Holy smokes did we have a dilemma at the Brakeman household.
It started a few days ago when the kids found out that I would be working on a PetSmart commercial. I had tried to keep this secret from them, for reasons that will become obvious, but their little snoopy eyes are everywhere.
When they discovered that, not only was I working (“Yay! We get to eat this week!”), but that I would be on set with all sorts of dogs and cats and lizards and hamsters and mice and bearded dragons, whatever the hell those are, well then the whining started.
Think the old air-raid sirens from the ’60’s combined with a Junior High P.E. Coach’s whistle, then multiplied by three open-mouthed kids. Got it? Yeah, me too.
Then, unfortunately upon returning home from work, I doubled down on my Wiki-sized leak of classified information by spilling the beans that the Art Department had built these cool individual environments, tailored specifically for each type of pet.
Air raid siren alert number two. Only this one was sustained.
Because I am a stern and authoritative dad who doesn’t take any guff whatsoever, I bolted from the house and returned later with a van full of fish tanks, cages, bags of assorted feed, dozens of Poecilia Reticulata, scores of assorted Lacertilia, herds of Cavia Porcellus, and mice. So many mice.
So the kids and I went to work building the habitats that they wanted for their new pet civilizations. My youngest daughter wanted the inside of a submarine for the fish so that they could know what it was like to be us at Disneyland. She called it, The Guppy Subby.
My middle daughter wanted a groovy Silicon Valley Tech Center for the squamate reptiles, complete with ergonomically correct desks, authentic Mojave sunning rocks, and a hip and stylish cricket bar that she monikered, The Techo Gecko.
The firstborn daughter requisitioned an entire block of cheese in a glass case for the mice, so she could watch them eat and tunnel their way through their habitat, like an old-fashioned ant farm, until they were fat and happy. She copyrighted the name: The Manchego Maze©.
Unfortunately, while all this was going on, our boring old long-time pets – the cat and dog – thought all the new pets were for them, and quickly tore into their temporary shelters and, fueled by a diet of tasty sushi, chased the rest out the front door and into the neighborhood. Cue the screaming and crying and air raid sirens.
Today, since I am Favorite Neighbor Number One on everyone’s Hilltop Lane hit list, I am spending the day signing checks for every animal wildlife capture company that I can entice into the area. And I have brought in a team of therapists for the kids, ’cause this one’s gonna leave a scar.
But at least they now have some cool habitats for the Polly Pocket dolls.
Oh crap, what’s on my leg?