Tag Archives: hamster

The Scariest Morning I’ve Had In a While (Don’t worry. It ends well.)


For anyone just tuning in around here, I have one husband, two children and two pets. Sometimes I feel like we should get a third pet just for the rhythm and flow of that first sentence. Then I regain my sanity and realize you don’t take on another live responsibility so the description of your life is more poetic. Milo the cat and Herve the hamster are plenty. (shaking head at my own stupidity) Why am I explaining the cast of characters in my home? Because they all figure into the lunacy of my morning today. Prominently.

Milo (left) and Herve (right). BFFLs … I guess.


My day started like all others. Too early. With my eyes first opening around 5am. Followed by the realization that I had to pee. Nothing new. (Damn, peanut-sized bladder.) Then, for the next hour, my brain woke me every five to seven minutes in a cold sweat thinking I’d overslept. On a school morning. A school morning with exams. It just can’t happen.

I’m the rooster in the family. I’m the first one up every day. It’s my job to wake everyone up, one by one. And I always start with Dean, my 15-year-old son. Between homework, after school activities and televised athletic events, that poor kid never gets enough sleep during the week. As such, he’s hard to wake up in the morning so I usually spend a few minutes just hanging out with him chatting in the dark. (I don’t mind it one bit, by the way. It’s some of the best conversation we have all day.) And, while we’re chatting, Milo usually drifts in and out of the room waiting for us to get up and fill his food bowl.

Everything was following the usual pattern this morning until I exited his room to start getting ready. And I noticed Milo fixated on my daughter’s closed bedroom door. She was still asleep. But Milo was staring at the bottom of her door with the focus of an English Pointer voted Best in Show.

I knew something was up. A bug? Maybe even a roach? I didn’t know. But from the backlighting coming from within her room, I could see that something was pressed against the bottom crack of the door. The hallway was still dark and my eyes were still sleepy so I called my teenage son to come inspect the situation. He walked over and crouched down on the floor to get Milo’s perspective. Then he spoke. Nothing could have prepared me for his next words.

“I see a hand, a furry hand, much bigger than Herve’s, reaching in and out.” I stared at him in disbelief and my blood ran cold.

What was on the other side of the door to the room where my daughter lie fast asleep?!!?

For reasons of which I am not proud, I took off not into her room but down the hall to my bedroom where Dave was still asleep. “Get up! Get up! Get uuuuuup!!!! Dean said there’s something in Vivien’s room sticking a hand out under the door. And he said it’s NOT HERVE!!!”

Dave jumped out of bed from a deep sleep, totally discombobulated and ran down the hall …. past Vivien’s room, mind you … and into the living room.  He looked around, totally confused and likely still half asleep, when he got there. “NOOO! In your daughter’s room. It’s in your daughter’s room,” I yelled.

Dave ran back to her room and threw the door open a little harder than he probably should have. Given the fact that it WAS Herve. (pause for collective exhale) He was just on the other side of the door. Alive, I should probably add. Harmless, old man Herve who had a stroke last Christmas Day and now pulls to the left when he walks and falls over into a ball every few steps was the thing that had just scared the living daylights out of everyone.

Dave scooped him up, checked him out and declared him to be fine. I stopped almost swallowing my tongue and started breathing normally again. We hugged Milo and applauded his probably-not-intentional rescue efforts. And we instructed our obviously-more-blind-than-we-thought son to go put his contacts in immediately. Oh, and Vivien? She slept through all of it. The noise, the running, the panic. Good God, I envy that kind of sleep.

Of course, how Herve escaped his cage (I suspect the door wasn’t properly latched) and further how he survived the two-and-a-half foot drop to the hardwood floor unscathed (that would be like me falling four stories) will forever remain a mystery. Needless to say, there’s an extra latch on his little door now … should Houdini ever decide to go for an encore. And the cage? Well, that’s now located safely on the floor.


Seriously? You can’t tell me there’s a huge, furry hand coming out of my child’s room and not expect me to lose control. I think my heart’s finally starting to descend from my throat.

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My hamster is starting to resemble Macauley Culkin


And sadly, I don’t mean precocious, crime-fighting, scream-while-aftershave-slapping Macauley. I’m talking about the ninety-eight pound, chain-smoking, allegedly-heroin-addicted Macauley. Scruffy-haired, thin and always jonesing for … well, let me back up a little.

You guys remember Herve, right? Vivien’s sweet little pet rodent who has actually become such an important part of the family that he’s appeared on not one, not two but THREE Christmas cards. Even Milo loves the little guy. (Fine. I’m lying about that last part. Milo is a cat. And you can’t tamper with the food chain, right?)

Anyway …. last month, something sad happened. And I haven’t wanted to write about it until now. On Christmas night, after we returned home from a long day of gluttony and family togetherness, I went to Viv’s room to check on Herve. And what I found there was a little disturbing.

I took one look at Herve and knew he wasn’t right. His head was upturned to the right, he was woefully unbalanced and he was manically active. I panicked. And I called out to Dave and Vivien. They both came immediately but Vivien was so upset that she fled the room in tears. Dave thought I was crazy for calling her in to see him in the first place. Honestly, I didn’t think Herve was going to make it through the night. And I knew she’d never forgive me if I kept him from her on his last day.

She was crying. And I was crying. Me. About a hamster. Honestly, I was as surprised about that happening as you probably are reading that it happened. It’s just that we all really care about the little guy. Not only is he adorable, but he’s one of the sweetest, gentlest little creatures I’ve ever met. He’s only nipped me once (pardon the pun) and that totally was not his fault. Seriously, what’s not to love?

The next three days were sort of touch and go. Viv and I both stayed close to home and checked on him often. Truth? I was so certain every time that I was going to find him dead that I made Dave accompany me … every time. But then he didn’t die. We made it through Friday, Saturday, Sunday and even Monday … and he was still wobbling around a lot but still going strong.

I was stunned. I had already stashed a small red box from one of my Christmas presents in the back of my closet in anticipation of …. well, you know. (I still feel absolutely TERRIBLE about that, by the way.)

 When he was still with us on Monday morning, I decided it was time to take action. For those of you who have been around a while, you may remember that there’s actually an exotic vet in my neck of the woods. And, last summer, I actually took Herve to that exotic vet for a much lesser issue. So, needless to say, I called the veterinary office to explain what was going on with him. They agreed to see him that very afternoon.

Both kids came with me to his appointment. And, unlike Herve’s last visit, we all three got to go into the examination room with him this time. The doctor was great. It turned out she’s married to an old co-worker friend of mine. She was wonderful with our little guy. And she explained that, while it was possible that Herve was dealing with an inner ear infection, it was more likely that he’d suffered a stroke on Christmas Day. Exactly what I suspected.

We left the office with three different medications and special food that we were supposed to administer to him with a syringe. Were we up for it? Well, of course, we were. What you guys don’t know is that I had a diabetic cat named Toby who required two daily shots of insulin a day for EIGHT YEARS.

And how hard could it be to administer three prescriptions medications to a hamster, right?

Actually, it really was easy. Especially for one of the medications. The first  was for infection. He liked it okay. And now he’s finished with that one. The second was for imbalance. He liked it a little less than okay. But it’s also finished. And the third? The third is a pain medication. Notice I said “is” because he’s still on it. Think of it as a morphine drip of sorts. Something to “keep him comfortable for the rest of his days.” And he absolutely LOVES THE EVERLIVING CRAP out of it.

He knows when I’m coming in to give it to him. He runs to the door of his cage and jumps (read: stumbles uncoordinatedly) into my hand. He can smell it. Sense it. Already taste it.

Don’t believe me?

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See those grabby, little hands?

That’s the pain meds at work. We never saw that kind of passion with the antibiotic. He’d take the whole syringe into his bulging cheek pocket if I didn’t keep such a a tight grip on it.

My poor little junkie.

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NINE Words That Come Up Often at ODNT


After my recent post this week about Johnny Depp’s birthday, I started thinking to myself about the other recurring subject matter here at ODNT. And wondering just how recurring some of it actually was. And after I was done wondering, I began worrying. “Good Gosh, Michele,” said my very dorky, Ned Flanders-y inner voice, “I’d hate to think that you’re a one-trick-pony. Are you offering a diverse enough menu to your readers?” (Again, my inner voice is a HUGE dork.)

So, in the interest of appeasing my dorky side, let’s take a look at how often some of my most popular keywords showed up around here, shall we?

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  1. Alec Baldwin – 11

  2. Musical Theater – 14

  3. Johnny Depp – 19

  4. Hamster – 27

  5. Dean – 37

  6. Vivien – 43

  7. Ketchup – 66

  8. Cheese – 95

  9. Cat – 254

So Ketchup beat out the kids. Well, I guess that’s no big surprise. It IS a recurring theme around here. And, of course, cheese topped that. (distracted) Cheese-topped. (drool) Damn it. Now I’m hungry.

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But that THIS freak show conquered everything to be my most recurring topic of conversation? Well, I guess we know who the cat lady’s gonna be in my neighborhood in a few decades.


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June is Blog Post by Numbers Month. Wanna play with Mel and me? Just write a “listy-type” post with a number in the title (ex. FOUR Reasons I Love Mayonnaise, SIX Things You Can Do With A Paper Clip). Then link back to us and tweet us about it so we can include you on June 30th in our final list: (Number-Yet-To-Be-Determined) Great Bloggers Who Played the Blog Post by Numbers Game!

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The ODNT, Jr. “Vote for My Mom” Campaign (Part 3)


Maybe it’s because it’s a big election year.

Maybe it’s because she loves me.

Or maybe it’s just because it provides yet another platform for her to showcase her two favorite little varmints.

In any event, my girl is determined to help me secure my position in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Funny Moms Contest. Previous campaign efforts include Herve in the Kitchen and Herve’s Crippling Food Issues. And now she’s back with a third creation, her latest pro-ODNT propaganda entitled “The Case of the Missing Hot Pocket.”

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Confused? Don’t be. It’s a pretty simple concept. She draws something funny, you laugh hysterically and then you think to yourself, “Gosh, what a funny blog! I wonder if there are any nice people out there who give awards for this kind of crazy stuff.” Well, wonder no more. The answer is yes. You can vote right here. Every day until February 13. And here’s how:

1. Click here.

2. Scroll down to ODNT.

3. Click “VOTE.”

Silver Circle – Vote daily AND pressure friends to do the same.

Gold Circle – Vote daily, pressure friends to do the same AND post on all social media.

Platinum Circle – Vote daily, pressure friends to do the same, post on all social media AND wear sandwich board whenever awake to help promote the cause.

You can vote for as many women as you like. I recommend AccordingToMags, HotMessMom and Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms … to name just a few. Take a minute and look around once you’re in. There’s a whole mess of funny at that party. Just remember to vote. So ODNT, Jr’s efforts aren’t all in vain. Thanks.


* * * * * Got five seconds? * * * * *

Please click that FANCY PANTS PINK BALL (above) to visit the Circle of Moms site and vote for ODNT for Top 25 Funny Moms.

I need this, people! Someone stole my Hot Pocket!

Vote daily ’til February 13. Thanks!

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Take Two


A year ago, I wrote a post about one of the most famous poems ever written. I came across it recently … “and I laughed when I read it, in spite of myself.” Okay, fine. So that’s not exactly how the poem goes. Which is sort of the whole point. It was tough coming up with a second set of jokes for some of these stanzas. But I managed. Or maybe I mangled. Either way, it’s pretty much the same word.

So, with that, I give you ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Mystery Science Theater 3000-Style – TAKE TWO!

* * * * * * * * * *

‘Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse

  • Technically, he’s not a mouse. But I bet Herve’s going to be doing some serious nocturnal “stirring” on Christmas Eve. Does anyone know what the Benadryl dosage would be for a hamster? He weighs just over 5 ounces.

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Here’s the proof. And now I have to throw away that food bowl.

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And here’s how much he weighs when he’s blurry. 

The stockings were hung 
By the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas
Soon would be there

  • I’m glad the elf brought us a new “H” stocking for Herve. Originally, we planned to use the cat’s old one with an “M” on it. And, if Herve asked, the plan was to tell him that the stocking stood for “MY Herve.” Honestly, I don’t know what would have pissed him off more … the fact that we thought he was stupid enough to fall for that lame explanation OR the fact that he was expected to use Milo’s hand-me-downs.

The children were nestled
All snug in their beds
While visions of sugar plums
Danced in their heads

  • I just paid a dental bill on TWO fillings for one of my kids. So, there will be NO sugar plums, Sugar Smacks, sugar cookies, Sugar Babies, Sugar Daddies or even sugar snap peas. Yes, I know we still need three syllables for the poem. How about “While visions of toothbrushes danced in their heads?” No? What about dental floss? Fluoride rinse? Fine. I’ll keep thinking.

And mama in her kerchief
And I in my cap
Had just settled our brains
For a long winter’s nap

  • The day I go to sleep with a kerchief on is the day you people can finally come commit me. A kerchief? Who wears those? I mean … besides the Brady girls. And it always meant they were going to be doing some kind of serious cleaning in that episode.

When out on the lawn
There arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed
To see what was the matter

  • OMG, really? I already go to bed late enough that night. You know what I want for Christmas, Santa? Sleep. On Christmas Eve and every night for that matter. So, please … keep it down.

Away to the window
I flew like a flash
Tore open the shudders
And threw up the sash

  • Why all the fancy-pants window dressing? I merely have curtains in my room. From J.C. Penney. You can look out the window in one easy step. And there’s no “tearing” or “throwing” involved. It sounds so violent.

The moon on the breast
Of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday
To objects below

  • Beavis and Butthead would have a field day with this stanza. Seriously, I have looked up “breast” on ten different dictionary-style websites. And none of them stray from the mammary gland. What the hell, Mr. Moore?

When what to my wondering
Eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh
And eight tiny reindeer

  • I would think that a sleigh large enough to carry the big guy not to mention at least one present for every kid around the globe would be described as anything but “miniature.” And “tiny” reindeer? Animals capable of towing this load would have to be ‘roided up Clydesdales. … Wouldn’t they?

With a little old driver
So lively and quick
I knew in a moment
It must be St. Nick

  • A little old driver named Nick makes him sound like a cabbie from a 1970s sitcom.

More rapid than eagles
His coursers they came
And he whistled and shouted
And called them by name

  • Anyone who whistles or shouts once my kids finally pass out on Christmas Eve is getting a brick of coal chucked firmly at his head.

Now Dasher, Now Dancer
Now Prancer and Vixen
On Comet, On Cupid
On Donner and Blitzen

  • Originally, these names were all slated as tribute names for the Hunger Games trilogy. “Now Katniss, Now Peeta, Now Foxface and Glimmer …”

To the top of the porch
To the top of the wall
Now dash away, dash away
Dash away all

  • Since I have one-story home, might you consider just landing on the lawn for a change? Or, better yet, on my neighbor’s roof? You can’t seriously hop from rooftop to rooftop. Aren’t you like the mailman? You park, handle a number of houses in close proximity, then return to your vehicle to relocate it for the next set of houses. Right?

As dry leaves that before
The wild hurricane fly
When they meet with an obstacle
Mount to the sky

  • As a kid, this stanza was always my LEAST FAVORITE of this poem. Which is weird because … WHAT OTHER KID DO YOU KNOW WHO’S DECLARED A LEAST FAVORITE STANZA IN ANY POEM? (Nerd.)

So up to the housetop
The coursers they flew
With a sleigh full of toys
And St. Nicholas, too

  • They’re always on the tops of houses, but what of those who don’t have chimneys? Sure, we have one NOW. But it was a pretty uphill climb that my parents took us on with the whole “Santa has a key that fits every lock” story back in the day.

And then in a twinkling
I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing
Of each little hoof

  • If I hear pawing or scratching at my ceiling or walls during the night, I will be found hiding in the back of my closet in the fetal position clutching a vial of holy water and a crucifix.

As I drew in my head
And was turning around
Down the chimney St. Nicholas
Came with a bound

  • Nope. Never mind. I stand corrected. A fat killer sliding down my chimney is what would send me into the closet.

He was dressed all in fur
From his head to his foot
And his clothes were all tarnished
With ashes and soot

  • Fine. A fat, DIRTY killer.

A bundle of toys
He had flung on his back
And he looked like a peddler
Just opening his pack

  • He’s reaching into his … HELP! HE’S GOT A GUN!

His eyes how they twinkled
His dimples how merry
His cheeks were like roses
His nose like a cherry

  • Oh, thank God. He was just reaching for his flask. Man, that dude is completely juiced. “Ten lordza-dancing. Nine ladies swimming. SEVEN … I MEAN …. EIGHT GOLDEN GEESE!!!! (hiccup) Four calling hens …. ” (thud)

His droll little mouth
Was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin
Was as white as the snow

  • I know I sound like a hypocrite here but I do not think we should be making fun of the old drunk’s mouth.

The stump of his pipe
He held tight in his teeth
And the smoke, it encircled his head
Like a wreath

  • A pipe?!!? Oh, God. Please be ordinary tobacco …. please be ordinary tobacco …

He had a broad face
And a round little belly
That shook when he laughed
Like a bowl full of jelly

  • I really don’t think we should kick a man when he’s down. “Shut up, you guys. Can you believe Fatty’s still trying to pull off that furry track suit? I’m surprised the Red Cross hasn’t declared him a total fashion disaster.” 

He was chubby and plump
A right jolly, old elf
And I laughed when I saw him
In spite of myself

  • Well, now I just sound like a jerk.

A wink of his eye
And a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know
I had nothing to dread

  • Oh, God. I think he’s making a pass at me.

He spoke not a word
But went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings
Then turned with a jerk

  • Crap. That’s me. I’M the jerk with whom he’s turning. Damn it. Why did I have to laugh at his obesity?

And laying his finger
Aside of his nose
And giving a nod
Up the chimney he rose

  • I always thought this seemed like a baseball signal. Or maybe a cue from the Mafia.

He sprang to his sleigh
To his team gave a whistle
And away they all flew
Like the down of a thistle

  • Anyone know what that means? I didn’t so I looked it up. It’s that white feathery weed you blew on as a kid to make a wish. I can still remember my old neighbor saying, “DON’T BLOW THAT CRAP ALL OVER MY YARD! GO IN YOUR OWN YARD TO SPREAD WEEDS, YOU BRAINLESS WONDER!” Aaaah, memories.

Then I heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight
Happy Christmas to all
And to all a good night

  • He really tore out of here fast. We are sure he LEFT things at all the houses, right? Wait. Where’s my purse?!!? 

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That Suburban Momma

Happy 1st Anniversary, ODNT!


Yes, that’s right. Just one year ago today, I wrote a blog post

… then sweated buckets about it, sent proofs to half a dozen people, second guessed myself, ate a pound of cheese and drank a bottle of wine contemplating it, considered scrapping the whole thing, third guessed myself, cried quietly, berated myself in front of the mirror …

and hit publish.

It’s been a very interesting first year. CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW to see just a few of the highlights in my scrapbook.

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If you’re interested in reading some of the stories in this scrapbook, I’ve included the links for you at the end of this post. Because I understand lazy. And I know I would NEVER bother to look them up on my own. And I’m assuming that, if you read this blog, you’re probably lazy like me. So I did your heavy lifting for you today.

Thanks to all of you for riding shotgun with me the past year. Here’s to year number two!

The Posts that Inspired ‘Things You Read About on ODNT (2011-12)’

  1. Man Boobs Quiz  & Answers *
  2. Hoarder on Wheels
  3. Naked Mole Rats Introduction & Tweeting Spree
  4. Norma Stitz *
  5. Bitchy Barbies Introduction, Playdate & Acquisition
  6. Red Hair Dye Phobias
  7. Drug Hallucinations
  8. Tumor Look-a-like Contest *
  9. The AMC Letters: One, Two, Three & Four
  10. Bag Balm
  11. Just Say No to Saving the Earth
  12. Paging Mr. Baldwin: The Appeal & The Response
  13. Hunger Games Prequel
  14. My Junior Novel (maybe)
  15. How does one say Goodbye to a Toilet?
  16. A Hairy Day at Disney World
  17. A Cow named Michele
  18. Creating a New Identity for my Class Reunion
  19. When Johnny Depp came to my BBQ
  20. Spray Cheese Delivered to your Door
  21. Things You Learn While Drinking Wine
  22. A Bloody Good Idea for Next Summer
  23. The Hamster’s Going to Need a Lot of Therapy

* These posts have been deleted for undisclosed reasons. And, for the record,  it is NOT because I’ve been served with restraining orders from John Travolta, Norma Stitz and Homer Simpson.

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It’s a Boy! … I mean Girl! … Wait! Crap. I mean Boy!


Wouldn’t this have been a horrible way to come into the world?

Gender identity. Something that my generation is probably a little more liberated about than all others before it … and possibly since. We were introduced to Ziggy Stardust as very young children and spent our teens years rocking to one set of dudes in eyeliner and lipstick after another on 80s MTV. Seriously, I think Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes wore more make-up daily than I wore at my own wedding. And it was considered totally hot back then. Except I’m pretty sure we said “fine.”

Where am I going with this? Do I have a point, you ask? Well, yes. Yes, I do. Thanks for asking. Remember Herve? The newest member of my household? The rodent that my dear little ODNT, Jr. pined for, submitted blog posts about and finally won for her birthday?

Yes. THAT Herve.

She knew what she wanted to name her pet before we even went to the store. So, it’s not like he looked like a Herve or anything. Don’t most kids go with names like Peanut or Nibbles? Not mine. I remember her saying, “I cleared out a spot in my room. I’m ready to go pick up Herve now.” I tried explaining that Herve might not actually be a HE but she contended that the name would still work as HER– ve. “Fine,” I answered, worrying quietly about how much money I’d be shelling out over the years for a hamster with a confused sense of self.

We brought him home, always certain he was a him, until one day he fell asleep belly up in my hand. And his tiny “features” indicated to me that we should be making more of an effort to accent the first syllable of his/her name. From that point on, I decided to embrace the pink cage and buy our hamster some diet food, fancy chocolate and maybe a subscription to Cosmo.

So Her-VE became HER-ve. (Ask Chaz Bono. It’s a difficult adjustment to make. For any species.)

Weeks passed and things were rolling along just fine. While the kids were in school, HER-ve and I enjoyed long lunches together at a little bistro in town. We got mani/pedis at a cheap nail joint around the corner. We even formed a book group and started talking about 50 Shades.

Until one day last week when I saw HER-ve dragging a “bag of gym balls” behind her/him. And my girl kept asking why her hamster’s butt was getting so big. (If you’ve never noticed how gifted rodents are in this department, google it. Or just click here. I could not bring myself to post a picture of hamster testicles. You’re in the driver’s seat now. YOU get to decide if you need to see this image.)

Anyway, now we’re back to Her-VE. Our lunch dates have ceased and I switched his magazine subscription to Sports Illustrated. And I don’t clean his cage as frequently. He’s got hands. If he wants it clean, he can help out once in a while.

And my girl? Well, she doesn’t give a hamster’s ass what he is. As long as she has a rodent threatening to break free from his cage and scare the crap out of me in the middle of the night somewhere in this house, she’s happy.

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She even drew this picture for today’s post.


Let’s just hope we can finally commit to the blue rodent bedding from Petco.

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