Sunday night was a night that will live in infamy in the Burgener Family...a story that we will pass on to our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.
We've been trying to establish a bit more of a routine around here since Landon finally finished field camp last Friday (yay). We were getting ready for bed, it was around 11 p.m., and Landon went out to get something. He flipped on the light and walked out into the kitchen. A few seconds later, I followed. This is what greeted my tender, drowsy eyes:
(I wish I had a real picture of him - but really, would you have kept your head enough to snap a picture in this situation?) He was sitting on top of a fan we keep out in the hallway, and he was just staring at me. Not moving or anything. I was half-asleep, so at first what I was seeing didn't register. Then, I thought it must be some kind of joke. Then, I screamed. Loudly. Landon came running, yelling "What, what?" as he went.
"There's a mouse!" (Kylie)
"A Mouse. A big one. A really, freakishly big one."
"In the house?"
"It's moving!" (more screaming)
"I'm coming...keep watching it."
"Landon, I don't think it's a mouse."
(Around the corner by this time) "You're right, it's too big to be a mouse."
"There's a rat in our house?!?!" (eeeww...the thought made my skin crawl. I swear our house is clean)
"Maybe. It's definitely not a mouse....wait, it doesn't have a tail..."
"Oh my gosh, it's a hamster! There's a hamster in our house!"
"It can't be a hamster."
"It is! It's a hamster!"
It was, indeed a hamster. We got independent confirmation on this later. How the hamster arrived in our hallway, we still have no idea.
"Where'd it come from, why is it in our house?" (Kylie)
"How should I know? Get me something to hit it with."
"I don't know, we need to break it's back or something."
"Eeeww...don't hurt it, it's someone's pet!" (yes, me, the hater of animals, did not want to hurt the hamster that was inexplicably and unacceptably in our house.)
"Well, what else are we going to do?"
"I don't know, catch it."
"Right. How are we supposed to do that?"
"I don't know! There's a hamster in our house!"
(Deep sigh from Landon...) "Ok, keep watching it, make sure it doesn't move."
"Don't leave me all alone with it!"
"I have to get something to catch it in!"
"Oh. Right. Ok. Hurry."
Landon came back from the kitchen a few minutes later with a tupperware...that now has to be thrown away...and I handed him a yardstick to poke it with because we had to get it down off the fan.
"Where'd it go?" (Kylie)
"It ran in the bathroom. Go get me some cheese."
"Do hamsters eat cheese?"
"I guess we'll find out."
It turns out that hamsters DO eat cheese. Even stranger's cheese, if they're hungry enough. He inched his way out from behind the toilet, and hissed at Landon once when he prodded him with the stick, but eventually came out and stared at us some more. This was for sure a domesticated animal. He wasn't afraid of us at all. Landon trapped him in the tupperware with the ease of a practiced hamster-tamer.
"Now what?" (Landon)
"We'll have to take him outside I guess."
"I wonder if he belongs to anyone?"
"I don't care, I'm not keeping him in the house and making 'Lost Hamster' signs." (my animal hatred comes and goes easily, apparently)
"Should I kill it?"
"No!" (See what I mean?)
"Poor little Sammy."
"You named it??"
"Well, you aren't going to let me kill it..."
By this time, I had my mom on the phone, who sagely suggested that we take Sam out to the dumpster. On our way out, our neighbors were standing outside talking.
"How's it going?" (male neighbor, I can't remember his name)
"We just found a rat in our apartment." (Kylie)
(Landon, holding up the tupperware so they could see inside) "We actually think it's a hamster."
"A hamster? How could a hamster get in your house?" (Laura, female neighbor)
(Landon lifts lid, just a bit) "Oh my gosh, that IS a hamster!" (Male neighbor) "How'd it get there?"
"No idea. Do you want him?" (Landon)
"No!" (Laura, female neighbor)
"Yeah, me either." (Kylie)
So we set off for the dumpster, but when we got there, it seemed uncomfortably close to our house. So...we actually crossed the street over to the Albertson's parking lot, and set Sammy (who had become Sammy Sosa by then) free. At first, he wouldn't go. He was terrifed to leave the saftey of the tupperware for the big, wide world. But Landon nudged him off the edge of a small, hamster-sized cliff, and we left Sammy to his fate. And ran, really fast back across the street so he couldn't follow us. Strangely, we both slept REALLY well that night. I guess Sammy had tired us out. But I did make Landon get up first and check for hamster cousins the next morning.
How a hamster got into our house -- the world may never know. We're really sorry if you're missing your pet hamster.