gone wrong. Our 8 year old guest, unbeknownst to us, had dumped half of a jar of food into his bowl. I think he ate himself to death or he was overtaken by the stench. Sam belonged to R. and there was a lot of crying and drama as my daughter learned about losing something she loved. We gave him a burial service at sea and headed out to the pet store.
Oscar (we had just seen the movie "Chimpanzee") was Sam's replacement. I believe Oscar may have been a lemon as he did not last very long. More drama and crying and another trip to the pet store. Casper, the friendly, white Beta was chosen this time and thankfully is still going strong.
It was shortly after Sam went to the big fishbowl in the sky, or toilet bowl in the bathroom, your pick, that Esperez began to develop a growth in his stomach. It grew and grew and grew. I began to wonder if he was a she and she was pregnant. But how could that be? Beta's live alone. Was it an immaculate conception? Or did a horny Simon know and he jumped bowls?
He/she looked ready to pop. It was like a festering zit you wanted to squeeze. The lump got so big that Esperez began to float like a buoy. And then one day, while the kids were in school, he/she died. Mr. Schmitty and I decided to find a look-a-like and not say anything. Would they notice? How long would it take if they did?
It was like our own little experiment.
Needless to say we could not find a twin to Esperez but did the best we could with what we had to work with. We released this new fish, who later became known as Esperez, Jr. (but of coarse), into his new home. Mr. Schmitty and I looked at each other. He looked NOTHING like the previous tenant except that he was red. This one had a white stripe on his tail and was about half the size of Esperez. Oh, and he no longer had a Buddha Belly. We shrugged and went about our business. Later that night I heard a commotion upstairs. It was T. and he was yelling, "Quick everyone, come here!!! Esperez popped and it made him shrink!!
Ahhhhhh, my gifted and talented child, I had such high hopes for you.
Then poor Simon died, I assume of natural causes or perhaps a broken heart when he learned that Esperez Jr. was an imposter. T. chose George to take Simon's place.
And finally, the fate of Esperez, Jr. and George can be blamed on Mr. Schmitty who was the last to have contact with them. We don't know what happened, maybe it was the shock of having clean bowls or maybe Mr. Schmitty was not responsible at all. Maybe, just maybe, they made a suicide pact because they died pretty much at the exact same moment.
It still remains a mystery.
So, as if a dog, cat, and the multitude of incoming and outgoing fish wasn't enough, I had the brilliant idea to bring not one, not two, not even three, but four baby guinea pigs into the mix.
I think I am truly insane.
To be continued.....
*Mr. Schmitty's middle name is Ernest. Coincidence? I think not.